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2018

UAB

College Football

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UAB put together a surprisingly solid campaign in 2017, going 8-5, although a blowout loss to Ohio in the Bahamas Bowl put a minor damper on the first season back from a hiatus. With a decent amount of starters back on both sides of the ball, the Blazers should again be near the same win total and that’s seen in their 7.5-win over/under at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Winning C-USA is a long shot, but playing in the West division helps and they have +2050 odds to win it, the sixth-best number.

Most of the hope for UAB falls on the offense that returns eight starters including senior quarterback A.J. Erdely. This group was fine last year, scoring 27.8 points per game, but improvement is expected with plenty of talent to work with, as well as new coordinator Bryant Vincent, who comes over from South Alabama and was with the record-setting UAB team in 2014. Erdely was efficient last year, completing 60.7% of his passes for 16 touchdowns and only four picks, but only managed 6.90 yards per attempt, a subpar rate with 180 yards per game. He also ran for 13 touchdowns alongside stud running back Spencer Brown (1,329 yards, 10 TDs), who hopes to top his freshman numbers behind a line that features four returning starters. The top receivers are also back to help Erdely with Andre Wilson (677 yards, 6 TDs) and Collin Lisa (439 yards). If the offense doesn’t improve on last year’s numbers it’d be a disappointment.

The defense has a little more work to do after losing playmakers at every level. Six starters return, but new guys have to step up into bigger roles. The biggest absence is at linebacker where the two leaders are gone. Fitzgerald Mofor, the team’s third leading tackler, has to bridge the divide along with Stacy Keely, a former end. The line has some experience, but Garrett Marino is the lone returning starter. The secondary may be the best unit with three starters returning including safety Broderick Thomas (95 tackles). That group limited opposing quarterbacks to 190 yards per game and that’ll be the goal again.

In addition to UAB possibly being better than a year ago, the schedule opens nicely for four wins before its first real road trip to La. Tech. Unfortunately, La. Tech is one of their main competitors in the West division and that game on the road doesn’t help. The schedule is there to win the division with the trip to Mid Tennessee being the only other overly difficult contest in conference play. Of course, the Blazers still have to beat UNT and USM in home games, which aren’t guarantees. Hitting eight wins is more than possible again, especially if the offense finds a little more consistency. The early schedule should get their hopes high and with an upset or two, it wouldn’t be surprising to see UAB reach eight or nine wins. Of course, if the defense takes a step back, all bets are off.

 

2018 UAB Blazers Football Schedule

Aug. 30 vs. Savannah State 

Sept. 8 at Coastal Carolina

Sept. 15 vs. Tulane

Sept. 29 vs. Charlotte

Oct. 6 at Louisiana Tech

Oct. 13 at Rice

Oct. 20 vs. North Texas

Oct. 27 at UTEP

Nov. 3 vs. UTSA

Nov. 10 vs. Southern Miss

Nov. 17 at Texas A&M

Nov. 24 at Middle Tennessee

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