Troy will be playing a downtrodden Nebraska team coming off a heart-breaking loss to Colorado. Quarterback Adrian Martinez will be a game-time decision and with coach Scott Frost returning to his alma mater, plenty of questions remain about this Huskers team.
We spoke with Andy Ketterson of Corn Nation about his feelings on last week, expectations this season and for this game, and who to watch on Saturday.
How is the team feeling after a heartbreaking loss to Colorado, and what were/are the expectations going into the season?
Corn Nation: Let’s say Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones is coming down the street and smiles at you. You start to smile and wave back & see her face light up...then you trip and fall and skin your knees pretty hard, but find a way to pop to your feet. At which point the kid you hated in high school jumps out of the bushes and chub swats your balls with a full roundhouse slap.
So you’re laying in the street doubled over with skinned knees and and crushed balls. But it’s kind of ok because Sophie Turner smiled at you.
After the last 3 years of Mike Riley, this is our thought process, now. We need therapy. OK, I do.
After last year’s close call against Arkansas State, any worries about the game this year from fans’ or the team’s perspective?
Corn Nation: Not in an Arkansas St kind of way because Bob Diaco is gone and Erik Chinander’s defense plays like they’ve seen a bubble screen before - something that flummoxed the misunderstood genius Diaco. From a simply Troy standpoint, this one worries me. We are 0-1 and have NOT reached a point where we can start marking down wins against teams who went 11-2 the year before. And us starting a backup walk-on QB.
Who starts at QB this weekend and what is the depth looking like? What kind of leash will the starter have?
Corn Nation: Coaches are calling it a “game time decision” but I think most everyone expects to see Andrew Bunch taking the shotgun snaps when this one kicks off. Bunch is a walk-on from Tennessee who almost brought off a game-winning drive last Saturday. We are cautiously optimistic.
What names should we expect to hear a lot on Saturday from the offense and defense?
Corn Nation: If Martinez is out and besides Bunch, listen for Greg Bell, Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman on offense and maybe a couple ooohs & ahs for potential freshman sensation, Maurice Washington. On defense, if Week 1 was an indicator, Tyrin Ferguson, Mo Barry and Khalil Davis will have their names called a few times.
Predictions on the game - how does it unfold?
Corn Nation: I think Troy comes to play and keeps things tight for bit in the first half sending some nervous ripples through the crowd. However, we got an infusion of talent, a coaching staff that has brought back passion and doesn’t panic and pout when the sledding gets tough, and they’ve got the week 1 jitters out of their system. Bunch got thrown into the fire last week and stood tall. I think they eliminate mistakes and pull away in the 2nd half - Nebraska 41 Troy 20.
The Mike Riley era is over, thankfully in Nebraska fans’ minds, and the Scott Frost regime has started 0-1. They’ll look to bounce back this week, but Troy is upset-minded to make another statement against a P5 team. You can check out our preview of the game here.