Blazers Head To Miami For C-USA Meeting with FIU

Coach Garrick McGee and the Blazers will be in Miami Saturday to take on FIU.

Oct. 10, 2013

Live Stats | Listen Here | UAB Game Notes

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- The UAB Blazers will be in pursuit of their first Conference USA victory of the season Saturday when they head to Miami, Fla. to take on first-year league member FIU in a night game at Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.

The Blazers and Panthers will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT in a contest that will be televised regionally by CSS.

UAB (1-4, 0-1 C-USA) opened C-USA play last weekend with a 37-23 loss at home to Florida Atlantic. Tied at 23-all, the Owls scored the final 14 points of the game to take the win at Legion Field.

FIU (1-4) notched its first win of the season as the Panthers edged Southern Miss, 24-23, at Hattiesburg, Miss.

Saturday's meeting will be the first between the two schools. UAB will have an open date next weekend.

Saturday, Oct. 12 2013
6:30 p.m. CT
Television: CSS (Matt Stewart, Chuck Oliver, Hannah Chalker)
Radio: Blazer IMG Sports Network (David Crane, Steve Irvine, Sam Miller)
Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium (20,000)

Quick Hits
• UAB will play its second Conference USA game of the 2013 season, and its first on the road, on Saturday when the Blazers take on the FIU Panthers in Miami, Fla. in the first meeting between the two schools.
• The Blazers opened Conference USA play last Saturday with a 37-23 loss at home to Florida Atlantic. UAB yielded 579 offensive yards to the Owls in a game that was tied in the late stages of the third quarter.
• UAB head coach Garrick McGee is in his second season at the helm of the Blazers' program.
• Junior receiver Jamarcus Nelson had a breakout game vs. Troy 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, who missed the FAU game with an ankle injury, finished the game with 367 all-purpose yards -- best in the nation for the opening weekend. On Sept. 2, 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 FIU are meeting on the football field for the first time in school history. The Panthers are in their first year as a member of Conference USA.

The Coaches
• UAB: Garrick McGee (Oklahoma, '96) is in his second season as the head coach at UAB and has a record of 4-13 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).
• FIU: Ron Turner (Pacific, '77) is in his first season at the helm of the FIU program, his 10th as a head coach and his 37th overall coaching. He was the head coach at Illinois from 1997-2004, and since then, has worked in the NFL as an assistant coach. Prior to going to FIU, Turner was the quarterbacks coach at Tampa in 2012. He also spent recent years with the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears.

Last Game
• UAB played its Conference USA opener last Saturday when the Blazers played host to Florida Atlantic at Legion Field.
• The Owls amassed 579 offensive yards and scored the last 14 points of the game en route to their first win as a member of Conference USA.
• UAB quarterback Austin Brown hit 18-of-33 passes for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Blazers.
• FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson passed for 299 yards two touchdowns, and ran for 105 more and one score, to lead the Owls. Running back Jonathan Wallace rushed for a game-high 117 yards and a touchdown.
• UAB was held to just 51 rushing yards in the game.
• UAB kicker Ty Longwas 3-for-3 on field goals to make it seven straight successful field goal attempts. The Blazers blocked three FAU kicks (2 PAT, 1 FG).

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.

Nelson = Explosion Plays
• There's no doubt when UAB wide receiver Jamarcus "JJ" Nelson is on the field, he's a threat to break a big play.
• Nelson has averaged 19.0 yards per reception in his career with 1,142 yards on 60 catches.
• Nelson has 14 touchdowns (12 receiving, 2 on returns) in his three-year career and 11 of those have covered distances of 40 yards or more.

Long Named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week
• UAB kicker Ty Long was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player-of-the-Week last week following his performance in the Blazers' game Sept. 28 at Vanderbilt.
• Long, a junior from Roswell, Ga., connected on all three of his field goal attempts (33, 20 and 37 yards) in the loss to the Commodores.
• The 3-for-3 effort extended Long's perfect streak of field goals to 24-for-24 on kicks of 40 yards or less since he has been at UAB. • Long hit three more field goals (three attempts) in last Saturday's game vs. Florida Atlantic and has now connected on his last seven tries.

Blazers Currently Fourth In Scoring In C-USA
• UAB currently ranks No. 4 in Conference USA in scoring offense at 29.4 points per game.
• The Blazers are No. 5 in C-USA in passing offense with an average of 229.8 yards per game and are No. 7 in the league in rushing offense at 143.4.

Long Perfect At UAB From 40 Yards And In
• UAB junior kicker Ty Long is now 39-of-48 (14-of-17 in 2012) on field goals during his two-year career with the Blazers. That's an accuracy rate of 80.0 percent. That is the best FG accuracy mark in UAB history, a record previously held by Swayze Waters, who hit 50-of-64 (.781) three-pointers from 2006-08.
• Long is perfect on field goals from 40 yards and within, hitting all 27 of his attempts through his 29-game UAB career.
• Long was 14-of-17 on field goals last season with five of those coming from 46 yards or longer (46, 47, 48, 53 and a school record 54 yards).
• The Roswell, Ga. native's nine career misses at UAB have come from 41, 46, 47, 49, 56 and 52 yards, 49 yards, 47 yards and 59 yards.
• Long also now has three field goals of 50 yards or more in his UAB career after booting a 50-yarder in the 2013 season opener at Troy.

Staples With TD Catch In Four Games
• Freshman wide receiver Jamari Staples has caught a touchdown pass in four of the Blazers' first five games this season.
• Staples has touchdown receptions against Troy, Northwestern (La.) State and Vanderbilt.
• Staples now has 14 catches on the season for 223 yards. He averages 15.9 yards per reception, second on the team to Jamarcus Nelsonwho averages 17.6 yards per catch.

White Notches First INT Since 2010
• Senior linebacker D.J. White recorded his second career interception early in the third quarter when he snagged a pass from Vanderbilt's Austyn Carta-Samuels and returned it 17 yards. The pick was White's first interception since the 2010 season.
• White has started the last three games for the Blazers and now ranks No. 2 on the team in total tackles with 23. Jake Ganusleads the Blazers in tackles with 40.

Block Party
• UAB blocked three kicks in the Oct. 5 game vs. Florida Atlantic.
Connor Boyett blocked the FAU field goal attempt while Shaq Jones and Jontavious Morriseach blocked an Owl extra point attempt, respectively.

Reaves Notches 82 Receiving Yards
• While Darrin Reaves was held to 56 rushing yards in Saturday's game vs. Florida Atlantic, the junior running back registered his season-high for receptions with five against the Owls and also had a career-best receiving yardage total (82).