/“Battle for the Belt” preview

“Battle for the Belt” preview

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Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The “Battle of the Belt”, the recently announced title of the Troy-South Alabama rivalry, will be played for the first time under that name in Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 3.

The matchup is an anticipated showdown between two Sun Belt teams that have been bitter rivals since both teams were placed in the same FBS conference in 2012. The game will be intriguing, with first-year head coach Neal Brown leading the renewed Trojans (1-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) against a South team that has been ranked highly in the Sun Belt over the last few years.

“Big game this week,” Brown said. “It’s rivalry week. It’s a game that obviously we’ve had circled, I’m sure South has had it circled too. Not only is it an inter-state game, but our first conference game. Our guys are excited about it and being back at home starting Sun Belt play, and then obviously playing in this rivalry game.”

Troy’s offense, which struggled last week to put points on the board against Wisconsin, will face another talented defense this week in the Jaguars (2-2, 0-0 Sun Belt). South Alabama’s secondary, in particular, stands out.

Junior safety Roman Buchanan is a playmaker for the Jaguars, having recorded 33 tackles and an interception in four games. Likewise, sophomore cornerback Jeremy Reaves will look to be a thorn in the Trojans’ side. He currently leads South in tackles with 35, along with an interception and a forced fumble so far.

Look for defense to dictate the outcome of this week’s game, as Troy also has defensive weapons of its own. Junior linebacker William Lloyd, who leads the team with 24 tackles and a sack in three games, will look to lead the Trojans against the dual threat of senior quarterback Cody Clements. In the secondary, senior safety Montres Kitchens will look to keep South Alabama’s talented receiving corps in check.

The first Battle of the Belt will be played under the lights on Larry Blakeney Field, with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.