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UAB quarterback Dylan Hopkins returned to the practice field on Tuesday. UAB head coach Bryant Vincent said after practice that Hopkins is fully healthy and scheduled to be the quarterback starter for the Blazers on Saturday in a Conference USA game against North Texas at Protective Stadium.

Hopkins has been out since suffering a concussion in the first quarter of a 20-17 loss at Western Kentucky on Oct. 21. He was sidelined for losses at FAU and at home against UTSA.

“I’m feeling good,” Hopkins said. “Being out these last two weeks, really [stunk] I’m just going into this game ready to play. The main thing was getting my head better and back to feeling 100 percent.”

Hopkins was hurt on a 3rd-and-5 play from the UAB 10-yard line. Hopkins eluded early pressure, scrambled and was able to barely get a first down. It was hard to see on the replay how the injury occurred.

“If you go back and you look, you see me, in the beginning, kind of duck my head,” Hopkins said. “As I was coming down, you see the WKU player, I take him out and his knee hit the back of my head and literally pushes it forward. From there, I got up, I couldn’t really see, my balance was terrible, I couldn’t walk. Each day, from there, it got better. I didn’t think I’d be out that long. I didn’t think it would carry over that long, but now I’m 100 percent and ready to go.”

Hopkins said it was difficult standing by and watch his teammates play.

“I think the main reason was I was expecting to play,” Hopkins said. “After the WKU game, I was thinking I’d be out for three days. I got my bell rung, everything would be better. It wasn’t the case at all. I really just need to have a good practice this week and get ready for North Texas.”

Jacob Zeno struggled at Western Kentucky, got better at FAU and played well on Saturday in the double overtime loss to UTSA. In the three games combined, Zeno was 47 of 80 for 557 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. His 332 passing yards last Saturday were the most in a game by a UAB quarterback this season.

“I thought he played well,” Hopkins said. “I thought he managed the game well, especially against a really good UTSA team. I liked the way he carried himself.”

Hopkins was 84-of-125 passing for 1,233 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions while starting the first seven games. He also rushed for two touchdowns.  

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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