The last two Conference USA champions will face off this weekend in Birmingham as UAB hosts Florida Atlantic.
UAB (3-2) comes into this game after losing their home opener at Protective Stadium to Liberty 36-12. This will be the Blazer’s second home game of the season.
Florida Atlantic (3-2) is coming to Birmingham after defeating their rival, FIU, setting a new Shula Bowl rivalry scoring record 58-21. The Owls are currently ranked #1 in C-USA East.
“We’ve got a very good Florida Atlantic team coming in that I think defensively they got nine of their starters back that played us in the conference championship two years ago,” said UAB head coach Bill Clark. “They are very well coached. They had a huge win last week against FIU. I know, they feel like probably that was their coming out, so we got to get back to home, and you know defend these championships that are so hard to come by.”
For the Blazers, the running-back duo of Dewayne McBride and Jermaine Brown Jr. are players to watch during this matchup. They have combined for 680 of UAB’s 813 rushing yards this season and average over 5.0 yards per carry so far this season.
FAU quarterback N’kosi Perry will be a player to watch for the Owls as he won MVP during their win over FIU, throwing 18-21 with 329 passing yards and three total touchdowns. The Junior is averaging about 254 passing yards per game and has 10 touchdowns so far on the season, ranking FAU fourth in Conference USA in passing yards and ranked fifth in passing touchdowns.
“Defensively, they are the same as far as just really aggressive well-coached defense and then offensively they’ve probably found who they are last week,” said Clark. “They went really high tempo; they have speed everywhere.”
UAB’s defense has created a turnover in each of its last four games. Overall, UAB has four interceptions and three fumble recoveries this season.
Both UAB and FAU have won the last four C-USA Championships, with FAU holding the league title in 2017 & 2019 and UAB in 2018 & 2020. Since 2017, UAB has won league-best 37 games in that span, and FAU ranks second with 35.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. from Protective Stadium. The game will be broadcasted on Stadium and available to listen to on WJOX 94.5 in Birmingham.