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UAB vs. South Alabama Prediction,
Preview,
and Odds - 9-24-2020

Game Snapshot with Current Line

#417 University of Alabama Birmingham
Blazers -6.5
#418 University of South Alabama
Jaguars 6.5

Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 7:30pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The UAB Blazers stay close to home as they travel a few hours down I-65 to take on the South Alabama Jaguars on Thursday night in primetime. Both teams are coming off their first loss of the season after winning their season opener. The Blazers were knocked off by the Miami Hurricanes by a score of 31-14 on Thursday, September 10. This will be their third straight Thursday game to begin the season. The Jaguars lost a close one to Tulane, 27-24, on Saturday, September 10. Both teams are coming off a bye week.

Line Movements:

UAB has climbed from a -4.5-point favorite to -7 points with an even 50/50 split on the wagers.

The over/under has dropped from 49.5 points to 47.5 points despite 58 percent of bets backing the over.

Game-time Weather: Mostly cloudy with temperatures in the mid to high 70s. Winds from the south-southwest at under 10 miles per hour with gusts potentially reaching the 10 mph mark. Less than a 15 percent chance of rain early tapering down to almost zero chance as the evening wears on. Humidity will be a factor, driving the real-feel temperature up in the low to mid 80s.

Blazers lose starting quarterback after loss to Hurricanes

The UAB Blazers will have a new starting quarterback this week after it was announced that Tyler Johnson III is out indefinitely with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. Freshman Bryson Lucero, who has played sparingly in their first two games, will have his workload increased significantly against South Alabama. Johnson III, who threw for 2,250 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, has completed 66.7% of his passes for 293 yards in the first two games of this season, with three touchdowns and one interception.

The Blazers hung around with the ACC’s Miami Hurricanes for more than two-and-a-half quarters before a couple of Miami touchdowns late in the third quarter sealed their fate. UAB trailed 14-7 at halftime, and cut the deficit to 17-14 with 6:19 to play in the third on a Spencer Brown six-yard touchdown run, but could get no closer. Johnson III threw for 150 yards and a touchdown (to Austin Watkins in the first quarter) in the game, while Lucero was just 4-12 for 55 yards in his limited action. Brown paced the running game with 74 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown, while Myron Mitchell caught eight balls for 117 yards. The Hurricanes killed the Blazers on the ground, as they rushed for 337 yards on 52 carries for a 6.5-yard average. Noah Wilder had 15 tackles (seven solo), while Kristopher Moll had 11 tackles (seven solo) for UAB in the loss.

“I just left the locker room with a bunch of guys that are dejected, but we talked about not getting our heads down," head coach Bill Clark said on espn.com. "I was really proud of the effort. You know, we are not into moral victories; we came to win the game."

For the season, Lucero has completed 11 of his 21 attempts for 138 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. Brown has averaged 100.5 yards per game on the ground this season with two touchdowns, while Mitchell leads the receiving corps with 12 catches for 164 yards. Moll and Wilder have 19 and 15 tackles, respectively, to lead the defense, while Keondre Swoopes has their only interception of the season.

UAB is averaging 29.5 points per game this season, while they are giving up 33 points per game. The Blazers are averaging 372 yards of total offense, while they are allowing 392.5 yards per game. They have failed to cover the spread in both games this season, losing by 17 as a 15.5-point underdog to Miami and beating Central Arkansas by 10 as a 20-point favorite in their opener.

Injury Report:

Out: QB Tyler Johnston III

Jaguars blow chance at second straight win

It has been nearly three years since the South Alabama Jaguars have won consecutive games in the same season, and midway through the third quarter of their game with the Tulane Green Wave, it looked like that stat would change. A 49-yard Diego Guajardo field goal with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter put South Alabama ahead by a score of 24-6, but a 40-yard return on the ensuing kickoff put Tulane in position to score quickly, which they did less than three minutes later. Two fourth-quarter touchdowns completed the comeback for Tulane and sent the Jaguars to their first loss of the season.

There’s an old adage in football that says, “if you have two quarterbacks, then you don’t have any.” Well, the Jaguars are hoping that does not hold true, and for the most part, their two-quarterback system of Desmond Trotter and Chance Lovertich has worked pretty well in their first two games.

“We’re basically playing make it, take it, just like in basketball,” offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield said on AL.com. “You get two or three series — if you do good with it, you stay in; if you don’t, let’s give the other guy a shot. And I think they’re responding to it in a positive way.”

Trotter, who has started both games, basically played just one quarter against the Green Wave. He was pulled after the first quarter in favor of Lovertich. After the offense began to sputter early in the fourth quarter, Trotter was reinstated, but left two plays into his return because he re-aggravated a shoulder injury that he suffered in their opening win against Southern Miss. Trotter was just 4-8 against Tulane for 74 yards, while Lovertich was 18-29 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Carlos Davis carried the ball 16 times for 82 yards and a touchdown for South Alabama. The Jaguars nearly had two 100-yard receivers in the game, as Kawaan Baker had seven catches for 129 yards and Jalen Tolbert had six receptions for 99 yards. Nick Mobley led the defense with nine tackles (three solo).

Trotter has completed 57.1% of his passes this season for 373 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Lovertich has completed 62.5% of his passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. He has not thrown an interception, but has been sacked five times. Davis, who is the only running back with more than eight carries this season, has rushed for 167 yards and a 5.4-yard average. Tolbert and Baker are both averaging over 100 yards per game this season, while catching 12 and 11 passes, respectively. Mobley leads the team with 24 tackles, while Keith Gallmon has 10 solo tackles to top the Jaguars.

South Alabama is averaging 28 points per game this season, while they are giving up 24 points per game. The Jaguars have covered the spread in each of their first two games. They pulled off a major upset in their first game, beating Southern Miss by 11 after being a 12-point underdog. They were 11.5 point underdogs in their three-point loss to Tulane. The under has hit in both of their games. South Alabama enters this game as a six-point underdog.

Injury Report:

No injuries to report.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Blazers are going to be without their starting quarterback, Tyler Johnson III for the game. He has played very well this season, and his absence will be greatly missed. Backup Bryson Lucero has completed just over 50% of his passes this season. UAB has given up an average of nearly 220 yards rushing per game this season, including 337 against Miami last week. Carlos Davis is averaging 5.4 yards per carry for the Jaguars and over80 yards per game. He will be able to exploit the porous defense of UAB. South Alabama has been a surprise this season, nearly starting 2-0 after winning just two games all of last season. South Alabama will win the game straight up to start the season 2-1.

Prediction: South Alabama +7

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Both teams are averaging at least 24 points per game this season, while UAB has given up over 30 points in each of its two games. Both of the Jaguars’ quarterbacks have thrown for over 300 yards this season, and they will get some big plays in the running game in this one. Lovertich was excellent in South Alabama’s last game, so even if Trotter is limited by his shoulder injury, they will be in good shape. Both teams will score over 30 points in this game, so take the over.

Prediction: Over 51

Doug Gilghrist

Doug has a Journalism degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has been a passionate sports fan, especially Pittsburgh sports, for over 40 years. In his journalistic career, Doug has covered just about every sport imaginable and is now plying his trade for us here at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt. Doug has always been fascinated by numbers, especially as they relate to sports, so writing for this website is right up his alley.

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