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MTSU tops UAB, 34-22

Blue Raiders move into 2nd place in C-USA eastern division with win over UAB

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is for sure, this is not the game most were expecting. UAB quarterback Cody Clements was suppose to continue an onslaught through the air as he had the last two weeks. Middle Tennessee's defensive secondary wasn't suppose to be up for the task of stopping him. MTSU quarterback Austin Grammar was also in line to have a big day as he entered the game with the 3rd most passing yards in C-USA. Yet the Blazer defense would rise to the occasion as they continued to show marked improvement over last year.

What did happen was a steady dose of Jordan Howard in the 1st half for UAB. The Blazers running back would finish with 121 yards on the ground. Howard had his way in the first half with the Blue Raider defense but the Blazers had to settle for three Ty Long field goals early on. The Blue Raiders would take advantage of a UAB fumble on a punt return to cash in an early touchdown. MTSU had one big offensive play on a 65 yard touchdown catch by Chris Perkins. MTSU would ride that momentum to a 21-15 half time advantage.

The second half would see two totally different defenses as both high octane offenses started to sputter. Clements and Grammar would both find themselves taking hits and struggling to find targets. UAB would struggle to get the ground game going as they had in the first half and Clements finally got something going late in the third quarter. Two big catches by Jamari Staples including a 43 yard touchdown strike to take a 22-21 lead for UAB. That would be the last offensive success for the Blazers.

MTSU would strike on a 67 yard Reggie Whatley touchdown run on his way to a 100 yard rushing performance. After regaining the lead the Blue Raiders would never relinquish it. Grammar would convert a late 4th down conversion on a QB scramble and follow it up with a 30 yard touchdown pass to Marcus Henry to ice the game.

UAB would again struggle with turnovers as Clements threw two interceptions and the Blazers suffered the early special teams fumble. The Blue Raiders would pick up the C-USA win despite the Blazers outgaining them in total yards, first downs, and winning the time of possession battle.

UAB drops to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in C-USA play with the loss. The Blazers return to action with a trip into SEC country to take on Arkansas next Saturday. MTSU moves to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in C-USA with the 34-22 victory. The Blue Raiders now move into 2nd place in the east division and will have their first bye week next before returning to action as BYU comes to Murfreesboro on November 1st.