Date/Time: Saturday, October 15, 2:30 PM CT
TV: Stadium (Play-By-Play: Chris Hassel/Analyst: Patrick Murray)
Radio: Learfield/Charlotte Sports Network (Play-By-Play: Matt Swierad/Analyst: Al Wallace/Sideline: Bobby Rosinski)
Location: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, AL
Betting Line: UAB -23.5 O/U 63.5
All-Time Series Record: Series Tied 1-1
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&C’s apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details
Charlotte looks to bounce back after coming up short against UTEP. The Niners used their bye week to focus on watching film and limiting mistakes. Defensive End Amir Siddiq stated in this week’s media availability that “the team’s mantra was be at your best”. Charlotte Head Coach Will Healy made a point to emphasize how the bye week was not a week off, but rather, a week of work to get better.
The Niners understand and respect their opponent. “We know we’re playing a great team. I know these guys are tired of hearing double digit underdogs. At some point in time we got to do something about it…we’ve looked ourselves in the mirror in the off week, we know what we have to do to get better”, Coach Will Healy stated at Tuesday’s press availability.
The area where the Niners need to get better is the run defense. The Blazers will be trotting out a lethal 1-2 punch in the backfield with Junior RB DeWayne McBride and Jermaine Brown Jr. Niners DE Amir Siddiq understands that the Niners run defense starts with the front line. “We have to continue to be as sound as possible and come down, fit and hold our blocks…just make tackles, that’s the biggest thing for us”.
UAB comes into Saturday’s game with the No.2 pass defense in the nation. The Blazers wreak havoc in the secondary, limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 53.3% completion rate. Charlotte Coach Will Healy remains confident in his wide receiving room, despite UAB’s highly touted secondary.
Charlotte will need to be effective on the ground in order to open up opportunities for their receivers. Shadrick Byrd and Henry Rutledge should be players to focus on in the Niners’ offense this weekend, as they look to counter UAB’s stout defense.
The Niners continually put themselves in compromising positions against UTEP, committing costly penalties and turnovers that halted any chance of completing a fourth quarter comeback. If Charlotte hopes to have any success against UAB, they must finish plays in the backfield.
The Niners’ pass rush is not a weakness of the team, however, the longer the QB has to scramble, the higher the chance of conceding a big splash play downfield arises. This was evident in Charlotte’s loss to the Miners. UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison set a career high in rushing yards (50).
Charlotte’s bye week could have come at the perfect time. The Niners’ remaining schedule will be an uphill battle, as they hope to turn their season around one win at a time.
UAB looks to dominate the game on the ground, forcing Charlotte to challenge the Blazers’ stout secondary to create points. The Blazers have the leading rusher in the nation with DeWayne McBride. McBride has rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season, scoring nine touchdowns.
UAB looks to continue last week’s offensive avalanche against the Niners. The Blazers grabbed an early lead last week against MTSU, never looking back in a rout (41-14). UAB’s rushing attack alleviated pressure from UAB quarterback Dylan Hopkins by controlling the pace of the game on the ground. DeWayne McBride and Jermaine Brown Jr. combined for 334 yards and 4 TD’s in last week’s matchup, allowing the Blazers to lead in time of possession by nearly 10 whole minutes (25:40 to 34:20).
The Blazers take pride in having a balanced team. UAB gets consistent production from both their running backs and receivers. In addition to a stellar running back combo, the Blazers also have firepower on the perimeter.
UAB Wide Receiver Trea Shropshire set a career high in yards against Middle Tennessee, finishing with 193 receiving yards. Shropshire has proven to be a reliable target for Dylan Hopkins, as he led the nation in yards per reception last season and continues to hold that accolade into this season.
UAB enters this weekend on a tear, winning five in a row at Protective Stadium. The Blazers (3-2) are not known for losing at home, only losing 3 times at home since 2017 (27-3). UAB will look to run the ball early, asserting themselves as the more physical team in the game.
Charlotte will likely have to try and keep pace with UAB’s explosive offense. Chris Reynolds and the Niner offense will be forced to throw the ball downfield. Charlotte’s wide receiver room is as confident as any in the country, they’ll have a competitive matchup to look forward to this Saturday.
Final Score: Charlotte 17, UAB 42