Date: Saturday, November 10th, 2018
Kickoff Time: 7:30 p.m. EST / 6:30 p.m. CST
Location: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
Streaming: beIN Sports
Line: UAB -12, O/U 47
Series Record: Southern Miss leads, 10-6
Last Meeting: UAB won, 30-12 in Hattiesburg
Of all the teams currently in Conference USA, the team that UAB has played the most is Southern Miss.
These teams go back a long way, but for all the excitement UAB fans must be feeling this season, as UAB sits atop C-USA West at 8-1 (6-0)— so too must the Southern Miss fans be feeling the polar opposite, from not only being 4-4 (3-2), but also being the underdog in this game.
We know, Golden Eagles fans are a vocal lot and are sure to flood our mentions, but don’t blame us, we’re just the messenger.
If anything, if Southern Miss fans want help restoring their football team to its former glory, they might want to talk to UAB fans, who know a little something about convincing an apathetic athletic department.
Outlook, Week 11 - Southern Miss
Through the first ten weeks, the Golden Eagles have been... fine.
For any other team this would be something to be thrilled about, after putting together such a string of abysmal seasons in Hattiesburg earlier this decade. But for Southern Miss, this will just not do.
USM has a proud history of winning, and many would argue they were robbed of an invite into the AAC, which expanded during one of the few dark periods in team history. Inexplicably, Tulane got the nod, and there are still rumblings of discontent as the Golden Eagles try to return to their former glory.
Through ten games, quarterback Jack Abraham has thrown for an impressive 2,060 yards, good for third-best in the conference, behind only UNT’s Mason Fine and ODU’s Blake LaRussa (who meet earlier Saturday, if you’re a fan of the air raid). Abraham’s 13 touchdowns put him near the top of the conference, as does his 148.8 QB rating, but unfortunately Abraham is at the top of the conference in another category— interceptions, with ten (tied with Chris Robison of FAU).
Those INT’s will make all the difference against a staunch UAB defense, and even as USM is averaging 286 passing yards a game, the Blazers will capitalize on every mistake, much as they did when beating teams already ahead of Southern Miss in the standings.
Leading rusher Trivenskey Mosley will have his work cut out for him, the lone bright spot in a terrible running game for the Golden Eagles in 2018. Mosley has rushed for 372 yards so far this year, on 79 carries, and not a single touchdown. Steven Anderson and Tate Whatley have two rushing TD’s apiece, but are both still under 200 rushing yards at this point in the season.
Things are indeed looking better in Hattiesburg than they have in some time. But under Jay Hopson, they seem unable to turn that corner to revisit their former greatness.
Outlook, Week 11 - UAB
A.J. Erdely is not as good a quarterback as Jack Abraham. This Saturday, it may not matter.
Obviously, Erdely has been a strong enough leader to keep the team in the W column, but his 1,449 passing yards pales next to Abraham, and through ten weeks has only seven touchdown passes with six interceptions. But Erdely has something Abraham doesn’t have— 305 yards rushing on 74 carries, and five rushing touchdowns. He is the second-highest leading rusher for the Blazers, behind only the unstoppable Spencer Brown (838 yards, 174 carries, 13 touchdowns on the season).
With Brown and Erdely at the core, the Blazers are averaging 253.7 rushing yards a game, utterly annihilating USM’s 116 rushing ypg. The passing game may be a different story, but UAB makes up for it on the other side of the ball, and that is reflected by their spot in the standings, not to mention the teams they’ve sent home with an L.
The Blazers are allowing, on average, only 12.1 points per game, as the defense has shored up in their second year after the hiatus, and the college football world takes notice of what is quite literally the best UAB team of all time.
This is not an exaggeration— in 1993, as a member of the FCS (then I-AA), the Blazers went 9-2. That was the only time in program history the team finished a season with more than 7 wins, until 2018. On Saturday, UAB could win its ninth game again, with two regular season games left to play, as well as a likely conference title game, and bowl game.
And if they do, it’ll be in front of the home crowd.
It’s hard to dislike this scrappy Golden Eagles team, but they seem to have reached their ceiling under Jay Hopson, and fans are getting more vocal in their displeasure. UAB has only improved since last season, as Southern Miss seems to be content with holding the line. That’s good for recruiting, but not so good against Bill Clark and these Blazers.
Final Score: UAB 42, Southern Miss 7