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How to Watch: Troy at Kansas State

You can’t fault K-State for weak scheduling when it comes to the mid-major slot on the calendar.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 16: RaJae’ Johnson #0 and Carlton Martial #2 of the Troy Trojans hold the trophy after defeating the UTSA Roadrunners by a score of 18 to 12 to win the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl at Exploria Stadium on December 16, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
These guys are coming of a 12 win season. Strangely, the team K-State played in week two last year also won 12 games.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Last year in week two, K-State hosted Tulane. At the time, it seemed like a disaster; the Wildcats couldn’t get going on offense and stumbled to a 17-10 loss that had the fanbase roiling with discontent.

By December, it was looked at as a “good loss”. The Green Wave finished 12-2, won the American Athletic Conference title, and upended USC in the Cotton Bowl to finish ranked ninth in the AP Poll.

Meanwhile, one of those two teams Tulane lost to was Southern Mississippi, who two weeks later would post a 27-10 win over the Troy Trojans. Troy went on to finish... 12-2, won the Sun Belt Conference title, and upended UTSA in the Cure Bowl.

It’s wild how things mirror one another, but it’s 2023 now and maybe we won’t be having to talk about whether it was a good loss or not.

The Game

The Kansas State Wildcats (1-0, 0-0 Big 12, 15 AP) host the Troy Trojans (1-0, 0-0 SBC, rv AP).

The teams have met once before, with the Cats routing the Trojans 41-5 to open the 2003 season. We won’t talk about what happened after that.

Troy has been a remarkably successful program for their level of competition for a long time. The Trojans won the Alabama Collegiate Conference six times between 1939 and 1969, including the NAIA title in 1968, before moving to Division II and the Gulf South Conference. They won that league seven times in twenty years, including Division II titles in 1984 and 1987, before moving to FCS in 1991.

As an independent in those first Division I years, Troy reached the semifinals of the FCS playoffs in 1993, and again in 1996 in their first year in the Southland Conference. They made the playoffs in seven of their eight years of eligibility before moving up to FBS in 2001, joining the Sun Belt in 2004.

Since then, in twenty years all they’ve done is win seven Sun Belt titles. This is, in short, a program with a winning history. They’re coming off a downturn, however, which began in 2018 following the departure of Neal Brown after his one year as head coach; this, and West Virginia’s performance under Brown, are an object lesson in not hiring a coach who took over a team and had one big year. That’s probably one big reason why Troy did not lose their coach after last season.

That coach is Jon Sumrall, who took over for the fired Chip Lindsey after three straight losing seasons. He immediately righted the ship. Sumrall had been a finalist for the job when Lindsey was hired, following a career as an assistant at his alma mater Kentucky, San Diego, Tulane, three years as the assistant head coach at Troy under Brown, a year at Mississippi, then a return to Kentucky.

Last week, Troy equalled K-State’s offensive output but did not look good on defense at all in a 48-30 win over FCS squad (and former conference foe from the Southland days) Stephen F. Austin. Despite the 48 points, Gunnar Watson threw for under 200 yards; Troy’s main threat is Kimani Vidal, who had 248 yards on 15 carries.

He’s probably not looking forward to facing a defense this week which held Southeast Missouri State — a run-heavy squad — to negative rushing yards until the final drive. Sumrall summed up the situation with extreme candor: “If we don’t play a lot better it will be a blowout... against us.”


Saturday, September 9, 11:00am CT at Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000) in Manhattan, Kansas.


There are third-party passports available, ranging from the low $30s in the upper deck to over $100 on the K-State sideline. We say “over $100” because while there are a few tickets ranging up to $178, there are very few any higher than $110. The median price will be around $50.


K-State opened as a 15.5 point favorite, but our friends at DraftKings have upped that to -16.5 with the over at 51.5. That suggests a 35-17 Wildcat Victory. The money line is +600 for Troy, -900 for the Cats. Oddshark’s computer is drunk, predicting a 35-27 for Troy.


FS1, with Eric Collins and Devin Gardner. No sideline reporter, which implies they’ll be calling the game from the studio.


As always, Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber, and Matt Walters will be on hand on the K-State Sports Network as well as via satellite on SiriusXM 83.

Internet Streaming

The game will stream on FOX Sports (cable or eligible streaming package subscription required). Audio available via Live stats provided by K-State Sports.

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