Following a tough loss at Mississippi State, the Troy football team will return home to face Idaho in its homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 13.
The matchup between the Trojans (1-4, 0-1 Sun Belt) and the Vandals (1-4, 0-2 Sun Belt) will feature two teams that have struggled thus far this season but show the potential to win every game left on their schedules.
For Troy, the biggest challenge to overcome against Idaho will be the dynamic passing game of the Vandals. Sophomore quarterback Matt Linehan sits at second in the Sun Belt, averaging 277.2 yards per game this year.
At this point in the season, the Trojans have not been the best at defending the pass, ranking eighth in the conference in pass defense. This is partially due to giving up 211 yards through the air and three touchdowns last week at Mississippi State. Players like senior safety Montres Kitchens must take away the big plays that have hurt Troy in past weeks.
Ideally, head coach Neal Brown and the Trojans will want to force the Vandals to run the ball against their stout defensive line, led by senior nose guard Lonnie Gosha and junior defensive end Garrett Peek. So far this season, Troy has had relative success slowing the run, holding its opponents to just under 200 yards a game. This is quite a feat, considering that the Trojans have faced rushing powerhouses NC State, Wisconsin and Mississippi State.
Turnovers will also play a role in Saturday’s game. Troy has had eight turnovers in five games this season, a point where Idaho will look to take advantage.
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers will be a “game-time decision” according to Brown, who plans to start senior quarterback Dontreal Pruitt if Silvers isn’t ready to go on Saturday. If Silvers starts, he will need to show maturity and focus to overcome a two-game slump of four turnovers, including three interceptions at home against South Alabama in week four.
If Pruitt starts, he will have to carry over the momentum from his game against Mississippi State, where he racked up 146 yards of total offense and a rushing touchdown against an SEC defense. These stats came after taking over midway through the second quarter.
Kickoff for Troy’s homecoming at Veterans Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.