‘Battle of the Belt’ this Saturday

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015

For the first time in the short history of the Troy-South Alabama rivalry there will be something to play for. Starting with Saturday’s Sun Belt Conference opener the annual game between the Trojans and Jaguars will now be coined “The Battle of the Belt.”

Troy currently leads the all time series 2-1.

SGA Presidents Ravi Rajendra of USA and Heath Barton of Troy decided it was time for this rivalry to join the ranks.

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“I’m excited that both student bodies have taken an interest in this game,” said Troy head coach Neal Brown. “It’s a natural rivalry game. It’s a game where a lot of our guys know theirs and vice versa.  We’re close in proximity. We play in the same conference. We battle on the recruiting front a lot. I think it’s worthy of a trophy.”

The winner of the game will be awarded a championship belt on the field after the game Saturday.

“I like it. Battle of the Belt,” said Troy cornerback LaMarcus Farmer. “I think this game really deserves to be a big rivalry game It’s in-state and a lot of fans, a lot of people who go to school there and here have really made it seem like a big rivalry. Definitely, in our locker room and on that field, we see it as a big rivalry.

Troy has had other trophy games in the past. Most recently Troy matched up with former conference foe Middle Tennessee State for the Battle of the Palladium. Middle Tennessee left the Sun Belt Conference in July of 2013.

For guys like quarterback Brandon Silvers, who is from Gulf just about an hour away from USA, this game means just a little bit more than others.

“It is probably my favorite game other than like Wisconsin or Mississippi,” Silvers said. “It is definitely my favorite Sun Belt game going in. I didn’t play well at all last year, so I have been thinking about it a lot and I can’t wait to get it started.”

For the rivalry the university has decided to black out the stadium by encouraging the fans to dress in black. The first 10,00 fans in attendance will receive a black shirt. Kick off between Troy and South Alabama in the Battle of the Belt is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium.