(PHOTOS/ Rojan Maharjan)
Junior receiver Reggie Todd brings down a pass near the Trojan endzone. Todd posted four catches for 100 yards.
After falling short in the final seconds of the league opener, Troy will trek to Columbia, Missouri, for its annual power five conference match up.
A controversial 10-second runoff ended the game between Troy and Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both schools last Saturday night at The Vet. Arkansas State escaped town with a 50-43 victory as Troy was left standing at the 8-yard line and out of time.
On the other hand, Missouri will be coming off a bye week, but also from having downed South Carolina on the road, 34-14, in week three.
Troy’s wide receiver core continues to look strong as the focal point of the offense. Last week, four different Trojans caught a touchdown pass in the game; it marked the first time since the Florida A&M game last season this has happened.
Kaleb Barker passed for 233 yards in the first half of the game to surpass his previous first-half high of 213 yards against Southern Miss. He finished the game with a total of 367 yards to record his second career 300-yard passing game.
Despite the hype around Kelly Bryant, this Missouri team is known for their defense.
“Head coach Barry Odom does a great job with his team and is a great defensive mind,” Trojan Head Coach Chip Lindsey said. “Defensively, they’re a top-three or four unit in the SEC in every category.
“They’re very good from a numbers standpoint and even better when you flip the film on.”
The Tigers’ defense has recorded at least three sacks in three straight games for the first time since 2014. Missouri also has a keen ability to force negative plays. In the last three games, the Tigers have forced 26.0 negative plays (8.7 avg.) with 10.0 sacks in that span.
Kaleb Barker will be tested by Missouri’s ability to rush the passer on Saturday. Troy’s offense has been relying heavily on its ability to throw the ball. So, Barker will have to find a way to make quick reads and get the ball out of his hand.
However, Kelly Bryant does remain a key factor in the ball game.
“He’s a fantastic player who looks much improved in the passing game,” Lindsey said. “He’s throwing the ball down the field on time and accurately.
“He’s a very good athlete who can hurt you with his feet as well because he’s a very explosive player.”
Against South Carolina, Bryant completed 19-of-33 passes for 227 yards and two TDs on the day while rushing for 77 yards on 11 attempts. Bryant was Missouri’s second-leading rusher of the day.
The Trojans’ secondary has been tested this season with stellar passers in Jack Abraham and Layne Hatcher. Troy has given up a total of 1,265 passing yards including two 400+ games.
The Trojans will have to find a way to slow Bryant’s passing game and defend the deep ball to avoid the passing shootout.
The game is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff and can be watched on the SEC Network.