This Saturday at Legion Field, the (2-0) UAB Blazers will be hosting the (1-2) South Alabama Jaguars of the Sun Belt Conference. UAB is coming off a bye week that has been full of preparation to keep their undefeated season rolling. In his weekly press conference Head Coach Bill Clark mentioned the benefits of the team’s first of two bye weeks, “I think there is some good, but then there is the worry of what does that do to your psyche and how do your players return. Obviously, there is the health side to it which is a positive.”
This game against South Alabama is an intriguing matchup story-wise. Clark was part of the start-up crew that birthed South Alabama’s first football team. He served as the defensive coordinator for the Jaguars from 2008-2012. Along with Clark’s ties, 24 other players and coaches have connections to South Alabama or even the region of Mobile. Starting quarterback Tyler Johnston III graduated from Spanish Fort High School, which is less than 45 minutes across Mobile Bay, and Offensive Coordinator Bryant Vincent has coached for the Jags twice, the most recent being from 2015-2017 at the same position. That being said, the Blazers and the Jaguars have never met on the gridiron. Still, Clark knows that playing any instate team is important to the future of the program, “They are selling their school, we are selling our school. When you look at a head-to-head matchup that is always important. Obviously in recruiting, that is a part of the process.”
Going into this Saturday, UAB is trying to maintain their reputation as a defensive power in the FBS. Last year, the Blazers ranked 9th in total defense. This year, the defense has eight sacks and 20 tackles-for-loss. They also are currently ranked seventh in the nation on third-down-percentage, with a conversion percentage of .226.
South Alabama’s offense looks to disrupt the Blazers’ success. They are averaging 21.3 points per game with 1100 total yards. They also are averaging just under 200 rushing yards and 170 passing yards a game.
UAB’s offense is trying to have another successful game after averaging 27.5 points a game. Johnston has completed 53.5% of his passes this season with five touchdowns and only one interception. Running back Spencer Brown leads the team in rushing with 112 yards.
South Alabama’s defense has struggled a little bit- allowing around 30 points a game, but that won’t stop the Jags from attempting to get another notch in the ‘W’ column. Sophomore linebacker Nick Mobley leads the defense in 22 total tackles. The Jaguars also have four sacks and three interceptions.
The matchup will kickoff at 2:30 P.M. and will be broadcasted on the NFL Network. The Blazers look to keep their undefeated record (13-0) at home since their program got reinstated in 2017, while the Jaguars will attempt to keep their undefeated record (5-0) against in-state non-conference opponents. Las Vegas oddsmakers are placing the spread at UAB -10.5 and the O/U at 48.
Written By: Bryant Horn
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