Troy Storms Back Stuns UAB in OT, 34-31
UAB traveled to south Alabama to face instate foe Troy tonight - and for most of the night it appeared UAB would leave with a hard fought victory - but the Blazers could not hold their composure nor could they hold back a hard charging Troy team that just refused to lose.
Troy erased a 14 point deficit going into the fourth quarter to send the Blazers home with a stunning defeat. Deon Anthony scored on a one yard run with 3:17 remaining to tie the score and then after the Blazers botched a field goal attempt in OT Will Scott nailed a 30 yard field goal to give the Trojans a win.
For much of the night UAB appeared to be in control and in a comfortable position. They executed well in many areas - but in the end they just couldn't hold the lead.
UAB pinned Troy inside their own 20 with the opening kick-off, but on the first play from scrimmage gave up a 52 yard Courtney Robinson to Anthony pass. Six plays later Brandon Burke took it in on a ten yard run to put the Trojans up 7-0.
Austin Brown led the Blazers to a quick response, a 77 yard ten play drive capped off by a 21 yard pass from Brown to JJ Nelson to tie the game at 7-7.
Troy's next drive ended when Tevin Crews knocked the ball lose from Khary Franklin, Derek Slaughter jumped on the ball at the Troy 42. On the next play Brown hit Jamari Staples for a 42 yard strike and the Blazers had a lead they wouldn't surrender until overtime.
Ty Long hit a 50 yard field goal on the final play of the half to put the Blazers up by ten headed into the dressing room.
Eric Roberts teamed up with Robinson for a 23 yard TD that pulled the Trojans to within three, 17-14 with 6:50 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Unfortunately, for the Trojans they didn't have long to enjoy the closer game. Nelson took the kick-off 97 yards to put the Blazers back up by 10.
In what marked a turning point in the game the Blazers tried and failed to put Troy away at that point with an onside kick that was recovered by the Trojans. Troy proceeded to grind out a nine play 45 yard drive that ended in a Will field goal to pull Troy back to within seven, 24-17. "I made a mistake on the onside kick," McGee said. We wanted to go for the kill and we tried to check out of it and it didn't work."
Brown and Nelson connected again ending a three play 74 yard drive with a 62 yard pass to give UAB their largest lead of the game going into the 4th quarter.
Jordan Chunn got Troy started with an 11 yard run to pull the Trojans to within a touchdown with 11:22 remaining.
After an exchange of downs UAB punter Hunter Mullins mishandled the snap on a punt from the UAB 48. Mullins did manage to regain the ball and get off an 11 yard punt as he was about to be tackled.
From there Troy marched down for the previously mentioned Dean score to tie the game.
The Blazers were unable to move the ball into their own territory in the final 3:17 and the game ended with UAB on the Troy 49.
UAB lost the toss and went on offense first in overtime. Two incomplete passes and a four yard rush had UAB ready to attempt a field goal from the 21 but the snap was mishandled by Mullins and he was tackled in the backfield.
Troy took over on the 25 and Dean ripped off a 16 yard run. From that point the Trojans worked to get to the middle of the field for Will's winning field goal.
UAB had no answer for Robinson, he at one point connected on 20 consecutive passes and finished the night 30-32 for a completion percentage of 93.8%, an NCAA record for any quarterback with over 30 attempts.
"We made so many mistakes, especially in the fourth quarter," McGee said following the game. "But we're a different team than we were last year. I believe we can challenge for the C-USA championship."
Nelson had a career night and set a UAB single game record for all-purpose yards. He finished with ten catches for 199 yards and two scores. He also returned four kick-offs for 168 yards and a touchdown. "We expect a big season from JJ," McGee said.
Darin Reaves was the games leading rusher ripping off 110 yards on 23 carries. Brown finished the night 19-29 for 301 yards and three touchdowns.
Staples made a splash in his college debut with six catches for 103 yards.
Maudrecus Humphrey, who transferred to UAB from Arkansas was expected to start for UAB, but the Athletic Department announced about an hour prior to kick-off that he had not yet been cleared by the NCAA. No further information was available.