TROY, Ala. – After a brief stint at home, Troy returns to the road Saturday for a Sun Belt Conference clash at Texas State as the Trojans are in the middle of a run of five of six games away from home. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
In a much-needed home game last week, Troy (3-3, 1-1 Sun Belt) dispatched of Georgia Southern thanks to a Brooks Buce field goal with less than two minutes to play. The Trojans built a commanding 24-3 lead in the game before the Eagles chipped away and finally tied the contest.
The Trojan defense was once again up to the task and held the triple-option attack from Georgia Southern to just 82 rushing yards. Gunnar Watson threw for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first start of the year, and Jamontez Woods flirted with the century mark before settling for 98 yards and a score out of the backfield.
The series has been decidedly one-sided, with Troy winning nine in a row over Texas State (2-3, 1-0) and 10 of the 11 overall meetings. However, the Bobcats are coming in with momentum following a four-overtime victory over South Alabama last week.
Both teams matchup fairly equally on the offensive side of the football, with Troy holding slight advantages in passing yards and third downs, while Texas State holds slim margins in scoring and rushing yards.
However, defensively the numbers are widely in Troy’s favor. The Trojans enter the weekend having allowed just 1,631 yards of total offense all season, which is the fewest in Sun Belt history through six games. Troy allows just 18.2 points per game (only 15.5 by the defense), while Texas State is surrendering 35.6 points per contest.
Know Your Foe
Texas State has had an up-and-down affair to start the 2021 campaign. The Bobcats played Baylor close in the opener and knocked off FIU in overtime before back-to-back losses to Incarnate Word and Eastern Michigan; the Bobcats were hit with significate roster reduction due to COVID-19 in those two games before bouncing back to beat South Alabama last week. Bobcat junior linebacker Sione Tupou became the first Bobcat defensive student-athlete to be named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week since linebacker Easy Anyama on Sept. 4, 2017, for his performance against South Alabama.
• Troy leads the country, forcing a negative play on 19.62 percent of opponent snaps … the next closest is Houston at 16.48 percent. Troy forced a negative play on 23.1 percent of Georgia Southern’s snaps last weekend.
• Troy has won six straight games in the state of Texas (North Texas – 4, Texas State – 2), dating back to a 13-10 victory over North Texas in 2005.
• Kimani Vidal ranks eighth in the Group of Five and 19th nationally, averaging 3.73 yards after contact this season (min 70 carries); he was second nationally among freshmen last year with a 3.83 average.
• Troy’s defense has held nine of its last 12 opponents to 21 points or fewer, dating back to last season; in those games, the Trojan defense has allowed an average of just 12.6 points.
• Troy has scored on its opening drive of the second half in 5-of-6 games this season, with all five being touchdowns.
• Javon Solomon is the only FBS player to have at least seven sacks and eight tackles for loss this season; he has 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He is one of just three players at the FBS level since 2000 with 7.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and an interception through the first six games of the season — Elvis Dumervil (Louisville, 2005), Carl Nassib (Penn State, 2015).
• Troy has targeted its tight ends 15 times through six games with 14 receptions; in the previous seven seasons COMBINED, Troy’s tight ends had been targeted 18 times with 12 receptions.