Garrick McGee captures first Conference USA win, defeats Southern Miss 27-19

By on November 6, 2012

The Blazers finally claimed their first conference victory Saturday against a winless Southern Miss squad. The win comes a week after a disappointing showing in the Louisiana Superdome against a perennial ESPN bottom ten member, Tulane Green Wave. The loss catapulted the Blazers to an honorable mention just below fellow in-state school, the Auburn Tigers. Although it took five tries, the first year head coach and his new attitude team finally claimed their first conference win and first win against an FBS opponent.

Darrin Reaves rushed for a career high 223 yards and added three touchdowns. This is the second consecutive game with 150 plus yards and two or more scores. Kyle Thompson/ Staff Photographer

Garrick McGee’s squad opened the game looking as if it had given up on the below par (even for UAB standards) season. Without either team scoring in the first quarter, the Golden Eagles picked up the pace in the second half by putting 16 points on the board before halftime.

Soon after the break, McGee rallied his troops to carry the momentum and the first win of the season back to Birmingham.

After recovering a fumble on the second play of the second half, the Green and Gold marched the ball 78 yards on eight plays on the back of sophomore RB Darrin Reaves who capped off the drive with a 14 yard touchdown scamper to bring the game back to within 10.

Southern Miss responded by putting three points on the board on the ensuing possession, but that would be all senior linebacker Marvin Burdette and the UAB defense would give up.

The next drive saw Darrin Reaves accumulate 48 yards on five of the next six plays, setting up an Austin Brown play action pass to Sam Accursio to bring the game to within a touchdown, 19-14.

The UAB defense then forced a three and out inside their territory which helped give the injury plagued defense some confidence and momentum as they would only give up three first downs the rest of the game. After the 10 minute mark in the third quarter the Green and Gold would allow just 53 yards for the rest of the game.

In the fourth quarter, Ty Long contributed, hitting two field goals on consecutive drives to lift the Blazers to their first lead.

Darrin Reaves continues his rushing success, carrying the ball 35 times for 223 yards and two scores, easily making up for a second quarter fumble.

Jackie Williams pulled down four catches for 57 yards that bringing his reception streak to 32 games.

The defense really stepped up their play, forcing three turnovers, and only giving up 295 yards. Marvin Burdette stands just eight tackles away from the UAB school record for most tackles all-time.

The Batesville, Miss. native will likely break the current record of 372 career tackles (held by Zac Woodfin) against Marshall this coming weekend.

Oppositely, UAB still struggles to have a error free game.

Sam Accursio Sr. TE had a 18 yard touchdown reception for his second score of the season and career. Kyle Thompson/ Staff Photographer

An improvement from weeks prior, UAB reigned in only 61 yards worth of penalties this week.

The offensive line still struggles to hold ground. Quarterback Austin Brown was sacked five times. Whether it is a problem of the redshirt freshman holding on to the ball too long in the pocket, the offensive line not giving him any time or a combination of the two, either way, it is a consistent problem.

Austin Brown had two turnovers, one interception and one fumble, both happened in the first half and seemed to turn things around in the second but Brown needs to have a higher than 1-1 touchdown to interception ratio if the Blazers ever plan on winning the C-USA championship.

Overall McGee and his football team had a much better week and will try to carry this success into next week’s matchup as they welcome Marshall, a team that UAB hasn’t fared particularly well with in years past.

Look for the Thundering Herd to utilize their passing attack, ranked second in the nation and averaging 374 yards a game. The offense is lead by sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato who has nearly a 4-1 touchdown to interception ratio with 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions on the season.

UAB on the other hand will try to attack the weak Marshall defense. Marshall’s defense is 113th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game with nearly 223 yards a contest.

The Blazers will try and ride the back of Darrin Reaves once again as they to try to pound the worst scoring defense in the nation that allows over 40 points against a game.

Do not expect a defensive struggle with No. 93 UAB and No. 99 ranked Marshall. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Legion Field.

Tripp Larsen
Sports Editor

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About Tripp Larsen

I am life long Blazer fan, who wishes the best for the program. I am 22 year old psychology major. If you have any comments or arguments feel free to comment, or send me an email at Writers are wanted so if you want to become a member of the staff send an email or come down to the student media office.
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