Trojans host Jaguars in ‘Battle for the Belt’ game

Published 7:14 pm Monday, October 14, 2019

The Troy Trojans will play in the latest installment of the Battle for the Belt when they host rival South Alabama on Wednesday evening at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

This Wednesday night, the Trojans will look to pick up their third-straight midweek win with a win over South Alabama. The series between the in-state rivals has favored the road team lately. The road team has won the last three games in this growing rivalry. Despite winning 10-plus games in three consecutive seasons, the Trojans have dropped their last two home games against the Jaguars.

“Anytime these two teams faceoff, you can guarantee that the records go out the window,” Troy head coach Chip Lindsey said. “This will be a typical rivalry game and both teams will be ready to play. It’s going to come down to who takes advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves.”

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The Trojans have lost their last two home games to the Jaguars by scores of 24-18 and 19-8. Troy’s most recent loss to South Alabama in 2017, it came on the heels of their upset win at LSU the week prior.

“The biggest thing for us is the home team has never won this game,” Troy offensive lineman Dylan Bradshaw said. “We’re trying to break that streak come Wednesday.”

The rivalry between Troy and South Alabama goes back to only 2012. In their seven previous meetings, the Trojans hold a slim 4-3 advantage over the Jaguars.

“South Alabama is always fun,” Bradshaw said. “It’s our one rivalry game. It’s the Battle for the Belt. It’s two programs that have traditionally not liked each other too much, both on and off the field. It means a lot to our fans. It means a lot to us, too. They’re in the West and we’re in the East, but I’m ready for it. I’m really excited.”

The Trojans currently have the belt on display after their win last season in Mobile and It’s a constant reminder of what the rivalry means to not only to the veterans, but the younger players as well.

“Those guys, they know when you’re getting recruited here,” Bradshaw said. “The guys who came in this year, we have the belt right now, and they see it.”

This game means more to some more than others. Troy sophomore Carlton Martial will be playing his hometown team and he expects to have plenty of friends and family paying a visit to Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“It’s always exciting playing them, playing against some of my former teammates from high school. It’s going to be fun.”

Marital stays in contact with a handful of Jaguar players including quarterback Cephus Johnson. Martial believes he will be targeted when he is on the field.

“Jalen called me the other day and showed me where they said block him,” Martial said. “Make sure you put your hands on him. I guess I am (targeted), but that leaves it open for someone else.”

The game will be Troy’s only non-Saturday game this season. Since 2015, the Trojans have had mixed results during midweek games. They are currently on a short two-game winning streak going back to the 2017 season. Since 2015, the Trojans have gone 5-3 in games not played on Saturday.

“It’s a big stretch going ahead,” Trojan junior linebacker Justin Whisenhunt said. “South Alabama is a rivalry game, ESPN game. We all want to win the belt. Hopefully we can come out victorious.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN.