Ohio Bobcats (8-5) versus Troy State Trojans (9-4)
Friday, December 23, 2016 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama
Betting Odds: Troy State -3.5, o/u 49
After carrying the name of several different sponsors since its inception in 1999, the former GoDaddy.com Bowl has a new sponsor this year with Dollar General Stores. Due to contractual obligations, the Dollar General Bowl game has always included a team from the MAC Conference, making it one of the conference’s primary goals when a major bowl bid is not available. This year’s game pits the Ohio Bobcats (MAC) against the Troy State Trojans (Sun Belt).
Ohio Bobcats – This was a good year for the MAC Conference, which has placed a conference record number of teams in bowl games. Ohio had a fine season this year, earning them 1st place in the MAC East Division. A loss in the conference championship to #15 Western Michigan cost them a chance at a better bowl game. It was good mid-season stretch when they won 6 of 7 games that set them up for success and this bowl game appearance.
Looking across the team’s stats, it’s difficult to find any one player that stood out among the rest. That’s fine because much can be accomplished when a larger group of players come together and play well enough to get the job done. Quarterbacking duties were shared by two players, Senior Greg Windham and Sophomore Quinton Maxwell. Combined, they passed for 2,827 yards and 20 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions. Windham also contributed 382 yards and 4 touchdowns running the ball.
Beyond those the two QBs, a lot of other players touched the ball on an offense that has been very conservative by its nature. Actually, much of the team’s success can be attributed to a defense that ranked #23 in the nation, allowing 22.2 PPG and 363 YPG. The defense was particularly good against the run, allowing just under 106 YPG.
According to the latest bowl odds, Houston is a 3.5-point favorite over San Diego State with a total set at 54.5 points. Check out our bowl predictions where we pick the straight up winner of all 40 games.
Troy State Trojans – Troy started the season off by winning 8 of its first 9 games. The one loss was very significant. It came in the second week of the season against the #2 Clemson Tigers in South Carolina. The Trojans battled the entire 60 minutes, only to come away with a 6-point loss. The game was a real testament to the team’s fortitude and talent level.
In regards to that talent, the Trojans had two players who showed time and again that they could play college football at a very high level. Senior QB Brandon Silvers has done a great job of leading the offense. Over the regular season, he passed for 2,945 yards and 22 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
Joining him in the backfield was Senior RB Jordan Chunn, who rushed for 1,232 yards and 10 TDs. After a closer look at the offensive stats, it becomes clear that much credit should be given to an offensive line that only gave up only 7 sacks all year long for a total loss of 52 yards. Fans would be hard-pressed to find another team in the country that can lay claim to that kind of a performance.
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Game Analysis: The betting odds of 3.5 in favor of Troy indicate the lines-maker believes they are the better football team. We would have to agree. While the MAC is generally considered to be the stronger conference, it’s hard to look past Troy’s effort against the Clemson Tigers on Clemson’s home field.
The only caveat is Ohio played some pretty good defense against some pretty good MAC offenses. A good defense will always do well against a good offense. While there seems to be a little bit of betting value to be had by playing the Trojans minus the points, the under 49 on this game may have even more value. During the regular season, Ohio’s games went under this total on 7 occasions. In it’s last 4 games, the usually potent Troy offense only averaged 25 PPG. If the Trojans come in around that number, the game is going under.
Predictions: There’s a good chance Ohio’s defense will be a major factor in this game. Considering Ohio’s issues on offense, the game has the makings of a low scoring affair. Play under the total. Predictions: Troy 24 – Ohio 17