=== Troy faces tough task in clash with No. 14 Arkansas ===
Fayetteville, AR (Sports Network) - The 14th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks have
been impressive through the first two weeks of the season, and they are set
for another non-conference game, this time against the visiting Troy Trojans.
Troy, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, is coached by Larry Blakeney, who
seeks his sixth consecutive league title in this, his 21st year as leader of
the program. Blakeney's team was idle last weekend, as its only game so far
this season came back on September 3 and resulted in a 43-19 loss to Clemson.
"I saw some things that make me think that we are going to have a good
football team," Blakeney said. "I am not saying we could have or should have
beaten those guys, but there were some things that we could have done better
and would have given us a chance to be in the game at the end."
Troy will begin Sun Belt action next week against Middle Tennessee.
As for Arkansas, it has outscored its first two opponents by a 103-10 margin,
proof that the club has yet to be tested. Last week's romp over New Mexico by
a 52-3 final in Little Rock was preceded by a 51-7 decision over FCS foe
Missouri State the week before. While he wouldn't win many popularity contests
among general college (or pro) football fans, there is no denying that Bobby
Petrino is a tremendous coach.
"We came down here and did what we needed to do," Coach Petrino said. "We had
a good week of preparation and we traveled well. The team did a good job of
preparing for the trip down to Little Rock and getting mentally ready in the
Arkansas has won all three previous meetings with Troy, the most recent of
which took place in 2009.
In the first half of the game against Clemson, the Troy offense played well.
Shawn Southward scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the opening stanza, and
the club added 10 more points in the second quarter, including a 16-yard
scoring strike from Corey Robinson to Eric Thomas. Unfortunately, Troy managed
only three points in the second half as Clemson ran away with the win.
When the dust settled, the Trojans had posted 423 total yards and held the
ball for over 32 minutes. The club came away with points on all four of its
trips to the red zone against a quality ACC opponent. Robinson performed
fairly well under center, completing 24-of-42 passes for 258 yards with one
touchdown and one interception. D.J. Taylor led the ground attack with 63
yards, while Justin Albert made six grabs to pace the receivers.
Defensively, Troy certainly could have played better against Clemson,
especially over the final 30 minutes.
"When you play a big team like this, you can't play one half," said safety
Bryden Trawick. "You have to be able to put four quarters together and I think
that if we do that we are going to be alright."
The Trojans yielded 468 total yards in the affair and permitted five
touchdowns, three of which came on passing plays.
That Troy defense will undoubtedly be tested by the explosive Razorbacks in
this outing. Arkansas lost Ryan Mallett to the NFL Draft and saw star tailback
Knile Davis suffer a serious injury before the start of this campaign, yet the
club is still averaging 51.5 ppg and 549.0 total ypg. Tyler Wilson has
completed 72 percent of his passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns against
one interception, and he is expected to play this week despite a head injury.
Jarius Wright figures to shake off some knee pain to play as well, good news
considering that he already has 11 catches for 171 yards and three scores.
Kody Walker has rushed for four touchdowns as the club's short-yardage and
The fact that Arkansas has yielded a mere 10 total points in eight quarters of
football speaks volumes about the play of the defense. Just 3.0 yards per rush
attempt are being permitted, and the pass defense yields just 9.1 yards per
completion. Keep an eye on Jerry Franklin, as he has 14 tackles to his credit
Arkansas generated a whopping 632 total yards in the blowout victory over New
Mexico last weekend. Wilson passed for 259 yards and Cobi Hamilton paced the
receivers with five catches for 132 yards and a score.
"Cobi Hamilton likes Little Rock," Coach Petrino said. "His ability to catch
the ball and run after is huge for us. So I thought he did a good job, getting
open and finding open space after the catch."
09/14 11:53:31 ET