The game was slated for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff in Birmingham. When triple zeros appeared on the scoreboard, it was 12:21 a.m. at Legion Field and technically Sunday morning. Lightning and rain delays consumed more than two hours of game-time, making the #CUSAAfterDark matchup the fourth-to-last game to conclude in Week 6.
UAB (4-1, 1-1 C-USA) methodically earned its fourth win of the season in its home den, offensively bouncing back from a brutal 20-13 loss to WKU the week prior. Quarterback Tyler Johnston threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-20 victory against a formidable Rice (0-6, 0-2 C-USA) defense. With the sixth loss of the season, Mike Bloomgren’s Owls must win out in order to fulfill the preseason goal of bowl eligibility.
In search of an offensive playmaker this season, head coach Bill Clark and the Blazers turned to wide receiver Kendall Parham to lead their unit to victory. The senior only caught three passes, but torched the Rice defense for 109 yards and two touchdowns in his limited touches.
Rice’s Aston Walter opened the scoring for the game with a 64-yard rushing touchdown on the third snap of the evening, picking up from where he left off in Houston last week. But Parham finally responded to Rice’s 7-0 lead by creating separation on a 46-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the second quarter.
An Owl fumble in Blazer territory positioned UAB right before midfield, and Johnston capitalized on the field position. The quarterback connected with wide receiver Austin Watkins in 1-on-1 coverage on a streak for a 36-yard score to provide UAB its first lead of the game.
Watkins’ score was the first of a four-possession streak in which the Blazers and Owls — typically defensive-minded teams — traded touchdowns. Rice quarterback Wiley Green threw two short touchdown passes, his first two of the season, but the Blazers struck in between Green’s touchdown throws with a 57-yard pass from Johnston to Parham.
The Blazers blocked the Owls’ extra point attempt on the final touchdown of the four-possession streak, allowing UAB to claim a 21-20 lead at a halftime break extended for inclement weather.
With a soggy, soaked field, the number of turnovers amplified as the game progressed. In the second half, Rice coughed up three fumbles and UAB threw an interception. The two C-USA programs combined for six turnovers, with the Owls contributing all the fumbles and UAB tossing two interceptions — Rice’s first two defensive picks of the season.
Due to Rice’s inability to hang on to the ball, UAB recorded a second half shutout. Running back Lucious Stanley earned a career-high 88 rushing yards, scoring each of the Blazers’ second half touchdowns to seal the victory.
The quarterbacks combined to finish 29-of-59 (49.2%) through the air in the conditions. Johnston averaged over 11 yards per pass though, while Green was limited to just 4.7. The primary source of Rice’s offense was Walter, who recorded his second-consecutive 100-yard game in conference play. Wide receiver Austin Trammell also played a key role in advancing the Owls, producing a season-high 113 receiving yards against the Blazer secondary.
After six consecutive losses to kick off 2019, Bloomgren’s Owls get a much-needed bye week before heading west to San Antonio to play in-state rival, UTSA. But before Rice can challenge the Roadrunners, UAB faces them next Saturday in the Alamodome, aiming to chalk up its fifth win of the season.