Troy Delivers Payback in Battle for the Belt at South Alabama

troy south alaabama

Matthew Jordan

Monday, October 22, 2018 12:34 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 12:34 PM UTC

Now that we are into Week 9 of the college football season, expect plenty of early-week games. This Tuesday, it’s Sun Belt action as Troy heads to South Alabama.

Troy (5-2, 4-2-1 ATS) at South Alabama (2-5, 3-3-1 ATS)Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: TrojansBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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OK, I do consider myself a bit of a sports expert, both pro and college, in football and basketball. Can someone explain to me, though, how Troy and South Alabama, schools just 150 miles apart or so (Troy is in Troy, Ala., and USA is Mobile), are in separate divisions of the Sun Belt Conference? The rivals play Tuesday night in Mobile.

Troy is fighting for the East Division regular-season title at 3-0 in conference play. Not sure if you knew this, but the Sun Belt finally added a conference championship game this year (Dec. 1 at home of division champion with better record). Troy and Appalachian State shared the title in 2017. With Troy, App State and Georgia Southern, the East Division is way better than the terrible West, where South Alabama is very much alive despite a 1-2 conference record.

It’s the seventh meeting between the schools, with it tied 3-3. Last year, South Alabama was a 19-8 upset winner at Troy to claim the Battle for the Belt – the Trojans were 18-point favorites. They might have been flat coming off a stunning upset win at LSU the game before. Troy turned it over four times against USA and its kicker missed two short field goals. The Jaguars held the ball for nearly 36 minutes.

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— Troy Trojans Football 5x⚔️ (@TroyTrojansFB) October 16, 2018
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Troy Looks To Begin New Streaks

Troy has played a couple of big-time opponents this season, losing 56-20 in Week 1 vs. then-ranked Boise State but winning 24-19 at Nebraska on Sept. 15. Troy got paid nearly $1.2 million to go to Lincoln and pull the stunner. The Trojans come off a 22-16 non-conference loss at Liberty on Oct. 13. Troy’s five-game winning streak overall and its nine-game road streak, which was second-longest in the country, were snapped.

“Quite frankly, that’s probably the most upset, the maddest I’ve been after a game, really going back to Idaho in 2015,” head coach Neal Brown said after.

That was the first collegiate start for sophomore Sawyer Smith at quarterback after the Trojans lost Kaleb Barker for the year to a knee injury. Smith was 13 of 25 for 135 yards, one TD, a pick and a fumble. The Trojans lost the turnover battle 3-1 and are now 5-12 under Brown when they do. When Troy wins that battle, it is 22-1 under Brown.

South Alabama ended a three-game losing streak, each by at least 17 points, with a 45-7 home rout over FCS school Alabama State on Oct. 13. Sophomore running back Tra Minter had 231 all-purpose yards, fourth on USA’s all-time list. Minter rushed for an 8-yard score and returned a punt 75 yards for another. The Jaguars held Alabama State to just 219 yards. South Alabama coach Steve Campbell is a 1988 graduate of Troy; he and Jaguar coordinators Kenny Edenfield and Greg Stewart were teammates on Troy’s 1987 NCAA Division II national championship team.

  • Road team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
  • Jaguars are 8-23-1 ATS in their last 32 conference games.

Troy has covered seven of its past eight on the road, while USA is just 6-14 ATS in its past 20 vs. teams with a winning record and 5-17 ATS in its past 22 after a win. Take Troy for a Tuesday NCAAF pick.

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