UTEP Miners (7-4) vs. UAB Blazers (7-4)
After snapping their three-game losing streak, the UTEP Miners will take on the UAB Blazers on Friday evening. UTEP defeated Rice last Saturday, 38-28. The Miners are now 6-2 ATS in their last eight games. UAB lost their most recent contest, falling to UTSA, 34-31. That snapped a two-game winning streak. The Blazers are 6-2 ATS in the last eight games.
UAB is favored by 13.5-points. The Blazers have won each of the last three meetings between these teams, including a 37-10 victory in November 2019.
Miners Rally to Down RiceAfter giving up 21 points in the second quarter, the UTEP Miners rallied in the second half to earn a 38-28 victory over Rice. Quarterback Gavin Hardison led the way, completing 23 of 35 passes for 366 yards and two touchdowns. Calvin Brownholtz only carried the ball twice in the game, but scored from 1 yard out on each of his two carries.
UTEP is 94th in the nation in points per game at 25.2 and is 71st in yards per game at 400.2. The Miners have an outstanding ground game led by Ronald Awatt, who has rushed for 791 yards and five touchdowns. Awatt is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and UTEP is averaging 147.6 yards rushing per game.
Hardison has put up solid numbers, completing 55.4% of his passes for 2762 yards and 16 scores. He has thrown 11 interceptions, and this will be a number to watch in this game. The leading receiver is Jacob Cowing with 62 catches for 1267 yards and six touchdowns. That is an impressive 20.4 yards per catch average. Justin Garrett is second with 45 catches for 624 yards and four scores.
UTEP is allowing 23.2 points per game, 44th overall. The defense has recorded 21 sacks, seven interceptions, and six fumble recoveries. Jadrian Taylor leads the team with 6.5 sacks, with Praise Amaewhule second at 5.5 sacks. Breon Hayward leads the team with 93 tackles and has a fumble recovery.
Last Second Score Dooms BlazersUAB held a four-point lead until three seconds left in the contest when Frank Harris completed a 1-yard touchdown pass to give UTSA a 34-31 victory. That ruined a big day for DeWayne McBride, who carried the ball 24 times for 144 yards and a score. Quarterback Dylan Hopkins rushed for 36 yards and one touchdown and threw for 254 and two scores.
Also a fun fact - McBride is Conference USA's leading rusher in league play with 802 total rushing yards. https://t.co/4aQ7hm8l4Y— UAB Football 🏆 (@UAB_FB) November 23, 2021
UAB is 65th in points per game at 28.3 and they are 77th in yards per contest at 389.6. The UAB offense is led by McBride, carrying the ball 169 times for 1089 yards and 11 touchdowns. That is an impressive 6.4 yards per carry average. Jermaine Brown is second at 496 yards and four scores.
Hopkins has completed 63.8% of his passes for 1977 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has thrown only five interceptions. He has a pair of primary targets, led by Gerrit Prince with 30 catches for 633 yards and seven touchdowns. Trea Shropshire is second with 24 catches for 670 yards and six scores. Both are averaging more than 21 yards per catch.
The Blazers are 41st in points allowed at 22.6 per game. The defense has recorded 31 sacks, nine interceptions, and six fumble recoveries. Alex Wright leads the team with 5.5 sacks and has a fumble recovery. Three players have two interceptions, including Keondre Swoopes, who is second on the team with 45 tackles.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Statistically, these teams are fairly evenly matched in a number of key categories, so I found the 13.5-point edge for UAB to be a bit much. Both teams have a solid running attack and both have a quarterback putting up quality numbers. The difference is that Hardison is a little more prone to throw the interception but is also more likely to come up with the big play.
The Miners are 4-0 ATS in the last four games following a victory and are 6-2 ATS in the last eight games. UAB is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five home games and is 1-5 ATS in their last six games on Friday. UAB wins, but they do not cover the spread.
Full-Game Total Pick
The total is set at 48.5 and that is a solid number. These teams are averaging about 53 points per game combined while giving up about 46 per game combined. Oddsmakers clearly see that the total will be slightly closer to the 53, and so the over becomes the smart pick.
Each of the last three times these teams have met the total has been under 48.5. However, both teams are coming off games where the total was 60+ points. With outstanding running games and quality quarterbacks, I look for a higher-scoring affair.
Take UAB to win, 35-24.