Troy set to play Duke in Birmingham Bowl 

Published 6:02 pm Sunday, December 3, 2023

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The Troy Trojans will become the first Sun Belt Conference team to ever face a Power 5 opponent in a bowl game when they match up with the ACC’s Duke Blue Devils (7-5) in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 23.  

The Trojans are coming off their second straight Sun Belt Championship and a 10-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Duke is coming off a 7-5 season that saw the Blue Devils upset No. 9-ranked Clemson earlier this season.  

This will be Troy’s 10 bowl appearance in school history, holding a 6-3 record in the first nine matchups. The Trojans are also on a five-game winning streak in the postseason. Troy knocked off No. 22 UTSA last season in the Cure Bowl. 

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This is not only the first appearance in the Birmingham Bowl for Troy but Troy is the first Sun Belt team to ever play a Power 5 school in a bowl game. This will also be the first time that Troy has ever played on ABC.  

“I’m grateful the selection process took us in enough consideration in rewarding our guys with an opportunity to face a really quality opponent,” Troy Coach Jon Sumrall said. “I think that is a tremendous thing for our guys to take on and really pleased we’re still getting to practice and play football and doing it against a really good team.” 

This is just the third time that Troy and Duke have ever met on the gridiron. The two sides met in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014 with Duke winning the last matchup 34-17 in 2014.  

“I think it says a tremendous amount for our brand of football, our style of football as well,” Troy Athletic Director Brent Jones said of being the first Sun Belt school to face a Power 5 in a bowl game. “We have 11 wins, 23 wins over the last two years. I don’t want to speak for our student athletes or coaches but that is a big deal.” 

The Birmingham Bowl is typically played between the SEC and ACC annually but when conference’s don’t have enough teams to fill out their bowl commitments – for various reasons – ESPN has the ability to match up opponents from other conferences.  

The Troy football team got even more good news when Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins announced to the team today that the university is making a $10 million commitment to the construction of an indoor practice facility. An indoor facility is a project that has been on the Wishlist of many fans, alumni, coaches and administrators at the university for a number of years.  

Troy will play Duke in the Birmingham Bowl at Birmingham’s Protective Stadium at 11 a.m. in a game that will air nationally on ABC.