Moving into week two, we’ll take a look at what UAB football will have to do in order to beat Ball State this Saturday.
The Blazers come into this game as a double-digit underdog on the road. They’ll need to play much better on offense if they’re going to pull the upset and move to 2-0.
They say teams improve the most from week one to week two, and I think that will most definitely be the case for a team that just played together for the first time.
So here is what I think UAB has to do in order to beat Ball State on Saturday.
The offensive line might be on this list for a while, but they were the one obvious weakness against Alabama A&M. Quarterback A.J. Erdely was constantly under pressure against the Bulldogs. This week they’ll be going up against a defense that racked up four sacks against a Big Ten offensive line. If the offensive line for UAB can’t learn to pick up blitzes and give Erdely time to pass, I don’t see anyway the Blazers win this game.
Time of Possession
Even though they somehow lost to Illinois, Ball State dominated the time of possession in their first game. They kept the ball for over 36 minutes and ran 85 plays. In comparison, UAB had the ball for just over 30 minutes and ran 80 plays in week one. In order to keep our defense fresh, the offense will need to have some sustained drives and keep the Ball State offense off the field. The Blazers had four 3-and-outs against Alabama A&M. They’ll have to do a better job of staying on the field and flipping field possession.
Bend, But Don’t Break Defense
The reason time of possession is such a big factor, is because the main key to winning this game is our defense. And our defense isn’t going to be as effective if their out there for 80-plus plays. Alabama A&M had the ball for nearly 30 minutes, but ran just 62 plays. The defense seemed just as fresh at the end of the game as the beginning. Ball State will use that time much more wisely to try and wear down our defense. The reason I say bend, but don’t break is because when Ball State is driving we need to hold them to field goals. Ball State was 3-for-3 on red zone chances last week and scored touchdowns on all three trips. If the Blazers can hold them to field goals that will go along in allowing UAB to stay in this game and win.
There are your keys to victory this week. I think if the Blazers follow that formula they will be able to come away with the upset win on the road.