Oklahoma State, 1-1, will be playing on national television (ESPN2) for the second time this season following the season-opening loss to Georgia on ESPN. Troy is 0-2 after opening the season with losses to a pair of top-20 teams – Arkansas and Florida – on the road.
Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy knows that although Troy is just 1-8 against Big 12 Conference teams, the Trojans are a dangerous team, especially with senior quarterback Omar Haugabook leading the offense.
"These games you have to be really careful of as a staff. But in the situation we're at right now it's not hard for us to prepare for this game because we're very well aware of the ability that they have and the speed they have on defense and their quarterback play," said Gundy.
"Our players will be focused. I think maybe if you were ranked really high in the country you go down there and lose a little bit more focus, but we won't have a problem with staying focused and going down there and playing because we're aware of what this team is capable of.
"I would say they'll be fired because they've played on the road twice, and they'll be at home on national TV. I would say that they'll be rock-n-rolling down there. But once the game gets going we should be OK. We need to play better on the road, and this is another opportunity for us to go down and play well, take care of business and give us a chance to win," Gundy added.
Coe, a redshirt freshman at Troy in 2004, was a starting safety who was playing in only his second game when the 17th-ranked Missouri Tigers made the trip to Troy for a Thursday night nationally televised game. The Trojans defeated the Tigers, 24-14.
"That's probably the most happy I've been because I had a really good game, and we knew it was a big game for the program," said Coe, who transferred to Oklahoma State following the 2004 season, and has been a member of the Cowboy team for the past three years. "It was a lot of fun. There was a lot of energy. The (fans) tore down the goalposts, went and put them in the quad … it was pretty cool.
"You can add all the championships that Troy's had and stuff like that but in the eyes of the residents of Troy and the student population, that's the most significant win that they've had there in school history," Coe continued. "It kinda put the school on the map, and I kinda think they're thinking they're going to repeat that because they don't usually get major conference schools to come and play at Troy. They're always having to go play at other places, and I know from experience that one of the characteristics of that team is that they love playing those big conference schools because they feel they have a lot to prove being there in Alabama with the likes of Alabama and Auburn getting all the publicity."
Coe, however, doesn't want to see history repeat itself Friday night. He knows that Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium will be near its capacity of 30,000, and the crowd will be into the game.
One person that the Cowboy defense must key on is Haugabook, the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year last season. He is a dual-threat quarterback who is capable of making big plays with his throwing arm or by tucking it and running with the ball.
The 6-foot, 220-pound senior has thrown for 487 yards and three touchdowns (while completing just 46.3 percent of his passes), and has rushed for 42 yards and two scores. His 31-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter of last weekend's game against Florida tied the score 7-7.
"I think their favorite formation is just being empty (in the backfield), and they take a three-step drop, use a lot of quick passes," Coe said. "They got no one protecting back there but he gets rid of the ball so quick that they haven't had that many sacks. They get in a lot of different formations, but after scouting them we think we'll be well prepared for them."
Coe has been looking forward to returning to Troy since he learned the Cowboys would be returning to his old stomping grounds.
"As soon as I heard we were going to play there I was super-excited, and called all my buddies that I still talk to down there. I think it's going to be kinda weird. I know it's a business trip, and we need to go down there and get a win," he said. "I haven't been down there since I left. It's going to be fun. I think a part of me is going to wish after we beat 'em, that I can kinda catch up with some of those guys but that's not how it's going to have to be. I'm excited about it. I'm really not sure how I'll feel, other than the fact that I really just want to win."