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New QB vs. new FIU

The Troy Trojans football team is currently in first place in the Sun Belt Conference standings — but Troy’s shares the top spot with a resurgent Florida International team.

The Golden Panthers of FIU are 2-0 in the conference, and they have won three straight. Prior to the current streak the Golden Panthers won just one game in their past 28 contests.

“They play really hard,” Trojans offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “It will be a challenge. This is not the same FIU bunch. This is a (conference) championship game this weekend.”

Brown will send a quarterback on the field in Saturday’s “championship game” for his first career start, but the jury is still out on which quarterback that will be.

Quarterback Jamie Hampton suffered a season-ending leg injury in the win at Florida Atlantic last Tuesday, and now it’s up to either Tanner Jones or Levi Brown to step in and lead the offense.

“It’s an open competition,” Brown said.

“It’s a feel deal. It’s going to come down to who produces in practice. We would like to pick one. I would like them to make the decision. It’s a hard position to be looking over your shoulder after every play. You have to let one guy go with it.”

The bright side of starting a new quarterback in the midst of conference play is that it’s going to happen in Troy.

“It’s always good if somebody is making their first start at home,” Brown said.

The Trojans also have questions to answer at center this week.

Starting center Danny Franks has been listed as questionable for Saturday’s game.

“We’re a no excuse operation,” Brown said. “I tell them if you do your job and take care of what your responsible for then we’re in good shape.”

The Trojans defense is ready for the challenge that FIU will bring.

Linebacker Bear Woods was asked if he was surprised about how well FIU is playing this season.

“I’m not going to lie, I am,” Woods responded. “They have a different kind of swagger about them. They’ve been winning convincingly.”

Trojans defensive coordinator Jeremy Rowell had similar comments about the Golden Panthers.

“They are probably the most improved team in the league, if not the best team in the league,” Rowell said.

The Trojans expect a tough test this weekend and kickoff is set for Saturday at 6 p.m. from Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.