The UAB Blazers came into Miami Gardens not afraid of taking on a P5 team with high expectations and it showed for the first two quarters of the game.
After the teams exchanged punts on the first two drives, a Miami fumble on a punt return put the Blazers in business.
Tyler Johnston and the offense utilized the field position and punched it into the end zone thanks to a 16 yard pitch and catch between Johnston and Austin Watkins. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there.
.@UAB_FB strikes first in Miami!— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) September 11, 2020
A fumbled punt recovered by the Blazers put UAB deep in Miami territory and led to the first points of the game!
WATCH > https://t.co/oNCRwohx8e pic.twitter.com/XtEfF9WVHu
On the ensuing drive, the Hurricanes would hand it off to Cam’ron Harris on 4th and 1 and he would go 66 yards to the house to tie the game. UAB would punt on the rest of their drives of the first half.
Penalties and 3rd down inefficiency killed drive after drive for the Blazers. When all was said and done, UAB would be flagged 11 times for 74 yards and only convert on 3 of 15 3rd down tries.
Despite the offensive struggles and many impressive scrambles by Miami’s D’Eriq King, the UAB defense was able to keep the game close going into halftime, 14-7.
Miami would add a field goal right out of the half but the Blazers would respond with a 9 play, 75 yard drive of their own capped by a 6 yard Spencer Brown TD run to keep the game within three, 17-14.
.@UAB_FB caps off a nice offensive drive with a Spencer Brown touchdown!— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) September 11, 2020
WATCH > https://t.co/oNCRwohx8e pic.twitter.com/rC0dNi4x6u
But the pace of Miami’s offense eventually wore the Blazer’s D out and they outscored UAB 17-0 in the third quarter to open up the game.
To start the 17 point run, D’Eriq King would throw his first TD pass for the Hurricanes, giving him the FBS record for consecutive games by a QB with a passing and rushing TD with 16. He finished the game 16/24 for 144 yards and a TD, along with 83 rushing yards and a TD.
D'Eriq King now has a rushing AND passing TD in 16 straight games.— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2020
After the TD drive early in the third, the Blazer offense would only run 21 more plays and gain only six additional first downs. Penalties, poor 3rd down conversions and a talented Miami defense kept them from getting anything going. But by that point, the game was out of reach.
The fast-paced Hurricane offense had worn down the stingy UAB defense, which surrendered 337 rushing yards to an offense that had only run for over 200 yards once last season (vs. FCS Bethune Cookman).
D’Eriq King extended too many plays with his legs and made guys miss all night, leading to an exhausted and frustrated UAB defense. ACC Network reported that players were getting in fights on the sideline in the 4th quarter as the South Florida heat got to the guys.
Miami is a tough team and the Blazers played well for a half but couldn’t stay the course. The next game will let up a little bit as the Dragons head to Mobile to take on the South Alabama Jaguars.
Stars of the Game
Here’s a little section I’m starting this year to highlight a few of the players who played well tonight. For Week 2 of the 2020 season, the stars of the game are:
- Myron Mitchell, 8 catches for 117 yards. Made some key 3rd down receptions in the first half.
- Tyler Johnston III, 15/23, 150 yards and a touchdown. Did what he could in the first half but just too much pressure in the second.
- Noah Wilder, 15 tackles, one sack. Was all over the field.