Sophomore running back Matt Brieda is accustomed to 100-yard games and at least one breakaway run. On Thursday he was able to crank out 72 yards on the ground through 16 carries as the Trojan defense had obviously built a game plan around slowing down Brieda and sophomore quarterback Kevin Ellison.
Throughout the game the Trojans displayed that they were well coached and had talent on the defense to slow down the rushing attack. They forced the Eagles to have to march down the field on a 15-play drive on their second possession to a touchdown, rather than allow huge chunks of yards to be ripped off at a time. The runs inside the tackles were stuffed several times but they did leave holes open. The most impressive aspect of their run defense was how well (fundamentally) they covered the option.
On multiple option plays they had a defensive lineman tackling the dive-read taking him out of the play. Around the outside they would challenge Ellison with an outside linebacker and a corner on the pitch-man. Several times the Eagles ran right into the perfect option defense and it was if Troy had planned for everything.
The one thing they didn’t count on was the athleticism that oozed out of Ellison on Thursday. His fake pitches combined with his stutter step could not be stopped by their linebackers. They would have every man in perfect position but Ellison would make a man miss and pick up extra yardage. He was also extremely effective near the endzone, racking up three rushing touchdowns from inside the redzone.
Sophomore quarterback Favian Upshaw was able to carve up the Troy defense several times as well, rushing for 96 yards on only seven carries and a score of his own. The Trojans had obviously studied plenty of game tape on Brieda and Ellison and switching in Upshaw kept them off-balance.
As a team the offense excelled and kept their average rushing yards per game over 400 and held their top rushing position in the FBS. Individually, the Eagles saw their first game this season without a 100 yard rusher. While Troy did not hold off the rushing attack they may have exposed some weaknesses that will need to be improved before they head off to battle against Texas State University this Saturday.
Another Thursday night game, another victory for the Georgia Southern Eagles as they trounced Troy 42-10 on ESPNU.
After allowing over 400 yards against Georgia State, the Eagles had a revitalized defense allowing a season low 13 yards through the air.
The duo of Troy quarterbacks would combine for 4-11 and an abysmal 1.2 yards per passing attempt.
Junior linebacker Antwione Williams and redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Jamal Johnson tallied the two sacks for Georgia Southern.
Georgia Southern once again was able to show the strength of their defense only allowing 141 yards on 33 rushing attempts and allowing the lone Trojan touchdown on the ground in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
This is the third time this season the Eagles have allowed 10 points or less and the lowest amount of passing yards allowed since giving up 0 to The Citadel in 1993.
The win improves Georgia Southern to 7-2 on the season and still a perfect 6-0 in the Sun Belt before a matchup with a balanced Texas State team.