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View Full Version : Bowl foes NIU, Troy similar in many ways



Sarahbelle
12-09-2004, 02:02 PM
http://www.rrstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041207/SPORTS14/412070313/1001/SPORTS


Who is Troy University?

"It's possible our fans don't know who Troy State is," Northern Illinois University receiver Dan Sheldon said, "but they are obviously good enough to make it to a bowl game, too. Our fans just have to look at the fact that we're playing in a bowl game. Hopefully, they will turn it on to watch Northern Illinois and they can figure out the opponent then."

NIU isn't even quite sure who it's opponent in the Dec. 30 Silicon Valley Football Classic is: The Troy, Ala., school changed its name from Troy State -- as Sheldon called it -- to Troy University when it moved up from Division I-AA four years ago.

That anonymity makes it somewhat like NIU.

"We're both trying to get a national identity," NIU coach Joe Novak said. "We're two very similar programs."

"They are similar to us in a lot of ways," quarterback Josh Haldi agreed. "A lot of people don't know about them, but people who know football do."

The comparisons come from both sides.

"Northern Illinois," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said, "is a lot like us."

Consider:

# NIU went 10-0 and won a College Division national championship in 1963, then moved up to Division I-A in 1969. Troy won an NAIA national title in 1968 and a pair of Division II titles in 1984 and 1987 before voting to begin the climb to Division I in 1990. The Trojans made the Division I-AA playoffs seven times before finally moving up to Division I-A in 2001.

# This is Troy's first bowl game and NIU's first in 21 years. The Huskies won the California Bowl in Fresno, Calif., in 1983. Ironically, this is the first year Fresno State hasn't played in the five-year-old Silicon Valley Football Classic in San Jose, Calif.

# Both schools have accomplished one of each other's primary goals. Troy plays in the shadow of Alabama, Auburn and Alabama-Birmingham and moved up to Division I specifically, Blakeney said, to bring its grads to Troy on fall Saturdays instead of Tuscaloosa.

"It's very difficult to get noticed," Blakeney said. "You've got to beat one of them. Coach Novak has already done that. We'll be dead and done before they give us a chance to play one of them."

NIU, which won at No. 21 Alabama last year, could say the same about winning at Marshall, the long-time Mid-American Conference kingpin that is leaving next year to join Conference-USA. NIU has never beaten Marshall. Troy has done it two years in a row. This year in Huntington, W.Va.

"I don't know an awful lot about Troy," Novak said. "I do know they beat Marshall in Huntington, W.Va., and Marshall has been the class of our conference. Nobody, but nobody, has beaten them in Huntington.

"Troy also beat Missouri. That's all I need to know about Troy. I haven't looked at any film."

# Troy and NIU also both thought they were going somewhere else until Sunday. Texas passing Cal in the BCS standings started a domino effect that moved Oklahoma State up a slot and knocked NIU out of the Independence Bowl because officials didn't want a rematch with Iowa State. And Hawaii's rally from three touchdowns back to beat Michigan State early Sunday morning qualified the Rainbow Warriors for the Hawaii Bowl against Alabama-Birmingham. If Hawaii hadn't been bowl eligible, Troy would have finally gotten its long sought-after game against a more established state school.

"I sat up and watched that game," Blakeney said. "We need to play UAB. Every year. And not just UAB."

# Besides a few marquee wins, Troy, like NIU, has also had several near misses. Most notably a 24-20 loss to current No. 11 and defending co-national champion LSU. Troy scored to take a 20-17 lead with less than four minutes to play before LSU answered back.

# And the Trojans, just like the Huskies, have taken many big steps in recent years, but consider this latest step special.

"We've had some mighty big days already in our program," Blakeney said. "This is the biggest."

Contact: 815-987-1383.; mtrowbridge@rrstar.com

faithintsu
12-09-2004, 02:09 PM
Dear Matt,

I wanted to write you and say thank you for such a good article. A user on our Message Board recently post the article, and I was impressed with the writing of it (http://www.gotroytrojans.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1120 ) Troy has not gotten the warmest welcome from NIU press so far but your article goes beyond that, and actually imbraces what both Universities are going through as well as have accomplished.

Again, thanks so much for the great article!!

~Jeff Vreeland
GoTroyTrojans.Com Owner

tgrad8384
12-09-2004, 02:29 PM
I, too, sent him a thank-you e-mail. the only correction I pointed out (very politely -- really) was that we don't play in the University of Alabama B-Team's shadow. I pointed out our record against them complete with scores :lol:

RedEdgeTrojan
12-09-2004, 02:31 PM
Now that article is more like it...fair and complete.

TUTrojan
12-09-2004, 02:37 PM
And Hawaii's rally from three touchdowns back to beat Michigan State early Sunday morning qualified the Rainbow Warriors for the Hawaii Bowl against Alabama-Birmingham. If Hawaii hadn't been bowl eligible, Troy would have finally gotten its long sought-after game against a more established state school.
[/quote]

That statement was the only one I've had a problem with! How many times have we played UAB since they went D-1? What is our record against them, 3-1? Didn't we give them a game we dominated three years ago as their only win?

More established... I don't know about that statement. We get to a bowl game the same year they get their first, we own them in the games we have played, we draw bigger crowds, and we have much better D-1 facilities... I would say we are the more established football school.

BMarkey
12-09-2004, 03:21 PM
Even a well-written, somewhat favorable (to Troy) article has three major flaws:

>>The Troy, Ala., school changed its name from Troy State -- as Sheldon called it -- to Troy University when it moved up from Division I-AA four years ago.<<

WRONG. The name was changed to Troy this year, three years into I-A. Did he just make that up? No, he just assumed he knew when the change happened, and we know what assuming makes him.

>>Troy plays in the shadow of Alabama, Auburn and Alabama-Birmingham and moved up to Division I specifically, Blakeney said, to bring its grads to Troy on fall Saturdays instead of Tuscaloosa.<<

Say WHAT?

WRONG!

Troy has never played in the shadow of UAB, and has, in fact, beaten down the Blazers in all but one game - and in that one, Troy missed kicks and clearly gave it away, yet still lost a nail-biter.

Troy owns UAB, and it's clearly on the record for this writer to have found - if he did his research.

>>And Hawaii's rally from three touchdowns back to beat Michigan State early Sunday morning qualified the Rainbow Warriors for the Hawaii Bowl against Alabama-Birmingham. If Hawaii hadn't been bowl eligible, Troy would have finally gotten its long sought-after game against a more established state school.

More established? Make your case, Matt. For Pete's sake, how could you or UAB claim to be more established when Troy clearly has the better wining percentage, a new on-campus stadium (they don't have one), winning record over the Blazers, higher attendance, larger away-game following and general consensus as the No. 3 (or better) team in the state?

Oh, and Troy doesn't have its board of trustees publicly warning about budget problems and sports cutbacks.

Again, Matt, do your homework, and start thinking about a correction.

There is no excuse for this not-fact-supported, assumption-based "reporting" by sports writers. Their editors must be really pathetic and their writers enjoy being spoon fed crap.

Enough from me.

TrojanFan2
12-09-2004, 03:34 PM
I wouldn't get too wound up in the little mistakes he made about our name and relationship with UAB. The purpose of the article was to boost both NIU and Troy and he did that very well.

tsu59
12-09-2004, 07:12 PM
Looked at NIU rooster - have freshman ht6-0 wt370lbs. If he was on Troy's team I'd say he has been in the grits - but up north ? must have some good biscuits up-there. :D

NIU92alum
12-09-2004, 09:48 PM
Looked at NIU rooster - have freshman ht6-0 wt370lbs. If he was on Troy's team I'd say he has been in the grits - but up north ? must have some good biscuits up-there. :D

We have a lot of Popeye's Chicken restaurants up here...