TROY, Ala. -- Alfred Malone isn't just interested in letting people outside the state know Troy University football exists or proving the Trojans can hang in there against a major conference team.
When No. 19 Missouri visits tonight, the defensive tackle wants only to win.
"Second place in football is nothing," Malone said. "You can have individual success and say, 'Yeah, OK, we played good,' but there's nothing like a win. That's what we go out for every Saturday is a win."
A win, Troy coach Larry Blakeney said, would be "monumental for this program, for this university and for this conference."
Actually for the fledgling Division I-A program and new Sun Belt Conference member, just having a team from the Big 12 come to town is a coup. Playing on national television (ESPN2) for the first time is a huge bonus.
Facing fleet-footed, strong-armed Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, on the other hand, might not be so much fun.
Smith ran roughshod over Troy -- formerly Troy State -- as a freshman in a 44-7 victory in 2002. He showed in Missouri's opener why many consider him a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, passing for three touchdowns and running for a 34-yard score in a blowout of Arkansas State.
The Trojans racked up eight sacks in a 17-15 road upset of Marshall in their season opener, but will have a much harder time catching up with Smith.