Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#383 South Alabama 51 vs.
#384 UAB -10.5
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
Legion Field, Birmingham
Written by Ricky Dimon

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#383 University of South Alabama
#384 University of Alabama Birmingham
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The UAB Blazers will try to stay undefeated when they host the South Alabama Jaguars at Legion Field on Saturday afternoon.

Banged up

A 42-6 loss to Memphis last Saturday left South Alabama with numerous questions to answer heading into this week’s non-conference date at UAB. Among the unknowns is the Jaguars’ worsening injury situation, which added three starters during the blowout setback against the Tigers. Defensive lineman Tyree Turner (ankle) missed his second straight game, while running back Tra Minter (concussion), linebacker Roy Yancey (ankle), and offensive lineman Max Charite (ankle) were injured during that contest. Turner, a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference pick, remains day-to-day. Minter, who lay motionless and face down on the field briefly following a hard hit in the first quarter, must pass through the NCAA’s five-step concussion protocol before he can even return to practice. However, the Jaguars are expected to get wide receiver Jalen Wayne (broken foot) back this week and might have linebacker Patrick Rosette (broken hand) at their disposal, as well. Those two players–both of whom were expected to see extensive playing time this season–have been out since preseason camp.

Ties that bind

UAB features 25 players or coaches with ties to the South Alabama program and the surrounding Gulf Coast area, but none more significant than head coach Bill Clark. He worked five seasons as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator before heading to Jacksonville State for his first college head-coaching job. Clark accepted the UAB position following a single season at JSU and has been instrumental in resurrecting the UAB program following its dismissal.

The Blazers head into this one with an unblemished 2-0 record, an explosive downfield passing attack, and a seemingly suffocating defense. UAB can also extend the nation’s seventh-best home winning streak to 14 games. It enters this game after an early bye week, which should prove beneficial in correcting a few easy-to-fix issues while also getting people healthy.

“Coming off an open date is always interesting,” Clark noted. “Everyone handles them a little differently. I think there is some good, but then there is the worry of what does that do to your psyche and how do your players return. Obviously, there is the health side to it which is a positive and having a second one coming up later is a big deal for us. We got better last week and it really gave us a chance to look at ourselves. We looked at South Alabama of course, but we tried to look all of our upcoming opponents and who we are going to play. It was a good solid week.”

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Johnson is 35-for-66 (53 percent) for 393 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions this season and has also lost three fumbles. One trouble spot for South Alabama this season has been in kicking extra points, where the Jaguars have had three mishandled snaps — including one that Memphis returned for two points. Punter Jack Brooks, a freshman from Australia, handled double-duty as the Jaguars’ holder in the first three games of the season. Brooks will no longer be doing those duties. Moreover, to say the Jags are banged up would be a gross understatement. South Alabama is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 on the road against opponents with winning home records and 1-4-1 ATS in its last six September outings. The Blazers are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 on fieldturf and 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven at home against opponents with losing road records.

Prediction: UAB Blazers

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UAB quarterback Tyler Johnston III has thrown for 433 yards with five touchdowns and only one interception through two outings. Austin Watkins has 146 receiving yards and both he and Kendall Parham have found the endzone twice. They should be able to take advantage of a USA defense that has allowed at least 35 points in two of its three games. The over is 5-2 in the Jaguars’ last seven on the road, 5-2 in their last seven against opponents with winning records, and 4-1 in their last five after allowing more than 40 points in their previous outing. It is also 6-2 in the Blazers’ last eight overall, 5-1 in their last six against the Sun Belt Conference, and 8-3 in their last 11 following an off week. Look for this one to go over the total.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining the Winners & Whiners Staff, he worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.