UAB Blazers vs. Memphis Tigers
The Alabama Birmingham Blazers and Memphis Tigers duke it out to stay out of the CUSA basement. The Blazers were done in by Houston last Friday by a 56-13 count while the Tigers were pounded 41-0 by Central Florida on Saturday. The Blazers are -5.5 point favorites over the Tigers.
After a surprise road upset of Central Florida, Alabama Birmingham has been outscored the past two weeks by a combined 115-27. The Cougars high flying offense was expected to put up points on the Blazers which wasn’t a surprise because that is what that team does on a weekly basis. The surprise was that UAB was unable to mount a significant attack against a team that has been vulnerable on the defensive side of the football. The offense managed just 269 yards, was 3 of 13 on third down and couldn’t run the ball which was an absolute necessity in this one to keep Case Keenum off the field. Alabama Birmingham’s 115 yards was far short of what was needed with Greg Franklin’s 54 yards the lone positive for a unit that barely averaged 3 ½ yards per tote. The passing of Jonathan Perry was inconsistent and not nearly explosive enough as he was just 15 of 29 for 149 yards with a score and pick. As feared Keenum threw for 407 yards with Cougars amassing 654 yards total with 34 first downs.
Central Florida dominated Memphis on both sides of the ball as the Tigers fell behind 21-0 heading in to the locker room and never threatened. The Tigers were outclassed by the Knights defense that gave up just 134 yards and six first downs with Memphis converting on 2 of 13 third down opportunities. Memphis didn’t have enough muscle to open holes in the run game and had a hard time protecting their quarterback when trying to throw. The rushing attack produced less than 40 yards and averaged around 1 ½ yards per carry which contributed to only 20 minutes of possession. Quarterback Taylor Reed became a marked man in he pocket and did as well as could be expected given the circumstances. Reed completed 9 of 20 throws for 97 yards with defenders in his face most of the time. The Tigers defense was tagged for over 500 yards and 28 first downs and had equal problems against both the pass and run. The coverage teams gave up a 36 yard punt return as all phases of the game suffered breakdowns.
For Alabama Birmingham we have an offense that scores 15 points supported by a defense than allows over 500 yards and 37 points. Memphis scores 15 points as well and allows 35 points on 495 yards so there is a good reason these teams are struggling. I could argue that the Blazers have played their schedule tougher but for me I don’t feel good laying points on the road with them. Take Memphis plus the 5.5 here.
Memphis Tigers +5.5 UAB Blazers