TU: Three Storylines
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, September 29, 2012
9/29/12 at 5:49 AM
Things to watch during today's game.
At some point, UAB could be dangerous
Statistically, the Alabama-Birmingham football team is easy to dismiss as a pushover. Through its first 12 quarters of the season, the UAB offense has scored only four touchdowns. Last year, the Blazers were 3-9 while averaging only 20 points per game. This season, with Tulsa native Garrick McGee as the new head coach, they are 0-3 while averaging only 7.3. There are signs, though, that McGee might have the program on a positive track. UAB lost by only 29-15 at Ohio State. At some point, the Blazers will begin to click. "They're much more threatening than they were a year ago," Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said.
A chance of rain in Birmingham
Saturday's game-time forecast includes a 40 percent chance of showers in Birmingham. If Tulsa-UAB is played in wet conditions, the Golden Hurricane would seem to have a tremendous advantage. Legion Field is carpeted with FieldTurf. Unless there is a downpour, a FieldTurf surface usually maintains traction. A wet football, however, could present problems for the passers - Tulsa's Cody Green and UAB's Jonathan Perry and Austin Brown. If the teams are forced to rely on the run, TU has a clear edge. The Hurricane averages 245.8 rushing yards per game and 5.6 per attempt. UAB averages 101.7 per game and 2.5 per attempt.
Restoring efficiency in the passing game
Blankenship says he doesn't want the Golden Hurricane offense to become one-dimensional, which suggests that he and offensive coordinator Greg Peterson might continue with the same play-call balance. Through four games, TU has run the football 177 times while passing it 153. QB Cody Green was 13-of-37 passing against Fresno State last week. If the Hurricane ground game produces 250 yards against a Blazer team that is 103rd nationally in rush defense, Green shouldn't have to pass more than 20-25 times on Saturday. A 16-of-25 type of performance might be effective in helping to forget the 13-of-37 of last week.