Time and Date: 6 PM ET - September 9
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Paulson Stadium - Statesboro, GA
Records: UAB 1-0, Georgia Southern 1-0
Line: Georgia Southern -7.5
Point Total: O/U 61.5
All-Time Series: UAB leads the all-time series 1-0. The Blazers last won in Birmingham 35-21 in 2022.
Georgia Southern Outlook
Georgia Southern will look to avenge last season’s 14-point loss to UAB, with the 2022 meeting being the first-ever between the two teams.
In that contest, the Eagles’ potent passing attack did not play up to snuff, as Kyle VanTrease tossed three interceptions and completed fewer than 50% of his attempts in the two touchdown loss.
However, GS were within UAB on a few different occasions, and simply needed a defensive stop to get ahead on the Blazers, but a historically porous front-seven made it an impossibility as Blazers running back DeWayne McBride racked up 223 yards and four touchdowns.
On the plus side, Georgia Southern’s stop unit looked improved in its week 1 win over the Citadel, as the Eagles stopped the Bulldogs’ disjointed spread offense on a number of occasions.
The Eagles secondary will get a much greater test this week, as the new look Blazers have moved away from a pounding run game to a more air raid type of scheme, mirroring the offense GS has sported as of late.
Offensively, it is tough to glean much from UAB’s 35-6 win over North Carolina A&T last week, but Georgia Southern may not want to lean as heavily as they did on the pass in 2022, with prominent running back Jalen White turning in a strong performance last week against The Citadel.
The Blazers opened their 2023 season under new head coach and former Super Bowl winning quarterback Trent Dilfer last Saturday, sporting a high-flying passing attack behind the arm of quarterback Jacob Zeno.
Zeno, a former Baylor commit, tossed three touchdowns and added 291 yards through the air on an incredible 92% completion percentage (!) against NCAT, and will look to find space in the secondary against a Georgia Southern unit that was average last year.
With the move to a more prominent passing attack, UAB did not run the ball as much last week as it did in 2022, notching just 30 attempts as a team despite winning by 29 points. The team’s leading rusher, Jermaine Brown Jr., notched just 6 attempts for 47 yards and two touchdowns, while its player with the most carries, Isaiah Jacobs had just 10 rushes for 42 yards.
While not having a prototypical alpha receiver, a whopping 13 players caught passes for UAB in week one, so the Eagles secondary will have a lot of potential threats to account for as Zeno showed his pinpoint passing last week.
The Blazers sported a very solid defense last year, finishing 48th in the country in total yardage, allowing 360 yards per game as a unit. The team’s pass defense was particularly potent, ranking as the 21st best in the country and limiting teams to 195 yards per game, as VanTrease and company experienced.
However, the defense just returns four starters this season and has lost six players alone in the secondary, so who knows how this team will fare against a strong passing offense.
I think within the confines of Paulson Stadium, Georgia Southern’s passing attack will be enough to take advantage of a fairly green UAB secondary. Zeno should find plenty of room himself, so I do not think the Eagles run away with this one as the line implies.
While it is ultimately close, the Eagles exact a measure of retribution for last season’s clubbing when it is all said and done.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 31, UAB 28