BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Blazers bounce back from last week’s 27-3 loss to MTSU last Saturday and bring home a little hardware in the process. UAB beat MTSU 27-25 to win the Conference USA Championship.
The UAB Athletic Department sent out the following summary of the game:
In a thrilling back-and-forth contest with the Conference USA championship on the line, the UAB football team outlasted Middle Tennessee 27-25 to win its first-ever league title on Saturday afternoon at Floyd Stadium.
UAB (10-3) used a 21-point second quarter to surge ahead 24-16 at halftime, and Nick Vogel’s go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 3:23 left in the game gave UAB the lead which it would hold onto for the victory.
The decisive play of the game came with 1:05 left in the game and UAB poised to punt the ball back to the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee however, ran 12 men onto the field and was flagged which gave the Blazers a first down and they lined up in victory formation to claim the title.
Spencer Brown was named the game’s MVP as the sophomore rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Defensively, Kris Moll racked up a career-high 11 tackles to lead that unit, while Fitzgerald Mofor added 10 stops. The Blazers picked off MT’s Brent Stockstill twice as both Chris Woolbright and Dy’Jonn Turner recorded interceptions.
The Blazer defense stiffened in the red zone on each of Middle’s first two drives, holding the Blue Raiders to field goals. Middle Tennessee though, broke through on their third drive and ended the first quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Stockstill to Tavares Thomas on fourth-and-four to give MT a 13-3 lead after one.
The second quarter was dominated by the Blazers as UAB answered on the first drive of the second quarter, using a going 75 yards in 16 plays to cut the Blue Raider advantage to three, 13-10, with 7:08 to play until halftime. The Blazers capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown rush by Spencer Brown, his 16th of the season.
On UAB’s following possession, the Blazers marched down the field and concluded a 4-play, 68-yard drive with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Johnston III to Andre Wilson to claim a 17-13 lead, UAB’s first of the game, with 4:15 left in the second quarter.
Following an interception by Woolbright, UAB began its fifth drive of the game on Middle Tennessee’s 35-yard line. After consecutive penalties set the Blazers back, a 43-yard reception by Kailon Carter set up Tyler Johnston III for his fourth rushing touchdown of the season, a three-yard run through a gap on the left side of the line, giving the Green and Gold a 24-13 lead with 3:20 left until intermission.
Middle Tennessee drove into the red zone once again but the Blazers’ defense held strong, forcing the Blue Raiders to kick another field goal as time expired in the first half, giving UAB an eight-point advantage, 24-16, going into the halftime break.
The Blue Raiders opened the scoring in the second half on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Stockstill to Zack Dobson. The ensuing two-point conversion attempt fell just short and UAB retained the lead, 24-22, with just under four minutes left in the third quarter.
Middle Tennessee’s Crews Holt hit a 33-yard field goal with 10:08 remaining in the game to give the lead back to the Blue Raiders, 25-24.
Down one and needing a score to retake the lead, UAB began its eventual game-winning drive on the 50-yard line with 5:55 to play. After a 30-yard rush by Brown on the first play of the drive, senior kicker Nick Vogel put a 28-yard field goal through the uprights, giving the Green and Gold a 27-25 advantage.
As it has done all year, the UAB defense came up with a massive stand with Middle trying to put together a game winning drive, which included forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down, giving the ball back to UAB with 1:29 left.
Middle had all three timeouts left, and stopped UAB from gaining a first down on three running plays, but that’s when the flag for too many men on the field was thrown, giving UAB the victory.
The Blazers held MT to just 3-of-15 on third down and had eight tackles for loss, led by three from Anthony Rush.
The C-USA Champion Blazers now await their bowl destination which will be announced on Sunday.