Georgia Southern @ UAB (-11.5) O/U 54.5 per Tipico Sports Book)
City: Birmingham, Alabama
Coach: Bryan Vincent (1-1, Interim)
Conference: Conference USA
Stadium: Protective Stadium
In the offseason, former head coach Bill Clark decided to hang up the whistle due to health issues related to his back. The administration at UAB decided that Bryant Vincent would step into serve as the interim head coach for the 2022 season. Vincent enters his sixth year on the UAB staff. He served as the offensive coordinator in 2014 and 2018-2021. The Blazers finished 2021 9-4 (6-2 CUSA) and a victory of the #13 BYU Cougars in the Independence Bowl to top it all off.
UAB is 1-1 in 2022 so far including a blowout win over FCS Alabama A&M and a close loss to Liberty University. Entering week three, the Blazers are averaging 36.5 points per contest, but only 14 points were scored against Liberty. Scheme wise, offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw likes to pound the rock. Over the first two games, the offense is averaging 236 rushing yards and just over 180 passing yards per game. Similar to the Eagle of Georgia Southern, the Blazers rushing attack is made up of a two-headed monster: RB Jermaine Brown Jr. and RB Dewayne McBride. Those two have combined for 382 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. As for the passing game, the offense is led by QB Dylan Hopkins who has passed for 305 yards and one touchdown through two games.
With a small sample size, the defense for the Blazers seems to lead the way. Through two games, the defense has given up only 21 points - all to Liberty University. They are holding opponents to 143 rushing yards and just over 169 passing yards per game. The defense is led by veteran LB Tyler Taylor and LB Noah Wilder. The defense has forced five turnovers - three interceptions and two fumble recoveries - this season. Georgia Southern will present the best offense the Blazers have seen.
Special teams wise, the Blazers have not had to use their kicker much. K Matt Quinn is 1-1 this season. P Kyle Greenwell has been one of the best punters in college football this season as he has punted 8 times with an average distance of 46.3 yards.
City: Statesboro, Georgia
Coach: Clay Helton (2-0, 1st Year)
Conference: Sun Belt
Stadium: Allen E. Paulson Stadium
In just his second week as the head coach of the Georgia Southern Eagles, Clay Helton put a stamp on the biggest win of the FBS era. QB Kyle Vantrease capped off an incredible win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska with an 8-yard touchdown run. Coach Helton looked calm, cool, and collected on the sidelines throughout the game as he led the Eagles.
Offensively, Walter Camp National Player of the Week QB Kyle Vantrease led the way going 37-56 for 409 yards and 2 touchdowns (1 rushing). The rushing attack was led by junior RB Gerald Green who amassed 132 yards and 2 touchdowns on ten carries. Receiving wise, eight different receivers caught a pass from Vantrease. Sophomore WR Derwin Burgess, Jr. had twelve catches for 119 yards. The lone receiving touchdown was caught by WR Amare Jones. The offensive line for the Eagles has been unbelievable. The group, led by OL Coach Richard Owens, has yet to give up a sack. The transition from a predominantly run based offense to a scheme where the group spends most of their time pass blocking has gone extremely well. OL Logan Langemeier, OL Khalil Crowder, and OL Brian Miller provide this group with a ton of experience and even more grit.
Defensively, LB Todd Bradley-Glenn and LB Marques Watson-Trent continue to lead the way for the Eagles. DL Justin Ellis, DL Quin Williams, DL Dillon Springer provide the defensive line with experience and leadership. The DB group, led by S Anthony Wilson, CB Anthony Bride, and CB Derrick Canteen, continues to improve and will likely be the deciding factor as we get into conference play due to the spread offenses we play. The group gave up a lot of yards and points against Nebraska, but a win is a win. I know defensive coordinator Will Harris will be making adjustments and getting ready for UAB.
The Eagles have not depended on special teams so far as K Alex Raynor is just 2-2 on the season. K Michael Lantz continues to be the kickoff specialist for Georgia Southern. P Anthony Beck II has struggled at times this season, but he has only punted five times so far. Look for him to get into a groove soon and start booming some kicks again.
Since 2020, the Blazers of UAB are 7-3 in the friendly confines of Protective Stadium. According to Tipico Sportsbook, they are an 11.5 point favorite over the visiting Georgia Southern Eagles and the over/under is only 54.5 points. It will be interesting to see how this game plays out with Georgia Southern's high-flying offense meeting the strong defense of UAB.
The game will be close, but the Eagles will pull away late to pull the "upset."
UAB - 27
Eagles - 38
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Written by: Logan Colburn