By Avery Wilks
Quite frankly, it’s very hard for me as a journalist, sports fan, and realist to give UAB any semblance of a chance against #8 South Carolina. Nonetheless, here’s to giving you everything you’ll need to know about our newest Conference USA opponent.
First, we’ll start with the facts.
- In case you didn’t know, UAB stands for “University of Alabama at Birmingham.”
- Also known as “U Ain’t Bama.”
- The team’s nickname is the “Blazers,” which we can only assume is some sort of green dragon-thing.
- USC comes into the game 2-0, while UAB enjoyed a bye week last Saturday after losing their week one game to Troy 39-29.
- UAB’s new head coach is Garrick McGee, Arkansas’s offensive coordinator last year, while South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier seeks his 200th collegiate win.
- USC owns the overall series record with UAB 2-0, the wins coming in 2003 and 2008.
- South Carolina has won its last 6 straight games dating back to 2011, while UAB hopes to rebound from a pitiful 3-9 season that led to the firing of former coach Neil Callaway.
- UAB has only had an NCAA-sanctioned football program since 1991.
UAB Season Recap and Scouting Report
UAB was plagued by turnovers and countless miscues in its opening game loss to Troy. Though the Blazers outgained the Trojans, the team couldn’t keep it together when it mattered most in new head coach Garrick McGee’s debut.
Offensively, UAB performed well against Troy. Junior quarterback Jonathan Perry is the best player on the offense, passing for 317 yards and two touchdowns in the offensive scheme McGee brought over from Arkansas. Though the Blazers’ committee approach in the rushing game kept each back from gaining more than 48 yards, the team did manage to compile 134 yards rushing on 44 carries. Though this offense can get down the field capably against teams like Troy, they are entirely too turnover-prone to stand a chance against a defense like South Carolina’s. Only down two points in the fourth quarter against the Trojans, the Blazer offense committed two turnovers that led to Troy touchdowns within a 24-second period, all but sealing UAB’s fate. Simply put, this offense is ripe for the picking. After their outstanding performance against ECU, USC’s young defense backs will be like sharks out for blood this Saturday night. The outlook isn’t very bright for McGee’s offense.
Defensively, UAB is in much more trouble. The Blazer defense was atrocious against Troy, giving up 262 rushing yards on 45 carries, including 204 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground to running back Shawn Southward. As if UAB wouldn’t already have their hands full with Dylan Thompson and Carolina’s now-existent passing game, their cupcake run defense will now be faced with containing a stable of running backs as deep as any other in the country, even if Lattimore isn’t quite as explosive as he was in 2011. Look for Lattimore to break the school record for touchdowns in a career, needing only one to separate himself from George Rogers and Harold Green who hold the career mark of 33. This could very well be his wake-up game as well as a great opportunity for Spurrier to show off all of his running backs.