Continuing our coverage of the game this Saturday between UAB and Coastal Carolina, we’ll key in on three players from each team to keep an eye on.
Stacy Keely – DE
If Keekly is healthy and able to go this Saturday, he will have a huge impact on this game. He was nearly unblockable against Alabama A&M, and was greatly missed at times against Ball State. Facing the option attack of Coastal Carolina this weekend, our defensive ends will need to do a good job of staying at home and knowing when to attack. If Keely is healthy and effective, I think he has a huge game against Coastal Carolina Saturday. Of course, with the option attack the outside linebackers will need to step up their game as well.
Spencer Brown – RB
Brown is second in Conference USA in rushing yards with 193 through two games. He’s averaging eight yards a carry, and Coach Bill Clark has stated that he should get more looks. I think that needs to happen this weekend. As I’ve mentioned already this week, I thought we abandoned the run game too early at times against Ball State. If Brown continues to have success against Coastal Carolina this weekend, we need to ride that train. I think Brown gets over 20 carries in this game and explodes on the national scene, putting other Conference USA teams on notice.
Xavier Ubosi – WR
UMASS passed the ball for over 300 yards against the Coastal Carolina defense — a UMASS team that has been ranked as one of the worst teams in college football the past few years since they entered Division 1. I have to believe that we’ll be able to throw the ball downfield against Coastal Carolina, which is where Xavier Ubosi comes into play. The 6-foot-3 wide out has five catches for 42 yards this year, but I think he has a breakout game this weekend. Coastal’s tallest defensive back is 5-foot-11. The tall Ubosi should be able to go up against these smaller defensive backs and have a ton of success, especially near the endzone.
Shane Johnson – LB
To counter UAB’s top notch run game, Coastal Carolina will need linebacker Shane Johnson to have a big weekend. Despite playing in only 10 games last year, he was second on the team in tackles and is their leading returning tackler this year. He had seven tackles against UMASS in their season opener with half a tackle for a loss and one pass break-up. He’ll need to plug the middle where UAB has had a lot of success running the football. If he can create havoc in the backfield or near the line-of-scrimmage to disrupt UAB’s running game, it could be a long afternoon for the Blazers.
Osharmar Abercrombie – RB
For the third straight week in a row UAB will be going up against a really good running back. They did a great job in shutting down Jordan Bentley for Alabama A&M and James Gilbert for Ball State, so hopefully they continue that trend against Abercrombie. UAB has been great at stopping the run, and if Coastal Carolina is going to win this game Abercrombie will need to find some running room and take advantage. Coastal Carolina has rushed for 200 yards or more in 12 of its last 13 games and is 80-6 all-time when rushing for 200 yards. The UAB defense will try and keep Abercrombie and the Coastal Carolina rushing attack under that number this Saturday.
Anthony Chesley – CB
As we already talked about, the Coastal Carolina secondary looked a little vulnerable against UMASS. I expect the UAB offense to try and take advantage with our big receivers against their smaller defensive backs. Chesley is probably their best cover corner and will likely be matched up against our top receiver. He led Coastal Carolina last year with eight pass break-ups and he started out the season with two pass break-ups against UMASS. He, along with safety Fitz Wattley, will need to have big games in order to slow down the UAB passing attack. If they can cover UAB’s receivers, that will allow the front seven of Coastal Carolina to focus on stopping the running game. But if the linebackers and safties have to help out in coverage, UAB should be able to gash them with the run all afternoon.
Those six guys will have a huge impact on the outcome of the game on Saturday. Coastal Carolina’s defense has been really good in a lower level of football, but their week one performance against a terrible UMASS team leaves them vulnerable. Johnson and Chesley will need to have huge games if the Chanticleers are going to slow down the UAB offensive attack. Brown and Ubosi for UAB will try to make sure that doesn’t happen.