So far so good for Larry Blakeney post-retirement. Blakeney insists he didn't announce his exit last week to motivate the team. Still, they looked much improved in a convincing 41-24 win over New Mexico State.
This week is a matchup for the ages if you're a contrarian. Troy plays Appalachian State with both teams "ranked" in CBS Sports' Bottom 10. The Trojans can escape those murky depths with a victory.
Start Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV: Since ESPN3.com has become the norm here, how about instructions on how to hook a laptop to a TV. I believe Apple TV and Roku work too if you're into that sort of thing.
Radio: Troy. Appalachian State
Records: Troy (1-5, 1-1 Sun Belt). ASU (1-5, 0-2)
Live Stats: Track them here
Betting Odds: Troy -7.5. Over/Under of 64
Troy Outlook: While I spent last week raving about Brandon Silvers, it was a different player who picked up conference honors. Wide receiver Chandler Worthy won Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week with a kickoff return for a score and a receiving touchdown.
Silvers looked pretty good too, completing 77 percent of his passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 70 yards and a TD. The only blemish was Silvers' first interception of the season. Meanwhile, Worthy is up to 301 yards receiving and he's caught 3 of Silvers' 5 touchdown passes.
Running back Brandon Burks turned in a breakout game against the Aggies with 176 yards on the ground and an incredible 17.6 yards per carry, becoming Troy's first 100-yard rusher of 2014. The offense on the whole did a great Oregon impression with 360 yards on the ground and 571 overall.
Though Troy's defense gave up 395 to NMSU's pass-heavy offense, they made up for it by picking off two passes and forcing two fumbles. In today's college football universe, you'll win most of the time when you hold the opponent to 24 points.
Jamal Stadom took home Sun Belt Defensive Player of the week with 10 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Can Troy play NMSU every week?
The game was a sweet, sweet moment for Blakeney, one that he wants to last.
"Certainly the win is icing on the cake," he told the Montgomery Advertiser. "We just need to make sure we keep icing, if you know what I mean."
Here's Blakeney discussing the App matchup:
The Opponent: Troy fans looking forward to life after the legend shouldn't read about App State. Jerry Moore coached the Mountaineers from 1989 to 2012 -- exactly 24 seasons -- and took his team to three straight FCS titles and a win over Michigan from '05 to '07. He was run out of town after an 8-4 season and Southern Conference co-championship in 2012.
In Moore's place is Scott Satterfield, who's taken the Appalachians up a river with no paddle faster than the guys from Deliverance (sorry, couldn't resist). They went 4-8 last year as an FCS team and are 1-5 so far. They apparently forgot about the move to FBS too, losing to lower division Liberty last week. On homecoming. It ain't pretty in Boone North Carolina right now.
Satterfield played quarterback at App State in the early '90s and spent his entire career there save for a three-year stint at Toledo and FIU. But the only thing in his favor right now is App has only three starting seniors. Moore must be getting a bit of schadenfreude.
Taylor Lamb quarterbacks the Mountaineers' spread offense most of the time. He's thrown for 1,232 yards, 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Backup Kameron Bryant has 246 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs. Watch out for Simms McElfresh and Malachi Jones at receiver.
Top rusher Marcus Cox has 446 yards and 6 touchdowns. Remember though, all of App's stats are padded by their only win, a 66-0 romp over something called Campbell, and to a lesser extent by the 48 points against Liberty. They're also prone to turnovers.
App ranks 82nd in total defense, giving up 217 yards per game passing and 211 rushing. On paper this isn't a terrible team. Stats have never been my strength though, I just know App is awful.
Prediction: Take Troy to cover (some sites have the spread at just 7) AND take the over. According to Odds Shark trends the total has gone over in 11 of Troy's last 12 home games. App State is also 1-5 against the spread in its last 6 games. Actually, I consider trends the Vegas equivalent of visiting the creepy-looking palm reader in your town, but that's just me.
Seriously though, Troy will win and cover. The team is motivated, Silvers continues to take charge of the offense and App is spiraling downward. The Trojans will keep icing, as they say.
Message board watch: The message boards are overrun with new coach talk so we're skipping it this week. Instead, a poll! Scroll to the bottom. Vote early and vote often.