College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Troy season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Keys To The Season
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Troy Trojans Schedule Analysis
– Troy Trojans Previews
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Offense
– The offense didn’t do enough and was way too inconsistent. There were too many turnovers, the downfield passing game was missing, and the ground game averaged just 103 yards per game. However, depending on the alignment, 11 starters are expected to be back with a few key transfers coming in to raise the overall talent level.
– QB Gunnar Watson was fine. He hit 70% of his passes for over 2,000 yards with 16 touchdowns, but he threw six picks, and Jacob Free wasn’t a whole lot stronger. Missouri’s Taylor Powell is coming in to add an interesting option to the mix.
No matter who’s throwing, the receiving corps is there to improve the passing game with three super-seniors in Kaylon Geiger, Reggie Todd and Tray Eafford back – they were the team’s three top targets last year. The backs can catch, too.
– BJ Smith is a solid all-around back who’s back for his sixth year. He ran for 1,186 yards and 13 scores as a junior, was banged up in 2019, and wasn’t able to do much on the ground last year, but he caught 26 passes.
Freshman Kimani Vidal led the team with 516 yards and four scores – averaging five yards per carry – and the depth is there with Jamontez Woods and DK Billingsley are back. Also coming in is La’Damian Webb, a good recruit for Florida State who ran for 366 yards and three scores last year.
Now the O line has to do its job. All five starters are back around All-Sun Belt left tackle Austin Stidham, but there’s not a ton of size and the production has to be there. It wasn’t bad at keeping teams out of the backfield, but it struggled for the ground game.
NEXT: Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Defense
4. Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– If you’re looking for what Troy might rise up and be the sleeper team in the Sun Belt, here you go. 11 starters are expected to be back along with a few choice transfers to potentially take a good situation and make it amazing.
Basically, if someone made a tackle last year for the Trojans, he’s back and ready to go, starting with the terrific linebacking combination of Carlton Martial, Jayden McDonald and KJ Robertson. They’re veteran hitters who – along with hybrid Richard Jibunor – will get behind the line.
– DT Will Choloh isn’t that huge, but the 6-0, 299-pounder is a strong interior pass rusher and tied Jibunor for the team lead in sacks. There’s bulk in the rotation – AJ Pierce is 6-1, 320 – and Jamarcus Chatman will play a role coming over from Florida State, but more pass rush from the ends would be a plus.
– The secondary got three picks from junior Terence Dunlap, but the team only came up with eight interceptions on the season. Dell Pettus and Craig Slocum form a decent safety tandem, and NC State transfer Taiyon Palmer is a good get to help the corner situation.
NEXT: Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Top Players
Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Top Players
Best Troy Trojans Offensive Player
WR Kaylon Geiger, Sr.
One of the Sun Belt’s best receivers over the last two years, the speedy 5-10, 176-pound senior leads a veteran group and should be the No. 1 guy once again. He followed up a 77-catch first year after coming in from the JUCO ranks with a 64-catch, 752-yard, three touchdown 2020. He’s a solid kick returner, too.
2. OT Austin Stidham, Jr.
3. C Dylan Bradshaw, Sr.
4. WR/KR Reggie Todd, Sr.
5. RB BJ Smith, Sr.
Best Troy Trojans Defensive Player
LB Carlton Martial, Jr.
While the man in the middle of the linebacking corps is an undersized 5-9 and 210 pounds, he’s tough as nails as one of the Sun Belt’s top tacklers over the last three seasons. He started out with 76 tackles, followed it up with a 126-tackle sophomore season, and last year the All-Sun Belt star led the way with 113 stops. He can get into the backfield, too, with eight career sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss.
2. DT Will Choloh, Jr.
3. CB Terence Dunlap, Jr.
4. DE/LB Richard Jibunor, Soph.
5. S Dell Pettus, Soph.
Top Incoming Troy Trojans Transfer
QB Taylor Powell, Jr.
Considered s a strong get for Missouri back in 2017, the 6-2, 213-pounder got in a little bit of work but didn’t do much, hitting just 46% of his passes for 431 yards and a touchdown with two picks. However, he’s got the passing skills and upside to at least provide a push for the quarterback gig among a deep group.
NEXT: Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Troy Trojans Biggest Key: Offense
Get the running game going. The Trojans have the backs and they have a strong veteran offensive line. Now they have to start cranking out 100-yard days.
The offense started last season with 240 yards on the ground in the win over Middle Tennessee, ran well against some of the lighter teams on the slate, and finished the year with just five 100-yard days overall, averaging 3.4 yards per carry. The 2019 team hit 100 yards eight times and averaged 4.3 yards per pop – this year’s team should be able to get there again.
Troy is 19-0 going back to 2013 when it’s able to run for 200 yards or more.
And that directly corresponds to the flip side …
Troy Trojans Biggest Key: Defense
Stop the run. Troy has a quick-paced offense that’s occasionally terrific and great at moving the chains, but it doesn’t do much for the time of possession battle. The Trojans had the ball for just under 27 minutes per game, which is no big whoop as long as the D is getting off the field.
Yes, when the Troy offense runs well, good things happen. At the same time, the D was hit for 175 yards or more six times – and the team lost all six.
0-6 when giving up 175 rushing yards or more, 5-0 when it didn’t. The team is 0-11 going back to early 2018 when giving up that many rushing yards.
Troy Trojans Key Player To A Successful Season
P/K Kyle Coyle, Sr.
Or freshmen Anthony Frederique and/or Scott Taylor Renfroe.
Troy has to get big seasons out of a whole slew of parts, but with 22 starters back, missing one key piece might be a problem.
Jack Martin had an All-Sun Belt season averaging over 46 yards per kick. He was so good that he transferred to Alabama.
Kicker is a question mark, too, with Evan Legassey not currently on the roster after hitting 13-of-21 field goals. With four of the last seven games decided by four points or fewer, special teams are going to matter.
Troy Trojans Key Game To The 2021 Season
Georgia Southern. Oct. 9
The finishing kick is brutal. The Trojans have to go on the road to deal with Coastal Carolina and Georgia State, and they host Louisiana and Appalachian State all over the last five games – South Alabama is in there, too. There’s absolutely no room for a misfire early on in Sun Belt play.
It’s not going to be easy. The Trojans will be coming off a run of three straight road games with this the one home date in a run of four away games in five weeks. They lost 20-13 last year but won three straight in the series before that.
2020 Troy Trojans Fun Stats
– 2nd Quarter Scoring: 138 – 3rd Quarter Scoring 38
– Time of Possession: Opponents 33:07 – Troy 26:53
– 4th Down Conversion: Troy 10-of-17 (59%) – Opponents 13-of-28 (46%)
NEXT: Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Troy Trojans College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Welcome to one of the tougher reads this college football offseason.
In terms of talent, experience, and the way this program has been building, this is a Sun Belt Championship contender. It has depth, it has playmakers, and it has to come up with tweaks more than any sort of overhaul.
Lsat year’s version went 5-6, but it pushed Coastal Carolina to the brink in a fun 42-38 loss as one of the team’s four losses by a touchdown or less. Just a wee bit more of a run D and a few less turnovers might be all of the difference, but …
Set The Troy Trojans Regular Season Win Total At … 5.5
Too many home games are tough, starting early with Liberty and and including Georgia Southern, Louisiana and Appalachian State. The road games against Southern Miss, South Carolina, Coastal Carolina and Georgia State are a bigger problem.
Good teams get through difficult slates no matter what, but this might be different. This will be a strong Troy team that can beat anyone on the schedule – that includes you, South Carolina and Coastal Carolina – but it’s more likely going to be a similar situation like last year with a good start and rough finish.
However, if this is this year’s Coastal Carolina or Louisiana, don’t be all that stunned.