Here we’ll take a look at three players from each team that will define the UAB and North Texas game this Saturday.
A.J. Erdely – QB
The field general has had some up-and-down performances to start the season. I thought he threw the ball really well at the beginning of the Coastal Carolina game, but then the coaches abandoned the passing attack, and he was never really able to get in a rhythm throwing the football again. But where he has really hurt teams this year is with his legs. I think he’s done a great job of knowing when to pull the football and run. As teams stack the box to stop our running backs, A.J. can soften that defense by pulling the ball and making a few nice runs on the oustide. I would love to see him also pull the ball, scramble and setup some pass plays, giving him a run-pass option. I think that could take his game, and this offense, to a new level.
Darious Williams – CB
The North Texas quarterback is in love with his arm, and isn’t afraid to take some shots down field. Our secondary will need to be on their toes and make sure they don’t get beat deep. Darious Williams has been one of our best cover corners all year with three pass break-ups. Joran Petty, who set out the first half of the Coastal Carolina game because of a stupid targeting penalty, should be ready to go in this one. The entire secondary will need to be ready in this one, and I think Williams could have a big day for the Blazers.
Anthony Rush – DT
Both Rush and Teko Powell will need to have big games for UAB on Saturday. Combined, the two have 6.5 tackles for a loss on the year. The North Texas offensive line is very experienced, and were very physical against Iowa last Saturday. Our big boys in the middle will have to hold their ground and win the point-of-attack. You know North Texas is going to try and pound UAB up the middle early to soften us up. Rush and Powell will need to bottle up the running game and take up blockers to allow our linebackers to play free.
Jeffery Wilson – RB
UAB has faced three talented running backs this season already, and Jeffery Wilson may be the best of the group. He’s averaging 8.3 yards per carry on the season, and is one of only two running backs in Conference USA averaging over 100 rushing yards a game. The Blazers run defense is by far their best attribute, so it will be interesting to see if they can slow down another good running back. If Wilson gets up over the century mark in this one, that means UAB is in a world of trouble.
E.J. Ejiya – LB
There wasn’t much hype about Ejiya coming into the season, but he’s been their best defensive player so far with 18 tackles and three sacks. UAB will need to make sure somebody puts a body on him, especially on passing situations when you know he’ll be blitzing the quarterback. I’ve noted the struggles of our offensive line in pass protection several times, but if they can keep Ejiya from getting to the quarterback this Saturday, we’ll be in good shape.
Mason Fine – QB
It’s always easy to pick the quarterback in these articles, but I really think these two quarterbacks could decide this game. Whichever one is able to get into a rhythm throwing the football could dictate the game. I know both teams will try to establish the run game early, but the quarterback who is able to open up the passing game could be the difference. In what little I’ve watched of Mason Fine, he certainly has the confidence and ability to make any throw. Our defense will need to keep him in the pocket and make him throw from within the pocket. Once he gets loose, that’s when he does his damage.
There are our players to watch for this game. Check back with The Daily Dragon throughout the rest of the week as we continue to break down the game this Saturday.