Location: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
Kickoff: 7:00 PM Central Time, Saturday, October 23rd
TV/Radio: ESPN2; Troy Sports Radio Network; WRKH 96.1 FM
Live Stats: stats.statbroadcast.com
Odds: Troy -12.5; O/U 53.5
The Troy Trojans hope to get back in the win column this Tuesday night against their in-state rival, the South Alabama Jaguars, in the “Battle for the Belt”. This “Battle” was started in 2015 by the student governments of both schools and since then the visiting team has always taken home the rivalry trophy, which is of course a championship belt. Last year South Alabama came to Troy as a big underdog and whipped, the No. 25 Troy Trojans 19-8.
The Jaguars have struggled this year. Their only wins are against Alabama State (an FCS team) and Texas State, the cellar dwellers of the Sun Belt.
Prior to losing to Liberty last Saturday, I would have said that Troy should easily handle the Jaguars and make a statement going forward in the last half of the season and into the Sun Belt Championship Game. But now it looks like the Trojans are struggling, too. Their offense didn’t perform well at all against Liberty, and Troy always seems to have problems with South Alabama.
Both teams have had 10 days to prepare for this game and both teams need it.
On paper, the Trojans definitely have the edge. Despite the Liberty game, Troy still has the advantage in almost every statistical category tracked. But that didn’t mean anything last year and it’s unlikely to mean much tonight. In-state rivalries don’t necessarily favor the favorite.
New starting quarterback, Sawyer Smith, didn’t do well in his debut and the team in general looked flat. They’ll need to play with a lot more intensity against the Jags.
South Alabama can still play its way into the Sun Belt championship game. A win against Troy could provide the confidence and momentum they need to win a lackluster Sun Belt West division.
Look for a hard-hitting contest until the final whistle. The game will probably be a lot closer than most of the predictions, but I still think Troy has the advantage.
Troy 31 South Alabama 27.