Start Time: 2:30 PM CT, Saturday, November 7
Location: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy, Alabama
Streaming: WatchESPN.com, WatchESPN app
Records: Troy: 2-6. ULM: 1-7
Betting Line: Troy -9.5, Over/Under 53.5
Things finally appear to be pointing up for the Troy Trojans.
After a brutal home loss to Idaho, the Trojans have played with a newfound energy. Troy won handily on the road against New Mexico State and then traveled to the then Sun Belt leading Appalachian State Mountaineers and lost a thrilling triple overtime contest.
The Troy offense got a sudden jolt by the improved play of quarterback Brandon Silvers after the loss to Idaho and they have not looked back. Silvers has embraced the air raid offense and as a result the offense has put up points in bunches.
The Trojans will now welcome what may be the worst team in the Sunbelt Conference in the ULM Warhawks. The Warhawks feature a defense that allows a ton of points. Out of 128 FBS teams, the ULM defense ranks 118th in points allowed, giving up an average of just under 41 points.
The problem for Troy is the Warhawk defense ranks in the top 40 in opponent passing yards per game. The passing attack just happens to be the strength of the Trojan offense. Troy can't afford to shy away from the aggressive style of passing they have displayed over the previous two games, but they will have to take a slightly different approach this week.
Statistically, ULM has one of the worst run defenses in football, giving up 251 yards on the ground per game. If Troy can come out on their first couple of drives and take advantage of the weak run defense, Neal Brown and company can begin to integrate a play action attack that could prove very effective for his Trojans.
The Warhawks are going to need a lot of help if they are going to escape with a win on Saturday.
For the ULM defense, star nose tackle Gerrand Johnson will play a critical role for the Warhawk defense as they look to stifle any Troy attempt to start an effective rushing attack. Linebacker Hunter Kissinger, who is the team's leading tackler and top 15 in the nation in the category, will need to do an excellent job of playing "quarterback" for the defense against a team that can hurt you in a variety of ways.
Things get worse for ULM on the other side, as offensive production is not exactly a strong point. With a freshman quarterback in Garrett Smith and three of the top four receivers (including NFL prospect Rashon Ceaser) lost to injury, a passing game is almost non-existent. With no rushing attack to speak of, points will be tough to come by for the Warhawks.
When you are a near 10-point underdog to a 2-6 Troy team, your outlook doesn't appear great. ULM will need to play their best game of the season Saturday afternoon, and may even need some help from the opposition in the form of penalties and turnovers if they are to even make this one close.
Prediction: Troy wins 41-17