Here are three keys for Troy and Ohio in the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night.
1. Use receiver Terrence McCrae to your advantage. The Bobcats are not what you would call a high-octane offense, but they do have one big advantage with McCrae: his size. At 6-foot-4, he is much bigger than starting Troy cornerbacks Jimmie Anderson (5-foot-9) and KeJuan Phillips (5-9). McCrae has nine touchdown catches this season, and Boo Jackson recently set the career mark for touchdown throws at Ohio.
2. Know where Troy defensive ends Mario Addison and Jonathan Massaquoi are at all times. The duo has combined for 20 sacks this season, second-best in the nation behind Chris Carter and Logan Harrell of Fresno State. Massaquoi was second in the league with his 11 sacks, but led the Sun Belt with 17.5 tackles for loss. Ohio has generally done a good job with line protection this season -- except for the regular-season finale against Kent State. The Golden Flashes had seven sacks.
3. Balance. Troy has had a hard time slowing down the run, and Ohio has been pretty decent behind Vince Davidson. The Bobcats are a very balanced team, and are going to need both Jackson and Davidson to have steady games to give Ohio its first-ever bowl win.
1. Paging Jerrel Jernigan. It is safe to say the Trojans have the best overall player on their sideline in Jernigan, one of the top all-purpose players in the country. He is their top receiver, punt returner, kickoff returner and primary Wildcat option. What makes him so good is his speed and his ability to break tackles. Ohio cannot afford to miss bringing him down.
2. Help Corey Robinson. The redshirt freshman threw for 3,339 yards this season in the spread offense, but has had his share of ups and downs. He had six games this season in which he threw two or more interceptions. That is not going to bode well against Ohio, which is one of the best in the country in interceptions with 17 on the season. DuJuan Harris and the running backs need to establish themselves early.
3. Cut the silly mistakes. Troy leads the nation in penalties per game (8.75) and is second worst in penalty yards per game (76.8). Combine that with a negative turnover ratio, and you have the makings of an undisciplined team. You can bet these two areas have been emphasized leading into the game.