Start time: 6:00 PM CT
Location: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy, Alabama
Stream: WatchESPN.com, WatchESPN app
Betting line: Troy -7.0. Over/Under: 61.5
Series: Troy leads 2-1 - In Mobile 1-1, Troy 1-0
First met: Sept 29 2012 - Troy won 31-0
Last meeting: Oct 24 2014 South won 27-13
The most anticipated Troy-South Alabama matchup ever starts at 6 p.m. tomorrow, and it would be a sin to miss it. The two teams will be playing for a FREAKING BELT, and coaches, players and fans on both sides of the rivalry are even more excited for this year's game than ever before.
Here is breakdown of each side of the contest from South Alabama writer Alyssa Newton and Troy writer Jacob Young.
South Alabama is coming off 50-point loss to NC State last week as the Jags were ran over at home 63-13.
Keys to winning:
Ball security: In every game besides San Diego State, South Alabama has turned the ball over three times in each contest. Although in the Jags' opener against Gardner-Webb the Bulldogs were not able to capitalize, all six turnovers against Nebraska, NC State turned into scoring drives.
Break the daze, D: Last week safety and team captain Roman Buchanan was at a loss for words after the NC State loss. "I have to figure out what to tell my teammates," he said in the postgame interviews. South Alabama's defense has to shake off last week's loss and really show up against the Trojans. No more deer in the headlights, which it shouldn't be bad going into the first conference game of the year.
Stop the run: Although Coach Brown is known for his air strikes, South Alabama head coach Joey Jones is focused on the Jags stopping the run, something they've struggled with all season. The Jags have allowed 226 yards per game, but they will have some extra help as two of the Jags top defensive ends come back from injury - Akeem Lewis and Dewayne Alford.
South needs good mix on the ground, big plays: South Alabama needs to come out strong in this contest against the Trojans. The Jags need to move the ball well on the ground, something the Jags did well two weeks ago in their win over San Diego State. Big plays will be a key, especially finding speedy receiver Josh Magee behind the secondary and Garald Everett to use his size and strength. There's bound to be some deep balls flying.
Prediction: South Alabama wins 34-27
The Troy Trojans are coming off of a bye week, but put up a relatively respectable performance against the Wisconsin Badgers in their previous game, losing by a final of 28-3.
Keys to winning:
Let Brandon Silvers loose: I've said this time-after-time, but it remains true. Despite being very efficient and making good reads in the pocket, sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers has yet to be given a chance to put his abilities on full display. Troy needs to give Silvers the chance to throw the ball early and often against a Jaguar defense that has had its struggles against the pass.
Effective runs: While the coaching staff needs to go with a pass-heavy game plan, the Trojan run game can't be overlooked. The team has done a poor job of establishing a consistent run game, and after an extra week of practice, that needs to change. The backs will get fewer carries if Troy opts to let Silvers test the defense, but the team needs a high yards per carry average from its backfield.
Put the ball in the end zone: Obviously, the goal of every offensive possession is to move the ball down the field and score a touchdown. Troy has done the first part of that well, but they have seen many drives come to a halt after reaching opponent territory. You can't win if you don't score, and field goals aren't gonna cut it on Saturday. The South Alabama defense has allowed 40.2 points per game, so Troy has no excuses for not putting up six on at least several occasions.
Prediction: Troy wins 41-27