Blazers Wrap Up Season Saturday Vs. Southern Miss

Garrick McGee and the Blazers will finish their 2013 season on Saturday.

Nov. 29, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- UAB will wrap up its 2013 football season Saturday afternoon when Conference USA rival Southern Miss visits Legion Field for a Noon CST kickoff.

The Blazers' rivalry with the Golden Eagles goes back to the 2000 season when they met for the first time on the gridiron. Since then, the two teams have played each other every year. Southern Miss holds a 9-4 lead in the series, but UAB has won the past four meetings between the schools.

Both teams will be looking to post a victory and gain some momentum as they head into the offseason. UAB (2-9, 1-6 C-USA) is playing its second straight home game as the Blazers fell in a 37-34 overtime contest to Conference USA Western Division leader Rice on Nov. 21.

The Golden Eagles (0-11, 0-7 C-USA) is seeking its first win of the season. Southern Miss dropped a 40-21 decision to Middle Tennessee at Hattiesburg last Saturday.

UAB will recognize 15 Blazer seniors in pregame ceremonies.

Game Facts
Southern Miss (0-11, 0-7 C-USA) at UAB (2-9, 1-6 C-USA)
Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 • 12:00 p.m. CST
Legion Field (72,000) • Birmingham, Ala.
Radio: Blazer IMG Sports Network (David Crane, Steve Irvine, Sam Miller)

Quick Hits
• UAB (2-9, 1-6 Conference USA) will play its final home game of the season Saturday when the Blazers play host to Southern Miss (0-11, 0-7 C-USA) at Legion Field.
• UAB is playing its final regular season game at home for only the second time in the past 15 years.
• The Blazers are coming off a 37-34 overtime loss to C-USA Western Division leader Rice last Thursday night. After trailing 31-21 with less than four minutes to play, UAB rallied with 10 unanswered points in regulation, then took a 34-31 lead in the overtime before Rice scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run by Luke Turner.
• 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.
• The Blazers have two running backs approaching the 900-yard rushing mark for the season. True freshman Jordan Howard has 867 yards while junior Darrin Reaves has run for 859.
• With his two touchdown runs vs. Rice, running back Darrin Reaves moved into sole possession of second place on the UAB's career list for rushing touchdowns. Reaves now has 26 rushing TDs.
• Junior receiver Jamarcus Nelsonhad 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.

All-Time Series Record Vs. Southern Miss
• UAB and Southern Miss will be meeting for the 14th time when they play Saturday at LegionField.
• The Golden Eagles lead the series, 9-4. The Blazers have won the past four games in the series after USM had claimed the first nine.
• UAB and Southern Miss for the first time in the 2000 season and have played every year since.
• Of the 13 previous meetings, seven of those have been decided by a touchdown or less.
• USM leads the series in games played in Birmingham, 5-2.

The Coaches
• UAB: Garrick McGee (Oklahoma, '96) is in his second season as the head coach at UAB. 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).
• Southern Miss: Todd Monken (Knox College, '89) is in his first season as the head coach at Southern Miss after being named the program's 20th head coach last December. Monken assumed the helm in Hattiesburg after serving two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma State. Monken spent four seasons (2007-10) as the wide receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Monken also has been a coach on nine bowl teams during his coaching career.

Blazers Will Recognize 15 Seniors Saturday In Final Game
• UAB will honor 15 seniors in pregame festivities prior to Saturday's home game against Southern Miss. Here is a list of the Blazer seniors:

54 - Billy Autrey, C, Columbus, Miss.
47 - Patrick Bastien, LB, Immokalee, Fla.
48 - Connor Boyett, DT, Danielsville, Ga.
29 - David Calloway, RB, Conyers, Ga.
24 - Greg Franklin, RB, Marietta, Ga.
78 - Aaron Green, OL, Indianapolis, Ind.
84 - Rickey Hrabowskie, WR, Hoover, Ala.
60 - Kaycee Ike, OL, Lawrenceville, Ga.
38- Santonio Jones, FB, Heidelberg, Miss.
51 - Jesse Parrish, LB, Wetumpka, Ala.
14 - Jonathan Perry, QB, Baltimore, Md.
82 - Bud Pruitt, TE, Theodore, Ala.
95 - Deric Scott, DT, Atlanta, Ga.
14 - Cortez Webb, CB, Wichita, Kan.
34 - Daniel White, LB, Apopka, Fla.

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.

Last Game (37-34 OT Loss to Rice)
• UAB rallied from a 10-point deficit three times in the game, the final one coming in the fourth quarter.
• The overtime contest represented UAB's second game this season being extended to an extra period.
• UAB was limited to 138 rushing yards in the game while the Blazers passed for 195.
• Wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson posted five receptions for 127 yards in the game.
• UAB took its only lead (21-17) on a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter by Jonathan Perry. • Jowan Davis rushed for 130 yards for Rice and set up the winning overtime touchdown with a 17-yard run to the UAB 1-yard line.

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.

Ganus Pacing Blazers In Tackles Through 11 Games
• UAB sophomore Jake Ganuscurrently leads the Blazers in tackles with 88 stops through the first 11 contests, including 53 solo hits. Ganus also has a team-high 7.0 tackles for loss. Ganus has either led the team, or tied for the team lead, in tackles in seven of the Blazers' games in 2013.

Last Meeting With Rice
Darrin Reavesrushed for a career-high 223 yards and two touchdowns and UAB erased a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat Southern Miss 27-19 at Hattiesburg, Miss.

The Blazers have now beaten Southern Miss four-straight times after losing the first nine meetings in the all-time series.

The Golden Eagles led 16-0 at the half, but the Blazers scored three second-half touchdowns and hit two long field goals to seal the comeback.

The Blazers, who outscored Southern Miss 27-3 in the second half, outgained the Golden Eagles 270 to 115 in the final 30 minutes. UAB had three turnovers in the first half, but none after intermission.

UAB's Reaves rushed for 169 of his 223 yards in the third and fourth quarters and scored on plays of 14 and 8 yards. His two touchdowns on the night gave him 11 for the season -- all in the last six games -- to tie the UAB record for rushing scores in a season.

The 223-yard total for the Birmingham, Ala., native represented the second-highest single-game mark in school history.

Reaves' first touchdown put the Blazers on the board just after the half. His second put the game out of reach with 2:41 left.

UAB quarterback Austin Brown recovered from a shaky first half to complete 17 of his 29 pass attempts for 228 yards, including a third-quarter, 18-yard touchdown pass to Sam Accursio.

Sophomore kicker Ty Longconnected on a 40-yard field goal with 8:51 left to give the Blazers their first lead of the game. Long also made a 43-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

UAB senior linebacker Marvin Burdette, who enter the game as the nation's leading tackler, finished with 11 stops in the game. Burdette has registered 69 tackles in the last four contests.

Howard Is Nation's No. 4 Freshman Rusher
• UAB running back Jordan Howardis now ranked No. 4 among freshmen after running for 41 yards vs. Rice last Thursday. The Gardendale, Ala. native has three 100-yard rushing performances this season.

Long Has Three 50-Yarders This Season, Five In Career
• UAB kicker Ty Long is putting together another outstanding season for the Blazers as the junior from Roswell, Ga. has now made 16-of-22 attempts this season and has tied the number of field goals he had as a freshman in 2011.
• Long's only misses this season have come from 49, 47, 59, 49, 59 and 37 yards.
• He has connected on three field goals of 50 yards this season and now has five of 50 yards or more in his Blazer career.

Ganus Pacing Blazers In Tackles Through 11 Games
• UAB sophomore Jake Ganus currently leads the Blazers in tackles with 88 stops through the first 11 contests, including 53 solo hits. Ganus also has a team-high 7.0 tackles for loss. Ganus has either led the team, or tied for the team lead, in tackles in seven of the Blazers' games in 2013.