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Troy Trojans vs Akron Zips: Preview & Prediction

The Trojans travel to Akron to take on the Zips in hopes of a return to the win column.

NCAA Football: Dollar General Bowl-Buffalo vs Troy John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Troy Trojans at Akron Zips

When: Saturday 21 September at 3pm

Where: InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio

How: ESPN+

Line: Troy -17. O/U 56.5

History: Troy 1-0

Keys to the Game

Troy Trojans: The story line entering Week 4 for the Trojans is that they will be without running back, B.J. Smith, for the remainder of the season. Smith suffered a knee injury last week against Southern Miss. Smith will need surgery and will be sidelined for the rest of the 2019 season.

Unfortunately for the Trojans, injuries continue to plague them. Last year, Barker went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 6. This year, Smith goes down in Week 3.

The impact was seen immediately as the Trojans rushed for just 24 yards on 16 carries against Southern Miss.

That said, Lindsey and company took to the air and the Trojans had four guys go for over 100 yards receiving en route to a career game from Barker, who threw for 504 yards and 4 TDs.

DK Billingsley and Jabir Frye will step in for Smith and man the backfield. Instead, I fully expect Lindsey to lean on Barker that much more to push the ball down the field.

It is always tough for a team when you lose arguably one of the best running backs in the conference. However, Lindsey believes and trusts in Kaleb Barker who continues to prove he is more than capable of taking control of games.

The Trojans put up 42 points, 35 on offense if you take away the kickoff return, and there is no reason to believe they can’t do the same this week.

The Trojan defense will be looking for a bounce back performance following the 47 spot that the Golden Eagles hung on them last week.

Defensive Coordinator Brandon Hall will lean on Sophomore LB, Carlton Martial, who is leading the country in tackles for loss and is second in tackles.

Akron Zips: Akron enters this game having given up 42, 31, and 45 points in consecutive games to start the season.

The key for the Zips is QB Kato Nelson who has not only thrown 40+ passes in the past two weeks, but has also led the team in carries each of those weeks, as well.

Akron Zips quarterback Kato Nelson (1)
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Troy’s run defense remaining stout in their first two games, Akron will look to attack what seems to be a very susceptible Trojan secondary.

Upon the backs of a 463 yard passing performance from Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham, the emphasis for Troy’s defensive coordinator, Brandon Hall, will be to clean up their pass defense.

Still, for the Zips to capture their first win of the season, they will need to be aggressive on offense and establish dominance through the air.

That will help to somewhat open up the ground game for the Zips lackluster rushing attack thus far.

ATS Prediction

This line opened at Troy -16 and has risen upwards of -17 and -17.5 on some books. Per Action Network, 71% of the bets are coming in on Troy accounting for 84% of the dollars.

The total opened at 53.5 and has gone up to 56.5. 60% of the bets are on the over accounting for 74% of the dollars.

These two schools have faced off only 1 time back in 2018=7 with the Trojans capturing a 22-17 win.

Granted, that was a much different Akron team than we see now. That 2017 team won 7 games, including a 6-3 record in the MAC.

Again, these are two non-conference opponents with very limited history.

Troy is 0-2 ATS to start the season. That said, I fully expect Troy to jump all over the Zips early. I won’t risk any back door covers from Akron and will go with a 1H bet. Look for Troy to be up two scores as they head to the locker room. Troy 1H -10

Final Score: Troy 37 Akron 24