September 27, 2008

Can Cowboys break the Trojans?

One set of Trojans were busted this weekend by an OSU team in orange. Can it happen for the second time in three days?

Oklahoma State has the chance to do that - not to mention exacting some year-old revenge - to the Troy Trojans tonight at 6:05 p.m. inside Boone Pickens Stadium. The game isn't televised.

The Trojans' win over the Cowboys last season was the low point in what became an Insight Bowl run. Even though the game was early in the season, it stuck with the program all of last year. And tonight the Pokes have a shot to erase the lingering bad memories from the 2007 outing, a 41-23 loss on national TV on the road.

That's something that isn't lost on Troy head coach Larry Blakeney.

"They probably are talking about the game last year," Blakeney said. "Last year is last year and this year is this year. This is Troy University in 2008 and they are Oklahoma State in 2008. What's in the past doesn't have anything to do with it. They have skill and talent at every position. They have speed and size and certainly, we've got to correct our errors and we've got to be at our best to have a chance."

The Trojans come to Orange Country after a hard-fought game against Ohio State last weekend. Troy was down 14-10 to the Buckeyes in Columbus before eventually falling, 28-10.

Last year, Troy gave OSU's defense headaches. But what about this year?

"Offensively, they look the same," head coach Mike Gundy said. "They are going to try to play fast. They have the same type of running quarterback and a very similar passing game. They have some guys out there on the perimeter that can make some plays and a quarterback that is pretty savvy and can make some plays himself."

As for the defense?

"Defensively, it's also the same thing as last year," Gundy said. "They are very aggressive, very fast, skilled and attack the ball. We'll have to have a great week of preparation, play well, take care of the football and do a nice job on special teams."

One thing that OSU fans hope isn't the same as last year is the end result of the game. Are the Cowboys in better position to hold off Troy this time around?

"We're a little more mature as a team," Gundy said. "Kendall (Hunter) is a little farther ahead than he was last year as a freshman. Zac (Robinson) has more experience. Offensive lineman, we have pretty much the same guys with David (Washington) back."

One player that isn't talked about much is Matt Fodge. Sure, being a punter is no glory position, but they can be a vital part of the field position battle. And while the Cowboys' offense typically leaves Fodge with a lot of free time on the sidelines, when he is needed, he's become quite adept at helping set up the defense.

"When Matt is performing at a high level he can boom the ball and then down it inside the 15-yard line," Gundy said. "I think that's a great weapon for our team. We have a lot of confidence in him and he's been good. Hopefully, he will continue to play well. He was pretty good a couple years ago and I think he's probably improved in his overall distance. I'm sure he's stronger now than he was just being in the weight room the last couple years and his experience."

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