GAME PREVIEW: Louisiana at UAB

Louisiana at UAB
When: Friday, Oct. 23rd 8:00 PM EDT
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.
TV/Streaming: CBS Sports Network/Watch CBS Sports Network

This late non-conference game pits to preseason favorites in their respective conferences and both come into this game with one loss. And is a fitting game to be set in historic Legion Field in Birmingham (the last season that UAB will play in this historic venue.

Louisiana from the Sun Belt Conference has an impressive season opening win on its resume at the Big 12’s Iowa State but the Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off their first loss last week at home to fellow Sun Belt foe Coastal Carolina. The Cajuns other wins this year have been narrow wins over Georgia State and Georgia Southern.

UAB started its season with a bit of a struggle against FCS Central Arkansas and then were blown out by the ACC’s Miami. The Blazers though have rebounded from that loss to pick up impressive wins over South Alabama, UTSA, and Western Kentucky.

Historically, these two schools have played six prior times but the last meeting was in 2002. UAB won that most recent game and has won four of the six prior meetings including all three in Birmingham.

Below are the statistical leaders and coaches information for each school:

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (3-1, 2-1 SBC)

The Ragin’ Cajuns feature a potent four-pronged rushing attack comprised of running backs Elijah Mitchell (249 yards, and four touchdowns), Trey Ragas ( 220, 3), and Chris Smith (141) to go along with QB Levi Lewis (20, 103, 1). Louisiana is averaging 186 rushing yards per game through four games this year.

Lewis in the passing game has not performed to the same level he did in 2019 so far. He threw 3,050 yards with 26 touchdowns and just four interceptions a season ago. Through four games this season, Lewis has thrown for 900 yards and five touchdowns. However, his has already matched his interception total from all of last season and lowered his completion rate by nearly 10%.

The Louisiana defense has been very good against the passing game in giving up under 200 yards threw air this year but has been vulnerable to the running game in giving up almost 200 yards on the ground.

Key Player: QB Levi Lewis

As mentioned, he has dipped a little this year in the passing game and has thrown more interceptions. He will need to avoid the turnovers in this game and take what the defense gives him if the Cajuns are to come away with the road victory.

UAB Blazers (4-1, 2-1 C-USA)

Senior RB Spencer Brown (472 yards, six touchdowns) will lead a UAB ground attack that is averaging 187 yards per game, while freshman RB DeWayne McBride (226, 2) emerged as a very good complementary back last week’s victory over WKU.

The big question for the Blazers will be at quarterback. Freshman Bryson Lucero has now started three games for UAB after starter Tyler Johnston was lost to injury in the Miami game. He has made the most of his opportunity as he is 3-0 as UAB’s starting quarterback and has thrown for 655 yards,six touchdowns and four interceptions in those three starts. But the Louisiana team will be his biggest test thus far.

The UAB defense have allowed just 4.8 yards per pass attempt so far this season, which ranks as best in the FBS. The defense also does well in getting to the quarterback as it has 15 sacks through five games.

Key Player: RB Spencer Brown

Expect the Louisiana defense to key on the rush given UAB has a freshman quarterback so how well Brown can do in the running game despite this will be the key for the Blazers. He will need to break through on what has been an average at best defense against the running game.

Fearless Prediction:

This game will be tight the whole way I believe and will come down to the game’s final possession before being decided. The two defenses will come up with some stops to keep this game moderately scored. But the two offenses will get their share of scores. One fact is that UAB has not been really in any real close games; especially with Lucero. Louisiana pretty much has had all of their games come to the fourth quarter. I think this bodes well for the Cajuns to pull off the mild road upset. Louisiana 27 UAB 24

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