Sloppy first impression with first loss
Posted on Sep 04, 2012 in Sports
“Reality is we didn’t play well enough to win the game,” first year head coach Garrick McGee said after the game. While most game stats are even, UAB made more bad plays than their week one opponent.
Both sides were sloppy and the Blazers had a dismal first 27 minutes of the game featuring two turnovers before the defense forced a turnover in the red zone, which sparked a Blazer drive to finally get on the board going into halftime trailing 17-7.
Trailing at halftime in a game where they had been outplayed, the Green and Gold showed resilience. “We believe in our team, nobody had their heads down,” defensive end Diaheem Watkins said about his teammates. Coach McGee added, “Showing them we had a plan and that we did believe in them gave them life.”
Being in a similar situation just two years ago to the same team veterans reminded the younger players the game is not over.
The second half was more action-packed than the previous one. It started with an on-side kick recovered by the Green and Gold, and an ensuing touchdown that brought UAB within striking distance down just 17-14.
A long snap that sailed out of the end zone and a Troy touchdown it looked like it was going to be a two score game before Connor Boyett blocked the PAT to keep it the deficit to just eight heading into the fourth quarter.
UAB once again scored on their opening drive of the quarter. With the Trojans just two points away after the TD offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm called a quick pass play for the two point conversion. On a scramble out of the pocket Jonathan Perry threw a pass that was just several feet short of the target.
The Blazers would come no closer. After a couple of Troy touchdowns, coupled with the inability of the Birmingham team to hold on to the football, the Trojans ended the game on a 14-6 run, bringing the final score to 39-29.
Jackie Williams had a standout game receiving for 157 yards on just six catches but will most likely be thinking about the touchdown he didn’t make, fumbling the ball on the two yard line just before pay dirt.
Jonathan Perry also had a great game accumulating 317 yards with his arm on 18-33 passing adding two TD’s, but floated one pass late in the game that resulted in a Troy interception. He also was the second leading rusher for his team adding 46 yards and a TD . After the game, the junior quarterback from Baltimore, Md. said this about what he this game showed, “There no magic in what the coaching staff brings. We need to go out there and make the plays ourselves.”
After the game, McGee said, “I’m excited about our football team but I am not interested in any moral victory. We play to win the game. I am not interested in moral victories so am not excited about a loss.” UAB is a team that has many moral victories but few that have translated into actual wins in the programs short history.
McGee and his squad may have lost the game but belief was a word that was uttered repetitively. McGee said that his team will be much better in two weeks when they travel to Colombia to take on South Carolina Gamecocks. Sophomore Watkins added, “We are not that far from being a good team. We got good players. We want to show the city of Birmingham what we got.”
The stats for the two teams were almost dead even, UAB had more total yards, more first downs, and fewer penalties but could not overcome the four turnovers. UAB was just 4-5 plays from winning the season openers.
Both teams came out sloppy, but that is to be expected during the first game. The run game was a surprise; UAB had hoped to set up the offense with an effective run game. However, Troy’s 3-4 defense kept the Blazers rushing attack at bay.
UAB will also need to find ways to get a better pass rush to put pressure on opposing QB’s as they had no sacks. Corey Robison seemed to have an eternity at times in the pocket.
Having an away game during week two can be a major positive for UAB. The Troy game gave them many things to work on, and will need to be fixed before they travel to an SEC opponent in South Carolina on Sept. 15 and then Ohio State one week later.