The Blazers head back out on the road this weekend to face a UTSA team that has not lived up to expectations in 2017, but is still a very good team.
While UAB finally proved they can win a game on the road by beating Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, playing in the Alamodome will be a bit more challenging.
As a result, UAB is a seven point underdog entering this week.
We’ll look at a few keys to victory as the Blazers try to pull off the upset.
- Stop Sturm: Easier said than done, but the UAB defense will have to limit the UTSA quarterback from making any big plays, especially with his feet. The RoadRunners are not exactly an explosive offense, but they have plenty of playmakers that can hurt you in different ways, and Sturm is the leader of that group. Our defense will need to be on it’s toes and make sure Sturm doesn’t scramble for big firsts downs. We’ll need to prevent any big plays and make them earn every point they get. If our defense keeps them under 20 points I think we can win this game.
- Don’t be conservative: Yes we want to establish the run game and work our bread-and-butter, but don’t become conservative and predictable. The Blazers essentially have nothing to lose here with North Texas all but wrapping up the division, so open things up a bit. Use a little play-action, take some shots downfield — we’ll need to do those things to keep that mighty UTSA defense off-balance.
- Win the turnover battle: In games like this that are so evenly matched, it’s imperative that the road team not only win the turnover battle, but make sure those turnovers lead to points. Both quarterbacks are careful with the ball in the air, but both teams have had troubles holding onto the football at times. Hopefully the UAB defense can force a couple of fumbles that lead to points.
- Have fun: While you hope the team doesn’t relax after gaining bowl eligibility, I do hope they just have fun and play loose football the rest of the way. What they’ve done thus far is already amazing, and I hope they continue to do even better. But above all that, I hope this team goes out and just has fun.
Even though I didn’t pick the Blazers to win this game, I do think it’s a very winnable game for UAB, and it will come down to the fourth quarter.