Sixty more minutes are all that’s guaranteed for the UAB football team.
Win on Saturday at Louisiana Tech and the Blazers could very well get 60 more minutes. Lose and the Blazers are not only done for the season, but the book on one of the most successful chapters in program history could very well come to an end.
The unexpected has been a big part of UAB’s path through a season that didn’t quite go as planned. It began with the resignation of Bill Clark in June. Bryant Vincent was quickly handed the reins as the interim head coach, and the program did its best to take a business-as-usual approach. Doing that with a season-long coaching search was challenging, at best. As one football staff member said, the “elephant in the room” was always there.
At some point in the near future, UAB athletic director Mark Ingram will announce his choice to take over as the program’s head coach. Ingram has spent several months talking to candidates and doing his research. It’s unclear how many coaches met directly with Ingram or the search committee, but Vincent had an official interview earlier this week.
Back to that 60 minutes, which needs to be the focus Saturday. Bowl eligibility is at stake. Sending more than 20 seniors out with one more regular season win is important. Getting DeWayne McBride back to the top of the national rushing stats and on top of the school’s single-season rushing yardage list are priorities. Securing the possibility of one more game with this team and this coaching staff is crucial.
“Really, speaking from a personal standpoint, as a program, of course, it’s going to look good,” said offensive tackle Sidney Wells. “As a football team, it’s more time. You’ve got to make the most of your time. I got here in 2019, and it flew by. We’re trying to make memories that last because football doesn’t last for everybody. That’s really the importance of it.”
McBride enters the game ranked No. 2 in the country in rushing yards per game (144.1) and tied for second in rushing touchdowns (18). Louisiana Tech is 130th in the country, out of 131 FBS teams, in rushing defense. The Bulldogs allow 228 yards per game, with North Texas running for 475 in a win over Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs have allowed a 100-yard rusher in five games, with North Texas having two 100-yard rushers and another who gained 97 yards.
McBride is also chasing the school’s single-season rushing record of 1,587 yards, set by Jordan Howard in 2014. McBride is 147 yards short of setting the record. Expect McBride, who is known to his teammates as ‘Debo,’ to get a healthy dose of carries on what should be a wet turf with rain expected most of Saturday in Ruston.
Wells said the offensive line has talked about the situation this week.
“When Debo scores, we score. That’s how we look at it,” Wells said. “It’s going to be very important for us to send Debo off with whatever record he breaks. We, as an offensive line, feel like that’s a reflection of our work. We want Debo to go out with whatever record he gets, whatever accolades he gets.”
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