The final goal – moving the chains and putting up points – is the same for both teams that will be in Protective Stadium on Saturday. The way that UAB and Georgia Southern go about chasing that goal, though, is considerably different.
Georgia Southern's offense is ranked No. 2 in the country in yards per game, with the bulk of that coming through the air, heading into today's non-conference game, which will kick off at 2:30 p.m. on the Blazers' home field. UAB is averaging 236 yards per game on the ground, which is 20th best in the country, with a pair of running backs averaging more than 100 yards per game.
"They are wanting to throw the ball to set up the run," said UAB head coach Bryant Vincent, whose team is coming off a loss at Liberty. "We run the ball to set up the pass. We see kind of two contradicting philosophies that are going to meet."
Georgia Southern's offensive style runs through the quarterback and, thus far, this season includes very little quarterback run. Sixth-year senior Kyle Vantrease, a 6-foot-225-pound Buffalo transfer, completed 66 passes in 102 attempts for 776 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Vantrease has three carries in two games and has not been sacked. Opponents were credited with just 10 quarterback hurries in two games.
"That tells you the QB Is making really good decisions," said Vincent, whose team has five sacks this season. "They are doing a good job up front, and he is getting the ball out quick to his playmakers."
Seniors Khaleb Hood (12-170, touchdown) and Jeremy Singleton (14-149, touchdown) and sophomore Derwin Burgess (16-152, touchdown). The Eagles can run the ball if needed as juniors Gerald Green and Jalen White combined for 148 yards per game and they've combined for seven of the team's nine rushing touchdowns.
UAB running back DeWayne McBride missed the opening game against Alabama A&M because he was sick. He returned last week to rush for 177 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown. Jermaine Brown has 205 yards on 27 carries in two games. Georgia Southern is 121st in the country in rush defense, allowing 214.5 per game.
The Blazers still need to have success through the air to keep the Eagles honest. Dylan Hopkins has thrown for 305 yards in two games and hit on 70 percent of his passes. Hopkins and the passing game need more production. It starts with protection against a defense run by Will Harris, who was the secondary coach at Washington the past four seasons.
"We've watched all of Washington's film from last year, where the defensive coordinator came from, we've seen a lot of similarities," Vincent said. "This year, what you see is what you get. Up front, they want to bring pressure. They want to base out of a four-down front. They will get into odd. They want to bring pressure from the boundary and pressure from the field. They don't want to sit back in base. They want to bring continuous pressure."
UAB quarterbacks have been sacked five times this season.
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