Troy to host first-ever SEC team in Saturday's game - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Troy to host first-ever SEC team in Saturday's game

Veterans Memorial Stadium has been the setting for 383 collegiate football games since its opening in 1950. This Saturday will mark a historic occasion for the 63-year old building as Troy plays host to Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State in a game that will kickoff at 6:04 p.m. and will be broadcast by ESPN3. 

The visit south by the Bulldogs marks the first-ever trip to Troy by a team from the conference that has produced the last six BCS National Champions. It will be the third time a team from an automatic qualifying conference has played the Trojans on their home turf; the previous two, Missouri and Oklahoma State, both went home with a loss.  

Troy and Mississippi State have a history of their own. The Trojans defeated the Bulldogs 21-9 in Starkville back in 2001, Troy's inaugural season as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision. Troy almost made it back-to-back wins the following year, but six interceptions by the Trojan offense proved too much to overcome in an 11-8 loss. 

The Trojans (1-1) enter Saturday's contest looking to bounce back from a 37-24 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette last week, while the Bulldogs are 2-0 for the first time since 2000 after defeating Auburn 28-10 last Saturday.  

Troy quarterback Corey Robinson had a game that fans will be talking about for long time to come against the Cajuns. The junior signal caller completed 46-of-70 passes for 485 yards and a pair of touchdowns; his completions and passing yards established new single-game records at Troy. Those numbers alone would cement a legacy for a quarterback, but Robinson didn't stop there. The All-America candidate set three Troy career records in the game as well as he became the school's all-time leader in passing yards, total offense and passing attempts. 

Robinson will lead the Trojan offense that ranks eighth in the nation averaging 359.5 yards per game through the air against a Mississippi State defense that ranks 11th in the nation in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. 

"(Mississippi State's secondary) are really good players," Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. "I'd like to think we can throw it against anybody. As far as trying to matchup one-on-one against a guy that's going to be in the NFL, that's not totally going to be what we're going to do. We'll have four or five scalding down the field somewhere." 

The Troy offense has a number of weapons that can hurt an opposing defense and the scary thing is that it can be someone unexpected each week. 

Wide receiver Chip Reeves had six catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in Troy's opener at UAB after sitting out last season, while running back Shawn Southward churned up 204 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Last week it was sophomore wide out Chandler Worthy who stole the show with nine catches for 154 yards. 

"I love the kid," Blakeney said of Worthy. "He's a fierce competitor. He's got a lot of attributes that we need skill wise and he's a very important part of our offensive structure." 

Senior Brannon Bryan, who is the cover story for the Troy Gameday program, leads the Trojan defense with 19 tackles through the first two games of the season from his middle linebacker position. Redshirt freshman Tyler Roberts and junior Marty Stadom pace the Trojans with 2.0 tackles for loss each. 

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 20-of-29 attempts for 222 yards and three touchdowns last week against Auburn. The Bulldogs are averaging 42 points per game this season after opening with a 56-9 victory over Jackson State.  

INFORMATION SOURCE: Troy Athletics

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