Location: Malone Stadium, Monroe, Louisiana
Kickoff: 6:00 PM Central Time, Saturday, September 22nd
TV/Radio: No TV; Radio is KJLO 104.1FM in Monroe or Troy Sports Radio Network
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Odds: Troy -6 ; O/U 61
The Troy Trojans (2-1, 0-0) have three things going against them heading into Malone Stadium to play the ULM Warhawks (2-1, 0-0) this weekend.
- Troy has a history of letdown performances after a big win against a Power 5 team. After a win against Missouri in 2004, they lost the next week to New Mexico State. After Beating LSU last year, they lost to a mediocre South Alabama.
- Troy has a tough time in Monroe. Although Troy is 9-7 against ULM all-time, they are 2-5 when playing in Monroe.
- The Warhawks are a much improved team. After winning only two games in 2015, the Warhawks hired Matt Viator, who led McNeese State to the FCS playoffs five of his ten years there. After struggling for two seasons at the helm of ULM, the program is now headed in the right direction.
The Warhawks played a great defensive game against Southern Mississippi a few weeks go, but lost that edge against Texas A&M last Saturday. Texas A&M took over in the second quarter and dominated the rest of the game. The Warhawks were shut out completely in the second half while Texas A&M scored three touchdowns and a field goal to make a lopsided, 48-10, final score.
The Warhawks haven’t shown a lot of offensive weapons this season except for Marcus Green who seems to catch every pass thrown his way. Green is QB Caleb Evans’ favorite target, averaging 18 yards per catch, and he has scored four touchdowns so far this season.
Troy’s secondary is much improved over the last three games and they’ll need to keep an eye on Green.
Troy has some offensive weapons, too. B.J. Smith has power and excellent field vision at running back. Kaleb Barker has settled in at the quarterback position, and he’s proven that he can operate under pressure.
One big advantage that Troy brings to the field is special teams play. Tyler Sumpter is booming punts and he can definitely flip the field.
This is a critical game for Troy. If the Trojans want to be in the conversation for the best Group of Five teams, they need to have a decisive win. They can’t have a letdown like last year. This will also be the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams and a win will set the stage for who is going to the championship game on December 1st.
The Trojans should be able to handle this team, if they play as well as they did against Nebraska. But as I said earlier Troy has problems playing at Monroe, and they’ve had letdowns after a big win, in this case, last Saturday’s win against Nebraska .
Prediction:This year, I think Troy has learned its lesson about having a letdown and will go to Monroe and make a statement. Troy 41 ULM 17