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Another season ends in disappointment
The UAB Blazers concluded their 2012 season with a loss to the Conference USA eastern division champions, the Central Florida Knights. In a season of fans, students, and alumni being asked to play his or her part, the UAB football team finished with a 3-9 record and 2-6 in the conference. UCF defeated the Blazers 49-24 and clinched a berth in the Conference USA championship game against Tulsa.
The Blazers offense produced the second-highest passing yards in one game with 510 yards Saturday. The highest total for passing yards in school history was 611 yards against Prairie View A&M in 1994. Austin Brown threw for 203 yards while Jonathan Perry threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown was pulled for Perry in the second quarter after throwing an interception. Perry started the first three games this year and most of the 2011 season. Brown has been suffering a groin injury and Garrick McGee inserted the former starting quarterback into the game to help provide a spark to the offense. “I thought he did a good job. We’ve got two good quarterbacks on our team. We’ve said that the whole time. Both guys are capable of moving our football team down the field,” McGee said of his quarterbacks.
Marvin Burdette ended his UAB football career with 15 tackles against the Knights and a school-leading 406 all-time career tackles. Burdette finished the 2012 season ranked number two, in the FBS, with 157 total tackles; nine behind the NCAA FBS leader Dan Molls from Toledo. Burdette led the FBS in solo tackles with 90, four more than Toledo’s Molls.
Patrick Hearn ended his Blazer career with a bang. The senior wide receiver from Quitman, Mississippi brought in 201 receiving yards, the first 200-yard receiving game for a Blazer since Roddy White’s 253 yard game against Tulane in 2004. “I didn’t do anything spectacular. I played like anybody would in their last game,” Hearn said of completing his UAB career.
The Blazers have much optimism for returning offensive players next season. Sophomore running back, Darrin Reaves, finished with 71 rushing yards against UCF and 1,037 rushing yards for the season. Reaves is only the fourth Blazer to total 1,000 or more rushing yards in a single season (Carl Sanders 1996, Joe Webb 2008 and 2009 were the others).
Jackie Williams returns as a senior next season after leading the Blazers with 799 receiving yards. The quarterback position is up for grabs as Austin Brown and Jonathan Perry return, as well as redshirt freshmen Ben Craft and Josh Greer entering the mix. “I think we showed a lot of promise this season, but we’ve got to continue to do what the coaches are telling us and completely buy in to what they want,” Perry said of McGee building his program entering year number two at UAB.
There is no question that the Blazers need to retool their offensive line on the recruiting trail and during spring practice. UAB gave up 42 sacks during the 2012 season and only UCLA (43), Colorado (50) and Washington State (57) gave up more during the regular season among FBS schools.