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UAB beats Northwestern State 52-28 (Photos)
UPDATED — UAB beats Northwestern State 52-28 and gains their first win of the season. The Blazers gained a major morale boost by bringing the win on the season’s first home game in front of all their familiar fans.
“The number one positive is the win and we’ve been starving for it these past few weeks. We expect to do well this season, we think we’ve got the talent, we think we’ve got the team chemistry, and we think that our team has the want to win and it’s always good to win in your own stadium. The first step to becoming a really good program is to take pride in playing in your home stadium, your home town,” said Head Coach Garrick McGee.
At 10:09 in the game, wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson touched down with a 63 yard punt return. “Once I caught the ball, I looked up and saw a whole lot of white jerseys so I had to make some quick moves to get through them and make the play.” In the second half, Nelson caught a 41 yard pass from Quarter Back Austin Brown and ran in for another touchdown.
Running Back Darrin Reaves had a net gain of 178 yards and two touchdowns including a 50 yard run. “I thought our team needed a spark so I tried to do everything thing I could to give that to us,” said Reaves.
Cornerback Jimmy Jean made a very tight interception that helped keep the Blazer’s score continue to increase. “It was no surprise that Jimmy Jean got the interception, we all knew he was going to do it. He does it every day at practice. As soon as the ball went up I knew he was going to intercept it. We trust Jimmy like that,” said McGee.
The game started with a very unusual coin toss. The Blazers won the coin toss but opted to kick off both halves of the game, giving Northwestern State the ball both times.
“I wanted to play defense, I wanted to get it established. I wanted to push the issue open with our players. I made sure that they knew my philosophy going into the game was more of a defensive mentality. That’s why I decided we were going to kick the ball both times,” said McGee. “I wanted the defense to know that I was serious and that I wanted to play a better defense to a point where we were going kick both times. Kicking the ball off two times, playing up-tight man coverage, blitzing a lot more than usual, it’s all connected together. We had an off week last week so we evaluated our Troy and LSU games and came out saying that we had to become a defensive minded program in order for us to get where we wanted to go. We don’t want to just be O.K., we want to be one of the best teams in our conference. It’s all part of the grand scheme.”
Even the referees thought McGee’s decision was odd. “Even the referee said ‘No, you don’t want to do that, do you?’ and I replied, ‘Yes. Yes we do,’” said Running Back Reaves.
The Blazers are ready to begin to win their season back through a great amount of dedication and hard work. “We’ve been starving for this win the past couple of weeks. We have goals in mind, I think we’re at the point, in regards to our football team, that we could make the push, make the run to compete with any team in our conference,” said Head Coach Garrick McGee.
“To get that done, you have to show up, you have to perform and ultimately win games. It’s good to see our kids with a smile on their face afterwards, after a win. I do want them to after coming in on Sunday and practicing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then to come in Saturday and win. But we’ve got to keep the practice up and we’re going to come in tomorrow and start practicing to balance up our record. We’ve got really talented athletes, when their on and their concentrating and playing fast they can get down the field and the linebackers get strong. We had enough high quality athletes to outplay them. We’re a very good team but there’s a lot to improve on. I thought it was sloppy throughout the game and there’s a lot for us to clean up, that’s for sure.”
Cornerback Jimmy Jean also commented on the work yet to be done, “This win means a lot. We always come in with the mindset that were not going to lose a game, so after our 0-2 start it means a lot to win in our home stadium in front of our crowd. We had to put on a show. We’re going to celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we get back to training and getting ready for Vanderbilt.”
UAB is now 1-2 for their season and will be at Vanderbilt September 28. Kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m.
Photos by Sarah Adkins. Football Gallery (Requires Java Script)
Football Gallery for those without Java Script (Photos By Sarah Adkins)