Start Time: 7 p.m. EST, Oct. 9
Location: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy, Al.
Weather: 74 degrees, 2 mph winds
Records: Georgia Southern 2-3 (1-1 Sun Belt), Troy 2-3 (0-1 Sun Belt)
Betting Line: Troy -5.5; O/U 50
Georgia Southern Outlook
The Eagles experienced a whiplash of a bounce back last week against Arkansas State, exploding for 500 yards rushing and a season-high 59 points in their first conference win of the season.
This week will be a better gauge as to whether Georgia Southern has turned a corner on the offensive side of the ball or whether ASU’s porous defense simply made the Eagles look better than they actually are.
Both Logan Wright and Jalen White gashed the Red Wolves front-seven numerous times on the ground, compiling 365 of Southern’s yards between them and each averaging over double digit yards per carry in the victory.
This Trojans defense is worlds better than Arkansas State’s was, and it might be tougher sledding for Georgia Southern’s rushing attack due to that aspect alone.
From a defensive perspective, even though the Eagles were able to force three interceptions and get to the quarterback six times, they still weren’t great overall, allowing 524 total yards and 33 points to ASU.
On the other hand, Troy hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire offensively through the first five weeks of the season, and is only averaging 15 points per game between an upset loss to UL Monroe two weeks ago and another defeat against South Carolina over the last two games.
I think if Georgia Southern wants a real chance to win against Troy’s talented front, it will need to grind out tough yards on the ground and own the time of possession, because I do not believe those big chunk plays will come in droves against the Trojans like they did last week.
The team did show a lot more capability under new interim coach Kevin Whitley, and hopefully offensive coordinator Doug Ruse has some aces up his sleeve in what projects by college standards to be a fairly low-scoring contest.
As rough of a year as Georgia Southern has had early on, it has been almost as frustrating of a season for Trojans fans and Chip Lindsey’s seat has to be heating up after an upset loss to bottom-dweller ULM two weeks ago.
Troy has somehow completely changed its identity in just one offseason. Whereas last year the squad from Alabama was a high-flying team that offered little to no resistance to opposing offenses in 2020, they are now a team that plays smothering defense while struggling to put up points on a regular basis.
New quarterback Taylor Powell has had an up-and-down start to the season just as the team has, throwing for just 7 touchdowns to 5 interceptions in the first five weeks with an average of 234 yards per contest with almost 36 attempts a game.
If Powell is to get on track this year and build some momentum, the signal caller may be able to do just that against a struggling Georgia Southern secondary surrendering 350 yards per game to opposing passers this year.
Troy has also struggled to run the football this year against opposing teams, averaging just 89 yards on the ground per game. Their leading rusher, Kimani Vidal, is only picking up 45 yards per contest through 5 weeks.
The game plan should be simple for the Trojans: They should air it out early and often against a poor Eagles secondary, and hope their defense is able to get enough stops to keep Southern from owning the clock.
Both of these teams have struggled to score points this season, so from a betting perspective I will take the under of 50 here. Even with last week’s offensive showing, Georgia Southern is only scoring an average of 25 points per game. Troy is scoring an average of 23.8 PPG.
I think it is a fairly low scoring contest, but I cannot trust a team that drops a game against UL Monroe by double-digits, even at home in this matchup.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 21, Troy 17