TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - The last time Troy and Southern Miss played, Troy edged out a 37-31 win thanks to a goal line stand in the final seconds of the game. That was in 2016. Neal Brown and Jay Hopson were the head coaches in that game. Hopson is still the head coach at USM, but now Chip Lindsey is at the helm at Troy and says he has a lot of respect for Hopson.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Hopson and what he does. He’s a really good defensive coach, and he’s always had a very strong defense,” said Lindsey.
Lindsey compared the two programs in Troy and Southern Miss, saying both have great tradition. He likes this matchup even more, because he feels it’ll be a great test for his team.
“I think this is also a game we’re excited about because it’s two really good programs. This is another game where we can see where we’re at and the changes we need to make,” said Lindsey. “I think this game will prepare us for our conference play. We’re getting to play a quality opponent at home who is similar to the type of teams we’ll face in Sun Belt play.”
When it comes to the Golden Eagles, they have weapons on both offense and defense. On offense it starts with their quarterback Jack Abraham.
“He’s a very smart and very accurate passer. He’s really competitive and is the sparkplug of their offense. I think their players rally around him, and I’m really impressed with how’s he progressed since he arrived from junior college,” said Lindsey. “I think he’s playing even better than he did a year ago, and he’s a proven guy on that side of the ball that we’re going to have to give some different looks to. We can’t let him sit back in the pocket and pick us apart, we need to get pressure upfront.”
Last season Abraham threw for over 2,300 yards and 15 touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore. He completed 73 percent of his pass attempts. This year he’s already thrown for 527 yards and three touchdowns in just two games.
From there, it moves on to wide receiver Jaylond Adams who can hurt you in different ways.
“Jaylond Adams is another important player for them at wide receiver. He’s from Alabama, and he shows up in the special teams as well as the offense. He’s already returned a punt and kickoff for a touchdown this season,” said Lindsey. “He’s a huge factor, and if you don’t a good job he can take it the distance. So, we need to make sure we’re very strategic in how and where we kick the ball. His success so far speaks for itself.”
Defensively, Lindsey makes note of two very good linebackers in DQ Thomas and Racheem Booth for USM. Lindsey says his offense will have to know where these two are at all times when it comes to scheming up runs and setting pass protection. And then there’s a disruptor on the defensive line who can create issues for the Trojans offensive line.
“Jacques Turner is a defensive lineman for them who is very disruptive. He’s a guy that’s big and physical and does a great job of pushing the pocket. We need to do a great job of blocking him. I think those three guys are important, but the whole unit is strong,” said Lindsey.
A good thing ahead of this weekend’s contest is that Troy will have had two weeks to prepare. Or is that actually a good thing at all?
“I don’t know if it’s a huge advantage. I think what it allowed us to do, was to focus on the things we needed to clean up for this week. So, hopefully, we’ve done that,” said Lindsey. “The other thing it allowed us to do, was to get a few guys healthy that may have gotten banged up. I hope we’re going to make our biggest improvement from week one to week two and play our best game on Saturday.”
Come 5 p.m. Saturday in the Vet, the two teams will hit the field. The Trojans and Golden Eagles kick things off then.