BIRMINGHAM – Returning to the site of where the Blazers were crowned 2020 Conference USA Champions, the UAB football team travels to Huntington, W.Va., this Saturday, Nov. 13, for a game at Marshall. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST/2:30 p.m. CST on CBS Sports Network.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW:
- The Blazers and Thundering Herd have identical 6-3 records and are both 4-1 in league play. Marshall is leading the C-USA East Division, while UAB is one game behind West leading UTSA, making Saturday’s game a must-win for both teams.
- UAB sophomore running back DeWayne McBride is the reigning Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. McBride had a monster game against Louisiana Tech, running for 210 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 carries, good for an average of 15 YPC. McBride is averaging 147.3 rushing yards per game over his last three contests and has 837 yards and eight touchdowns overall this season.
- UAB enters the game ranked 22nd nationally in total defense and goes up against a Marshall offense that is ranked eighth nationally at 497.1 yards per game. The Herd’s quarterback Grant Wells has thrown for the ninth most yards in the country this season (2,858), while his backfield mate Rasheen Ali leads the nation with 17 rushing touchdowns.
HEAD COACH BILL CLARK:
“Obviously it was a big win on Saturday. We did video this morning and there are always things that we want to correct. I was proud of the lead up to the game. I look at what our practice is like. The open date was huge for us and being able to get a few guys healed up after the eight-game stretch. Going into the game we were in a really good spot. We started out good offensively and then we get behind. We were just talking about the fake punt that really turned things around for us. It was back-and-forth to get ahead before half. I was really proud of the offense in the second half. I thought we had a really good second half defensively as well, for the most part. But really proud of our offense. It was really one of the first times all year that we felt like they responded at the end of the game. It was a big touchdown by Lucious Stanley at the end and obviously Debo (DeWayne McBride) had a huge day for us. For a guy that was pretty banged up with an ankle. I’m really proud of him for his efforts. It was a great team win.
“Now we go to Marshall. They are playing extremely well. It is a tough place to play as we know. We are going back to the place where we played the championship game last year. I’m sure they haven’t forgotten that. It does help that we’ve just been in that stadium not too long ago. They are playing really well on all sides of the ball. They had a big win over Florida Atlantic, which it’s really tough to win at their place. We are going to have our hands full.”
“Their quarterback is playing really well. I thought a lot about him last year as a freshman. I think you see him mature and doing more things. He’s making more throws. They are diversified on offense. They do a lot of different things and have a lot of formations, a lot of shifts, a lot of motions. They run the ball really well. Their running back leads the nation in rushing touchdowns – he reminds you a lot of our guy (DeWayne McBride). They have good speed and dynamic receivers all around. Their tight end played wildcat quarterback against us last year. He’ll be in the tight end position, and then he flexes out. They’ve got weapons offensively. Defensively they are playing well. It’s just a really good team.”
On things that need to be cleaned up…
“There are a lot of things that always need to be fixed. There were a lot of tackles that need to be cleaned up. We are always looking at penalties, we are looking at little things. It is always a work in progress for us. That is why we do the good, bad and the ugly on Monday morning. It’s the constant state of trying to get better. I wasn’t happy – being a defensive minded coach – we are trying to go for a shutout every week. We knew Louisiana Tech was going to score some points on us. We are always working on every side of the ball. I though special teams really answered the call last week. We had a couple special teams plays with some different kicks they gave us, but all-in-all I think special teams responded.”
On the rushing attack…
“For us we really want to be multiple. We want to be able to run the ball and throw the ball and be balanced. I’ve always said that you can take something away from somebody. You put enough guys in the box, you can take the running game away. You drop people and you can take the pass game away. We can be multiple, but to see our running game in the fourth quarter is something that we would like to see. For Dylan (Hopkins) there were some throws early on that were a little tight. He came back and had a good second half. You are always working; it’s always based on your opponent. Our guys know what’s at stake, their guys know what is at stake. It’s going to be a big one.”
Wide Receiver RaJae’ Johnson-Sanders
On taking it one game at a time…
“It feels good to win at home. It feels good after the loss to Rice, but to bounce back after that and win. To see the energy in the locker room and the work we put in at practice.”
On receiver group and blocking down field…
“Everyone knows his name is DeWayne, but to us he is Debo. His name is Debo for a reason. We know that is a grown man. We take pride in that. We always hear that we have to dominate the perimeter. Especially for me and my size is that I’m 6’4″ and I’m the biggest receiver in our group. If I’m taking pride and doing the blocking – as being a leader in the group – they will follow behind me.”
On difference in the offense between the Rice and Louisiana Tech games…
“We didn’t have the ball that much in the first half playing against Rice. I think we never really got a drive going. As we’ve shown the past few games that we can score within a minute or so. Our offense is picking up pace. As Coach (Bryant) Vincent always tells us ‘we haven’t hit our peak yet.’ In the receiving room, we know we haven’t seen much from the receivers. We’ve got (Gerrit) Prince, but we’ve got other receivers. You know about Debo, but we’ve got other running backs too. We’ve got more in the tank, but we just haven’t shown it.”
Defensive Lineman Mi’Cario Stanley
On his break-out season…
“It’s a blessing. I take it one day at a time. I keep working and getting better. It was a big transition for me. Whatever the coaches tell me to do, I will do it. I’m one of the older guys. I just have to thank the coaches for my development. I was a linebacker coming into college, I just thank them for my whole development. It took time.”
On looking forward…
“It’s definitely one game at a time. All of our eyes are on Marshall right now. Just like Coach Clark said, we had good, bad and ugly. We got the last thoughts to Louisiana Tech – we enjoyed it – now it is on to Marshall. It’s the next one, we know what type of game it is. We know what is at stake, we have a lot of veteran guys. We know what type of atmosphere it is at their stadium – out there in the cold. But we know what is at stake, so we are going to be ready.”
On the final touchdown on Saturday…
“Yeah, for my little brother (Lucious Stanley). I had to meet him in the end zone. We had just gotten off the field, so I didn’t see it. I just saw him drop his feet and I dropped everything and ran. The whole d-line was behind me. It was a pretty good moment.”