Here are The Daily Dragon’s staff predictions for the week two game at Ball State.
If there is one thing I know about Bill Clark is that he has his teams prepared when they go on the road. Three of UAB’s six wins in 2014 were on the road in conference at Western Kentucky, Florida Atlanta, and Southern Miss. Focus shouldn’t be an issue, and the game atmosphere certainly won’t be given Ball State’s reported college worse attendance last season. As we stated in our game preview, UAB’s strong suit appears to be there defense — specifically the defensive line. If the Blazer’s can contain Ball State’s mobile quarterback and their running backs, I like how our secondary matches up with their wide receivers. Darious Williams played fantastic against A&M and was often left on an island on the strong side. It’s been reported that D.A. Williams will return at the other corner spot, which is welcomed depth news for UAB as they should expect Ball State to try to run close to 80 plays. It’s worth noting, Ball State did not target a receiver over 6-foot-2 against Illinois. Offensively, we’ve seen little from our receivers other than the expected reliable play from Collin Lisa. I fully expect our line to protect better and give Ederly the time he needs to take advantage of his big targets Ubosi and Turner. Our stable of backs could find themselves with room to work against a young linebacker core if they can get to the second level. Offensive line play will win or lose this game for us.
Prediction: UAB 17 Ball State 10
UAB hits the road for the first time in 2017 as they head to Indiana. The Blazers are coming off a 38-7 win over Alabama A&M, while the Cardinals almost upset Illinois from the Big Ten. It took UAB a while to shake off a little over 1,000 days of rust, but in the end they capped off #theReturn in fashion. The defense was absolutely phenomenal only allowing the Bulldogs to 183 total yards. You could tell the Blazer defense was excited to finally be hitting someone other than teammates as they were flying to the ball all afternoon. The offensive line will be the group to watch the most as the season progress. If they can get some chemistry and gel together, the offense has the potential to be really good. As for the Cardinals, they took the Fighting Illini to the brink. Ball State had a chance to tie the game as the clock hit zero, but the kick was blocked. This is going to be a four quarter game and would be a huge win for the Blazers. It will be interesting to see how UAB handles the first road test of the season. Coming into this season Ball State has won seven straight home openers so you know the Southside Dragons will be looking to snap that streak. Honestly, this game is a toss up for me — I can see it going either way. I can’t stress enough how big a win it would be for UAB, but a loss would not break the season. I give Ball State the edge only because it is UAB’s first road game in over two years.
Prediction: Ball State 28 UAB 27
This game will be a huge test for UAB. They are a double-digit underdog on the road in this game, and they can make a huge statement with a win. Ball State wasn’t overly impressive against Illinois in the first week. They actually out-played Illinois for most of the game, but somehow still lost. The Blazers performance in the first weekend was up-and-down. Outside of the second quarter, UAB looked really good against an inferior opponent. The biggest key in this game will be UAB”s offensive line against Ball State’s defensive line. The Cardinals had four sacks against Illinois in week one, and the UAB offensive line was by far the biggest disappointment against Alabama A&M. If they can give A.J. Erdely time to pass, then I think our offense can put up enough points to win this game.
Prediction: UAB 27 Ball State 24