The Troy Trojans (1-3, 0-1) will travel to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-2, 1-2) in non-conference action Saturday afternoon. Mississippi State has won the last three meetings between the schools, including a 62-7 romp as a 13.5 point favorite on September 21, 2013 in the most recent meeting between the schools.
Troy fell 24-18 to South Alabama last week in their Sun Belt Conference opener. Mississippi State had their two game win streak snapped with a 30-17 loss at #9 Texas A&M in SEC action last week. This game kicks off at 4:00 pm ET from Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi and will be televised on the SEC Network. Mississippi State is currently a 30.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 56 points in this contest.
Troy battled and closed to make it a one score game against the Jaguars with more than 10 minutes to play last week but couldn’t get the go-ahead score. The Trojans were outgained by 100 yards, 365-265, and finished a -1 in takeaway/giveaway as they had three turnovers in the contest. South Alabama controlled time of possession 34:39 to 25:21 and had 21 first downs to Troy’s 18 in the game; the Trojans simply couldn’t make enough plays to get the victory.
The Trojans are struggling offensively as they enter this contest tied for 99th with 189 yards per game through the air and 118th in rushing by averaging 110.8 yards per game on the ground. Troy is scoring 21 points per game but they are giving up 29.2 per game, which is 89th in the nation as far as scoring defense. Brandon Silvers has hit 62.3 percent of his passes for 721 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions while averaging 6.33 yards per pass attempt. Brandon Burks does the majority of the work on the ground; he has 73 carries for 319 yards and three scores while no one else has more than 90 yards. Teddy Ruben leads the team with 17 receptions for 197 yards and two scores while John Johnson has 10 grabs for 120 yards; Burks has hauled in 10 passes from the backfield. Two kickers have combined to boot 9 of 10 extra points and 3 of 4 field goal attempts with a long of 33 yards.
Mississippi State couldn’t come up with the defensive stops needed or the points to finish drives in their loss to Texas A&M. The Bulldogs were outgained 516-406 in the contest and committed a pair of turnovers while failing to record a turnover in the game. Mississippi State allowed Texas A&M to control the clock for 33:12 to their 26:48 and pick up 23 first downs to Mississippi State’s 20. The Bulldogs can’t allow teams to rack up over 500 yards if they hope to have success.
The Bulldogs are 26th in the nation in passing offense as they average 284.8 yards per game while putting up 155 yards a game on the ground. Mississippi State scores 29 points per game while ranking tied for 23rd with 17.8 points allowed per contest. Dak Prescott has completed 65.3 percent of his throws for 1,279 yards and seven scores with no interceptions; he’s added a team leading 217 yards and three scores on the ground. Ashton Shumpert (36 carries, 145 yards, TD) and Brandon Holloway (23 carries, 139 yards) are the 1-2 punch in the backfield though they aren’t utilized all that much. Fred Ross has reeled in a team high 33 passes for 322 yards while De’Runnya Wilson is next in line with 19 grabs for 266 yards and two scores. Westin Graves has booted all 15 extra points and six field goal attempts this season.
Mississippi State is 5-1 ATS in their last six after a straight up loss, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 at home and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 against teams with a losing record. Troy is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 on grass and 4-14 ATS in their last 18 in October.
The Bulldogs have struggled in conference play but get a breather here as they play Troy and Louisiana Tech in non-conference action before getting back into dealing with SEC foes. Troy struggles to move the ball and they have problems stopping opposing teams from doing the same. Mississippi State should win this one in a rout as Prescott has a huge game.