BY DREW CHAMPLIN | firstname.lastname@example.org
TROY – Shawn Southward was sore when he woke up Sunday morning, but it was worth it after the Troy senior running back a career-best 28 times for 204 yards with three touchdowns in Troy’s 39-29 win over UAB.
For his efforts, Southward was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week. It was the first time he had topped 100 yards since he was a freshman, but with senior D.J. Taylor out because of heat ailments, Southward had to take on a larger role.
“It feels good being a No.1 guy and helping my team win,” Southward said. “I have no problem rotating at the same time. You get a good rhythm when you’re going in every series and you get a better feel of the game.”
Troy got some help from senior Justin Albert (8 carries for 50 yards) and junior Khary Franklin (1 carry for 10 yards). Taylor isn’t expected to be ready for Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against UL-Lafayette. He is at practice, but hasn’t been cleared to practice.
Southward said he had no idea how many yards he had. Albert, who moved to running back but is also still playing receiver, had a good guess.
“At one point in time, I was like, ‘That’s 170 right there,’” Albert said. “He was like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ I just said let’s win and we’ll tally it up. Shawn doesn’t really care. Just give him the ball and he’ll do what he has to do.”
Motivation for ULL: Troy players won’t forget last year’s 31-17 loss to ULL. It started a string of seven losses in the final eight conference games. Second-year head coach Mark Hudspeth has turned the program around and the Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off a 40-0 win over Lamar, an FCS program in its third year back after disbanding the program in 1989.
“We’re not their biggest fans, like they’re not our biggest fans,” Troy quarterback Corey Robinson said. “We’re going to have to play a good football game to beat these guys. They have a good coaching staff and a bunch of individual good football players. It’s going to be a tough battle. We just have to grind it out.”
Facing old friends: This Saturday won’t be easy for Troy offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield, when the Trojans play ULL. Edenfield is close friends with Hudspeth, whom he coached under at North Alabama several years ago, and ULL defensive coordinator Greg Stewart.
“We know we’re going to compete and battle, just like you do with your brothers growing up,” Edenfield said. “I have three brothers and we had some awful great wars, but we love each other and care about each other deeply.”
The three coaches and their families vacationed together over the summer. Edenfield said Hudspeth’s son caught the biggest fish.