UAB (4-2) at Middle Tennessee (4-3) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium (30,788) — Murfreesboro,
Tennessee. Television: FCS. Home Record: UAB 3-1, MT 3-0. Away Record: UAB
1-1, MT 1-3. Neutral Record: UAB 0-0, MT 0-0. Conference Record: UAB 2-1, MT
3-1. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.

GAME NOTES: The UAB Blazers will try to extend their winning streak to three
games on Saturday afternoon, as they venture to Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium to
do battle with the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in a Conference USA clash.

Since dropping its C-USA opener against FIU on Sept. 27 (34-20), UAB has
responded with back-to-back wins at Western Kentucky (42-39) and versus North
Texas (56-21) to improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in league action. The Blazers
are in search of their first three-game winning streak since 2009.

Middle Tennessee opened up its C-USA schedule with three consecutive wins,
downing WKU (50-47), Old Dominion (41-28) and Southern Miss (37-31), but it
suffered a 49-24 defeat at the hands of Marshall last weekend to fall to 4-3
overall and 3-1 in the conference. The Blue Raiders have yet to lose in
Murfreesboro in three tries this season and are riding a six-game home winning

Each side has beaten the other twice in the all-time series. Middle Tennessee
won last season’s bout in Birmingham, 24-21.

The key to UAB’s strong first half of the season has been its outstanding
offense, which puts up 40.2 ppg and 490.0 ypg, and the unit is fresh off a 56-
point effort versus North Texas, although three of its eight touchdowns came
via the defense.

Cody Clements is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country (.706
completion percentage, fourth in the FBS). He’s thrown for 1,351 yards, eight
touchdowns and five interceptions while adding solid rushing totals as well
(129 yards, four TDs).

The Blazers boasts a strong two-headed monster at running back. Jordan Howard
has turned 119 carries into 631 yards and six touchdowns, and while D.J.
Vinson’s (393 yards) yards-per-carry average has been sub par (3.9), he has a
nose for the end zone with eight scores.

J.J. Nelson is a big-play threat out wide with 443 yards and two touchdowns on
just 19 receptions (23.3 ypc). Josh Magee (234 yards, two TDs) and Gerald
Everett (179 yards) also average more than 22 yards per catch, and Kennar
Backman is the possession receiver with 21 receptions for 265 yards and three

UAB’s defense hasn’t played great in allowing 27.5 ppg and 398.5 ypg, but that
production has been more than enough to support the high-scoring offense.

Jake Ganus leads the unit in both tackles (30) and TFL (8.5) while adding
three sacks. Lamarcus Farmer has intercepted a pair of passes and Diahee
Watkins has registered four sacks.

Although Middle Tennessee has pieced together a strong offensive campaign
(36.3 ppg, 474.6 ypg), there has been a large disparity between its production
in wins (47.3 ppg) versus losses (21.7 ppg).

Austin Grammer has had an eerily similar season as his counterpart, owning the
same completion percentage (.706) while throwing for 1,752 yards, nine
touchdowns and five interceptions and adding 264 yards and five scores on the

Ed’Marques Batties is Grammer’s preferred target out wide with 29 receptions,
307 yards and a touchdown, although the signal caller spreads the wealth with
eight players tallying double-digit receptions.

Jordan Parker has earned the majority of the backfield work with 443 yards and
two touchdowns on 97 attempts. Reggie Whatley has been a more explosive option
with 68 carries for 422 yards and three scores.

The Blue Raiders have been extremely vulnerable on the defensive side of the
ball, allowing 33.3 ppg and 472.4 ypg, although the unit has been
opportunistic with nine interceptions and five fumble recoveries.

Four of those picks have come courtesy of Kevin Byard, who also has 36
tackles, 2.0 TFL, a forced fumble and a blocked kick. T.T. Barber has a team-
high 48 tackles and Leighton Gasque has logged 4.0 sacks.

Middle Tennessee will have a leg up playing in front of its home crowd, but
with an underperforming defense going up against UAB’s high-scoring attack,
the Blue Raiders will have a difficult time keeping pace.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 41, Middle Tennessee 38