Here are The Daily Dragon’s staff predictions for the week six game against La Tech at Legion Field for Homecoming.
UAB returns home for homecoming this Saturday to face the bulldogs of La Tech. The Blazers come off a much needed bye week, while La Tech beat South Alabama 34-16 last Saturday. UAB lost a heart-breaker two weeks ago that really would of helped them in their quest to become bowl eligible in their first year back at the Division 1 level. Sitting at 2-2, the margin of error for the Blazers the rest of the year is slim-to-none. I predicted before the season began that UAB would lose to La Tech, and I’m sticking to that. The Bulldogs are the cream of the crop when it comes to Conference USA — the gold standard. Coming into this season La Tech has won three straight bowl games, and was 9-3 in 2012 but not invited to a bowl game. The biggest thing to keep an eye on for the Blazers is the offense. Can they play a whole game like they did the second half of the North Texas game? The Blazers have scored 30 points in every game and that will need to continue if they want to win. Also, will the defense be able to get off the field on third down? The coaching staff made some impressive adjustments at half of the North Texas game, but one can’t help but think if the Blazers were to get off the field just once in the first half it could have affected the outcome of the game. This game won’t make or break the season, but it won’t be a very happy homecoming. Let’s just hope the Bulldogs have that 87 yard fumble still in the playbook, and no fights break out.
Prediction: La Tech 42 UAB 24
I might be more excited to see the Blazers play this Saturday than I was for #theReturn. OK, maybe not, but listen to my reasoning. Coming into this season we had no idea what to expect from this team. But after four games we now have a better understanding of how good this team can be. Even though they’re 2-2, they’ve competed in every game, and I expect that to be the case the rest of the season. But the reason I’m so excited to see the Blazers play this weekend is because now the coaches have had four games to analyze the strengths and weaknesses in this team, and they’ve now had the time to mold this team into what it’s meant to be. The UAB football team we see this Saturday will most likely be the team we’re going to see the rest of the year. My hope is that the coaches were able to make some adjustments in the bye week to shape this team into their strengths. But until I see those adjustments, it’s hard for me to judge the Blazers in this game. So I have to go with what I know, and what I know is that La Tech is possibly the best team in Conference USA.
Prediction: La Tech 31-20
In the much improved Conference USA West division, La Tech is arguably the best team of the group. UAB is in a unique spot hosting a very good team at home for homecoming with the possibility of starting 0-2 in our division. Needless to say, this is a huge game. UAB must make J’Mar Smith’s pocket uncomfortable from the very first snap to have any chance of stopping them offensively. He has pro-level arm strength and his offensive line is probably the best we will go against in conference play. Our interior anchors, Rush and Powell, will need to provide a big push to keep Smith’s feet moving. Let’s hope Stacey Keely is close to 100 percent as well. We’ll need his pressure from the outside. I think our secondary holds up fairly well against their young but talented receiving core, but we still must keep J’Mar uncomfortable. Offensively we’ll need to be very efficient with few pointless drives. UAB is very good once they get inside their opponents’ 40. This game could very well be another shootout like North Texas. Tech loves to bring all sorts of exotic blitz packages, so don’t be surprise is A.J. is running for his life. If we can capitalize when they gamble, I like our chances of putting a big number on their defense.
Prediction: UAB 38 La Tech 40