After a disappointing showing on the road against Florida, the Blazers will return home to face an 0-11 UTEP team.
A lot of people were expecting more in the Swamp, but Florida played that game with a chip on their shoulder and just straight up whooped us.
That being said, it doesn’t take anything away from the season UAB has had and is having. They have a chance to win their eighth game of the season this Saturday at Legion Field. I don’t think many people thought that would be possible back in August.
To be burtaly honest, this is game UAB should win 10-out-of-10 times. But as we know, these games aren’t decided on paper, but on the field.
So let’s get into the matchups.
UTEP Offense vs. UAB Defense
The stats are not going to be pretty for UTEP. They rank last in Conference USA in points per game at 12.2 and total yards per game at 232.5.
However, they did put up 21 points last weekend against La Tech, which ties their season high.
Quarterback duties have been split between Zack Greenlee and Ryan Metz. Mark Torrez has also taken some snaps at quarterback this year, so who knows who will line up behind center on Saturday.
Metz threw for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns last weekend against La Tech, so I’d say he’ll probably get the start against UAB. None of their quarterbacks have been great with a combined 6 touchdowns and 12 interceptions from the group.
Our secondary, if healthy, should feast on this passing attack.
Running back Joshua Fields had a big day against La Tech going for 137 yards and a touchdowns on 23 carries. He’s their leading rusher on the season with 338 net yards on 84 carries with 2 touchdowns.
He was the only running back to get a carry against La Tech, with the quarterbacks picking up the other 13 carries.
Their big play threat at receiver is Tyler Batson who has 10 catches for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. Terry Juniel has the most catches on the team with 22 for 219 yards.
The UTEP offensive line has allowed 21 sacks this season, which isn’t terrible considering how bad the Miners have been as a team on offense.
Their converting on third down just 28 percent of the time, while their oppenents are doing so 51 percent of the time.
If UAB can put them in third-and-long situations, this should be no problem.
My main concern is the health of this UAB defense. They were on the field a lot against a physical Florida team.
My two main concerns are Tevin Crews and Broderick Thomas. They combined for 25 tackles against Florida, but both were dinged up during the game. I know Thomas came back on the field, but I’m unsure of the status of Crews.
I still think our defense will be fine against UTEP without them, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable with those two out there on Saturday.
UAB Offense vs. UTEP Defense
To show you how devastating the Florida defense was on Saturday, UAB was averaging nearly 400 total yards a game going in, and after Saturday they are now averaging just 367.5 yards per game on the season. That ranks 10th in Conference USA.
The good news for UAB is that UTEP gives up the most yards in the conference, as well as the most rushing yards at nearly 240 a game.
Another good note is that Spencer Brown didn’t get many carries against Florida. So expect him to be fresh for this one.
I think we’ll see the coaching staff get back to the ground game on Saturday, and expect a heavy dose of Spencer Brown.
The best player on the UTEP defense is linebacker Alvin Jones. He leads the team by a wide margin with 95 total tackles, as well as 7.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks.
Still, UTEP is not a defense that has had much success getting to the quarterback. A.J. Erdely should have plenty of time to throw the football.
I think our offense gets back on track this Saturday and boosts some of those numbers that were hurt down in Gainesville.
Game Preview and Prediction
I know UTEP has had injury troubles from the beginning, so I mean no disrespect when I say this, but this will be the worst team UAB has played all year.
When you couple that with the fact we play them at home, I don’t see any way the Miners pull off the upset.
The Blazers would have to play their worst game of the year, turning the ball over and committing tons of penalties to lose.
I think the gameplan for Saturday should be pretty simple. It’s the last regular season game of the year, so ride Spencer Brown till the wheels fall off. I expect him to get north of 25 carries and close to 200 yards rushing.
I would be surprised and a little upset if we even attempt more than 15 passes in this game. Give Brown the ball early and often and let’s not even make this one a question.
UTEP hasn’t scored more than 21 points all season on anyone, and I don’t think they’ll get close to that against our defense.
This will be a nice ending to what has a been a great year for UAB football at Legion Field.
Prediction: UAB – 41 UTEP – 10