The Troy Trojans open their 2020 college football regular season with a visit to Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium to play the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. Last season, Troy was a disappointing 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Trojans were able to beat up offensively against weaker opponents in the Sun Belt, but in the final two games of the season against Appalachian State and Louisiana, two of the top teams in the Sun Belt, Troy was outscored by a combined 101-16.
Middle Tennessee State opened its 2020 regular season with a 42-0 loss on the road against the Army Black Knights. MTS gave up 368 yards to Army of which 340 were on the ground and gained just 184 yards in total offense. The Blue Raiders must improve on coughing up the ball as well, as Middle Tennessee State committed four turnovers in its first game against Army
Troy starts with a new quarterback under CenterQuarterback Kaleb Baker is no longer with Troy and replacing the talented signal-caller will be Gunnar Watson. Life has been made easier for Watson thanks to three of Troy's top wide receivers returning from last season. Kaylon Geiger caught 77 passes for 873 yards and five touchdowns, while Reggie Todd caught 38 passes for 667 yards and five touchdowns and Khalil McClain caught 45 passes for 562 yards in seven touchdowns. Watson will have plenty of targets to throw to. DK Billingsley returns to start at running back after rushing for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
Defensively Troy gave up 34.8 points per game while allowing 434.2 yards per game last season. The Trojans allowed 157.8 yards per game on the ground and 276.3 yards per game through the air. The top returning defensive lineman for Troy will be Will Choloh, while the best overall player returning on the defense is linebacker Carlton Martial.
Can Middle Tennessee find the answers on defenseIn the opening game of the regular season for Middle Tennessee State, the Blue Raiders could not come up with any answers against Army’s vaunted triple-option running attack. The Blue Raiders allowed Army to rush for 340 yards. The Black Knights had 10 players that carried the ball at least one time against Middle Tennessee State. If Middle Tennessee State is to be competitive in 2020 the defense, especially against the run, must find some answers early in the season before the season gets away from them. The leading tackler for Middle Tennessee State in the loss was Cedric Cunningham with seven and Cunningham also had one sack.
Offensively, Middle Tennessee State loves to run the ball, but against Army, the Blue Raiders managed just 75 yards on the ground on 24 carries. Quarterback Asher O’Hara is the best rusher on the team but gained just 18 yards on the ground and passed for 46 yards in the loss to the Black Knights. Chase Cunningham, who came in to replace O'Hara, threw for 63 yards. Chaton Mobley rushed for 27 yards, while Jarrin Pierce caught four passes for 33 yards against Army.
- Middle Tennessee State is 0-4 ATS in the last 4 non-conference games
- Troy is 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 versus a team with a losing record
- The Trojans are 9-3 ATS in the last 12 as the favorite on the road
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Troy Trojans will open their regular season on Saturday but already know how weak the Middle Tennessee State defense is and will focus on a running game that will eventually open up a passing attack for new quarterback Gunner Watson. Watson has three top receivers to choose from each time he drops back to pass. The Trojans have covered the spread in nine of the last 12 when playing on the road as the favorite and also have covered the number in seven of the last 11 when playing against an opponent that has a record below .500
Prediction: Troy Trojans -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Middle Tennessee State failed to score in it's loss to Army. The total has gone under in seven of the last eight meetings between Troy and MTS and the total has gone under in each of the last four meetings between the two played at Middle Tennessee State. When Troy has played on the road against an opponent with a losing record at home, the total has finished over in five of the last seven.
Prediction: UNDER 63.5