UAB vs. Miami - Thursday's Single-Game College Football Slate
UAB @ Miami -14 O/U 55
UAB (20.5 Implied Team Total)
Tyler Johnston III struggled in UAB’s season opening 45-35 win over Central Arkansas. The dual threat signal caller completed 17/25 passes for 143 passing yards, 2 TD passes, and 1 INT. He did not record a rush in the game. The junior missed part of the game due to an injury but he should be good to go this week. The matchup from a passing standpoint is brutal. The U had one of the best pass defenses in the country last season. They held opposing passers under 200 yards per game and were only beaten for 16 pass TDs in 13 games. The Blazers’ offense operated at a 63.5/36.5 run-pass split while averaging 66.1 offensive players per game in 2019.
Spencer Brown was a bright spot for the Blazers in the season opener. The senior ran for 127 yards and 1 TD on 24 carries. He also caught his lone target for 8 yards. The matchup with Miami will be a monster step up in competition from Central Arkansas. Miami held opposing ball carriers to 114.8 yards rushing per game. They only allowed 13 rush TDs in 13 games a season ago. Brown is likely to carry significant ownership in the single-game slate. However, my assumption is that he’ll carry low ownership in the Captain/MVP slot. Brown’s backup, Jermaine Brown Jr., also ran for 75 yards and 1 TD on 17 carries to kick off the 2020 season.
Week 1 target counts per Pro Football Focus: Austin Watkins (9), Myron Mitchell (5), Garrett Prince (5) Hayden Pittman (4), Trea Shropshire (3), Rob Johnson (2), Samario Rudolph, Lucious Stanley, AJ Davis, Jermaine Brown Jr., and Spencer Brown all with 1 each. The starting WRs are slated to be Austin Watkins, Myron Mitchell, and Rob Johnson. Trae Shropshire and AJ Davis are also part of the WR rotation. Watkins converted 7 of his 9 targets for 72 yards (0 TD). The redshirt senior led the Blazers in receptions (57) and receiving yards (1,092). He also found pay dirt 6 times a season ago. He’s clearly the Blazers’ #1 target in the passing game. Mitchell, the Blazers’ second leading return WR, caught 4 out of his 5 targets for 47 yards and 1 TD. Johnson the 3rd starting WR managed to catch both of his targets for 18 yards in the season opener. Shropshire posted 1/2/0 while receiving 3 targets while Davis was held out of the box score. Davis had an outstanding camp as a freshman. You’re hoping he catches a long TD if you’re rostering him; he figures to carry little to no ownership against Miami.
Both TEs, Garrett Prince and Hayden Pittman, played a big role in the Blazers’ season opener. Pittman caught 3 out of 4 targets for 37 yards (0 TD). Prince posted a monster state line of 4/31/2 on 5 targets.
Matthew Quinn is UAB’s kicker. He went 6/6 on extra points and converted his 1 FG attempt in the season opener.
In 2019 (14 games), UAB was 8th in passing yards allowed with 183.6 yards/game. They were 20th in rushing yards allowed with 118.2 yards/game. The defense gave up 13 TD on the ground (.93 TD/game) and 22 TDs through the air (1.57 TD/game) this season.
Miami (34.5 Implied Team Total)
Offensively, the Hurricanes will run a no-huddle tempo offense and they have the perfect guy behind center to operate it with Houston transfer, D’Eriq King, taking the reins. King is one of the most dynamic athletes in college football. In his final full season at Houston (2018), King threw for 2,982 yards and 36 TDs. He also ran for 674 yards and 14 TDs on 111 carries. He’ll be the most popular player on the single-game slate due to his dual threat ability. He completed 24/34 passes for 330 yards and 6 TDs in Miami’s scrimmage last week. He also ran for 94 yards on 9 carries. King should have a field day against a Blazers’ defense that coughed up 193 yards passing and 3 TD passes to UCA QB Breylin Smith last week.
Miami’s offensive line STRUGGLED last season and will look to pick up their play in the 2020 season as the offense incorporates the spread. There will be 3 new starters on the offensive line while 2 former starters are now depth pieces. Cam’Ron Harris is slated to start at RB with Jaylan Knight OR Don Chaney Jr. backing him up. Harris is the U’s top returning rusher after running for 576 yards and 5 TDs on 115 carries last season. He also caught 16 passes for 118 yards and 1 TD on 22 targets in 2019. Knight and Chaney are both freshman and will be making their collegiate debuts. Knight was a 4-star prospect and ranked 146th nationally according to Rivals. Chaney was also a 4-star prospect and was the #46 overall prospect by Rivals. The Miami backfield will look to exploit UAB’s run defense which allowed UCA runners to rush for 100 yards and 1 TD on 21 carries in UAB’s season opener.
The starting WRs are Mark Pope, Dee Wiggins, and Mike Harley. Jeremiah Payton, Michael Redding, and Marshal Few also should be in the WR rotation. The switch to the spread was designed to unlock Miami’s passing game and their talented WRs. Pope posted 18/266/2 on 27 targets in 12 games played last season. Pope enters the 1st game of the 2020 season after catching 4 passes for 65 yards and 2 TDs in last week’s scrimmage. Wiggins had 20 receptions, 335 yards receiving, and 4 TDs on 37 targets in 12 games last season. Harley will get the start in the slot to open the season. He caught 38 passes for 485 yards and 3 TDs on 65 targets in 13 games last season. He posted 5/78/1 in last week’s scrimmage. Payton is a sophomore (1/23/0 last season) and had a great scrimmage last week. The former 4-star prospect caught 3 passes for 95 yards and 1 TD in that game. Redding is a big bodied freshman (6’2” and 202 pounds) who was a consensus 4-star recruit. Few is a redshirt junior who primarily saw action on special teams in 2019.
Brevin Jordan OR Will Mallory will start at TE. Both guys shined last season. Jordan is the Hurricanes’ top returning pass catcher from 2019. The junior hauled in 35 passes for 495 yards and 2 TDs on 48 targets in 10 games last season. Mallory posted 16/293/2 on 34 targets in 13 games a season ago.
Jose Borregales is the Hurricanes’ kicker.
In 2019 (13 games), the U was 18th in passing yards allowed with 195.2 yards/game. They were 17th in rushing yards allowed with 114.6 yards/game. The defense gave up 13 TD on the ground (1 TD/game) and 16 TDs through the air (1.23 TD/game) this season.