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Owls perch on Blazers, 37-34; season closes Nov. 30
UAB loses to Rice in overtime 37-34 after a hopeful fourth quarter 13 point come-back. The Blazers kicked off at Legion Field Thursday and showed the fans a defense that hasn’t been seen yet this season. The defense stopped Rice’s advances and forced a field goal giving Rice a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. UAB’s defense is currently ranked 106th in the country; giving up and average of 222 yards per game. While UAB’s defense fought back in rare form, the offense struggled to gain ground. Fourth and one with 5:14 left in the first quarter, UAB’s offense took the gamble and attempted to gain the extra yard and get the first down but failed to get the necessary traction. The defense could not compensate and Rice was able to run the ball for a touchdown brining the game to 10-0. The first quarter ended with 63 total yards for UAB versus Rice’s 89; 28 pass yards versus 33 yards; 35 rush yards versus 56 rush yards; 2 first downs versus 6; and 6:12 possession time versus 8:48 possession time.
The second quarter saw a lot of back and forth plays until safety Jordan Petty recovered a Rice fumble and ran 25 yards to the 2 yard line. Running back Darrin Reaves finished the job and got UAB’s first touchdown of the game. With 38 seconds left in the second quarter, Rice scored a touchdown pass and brought the end of the first half to 17-7. UAB ended the first half of the game with 88 total yards versus Rice’s 229 total yards; 54 rush yards versus 184 rush yards; 4 first downs versus 14; and 10:47 total possession time versus 19:13 total possession time.
Rice kicked off the second half. Quarterback Jonathan Perry passed to wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson who completed the pass, fumbled the ball, recovered the ball, and finally ended with a gain of 53 yards. Darrin Reaves again finished the job and made the one yard run for the touchdown. On the next UAB possession, Jonathan Perry ran a 12 yard first down and passed to Nelson who took the ball to the ten yard line. The Blazers were pushed back to the 14 but Jonathan Perry was able to run the ball in for the touchdown bringing the game to 21-17, UAB. Rice scored a touchdown at the end of the third quarter with an 18 yard pass.
In the fourth quarter, the Blazer defense continued to excel over previous performances despite another Rice touchdown. The Jonathan Perry threw a 32 yard pass to Jamarcus Nelson who caught it in the midst of three Rice defenders. Perry tossed the ball to Nelson again to the 20 yard line and then again for the touchdown. Center John Hix suffered a debilitating leg injury on the field and had to be carried off, but not before rallying his teammates to finish the game. The Blazer offense pushed at the end of the fourth quarter with a score of 31-28, Rice in the lead. Ty Long made the field goal that tied up the game with 37 seconds left on the clock. The Blazers were now in overtime. Ty Long made another field goal, this one reaching 43 yards. Unfortunately, Rice was able to end the game with one final touchdown, 37-34.
UAB plays Southern Miss November 30 at Legion Field for a noon kickoff for the last game of the season.