UAB Blazers vs. Jacksonville State Gamecocks – College Football (September 1, 2021)

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| August 31, 2021 3:28 pm PDT

The first game before the weekend starts will be between UAB and Jacksonville State.

UAB won 11 games in 2018 under Bill Clarke, and he is entering his sixth season in Birmingham. The Blazers have been a pleasant surprise over the years and have the schedule to grab double-digit victories.

They must avoid a loss in their opener against a respectable and formidable FCS opponent. UAB may not show too many wrinkles since they travel to Athens the following week to face the Georgia Bulldogs.

It is time to preview UAB vs. Jacksonville State with a look at the odds, prediction, and top pick.

UAB vs. Jacksonville State Odds

UAB (-15.5)-115
Jacksonville State (+15.5)-115
Over 50.5-125
Under 50.5-105

UAB enters as a sizable favorite at the best sites for betting on college football.

The Gamecocks ended their 2020 season at 10-3 with a loss in the quarterfinals of the FCS postseason. They even knocked a C-USA foe off last season in FIU.

The Blazers have been bowl eligible the past four seasons, and many have them as their favorite to win C-USA yet again.

Two-plus touchdown favorites in this matchup should come as no surprise.

UAB did struggle against the number last season, posting a 3-6 record against the spread. Under Clarke, UAB is 36-24-2.

Jacksonville State won the Ohio Valley Conference last season and has been competitive in its meetings against FBS programs. Jacksonville State covered as 27-point underdogs against Florida State last season (41-24), so they should avoid a complete beatdown.

The Blazers are currently holding a 3-2 edge in all-time games over the Gamecocks.

It is time to break down this potential upset of an FCS squad over the FBS by discussing the keys to victory.

Why UAB Wins

The Blazers are going to run the ball downhill with authority against the opposition this season.

They have been one of the better rushing attacks among all Group of Five programs. Just look at the damage UAB did on the ground last season.

  • 70% rush player percentage (19th)
  • 9 yards per rush (32nd)
  • 6 rushes per game (45th)
  • 9 rushing yards per game (34th)

UAB was the No. 29 FBS squad with an average of nearly 200.0 rushing yards per game, and these ranks above are in the entire country.

Spencer Brown ran for nearly 1,000 yards to go along with his ten rushing scores.

Brown is in the NFL now, so the show will belong to Dewayne McBride, who played well as a freshman.

McBride ran for nearly 500 yards, and he is in store for a stellar sophomore campaign.

UAB under Clarke has been elite at the line of scrimmage, and they will have the goods to control the clock and play at their pace. Having an experienced quarterback like Tyler Johnston will also benefit the Blazers. He has spun the magic bean thus far in his career and will likely punctuate it with his best season yet.

The Gamecocks have solid athletes, but they lack the beef and discipline upfront to put UAB behind the sticks.

Why Jacksonville State Wins

We see FCS over FBS upsets every season, and this wouldn’t be the biggest of shockers. The ability to have stellar quarterback play is vital.

Zerrick Cooper threw for 671 yards and a touchdown in four games during their fall season in 2020. Cooper was named All-OVC last year en route to their postseason trip.

Jacksonville State was a potent offensive squad that ranked among the better units in the entire FCS.

  • No. 15 FCS Rushing Offense (189.0)
  • No. 23 Scoring Offense (28.4 PPG)
  • No. 27 Total Offense (384.1 YPG)

The Gamecocks also ranked in the Top 25 on both sides of the ball in red-zone efficiency.

Forcing a turnover and executing scoring opportunities will give Jacksonville State a real shot in this one.

UAB vs. Jacksonville State Prediction

This game will be the only college football matchup on Wednesday night. If you are pumped for football and want some bold calls for the upcoming season, check out these 10 bold college football predictions for 2021.

Week 1 is often full of surprises and disappointment, but UAB will be coming through in this one.

They have been one of the more underrated programs in the country and are my pick to win C-USA this season. They should have no issues in their opener and will win this one by a couple of scores.

UAB vs. Jacksonville State Pick

There will be some opening weekend games that do not have a money line due to the FBS against FCS matchup that many sportsbooks won’t post.

Many of these games will have outrageous lines with point spreads over 35 points.

This matchup should be respectable, but the Blazers are an aggressive rushing team. UAB will cover the spread with a late fourth-quarter score, and they should double up the Gamecocks.

Pick
  • UAB (-15.5)
    -115

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