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UAB keeps control of Conference USA West division with win against North Texas

The Blazers beat UNT 29-21 on Saturday night to remain undefeated in Conference USA play

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Alabama-Birmingham Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Guyton was 1 yard shy from possibly knocking UAB off the top of Conference USA’s West division.

The Blazers stayed undefeated in conference play with a 29-21 win against North Texas on Saturday night. Down eight, UNT was driving, but UAB tackled Guyton on the Blazers’ 18-yard line on a fourth-and-10 attempt with 27 seconds left to ultimately end the game.

The cliche was fitting for UAB on Saturday night, as it was a tale of two halves for the Blazers, who trailed 21-10 at halftime. UNT quarterback Mason Fine had no trouble with the UAB defense in the second quarter, finding Jaelon Darden for a touchdown twice in the frame, as well as a 55-yard score to Rico Bussey Jr. in the first quarter. Fine was 16 of 21 for 212 yards and three touchdowns at the break before finishing the night 29 for 40 for 336 yards, and failing to reach the end zone in the second half.

Darden had a career night, catching 10 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came before halftime.

UAB’s standout, running back Spencer Brown, did most of his damage in the second half as the Blazer defense stymied Fine and Co. Brown scored two of his three touchdowns in the second half, including a 3-yard run that gave UAB a 26-21 lead with 14:16 left in the game.

Brown’s second score in the third quarter put the Blazers within two after a safety gave UAB the ball. Fine was called for intentional grounding in the end zone after UNT started its drive on its own 1-yard line when cornerback Nate Brooks forced and recovered a fumble.

After losing the lead, UNT was driving down the field late in the fourth quarter until Fine fumbled on UAB’s 4-yard line with 6:14 left. The Blazers turned the fumble into three points before giving UNT the ball back for its final drive with 2:10 left, which ultimately ended short.

The win put UAB at 6-1 before heading to winless UTEP next week. UNT will return home to play Rice for its homecoming game.