Troy looks to bounce back against Akron

Troy looks to bounce back against Akron
Troy University wide receiver Khalil McClain celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Sept. 14, 2019. (Source: Troy Athletics)

TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Troy Trojans hit the road for the first time this season this upcoming Saturday when they travel to Ohio to take on the Akron Zips. They’ll be doing so while trying to wash the taste of a 47-42 loss to Southern Miss out of their mouths.

“In that type of game where teams are up and down the field with good skill players on both sides, every single possession is critical. At the end of the day, we didn’t just make enough plays. Overall, we’re disappointed we lost for sure, but like we said going into the week it was two good football teams that were going to battle deep into the fourth quarter,” said Troy head coach Chip Lindsey."

In the loss, Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker set a program record with 504 passing yards, and also threw four touchdowns.

Now, the team turns ahead to Akron.

“It’s a long trip and there’s a lot to handle with that. Akron is a team with a new head coach, new excitement and new energy. Obviously, a new staff, which brings different challenges,” said Lindsey.

It’ll be a long trip for more reasons than one. At Tuesday’s presser, Lindsey announced star running back BJ Smith will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

“That’s a huge blow for us because he’s a great player, but an even better person and leader for our team. He’ll still be a very good leader for us and doing all that, but we’re heartbroken over his injury,” said Lindsey.

Despite the tough news about Smith, there’s a “next man up” mentality that the rest of the running backs now have to adopt. DK Billingsley led the Trojans with 41 rushing yards in this past Saturday’s game against Southern Miss.

The Trojans also lose redshirt player Demotrez Brown who was injured in the Campbell game, Lindsey says.

With those players out, and the Trojans on the road for the first time, Lindsey says it’s imperative they bounce back from their loss.

“We need to respond, rebound and go on the road and play well. If we want to have any chance to win the Sun Belt, we need to be able to win on the road and play well on the road. I think our players understand that,” said Lindsey.

The two teams mirror each other in a way. The Zips have a new coaching staff just as the Trojans do. And Lindsey says they will not be fooled by Akron’s 0-3 record.

“They’re very capable of playing really well and have played three good teams in Illinois, Central Michigan and UAB,” said Lindsey. “We know it’s a good football team on the road and we’re going to have to be ready to play or we’re going to be disappointed.”

The Trojans and Zips kick things off Saturday at 2 p.m.

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