Looking back at UAB’s 52-38 win over LA Tech – AL.com

DeWayne McBride (22) scores a second-quarter touchdown during UAB's 52-31 win over Louisiana Tech, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala. (Kyle Schwab)
A rough start for the UAB football team ended in triumph after fighting through adversity throughout the first half.
The Blazers shot themselves in the foot early but reasserted their dominance in a 52-38 victory over Louisiana Tech, Saturday, Nov. 6, at Protective Stadium in Birmingham.
UAB improves to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in conference action. The Blazers are now bowl-eligible for the sixth straight season under head coach Bill Clark.
Dylan Hopkins was 12-for-19 passing with 182 yards and an interception, along with a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. RaJae’ Johnson-Sanders led the receiving effort, producing his first 100+ receiving yard game with two catches for 101 yards. Trea Shropshire added two receptions for 29 yards and Hayden Pittman had two catches for 26 yards.
DeWayne McBride led the rushing attack with a career-high performance, rushing for 210 yards and four touchdowns. He becomes the first UAB player to have four rushing scores since DJ Vincent scored five touchdowns in 2014 against Alabama A&M. McBride also eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the first time in his career, becoming the first UAB player to do so since Spencer Brown in 2017 at Southern Miss.
Jermaine Brown Jr. finished with eight carries for 11 yards and a score, adding 16 yards on three catches.
Defensively, the Blazers held the Bulldogs to 346 total yards, a 7-for-15 showing on third-down conversions and four three-and-outs. UAB was also penalized 12 times for 129 yards.
Here’s how it all went down:
First Quarter
UAB 7, LA Tech 7
The Blazers were sharp on their opening drive but a turnover and multiple personal foul penalties allowed LA Tech to gain control midway through the first frame. The Bulldogs outgained UAB, 85-68, and were 2-for-3 on third-down conversions.
UAB struck first to take an early 7-0 lead on the opening possession of the game, capping a 5-play, 71-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run by Brown. A 63-yard catch-and-run by Johnson-Sanders on 3rd-and-10 gave the Blazers a 1st-and-Goal at the LA Tech 8-yard line. Hopkins was picked off on the first play of UAB’s second drive and the Blazers went three-and-out on its only other possession of the quarter.
LA Tech was forced into a three-and-out on its first possession of the game but forced a turnover and responded with a 10-play, 58-yard scoring drive, capped with a 5-yard touchdown pass from JD Head to Smoke Harris. UAB committed two personal fouls on the drive, resulting in a new set of downs for LA Tech each flag. The Bulldogs held possession as the frame came to a close, driving into UAB territory with the aid of a third personal foul penalty on the Blazers.
Key Play: Johnson-Sanders’ long catch-and-run that gave UAB a first down inside the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line. Brown scored two plays later for a 7-0 lead.
Key Player: The yellow handkerchief. UAB was flagged three times for 37 yards, directly resulting in a LA Tech score.
Second Quarter
UAB 24, LA Tech 21
If the first quarter was any indication of how the game would proceed, it had everyone in the stadium fooled. The Bulldogs surged ahead to open the second frame, scoring on back-to-back possessions and taking a 21-7 lead less than three minutes into the frame. However, UAB responded with a gutsy performance by McBride, along with a timely turnover near the end of the half, and reclaimed the lead with less than a minute remaining in the half.
LA Tech opened the quarter just outside of the UAB red zone and took its first lead of the game on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Head to Harris. The Blazers muffed the ensuing kickoff and the Bulldogs recovered at the UAB 32-yard line, scoring seven plays later on a 1-yard touchdown run from Greg Garner. The drive was aided by a personal foul penalty on third down.
The Blazers were able to find offensive consistency, following the third score of the day from LA Tech, and cut the deficit to 21-14 on a 20-yard touchdown run from McBride, capping a 7-play, 65-yard drive. UAB added a 36-yard field goal from Matt Quinn on its next possession and reclaimed the lead on a 17-yard touchdown run from McBride, following a fumble recovery by Troy Young on a muffed punt.
Key Play: The muffed punt by recovered by Young with less than a minute remaining in the first half. The Blazers scored on the first play of the ensuing drive with a 17-yard touchdown run from McBride.
Key Player: McBride. The sophomore running back had six carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns, all in the second quarter.
Third Quarter
UAB 31, LA Tech 21
The Blazers tightened up to open the second half, holding LA Tech to 32 total yards and a three-and-out on its second possession of the half. Offensively, UAB outgained the Bulldogs by 60 yards and extended its lead with the only score of the frame.
LA Tech received the second-half kickoff, gaining a first down but ultimately punting back to UAB after gaining a single yard. The Bulldogs went three-and-out on its second possession of the quarter and gained its second first down of the half on the final play of the third frame.
The Blazers were able to gain a first down on their first play of the half but went nowhere afterward, punting back to the Bulldogs. UAB forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and responded with a 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive, capped with a 6-yard touchdown run by Hopkins.
Key Play: A 43-yard run by McBride that set up the Blazers with a fresh set of downs at the 19-yard line of LA Tech. UAB extended its lead to two possessions on the scoring drive.
Key Player: Hopkins. The junior quarterback earned some respect with a physical 10-yard run inside the red zone, scoring four plays later on a 6-yard run.
Fourth Quarter
UAB 52, LA Tech 38
UAB dominated the final two frames of the game as they scored 24 unanswered points before extending its lead to three scores near the end of the game.
The Bulldogs opened the final frame with possession, gaining a first down at the UAB 48-yard line, and trimmed the deficit to 31-24 on a 21-yard field goal after attaining a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line. LA Tech cut the lead once more midway through the quarter, capping an 8-play, 69-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run from Head.
UAB kept the ball on the ground the remainder of the final frame, expanding its lead with a 29-yard touchdown run from McBride, his fourth of the game, capping a 6-play, 64-yard drive. The Blazers forced a turnover on downs on LA Tech’s penultimate offensive series as Lucious Stanley broke loose for a 38-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining.
After taking a three-score lead on Stanley’s touchdown run, LA Tech launched a deep ball to Smoke Harris, brought down at the 1-yard line, and Marcus Williams capitalized on the play with a short rushing score with 21 seconds left in the game.
Key Play: McBride’s 29-yard touchdown run that extended the UAB lead back to two possessions late in the frame.
Key Player: McBride. He finished with career highs in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, leading a UAB rushing attack to 296 total yards.
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