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UAB defeats Southern Miss, becomes bowl eligible

Jordan Howard leads UAB's offense with 262 yards on the ground, a UAB record

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

UAB beat Southern Miss 45-24 in Hattiesburg today to finish the regular season 6-6 and are now bowl eligible for the first time in a decade. The Blazers were able to get 371 yards on the ground and were led by Jordan Howard, who ran for 262 yards, which is a UAB school record.

UAB jumped out on front early when Cody Clements connected with Tristan Henderson on a 24 yard pass for a touchdown to give the Blazers a 7-0 advantage with 11:11 left in the first quarter. The Blazers scored again in the first quarter when Clements threw another touchdown pass, this time a 14 yard strike to JaMarcus Nelson.

The Blazers looked like they'd have a 21-0 lead heading to halftime after Josh Magee was on the receiving end of a Cody Clements 21 yard touchdown pass. But Southern Miss' Michael Thomas returned the Blazer kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, getting the Golden Eagles on the board. UAB led 21-7 at the intermission.

Jordan Howard of UAB, who hurt Southern Miss all day, scored early in the second half with a short touchdown run. That extended the Blazers' lead to 28-7. Southern Miss was able to respond with a field goal on the ensuing drive, but UAB put the final nail in the coffin as JaMarcus Nelson returned the Golden Eagle kickoff for a touchdown. That score put the Blazers up 35-10 and pretty much took Southern Miss out of the game.

UAB is now 6-6 (4-4 in Conference USA) and will await their postseason fate in the coming weeks, as they are now bowl eligible, something that hasn't happened in Birmingham since 2004. Southern Miss finishes the year at 3-9 (1-7 in Conference USA) after losing their final five games of 2014.