Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#189 UAB vs.
#190 North Texas
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 7:30pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

A pair of teams from the West Division of Conference USA take the field to do battle in the Lone Star State. The UAB Blazers are on the road as they make the trip to face the North Texas Mean Green Saturday night. UAB comes in off a 56-7 road demolition at the hands of #2 Georgia in their previous game last Saturday. North Texas was dropped 35-12 on the road by SMU in a battle of schools from Texas last Saturday in their most recent action. In the all-time series between the schools, the Blazers own a 3-1 advantage and have taken the last two, including a 26-21 road victory in the most recent matchup on November 30, 2019.

UAB Blazers Looking to Regroup After Blowout Loss

UAB won their season opener but was no matchup for a powerhouse program like #2 Georgia as they were stomped last week on the road. The Blazers now look to regroup and pick up a conference win on the road in this contest. UAB was never in the game as they trailed 21-0 after the opening quarter, 35-0 at the half and 49-0 after three quarters. The Blazers scored their lone touchdown with 5:02 to play to avoid being shut out but that was the high point for them in the game. UAB was outgained 539-174 in total offense, gave up 23 first downs while picking up 11 and turned the ball over three times, including a pick-six, while forcing only one turnover, which accounted for their touchdown as it was a pick-six. Those numbers overwhelmed the Blazers’ narrow 30:39 to 29:21 edge in time of possession.

For the year, the Blazers are 80th in the nation in passing offense with 208.5 yards per game and 90th in rushing offense as they put up 137 yards per contest on the ground. UAB is 112th in the FBS in scoring offense with 19 points per game while they are 92nd in scoring defense by allowing 28 points per contest on the year. Tyler Johnston III has completed 23 of 35 passes for 358 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions on the year. Dylan Hopkins is four of five for 59 yards plus a score in his limited action. On the ground, DeWayne McBride (25 carries, 115 yards) and Jermaine Brown Jr. (20 carries, 107 yards, TD) have shared the rock with Lucious Stanley (seven carries, 35 yards) the third back in the system. When the Blazers go to the air, Trea Shropshire (127 yards, TD) and Ryan Davis (65 yards) share the team lead with five receptions. Tight ends Gerrit Prince (68 yards, TD) and Hayden Pittman (43 yards) both have four grabs. Matt Quinn has hit all five extra point attempts and is one of two on field goal tries with a long of 27: he missed an attempt from 52.

UAB is going to have to be better protecting the ball in this one than they were in the first two weeks of the season. The Blazers committed five turnovers in their first two games, leaving them a -4 in the giveaway/takeaway department. For all the issues that North Texas had last year with slowing down opposing teams, they’ve been more aggressive on that side of the ball this season. The Mean Green have recorded eight takeaways in two games to help offset that they’ve given up 477 yards per contest. If UAB doesn’t protect the ball, they could be in trouble against an explosive offensive team.

North Texas Mean Green Seek Conference Win at Home

North Texas came back to earth last week as they were unable to keep up with SMU on the road. The Mean Green now hope that returning home can help them open conference play with a victory. North Texas held a 3-0 lead after the opening quarter and led 6-0 late in the first half before giving up a touchdown to trail 7-6 at intermission. The Mean Green hung around into the third quarter, trailing 14-12 with 6:12 to play in the third, but failed to score again. North Texas was outgained 537-506 in the game, negating the fact that they held a 23-20 edge in first downs, controlled the clock by a 36:06 to 23:54 margin and forced four turnovers while committing only two. The Mean Green turned the ball over on downs four times and failed to capitalize enough on their takeaways.

This season, the Mean Green stand 34th in the nation in passing offense with 283 yards per contest and tied for 22nd in rushing offense with 233.5 yards per game. North Texas is 80th in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 28 points a game while they are 81st in scoring defense by giving up 24.5 points a contest. Jace Ruder has hit 42 of 72 passes for 497 yards with two touchdowns against four interceptions on the year. He has 38 yards on the ground. Austin Aune is four of nine for 69 yards in his action. On the ground, DeAndre Torrey leads the way with 41 carries for 315 yards plus three scores. Isaiah Johnson (17 carries, 59 yards) and Ikaika Ragsdale (14 carries, 51 yards) have split the #2 role between them. Roderic Burns has been the go-to guy in the passing game with 18 receptions for 255 yards plus a score. Jason Pirtle (seven catches, 71 yards) and Jyaire Shorter (six receptions, 107 yards) are solid secondary options. Ethan Mooney has hit all five extra point attempts and five of six field goal tries this season with a long of 48. His lone miss came from 51.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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UAB was completely waxed by Georgia on the road last week, which was to be expected given that the Bulldogs are #2 in the country. With that said, the Blazers did next to nothing offensively and that has to be concerning when you consider that they’re facing a North Texas team that can move the ball and put points on the board, seemingly at will. The Mean Green gave SMU all they wanted for nearly three quarters before running out of steam late as their defense gave up a couple big plays. With that said, North Texas is at home and they are capable of taking the ball away, as we’ve seen in each of the first two weeks. Look for the Mean Green to find a way to come up with the win here to start Conference USA play on the right foot.

Prediction: North Texas Mean Green +12

Full-Game Total Pick

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UAB went over the mark in their game last week but that was mainly because of Georgia, who exceeded the original number on their own. The Blazers enter this one having stayed under the total in four of their previous six contests. In addition, UAB has seen the under go 4-0-1 in their last five after giving up at least 40 points and 4-1 in their last five on fieldturf. North Texas has stayed under the total in both their games this season by more than a touchdown and UAB is a pretty stingy defensive team. The last two meetings between the teams ended up short of the mark and this one follows suit.

Prediction: Under 57.5
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.