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November 3, 2012If ever a game was a tale of two halves - it was certainly the 2012 UAB - Southern Miss game. The Blazers looked like the "gang that couldn't shoot straight" in the first half, turning the ball over three times and falling behind 19-0 at the break. Southern Miss returned the favor in the second half - the Golden Eagles offense couldn't move the ball and the defense could not stop the Blazers newly rejuvenated rushing game.
In the end UAB continued their domination of Southern Miss winning their fourth straight against the Golden Eagles. The win was UAB head coach Garrick McGee's first conference win and moved the Blazers to 2-7 on the season and 1-4 in C-USA play. Southern Miss came close - but continues to search for their first victory on the year dropping to 0-9. Last year USM went 12-2 and were the C-USA conference champions.
After a scoreless first quarter Southern Miss struck quickly in the second quarter, scoring on just the second play when Johnny Hester blocked a Hunter Mullins punt in the end zone. The ball spun out of the back of the end zone before a Southern Miss defender could fall on it - but the damage was done Southern Miss was up 2-0 after Hester came in unblocked for the block.
Southern Miss stretched the lead quickly, cashing in on an Austin Brown fumble to go up 9-0 when the Golden Eagle quarterback Anthony Alford carried the ball in from ten yards out.
The Blazers' defense found themselves in a hole late in the half when McGee opted to go for it on fourth and three at their own 36. Brown's pass was incomplete and three plays later Jalen Richards went up the middle for 29 yards and a touchdown putting USM up 16-0, a lead they took into the half.
UAB kicked off to start the second half and made something happen on defense. Marvin Burdette knocked Alford loose from the ball and Greg Irvin was there to pounce on it on the Southern Miss 22. Darrin Reaves carried the ball five times for 50 of the 78 yards on the Blazer's scoring drive, the last fourteen coming on Reaves final carry of the drive to put the Blazers on the board..
Southern Miss answered the Blazer score with a 51 yard drive capped off by a 41 yard field goal by Corey Acosta extending the USM lead to 19-7.
UAB responded quickly to the Golden Eagles score riding Reaves, who picked up 42 of the 75 yards on the Blazer drive. Brown connected with Sam Acursio from 18 yards out to close the gap to 19-14.
The Blazers pulled to with two on a 43 yard field goal by Ty Long early in the fourth quarter.
UAB took the lead with 8:51 remaining on a 39 yard field goal by Long. The Blazer's got into scoring position on a spectacular shoe top 40 yard catch by Jackie Williams. Reaves followed with an 11 yard rush -to the 13 - but the Blazers had a facemask call and a sack on the next two plays and had to settle for the field goal.
An special team error by Southern Miss led to UAB's final score of the game. USM's punter, Peter Boehme shanked a punt for nine yards - giving the Blazers the ball at midfield. Reaves scored on an eight yard run up the middle to put the Blazers up 27-19 with 2:41 remaining in the game.
Reaves carried the UAB offense in the second half and finished the night with 223 yards rushing on 35 carries and two scores. Brown hit on 17 of 29 passes for 228 yards and one touchdown. Williams and Patrick Hearn led the Blazer receivers with four and five receptions for 57 and 54 yards respectively.
UAB will host Marshall next week at Legion Field. Kick-off is scheduled for 3:30. Southern Miss travels to Dallas to square off against SMU at Gerald Ford Stadium at 7:00 pm.