The Blazers of Birmingham came into Ruston, LA and absolutely dominated on the way to victory. It was not pretty — far from it — but the game that was serving as this week’s battle for first place in the West division had lots of drama until the very end. Yes, watching UAB pull away and score two fourth-quarter touchdowns was dramatic.
For the Bulldogs, following up two emotionally draining games — at LSU and at North Texas — seemed to take a lot out of them. In El Paso, something similar happened to North Texas, and so we might conclude that last week’s game took a lot out of both teams.
Whatever the case, UAB took advantage late. Early on, it seemed like AJ Erdely’s struggles were going to remove all hope of an “Ice Dragon” upset in Ruston. The Blazer QB misfired often and thew and early interception that Tech turned into a quick seven points.
That would be all that Tech would manage the rest of the way.
The powerful run game that Bill Clark’s squad has build — averaging 239 a game coming in — took a while to get started but finished with 229. There were suspicions that Tech would be vulnerable to the run but early on it looked like they had it all taken care of.
The real weak spot was the Tech offensive line that gave up five sacks. Last week in Denton, one reason why the Bulldogs were able to pull out a win was the way in which they kept J’Mar Smith upright. In this one the ferocious defensive line of UAB chased and harassed him into two turnovers.
DL Quindarius Thagard racked up 2.5 tackles for loss to lead the dominant line.
Ultimately, UAB won this game by the same scoreline as they beat Charlotte. The offense is not always pretty and a handful of drives reminded us all of how this team dropped a game to Coastal Carolina. Still, when it gets going, the run game can choke the life out of a team and the defense is overpowering when fully operational.
The Blazers were always going to be a handful for anyone in this league and they just showed that their dominance does not only happen in Birmingham. Nope, they can take this show on the road. The Blazers now control their fate, and after a trip to Houston to face struggling Rice, they host North Texas on the 20th in what could fully decide the fate of the division.
Yes, just two seasons back from the grave the Blazers of Birmingham control their fate in CUSA.