The South Alabama Jaguars have had a rough go of it in 2017. They didn’t have the most favorable draw the first two weeks, getting Ole Miss and Oklahoma State on their schedule back-to-back. Ole Miss are not good at all this season, but the fact of the matter is South Alabama had an SEC and Big-12 the first two weeks of the year. For a school like South Alabama, that is a daunting schedule.
Troy isn’t from a top-tier conference, but they do have a win over a school from a top-tier conference. In what was one of the biggest wins in program history, Troy beat LSU in Baton Rouge for a final score of LSU. The Trojans have had a little extra time to celebrate their win, as that win came on September 30th.
Troy had some time to celebrate and lick their wounds if they had to. What they needed to avoid was getting too comfortable and lay back. After a win over LSU, I could see it being a distraction for Troy, as they look behind them at that win, instead of looking ahead. With the win, the Trojans advanced to 4-1 on the season. Their loss came against Boise State in Week 1, 24-13 on the road. What has been most impressive with Troy has been their defense. Their program typically has a decent offense, but defense has been a question mark.
Defense plagued them, but thus far it’s been golden for the Trojans. The defense carried them to victory against LSU, allowing just 21 points against a team who many expected to roll over them. Troy looks like a contender to win the Sun Belt, at the moment anyway. Defense usually travels, so they have that going for them. Another Sun Belt special on Wednesday night, as South Alabama and Troy square off in Alabama. Head below for our free South Alabama vs. Troy pick on Wednesday evening.
South Alabama Jaguars vs. Troy Trojans Betting Odds:
South Alabama +17.5(-115)
vs. Troy -17.5(-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
South Alabama vs. Troy Pick:
Troy does not have the same challenge on their hands as they did against LSU. However, it’s important to treat this game as equally important. Take South Alabama lightly and that’s when mistakes tend to happen. The Jaguars enter with a record of 1-4. Their only win came against Alabama A&M. They also had a close call against lowly Idaho, but lost a 29-23 decision. Their most recent outing saw them take a 34-16 loss to Louisiana Tech.
Note that the Jaguars have been outgained in every game other than against Alabama A&M. Oklahoma State had 330 yards on them. Cole Garvin will get the start for South Alabama on Wednesday night. Garvin started the season as the starter, but went out and missed another two games, giving way to Dallas Davis. Garvin has thrown for 447 and 2 touchdowns with 2 interceptions. He has also rushed for 2 touchdowns. South Alabama are 113th in the nation with 329 yards per game. Conversely, Troy are 50th with 432 yards per game.
Troy are averaging 24 points per game. This isn’t a high-octane offense like they’ve tended to run in the past. They would rather run the ball effectively, and they do run it well. Jordan Chunn is coming off a massive performance against LSU, rushing for 191 yards and a touchdown. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards in consecutive weeks. They’re 53rd in the nation overall, with 181.6 yards on the ground on average.
Note that this is a rivalry game known as the “Battle for the Belt”. The last four meetings have been decided by 7 points, Troy with two wins and South Alabama with two. The numbers suggest a blowout here for Troy. However, the suggestion that the Trojans might come in a bit “hungover” after beating LSU might be something to look at. They’re not a team who puts up points in a blink of an eye, either. Troy would rather grind it out and control the clock. I expect South Alabama to be more excited to win this game than Troy tonight. Will they do it? I doubt it, but South Alabama should be able to keep it within 17 points.