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Blazers nearly upset OSU
UAB gave up 21 points in 6 minutes as they fell to the Buckeyes to lose 2 straight against top 25 team
In front of a crowd of over 105,000, UAB was six points down with just over 10 minutes left in the game. After scoring on their previous drive and holding OSU to a three and out the Blazers had all the moment and temporarily silenced the stunned crowd. Under the control of freshman quarterback Austin Brown, the Green and Gold drove the ball to the 29-yard line before the drive stalled.
Ty Long was faced with a 47-yard kick on a gusty day in the heart of Ohio. The kicked missed wide left and the hope of claiming a victory seemed to diminish. Ohio would subsequently drive the ball on the next possession and claim the final score of the game on a one yard scamper to bring the score to bring the score to its final, 29-15.
“It’s very frustrating. I expect a lot from our offense. We’ve got to break tackle to get the ball in the end zone we got to make some throws and catches to get it in. We’re moving the ball but we’re not scoring touchdowns. We really got to evaluate that to figure out what the deal it is. So next week in our first conference game not only can we move the ball up the field but punch it in,” said first year head coach Garrick McGee about the red zone troubles.
UAB hasn’t gotten the ball into the end zone since the season opener despite having no problems moving the ball on offense; the Blazers outgained the Buckeyes 403-347. For the third straight game, UAB won the time of possession battle, converted well on third down, made big special teams plays and had few turnovers but once again did not come out with the victory.
Despite missing the goal on his final attempt, the sophomore kicker Ty Long had a good day. He set the record for the longest field goal for a UAB Blazer and the 3 longest in Ohio Stadium history with a 54-yarder that split the pipes on his way to going 3 for 4 on the day.
Austin Brown also saw significant action for the first time this season. The redshirt freshman threw for 196 yards on 21 of 35 passing. The Blazers worked the flats, with constant screens and bubble passes that help keep the Ohio pass rush at bay as UAB only gave up 1 sack on the day. This came just one week after giving up six sacks to the talented South Carolina team.
Junior Calvin Jones said, “It only takes four plays to determine the game so we didn’t come down with the victory but we think we did pretty well. We are ready for the next game.”
The Blazers had two turnovers, one of which was a fumble just before the half that turned into 7 points for the Buckeyes and that proved to be the back breaker for the Birmingham team.
Next week UAB will open its conference season against an explosive Tulsa squad, and after three tough losses, two against top 25 opponents, Garrick McGee will look to get his first win as a head coach.
Tulsa will have one of the best offenses UAB has faced to this year. Tulsa has the 17th best rushing offense in the nation where as the Blazers are giving up 215 yards a game which puts them 103 in the league. The pass rush for Tulsa is also one of the toughest they will face, they have more sacks this season than anyone in the nation with 19.
One positive is the run game seemed to step up this past week, and with a system based on play action passes, the run game was a missing component in the Blazer’s offensive attack. With four talented running backs that also can catch the ball out of the backfield, McGee expected to have a strong effort on the ground going into the season.
With the troubles in the red zone, a strong rushing attack could aid the Blazers in their effort to get the ball into pay dirt.
The offensive line will need to shore up, especially if Brown will be the one seeing more playing time in the coming weeks. Brown isn’t as mobile as the incumbent starter Jonathan Perry and they have already been struggling with sacks this season.
Tulsa’s attack may not compare to the previous two teams UAB has faced, but is the fiercest inside of Conference USA. The Blazers must not have a letdown in intensity after coming off of the three tough losses and will need to come out and continue to control the ball and keep the explosive Tulsa offense off the field when they come to Legion Field on Saturday at 2.