UAB vs Ohio Preview

UAB vs Ohio

If you asked anyone two years ago when UAB would be playing in a bowl game again, the popular answer would have been, NEVER.

The Blazers football program was cut, along with two other sports, because of financial reasons after the 2014 season. A fundraising effort by businesses and fans in the Birmingham area resulted in an announcement six months later by the university that the program would return in 2017.

After the two-year hiatus, UAB returned to the field this season and won a school-record eight games. Head coach Bill Clark did not leave the program after the 2014 season. He nurtured it back into what it is now, an 8-4 team that finished 6-2 in Conference USA’s West Division.

The last time the Blazers were in a bowl was in 2004, when it lost to Hawaii 59-40 in the Hawaii Bowl.

“The program was at total shutdown after the 2014 season,” said Clark, who is 25-14 in three years overall as a coach, including at Jacksonville State in 2013. “The students voted to raise their tuition to bring our program back and for our players, coaches to do this (earn a bowl bid), was such a big deal, it really capped off a storybook ending to this season.”

While UAB is a heartfelt story, Ohio is coming in under-the-radar but they have been here before. Ohio (8-4) is playing in its ninth bowl under head coach Frank Solich since his hire in 2005. Solich, 73, played at Nebraska before Clark was born and coached the powerhouse Cornhuskers when Clark was at the outset of his coaching career at the high school level.

The Bahamas Bowl gives them a chance to witness their careers cross paths.

“Ohio is a very solid team led by an outstanding coach in Frank Solich, and it is going to be a great game,” said Clark, who is 14-10 in his two seasons with the Blazers. “Our players will be ready for the challenge and look to become the first team to win a bowl game at UAB.”

Solich, 154-90 in 19 years of coaching, said, “They are a great football team on the opposite side. Coach Clark has done an amazing job. I know we will have to beat them because they won’t beat themselves. They’ll be hungry for a win just like we will be.”

This game is your typical offense versus defense matchup.

Ohio features the 14th-ranked offense averaging 38.9 points per game, against a UAB defense that ranks No. 47 at 24.3 points per game allowed.

The Bobcats do most of their damage on the ground. Their running game is by committee with quarterback Nathan Rourke and backs AJ Ouellette and Dorian Brown combining to rush for 2,467 yards and 35 touchdowns.

I would expect a lot of runs by the Bobcats as UAB has one of the most underrated secondaries in college football. The Blazers allow opponents to throw for 188 yards per game, so the ground game will be the most obvious route of success for Ohio.

Hot/Cold

While UAB has won six of its last eight games, Ohio limps into the Bahamas Bowl having lost its last two games of the season, both on the road.

Prediction

UAB may be coming into this game as the hotter team and has the better story, but I love Ohio’s running game and I believe their three-headed monster will be enough to win the game.

LINE: Ohio -6.5

Ohio 28 UAB 20

 

https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/picmonkey-image10.jpg?fit=1000%2C600&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/picmonkey-image10.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Dan SchalkConference USAMACNCAAFRecent PostsBahamas Bowl,College Football,Ohio Bobcats,UAB Blazers,UAB vs OhioUAB vs Ohio Preview If you asked anyone two years ago when UAB would be playing in a bowl game again, the popular answer would have been, NEVER. The Blazers football program was cut, along with two other sports, because of financial reasons after the 2014 season. A fundraising effort by...Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?