South Alabama Jaguars (1-4, 0-1 SUN BELT) @ Troy Trojans (4-1, 1-0 SUN BELT) — Troy -17, O/U 48 — 8 PM EST (7 PM Local)
“The Battle for the Belt”
If there is one thing college football needs, it’s more Alabama in general. In the state, football is smash-mouthed, and on a pedestal slightly below the Lord, slightly. That makes for entertainment. Thus, we welcome this newfound “Battle of the Belt” rivalry, notably the 2017 version as it features the Tiger killin’ Trojans.
Troy is a known entity now after that upset of LSU, but they have been solid for several seasons. They have a feisty and attacking defense, deeper on the line than most Group of Five schools, with a superb cover corner on the back-end in Blace Brown, and upperclassmen around him. The offense wears on you with a brutal rushing attack of Jordan Chunn and Jamarius Henderson (with a splash of the 250-pound Josh Anderson), but touts a veteran, senior quarterback in Brandon Silvers and good receivers. They beat a very, very talented and well-coached defense in LSU, and the hard-nosed style is a large reason why.
— J.D. (@JLay12) October 1, 2017
South Alabama has struggled with injury and inconsistency at quarterback, thus skewing perceptions of a team that should fare well in conference. They have a terrific, explosive runner in senior Xavier Johnson (57 carries, 345 yards, 4 TD), and he’s running behind a line that returned four players with starting experience including standout LT Noah Fisher. However they cannot seem to get into situations where they can run the football. The defense features potentially the Sun Belt’s most promising NFL prospect in free safety Jeremy Reaves (team highs of 37 total tackles, five TFL, six PBU and two forced fumbles), and end Finessé Middleton is showing an ability to get after the passer. But they first must stop the running game of the Trojans, who will pound the rock.
All flights have been suspended❌✈️🔒 pic.twitter.com/8ySQskixUX
— Jeremy Reaves (@JR1ERA) September 26, 2017
At home, Troy enters as about a seventeen point favorite, but given the competitive series and in-state nature, we see this being a big closer than that. If Johnson can get going, expect very close game. That said, we think Troy wears on the Jags, pulling away thanks to the defensive line forcing turnovers, in a 30-15 win.