TROY, Ala. – Troy’s 24th season under legendary head coach Larry Blakeney kicks off Saturday morning when the Trojans travel to Birmingham, Ala., and Legion Field for a showdown with UAB; kickoff is scheduled for 11:05 a.m.
Fox College Sports will televise the game (channel 608 on DirecTV and channel 451 on Dish Network) and the Troy Sports Radio Network will have full coverage beginning at 9 a.m.
The Trojans carry a three-game win streak over their in-state rivals into the 2014 season opener, the longest streak by either team in the 11-game series. A win will give Blakeney 176 in his storied career, which will tie him with Auburn’s Shug Jordan for the third most in the history of the state.
“We're looking forward to a chance to win a ball game,” Blakeney said at his weekly press conference. “You don't know how good you are until you play somebody else. The game is a highly contested, very competitive, cross conference, in state-rivalry game. There are a lot of relationships amongst the players and the coaches on both sides, that know each other and have worked together, competed against each other at other places. It is an interesting deal.”
Troy will break in a new starting quarterback for the first time since 2010 when then redshirt-freshman Corey Robinson led the Trojans to a 30-27 victory over Bowling Green. Robinson will be in the press box with the Troy coaches on Saturday and it will be Brandon Silvers, Dontreal Pruitt or Dallas Tidwell running the offense.
Whoever starts for the Trojans will be running an offensive system that has a proven track record. Troy is one of 11 teams in the country to have averaged over 400 yards of offensive in six of the past seven years and have led the Sun Belt in passing yards in five straight seasons.
UAB will also be breaking in a new quarterback – or two – on Saturday, in addition to the debut of head coach Bill Clark. Troy and UAB are two of three schools in the country to enter the opening weekend without a quarterback on its roster that has started an FBS game.
In the historically tight series, Troy is averaging 31.4 points over the last five games and has won four of those five games; the lone loss was a 34-33 defeat in 2010.
Defensively for the Trojans it will be a mixture of new and old as six players are slated to make their first career starts on Saturday. Junior defensive end Tyler Roberts along with linebackers Mark Wilson and Wayland Coleman-Dancer will be looked upon to bring stability to the Troy defense.