Barry McKnight, radio play-by-play announcer for the Troy Trojans previewed their upcoming matchup against BYU with Ben Criddle on Thursday.
The Trojans beat Middle Tennessee 47-14 on Saturday, Sept. 19, thanks to 248 passing yards from sophomore quarterback Gunnar Watson and a team total 240 rushing yards. McKnight said the Troy offense relies on an up-tempo offense to overwhelm opposing defenses – the team ran 93 plays from scrimmage last week.
“One of the things that is going to be key against BYU is how quickly they go,” McKnight said. “Troy has their top eight pass receivers back from last year. The key for the wide receivers is all of them are going to play, all of them are going to get chances. The more the pace goes, the more you hope that BYU gets winded a little bit, or they lose touch with their assignments and somebody gets free.”
Troy strikes first!
Gunnar Watson finds Khalil McClain to cap off a 73-yard drive to open the season!
— Troy Trojans Football (@TroyTrojansFB) September 19, 2020
Watson was a three-star recruit from Taylor County High School in Butler, Georgia, but McKnight said he has high expectations for what the young quarterback can accomplish in his career with Troy.
“If you’ve never been to Butler, Georgia – and let’s face it, none of you have ever been to Butler, Georgia – it is a white spot in the highway,” he said. “It’s a very small town in the middle of Georgia, a very small school he came out of. Troy was extremely excited to get him to sign and play with Troy. The questions about him basically were about the level of competition. The reason Watson isn’t at an SEC school is because he played at a tiny high school, but he’s a player. I think the sky is the limit for Gunner Watson in terms of this school.”
While McKnight praised the effort by BYU’s defense in their first game, he was quick to point out that they were never tested downfield by Navy’s offense – something Troy will try their best to exploit. He also said BYU should expect more of a fight at the line of scrimmage.
— Troy Trojans Football (@TroyTrojansFB) September 20, 2020
“With all respect to BYU’s running backs, the stars of the Navy game were the offensive line,” McKnight said. “I don’t know that Troy is any bigger than Navy was on the defensive line, but they are pretty athletic along that defensive line.”
The game will come down to who wins the battle in the trenches said McKnight, despite the flashy plays by skill position players. McKnight added that despite Troy’s unimpressive 5-7 record in 2019, the team will come into LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday expecting to pull off an upset against the heavily favored Cougars.
“With all of the sexiness and attractiveness of the skill positions, to me, the biggest matchup will be with the Troy defensive line, and whether or not the young Troy offensive line can do anything with [Khyiris] Tonga and those dudes on the interior.”
🚨Interview with the Play-by-play voice, @barrymcknight!
Discussing the Troy & BYU matchup & why he says this is a MUST win for the Trojans!
"I can't reinforce that enough…It's definitely not one of those games you're just glad to be there. The expectation is to win." pic.twitter.com/N2d6Iw99Ay
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) September 25, 2020
Written by Bridger Beal-Cvetko
Bridger is a student at Utah Valley University where he studies journalism and mass communication. He is the sports editor of the on-campus newspaper, The Review. Bridger is a life-long Cougar fan and college football enthusiast.