UAB Takes On Southern Miss In Final 2011 Home Game

QB Jonathan Perry is coming off a 410-yard passing performance vs. Memphis.

Nov. 17, 2011

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- The UAB Blazers will play their final home game of the 2011 season Thursday night when Conference USA rival and 20th-ranked Southern Miss visits Legion Field. The Blazers will honor 22 seniors in ceremonies prior to the 7:00 p.m. CT kickoff.

UAB (2-8, 2-5 C-USA) is coming off a 41-35 victory at Memphis Saturday as the Blazers rallied with 24 fourth-quarter points to erase a 35-17 Tiger lead. The rally was the largest fourth-quarter comeback in UAB history. The Blazers trailed by 18 points on three different occasions, 21-3 in the second quarter, 28-10 in the third quarter and 35-17 in the fourth quarter. The largest deficit of any kind overcome by a UAB team was 23 points in the Troy comeback last year.

Quarterback Jonathan Perrywas outstanding in the game as the sophomore threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. Perry also ran for 47 yards in the game.

The Blazers scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:36 remaining as RB Greg Franklinreached paydirt on a 10-yard run.

Southern Miss (9-1, 5-1 C-USA) hung on for its eighth straight win Saturday, edging past visiting UCF, 30-29, in Hattiesburg. The Knights scored on a 25-yard pass play with no time remaining in the fourth quarter to trim the margin to 30-29 but opted to go for two points and failed on the attempt, preserving the victory for the Golden Eagles.

Quarterback Austin Davis passed for 364 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Southern Miss.

No. 20 Southern Miss at UAB
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
Legion Field • Birmingham, Ala. 7:00 p.m. CT CBS Sports Network

TV:CBS SN - Todd Harris (pbp), Doug Chapman (color) have the call.

RADIO:Blazer IMG Sports Network - David Crane (pbp), John Whitcomb (color) and Sam Miller (sidelines) have the call. The game can also be heard on WUHT 107.7 FM in Birmingham.

-- UAB returned 16 starters on offense (7) and defense (9) from last season's team that finished 4-8. The Blazers had a pair of performers -- offensive tackle Matt McCants and defensive tackle Elliott Henigan-- named to the 2011 preseason All-Conference USA team by the league's coaches.

-- UAB has a young football program compared to most of its opposition. The Blazers are in their 21st season of football (and 16th at the Division I-A or FBS level) as they played their first intercollegiate season in 1991 at the NCAA Division III level. UAB moved to Division I-AA two seasons later in 1993 and remained at that level three years before making the transition to Division I-A beginning in 1996.

-- Safety Jamie Bender's 35-yard interception return for a touchdown at East Carolina was the Blazers' first defensive score since Marquis Coleman returned a pick 99 yards at UTEP on Oct. 31, 2009. UAB scored defensive touchdowns in back-to-back games after T.J. Balloureturned an interception 52 yards for a score in the Blazers' 24-23 loss Oct. 1 at Troy.

-- Senior Nick Adams'92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown vs. Tulane Sept. 17 was the Blazers' first kickoff return for a score since the 2008 season, a span of 37 games.

-- UAB recorded the largest fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory in school history, overcoming an 18-point deficit (35-17) to start the final quarter for a 41-35 win Saturday at Memphis. The previous largest fourth-quarter comeback was 13 points on two occasions - versus Butler in 1993 and versus Troy in 2010.

-- WR Jackie Williams, who caught a career-best 10 passes for 82 yards against UCF last month, has had at least one reception in all 21 games of his collegiate career. He has a team-high 49 grabs for 467 yards in nine games this season. WR Patrick Hearnhas caught a pass in 20 of the past 21 games for the Blazers.

-- UAB has one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country with 168 career starts among six offensive linemen. Senior Terence Edge leads the way with 42 career starts. Fellow senior Matt McCantshas 40 career starts for the Blazers.

UAB will recognize 22 seniors in ceremonies Thursday prior to the Blazers' game with Southern Miss. Here is a list of the seniors to be honored:
Ugonna Amarikwa, DB
Adam Arthur, DL
T.J. Ballou, DB
Jamie Bender, DB
Greg Calhoun, OL
Marquis Coleman, DB
Chase Daniel, DB
Terence Edge, OL
Bryan Ellis, QB
Elliott Henigan, DL
Andre Hicks, DB
Drew Luker, LB
Matt McCants, OL
Trey Ragland, P
Pat Shed, RB
Darion Smith, OL
Terrell Springs, DB
Ferson Stafford, DB
Caleb Thomas, OL
Danny Volk, TE
Lamanski Ware, LB

UAB and Southern Miss will be meeting for the 12th time when they play Thursday night at Legion Field. The Golden Eagles hold a 9-2 lead in the series that began in 2000, but the Blazers have won the last two contests between the teams. UAB took a 50-49 double overtime decision last season after claiming a 30-17 victory in Birmingham in 2009.

Of the 11 meetings, seven of those have been decided by a touchdown or less. The teams have played every season since the 2000 campaign.

Southern Miss holds a 5-1 series advantage in games played in Birmingham.

2010 - UAB won 50-49 (2 OT) at Hattiesburg
2009 - UAB won 30-17 at Birmingham
2008 - USM won 70-14 at Hattiesburg
2007 - USM won 37-7 at Birmingham
2006 - USM won 25-20 at Hattiesburg
2005 - USM won 37-28 at Birmingham
2004 - USM won 26-21 at Hattiesburg
2003 - USM won 17-12 at Birmingham
2002 - USM won 20-13 at Birmingham
2001 - USM won 3-0 at Hattiesburg
2000 - USM won 33-30 (OT) at Birmingham

Junior linebacker Greg Irvin recovered all four fumbles for UAB at ECU, breaking the previous individual school record of two in a single game. They were the first fumble recoveries of Irvin's career. Irvin was the NCAA leader in 2011 with his four fumble recoveries until three weeks ago. He is now fourth in the rankings, tied with teammate T.J. Ballouwho had his fourth fumble recovery vs. Houston.

UAB recorded the largest fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory in school history Saturday at Memphis, overcoming an 18-point deficit (35-17) to start the final quarter for a 41-35 win over the Tigers. The previous largest fourth-quarter comeback was 13 points on two occasions - versus Butler in 1993 and versus Troy in 2010.

The Blazers trailed by 18 points on three different occasions, 21-3 in the second quarter, 28-10 in the third quarter and 35-17 in the fourth quarter. The largest deficit of any kind overcome by a UAB team was 23 points in the Troy comeback last year.

UAB surpassed 600 total yards in a game for just the fourth time in school history in last Saturday's game at Memphis. The Blazers' 601 total yards against the Tigers are the fourth-most ever for a Blazer team and the most since a 622-yard output against Florida Atlantic in 2009.

Overall this season, UAB has found the going tough as far as a productive running game. The Blazers rank just 98th in the country in rushing yards per game at 117.2.

There's no doubt that when UAB has been able to run the ball, the offense has had a lot more success. In fact, in the team's two victories this season over UCF and Memphis, the Blazers have averaged 183 yards per game on the ground. However, in the eight losses, UAB has averaged only 101 yards per contest.

PERRY COMING OFF OUTSTANDING GAME AT MEMPHIS Sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perrythrew a career-high four touchdown passes and notched his first career 400-yard passing game with 410 yards through the air in the Blazers' comeback victory at Memphis last Saturday. It was his second game with at least 300 yards passing. His first came with 327 yards last month against UCF. Perry threw for 327 yards in the second half alone against the Tigers.

Perry's 410 passing yards are the seventh-most in a game by a UAB quarterback and the most by a Blazer since Bryan Ellisthrew for 418 yards last season against East Carolina.

Perry also ran for a career-high 47 yards as he accounted for a combined total of 457 yards in the game. That is the third-most in UAB history, trailing only the 533 accounted for by quarterback John Whitcomb (539 passing, -6 rushing) against Prairie View A&M in 1994 and the 459 accounted for by QB Joe Webb(322 passing, 137 rushing) against UCF in 2009.

With running back Pat Shed having missed the last four games due to injury, sophomore Greg Franklin and true freshman Darrin Reaves have seen the bulk of work in the Blazer backfield in recent weeks. The team's depth has been further diminished the past two weeks as junior RB Dontavius Jacksonhas also been out due to injury.

Franklin and Reaves both had 73 yards rushing in last Saturday's win at Memphis. Franklin has taken over the team lead in rushing yards as he now has 319 on 56 attempts (5.7 average) while Reaves has 274 rushing yards on 51 carries (5.4 average).

UAB quarterback Jonathan Perry's four TD passes at Memphis tied for the fifth-most in a single-game by a UAB quarterback. His four scores were the most by a Blazer since Bryan Ellisthrew five TDs versus East Carolina last year.

The four TD passes also more than doubled Perry's season total going into the game. He now has seven touchdown passes on the season.

UAB redshirt freshman receiver Jamarcus Nelsoncaught a pair of touchdown passes in Saturday's win at Memphis, giving him a team-high four for the season.

Nelson had touchdown receptions of 47 and 42 yards from Jonathan Perry. All four of his TD catches have gone for at least 42 yards. His previous two TDs came from 66 and 45 yards from quarterback Bryan Ellisearlier this year in the game at Tulsa.

Nelson posted career highs in both receptions (six) and receiving yards (133). He posted UAB's second 100-yard receiving game of the season. He also had the first when he caught 111 yards worth of passes at Tulsa.

He leads the team in yards per reception at 21.7.

Tight end Nolen Smithhas 14 receptions for 213 yards and a touchdown this season and 11 of those catches have come in the past four games.

Smith, from Oneonta, Ala., is coming off a three-catch, 48-yard performance in Saturday's game at Memphis. He had a season-long 32-yard reception in the game.

Smith's season-high for receiving yards was 54 yards against UCF on Oct. 20 when he also caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Perry.

Freshman kicker Ty Longhas quietly put together one of the best seasons among kickers in Conference USA. Long has connected on 14-of-17 field goals with a season-long of 49 yards. He has not missed a three-point attempt shorter than 43 yards.

Long currently ranks No. 18 in the latest NCAA statistics in field goals made per game at 1.40.

Long's 14 field goals are tied for the seventh-most in a single season in UAB history, while his .832 success rate would rank as the fourth-best in a season by a Blazer.

Senior receiver Nick Adamscaught his first touchdown pass of the season and the second of his career in the win over Memphis. It was his third total touchdown of the season, having scored one on a kickoff return against Tulane and one on a rush at Marshall. His only previous touchdown catch came on a 77-yarder in the Blazers' last trip to Memphis in 2009.

Adams ranks second on the team in receptions with 26 (337 yards) and is averaging 13.0 yards per catch.

Freshman running back Darrin Reaveshas seen his most extensive action of the season in recent games and the product of Clay-Chalkville High School has made the most of the opportunity. Reaves has 274 rushing yards this season and 245 of those have come in the past four games.

He ran for a season-high 83 yards on a season-best 15 carries last month vs. UCF. His 83 yards were the most by a UAB rusher this season. Against Memphis Saturday, Reaves tallied 73 yards on only eight attempts for a 9.1 average.

Reaves has now rushed for 274 yards this season on 51 attempts with one touchdown. He is averaging 5.4 yards per attempt.

Redshirt freshman receiver Jay Davisis another young Blazer who has seen his production increase in recent games. Davis, from Snellville, Ga., is coming off a season-best seven receptions at Memphis for 61 yards and a touchdown. He has 17 catches on the season for 158 yards. In the past two games, he has 11 grabs for 105 yards.

Oct. 30, 2010 at Hattiesburg, Miss.
UAB 50, Southern Miss 49 (2 OTs)
Golden Eagles running back Desmond Johnson scored from two yards out on the first possession of the second overtime, but UAB's Pat Shed answered with a 13-yard TD run. Ellis converted the two-point try with a pass to tight end Jeffery Andersonto seal the win for the Blazers.Ellis connected with receiver Mike Jonesfor the duo's third touchdown of the game on the opening drive of overtime. Southern Miss responded with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass from Austin Davis to Quentin Pierce to extend the game for the second time.

Jones became the first UAB player to catch three TDs in a game since Reggie Lindseyat UTEP on Nov. 19, 2005.

Shed did most of the damage on the ground for UAB, running for a career-high 176 yards on 29 carries. The junior college transfer, who topped 100 yards rushing for the first time in his UAB career, ran for two scores on the day. Fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns by Shed and Ellis gave the Blazers a 35-21 lead, but Southern Miss tied the game on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Kelvin Bolden with 28 seconds left in regulation.

Ellis finished with 241 passing yards as he connected on 22-of-34 with three touchdowns.

The UAB defense forced a season-high four turnovers in the game. Linebacker Marvin Burdetteled the team with 13 tackles, including two for loss, to go along with a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

The Blazers registered a pair of interceptions in the game as T.J. Ballou and Jamie Benderboth picked off Davis passes.

With the victory, UAB recorded its second straight win over Southern Miss and its first against the Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg.

UAB linebacker Marvin Burdette emerged as one of the best at his position in Conference USA during the 2010 season. Burdette finished with 114 tackles last fall, the fifth-highest total in Blazer history and the most by a UAB linebacker since 2003 when Zac Woodfin recorded 149 stops and Nigel Eldridgehad 128. Burdette finished the 2010 campaign with 77 solo hits. He completed the year ranked No. 5 in the league with 9.5 tackles per contest.

Burdette was especially around the ball down the stretch as he registered 65 stops in the final five games and averaged 13 per contest in that period. He has 75 tackles in 10 games in 2011 and 233 in his career.

UAB finished with 191 yards rushing as a team in last Saturday's game against Memphis, the most for the Blazers since a 223-yard output on the ground last season at Southern Miss (Oct. 30, 2010). Freshman Darrin Reaves and sophomore Greg Franklin each finished with 73 yards, Reaves on eight attempts and Franklin with 10 carries.