Troy comes to Statesboro looking to stay perfect in conference play

The Troy Trojans come to Paulson 5-0 in Sun Belt play. 

Ryan Pye

After knocking off a ranked team for the first time in school history, many thought the Georgia Southern Football team would ride that momentum over in their game with ULM the following week, but that was definitely not the case.

After the Warhawks handed the Eagles their first conference loss of 2018, GS now has to fight hard to claim the Sun Belt’s East Division, and the first step in that process comes Saturday when the meet up with Troy.

The Trojans remain undefeated in Sun Belt play in 2018, so if there is hope for the Eagles to reach the conference championship, this weekend’s contest is essentially a must-win.

The Eagles will enter the contest as a slight favorite at home, but with so much on the line, let’s take a look at what they will be up against.

Troy Offense

The Trojan Offense was forced to make a change at quarterback after their starter, Kaleb Barker, went down with an injury in their sixth game of the season. Barker’s replacement came in the form of sophomore Sawyer Smith, who has kept the ball rolling for the Trojans with his play of late.

Smith has thrown for over 820 yards and 8 touchdowns in his appearances this season. Both Smith and Barker’s impressive numbers in 2018 have helped the Trojans average nearly 215 yards through the air per game.

Now commanding an offense that is averaging over 30 points and nearly 415 yards of total offense per contest, Smith has plenty of help at the running back position to light up the scoreboard.

Their running game, which averages over 200 yards per game, is lead by their feature back, junior B.J. Smith. Smith has carried the ball for Troy nearly 140 times this season, and has racked up a total of 860 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Troy Defense

Defensively, Troy has picked up the pace as the season has progressed in 2018.

After allowing 56 points in their season opener to a now ranked Boise State team, the Trojan Defense is now performing at a much higher level. Opponents are averaging just shy of 23 points and 365 yards per game on the season against them, but the bad news for the Eagles is that most of those yards have came through the air.

Granted Troy has not faced off against a team with a predominantly run heavy offense like that of GS’ so far, but they have been fairly strong in stopping their opposing teams running games from breaking loose.

Giving up just over 125 yards per game on the ground, the Eagles will have their hands full in establishing their offensive game plan on Saturday.

Ryan Pye, The George-Anne Sports Reporter, [email protected]