Here are The Daily Dragon’s staff predictions for the week four game against North Texas to open up conference play.
The Blazers from Birmingham hit the road in week four and start Conference USA play when they travel to Denton, Texas to play the Mean Green of North Texas. UAB bounced back from a loss in week two with an impressive win against Coastal Carolina. The offense got off to a fast start and I was impressed with how much energy UAB came out with. The third down defense is still worrisome and they will need to fix that with conference play starting. North Texas comes into the game on a two-game losing streak, but actually had the lead against Iowa in the third quarter. UAB can’t afford penalties, turnovers, and not being able to get off the field on third down, which plagued them in their first road game at Ball State. I like how A.J. Erdely has become kind of a dual threat quarterback, but the Blazers will need to establish more of a vertical passing game going forward. The offensive line is still trying to gel when it comes to pass blocking, but I’d like to see some more passing plays from in the pocket. Like I said previously, if UAB cant get off the field on third down and not have too many costly penalties or mental mistakes, they can win this game. I predicted before the season this would be a close game, and I still think it will be, but UAB gets the win to start conference play.
Prediction: UAB 28 North Texas 24
I was very frustrated leaving the stadium last Saturday, even though UAB hung on to beat Coastal Carolina. Maybe I’m just being unrealistic, but I expect a lot from this team, and I hope they do as well. My frustrations are with the fact that they had a big lead against Coastal Carolina and then took their foot off the gas. That is not something this team can afford to do. I thought the coaching staff played conservatively, trying not to lose rather than to win, and it almost bit them. They should have beaten Coastal Carolina by 20 points. I’m still waiting for this team to put together a complete game, or at least something close to it. We’ve seen some very bright spots in each game, but they’ve yet to do all those things together in one game. I have a hard time believing that will happen in their first conference game on the road. I still think the key in this game will be the offense sustaining drives, controlling the clock and keeping our defense fresh in the second half. I also think they need to draw up more run-pass options for A.J. Erdely and get him out of the pocket. This was a game I had UAB winning before the season started, but I’m not as confident now. I still think UAB has a great chance of winning, but I was impressed with what I saw from North Texas against Iowa — even in a loss — and I think the Mean Green get the win.
Prediction: North Texas 34 UAB 27
As Conference USA play begins, UAB is met with a daunting task early at much improved North Texas. The Mean Green gave Iowa a great game last Saturday before wilting late, but showed they are going to be a serious contender in the Western division. Through three games we’ve seen UAB become a very solid and deep run first team. Unfortunately for the Blazers, run defense is one of North Texas’ strong suits. Given our pace and depth at running back, I think we’ll still find our way on the ground, but we’ll learn a lot about our line when they face a very good Mean Green front. If we can move the ball effectively on early downs I really like our chances. Defensively, UAB is going to have their hands full with Conference USA’s leading rusher, Jeffrey Wilson, and a fearless, confident second year quarterback Mason Fine. The Mean Green will pound the ball relentlessly and then hit you with the deep ball if you sell out on the run. We’ll see just how disciplined we are when we face an offense that knows their identity and executes as well as any team in the conference. I think we’ll have a shoot out similar to Ball State, but less mistakes this time for UAB.
Prediction: UAB 38 North Texas 35