Duke Blue Devils at Troy Trojans Preview


The Troy Trojans are supposed to be one of the Sun Belt’s heavyweights. No one would have gotten that impression last week against the UAB Blazers 48-10. I would imagine that that is just fine for the Duke Blue Devils as they come to visit Troy this weekend. A few years ago this might have been a game where Troy might even have been favored, but this is the high tide of the Cutcliffe era and Troy should offer little resistance.

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Date: September 6

Time: 7:00 PM

TV: ESPN3 (Online Stream)

Venue: Veterans Memorial Stadium (Troy, AL)

Sep 28, 2013; Durham, NC, USA; Troy Trojans linebacker Mitchell Roland (26) and safety Chris Pickett (7) tackle Duke Blue Devils quarterback Brandon Connette (18) at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Last time: 2013- Blue Devils 38 Trojans 31

To give you an idea how dangerous Troy can be, they took a ten win Duke team to the limit in Durham just last year. To give you an idea how long ago 2013 feels, Duke played Brandon Connette the entire game. He threw three touchdowns and ran for two more. He was matched by Corey Robinson of Troy, the all-time Sun Belt passing leader until Duke found breathing room in the third quarter and traded field goals in the fourth. Snead rushed for over a 100 yards and Crowder received for just as many.

Opponent: Troy Trojans

Troy certainly misses Robinson, who graduated last year. Yet Troy coach Larry Blakeney has seen it all over the course of 24 years at the school. He prefers the wide open offenses that have treated him so well in last handful of years, but quarterback play was notably missing against UAB. He has a stable of running backs to call on, but his offense is not used to relying on the run at this point.

Sep 28, 2013; Durham, NC, USA; Troy Trojans head coach Larry Blakeney talks to his players as they come off the field against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

In some ways the Trojan mishap against UAB could have been predicted by the unit that did return its personnel, the defense. The defense rated seventh in the Sun Belt Conference last year, meaning that Troy had to score to survive their opponents. The UAB game points to what happens when they don’t. The defense has only gotten younger since last year, with a lot of that youth in the secondary. Don’t tell Jamison Crowder and company THAT.

Prediction: 42-10 Blue Devils
ONJ Record: 4-0

Duke has a more mature offense from last year and a similar defense. Troy has the same defense from last year and an offense that disappeared against UAB. It would be tempting to pick a higher result than the UAB debacle, but I trust Coach Blakeney to have made enough adjustments to be more competitive this time around.

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