Memphis (2-8) at UAB (3-7)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Legion Field (72,000) -- Birmingham, Alabama.
Television: None. Home Record: Memphis 2-3, UAB 2-3. Away Record: Memphis 0-5,
UAB 1-4. Neutral Record: Memphis 0-0, UAB 0-0. Conference Record: Memphis 2-4,
UAB 2-4. Series Record: UAB leads, 10-4.
GAME NOTES: Memphis gear up for a trip to Legion Field for a battle with the
UAB Blazers for the Tigers' final Conference USA road game.
Memphis doubled its win total and improved its overall record to 2-8 last week
by defeating Tulane, 37-33, at home. The victory ended a four-game losing
slide and gave Justin Fuente the second win of his young head coaching career.
The Tigers are departing the Conference USA to the Big East after this season.
Although it was not quite as impressive an upset as last season's win over
Southern Miss, UAB delivered another shocker in 2012 with a 38-31 victory over
Marshall. The Blazers went into their matchup with the Thundering Herd after a
27-19 win over Southern Miss which snapped a three-game losing streak. Coach
Garrick McGee is also in his rookie campaign in charge of the program and has
a 3-7 record thus far.
This will the 15th meeting between these schools in history. UAB enters with
three-straight wins and a 10-4 series lead over the Tigers. The Blazers
escaped Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium with a 41-35 win last season.
Memphis is normally reliant on its rushing attack to move the ball. Therefore
it was surprising the Tigers managed to win last week after gaining only 110
yards on 44 attempts versus Tulane. Brandon Hayes (51 yards, 16 carries) and
Jai Steib (31 yards, TD, 15 carries) shared the rushing responsibilities in
Jacob Karam stepped up his play to elevate the Tigers' passing attack, which
ranks second to last in the conference. Karam completed 14-of-18 attempts for
270 yards and two touchdowns with one interception versus Tulane. Karam is
considered an ideal game manager, but the Tigers had a playmaker in the pocket
The passing game is reliant on the efforts of receivers Keiwone Malone and
Marcus Rucker. Malone has caught a team-high 42 passes for 434 yards and two
scores, while Rucker has 41 catches for a team-high 487 yards and a three TDs.
The Tigers' defense is coming off a strong showing against the Green Wave. It
held Tulane to 291 yards of total offense and picked off Ryan Griffin four
times in the contest. The only other opponent Memphis managed to hold under
350 yards of total offense prior to Tulane was Rice (221), which is the only
other team it has defeated. The Tigers' opposition is averaging 33 ppg.
Sophomore linebacker Charles Harris is the team-leader in tackles with 70.
Martin Ifedi (9.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks), Tank Jakes (seven tackles
for loss), and Johnnie Farms (8.5 tackles for loss) have been effective in
stopping opposing ball carriers in the backfield.
UAB is evolving into the most dangerous offensive team in the C-USA with
Darrin Reaves leading the charge. The sophomore tailback has racked up 573
yards in his last three games (191 average). Reeves has also rushed for seven
touchdowns during that span. The Blazers have amassed more than 200 yards in
three straight games.
Freshman Austin Brown seems to be the quarterback of the future in Birmingham,
but he is still a work in progress. The rookie completed 20-of-34 attempts for
197 yards with two TDs and three interceptions versus MU last week. Brown has
thrown 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, while completing 166-of-286 of his
passes for 2,283 yards.
Brown has a pair of reliable targets in Nick Adams and Jackie Williams. Adams
has been on fire ever since Brown took over the starting QB duties and has 37
catches for 582 yards and one score on the season. Williams has made a
reception in all 33 games he has played for UAB. The junior wideout has reeled
in 41 passes for a team-leading total of 700 yards and one touchdown.
The UAB defense has been lit up for 432.1 yards per game this season which
ranks seventh in the defensively weak C-USA and 88th in the FBS. The Blazers'
defensive unit is coming off of its best outing of the season, as it held
Marshall to 337 total yards, nearly 200 below the Thundering Herd's average.
UAB does have one of the most active defenders in the nation on its roster in
Marvin Burdette, who is tied for the FBS lead with 132 total tackles this
season. Burdette also has a team-high 9.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. In
the secondary, Lamarcus Farmer has been effective with seven pass breakups and
Lamar Johnson has two interceptions.
UAB is a much tougher opponent for Memphis than Tulane was a week ago. Reaves
will continue to make his way towards all-conference honors as he pushes the
Blazers past Memphis.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 31, Memphis 21
11/14 10:37:44 ET