Blazers Host Middle Tennessee For 2013 Homecoming

UABSPORTS.COM Jonathan Perry threw for more than 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week.
UABSPORTS.COM
Jonathan Perry threw for more than 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week.
UABSPORTS.COM

Nov. 1, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB football team returns to its homefield for the first time in nearly a month Saturday when the Blazers play host to Middle Tennessee in a Noon CT kickoff at Legion Field.

The Blazers (2-5, 1-2 Conference USA) have not played a home game since Oct. 5 when they fell to Florida Atlantic, 37-23. UAB will be seeking its second league victory of the season when it goes against the Blue Raiders Saturday. The Blazers downed FIU, 27-24, three weeks ago in Miami.

Middle Tennessee is coming off a 51-49 home win over Marshall on Oct. 24. The Blue Raiders come into the game averaging 26.1 points and 370.4 yards per contest. UAB counters with 29.3 points and 396.7 yards each game.

UAB and Middle Tennessee are meeting for the fourth time. The Blazers own a 2-1 series edge in the series. UAB won the last matchup, 14-9, during the 2000 season. The Blue Raiders are playing their first season as members of Conference USA.

Saturday's game will be televised by Fox Sports Net and can be seen on SportSouth in the southeast.

Middle Tennessee (4-4, 2-2 C-USA) at UAB (2-5, 1-2 C-USA)
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013
12:00 p.m. CT
Television: Fox Sports Net (SportSouth in Birmingham area and southeast) (Mike Morgan, Brian Baldinger, JC Pearson)
Radio: Blazer IMG Sports Network (David Crane, Steve Irvine, Sam Miller) Legion Field (72,000)

Quick Hits
• UAB (2-5, 1-2 Conference USA) returns home Saturday, Nov. 2 as the Blazers play host to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (4-4, 2-2 C-USA) in a Noon CT kickoff at Legion Field. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
• The Blazers are coming off a 52-31 loss at UTSA last Saturday. UAB trailed 24-0 after the first quarter before outscoring the Roadrunners the rest of the way. The Blazers gained 506 yards in the game but yielded 523 to UTSA.
• UAB is playing only its third home game of the 2013 season. Only two other teams in the country will enter November having played two home games (Florida Atlantic and Louisiana-Lafayette).
• 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 had a national-best of the week 367 all-purpose yards which included a 97-yard kick return for a score.
• 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, entered 2013 as the only returning back in the nation who eclipsed 1,000 yards and 40 receptions a year ago.

All-Time Series Vs. Middle Tennessee
• UAB and Middle Tennessee will be meeting for the fourth time overall when they play Saturday at Legion Field, but for the first time as mutual members of Conference USA. The Blazers lead the all-time series, 2-1. The Blue Raiders won the first meeting (28-13) at Murfreesboro in 1995, but UAB has won the last two in Birmingham, winning 26-17 in 1998 and 14-9 in 2000.

The Coaches
• UAB: Garrick McGee (Oklahoma, '96) is in his second season as the head coach at UAB and has a record of 5-13 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).
• Middle Tennessee: Rick Stockstill (Florida State, '82) is his eighth season as head coach at Middle Tennessee and is third on the school's all-time victories list with 47. The Blue Raiders have made three bowl appearances under Stockstill, including a 2009 season when his team became the first Sun Belt Conference team to win 10 games (10-3) and earned a berth in the New Orleans Bowl.

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.

Blazers Had Potent Offense In 2012
Garrick McGee's first UAB team featured an explosive offense, both through the air and on the ground. The Blazers finished with 5,029 offensive yards, their third-highest total in school history. UAB averaged 308.8 yards through the air to rank No. 19 nationally in the final NCAA statistics. The passing yards total (3,706) were the most ever by a Blazer team.
• UAB averaged 28.2 points per game, the Blazers' third-best average in school history.
• Running back Darrin Reavesregistered just the fourth 1,000-yard rushing season in UAB history as he finished with 1,037 yards.

Three Blocked Kicks Vs. Florida Atlantic
• UAB blocked three kicks (2 PAT, 1 FG) in the Oct. 5 37-23 loss to Florida Atlantic. The three blocks ties Syracuse for the most in a game among NCAA FBS teams this season.

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 was 30-of-36 in his career prior to the 2013 season. His career accuracy mark of 83.3 percent before this season 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.

Howard Gets First Carry Of Career, Making First-Year Impact
• True freshman running back Jordan Howard logged the first rushing attempts of his collegiate career in the Sept. 7 game at LSU and responded with 60 yards on only 14 carries.
• Howard came back to post 66 yards on 12 carries (5.5 avg.) in the Sept. 21 game vs. Northwestern State.
• Howard has continued to impress as his playing time has increased in recent games. Against FIU three weeks ago, Howard rushed for a season-best 159 yards on only 20 carries (7.9 avg.). He had 90 yards on 12 attempts at UTSA last Saturday. He is averaging 6.9 yards per attempt this season.

Ganus Pacing Blazers In Tackles Through Seven Games
• UAB sophomore Jake Ganuscurrently leads the Blazers in tackles with 56 stops through the first seven contests, including 36 solo hits. Ganus also has a team-high 6.0 tackles for loss. Ganus has either led the team, or tied for the team lead, in tackles in five of the Blazers' first seven games.

UAB With Two Of C-USA'S Top Seven Rushers
• Freshman Jordan Howard and junior Darrin Reavesrank No. 5 and 7, respectively, in rushing average among the Conference USA leaders.

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.

Long Perfect At UAB From 40 Yards And In
• UAB junior kicker Ty Long is now 42-52 (14-of-17 in 2012) on field goals during his three-year career with the Blazers. That's an accuracy rate of 80.8 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 28 of his attempts through his 30-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 10 career misses at UAB have come from 41, 46, 47, 49, 56, 52, 49, 47, 59 and 49 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.