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Trojans ready for latest chapter in their rivalry against South Alabama

The Troy Trojans will take on in-state rival South Alabama nine weeks after the original scheduled date. The delay has only built up the anticipation between the two rivals.

The Trojans and Jaguars were originally scheduled to play on October 31, but South Alabama was forced to postpone the game due to COVID-19.

It’s a rivalry that dates back to 2012. The Trojans have defeated the Jaguars in the last two games. It marks the third time in the young rivalry that either team won in back-to-back years. After the Trojans won the first two games, the Jaguars battled back to win in 2014 and 2015.

This year’s rivalry will feature the 4-5 Trojans against the 4-6 Jaguars.

“They are a much-improved team. They might be playing some of their best football here lately. I see a team that is still playing extremely hard and has improved from the first of the year to now. This is a rivalry game; our players and coaches know that. We are very excited. Going on the road to their place will be a challenge. We need to refocus after not playing so well this weekend and get ready for a rivalry game.”  

The 2020 version of the rivalry will be unlike any of the other previous contests. The game will be played in brand new Hancock Whitney Bank Stadium. There will be fans in attendance, however fans will me greatly limited. The Trojans are no strangers to playing in quiet stadiums this season. They traveled to play in an empty stadium earlier this season against BYU and last week just over 2,000 fans witnessed Troy’s game against Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina.

“I think we are somewhat used to the no fans. We have played in front of limited crowds all season. We need to focus on us executing and playing better mostly. If you can’t get excited to play South Alabama in a rivalry game, then we don’t have the right guys. It should take care of itself. We just need to focus on what we can do better.”  

For some, Saturday’s trip to Mobile will mean a little more. Carlton Martial will return home to play against his home-town team. Martial graduated from McGill-Toolan High School in Mobile.

“It’s very exciting playing against those guys,” Martial said. “It’s good to be able to play them. I know some their weaknesses and their strengths. It’s always exciting playing those guys, some of them are still my friends to this day.”

The Trojans have three games remaining in their regular season. They hope to begin the final stretch with a win against their in-state rival.

“It’s a big tradition having the belt with all the history that is behind this game,” Martial said. “We have to keep the belt, but it’s more about getting better as a team and winning this game and getting the bad taste out of our mouth from last week.”