UAB: Opponent Preview

A statistical look at UAB's performance and playmakers.

The UAB Blazers head into the Superdome with the same record as the Green Wave, 1 and 6. Their sole win comes against FCS opponent Southeastern Louisiana, who they trounced 52 to 3. Perhaps their most notable game this season was their match up against the Ohio State Buckeyes who they played tightly into the fourth quarter until the Buckeyes pulled away with a 29 to 15 victory.

Offensively, they have averaged 28.0 points per game, with their lowest outputs coming against South Carolina (6 points) and Ohio State (15 points). On the defensive side, they are 108th in the country surrendering 35.7 points per game.

Offense

Yards per Game: 373.7 (82nd FBS)
Pass Yards per Game: 310.7 (13th)
Rush Yards per Game: 82.7 (121st)
Plays per Game: 77.3 (33rd)
3rd Down Conversion %: 37.36% (76th)
Avg. Time of Poss.: 30:34 (56th)

Offensively UAB uses multiple sets and multiple packages. They will run plays under center, introduce spread option sets, as well as run pure spread plays.

As the stats bear out, the Blazers rely heavily on their pass offense, which to this point has been statistically successful. They have been involved in mostly blowouts and shootouts, so their high passing yardage could be a result of those factors as well. They have gotten into turnover trouble, giving the ball away 2.0 times per game (86th).

UAB made a change at QB four games ago, switching from junior Jonathan Perry to redshirt freshman Austin Brown. The switch has been mostly positive as Brown has thrown for 1449 yards, going 103 for 171 (60.2%) and 8 touchdowns to 3 interceptions.

The rushing offense is looking to improve. To this point the pass game has been there to set up the run, however despite the success through the air they cannot find the same type of production on the ground. There is the desire to run the ball as their offense is essentially balanced, attempting 37.9 pass plays per game versus 35.0 rush plays per game. To this point, sophomore Darrin Reaves has been the main back, carrying the ball 95 times for 355 yards (3.7 YPC) and 6 touchdowns. He also is effective in the passing offense with 18 receptions for 156 yards. After Reaves is junior Greg Franklin who has carried the ball 34 times for 153 yards (4.5) and 2 touchdowns. The Blazers also like to mix in redshirt freshman Bashr Coles and senior Dontavius Jackson.

At the receiver position the Blazers have an impressive distribution of production. Here is how they break down:

The Blazers get Patrick Hearn back from a hand injury this week, only deepening their squad. The effectiveness of their receivers and passing offense will test Tulane's young secondary.

Another thing to watch is how UAB's offensive line holds up. The team allows 4.0 sacks per game (122nd in FBS). The stats point to a unit that has struggled protecting their QB and running the ball. If Coach Johnson trusts his young DBs this would be a good week to use some pressure plays on defense.

Defense

Yards per Game: 490.8 (112th)
Pass Yards per Game: 276.5 (106th)
Rush Yards per Game: 214.3 (103rd)
1st downs Allowed per Game: 24.5 (105th)
3rd down Conversions per Game: 6.5 (94th)

The source of UAB's poor record rests mostly on their poor defensive output. They run a base 4-3 and during his introductory press conference he stated he wanted a "pressure defense". So far this season that has not resulted in good statistical production.

Through the air the Blazers allow 8.8 yards per pass attempt (116th) and 13.8 yards per completion (110th). On the ground they allow 5.1 yards per attempt (102nd) and 11.3 first downs via rushes (107th). They also have trouble creating turnovers, averaging 1.2 per game (98th).

Senior linebacker Marvin Burdette is looking to take the career lead for tackles at UAB this Saturday and he leads the team with 80 total tackles (41 solo). He has an interception return for 36 yards and a trouchdown and 2 sacks (leads the team). The next leading tackler is senior Greg Irvin who has 48 total tackles (33 solo). The defensive secondary is lead by redshirt freshman Jake Ganus who has notched 45 total tackles (27 solo) and has 1 interception.

Special Teams

Wide receivers Jackie Williams and Nick Adams handle most the punt and kick return duties. Senior RB Lamracus Farmer has also seen a number of punt return opportunities.

UAB kicker Ty Long has been solid so far, going 8 of 9 of field goals (88.9%). Hunter Mullins handles the punts and he averages 44.2 yards per punt, good for the 20th best average in FBS.

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