UAB (2-4) at Texas-San Antonio (2-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 26, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Alamodome (65,000) -- San Antonio, Texas. Television: TWC Sports. Home Record: UAB 1-1, UTSA 0-3. Away Record: UAB 1-3, UTSA 2-2. Neutral Record: UAB 0-0, UTSA 0-0. Conference Record: UAB 1-1, UTSA 1-2. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas San-Antonio Roadrunners will try once again to secure their first win at The Alamodome this season, as they take on the UAB Blazers in a Conference-USA showdown on Saturday afternoon.
UAB recently snapped a two-game skid on Oct. 12 at FIU when a last-second field goal lifted it to a 27-24 victory. Not only was it the Blazers' first C- USA win of the season, it was just their fourth victory away from Birmingham since the start of the 2010 campaign.
UTSA's first season as a member of C-USA has not gone according to plan, as it sits at 2-5 overall and 1-2 in league play. Since opening the campaign at 2-2, the Roadrunners have since dropped three straight, including a 27-21 verdict at the hands of Rice on Oct. 12. They have found no solace in returning home, as they are winless in three games at The Alamodome.
These newly-minted league rivals have never before faced each other.
The Blazers' struggles this season have come in spite of their impressive offense, which generates 29.0 ppg and 378.5 ypg, although they convert just 32 percent of their third-down attempts.
The offense is predicated on a strong rushing attack. Darrin Reaves earns the most work out of the backfield, gaining 502 yards and scoring five touchdowns on 98 carries. Jordan Howard is also heavily involved with 406 yards and a score on just 60 touches.
Austin Brown completes just 54.5 percent of his passes for less than 182 yards per contest, but he protects the ball with only two interceptions and has tossed nine touchdowns. Jonathan Perry (14-of-29, 246 yards, three TDs, INT) has also seen some action.
Jamarcus Nelson is listed as questionable for this contest with an ankle injury, but when he's healthy he is one of the most explosive players in the league. In just four games, Nelson has 370 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He has also added a 97-yard kickoff return and a 63-yard punt return for scores to his resume'.
UAB's downfall has been the poor play of its defense, which surrenders 38.5 ppg and ranks last in C-USA in yielding 466.8 ypg.
Jimmy Jean has two interceptions, but the team has just three picks this season. Jake Ganus leads the squad in both total tackles (47) and TFL (6.0). Diaheem Watkins has 3.5 sacks.
In terms of moving the ball down the field, UTSA owns one of the best offenses in C-USA, as it ranks fourth in yardage with 406.1 ypg. All that production hasn't resulted in an influx of points though, as it averages just 22.9 ppg (ninth in the league).
The inconsistent play of the Roadrunners' quarterback has been the biggest reason for their scoring issues. Eric Soza has impressed at times, completing 61.6 percent of his passes for 1,642 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 208 yards and four more scores, but he has thrown the second-most interceptions in the league (nine).
The squad has a solid rushing attack with 152.0 ypg, but no one tallies more than 40 yards per outing. David Glasco earns the most work in the backfield timeshare, turning 62 carries into 286 yards and five touchdowns.
Kam Jones, Brandon Freeman and Kenny Bias all have more than 230 receiving yards. Jones leads the way with 21 catches.
UTSA's defense acts as a mirror image of its offense. While the unit is stingy in terms of yards allowed (393.9 ypg), it is not effective in keeping teams off the scoreboard, ranking 10th in the league in allowing 34.3 ppg. It has allowed opponents to score on 96 percent of its trips to the red zone, and has generated just two turnovers.
Triston Wade is the team leader in tackles with 61, while Codie Brooks has racked up five sacks and recovered a fumble.
With UTSA not playing well in front of its home crowd this season, UAB has a great opportunity to steal a road win, especially if Nelson is healthy enough to suit up. Even if they are without their weapon out wide, figure for the Blazers to use a relentless ground attack to control the clock and outlast the Roadrunners.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 35, Texas-San Antonio 34
10/23 10:37:43 ET