Troy vs. South Alabama prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Trojans and Jaguars.
Troy vs. South Alabama Game Preview
When: Thursday, October 20 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
It’ll be first place versus last place in this fifth edition of the Battle of the Belt. Troy stands atop the Sun Belt Conference, having only lost by six points to Clemson back in Week 2 in Death Valley. The Trojans have reeled off four consecutive wins, capped by Saturday’s 31-21 victory over Georgia State. South Alabama’s curious season continues, as the halfway point is reached in Mobile. The Jags still haven’t won a conference game in 2016, falling to Arkansas State this past weekend. Yet, they remain in the bowl hunt, thanks to prior upsets of Mississippi State and San Diego State.
What To Know About Troy
With all due respect to Appalachian State, the Trojans are the team to catch in the Sun Belt Conference. They’re clicking in all phases of the game, leading the league at 39 points per game, while allowing an average of just 19. On offense, quarterback Brandon Silvers and running back Jordan Chunn are putting up the numbers, but the O-line has been the underrated hero. Troy leads the country with just one sack allowed in six games. While the Trojans are allowing a lot of yards through the air, they also have an FBS-high 14 picks, so buyer beware for opposing quarterbacks.
What to Know About South Alabama
The Jaguars are one of the nation’s more schizophrenic programs. You really never know what you’ll get from Joey Jones’ squad. The offense has been especially erratic, with the running game averaging less than 100 yards against FBS opponents. In the Arkansas State game, the D played well enough to win, but the offense again failed to show up. To beat Troy this week, South Alabama will need special efforts from its top weapons, tight end Gerald Everett and Bandit Randy Allen, who has 11 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three forced fumbles.
Offense: Troy. Trojans are far more potent and balanced than the Jaguars, especially with Chunn between the tackles.
Defense: Troy. Troy has been a takeaway machine, led by cornerback Blace Brown, and is only giving up three yards a carry.
Special Teams: Troy. Jabir Frye is a dangerous return man, and kicking specialist Ryan Kay is angling toward an all-star senior season.
Coaching: Troy. Head coach Neal Brown is having the kind of season that could earn him looks from Power Five programs in December.
Intangibles: Troy. While South Alabama is struggling to capture that first league win, protecting its lead atop the league will motivate Troy.
Matchup To Watch
Allen vs. Troy offensive tackles Antonio Garcia and Tyler Lassiter
Allen has been one of Jones’ top performers this season, slashing through opposing linemen to wreak havoc in the backfield. The Jaguars will need him to be disruptive on Thursday night, though Garcia and Lassiter have been like bedrock in pass protection throughout the year.
Troy at South Alabama Betting Odds
Spread: Troy – 9
Over/Under: No line (as of post)
Troy at South Alabama Prediction
South Alabama is a dangerous team, as Mississippi State and San Diego State learned earlier this year. However, Troy is playing too well to get upended in front of a national TV audience. Brown and his Trojans will showcase their growth by keeping the Jaguar offense in neutral and moving the chains with the balance of Silvers and Chunn. USA quarterback Dallas Davis will be forced to air out, which will be a recipe for three picks, one of which Troy returns for six.
Troy at South Alabama Score Prediction: Troy 30, South Alabama 19