UAB 30-23 on Sept. 16, 2017
Strength: Wide receiver, running back
Weakness: Youth and inexperience
Strength: Experience across the board
Weakness: Little competition in opener
UAB’s offensive line against Coastal Carolina’s defensive line: UAB quarterback A.J. Erdely is a fifth-year senior and his offensive line consists of four seniors and a junior. Nine UAB offensive starters are seniors. Conversely, Coastal has a starting defensive front consisting of four sophomores in Jeffrey Gunter, C.J. Brewer, Jonathan Clayton and Tarron Jackson. The starting linebacking corps consists of sophomore Silas Kelly and juniors James Heft and Laqavious Paul.
“They’ve got a lot of guys coming back from last year,” CCU coach Joe Moglia said. “I think they’re effective and consistent in terms of the way they move the ball, they’re able to mix up their run and the pass, they’re pretty good with the play action, they do a pretty good job of picking up pressure.
“From a defensive perspective if we’re not disciplined making our reads, we want the running back to be able to earn all of his yards, not get 7-yard bursts without being touched. The quarterback, we know he’s going to run the ball based on a read from our defense. We’ve got to be prepared for that. We can’t overplay one of those guys, the other guy will hurt us.”
Players to watch
Senior quarterback Kilton Anderson: He was very efficient last week, completing 11 of 13 passes for 91 yards against South Carolina before leaving the game after taking a big hit in the fourth quarter.
Senior receiver Malcolm Williams: After leading Coastal in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season, he had team highs in Week 1 with six receptions for 49 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Silas Kelly: The 6-4 linebacker from Mount Airy, Md., led Coastal in just about every defensive category last week with eight tackles – all solo – the team’s only sack and two pass break-ups.
Sophomore running back Spencer Brown: In just one half of work last week, Brown rushed for 102 yards on 18 carries against Savannah State, giving him seven career 100-yard rushing games to pull him within five of Jordan Howard’s school-record 12.
Senior quarterback A.J. Erderly: The 6-4, 220-pound fifth-year senior completed 22 of 28 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Senior wide receiver Collin Lisa: The 5-10, 175-pound fifth-year senior had a game- and career-high 10 receptions for 93 yards and a TD last week.
He said it
“We’re looking forward to the challenge. We know we had those guys a year ago and it was just a matter of a couple plays. If we can eliminate the bad things that come along with an offense, as far as penalties, missed assignments and just make sure every guy is locked in on every single play, I think we’ll be fine.” – CCU running back Marcus Outlow
“We came into the game and no one was intimidated [against South Carolina]. . . . We played all four quarters as hard as we played the first. If you have a team like that, that is giving effort like that, that kind of seeps into the little things and eventually will move into the big picture things that we have to fix. Coaches always say they want to coach scheme, they don’t want to coach effort, and I feel we have a team that doesn’t have to be coached on their effort.” – CCU linebacker Silas Kelly
“Going to Coastal Carolina this week, it is always interesting to see how our guys will handle a road game. We have a veteran group coming back so we are excited to see how they handle it. We fully expect Coastal Carolina to give us all we want. Going to play an SEC team on the road in a hostile environment was tough for them, but their offense moved the ball up and down the field. They got bogged down a little in the red zone and had to kick some field goals.” – UAB coach Bill Clark
UAB defeated downtrodden FCS member Savannah State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) 52-0 in its opener last week for its first shutout in 10 years. The Blazers only allowed one pass completion for 23 yards while amassing 548 yards of total offense.
The Blazers were among the best stories of the 2017 football season. The university killed the program following the 2014 season and did not field a team in 2015 and ’16. But the Birmingham community resurrected the program by raising private funding and the Blazers went 8-4 during the 2017 regular season, including a 30-23 win over Coastal in its third game, to make a bowl game. The Blazers lost the Bahamas Bowl 41-6 to Ohio.
The opponents are a dichotomy of youth and inexperience vs. age and experience.
While Coastal is the youngest team in the nation with 92 underclassmen, which accounts for 76 percent of its roster, UAB has the nation’s most players with undergraduate degrees on its roster with 19, according to the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame. It has the second-most seniors with 36, which is just one shy of national leader Navy. Ten starters on defense are either juniors or seniors.
The Blazers return a total of 20 starters between offense, defense and special teams skill positions, which is the second most in FBS, and its 10 returning offensive starters are tied for the most in college football with Florida and Michigan State.
Coastal rallied in last year’s meeting with 18 second-half points to erase a 23-5 deficit, but a late touchdown run gave UAB the win.
▪ Coastal is 12-3 in home openers and has won each of its last seven, including the first FBS win in its history with a 38-28 victory over Massachusetts last year.
▪ UAB was one of four FBS teams to record a shutout in Week 1, joining Georgia (45-0 vs. Austin Peay), Georgia Tech (41-0 against Alcorn State) and Air Force (38-0 over Stony Brook).
▪ UAB’s defensive backs had more catches than Savannah State’s receivers. The Blazers allowed just one pass completion and intercepted two passes.
UAB 34, Coastal Carolina 27: Coastal will generally be at a disadvantage regarding experience against every opponent, but it’s glaring in this matchup because UAB is among the oldest teams in the country.