NCAA Football: Troy Trojans vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles Preview, Prediction & Odds - Sept. 18, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7 p.m. ET, September 18, 2021
Venue: M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS
Where to watch: ESPN+

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Troy -10; O/U 50.5; Troy -380, Southern Miss +290
BetMGM: Troy -10; O/U 50.5; Troy -400, Southern Miss +300
Caesars: Troy -10; O/U 50.5; Troy -400, Southern Miss +310

Season record
Troy: 1-1
Southern Miss: 1-1

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Troy - Southern Miss preview and analysis


Recent form
Troy: lost 21-13 vs. Liberty on Sept. 11
Southern Miss: won 37-0 vs. Grambling State on Sept. 11

The Troy Trojans might be a more formidable foe than we thought, and now they could be facing a Southern Miss Golden Eagles team minus its starting quarterback.

Southern Miss quarterback Trey Lowe III left Saturday’s game against Grambling State, a 37-0 win to get the Golden Eagles on the win ledger this season for the first time. Ty Keyes stepped in relief and threw for 50 yards and a touchdown, but was 4-of-11.

Considering the Golden Eagles are facing a Troy defense that nearly did enough to pull off the upset against the Liberty Flames, the Trojans defense is licking its chops.

Troy just didn’t have an answer for Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who accounted for all three touchdowns and 247 total yards in the 21-13 win for Hugh Freeze’s team. Troy quarterback Taylor Powell threw for 211 yards and a touchdown, but a lack of a running game and a crucial interception prevented the upset.

The Southern Miss defense has also been great so far this season, allowing just 221 yards per game.The Golden Eagles defense allowed only 141 yards from Grambling State despite only having just over two minutes of an advantage in time of possession. Not bad for a rebounding effort after losing 31-7 against South Alabama in Week 1.

If there’s any hope for the Golden Eagles to keep this game afloat, it will be because of that defense led by pass rusher Josh Carr. The fact the Trojans held that high-powered Liberty offense to that low of an effort speaks volumes. It may not be on DeMarcus Ware level, but still strong enough to show that last game was no fluke.

Prediction


Two years ago, the teams combined for 89 points and over 1,000 passing yards. Expect a sharp contrast this time, but still a close game. That Troy defense was very good at home last week, and expect that to travel on the road this week. Troy by 6

Betting trends


Southern Miss is 6-0 against the spread as a home underdog since 2015.

Troy is 7-8 ATS in its last 15 and 9-6 straight up.

Players to watch


Troy: Luke Whittemore has been a prime target during Taylor Powell’s efficient start to the season. He doesn’t have a touchdown yet, but look for Whittemore to get more targets as this game rolls on.

Southern Miss: Frank Gore Jr. -- yes, you read that right -- has been the catalyst to the Golden Eagles’ offense. The son of the future pro football hall of famer has 243 yards but only one touchdown. If Keyes is under center, it’ll be on Gore to break through offensively.

Statistical leaders


Troy:
Passing: Taylor Powell -- 442 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Kimani Vidal -- 119 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Luke Whittemore -- 123 yards; Tez Johnson -- 117 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Will Choloh -- 3.5 sacks

Southern Miss:
Passing: Trey Lowe -- 232 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Frank Gore Jr. -- 243 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Jakarius Caston -- 88 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Josh Carr Jr. -- 2.5 sacks

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert college football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Troy - Southern Miss prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAAF projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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