Blazers, Trojans share special football bond

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Troy and UAB are very much like brothers.

The two in-state rivals have a relationship much like male siblings do. While the two football programs may not get along currently, UAB owes quite a bit of thanks to their big brothers, the Trojans.

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney remembers back to the early days of the UAB program, and a phone call he received from then Blazer head coach Jim Hilyer.

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UAB’s program was in its infancy, and needed opponents. Blakeney agreed to send the Troy State JV team to Birmingham twice a season in order to help the fledgling program get on its feet.

Since then, the annual UAB/Troy game has developed in to quite the rivalry. Troy leads the all-time series 7-4. Every game since 2009 has been decided by 13 points or less, including a pair of one-point wins.

The rivalry is full of close games and exciting finishes, but one heartbreaking loss stands out in Blakeney’s mind more than any other game against the Blazers.

“There’s been some exciting finishes,” Blakeney said. “The long throw in Birmingham (in 2010) was a tough day for Troy folks. We kicked them dead on the 1-yard line and then we let them get in position to throw the ball up. Although the ball was a half-yard short of the goal line, we should’ve never let them get that close. It’s a gut-wrenching series. It’s an important game for everybody – them, too.”