The Blazers’ offense sailed to a comfortable victory behind 492 total yards and 36 minutes of possession over UTSA, despite the absence of starting running back Spencer Brown. Although a few self-inflicted errors put the Roadrunners in opportune positions at times, C-USA’s leader in total defense had no issues keeping UTSA’s offensive efforts extremely limited.
UAB quarterback Tyler Johnston led the Blazers with 294 yards on 17 for 26 passing, two touchdowns and an interception. Johnston and UAB’s blockers did well combating UTSA’s pass rush, not allowing the Roadrunners a single sack on the day. Johnston also had a consistency of open targets between Austin Watkins and Kendall Parham, both hauling in six receptions each.
Watkins in particular was all over the place, amassing 167 yards and a touchdown with several highlight moments. Among his film reel is a 67 yard catch-and-run, a 44 yard deep ball and a few high leaping grabs. He absolutely torched the Roadrunners’ secondary as there didn’t seem to be a defensive back within four yards of him on any of his catches.
A 67-yard touchdown strike from Johnston III to Austin Watkins! @UAB_FB is up 10-0. pic.twitter.com/PDGBOWFHCs— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 12, 2019
Interestingly enough, the game wasn’t exactly entirely out of UTSA’s hands until the back half of the fourth quarter. The Roadrunners managed to hang around and maintain a ten-point or less score differential through game’s first 50 minutes.
Yet as UTSA got windows to set themselves up for taking back momentum and perhaps even a lead on the scoreboard they somehow managed to fumble the opportunity. Take for example UTSA’s fourth and one on UAB’s six yard line with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Roadrunners trailing 24-13. UTSA defensive back Jarrod Carter-McLin intercepted Johnston at the UAB 27 just a few plays earlier to put the offense in prime scoring position. Opting go for the fourth down conversion was the right idea, but it failed in utter misery when the play call was a Power I pitch to running back Sincere McCormick, about six yards behind the line of scrimmage. The Blazers quickly swallowed up McCormick for a turnover on downs.
It was another poor showing from UTSA’s offense, managing only 220 total yards. Quarterback Lowell Narcisse completed just eight of his 19 pass attempts for 94 yards, and though his scrambling helped lead the team in rushing with 89 yards, he fumbled the ball twice. UTSA’s receivers continue to not get open, and there were tremendous drops on the few plays when someone did manage to create separation. Tariq Woolen, in particular, had an awful drop on a surefire touchdown pass from deep.
Both teams had self-inflicted issues in turnovers and penalties. The game saw two turnovers apiece, both coming from each team’s quarterback. The Roadrunners lost two fumbles from Narcisse and Johnston lost a fumble himself along with an interception. UAB racked up six penalties totaling 68 yards while UTSA had another undisciplined week with nine penalties, this time amassing 78 yards. The Roadrunners’ 46 penalties on the year is the second most flags in C-USA, behind only Florida Atlantic.
The loss drops UTSA to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in C-USA. A bittersweet sensation for Roadrunner fans, who celebrated the team’s 100th game and 50th contest in the Alamodome in front of a record low in all time attendance — 15,728 people. They return to the Alamodome next week for a homecoming game against a winless Rice team. UAB returns to Legion Field next week for what should be an easy victory against a one-win Old Dominion.