The Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (1-1) will travel 261 miles southwest to face in-state rival South Alabama (1-1) Thursday night. Weather will likely impact the game, with an 80% chance of rain in SW Alabama on Thursday. The game kicks off from Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile at 7:30 PM Eastern on ESPN.
UAB routed the Jaguars 35-3 last year in the first-ever meeting between these teams. UAB quarterback Tyler Johnston III threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but he injured his shoulder last week and won’t play Thursday.
UAB Blazers Betting Outlook: Let Brown Run
The Blazers began the season with a 45-35 home win over Central Arkansas before they lost 31-14 at then-No. 24 Miami. Thursday night’s game will be UAB’s third straight game played on a Thursday. Bill Clark’s squad is averaging 372 yards per game and 29.5 points per game offensively, while the defense is allowing 33 points and 392.5 yards per game.
With Johnston injured, Bryson Lucero will make his first college start. In two games this season, Lucero has completed 11-of-21 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Spencer Brown is averaging more than 100 yards per game this season, and he enters Thursday’s contest needing three touchdowns to become the school’s all-time leader.
Wide receiver Myron Mitchell established new career highs last week against Miami with eight catches for 117 yards. On the season, Mitchell has 12 catches for 164 yards and one touchdown. Fellow receiver Austin Watkins has ten catches for 104 yards and one score.
UAB’s roster has ten players from the Mobile area, and defensive lineman Tyree Turner is a grad transfer from South Alabama. Turner has a fumble recovery on the season, while Nikia Eason leads the team with two sacks.
South Alabama Jaguars Betting Outlook: Lovertich Era Begins
Coming off a 2-10 season under Steve Campbell, the Jaguars are 1-1 so far in 2020. They opened the season by ending a 17-game road losing streak at Southern Miss before losing at home to Tulane 27-24. South Alabama is averaging 459.5 yards and 38 points per game on offense while allowing 24 points and 403 yards per game defensively.
Quarterback Desmond Trotter started the first two games, but Campbell announced this week that JUCO-transfer Chance Lovertich would start Thursday. Trotter is 20-for-35 for 373 yards and two scores this year while Lovertich is 20-for-32 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Trotter has thrown two interceptions, and Lovertich has not turned the ball over.
Sophomore Carlos Davis leads the team with 167 rushing yards on 31 carries for more than five yards per attempt. He has also scored a touchdown and has four receptions for 46 yards.
South Alabama’s wide receivers have been tremendous this season. Jalen Tolbert (12-268-2), Kawaan Baker (11-211-2), and Jalen Wayne (9-134-1) have all found the end zone.
The defense has forced two fumbles and recorded a pair of sacks but has yet to record an interception. Jeremiah Littles and Gi’Narious Johnson have the sacks, while Maurice Strong Jr. has a fumble recovery.
UAB Blazers at South Alabama Jaguars College Football Betting Lines
UAB spread: -6 (-110)
UAB money line: -260
South Alabama spread: +6 (-110)
South Alabama money line: +215
Total: 47.5 points (Over -110, Under -110)
There’s a lot of familiarity between these players and coaches given the number of Alabama natives on both rosters and coaching staffs. The Blazers took it to USA last year at home, and while the Jaguars will be more competitive this season, UAB has the better roster.
The defense for the Blazers can overcome a backup quarterback and get UAB to 2-1. However, if severe weather seems likely on Thursday, strongly consider the under as well.
FREE PICK: UAB -6 (-110)