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November 3, 2013

McGee's plan for UAB is to continue the grind

Garrick McGee had a plan for the Middle Tennessee State game last Saturday.

It almost worked.

McGee's plan was to pound the Middle Tennessee State defense by running straight at it. The Blazers opened the game with 26 consecutive running plays and wound up throwing just nine passes the entire game.

"We thought it gave us a better chance to win the game," said McGee. "Our defense played pretty well today but the numbers say we are struggling. I thought it was a good plan. It definitely cut the game in half so I thought it was a good plan. I think that's the least number of points we've given up in a while, but football comes down in the end to somebody making a play and they made the plays."

For instance facing a 1st-and-10 at their own seven-yard line, MTSU quarterback Logan Kilgore found Marcus Henry in the UAB secondary for a 93-yard touchdown.

"We had two of our guys had him in their grasp and he broke out of it and took off," said McGee.

After the UAB defense had bottled up the Blue Raiders, Reggie Whatley broke loose for a 49-yard run that set up the first MTSU touchdown.

In the fourth quarter Stephen Roberts stepped in front of a Johnathan Perry pass and returned it untouched for 40 yards and a touchdown turning a 14-13 deficit into a 21-13 deficit.

In the final minute with the score tied 21-21 as the Blue Raiders were trying to fun out the clock and play for overtime, Whatley broke free again, this time for a 33-yard gain into UAB territory. Then Kilgore threw a pass up near the UAB goal line and Henry went up between two UAB defenders and came down with the ball at the 1-yard line with seven seconds left to set up Cody Clark's game-winning field goal.

Despite playing its best defensive game of the season, UAB lost again because Middle Tennessee State had the players that made the biggest plays. It was a good effort but the results were pretty much the same for the Blazers.

"I'm real proud of him," McGee said of Perry. "He ran the ball real well and except for one bad throw that I know he'd like to have back, he threw it well." Perry finished 6-of-9 for 57 yards and a touchdown and one critical interception.

After the game, McGee had to face his team and try to help them move on.

"I told them this is how football works," he said. "The games are back-and-forth, the games are really tight, one or two point games. In the end, the ball's going to go up and guys are all going to jump for it and one guy can come up with it and one guy could knock it down. That's how football games work when you've got evenly matched teams."

So where do the Blazers go from here?

"You go back and continue the grind. You learn from it. I think our kids should see if they trust in what we're doing and believe in the battle, that they can compete with anybody," McGee said.



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