The 2016 Dollar General Bowl matches up two teams that are somewhat similar record wise, and play wise. Both Ohio and Troy have dynamic offenses that can pick apart a defense in many different ways. This season, both teams had stellar finishes and brought about a quality record to reach an average bowl game.
Dollar General Bowl Preview: Ohio vs Troy
When: Friday, December 23rd, 8 PM ET
Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium; Mobile, AL
The Ohio Bobcats made the MAC Championship where they lost to an undefeated Western Michigan team. The Bobcats had plenty of opportunities to win the game, but couldn’t capitalize on drives to pull off the upset. Led by head coach Frank Solich, Ohio comes into the bowl game with a record of 8-5. Their quarterback, Greg Windham, can shred a defense in both running and throwing the ball. Their best game was in the MAC Championship against Western Michigan, in which they played stellar. Watching him play against Western Michigan, Windham was able to pick apart that defense favorably with his legs. His passing can be off sometimes, which could set up interceptions for Troy in this game if the Trojans defense can be on the ball a lot.
Troy is led by second year head coach Neal Brown, who has completely turned the program around. For Troy, traveling to Mobile is nothing new. They have been in this position for the postseason times before this season. The Trojans have faced dual-threat quarterbacks multiple times this season, and some of those matchups have resulted in big style points for the defense. The best dual-threat they faced in 2016 was Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, in which he electrified the team in the fourth quarter and showed his skills and delivered when Troy was close to pulling the upset.
Keys to victory for Ohio
Greg Windham must put Troy’s defense on its heels. Windham has the ability to pick apart the Trojans’ defense with his legs and arms. His strength is his legs, as he can move through the defensive line and get into open space in a hurry.
The Bobcat offense has to show their prolific skills. Although Ohio is a mid-major team, they did make it to their conference championship and almost upset an undefeated team. This offense, from some watching, can hurt a team in many different ways just like any other team. The one cloud hovering over them in the game will be if they can find the endzone enough times to upset Troy. If they call the right plays, this Bobcats offense will have a strong hold in beating the Trojans.
Defense must hold their own for the entire game. Ohio has been efficient on defense all season long. In the MAC Championship, this defense gave Western Michigan all they could handle and then some. For the Bobcats to have the best chance to win, they need to contain the Troy offense and keep them from gaining big yards on plays that should normally only gain short yardage.
Keys to victory for Troy
Brandon Silvers must be prolific in his final game. The senior quarterback will wear a Troy uniform for the final time ever, and he should want this game to be memorable. Troy didn’t finish how they wanted, but they still had a stellar season. Silvers was a big reason as to why the Trojans were ranked in the AP Top 25 at one point before losing the following week. Silvers has to be prolific and air the ball out and complete passes that his receivers are able to get good yardage on for his team to have a chance to win.
Jordan Chunn has to rush for over 100 yards. The Troy running back has been efficient in his career rushing the ball. In this game, Chunn needs to continue pounding the ball and total over 100 rushing yards for Troy to build a comfortable lead. A few touchdowns would help his cause, though finishing with none wouldn’t hurt either.
Defense has to play at its best. This Troy defense has played exceptionally well all season long, and they haven’t let up. In their toughest games, they fought until the finish and played the best they could. Their near upset over Clemson was in due part to this defense, which played a stellar game all around. Even in the 32 point loss to Arkansas State, the Trojans defense still played their hearts out. For their team to have a shot at taking home a trophy, this defense will have to find ways to get to Greg Windham and shut him down quickly and keep him contained throughout the game.