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Notebook: Trojans get ready for road test

The Trojans fell to Liberty 21-13 on Saturday, giving them their first loss of the season.

The Trojans look to rebound in their first road game of the season against Southern Miss.

Head coach Chip Lindsey held his weekly press conference on Tuesday morning where he discussed Saturday’s game while also looking ahead to Troy’s matchup against Southern Miss.

Defense puts together another strong performance: The Troy defense knew they had a daunting task in front of them when Malik Willis and the Liberty Flames offense arrived in Troy. The Trojan defense held the Flames off the scoreboard for much of the second quarter and for all of the third quarter. The Flames finished with 339 total yards, 154 through the air and 185 on the ground.

“Really thought our defense played well for the most part,” Lindsey said. “Few things early, but we adjusted well. Malik Willis, we probably held him check as well as we possibly could. He made some big time conversions on third and fourth down with his legs. We knew he would make some plays, but I really liked how we adjusted and we gave ourselves an opportunity.”

Troy run game looks to bounce back:  The Trojans ground attack finished with 21 yards on Saturday. After rushing for 81 yards in Troy’s opener, Kimani Vidal finished with 38 yards on 11 carries against Liberty. Senior B.J. Smith rushed for 17 yards and had a touchdown. Trojan sacks accounted for -33 yards on Saturday.

“The other side had a lot to do with it,” head coach Chip Lindsey said. “We lost some one-on-one battles and we didn’t maintain our blocks all the time, which is needed when you play good teams. We miss  identified some things in the run game. We have to do much better up front in getting all five guys on the same page every snap.”

Lindsey said the Trojans finished with six explosive plays during Saturday’s loss all of them came in the passing game.”

Looking ahead to Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles picked up their first win of the season last weekend when they knocked off Grambling 37-0. They fell to South Alabama in week one, 31-7.

This will be the 11th meeting between the Trojans and the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss leads the series 8-2. USM defeated the Trojans 47-42 in 2019.

“Storied program and a really good football team,” Lindsey said. “It’s a big challenge for us anytime you go on the road. This is a fun game to play because it’s two quality programs that have played in the past. Good games and a good rivalry. Another out of conference challenge for us, one we can use as we get into conference play to see where we are and to get us ready for a good conference schedule.”

Hitting the road: The Trojans will play on the road for the first time this season on Saturday. It will be the first of three-straight road games for the Trojans. The Trojans will have to play in front of a sizeable crowd on the road for the first time since the 2019 season.

“They always have a good crowd and it will be loud,” Lindsey said. “It’s been two years since we played in front of a big crowd on the road. This will be something we have to be prepared for, from a noise standpoint, especially on third down. I know that place can get loud, definitely a challenge for us handling the noise. We will get a good plan together later in the week.

“Playing at home you always get that extra adrenaline,” Lindsey said. “Anytime you go on the road you have to handle the atmosphere. I have played on the road in a lot of places that were really loud and hard. When you go on the road you have to have the mindset of us against the world. You don’t have as many fans there. We have to lock arms and support each other.”

Feeding on the energy of the crowd: The Trojan defense, for the last two weeks, have had the opportunity to feed off the energy of the home crowd. This week they won’t have that opportunity. Will Choloh embraces every chance he gets to play at home, but also loves the opportunity to go out on the road.

“I love the crowd, especially at the Vet.,” Choloh said. “The Troy fans, the Troy student section, there’s nothing like it. It’s electric every time you step out there. With that said, it’s a different animal on the road. I personally love going on the road. There is nothing like silencing the home team’s crowd. We hope to do that this weekend.”

Game time is set for 6 p.m. and it can be seen on ESPN+.