Date: Saturday September 8, 2018
Kickoff Time: 7 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. CST
Location: Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC
Line: UAB -10, O/U 55
Series Record: UAB leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: UAB won 30-23, in 2017.
Outlook — UAB
No one knew what to expect a year ago, and then the Blazers spent 2017 proving everyone wrong anyway. In their first game against FBS competition in 2018, they’re going to have to maintain those expectations, and then some, if they want to compete for the C-USA crown.
The 2017 season told us a lot more about the 2018 Blazers than we learned last weekend, which saw the Blazers incinerate FCS Savannah State, a team that has struggled its entire time in Division I, and will be transitioning to Division II next year. The Tigers put up some respectable numbers on the ground, but they don’t have Coastal Carolina’s Joe Moglia as their coach, and that’s what makes this weeks match up all the more interesting.
A.J. Erdely spent his first week back knocking the cobwebs off, going 22/28 passing for 228 yards, 2 TD’s, and an INT. Their running game has momentum, as top rusher Spencer Brown ran for 102 yards on 18 carries, scoring one TD. Tyler Johnston III rushed six times for 71 yards, for an impressive 11.8 yards a carry, and also completed a 35 yard pass.
What does all this tell us about Saturday? Again, not a lot, but for all of UAB’s strengths a year ago, Coastal Carolina was their closest non-conference loss, and this time they face them on the road in their first true test of the season.
To take that next step as a program, the Blazers will have to dominate. But the Chanticleers are no pushovers, and might have a few things to say about that.
Outlook — Coastal Carolina
Boasting one of the most original mascots at the FBS level, Coastal Carolina kicks off its second year in the Sun Belt, its first with thoroughly enjoyable coach Joe Moglia back at the helm. Moglia sat out last year with a health issue, and his return and renowned coaching creativity might just cause more than a few problems for the Blazers.
Much like UAB, CCU’s week one didn’t tell us much either. The Chanticleers were beat up all day by South Carolina, scoring 15 points but only one offensive touchdown. Still, they were able to move the ball, and whatever the outcome, this game will be even more exciting than last years 30-23 close call.
Kilton Anderson has the start at QB, a week after going 11/13 for 91 yards against a barely interested South Carolina. Their top rusher last week, Marcus Outlow, had some good numbers against the Gamecocks but rushed for negative yardage a year ago against UAB.
Upshot? It stands to reason that under Moglia in 2018, this will be a better team than they were in 2017. Changes have already been made, adjusting for opponent and graduation, and the Chants were in no way shut down to the same degree that SSU was against the Blazers.
Expect some big surprises from one of the most thrilling teams in the Sun Belt. CCU was 3-9 a year ago but lost some close games down the stretch, including that 1-point loss to Arkansas. Their rise to prominence could begin Saturday.
Despite the return of Moglia and the explosive return of the Blazers a year ago, this game isn’t getting much attention. It should. No, there are no national championship implications to be found here, but this will be one of the most fun games to watch this weekend, period.
Both teams will need this win headed into divisional conference play, and both teams lost a lot of close games last year. Expect more of the same, and expect the Chants to cover.
Final Score: UAB 27, Coastal Carolina 24