The South Alabama–Troy Rivalry
Battle for the Belt
First contestedSeptember 29, 2012
Troy 31, South Alabama 10
Number of meetings7
Most recent meetingOctober 23, 2018
Troy 38, South Alabama 17
Next meetingOctober 16, 2019
All-time seriesTroy leads, 4–3
Largest victoryTroy, 31–10 (2012)
Troy, 38-17 (2018)
Longest win streakTroy, 2 (2012–2013)
South Alabama, 2 (2014–2015)
Current streakTroy, 1 (2018–present)

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The South Alabama–Troy football rivalry, also known as the Battle for the Belt, is a college football rivalry game between two public universities in the U.S. state of Alabama, University of South Alabama Jaguars and the Troy University Trojans.[1][2][3] Troy leads the all-time series at 4–3.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

The South Alabama Jaguars were co-founding members of the Sun Belt Conference in 1976. Troy joined the conference in 2004 as a football-only member. In 2005, the Trojans transitioned the rest of their sports to the Sun Belt, and South Alabama and Troy began facing each other in sports other than football, since at that time, South Alabama did not have a football team.

On December 6, 2007, South Alabama's Board of Trustees approved the addition of football to the intercollegiate athletics program. The team began play in 2009 with a planned full transition to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) by 2013.[5]

In 2012, South Alabama's football team officially joined the school's other sports in the Sun Belt Conference and started to face the conference members in a full conference schedule.

In 2015, the Student Government Associations of each school came together to officially dub the rivalry the "Battle for the Belt," with a wrestling-style belt going to the winner of the rivalry annually. According to then South Alabama Student Government Association President Ravi Rajendra, "The introduction of the trophy to the rivalry will offer a new way for Jag Nation to connect with our football program. The concept behind the Belt stemmed from our student body and was accompanied by insight from our football team; the football team really liked the concept of a wrestling belt, and the Belt also plays off of the Sun Belt Conference of which both Troy and USA are members."[6]

In 2017, the Sun Belt Conference announced to split its football member schools to two divisions starting for the 2018 season.[7][8][9] Despite the close proximity of South Alabama and Troy, the conference separated the two, Troy in the East division and South Alabama in the West. In two separate divisions this could alter the annual series between schools. A year before the 2018 football season, the conference athletic directors at that time voted in favor of having South Alabama and Troy to play every season despite not being in the same division. This rivalry will be the only protected cross-divisional series in the conference.

Game results[edit | edit source]

South Alabama victoriesTroy victories
1 September 29, 2012 Mobile Troy 31–10
2 October 5, 2013 Troy Troy 34–33
3 October 24, 2014 Mobile South Alabama 27–13
4 October 3, 2015 Troy South Alabama 24–18
5 October 20, 2016 Mobile Troy 28–21
6 October 11, 2017 Troy South Alabama 19–8
7 October 23, 2018 Mobile Troy 38–17
Series: Troy leads 4–3

Game 1 (2012)[edit | edit source]

The South Alabama – Troy football rivalry officially began on a rain-soaked[10] Saturday, September 29, 2012, at historic Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, where Troy defeated the Jaguars 31–10.[11]

Game 2 (2013)[edit | edit source]

The second meeting between the teams was a thriller.[12] In a game where South Alabama dominated the stats, the Jags suffered a one-point loss in a battle that featured two lead changes in the final minutes, including a game-winning Troy touchdown with 7 seconds left on the clock.

Game 3 (2014)[edit | edit source]

The Jaguars claimed their first victory in the series with a convincing 27–13 win,[13] and the rivalry was truly born.

Game 4 (2015)[edit | edit source]

The 4th game of the series took place in Troy. Troy had a bye week the week before giving them 2 weeks to build the hype. Troy had a huge pep rally with a bonfire on campus (in which Jaguar merchandise was burned) the Thursday night before the game. A car spray painted red, white, and blue (South Alabama's colors) was on campus and hammers were used to smash the car. This game was a "Blackout" game. All fans were encouraged to wear black. The first 10,000 fans into the stadium were given a free black T-shirt. A DJ was provided for the game for the students. South Alabama rolled to a 24–18 victory.[14]

Game 5 (2016)[edit | edit source]

The 5th game of the series took place in Mobile. South Alabama jumped out to an early lead and had a 21–13 lead going into the 4th quarter. This lead would not hold however as Troy would score twice in the 4th quarter and win 28–21. The game winning touchdown was scored with 1:20 left in the game and Troy successfully ended their two game losing streak to South Alabama. [15]

Game 6 (2017)[edit | edit source]

In the 6th game of the series the location was once again Troy. South Alabama came in and faced a Troy team that had recently upset LSU in Baton Rouge so Troy was the favorite to win the game. However, South Alabama pulled off an upset of their own by forcing four turnovers and defeating Troy 19–8. Troy missed two field goals and barely avoided the first shutout in the series by scoring a touchdown and two point conversion with 6:16 left in the game.[16]

Game 7 (2018)[edit | edit source]

The 7th game of the series saw Troy come to Mobile trying to avenge their shocking loss to South Alabama a year prior. Troy led 31–17 at the end of the fist half due to big plays by their offense. Neither team was able to score any points in the second half until a South Alabama interception set up Troy's offense at the South Alabama 11 yard line. Troy would have a total of six plays of 30 yards or more and force 4 turnovers as they went on to win 38–17.[17]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "South Alabama's 2018 football schedule includes Tuesday night battle with Troy". ""The Jaguars host Troy in the annual rivalry game on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The "Battle for the Belt" will be televised nationally by ESPN2."
  2. "Intensity rising for 'Battle for the Belt' rivalry between South Alabama, Troy". ""As the annual game between the state's two Sun Belt programs builds into more of a rivalry, the student government associations of the two schools got together and created a trophy of sorts for the game -- a belt reminiscent of those won by boxers or wrestlers in prize fights. Its oversized buckle proclaims the bearer the "Battle for the Belt Champion.""
  3. "South Alabama and Troy Create Awesome New Trophy for "Battle for the Belt" Rivalry". Athlon Sports. ""The South Alabama-Troy rivalry is officially the “Battle for the Belt,” and the winner of the annual meeting will take home a championship belt, similar to the ones in boxing or wrestling.""
  4. "South Alabama Game by Game against Opponents". Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  5. "BOARD OF TRUSTEES VOTES TO ADD NCAA FOOTBALL - University of South Alabama".
  6. "Troy & South Alabama to “Battle For the Belt” Saturday - Troy University".
  7. AP (May 23, 2017). "Sun Belt announces divisions starting in 2018 football season". ESPN. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  8. Tom Fornelli (May 23, 2017). "Sun Belt announces football divisions for 2018, new collaborative replay system". CBS Sports. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  9. Creg Stephenson (May 23, 2017). "Sun Belt football will split into divisions with addition of championship game in 2018". Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  10. "Rainy day for South Alabama-Troy in Mobile". Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  11. "Troy holds South Alabama to 51 second-half yards in 31–10 win". Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  12. "Amazing finish: Troy comeback tops South Alabama's comeback in 34–33 win". Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  13. "Live updates: FINAL SCORE: South Alabama Jaguars 27, Troy Trojans 13". Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  14. Herndon, Mike (October 3, 2015). "South Alabama rides defense to win over Troy in Battle for the Belt". Press-Register. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  15. "Troy sores in final 1:20, beats South Alabama 28-21" Pensacola News Journal
  16. "South Alabama shocks Troy 19-8 in 'Battle for the Belt'"
  17. "Troy routs South Alabama 38-17 in 'Battle for the Belt'"

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