The Blazers have clinched an invitation to a bowl game with six wins but they will need to bounce back from a pair of lackluster offensive showings over the past two weeks. UAB has mustered a total of nine points during that span, which has resulted in back-to-back losses for the Blazers, who come in with a 6-3 record and a 3-2 mark in conference play. Meanwhile, UTEP has won just one of their first nine games and the Miners remain without a conference victory with just three regular-season games left on the schedule. Can UTEP snap their eight-game losing streak on the road against UAB on Saturday afternoon?
Miners play well but drop eighth straight gameUTEP was unable to snap their season-long slide versus FBS competition last week, losing to Charlotte 28-21 to remain winless in C-USA play. The Miners blew a 14-point first-half lead, going scoreless in the second half, as the 49ers riled off 21 unanswered points to seal the Miners’ fate. Kai Locksley had one of his best games of the season, completing 15-of-20 for 215 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while also leading the team in rushing with 84 yards and a touchdown. Jacob Cowing caught six balls for a season-high 145 yards and Treyvion Hughes added 48 rushing yards and a score for the Miners, who were ultimately undone by a late-game interception by Locksley.
For the third consecutive game, Locksley served as the lone quarterback under center and performed well once again. Over the last four games, Locksley has completed 46-of-91 passes (50.5 percent) for 1,165 yards with three touchdowns and only one interception while adding two scores on the ground during that span as well. The senior signal-caller has thrown for 871 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions this season while adding 363 rushing yards and four scores on the ground for the season.
On defense, UTEP has surrendered 35.6 points and 434.3 yards of total offense per game, including 171.9 yards per game on the ground. The Miners have struggled defensively, giving up far too many big plays for the season. Last week, after the offense stalled on Charlotte’s five-yard line, UTEP’s defense was unable to come up with a big stop. Instead, they surrendered a 10-play, 95-yard drive that culminated in the game-winning score.
Blazers' offense sputters in loss to Southern MissUAB was unable to get anything going on offense for the second consecutive game, losing on the road to Southern Mississippi 37-2 last week. The Blazers mustered a dismal 173 yards of total offense and their only score came on a second-quarter safety. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan Hopkins passed for only 103 yards and two interceptions while Larry Wooden added 33 yards on six carries to lead the team in rushing on the day. One of Hopkins’ two picks was returned for a touchdown, which contributed to UAB allowing a season-high 37 points in the loss.
This freshman is ballin' ... Alex Wright is a name to get familiar with.— UAB Football (@UAB_FB) November 12, 2019
15 TKL, 6.0 TFL, 2.5 Sacks, 2 fumble recoveries...And he's just scratching the surface. @ConferenceUSA pic.twitter.com/tGrwVDDPTD
Hopkins has been forced into action over the last two weeks after sophomore starter Tyler Johnson III was sidelined with a sprained knee. Johnston will miss his second straight game this weekend versus UTEP but could return as early as next week’s game versus Louisiana Tech, reports Evan Dudley of AL.com. His backup, Hopkins, has completed only 51.4 percent of his passes for the season for 141 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in limited action. Prior to last week’s start versus Southern Miss, Hopkins had thrown just 10 total passes this season. With the Blazers in desperate need of a win to keep their bowl season hopes alive, Hopkins will need to have a quick learning curve and a forgetful memory if he wants to improve this week.
Turnovers have been a problem for the Blazers, especially as of late. Over their last three losses, Blazers’ quarterbacks turned the ball over 10 times, which has directly led to 40 of the 87 points in their three losses this season.
On defense, UAB has surrendered a slim 19.7 points (22nd in FBS) and only 263 yards of total offense per contest, which ranks as the sixth-lowest mark in the nation. They’ve been particularly tough against the pass, allowing only 163 yards per game through the air, which also ranks sixth in the country.
- Miners are 7-22-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Miners are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in November.
- Miners are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win.
- Blazers are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games following a straight-up loss.
- Blazers are 8-2 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Blazers are 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a straight-up loss of more than 20 points.