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Texas State (6-5) at Troy (5-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Veterans Memorial Stadium (30,000) -- Troy, Alabama. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Texas State 4-2, Troy 3-1. Away Record: Texas State 2-3, Troy 2-5. Neutral Record: Texas State 0-0, Troy 0-0. Conference Record: Texas State 2-4, Troy 3-3. Series Record: Troy leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Troy Trojans have one last chance to become bowl eligible, as the 2013 regular season comes to a close on Friday afternoon against the Texas State Bobcats in a Sun Belt Conference clash at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Texas State became bowl eligible following its sixth win of the season on Nov. 2 at Idaho, but since then it has dropped back-to-back decisions to fall to 6-5. The Bobcats most recently played their home finale last Saturday, but they ultimately fell flat against Western Kentucky, 38-7, to drop to just 2-4 in Sun Belt play.
Troy appeared to be one of the conference favorites after ripping off three consecutive victories a month ago, but it has fallen on hard times of late with three straight losses to dip to 5-6 overall and 3-3 in the league. The Trojans had a bye last week after being dismantled by Ole Miss, 51-21, in Oxford on Nov. 16.
Troy has a 4-1 advantage over Texas State in the all-time series, although the two sides haven't met since the Trojans won in 2000, 31-7.
The Bobcats score just 23.5 points per game, and their total offense (317.3 ypg) is the Sun Belt's worst. The unit reached new lows in last week's loss to WKU, as it amassed just 130 total yards and gained a mere 10 first downs.
Tyler Arndt earned the start under center versus WKU, but finished with more interceptions (three) than completions (one), giving him four picks this season compared to zero touchdown passes. Tyler Jones (.625, 1,130 yards, eight TDs, five INTs) has been the much more efficient passer and is also a threat to run (257 rushing yards).
Although the squad picked up a paltry 21 rushing yards last week, it is usually solid on the ground. Both Robert Lowe (867 yards, nine TDs) and Chris Nutall (477 yards, six TDs) average 5.7 yards per carry.
Four different receivers have at least 200 receiving yards, but no one has more than 300. Andy Erickson leads the way with 26 receptions, but he has yet to score a touchdown.
While the offense is oftentimes stuck in neutral, the defense has performed well for the most part, as it ranks tied for second in the Sun Belt in allowing 26.0 points per game.
Damion McMiller is the team's top tackler with 89 stops, while Aaron Mathews (84 tackles) is right on his tail. David Mayo is active in the turnover battle with four interceptions, while Michael Orakpo anchors the defensive line with 9.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Troy has made a name for itself in recent years for having one of the best offenses in the Sun Belt, and the 2013 campaign has been no exception as it ranks second in the league in scoring (33.4 ppg) and first in yardage (463.5 ypg).
Corey Robinson is the most decorated quarterback in Sun Belt Conference history, as he has the league's career records for passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns, and his senior season has been outstanding as usual. He's completing greater than 67 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards with 20 touchdowns (one rushing) and nine interceptions.
Robinson has an excellent report with Eric Thomas, who's hauled in 60 receptions for 911 yards and 11 touchdowns. Bryan Holmes (37 receptions, 548 yards, six TDs) has taken advantage of one-on-one opportunities playing opposite Thomas.
In the ground game, Brandon Burks has picked up 643 yards and two touchdowns on 126 carries while also adding 35 receptions out of the backfield. Jordan Chunn (431 yards) is often called upon in the red zone and has answered with 12 touchdowns.
Clearly, the Trojans offense hasn't been the problem. Their defense, on the other hand, has been the worst in the league, as the unit allows 36.6 points and 488.5 yards per game.
Tyler Roberts is the top defensive playmaker with 8.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Camren Hudson has a team-high 69 tackles to go with an interception, although as a team Troy has created only 10 takeaways.
Troy is hardly a team to trust, but Texas State simply isn't a threat to keep pace with the high-flying Trojans, even against their porous defense. In front of their home crowd, expect the Trojans end the regular season on a high note.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Troy 38, Texas State 28
11/27 11:14:05 ET