Trojans hoping fans follow them to Mobile when they take on South Alabama

Published 8:01 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The last time the Trojans made the three-hour trip to face South Alabama, 16 packed busses followed them to Mobile. The Troy Trojans and the South Alabama Jaguars will renew their rivalry once again in front of a national audience on Tuesday evening at Ladd Peebles Stadium.

Ladd was Troy’s home away from home in 2016. The Trojans knocked off the Jaguars 28-21 in front of an excited Troy fan base in Mobile.

“When we came out to warmup, there were a good bit of them and we were like, ‘We have a good bit of students here,’” said receiver Deondre Douglas. “We go in and come back out and it was like, ‘Man, they all came.’ They were all behind us. When we came to the end of the tunnel and we saw our student section at South Alabama, it was amazing.”

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Three years ago, the rivalry game between South Alabama and Troy became known as The Battle for the Belt. Since the belt was put up for grabs, Troy has taken the belt home once. Last season, the Trojans fell to the Jaguars 19-8 coming off their 24-21 win over LSU.

The Trojans have experienced the highs and lows when it comes to facing South Alabama.

“It’s a very emotional game,” Douglas said. “We all know it’s a rivalry game. It’s one of the more looked at games on our schedule. I feel like it’s probably the sole reason why it’s been so up and down. There are so many emotions in the game.”

In 2016 when the Trojans made the trip to South Alabama, coach Neal Brown thought it was one of the best atmospheres he has seen in a Sun Belt Conference game. He hopes history will repeat itself once again this year.

“I know they have been selling tickets for several weeks now,” Brown said. “I have all the faith that they are going to show up. To be honest, we need them. We played well in that venue before, that doesn’t guarantee we will play well at Ladd this time. That was the best Sun Belt atmosphere of a game that I can remember. Just because we had so many of our fans there. It was loud, the game went down to the wire and so much went down in the endzone where our students were. Hopefully we can recreate that in a number of ways.”

Tuesday’s game will mean a little bit more to one particular player. Linebacker Carlton Martial is a Mobile native and he is expecting a large crowd in attendance to watch him play the hometown Jaguars.

“It’s just another game, but it’s kind of personal to me because that’s my hometown,” Martial said. “Going back, playing in front of my family, a bunch of my friends – it’s going to be really exciting.”

Martial only went to two South Alabama games over the years, but one of them was two years ago when he noticed quite a few Trojan fans in attendance.

“One of the thoughts I had back then was, ‘Wow, there are more Troy fans at the game than South fans,’” Martial said. “I hope we get that same turnout this week.”