Friday, September 7, 2012

Trojans ready for ULL

De'Von Terry recovers a fumble vs. UAB / Associated Press
**Follow along on twitter @DrewChamplin, plus I will have a blog post update.

Here is the game preview story for Troy's Saturday game with Louisiana-Lafayette. It's in the Saturday print edition of the Dothan Eagle and on dothaneagle.com HERE.

**ULL preview - Cajuns want to be more efficient in red zone - The Advocate

BY DREW CHAMPLIN | dchamplin@dothaneagle.com

TROY – Troy will see an experienced Louisiana-Lafayette offense, but a Ragin’ Cajun defense that is supposed to be rebuilding when the two teams play Saturday at 6 p.m. in Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

But the ULL defense was stout last week, shutting out third-year FCS program Lamar in a 40-0 win. ULL gave up 194 yards total, ranking 10 th nationally after the first week, and forced four turnovers.

ULL returned only three players with double-digit career starts, led by cornerbacks Melvin White and Jemarlous Moten. White, who returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown in last year’s ULL 31-17 win over Troy, was a preseason all-Sun Belt pick.

Troy offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield feels like the Cajuns have reloaded.

“(They’re) going to be good,” Edenfield said. “All summer, all you heard about was how many they lost. Come on, now. They recruit, too.”

ULL sophomore nose tackle Justin Hamilton, listed at 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds, was a beast against Lamar in his first career start. He had four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He wasn’t the only one that stood out to Edenfield on film. Edenfield’s former college teammate at Troy and good friend Greg Stewart is ULL’s defensive coordinator.

“They fly around to the ball,” Edenfield said. “They have a great scheme. You can see they play with a lot of energy.”

Offensively, ULL returns senior quarterback Blaine Gautier, who threw for 470 yards in last year’s New Orleans Bowl. ULL took a hit with the loss of starting running back Montrel Carter to a season-ending knee injury, but have sophomore Alonzo Harris, the 2011 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, waiting in the wings.

ULL’s receiver corps of Darryl Surgent, Harry Peoples and Javone Lawson may be as good as Troy will see this year in the Sun Belt.

“They’ve got a bunch of starters back and a lot of good players obviously they’ve added on,” Troy defensive coordinator Jeremy Rowell said. “They’re going to try to control the game running the ball offensively and make some big plays down the field. We’re going to have to eliminate some of those.”

Troy gave up 459 yards in a 39-29 win over UAB, but 110 came after the Trojans got up 16 with six minutes to go. The Trojans forced three defensive turnovers and recovered a fumble on special teams.

“We still gave up some plays that we shouldn’t have given up that allowed them to score a couple of touchdowns, mistakes on our part,” Rowell said. “We’ve got to get that cleaned up but it’s stuff we can get cleaned up pretty easily.”

ULL also returns four offensive line starters, but the Cajuns’ biggest weapon could be on special teams. Kicker/punter Brett Baer was the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week after hitting four field goals against Lamar.

A win could get Troy off to a quick start in Sun Belt play. The Trojans were able to respond to UAB’s best punches last week and counter with two fourth-quarter turnovers and touchdowns. The challenge will be to do the same against one of the Sun Belt’s top teams.

“From the (UAB) game, you could see nobody panicked when stuff started getting shaky,” defensive end Tony Davis said. “Everybody kept their poise and stayed under control. We stayed together at the end.”

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