#210 University of Idaho Vandalsvs.#209 Troy University Trojans
Written by David Hess
When: 5:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 1, 2016
Where: Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho
Lines: Troy -13
College football action and a couple of foes from the Sun Belt will square off at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho as the Troy Trojans battle it out with the Idaho Vandals. The Trojans enter this game off a strong 52-6 win over New Mexico State, while the Vandals enter off a 33-30 road win over UNLV in OT. These teams met last year and Idaho won the game by a 19-16 score.
The Troy Trojans are picked as a middle of the pack team in the Sun Belt but they are still far better than that of New Mexico State and they showed that in the 52-6 win this past weekend. Troy went just 4-8 last year, but with 13 starters back this year they have shown improvements and already have three wins on the year. This may be the oddest stat line of the year. The Trojans were actually outgained in the game 539-492 but yet won by 46 points. How the hell does that happen? Interceptions, that’s how. The Trojans picked off five passes in the game, plus they also blocked a punt and returned it for a TD. Really, it was the defense that won them the game, which is very odd to say since they allowed 539 yards. They are now 82nd in yards allowed and 115th vs the pass, but 38th in points allowed, giving up just 21 ppg. The ultimate bend-but-don’t-break defense.
On offense, Troy did pile up 492 yards of total offense, including 207 yards on the ground and 285 yards through the air. They were very balanced. Brandon Silvers had a solid game as he hit 71.9% of his passes for 246 yards with two TDs and no INTs. He has led this offense overall, throwing for 833 yards, with nine TDs and three INTS thus far. Jordan Chunn leads the team in rushing with 445 yards and he had 64 of than in the win over the Aggies. Last year Troy averaged 27.9 ppg on 300 ypg but so far this year it has been far better, putting up 473.2 ypg and 42.5 ppg. Overall this is an improved team over last year.
The Idaho Vandals also went just 4-8 last year, but with 14 starters back, including eight on offense, they are still not all that improved as one might expect. Yes, they are 2-2 on the year but needed OT to beat UNLV and to start the year they topped FCS foe Montana State by just three points. In between those two games they lost 59-14 at Washington and 56-6 at Washington State. This team still has a ways to go. Last year the Vandals averaged 428 ypg and 30.3 ppg, but even with eight starters back this year on that side of the ball they have put up just 327.5 ypg (118th) and 18.2 ppg (118th) not good offensive numbers at all. Matt Linehan is back at QB for the Vandal and has struggled so far as he has hit just 52.9% of his passes for 736 yards with two TDs and one INT. He faced Washington in one of his games and I can see him struggling in that game, but vs the other three defenses he has faced, he should have far better numbers.
Last year Linehan hit 63.1% of his passes for 2972 yards, with 18 TDs and 11 INTs. He has clearly taken a step back so far. They need more from him if they hope to challenge for a bowl this year. They also could use more help from their defense, which has really struggled in the early going. Last year they allowed 485 ypg and 42.1 ppg and this year so far those numbers aren’t a whole lot better as they have allowed 457.5 ypg and 40.5 ppg. That defense is just bad and it has very little depth. They are slightly improved on defense, but that offense has really struggled in the early going and if they don’t fix both sides of the ball then they will not come close to a Bowl game.
The Idaho Vandals were expected to be much improved, but so far that has not happened, even though they are already halfway to last year’s win total. They won by just three over FCS foe Montana State and won by just three over UNLV last week, but were crushed in their other two games and Troy has an offense that can put a hurting on a bad Idaho defense. Troy has revenge on their minds after losing 19-16 at home last year to the Vandals and they should get it here with a win of about 17 points.
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I have always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so I combined the two to become a handicapper and a blogger. I love sports and I love writing about them and all the info I put in my blogs is well-thought-out and well-researched. I am a big fan of all the major sports and the colleges, plus I know golf pretty well, tennis and the WNBA. I am very versatile. Hope you enjoy my content.