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Photo by Drew Crenshaw/ Staff Photographer

 

Blazer Sting Hornets late

 

By Massimo Nuzzo
Senior Staff Reporter
massimon@uab.edu

 

UAB’s season opener against the Alabama State Hornets was met with much anticipation from the fans in attendance during Thursday night’s 24-19 win.

 

The first quarter of the opening college football season was presented with four touchdowns scored between UAB and Alabama State. The Blazers opened up scoring as quarterback Tyler Johnston III punched it into the end zone for the first UAB touchdown of the 2019 season. However, the Blazers’ lead didn’t last long as Alabama State running back Duran Bell ran for a 67-yard touchdown on the following drive.

 

The Blazers won the Conference USA, as well as the Boca Raton Bowl, in just their second season since their return to college football. Last season’s success had Head Coach Bill Clark and his team heading into their first match of the season as 40-point favorites and while they came away with the win they looked far from their best.

 

Alabama State continued to put pressure on the host team when they forced a fumble on the following kickoff to position themselves deep in Blazer territory. Hornets’ quarterback KHA’Darris Davis gave Alabama State the go-ahead lead after finding Tyrek Allen in the end zone with the only silver lining for the Blazers being a failed point after conversion from the Hornets.

 

UAB’s Myron Mitchell continued the back and forth action when he returned the ensuing kickoff 98-yards for a touchdown. The kickoff return was the Blazers’ first since 2014 helping them regain the lead at 14-13 to end the quarter.

 

The Blazers controlled the second quarter, looking more like the team they played as last season. Nick Vogel’s 46-yard field goal extended the Blazers’ lead to 17-17, and the Blazers defense kept the visitors at bay with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble over the course of the second quarter. On the offensive end, Kendall Parham met the end of a 23-yard Johnston pass in the end zone to further extend UAB’s lead to 24-13 going into halftime.

 

The start of the second half saw both sides failing to get into the end zone, with the breakthrough coming from Alabama State as they brought themselves within five points of a touchdown with five and a half minutes left in the third. The Hornets went for the two-point conversion, but came up short. Alabama State returned the favor to UAB by holding the hosts to a scoreless quarter, keeping the score at 24-19 heading in the fourth quarter.

 

The Hornets threatened to sour the Blazers’ opening night by coming up with some massive defensive stops and pressuring the UAB defense. Forcing the Blazers back into their own 5-yard line, Alabama State was the side closest to scoring in the quarter. Despite that, UAB’s defense held strong and stopped the Hornets at the goal line. Both sides continued to make defensive stops, but it was the Blazers defense that came out on top as an interception within the final minute of play secured the win for UAB.

 

After the Blazers win, they extend their active home game winning streak to 13 games. The Blazers will travel to Akron, Ohio for an early week two kickoff with the University of Akron Zips.

About - Student Media

UAB Student Media is the home of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s student-run media outlets. They include Kaleidoscope , an award-winning weekly newspaper; BlazeRadio, our 24-hour online radio station live on the TuneIn app; Aura, a much-heralded literary arts magazine; and UABTV, original, web-based video programming. UAB students operate all media. The articles, posts, newscasts and opinions are solely those of its student writers, producers, editors, deejays, etc. and do not reflect that of the university, its administrators or the Student Media advisors.

 

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