The Troy Trojans focus now shifts to Idaho. The Trojans and Vandals will collide in a Thursday night matchup at 8:15 pm on ESPNU. Troy comes into the game winners of two straight. Idaho comes in overall at 3-5. The Trojans are 6-2 and 3-1 in the Sun Belt.
This is a big matchup for the Troy Trojans. They are seeking to stay on pace to win the Sun Belt for the first time since 2010. Head Coach Neal Brown held his weekly press conference Monday and said “we have to play our best game.” Brown hasn’t been pleased with the way his team has played in some games this season. But this game against the Vandals means more for the Trojans. A win would put them in a position to at least claim a share of the conference title. With Arkansas State and Appalachian State still undefeated, Troy has work to do. The Trojans are already bowl eligible for the second straight season.
Offensively, Troy played one of their best games of the season last Saturday. Running back Josh Anderson rushed for 96 yards, including a 32 yard rush to open the game. The Trojans didn’t have to rely on the passing game too much during the contest. Their pivotal rushing attack sealed the deal, as Anderson, Jamarius Henderson, and BJ Smith all found the end zone. This game will be different, though. Idaho brings forth a crucial pass defense that can elevate at any given point. Brown said “ They have two players who can get pressure on the quarterback.” If Troy’s rushing attack can be pivotal once again, Silvers may not have to do much work. After the Georgia Southern game, Silvers stated he had “an easy day.”
Defensively, Brown said that “We started slow and didn’t finish particularly well.” Thus the defense has to finish better down the stretch. They allowed Georgia Southern to score late in the game. Troy’s defense is one of the best that this program has had in recent seasons. They rank first nationally in red zone defense.
What the Vandals Will Bring
Defensively, the Vandals have not allowed any team to score more than 23 points all season. That could affect the Trojans’ game plan a bit if the offense can’t connect in the passing game. As far as their offense goes, their running back Aaron Duckworth is as physical as they come. This Vandals team is far more better than their 3-5 record shows. Close losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and App State have them towards the bottom of the conference.
What’s at Stake
There is more than just a win at stake here. A win for Troy puts them in a comfortable position to maintain pace in the Sun Belt. For Idaho, a win would get them to 4-5 on the season and just two shy of a bowl berth. Troy is already 6-2 and bowl eligible. But the Trojans want the conference title. They have had up and down seasons the past few years. This year is different. Troy finished 10-3 last season, and they want to repeat that. It all starts with how Brandon Silvers and the offense execute on Thursday.
The Troy Trojans can continue their recent success by playing sufficient offense anencephaly executing on drives.