It’s a crossover battle of teams opening up their conference schedule in the Sun Belt down in the bayou. The Troy Trojans are on the road looking to pick up a win as they visit the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks Saturday night. Troy won their second straight as they went on the road and upset Nebraska 24-19 last Saturday. Louisiana Monroe was clobbered 48-10 on the road by Texas A&M in their previous contest last Saturday. The all-time series between the schools is tied at six wins apiece: the Trojans claimed a 51-14 home win in the last matchup on November 14, 2015.
Troy Trojans Seek to Build Off Upset Win
Troy picked up a big win as they went into Lincoln and stunned the Cornhuskers in front of more than 89,000 fans. The Trojans now look to pick up a win to start their conference slate, which would mark their third consecutive triumph. Troy jumped to a 17-0 lead with five minutes to play in the first half and weathered Nebraska’s attempts to rally. The Trojans were outgained 364-253, gave up 22 first downs to their 12 and lost the time of possession battle 32:54 to 27:06. The bend but don’t break mentality defensively carried the day, as did three takeaways by an opportunistic defense.
The Trojans are 105th in the nation in passing offense with 183.3 yards per contest and 62nd in the FBS with 186.3 yards per game on the ground. Troy stands 57th in scoring offense with 34.3 points a contest and tied for 83rd in scoring defense as they allow 27.3 points per game. Kaleb Barker is 48 of 73 passing for 461 yards with five touchdowns against two interceptions while adding 91 yards plus a score on the ground. Sawyer Smith is seven of 12 for 69 yards and a score plus 72 rushing yards while Gunnar Watson has hit five of eight for 20 yards. B.J. Smith leads the team with 30 carries for 167 yards plus four scores while Jabir Daughtry-Frye contributes 20 carries for 127 yards and a score. Deondre Douglas is the top threat in the passing game with 14 catches for 134 yards plus two scores. Damion Willis (nine receptions, 114 yards, two TD), Trey Eafford (eight catches, 63 yards) and Sidney Davis (seven grabs, 73 yards) are other good options in the passing attack. Tyler Sumpter has booted all 13 extra points and two of three field goal attempts with a long of 37 this season.
Louisiana Monroe Warhawks Look to Return to Win Column
Louisiana Monroe started the season with back to back wins, including a road upset of Southern Miss, but crashed back to earth as they were hammered in College Station. The Warhawks have to shake off that loss to Texas A&M in order to get back on track. Louisiana Monroe was within 7-3 after one quarter and scored just before the half to make it 24-10 before getting blanked the rest of the way. The Warhawks were outgained 530-328, lost the first down battle 32-14 and saw the Aggies win time of possession by a 34:53 to 25:07 margin. Louisiana Monroe also committed the game’s lone turnover and had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown.
The Warhawks are tied for 53rd in the FBS in passing offense with an average of 255.3 yards per contest and tied for 86th in rushing offense with 156.7 yards per game. Louisiana Monroe is 109th in the nation in scoring offense with 21.7 points per contest and tied for 102nd in scoring defense as they allow 33 points per game. Caleb Evans is 65 of 109 for 766 yards with five touchdowns against three interceptions while ranking third on the team with 124 rushing yards plus a score. Derrick Gore leads the Warhawks with 33 carries for 145 yards plus a score while Austin Vaughn chips in 20 carries for 130 yards. Marcus Green leads the team with 15 receptions for 270 yards plus four scores. R.J. Turner (13 receptions, 158 yards, TD) and Xavier Brown (seven catches, 76 yards) are secondary targets. Craig Ford is six of seven on extra points and three of seven on field goals with a long of 28.
- Warhawks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- Warhawks are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- Warhawks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games on grass
- Trojans are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
- Trojans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win
- Trojans are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Troy has to have a ton of confidence and momentum on their side after going into Lincoln and beating Nebraska. The Trojans haven’t done a ton offensively this season but their defense has really sharpened up the last two games. Louisiana Monroe has been carved up through the air, giving up a 68.7 percent completion rate and 330.7 yards per game along with seven scores already. Troy should be able to take advantage on offense and cut through the Warhawks’ defense en route to the win.
Prediction: Troy Trojans -6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Louisiana Monroe could try to point at the Texas A&M loss and call it an aberration but the fact remains the numbers don’t bear that out. After all, the Warhawks were fortunate to beat Southeastern Louisiana 34-31 at home in their opener before slipping by Southern Miss by a point. Troy isn’t overpowering teams but back to back wins, including the Nebraska win, has Neal Brown’s name firmly listed in the rolodex of schools that will be looking for a coach after the season. Can Brown lead the Trojans to a Sun Belt crown?
The under is 4-0 in the Trojans’ last 4 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game, 5-0 in their last 5 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game, 10-2 in their last 12 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game and 12-3-1 in their last 16 on the road. Louisiana Monroe has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 games overall, 4-0 in their last 4 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points and 4-1 in their last five on grass. Given the way things have gone so far, this one likely ends up under the total.
Prediction: Under 63
Half-Time Side Pick
Troy is coming off an impressive road win over Nebraska and shouldn’t be intimidated opening up conference play here. The Trojans showed the ability to contain opposing offenses and control the flow of the game with their system. Louisiana-Monroe was clobbered by Texas A&M last week after winning their first two games. While playing at home is a good thing for the Warhawks, it’s tough to go against the Trojans given their current momentum. Look for the Trojans to have the upper hand at the half.
Prediction: Troy Trojans -3
Half-Time Total Bet
Troy has been all over the map in their first three games this season. The Trojans trailed Boise State 35-7 at the half in week one, led Florida A&M 38-7 at the half in week two and was up 17-7 in week three over Nebraska. Louisiana-Monroe trailed Southeastern Louisiana 21-16 at the half in the opener, 17-14 to Southern Miss in week two and 24-10 to Texas A&M in week 3. Troy’s defense has been sharp the last couple of weeks while Louisiana-Monroe has to regroup after their hammering by the Aggies. This one should fall just under the total at the half.
Prediction: Under 30 -110