September 18, 2013 12:22:10 AM
STARKVILLE -- If there's one quarterback that knows what it takes to put it up big numbers on a Mississippi State defense, it's Troy's Corey Robinson.
The senior racked up 343 passing yards in last season's 30-24 victory for the Bulldogs at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy. Robinson was the most by an opponent against a MSU team under head coach Dan Mullen since Houston's Case Keenum left Davis Wade Stadium with 434 yards in 2009.
"Their quarterback is special, college football's current all-time leading passer," Mullen said Monday.
"A very explosive player. They've always been able to put up points and they put up points in a hurry and it will cause a great challenge to us that way."
In his career, Robinson has 20 games of 300 passing yards or more and every other quarterback in the Sun Belt Conference has a total of 12. In a season-opening win for Troy (2-1) against Alabama-Birmingham, Robinson was 30-of-32 for 319 yards and one touchdown. It's his football intelligence that has allowed him to earn four years of being a starter at Troy under head coach Larry Blakeney.
"Corey is a very smart football player," Blakeney said. "He is certainly much better than he was as a youngster but he's always been able to throw it but he has a lot more knowledge. In the quarterback position, you get a lot more criticism and a lot more praise either way."
In the 2012 win for MSU, defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said the team was "embarrassed" by the 572 total yards given up against the mid-major program with a high-tempo spread option offense.
"We're looking forward to getting another shot against them with a lot of the same players coming back," Collins said Tuesday after practice. "We weren't aggressive and they took advantage of our lack of intensity in that game."
n Troy players from Mississippi looking forward to matchup with Bulldogs: Seven Troy players hail from the state of Mississippi including defensive lineman Jadarius Garner and kicker Will Scott. Both say they are exciting about returning to the Magnolia State to take on Mississippi State.
"My whole family grew up Mississippi State fans," said Garner, a Clarksdale native. "Some of them have converted to Troy but there are still some who are diehard Bulldogs."
Scott said he rooted for Ole Miss growing up but his aunt bought him a cowbell one year though it hasn't seen daylight in years. Like Scott, Garner says he's ready strap on the gear and take a second shot at knocking off the Southeastern Conference opponent.
"I'm ready to play. I was frustrated last year at the way things turned out," Garner said.
n Troy coach has winning plan for topping BCS schools: Since 2001, Troy has picked up victories against three Bowl Championship series schools including a 2001 win at Mississippi State. The Trojans also defeated Oklahoma State and Missouri under head coach Larry Blakeney by his "right time, right place" attitude going into the contest.
"I think the plan is the same in big games than it is when we're playing games equally important to us in our conference," Blakeney said Monday in his teleconference.
Troy is 1-16 all-time against ranked opponents since moving to FBS in 2001 but led LSU 31-10 in the fourth quarter in 2008 and were tied with Florida State in the fourth quarter in 2006.
"I think you catch these SEC, ACC or Big Ten teams maybe sleepwalking and then suddenly you look up and the scoreboard reads triple zeros and you've won," Blakeney said. "We've been so close at Tiger Stadium and Tennessee. We haven't been able to get it done because the giant woke up."
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.