2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Troy Offense
Quit fumbling. Getting more out of the veteran offensive line is a must, finding a downfield passing game would be nice, and hoping for QB Kaleb Barker to regain his form before his knee injury would be huge, but for a team that will once again rely on the defense and winning tight games, there can’t be big mistakes.
It’s not that Troy had a big fumbling problem throughout the season, but when it gave it away in bunches, there was a problem.
How did the Trojans lose to Liberty? Three turnovers and two fumbles. They lost three fumbles in the loss to Boise State, and two in the key defeat to Appalachian State.
Troy went 1-3 when it finished with a negative turnover margin and was 0-3 when losing two or more fumbles – the only three losses of the season. The team is 1-6 in its last seven games going back to 2016 when it loses multiple fumbles.
Biggest Key To The Troy Defense
Find more ballers who can take the ball away. The massive losses and defections on defense could be crushing considering most of them spent last year screwing up opposing offenses.
Cedarius Rookard is done after leading the team with five picks. Tyler Murray, Marcus Jones, Tron Folsom, Hunter Reece and Blace Brown are done, meaning just four of the 18 picks from last year are back.
Years of solid recruiting under Neal Brown loaded up the Trojans with plenty of good prospects, but it’s asking a whole lot to replace all-star playmakers for a defense that lived off of takeaways over the last few seasons.
But that’s the deal – the Troy D needs disruptive forces to emerge. Which is why …
Key Player To A Successful Season
DE Jarvis Hayes, Sr.
Yeah, the key takeaways and the big plays from the defense partially stemmed from having a host of good defensive playmakers across the board, but the nation’s tenth-best pass rush helped the cause.
Hunter Reese led the team with 7.5 sacks from his linebacker spot, but Hayes was second with 4.5, to go along with his 44 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss. The former JUCO transfer stepped in and became an instant factor on the way to an All-Sun Belt season.
The pressure will come from a variety of spots and positions, but the transition to the new coaching staff and the new tweaks will be a whole lot smoother if Hayes is more of a killer pass rusher.
Key Game To The Troy Season
Appalachian State, Nov. 30
There are plenty of fun games along the way that will define the Sun Belt season, but this is it. This should be for the conference championship even before the conference championship game.
Interdivisional games against Louisiana and Arkansas State matter, but this is it. The regular season finale is everything considering the Trojans are 1-4 in the series and blew its shot at the Sun Belt title with a 21-10 loss last year.
– Troy Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Troy Fun Stats
– Penalties: Troy 92 for 736 yards – Opponents 75 for 684 yards
– Field Goals: Troy 18-of-24 – Opponents 7-of-15
– Interceptions Thrown: Opponents 18 – Troy 8