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Texas State vs. Troy: Preview, Odds & Prediction

The Sun Belt is wide open for the Bobcats and Trojans

NCAA Football: Texas State at Boston College Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Kickoff: Saturday, October 10th 2:30 p.m. CST

TV: ESPN3

Radio: San Marcos: AM 1300, 930 AM, 89.9 FM. Troy: WTBF-FM 94.7

Series Record: Troy leads the series, 9-1.

Betting Line: Troy -7 12 , O/U: 59


Sun Belt football has been wacky this season. Coastal Carolina took down a Big 12 team earlier this year. Granted, the team they beat was Kansas and they are meek, but a Power Five team is still a P5. Louisiana was ranked at one point beating Iowa State who beat Oklahoma which means that the Sun Belt gets an automatic spot in the College Football playoff...if only.

Troy hasn’t played in two weeks and have only played twice this year. The Trojans are usually a Sun Belt powerhouse and get their first conference game on Saturday. Texas State’s record doesn’t reflect the progress made. Head coach Jake Spavital has the Bobcats looking as good as they have in years. Although the 1-3 record is not impressive, all three games came down to a kick. A few changes of fortune and Texas State could be sitting at 4-0.

Texas State

Every week, the ‘Cats turn out some impressive performances from the wide receiver corp. Jeremiah Haydel himself had been on a Heisman-like campaign. His 17 catches for 237 yards leads all Texas State receivers and he ranks among the top pass catchers in the nation. His fellow wideout junior Marcell Barbee had a standout game against Boston College two weeks ago. Included was this crazy catch.

Barbee is third in the nation with four touchdown grabs.

Now whoever gets the nod at quarterback, either Tyler Vitt or Brady McBride, they’ll have a hell of a run game to go along with receivers that will catch anything. Running backs Brock Sturges and Calvin Hill have helped revive a running game that, last year, was non-existent.

Last year, the Bobcats only had three games where they rushed for over 100 yards as a team. So far, through four games, they have averaged 147.5 yards a game.

Defensively, Texas State is improving game by game. After giving up 544 yards of offense in the season opener versus SMU, the yardage given up by the Bobcats has steadily declined. In their last game against Boston College, the defense only gave up 297 total yards. Five Bobcats have tallied over 20 tackles this season.

Leading tackler Gavin Graham and agent zero himself Jarron Morris will be the men to look out for on defense. They’ve been relentless against the run game and pressuring the quarterback.

Troy

The Trojans are also led by a second year head coach in Chip Lindsey. The former Auburn offensive coordinator went 5-7 in his inaugural season.

Lindsey’s squad is led by redshirt sophomore Gunnar Watson under center. Watson beat out Jacob Free for the starting job this summer and has thrown 410 yards with a 67.1 completion percentage through two games. He hasn’t had a chance yet to light up the competition but he has a chance against a Bobcat defense that gives up the big play too easily, sometimes.

Running back B.J. Smith leads the team with 97 yards on the ground but there have been seven different backs to carry the ball for Troy.

In the opening game against Middle Tennessee State, the Trojans gave up only 241 total yards and had three turnovers in a 47-14 win. In the 48-7 shellacking at the hands of BYU they gave up 666 (woe to the o’ earth and sea) yards. The defense is led by preseason Sun Belt defensive player of the year linebacker Carlton Martial.

Conclusion

Troy hasn’t had a chance to get the wheels turning. They’ve played only twice with opposite results and the Trojans are going against a Bobcat team with luck. For Troy to win, they have to fluster the quarterback and lure the defense into making mistakes. Texas State needs to scare the secondary into protecting the deep ball in order to run the ball.

However, Troy has had the Bobcats number throughout the years. Texas State has only won against Troy once, in 1997. The Trojans are a seven point favorite, but it’s been 23 years since the last Texas State win. They’re overdue, so Texas State will win, 36-28.