Tribune Mizzou athletics reporter Eric Blum spoke with Ken Rogers of the Dothan Eagle ahead of Missouri's home game against Troy on Saturday.
Rogers, who previously covered Alabama, is in his second year on the Trojans football beat.
He shared his thoughts about Troy’s impact in a college football-heavy state, how good Troy can be this season and his final score prediction.
The conversation has been slightly edited for clarity and length.
Blum: What do you see as Troy’s place in college football within the state of Alabama, especially in light of having the Crimson Tide and Auburn?
Rogers: They’ve carved out a niche for themselves. Troy is located about an hour in between Montgomery and Dothan. Troy’s been a pretty good program for a lot of years. The program drifted off for a little bit, but (current West Virginia head coach) Neal Brown certainly brought it back. And with a couple of eye-opening wins, that grabbed a lot of national headlines, but Neal won a lot of games around here anyway. It wasn’t just the Power Five Conference teams the Trojans were knocking off.
Blum: What can you tell us about Troy this season?
Rogers: In Troy’s wins, it’s been very good. It was playing outmanned opponents, to be honest with you, in Campbell and Akron. Both of those games were very convincing, but it should have been like that. Those 50-50 games, the ones that pad a record and really make a season, the Trojans have been very good offensively and not very good defensively. So they’ve lost to Southern Miss at home, and last week, started their Sun Belt Conference play with a loss at home to Arkansas State.
Blum: How do you think Troy is approaching this game as Missouri is the only Power Five team it’ll play this year?
Rogers: You get to come out swinging. Maybe you can land one and maybe you can’t. The problem, I think, with Troy in this particular season is that it’s very young on defense and that’s really been reflected in those losses. The Trojans gave up 47 points to Southern Miss and 50 to Arkansas State. Both of those games, though, were down-to-the-wire games.
Blum: Missouri has already played and defeated Brown and West Virginia this season. How familiar do you think Chip Lindsey’s Troy team will be on film to Missouri?
Rogers: Troy will have Missouri’s attention on offense. I think Missouri will be pretty good at producing points and yards. I have a feeling it’ll try and possess the ball a lot. Just get out of the game, get the win and go home. Southern Miss and Arkansas State beat Troy, but the Trojans stuck around because the game was a track meet, and I don’t advise anybody to get into a track meet with Troy because it extends the game.
Blum: The Vegas line this week has stood at Missouri being favored by about 24 points. Do you think Troy can cover the spread, and what’s your final score prediction?
Rogers: Ask LSU what the line was for the game two years ago or Nebraska last year. Point being that in college football, Troy has scholarship players, too, and it has some pretty good ones. I just don’t think the Trojans have enough of them to really pull an upset against what I think is a very underrated Missouri team. I think those guys are going to be pretty tough and a factor in the SEC East. I would say they would not cover that number. I’ll say Missouri 49, Troy 21.