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Troy Trojans vs. UAB Blazers 2014 Preview: The Sun Belt vs. Conference USA

Time for Troy to get the season started with an in-state rivalry.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Info:

Who: Troy Trojans (0-0) at UAB Blazers (0-0)

Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL

When: Saturday, August 30. 11:00 AM CST

Weather: 85°F, 100% Chance of Rain

Know Your Enemy

The UAB Blazers will begin the new season with all sorts of new things. Bill Clark, takes over as the new Head Coach and he will trot out a new quarterback.  Junior Cody Clements will lead the offense after transferring from Cerritos College. The Blazers have also unveiled some new fancy helmets for the upcoming season. Even with a new quarterback, there is no doubt that the offense will carry this team. The Blazers averaged 392.9 yards a game last season, unfortunately the defense gave up an average of 497.8 yards per game. I'm no expert, but giving up nearly 500 yards to the other team every week won't allow you to win many games. If UAB is to win more than two games the defense will have to get it together.

Players to Watch

UAB

  • JJ Nelson, Sr. WR- Enters the 2014 season as UAB's best offensive weapon. The first team preseason C-USA selection led the team with 42 catches for 846 yards and 8 scores. Last season Nelson racked up 367 all-purpose yards in the opening week loss at Troy.
  • Jake Ganus, Jr. LB- Ganus, was the lone bright spot for the Blazer defense last season. He recorded a team high 93 tackles, 8 of those stops were behind the line of scrimmage. Ganus forced one fumble and had one interception.
  • Duwan Walker, Defensive Coordinator- It will be up to the first year DC to get this defense turned around. The former Troy cornerback (92-95) follows Bill Clark from Jacksonville State, where his defense finished fifth in the Ohio Valley giving up 381.5 yards per game. If he can get the Blazers to only give up 400 yards a game it will be a huge improvement.

Troy

  • Who's the QB? The current Trojan depth chart shows three potential replacements for departed quarterback Corey Robinson. Whether it's Brandon Silvers (R-Fr.), Dontreal Pruitt (Jr.) or Dallas Tidwell (Jr.) getting the start, they will have big shoes to fill. Robinson leaves Troy with the ninth most passing yards in FBS history.
  • Brandon Burks, Jr. RB- The Daleville, AL native returns for his junior season after leading the Trojans in all-purpose yards with 1044. Burks picked up 675 of those yards on the ground and scored twice.
  • Mark Wilson, Sr. LB- Wilson enters the 2014 season as the team's defensive leader. The senior form Tallahassee, FL recorded 58 stops in 2013 with 5 being for loss. He was able to record one sack during the season.

Stats to Know

  • Series Record: 7-4 Troy
  • Troy has won 3 games in a row against UAB
  • The Trojans have a 3-3 record when playing UAB in Birmingham
  • 2013 Troy team averages: 463.2/ypg (offense) and 483.2/ypg (defense)
  • 2013 UAB team averages: 392.9/ypg (offense) and 497.8/ypg (defense)

Prediction

LOTS OF POINTS. I sure hope the scoreboard operator had a good summer conditioning program. The Trojans and Blazers can both light it up when they have the ball and each field defenses that have been sub-par. Saturday's weather may dampen the offense, it won't stop the fireworks. This is rivalry game and when two rivals meet anything is possible. With that being said, I like the Trojans to pull out a victory in another close game.

Troy 35 UAB 28