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Be Wary of the Trojan Horse

By Emory Hunt
SouthernPigskin.com
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The Troy Trojans have an opportunity to make a statement against perennial group of five power, Boise State, in week one.

There are some great Week 1 out-of-conference matchups involving Sun Belt conference teams. New Mexico State at Arizona State features two of the nation’s top running backs in the Aggies Larry Rose III and Kalen Ballage of ASU.  A lot of people are keeping a very close eye on the App State-Georgia contest as the Mountaineers look to be one of the stronger teams in the SBC. Georgia Southern, South Alabama and Arkansas State all have games that could get interesting early on. But the one game that firmly lands on my ‘Upset Special’ list is Boise State and Troy.

Key Matchups:

Broncos Rushing Offense vs Trojans Rush Defense

The Broncos love to impose their will on opponents in the trenches and have been highly successful at doing so. This season however, they will be breaking in 3 new offensive linemen at both guard spots (which is key to a running game’s success) and at left tackle. The Trojans do a great job of maintaining the line of scrimmage, which aides in their ability to stop the run. Both defensive tackles Jamal Stadom and Trevon Sanders we key in holding Clemson to only 3.8 yards per carry last season.

Edge: Troy

Broncos Passing Offense vs Trojans Pass Defense

If you’re stopping the run, then you force a team to rely more on their passing game than they’d probably like to. Boise State has an excellent QB in Brett Rypien. Rypien has played some good ball since stepping foot on campus as a Freshman. This season, he has his 2nd leading receiver returning in Cedrick Wilson, who caught 56 passes for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns. Wilson will more than likely draw the coverage of Troy’s top corner in Kamryn Melton, who’s an Auburn transfer that sat out last season due to transfer rules. The rest of the receiving corps for the Broncos are guys that have minimal game experience, which could make it tough for the passing game to find its consistency early on. The Trojans boast two excellent safeties in Cedarius Rookard and Kris Weatherspoon. Both players show above-average instincts and ball skills.

Edge: Troy

Trojans Offensive Line vs Broncos Defense Line

The Trojans lost an NFL Draft pick at Left Tackle in Antonio Garcia, and that is where you can have some questions about the strength of the pass protection. They also lose an all-conference right tackle in Tyler Lassiter. This unit only returns 2 guys up front and will face a stiff challenge from the Broncos defensive line led by DT David Moa who finished the 2016 season with 8.5 sacks.

Edge: Boise State

Prediction

The Trojans have the edge in 2/3 key matchups in this ball game. Continuity is king in football and when you look at Troy on offense, they return a top notch starting QB in Brandon Silvers, their leading rusher in Jordan Chunn and their top 4 receivers from last season all return as well. The Trojans are built to play any style of game that the Broncos want to, and being that it’s week one, you have to trust that experience matters in this situation.

Troy 28, Boise State 24

Emory Hunt - Emory Hunt, "The Czar of the Playbook", is a former UL Ragin' Cajun running back nw covering the Sun Belt for Southern Pigskin. His other work can be found at FootballGameplan.com. Twitter: @FBallGameplan