TROY — It was a long bus ride home from Lafayette, La., for the Troy Trojans last Saturday night.
A 53-3 loss to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, the scope of which no one saw coming, will do that.
A short week will require a short memory for the Trojans (5-6), who have another opportunity to become bowl eligible this Friday when nationally ranked Appalachian State visits on Troy’s Senior Day for a 5:05 p.m. kickoff.
“I was very disappointed in our performance last Saturday,” first-year head coach Chip Lindsey said at his press conference Tuesday. “We were outcoached and outplayed in all three phases of the game and it’s unacceptable. We’re not going to accept that kind of effort here at Troy. It’s my responsibility to fix it as the head coach.”
There was no dwelling on the loss, which Lindsey called “a bit shocking.” Appalachian State (10-1), which will play Louisiana (9-2) for the Sun Belt championship on Dec. 6, demands that kind of attention.
“That game was uncharacteristic of our team. I hope we never have to deal with that again,” Lindsey said. “The reality is that we’re playing another really good team and if you don’t play well, that’s what good teams can do to you.
“We don’t need to help them. We helped the other night. We made those guys look really, really good. If you think about the parity in our league, you wouldn’t ever have thought it would go like that.
“We can’t make any excuses. We need to play better and coach better. That’s the bottom line. I’m very aware of that, and I think you’ll see our team rebound the right way.”
Senior Day ceremonies: Troy will recognize 17 seniors before their final game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Lindsey noted last week that this senior class has been special in how it fought through adversity.
“They continued to go practice every day, then went out and played with great effort,” the coach said. “You’re talking about a group of guys that have been here a long time and had a lot of success that have really been solid for us.
“They’ve really been great with our coaching staff and being leaders on the field in practice. You couldn’t ask for any more from that group. They’ve been great. I think, as a new coaching staff coming in, probably as good as you could as for.”
On Tuesday, Lindsey noted those seniors didn’t commit to a program with consecutive 10-win seasons.
“You have a group of seniors that committed to Troy off a 4-8 season,” the head coach said. “J.L. Gaston was telling me that they came to Troy because they loved Troy and believed in the vision. When I got here our guys continued to do the same thing.
“We don’t have a huge senior class, but it was very important that they bought into to us and what we were trying to do as coaches. And they did. They’re great kids, and I feel like I have a great relationship with each and every one of them. It’s going to be a special day Friday because of what they’ve meant to this program. We want to try and send them out the right way.”
Holiday week: The Trojans practiced on Monday, which typically is their off day.
“We’ve had to move everything up a day with the game being on Friday,” Lindsey said. “We got back on Sunday morning around 3 or 4 in the morning. Usually we give our guys Monday off, but we needed to practice ahead of the short week.
“We’re trying to keep our guys in as much of a routine as possible. This week isn’t all that different than a normal week, we just lost the Monday off day. Our players had treatment and meetings on Sunday, but we didn’t practice.”
Troy will have a team Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday night, Lindsey said. The Trojans will practice early Thursday and some players who are close by — “not the travel guys, but the other guys,” Lindsey said — can go home.
“We’ll meet back in the afternoon and do some meetings and get to the hotel,” the coach said.
Holiday menu: A number of Troy coaches and players were asked their preferred Thanksgiving side dish. Here is how they answered:
Head coach Chip Lindsey: “It’s definitely dressing. I like dressing. I’m traditional Thanksgiving — turkey, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy and probably macaroni and cheese. But I’ll be in a hotel on Thanksgiving.”
Offensive coordinator Ryan Pugh: “I’m probably the least traditional Thanksgiving person. I’m not big on ham or turkey, so we have steaks and my wife enjoys the sides.”
Defensive coordinator Brandon Hall: “I like mashed potatoes, I guess. Mashed potatoes and gravy are always pretty simple. Macaroni and cheese, you have to take your chances there. There’s a wide range of macaroni and cheese in this world.”
Offensive lineman J.L. Gaston: “I think it’s the sweet potatoes with pecans on top. Those are good.”
Cornerback Jawon McDowell: “I love the macaroni and the yams, when they touch? You’ve got to get both of them together. I love that.”
Quarterback Kaleb Barker: “I’ll go with the green bean casserole, for sure, with the fried onions on top, Velveeta cheese. My mom smokes that one every year, so I’ll definitely be having to get some of that.”
Offensive lineman Tristan Crowder: “Maybe some mashed potatoes or some macaroni and cheese. I haven’t had that in a while. … Well, not like momma’s though. Momma makes it a certain way.”
Bandit linebacker Jarvis Hayes: “Dressing. Not surely why but I can really eat a whole pan by myself. My aunt really does make me my own pan because I don’t like sharing it.”