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Troy Trojans Defensive Preview

Missouri’s offense might not have been as impressive as we thought it would be... good thing the Troy defense is coming to town!

NCAA Football: Dollar General Bowl-Buffalo vs Troy John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Just like Troy’s offense will be one of the best we have remaining on the schedule, the Troy defense is the worst defense left on the schedule (Vanderbilt is only two spots better, so that might change). The Missouri offense has more talent, more depth, and is not ranked in the 100s so... it’s important that the Tigers take advantage of this and show that they can dunk on an over-matched opponent.

NCAA Football: New Orleans Bowl-Troy vs North Texas
Marcus Webb
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive End

John Hines, Jr. - JR: 3 tackles

Antonio Showers - SO: 1.5 tackles/1 TFL/1 sack

Defensive Tackle

Marcus Webb - SR: 5.5 tackles/1 TFL/1 sack

Travis Sailo - SR: 4 tackles/2 TFLs/2 sacks/1 PBU

Nose Tackle

Will Choloh, Jr. - SO: 13 tackles/1.5 TFLs/1 sack/

Elgin Griffin - JR: 2 tackles

The stat: creating rushing opportunities

For the maligned nature of Troy’s defense, they’re actually pretty solid against the run. 51st overall, 19th in success rate, 12th in explosiveness, 34th in stuff rate... none of the Trojan opponents have moved the ball on the ground effectively, and that’s thanks to the stout defensive line. Missouri’s offensive line hasn’t been spectacular at getting 5-yard gains and only slightly better than average and preventing run stuffs. If the line can’t move the Troy line off the ball Rountree and Badie are going to have to get creative if they want to get free for 3-5 yards. Expect some frustrations in the ground game.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Troy
Justin Whisenhunt
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Bandit

Zo Bridges - JR: 6.5 tackles/1.5 TFLs/1 sack

Jarvis Hayes - SR: 6 tackles/2.5 TFLs/1.5 sacks

Weakside (WILL) Linebacker

Justin Whisenhunt - JR: 6.5 tackles/1.5 TFLs/1 FF

K.J. Robertson - SO: 10.5 tackles/1 TFLs/1 sack

Middle Linebacker

Carlton Martial - SO: 33.5 tackles/7.5 TFLs/1 INT/1 FF

The stat: standard downs success rate

Whether its through the ground or the air, Troy opponents have had tremendous success on standard downs, with the Trojans ranking 127th (out of 130 teams!) in defensive performance on standard downs. Looking at the linebacker performance you can see that they don’t have a lot of tackles or havoc plays; they rely on the line or the secondary which means either a.) opponents pass enough that linebackers in coverage aren’t involved, or b.) they aren’t making plays when the ball is funneled to them and the secondary has to clean up. Regardless, the Tigers have a golden opportunity when the have standard downs advantages to stay ahead of the chains and keep the ball moving. The Trojans are decent on passing downs so it’ll behoove the Missouri offense to stay in manageable down and distance.

Spear

T.J. Harris - SO: 11.5 tackles/1.5 TFLs

Jeremiah Jones - JR: 3 tackles/1 TFL/1 sack

Cornerback

Jawon McDowell - R-SR: 6 tackles/1 TFL/1 PBU

Levon Fletcher - FR: x

Strong Safety

Melvin Tyus - R-SR: 6 tackles

Jaquez Dunmore - R-FR: 10.5 tackles/1 TFL

Free Safety

Kyle Nixon - JR: 7.5 tackles/2.5 TFLs

Dell Pettus - FR: 12.5 tackles

Cornerback

Will Sunderland - SR: 12 tackles/1 TFL/2 PBUs/1 INT

Reddy Steward - FR: 3.5 tackles/1 PBU

The stat: explosive plays

I’ve documented, thoroughly, the Missouri defense’s issues with explosive plays. Well, meet a team that’s actually worse than the Tigers are in that realm. The Trojans are 129th in preventing explosive plays and 130th in limiting their damage. And it’s not the ground game, where they rank 12th against explosive runs; it’s the passing game, where they are 125th against the pass overall, 101st in passing success rate, 129th in passing explosiveness, and 104th in completion rate. They are 28th in getting sacks on the quarterback but every other passing stat is easily bottom 100. The Tiger receivers have been quiet through 4 games, this would be an excellent opportunity to break out.