The 2017 Bahamas Bowl features one of the best stories in college football, UAB, going up against a consistent MAC program in Ohio. It provides a good matchup and a great opportunity for the players. Here is the 2017 Bahamas Bowl preview:
UAB Blazers (8-4)
UAB is a great story of a team that didn’t exist last season and made a bowl game this year. After their one-year hiatus, players transferred and moved on. The roster for this season was so disorganized, they didn’t even know what years some of the players were. That didn’t matter to them, as they were able to have a great season with an 8-4 record. They beat four bowl eligible teams in Southern Miss, UTSA, MTSU and Louisiana Tech.
The offense was surprisingly effective this season and has leaned on the running game. Spencer Brown has 1,292 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. He is the work-horse back as a freshman and is relied on to produce, as no other running back has over 300 yards.
A.J. Erdely has done a great job of protecting the football for the Blazers. Stepping into this situation as a quarterback couldn’t have been easy, but he has thrown for 2,077 yards, 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Andre Wilson is the best receiver on the team with 619 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
UAB’s defense is above average in terms of scoring, as they allow 24.3 points per game. They rank 71st against the run and 22nd against the pass. Defensive back Broderick Thomas has led the team with 59 solo tackles. Darious Williams leads the team with five interceptions.
Ohio Bobcats (8-4)
The Bobcats are always seemingly competing in the MAC and have eight wins this season. They were only able to beat one bowl eligible team this year, but the team they beat was Toledo. The Rockets are a very good team who only lost to Ohio and the Miami Hurricanes.
Ohio has a high-powered offense that averages 38.9 points per game. They are extremely good at running the football. Everyone chips in to help run the ball, but the leading running back is A.J. Ouellette who has 980 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Nathan Rourke and running back Dorian Brown, both have over 600 rushing yards on the season.
Rourke was able to take hold of the quarterback duties, even though most thought Quinton Maxwell would start throughout the season. He has thrown for 2,018 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Four receivers have over 300 yards on the year, but Papi White has the most receiving yards with 525.
They allow 25.8 points per game, which is good given their offensive output. The Bobcats run 10th against the run, but rank 108th against the pass. Javon Hagan is a star in the secondary and finished the season with 76 total tackles.
Ohio’s good rush defense will be put to the test, but they will be able to prevail. The Bobcats will then run the ball a lot against the average UAB run defense and be successful. It will end a great season for UAB, but Ohio will have deserved the win.
Ohio Bobcats 31 UAB Blazers 21
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