UAB and Miami, Ohio kick off bowl season in Bahamas Bowl
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Miami, Ohio (6-6, Mid-American) vs UAB (6-6, Conference USA), Dec. 16, 11:30 a.m. ET (ESPN)
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: UAB by 10 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Both teams are trying to finish with winning records after gaining bowl eligibility with wins in their final regular-season game. The Blazers play their finale under interim coach Bryant Vincent, who led the team all season. Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer has been hired as head coach. The Blazers are seeking their third bowl win in seven tries and second in a row. Miami is also going for back-to-back bowl wins and looking to finish the season with a third straight victory.
UAB’s running game against the MAC’s top run defense. Led by DeWayne McBride, the Blazers are fifth nationally in rushing, averaging 243.8 yards per game and 6.0 yards per carry. Miami leads the league in scoring defense (22.5 ppg) and run defense (135.8 ypg). The RedHawks have held four opponents under 100 yards rushing and allowed 15 rushing touchdowns this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
UAB: RB DeWayne McBride leads the nation with 1,713 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns on the ground in 11 games, both among his nine school records. Conference USA’s player of the year is coming off a 272-yard game against Louisiana Tech. McBride is a third-team AP All-American.
Miami: QB Aveon Smith is a dual threat who has gone 5-3 as the starter. Smith has a team-high 503 yards rushing along with 1,137 yards passing while accounting for 15 touchdowns. He started all but four games after Brett Gabbert was injured in the opener.
FACTS & FIGURES
Miami is 4-3 in one-score games this season and 13-7 since the 2018 season. The RedHawks have held a lead in all but one game this season. ... The Blazers picked up their second bowl win last season, beating No. 13 BYU 31-28 in the Independence Bowl. ... Miami scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes to rally for a win over Ball State and gain bowl eligibility. ... UAB has already set a school record with 2,925 yards rushing. ... The Blazers are seeking their 50th win since returning in 2017 from a program shutdown.
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