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Keys to the Game for UAB versus North Texas

What UAB must do to win Saturday versus the Mean Green

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Forgive UAB fans for losing hope during the game two weeks ago against FIU. After a promising start to the Bill Clark era in Birmingham, Blazer fans may have had flashbacks to seasons past as the Panthers picked up a relatively easy 34-20 road win.

The first half of the Western Kentucky game gave little reason to regain the hope that UAB fans felt during dominating wins over Troy and Alabama A&M along with an inspiring effort in Starkville against Mississippi State. The Hilltoppers took advantage of the UAB secondary and lead 27-14 at the break. This was a picture that UAB fans had seen before where one loss derails a season. Then Bill Clark showed why he'd given Blazer fans hope in the first place.

The UAB defense would start making plays and getting off the field with 2nd half adjustments. The UAB offense would overcome a gut-wrenching Pick 6 interception and drive for the winning score on the next series to win their first C-USA game of the year.  UAB fans are starting to see the real change that Bill Clark and his staff have implemented in this team.

These Blazers can overcome adversity and obstacles.

These Blazers show the ability to put the past behind them.

These Blazers have the coaching to make meaningful half time adjustments.

While some fan bases may take those little things for granted, UAB fans have seen how the lack of ability in these areas lead to losses.

As North Texas comes to Birmingham this Saturday the Blazers have a chance to get to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in C-USA play at the midpoint of the season. Considering UAB has only won 8 games combined over the last three seasons, that would be quite an accomplishment.

The question Saturday will be if Bill Clark can get the Blazers to avoid another home let down against a team the Blazers are favored to beat. What UAB can't afford is to overlook anybody if they want their first winning season in a decade.

In order to beat North Texas the Blazers have a few things they must key in on.

1.) The Blazer offense must stop giving points away. FIU got 20 points off Blazer turnovers while WKU also had a pick 6 interception. The Blazers have thrown three pick 6's in the last two games. Quarterback Cody Clements was much improved against the Hilltoppers, but must continue to limit turnovers.

2.) UAB's defense cannot afford to let the Mean Green offense get rolling at the quarterback position. North Texas has had big offensive days in wins over SMU and Nichols State but have had very inconsistent quarterback play in their losses. The Blazers can't afford to allow UNT redshirt freshman QB Dajon Williams to get overly comfortable in his third college start.

3.) Win special teams battles. Kicker Ty Long and punter Hunter Mullins are showing why they are among the best in the country at what they do. Last week, JJ Nelson's kickoff return touchdown proved to be vital in the Blazer win. UAB needs to continue to win special team battles week in and out to earn a post season berth.