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Bahamas Cup: UAB 24, Miami (OH) 20

UAB just needed their defense to stop with the goal line on their backs as Miami (OH) wide receiver Jalen Walker headed into the end zone for a last-second touchdown winner. The Blazers wrapped Walker up and took him to the ground at the 2-yard line, sealing a 24-20 win in an epic Bahamas Bowl edition.

It was a victory for UAB that came with mixed emotions as interim coach Bryant Vincent, who took over the team after Bill Clark’s retirement in July, emerged victorious in his final game at the head of the team. Meanwhile, on the sidelines was Trent Dilfer, UAB’s next head coach, enjoying the performance and putting down roots in the team he will inherit as the program turns the page from 2022 to 2023. .

UAB was also without its star running back, DeWayne McBride, after the NCAA’s top rusher and Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year announced shortly before the game that he would not play. At first, there was no indication that McBride’s absence would play a part in the end result, as running back Jermaine Brown was more than capable of being productive with a heavier workload and the Blazers took a lead of 10-0. But Miami staged an impressive touchdown just before halftime to cut that 10-6 lead and give the RedHawks some momentum before heading into the locker room. It was the first of two touchdown passes by Miami quarterback Aveon Smith with both scores on impressive catches.

UAB errors nearly tied the game in the second half as the Blazers both fumbled a punt late in the third quarter to set up a one-play touchdown for Miami, then lost a fumble with six minutes left in the fourth quarter with the Blazers trailing 20-17. But the Blazers defense, like they did last play, stood their ground and forced a field goal attempt after that fumble to give the UAB offense one more chance for an equal game. or a go-ahead score. Brown was the star of the practice and the star of the game, scoring his second touchdown of the day and completing a 24-carry, 116-yard performance.

Needing a TD to win, Miami’s latest drive has been eventful. There were 12 plays, multiple penalties and two fourth conversions by the RedHawks. But ultimately, it was that finishing tackle that secured UAB the win, giving the Blazers a victory in the same bowl game they made their first appearance in 2017 at the end of the program’s first season. back in the field after the program. has been arrested.

It’s a fitting end to a great era in UAB football as the Blazers turn the page from the Bill Clark era to the Trent Dilfer era and from Conference USA to the American Athletics Conference. The past five years have included multiple bowl deals, two conference championships and three appearances in conference title games. Now it’s up to Dilfer and the rest of that UAB team to try and match those results in the AAC, and the best news for the Blazers comes from the fight they showed in the Bahamas Bowl and what he says about the current state of this team. .

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