Idaho Vandals (3-5 SU, 4-3-1 ATS, 2-6 O/U) vs. Troy Trojans (6-2 SU, 2-6 ATS, 1-7 O/U)
NCAAF: Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 9:15 p.m. EST
The Line: Troy Trojans -18.5. Total: 51
The Troy Trojans will be aiming for their third straight win and seventh in the last eight games when they host the Idaho Vandals at Troy University Veterans Memorial Stadium on Thursday night. Troy is coming off consecutive victories over Georgia State and Georgia Southern. The Vandals halted a three-game skid by beating Louisiana-Monroe this past weekend.
Another close call
For a while it looked like Idaho would have no trouble winning for the first time in its last four games. The Vandals led Louisiana-Monroe 31-7 early in the third quarter. But the Warhawks mounted a charge, pulled to within one possession, and even moved inside Idaho’s 10-yard line with a chance to pick up a potential game-tying score and two-point conversion. The Vandals finally survived by forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down to prevail 31-23 over Louisiana-Monroe. It was a much-needed win of a competitive game for the Vandals, who won an overtime contest at South Alabama on Sept. 23 in the middle of a trio of single-digit losses–including a 23-20 home setback against Appalachian State.
“They made a push; that’s how it’s happened a couple times this year,” linebacker Kaden Elliss said of the Warhawks. “It was fun to finish it. It was really fun to go out there and compete against a really great team, got to give them props.”
“It’s good for us to get back on track,” quarterback Matt Linehan added. “We were all playing for each other. It’s about as good as it gets and our confidence level is getting there. When you start losing, it’s difficult. We know our work is cut out for us.”
Troy picked up its sixth win of the season last week, thus becoming bowl eligible. The Trojans did so with a rare win over Georgia Southern, as they raced past the Eagles 38-16. A hot start helped Troy to its success. The Trojans scored three touchdowns on their first 10 offensive snaps of the game, starting on the second play when Brandon Silvers lateraled to receiver John Johnson and Johnson then launched a 40-yard touchdown pass to freshman Tray Eafford. Josh Anderson rushed for a 32-yard score on Troy’s first play of its third drive. Two snaps later on the next possession, Jamarius Henderson had a 59-yard touchdown scamper.
“It’s important that we’re bowl eligible” head coach Neal Brown assured. “I think it had been since 1992 that we had beaten Georgia Southern. Regardless of what their record is, I sat in this room on this past Thursday and asked everybody to raise their hand if they had beaten Georgia Southern and not one hand came up. Not one player, not one graduate assistant, not one administrative person, not one coach; nobody had ever beaten Georgia Southern. Tonight, we have a full room–and it’s a significant win.”
The Idaho Vandals are:
- 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 overall
- 8-1 ATS in their last nine road games
- 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games against the Sun Belt Conference
The Troy Trojans are:
- 2-8 ATS in their last 10 overall
- 0-6 ATS in their last six home games
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games against teams with losing records
Troy beat Georgia State and Georgia Southern by more than three touchdowns, but the Trojans also had a string of three victories in which they won by five points or less (in addition to a setback against South Alabama). Three of Idaho’s five losses have come by single-digits. Idaho is 12-3-1 ATS in its last 16 overall, 8-1 ATS in its last nine on the road, 4-0 ATS in its last four on the road against opponents with winning home records, 18-7-1 ATS in its last 26 against the Sun Belt Conference, and 6-2 ATS in its last eight following a win. The Trojans are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 overall, 0-6 ATS in their last six at home, 0-5 ATS in their last five against losing opponents, 1-4 ATS in their last five against the Sun Belt Conference, 1-6 ATS in their last seven on turf, and 1-6 ATS in their last seven following a win. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: Idaho Vandals +18.5
Linehan threw four interceptions in Idaho’s first three games but has not been picked off since. That being said, his 360-yard performance last weekend was really the first time he has gone off in 2017. He previously had not passed for more than 273 yards in any contest and on four occasions has not thrown for more than 200 yards. As for the Idaho defense, it has limited four of its last five opponents to 23 points or less. The under is 4-1 in the Vandals’ last five overall and 5-0 in their last five against the Sun Belt Conference. It is also 7-1 in the Trojans’ last eight overall, 12-3-1 in their last 16 against the Sun Belt Conference, 5-1 in their last six against losing opponents, 6-1 in their last seven following a win, and 6-1 in their last seven on turf. Look for this one to stay under the total.