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CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Legion Field (72,000) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Television: CSS. Home Record: ECU 3-1, UAB 2-2. Away Record: ECU 2-3, UAB 1-5. Neutral Record: ECU 1-0, UAB 0-0. Conference Record: ECU 4-2, UAB 2-4. Series Record: UAB leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: For the first time in more than a month, the UAB Blazers are back home at Legion Field, as they are set to take on Conference USA foe East Carolina. UAB's last home game was all the way back on October 18th against Marshall. Since then, the team has had two bye weeks and has split two road games. The Blazers knocked off Tulane last weekend, 41-24, and they'll conclude their regular-season schedule at UCF next Saturday. As for the Pirates, they are coming off last week's embarrassing 21-3 loss to Southern Miss, which snapped a three-game win streak. Despite the setback, ECU is still in sole possession of first place in the conference's East Division. The Pirates return home to take on UTEP next Friday. UAB holds a slim 4-3 lead in the all-time series, although ECU cruised to a 41-6 victory last year in Greenville.
With the exception of last week's three-point showing against Southern Miss, the Pirate offense has kept plugging away despite the suspension of two key skill position players last month. Wideout Jamar Bryant (team-high three TDs receptions through five games) and running back Jonathan Williams (5.1 ypc, five TDs through seven games) are out indefinitely for disciplinary reasons. ECU ranks ninth in C-USA in passing offense, although wideout Dwayne Harris (58 rec, 654 yds, TD) commands plenty of attention from opposing defenses. The Pirates have had their struggles on the ground throughout the season, and last weekend was no different. As a team, ECU ran for just 66 yards on 21 carries.
The East Carolina defense held its ground for much of the game last week, but the Golden Eagles broke open a 14-3 game with a 97-yard touchdown pass at the 11:37 mark of the fourth quarter. Aside from that dagger, the Pirates held Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis to 142 passing yards for the game. The Golden Eagles all-time leading rusher returned from a two-game absence to post 123 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. In the three games leading up to that contest, the Pirates had held opponents to an average of 12 ppg. They still lead the conference in scoring defense (21.2 ppg) and total defense (332.5 ypg).
The Blazers offense put on a clinic at Tulane last weekend. In particular, the running game was essentially unstoppable, as UAB racked up 272 yards (5.9 ypc) and four TDs on the ground. Quarterback Joe Webb was a force with his arm and with his legs. In the passing game, Webb completed 15-of-21 passes for 154 yards. He also accounted for 130 of the team's rushing yards, in addition to three scores. Webb leads the team with 866 rushing yards and 10 TDs. He is completing 59 percent of his passes and is averaging 200 passing yards per game. But if there is one area he has struggled with, it's been his decision making, as he has thrown 15 interceptions.
UAB's defense has struggled throughout the season. The Blazers enter this tilt ranked 109th in the nation in scoring defense (35.8 ppg) and 113th in total defense (465.5 ypg). However, they showed a much different energy against Tulane. The defense was especially tough against the pass, as they came away with four interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. It was a rare performance for a defense that ranks 116th in the nation against the pass. They also held tough against the run, holding the Green Wave to 98 rushing yards for the game. Linebacker Joe Henderson headlines the defense with 70 tackles, including 11.5 for loss. Kevin Sanders has a team-high five interceptions.
The Blazers have had a rough season, but they've got the momentum heading into this matchup. Expect another inspired performance by the Blazers in their final home game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 27, East Carolina 17
11/19 10:25:23 ET