*From Troy Media Relations*
TROY, Ala. – Coming off a historic victory over Navy last week, Troy will take to the turf of Larry Blakeney Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium for the final time of 2012 on Saturday looking to continue their long tradition of bowl eligibility.
Troy hosts league-leading and defending conference champion Arkansas State on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:36 p.m. and the game will be televisedlive by the Troy IMG Sports Network and ESPN3. Troy will honor its 1987 National Championship team on Saturday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Troy’s third football national title.
A Trojan victory over the Red Wolves would be their sixth win of the season and push the Trojans into the pool of bowl eligible teams. Troy would be in elite company as one of just seven teams currently in a non-automatic qualifying conference to be bowl eligible in eight of the past 10 seasons.
Saturday’s matchup between the Trojans and Red Wolves will feature two of the best quarterbacks in Sun Belt history. Troy’s Corey Robinson and Arkansas State’s Ryan Aplin rank among the top five in all the major passing and total offense categories in the history of the league.
Robinson, who is only a junior, is the Sun Belt’s all-time leader in completions (846), while ranking second in touchdown passes (59), third in attempts (1,331), third in passing yards (9,658) and fourth in total offense (9,448).
Aplin, who is a senior, is the league’s career leader in total offense (11,545), while ranking second in passing yards (9,933), second in completions (839) and touchdown passes (59), while ranking fourth in attempts (1,315).
The Troy offense has been near unstoppable over the past two games, as the Trojans have churned up 1,318 yards of total offense against Tennessee and Navy. The total is the most in the country over the past two weeks.
The key to the Trojans (5-5, 3-3 Sun Belt) success on the offensive of the ball has been the play of Robinson and his tag-team quarterback partner Deon Anthony. The duo has combined to complete 72-of-98 (73.5 percent) of their passes for 911 yards and five touchdowns; Anthony has added 107 rushing yards and three scores with his legs in those two games.
Throw in an effective running game led by Shawn Southward’s combined 153 yards and three touchdowns and an offensive line that hasn’t allowed a sack over 114 consecutive pass attempts and you have all the ingredients offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield needs to gash opposing defenses.
Southward is one touchdown shy of tying the Troy career rushing touchdown record of 34 that is currently held by Joe Jackson. Troy’s senior running back has rushed for 845 yards and 10 touchdowns this season; his 84.5 yards-per-game average ranks second in the Sun Belt.
Robinson and Anthony have the luxury of throwing to a deep wide receiver pool led byChip Reeves and Eric Thomas. Reeves leads the Sun Belt in catches of over 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards this season, while Thomas is third in the league with his six touchdown receptions.
The Red Wolves (7-3, 5-1) have been on a roll offensively themselves over theirfive-game win streak. Arkansas State has scored at least 34 points in all five wins and is averaging 40.4 points per game during the streak; Navy also entered its game against the Trojans on a five-game win streak.
Aplin has completed 66.5 percent of his passes this season with 16 touchdowns andjust three interceptions. Tennessee transfer David Oku ranks just behind Southward in the Sun Belt with 82.9 rushing yards per game and has found the end zone 12 times this season.
Turnovers will be key for both defenses and the Trojans have the upper hand in getting the ball on the turf. Troy ranks seventh in the NCAA with 13 fumble recoveries this season led by De’Von Terry and T.J. Bryant’s two recoveries.
Troy has won four of the last five meetings between the two schools and three of the five all-time meetings in Troy.