UAB Football On Road To Face No. 9 LSU

RB Darrin Reaves eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark again in the season opener.

Sep 6, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- The UAB football team will return to action Saturday when the Blazers return to the site of one the program's most historic wins in its young history.

UAB will be on the road in Baton Rouge, La. to take on No. 9-ranked LSU. The kickoff in Tiger Stadium set for 6 p.m. CT will bring back memories for Blazer fans to 13 years ago when UAB traveled into Death Valley and knocked off the Tigers, 13-10. Kicker Rhett Gallegobooted a 32-yard field goal on the game's final play to provide the winning points.

The Blazer victory over LSU in September of 2000 was the last home non-conference loss the Tigers have sustained.

UAB (0-1) comes into Saturday's matchup after suffering a narrow 34-31 overtime loss to Troy last weekend. LSU (1-0) began its 2013 campaign on a winning note, defeating TCU, 37-27, in Dallas, Texas last Saturday.

Saturday's game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and will be also be carried on the Blazer IMG Sports Network in Birmingham.

Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
6:02 p.m. CT • ESPNU
Tiger Stadium (92,542)

Quick Hits
• UAB opened its 2013 season with a 34-31overtime loss at Troy last Saturday as the Trojans scored 17 unanswered points to close out the game, including a game-winning 30-yard field goal in the OT.
• UAB won't play its first home game of the 2013 season until week four. After opening the campaign at Troy last week, the Blazers travel to LSU Saturday before an open date on Sept. 14. UAB plays host to Northwestern (La.) State on Sept. 21 at Legion Field in its first home contest of the year.
• UAB head coach Garrick McGee is his second season at the helm of the Blazers' program.
• Junior receiver Jamarcus Nelson is coming off a breakout game to open the 2013 season. Nelson finished the Troy game with 10 receptions for 199 yards and two receiving touchdowns. He also had 168 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 97-yard return for a score. Nelson finished the game with 367 all-purpose yards -- best in the nation for the opening weekend. On Monday, he was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player-of-the-Week.
• The Blazers have four new assistant coaches on the staff this season: Eric Evans (Running Backs), Joe Henry (Tight Ends), Kevin Peoples (Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator) and Matt Sanders (Special Teams/Assistant Secondary).
• Junior running back Darrin Reaves, a first-team All-Conference USA performer in 2012, enters 2013 as the only returning back in the nation who eclipsed 1,000 yards and 40 receptions a year ago.

Series Information
• UAB and LSU will be meeting for the second time when they Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
• UAB won the only previous meeting (13-10) at Baton Rouge in the third game of the 2000 season as kicker Rhett Gallegobooted a game-winning 32-yard field goal on the final play of the game.

The Coaches
• UAB: Garrick McGee (Oklahoma, '96) is in his second season as the head coach at UAB and has a record of 3-10 with the Blazers. McGee took the helm of the Blazers' program after four seasons on the staff at Arkansas, his last two campaigns as the offensive coordinator. McGee was a finalist for the 2011 Broyles Award that is presented to the nation's top assistant coach. He also served on the coaching staffs at Northwestern (2004-07), UNLV (2003), Toledo (2002), Jacksonville Jaguars (2000-01), Northern Iowa (1999) and Langston (1996-98).
• LSU: Les Miles (Michigan, '76) is in his ninth season as the head coach at LSU and his 13th overall as a head coach. Miles has a record of 86-21 with the Tigers and has led LSU to three BCS bowl games, including a pair of BCS Championship contests. The Tigers won the 2007 national championship. Miles spent four seasons as head coach at Oklahoma State before becoming LSU's head coach.

Last Game
• UAB opened the 2013 season with a 34-31 overtime loss at Troy last Saturday, taking a 31-17 lead into the fourth quarter before the Trojans rallied with 17 unanswered points. The Trojans won the game on a 30-yard field goal by Will Scott in the overtime after UAB had failed to score on its overtime possession earlier as the hold on the Ty Long field goal attempt was mishandled.
• Wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson had a spectacular game for the Blazers with 10 catches for 199 yards, as well as 168 kickoff return yards that included a 97-yard runback for a touchdown. Nelson finished with 367 all-purpose yards -- a UAB record and the most nationally among FBS performers last weekend.
• Troy quarterback Corey Robinson completed 30-of-32 passes for 319 yards in the game.

Nine Blazers Saw First Collegiate Action In Opening Game
• The Blazers had nine players see their first collegiate action in last Saturday's season-opening game at Troy. Five players on the offensive side of the ball, three on defense and one special teams performer were included in the group. Of the nine to see action, three were true freshmen, four were redshirt freshmen and two were junior college transfers.

Grant Davis,, FB, R-Fr.
J.J. Green, WR, Fr.
Nick Jackson, SAF, Fr.
Jimmy Jean, CB, JC
Greg Maclin, SAF, Fr.
Dallas Noriega, SN, JC
Steve Pickren, TE, R-Fr.
Victor Salako, OT, R-Fr.
Jamari Staples. WR, Fr.

Blazers Have Pair of Experienced Signal-Callers
• One luxury for UAB heading into the 2013 season is having a pair of quarterbacks who possess significant experience. Redshirt sophomore Austin Brown and senior Jonathan Perry accounted for 3,706 passing yards last season with 21 touchdown passes.
• Brown started seven of the final eight games of the 2012 season and finished with 2,673 passing yards and 15 touchdown throws. Perry started the first three contests last fall and had 1,033 passing yards and six touchdown passes. Brown had three games with more than 300 yards passing, including a season-high 409 against Tulane. Perry's best game may have been the final game of the season when he came off the bench and hit for 307 yards and a pair of scoring passes.

Blazers On Preseason Watch Lists
• The Blazers had three players named on Preseason Watch Lists this summer.
• Junior kicker Ty Long was tabbed to the Watch List for the Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate kicker. Long connected on 14-of-17 field goals last season and is now 30-of-36 in his career. His career accuracy mark of 83.3 percent is the highest in UAB history. Long also kicked the two longest field goals in Blazer history -- 54 (vs. Ohio State) and 53 yards (Southeastern Louisiana) in 2012.
• Junior punter Hunter Mullins was one of 25 punters nationally named this summer to the Watch List for the 2013 Ray Guy Award, given each season to the nation's outstanding college punter. Mullins, in his first season as UAB's regular punter, averaged a school record 44.8 yards per kick in 2012. He had 14 punts inside the 20-yard line and had 12 punts that were 50 yards or more.
• Junior running back Darrin Reaveswas tabbed to the preseason list for the 2013 Doak Walker Award, presented to the nation's top collegiate running back. Reaves became the fourth 1,000-yard rusher in Blazer history last season when he ran for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Birmingham native also recorded 41 receptions for 302 yards in 2012. Reaves is the only running back in the country entering the 2013 season who surpassed 1,000 yards rushing and 40 catches last fall.

RB Reaves Named Preseason All-Conference USA By Coaches
• UAB running back Darrin Reaveswas named to the 2013 Preseason All-Conference USA first team in a vote by the league's head coaches. Reaves ran for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. His 13 rushing touchdowns in a season is a Blazer single-season record. Nine of his touchdowns came in the final six games of the season. He also was adept as a pass-catching back as he recorded 41 receptions during the year.

23rd Season Of UAB Football; 18th At I-A Level
• UAB has a young football program compared to most of its opposition. The Blazers went through their first intercollegiate football season in 1991 as a member of NCAA Division III.
• The Blazers moved to Division I-AA two seasons later in 1993, remaining at that level three years before making the transition to Division I-A during 1996 season.
• The 2013 season represents the 23rd season of football for UAB.

Looking Back At UAB Game Vs. Troy
• UAB's overtime game at Troy Saturday represented the Blazers' seventh all-time overtime contest. The Blazers are now 2-5 in overtime games.
• Wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson had a game to remember as he set a UAB record for all-purpose yards with 367 (199 receiving/168 kickoff returns).
• Nelson also recorded 10 receptions (tied for 10th-best in UAB history). His 199 receiving yards is the No. 4 best total in Blazer history.
• Nelson also returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the game.
• Sophomore quarterback Austin Brown passed for 301 yards in the game as he connected on 19-of-29 attempts. The 3performance was Brown's fifth career effort with 300 or more yards.
• Linebacker Jake Ganus, who played at safety as a true freshman a season ago, led the way with a career-best 11 tackles in the game, including a pair of tackles for loss.
• Running back Darrin Reaves ran for 110 yards in the game, his fourth career game with 100 or more yards, and his fourth in the past six games dating back to last year.
• Kicker Ty Longconnected on his third career field goal of 50 yards or more when he booted a 50-yarder on the final play of the first half.

Blazers Had Pair Of 100-Yard Receivers In Opening Game
• UAB had a pair of 100-yard receivers (Jamarcus Nelson - 199 yards, Jamari Staples - 103 yards) in the season-opening game at Troy, the first time the Blazers have had two 100-yard pass catchers in the same game since Nick Adams (119) and Jackie Williams(143) achieved the feat vs. Tulane last season.

Staples' Blazer Debut A Success
• UAB wide receiver Jamari Staples, a 6-4, 190-pound product of Lineville, Ala., had a successful collegiate debut at Troy Saturday as he posted six receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown. Staples' touchdown catch came on a 42-yard pass from quarterback Austin Brownmidway through the first quarter.

"Local" Linebackers Lead Way On Defense In Opener
• UAB's top three tacklers in the game vs. Troy were all sophomore linebackers from the metro-Birmingham area.
Jake Ganus, who attended Chelsea High School., finished the contest with a team-best and career-high 11 tackles, including a pair of tackles for loss and one forced fumble.
Destin Challenger, a product of Spain Park High School, had seven tackles in the game for second-best on the team against the Trojans.
• Derek Slaughter, a graduate of Pelham High School, registered four tackles and also posted a tackle for loss and one fumble recovery.

New Faces
• The 2013 UAB coaching staff has four new faces, two on offense and two on defense. Eric Evans is the Blazers' new running backs coach after spending five years at the University of Albany. Joe Henry, a former tight end at Arkansas who was a graduate assistant on the Razorbacks' staff last season, is the tight ends coach.
Kevin Peoples joins the staff as UAB's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Peoples most recently has been on the staff at Arkansas but spent eight seasons as the defensive line coach at Arkansas State prior to going to Fayetteville. Matt Sandersis also a new member of the Blazers' staff and will serve as UAB's special teams coach, as well as assist in the secondary, working with the cornerbacks.

Reaves Has Four 100-Yard Rushing Games In Last Six
• Running back Darrin Reaveshas rushed for more than 100 yards in four of the past six games for the Blazers, including a 110-yard performance to open the 2013 season last Saturday at Troy. Reaves, a first-team All-Conference USA performer as a sophomore last season, has averaged 132 rushing yards in his last six games.

Nelson Named C-USA Special Teams Player-of-the-Week
• UAB junior Jamarcus Nelson was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player-of-the-Week Monday following his outstanding performance in the Blazers' season-opening game at Troy.
• Nelson made a sensational 2013 season debut as he amassed 367 all-purpose yards -- best in the country last weekend -- and returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in UAB's 34-31 overtime loss to the Trojans. The 97-yard return in the third quarter was the longest kickoff return in Blazer history.
• The Midfield, Ala. wide receiver native finished with 168 kick return yards to go along with 199 receiving yards as he caught 10 passes, including a pair of those for touchdowns.

UAB Playing SEC Foe For 12th Straight Year
• With 2013 matchups against LSU and Vanderbilt, UAB is playing at least one SEC opponent on its schedule for the 12th consecutive season. Saturday's game against the Tigers in Baton Rouge will mark the Blazers' 21st against SEC competition.