UAB vs. South Alabama - Thursday Night College Football
UAB -7 @ South Alabama O/U 47.5
UAB (27 Implied Team Total)
Tyler Johnston III is out indefinitely after sustaining an injury to his non-throwing arm during practice. Bryson Lucero figures to draw the start at QB. Lucero has seen action in both of UAB’s games this season. The freshman has completed 11/21 passes for 138 yards and 1 TD (0 INT). He was a former 3-star pro style QB recruit. It appears that we should not expect Lucero to flash dual threat ability. He’s recorded 3 rush yards on 1 attempt this season. It is likely that the Blazers will turn to stud RB Spencer Brown to carry the load on offense with Lucero making his first career start. While South Alabama has ceded yardage in the passing game, they have not allowed a TD pass in 2 games (played Southern Mississippi and Tulane). The Blazers’ offense has operated at a nearly 50/50 pass-run split. They have averaged 72 plays per game offensively this season.
Spencer Brown is the clear-cut starting RB for the Blazers. Through 2 games, the talented runner has rushed for 201 yards and 2 TDs on 40 carries. He has also added 2 receptions for 18 yards in the passing game. The senior encounters South Alabama’s struggling defense. Through 2 games, the Jaguars have been annihilated by opposing backfields. They are allowing 149.0 yards rushing per game. They have surrendered a mind boggling 6 rush TDs in just 2 games. Brown will be a popular MVP/Captain candidate on this single-game slate. Jermaine Brown Jr. is Brown’s backup at RB. Brown Jr. has ran for 88 yards and 1 score on 25 carries. The sophomore has 3 receptions and 6 receiving yards.
Target counts through 2 games in 2020 for the Blazers (per Pro Football Focus): Austin Watkins (15), Myron Mitchell (14), Garrett Prince (7), Hayden Pittman (6), Trea Shropshire (5), Jermaine Brown Jr. (4), Rob Johnson (3), AJ Davis (2), Samaria Rudolph (2), Spencer Brown (2), Lucious Stanley (2), and Ryan Davis (1). Mitchell leads the Blazers with 12 receptions and 164 yards receiving. He has 1 TD through 2 games. He also has produced a team high 139.3 QB rating when targeted. Last season’s big play machine, Austin Watkins (57/1,092/6), has 10 receptions, 104 receiving yards, and 1 TD this season. UAB Signal callers have a 108.7 rating when targeting Watkins. I still prefer Watkins over Mitchell if choosing between the two. Rob Johnson rounds out the starting WRs. He’s caught all 3 of his targets for 24 yards this season. Shropshire and AJ Davis round out the relevant WRs. Shropshire has 2 receptions for 16 yards while Davis has 3 receptions for 24 yards. Davis is a freshman who reportedly had a strong summer camp. He may worth a dart throw if you are playing multiple lineups and looking for someone who will carry little to no ownership.
Both TEs, Garrett Prince and Hayden Pittman, have played a sizable role in UAB’s offense to start the season. Prince leads the Blazers with 2 TDs. He has 4 receptions for 31 yards. Pittman has 4 receptions and 47 yards receiving through 2 games. Both of these guys are TD or bust candidates.
Matthew Quinn is UAB’s kicker. He is 8/8 on extra points and converted his 1 FG attempt in 2 games this season.
My top 4 Blazer plays are : 1) Brown, 2)Watkins, 3) Lucero and 4) Mitchell.
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) last season.
South Alabama (20 Implied Team Total)
Desmond Trotter started has started both of the Jaguars 2 games this season. Through 2 games, Trotter has completed 20/35 passes for 373 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INT. The dual threat QB has also ran for 45 yards on 13 attempts. Reportedly, Trotter has re-aggravated a shoulder injury late in South Alabama’s 27-24 loss to Tulane. It appears that he’ll serve as the backup in this week’s matchup with UAB. Chance Lovertich should get the start at QB. South Alabama’s coach has previously stated that he plans to play both QBs as the season progresses. I do wonder if Trotter is actually available to play this week since he’s sustained a shoulder injury in the season opener then reportedly re-aggravated the shoulder injury in the 2nd game of the season. Lovertich is your prototypical pro-style QB. Through 2 games he has completed 20/32 of passes for 311 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INT. The one downside is that he has recorded -43 rushing yards in only 2 games. The Jaguars’ offense is averaging 70 plays per game this season.
Carlos Davis is the Jaguars starting RB. The sophomore has accumulated 167 rushing yards and 1 TD on 31 carries through 2 games in 2020. He also plays in the passing game as he’s recorded 46 yards receiving and 4 receptions this season. Davis has 23 more carries than any other South Alabama ball carrier. He’s encounters an UAB run defense that was just battered by Miami’s Cam’Ron Harris for 134 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries. In total, UAB coughed up 337 yards rushing and 3 TDs to Miami ball carriers. Granted, South Alabama does not hold a candle to Miami’s offensive talent. This is still a plus spot for Davis as UAB’s run defense was questionable against FCS foe, Central Arkansas, in the season opener. UCA ball carriers totaled 100 yards rushing and 1 TD on 21 carries. I do not think it’s unreasonable to expect 125-150 rushing yards and 1+ rushing TDs from South Alabama ball carriers this week.
Target counts through 2 games in 2020 for the Jaguars (per Pro Football Focus): Jalen Tolbert (19), Kawaan Baker (16), Jalen Wayne (13), Carlos Davis (6), Brandon Crum (3), Jamel Thomas (2), Trent Tyre (1), Terrion Avery (1), and Cade Sutherland (1). Tolbert, Baker, and Wayne are the starting WRs. All 3 pass catchers have produced a 120+ QB rating when targeted. Tolbert leads the Jaguars with 12 receptions and 268 yards receiving. He has 2 TD receptions which is tied for the team high with Baker. Tolbert’s box scores over his last 4 games dating back to 2019: 6/99/0 (TULANE), 6/169/2 (USM), 5/144/4 (ARKST), and 2/74/1 (GAST). Baker has 11 receptions and 211 yards receiving to go with his 2 TD receptions. While he hasn’t recorded a carry in 2020, Baker ran the ball 20 times for 83 yards and 2 TDs last season. While overshadowed by Tolbert and Baker, Wayne has gotten off to a fast start this season. He’s recorded 9 receptions, 134 receiving yards, and 2 TDs in 2 games this season. While UAB is holding opposing QBs to 175.5 passing yards per game, they have surrendered 4 TD passes in 2 games. Tolbert and Baker make for interesting MVP/Captain choices. Upgrade this group with Lovertich starting.
Brandon Crum is the Jaguars’ starting TE. He’s caught 1 pass in each of the 1st two games (2/20/0 this season). He’s essentially a TD or bust play.
Diego Guajardo is the Jaguars’ kicker. The sophomore has converted 5/6 extra points and made ¾ field goal attempts (including a 49 yarder). He’s viable on DK.
In 2019 (12 games), South Alabama was 48th in passing yards allowed with 216.6 yards/game. They were 98th in rushing yards allowed with 192.2 yards/game. The defense gave up 17 TD on the ground (1.42 TD/game) and 22 TDs through the air (1.83 TD/game) last season.
All targets have been pulled from Pro Football Focus