TROY – Mother Nature slowed it down, but nothing could really rain on Chip Lindsey’s parade.
Lindsey, making his head coaching debut for Troy, chalked up victory No. 1 after the Trojans took out Campbell 43-14 at Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
It wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty, but Troy ultimately handled business like it was supposed to do, albeit taking longer than expected due to a weather delay.
With Troy leading 17-7 after one quarter, the players and fans were forced to seek cover, though it was only misting rain with lightning in the distance.
About three and a half hours later, Lindsey and his players had completed the job.
The win got the new coach and his team off to a good start and also gave them plenty to work on with Southern Mississippi coming to town in two weeks.
Let’s face it: Campbell shouldn’t be able to line up and play very competitively with Troy, though the Fighting Camels did so for the first two quarters before wilting after intermission.
This is a Big South Conference team that plays a school called Shaw next week in Campbell’s home opener in Buies Creek, N.C. Get the picture? This was likely Troy’s easiest foe on the slate.
But as is often the case in openers, the expected favorite isn’t quite as sharp in Week 1, which can lead to some interesting outcomes. Check with Tennessee, South Carolina and Ole Miss of the mighty SEC on that.
While Troy didn’t look particularly sharp from start to finish, it did have some bright moments and showed signs of good things on both sides of the football.
Kaleb Barker, coming off knee surgery, was steady in completing 18-of-29 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns. It was a solid effort from the senior team captain in his return from the injury list. Nobody would have expected anything less.
Reggie Todd is going to be a weapon offensively. The junior college transfer from Hinds Community College in Mississippi, at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, is a big target with good hands. He scored the first touchdown on a wide-open 61-yard reception and had 108 yards on three catches in the game. He’ll be a mismatch for many in the secondary.
Running backs B.J. Smith and D.K. Billingsley each showed their speed – Smith having a long run of 42 yards and the speedy Billingsley broke loose on a 38-yard run. Smith went over the 100-yard mark and looked like the preseason selection for Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year that he was voted. Billingsley, a sophomore, got his first career touchdown late in the third quarter on a short run.
The offensive line had an up and down game from this viewpoint, but should be fine in time. Of course, much stiffer competition is on the way.
Lindsey has a creative mind offensively, but he kept it pretty vanilla in this one. Expect to see the Trojans open it up much more in Game 2, which comes after an early off week.
The Trojans’ defense looked extremely fast and really settled in during the second half. The Troy defensive front found itself in the Campbell backfield often in the final two quarters.
Linebacker Carlton Martial was outstanding with 13 tackles, which included nine solo stops. The secondary – with plenty of question marks coming into the season – allowed just 93 passing yards. The Camels managed just 148 yards of offense. Enough said.
With rain picking up in the second half, most fans made their way to the exits long before the final whistle blew.
They left knowing an opening win was secured and their new head coach had his first victory, which is what they showed up in hopes of seeing in the first place.