Last week, Troy exposed weaknesses in the Eagle option attack but executed poorly. This week, Texas State took advantage and gave the Eagles one of their worst offensive days of the year.
After averaging over 400 rushing yards a game, the Eagles did not go over 300 combined yards on offense and only managed 227 yards on the ground. The option attack and runs around the outside were rendered all but effective and they had to rely on pounding the ball up the middle. While the dive option is always the most favorable the Eagles struggled to glide down the field in their usual fashion.
There were positives to take away from Saturday. Sophomore running back Matt Brieda still was able to have a fantastic day with 11 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman running back L.A. Ramsby average five yards a carry with his tough running to put up 45 yards and a score. With the option shut down the Eagles were still able to take advantage of the inside and grind the ball down field.
One thing that could be contributed to the unusual low statistical performance of the Eagles was the amount of plays they were able to get off. With the length of the drives from both teams the Eagles only went to the ground 40 times, compared to their usual 55-60 carries per game.
The big problem for the day was not getting first downs. Running the spread, the offense must pick up enough on first down to put them in manageable positions to keep advancing the ball downfield. We saw on Saturday several tackles for loss and no gainers, which has been an anomaly for most of the season.
Averaging over five touchdowns on offense per game the offense has to put up more than three scores. With Navy next up on the schedule the Eagles will be facing a team that knows how to slow down the option attack. They must find a way to keep possession of the ball and keep Navy off the field so they can’t kill the clock with their slow moving triple option.