7:01 pm
December 18

UAB v. Northern Illinois

Who will WIN this matchup?

UAB Blazers (10-3)

Northern Illinois Huskies (8-5)


Current odds:

UAB Blazers: (-140)

Northern Illinois Huskies: (+120)


• The line for this game is UAB by 2.5 points.

• A pair of conference champions who barely survived title games square off when Conference USA champion UAB takes on Northern Illinois of the Mid American Conference in the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at FAU Stadium. UAB, which shut down its football program for two years starting in 2015, set a school record for wins with 10, including a 27-25 triumph over Middle Tennessee to qualify for its third-ever bowl appearance. Northern Illinois rallied from a 19-point, third-quarter deficit and defeated Buffalo 30-29 when Marcus Childers threw his fourth touchdown of the game 35 yards to D.J. Brown with 1:09 left to win its fifth conference title overall.

• Blazers sophomore Spencer Brown ran for 156 yards and a touchdown in the title game and gained 1,149 yards for the season with a school-record 16 touchdowns – seventh most in FBS. The Alabama native has 2,481 yards in his two-year career – ninth most in FBS – and needs 340 yards to become UAB’s all-time leading rusher. Huskies running back Tre Harbison gained 985 yards for an offense that averaged 171 yards per game and is followed by Marcus Jones (523 yards, 5.6 per carry) and Childers (496 yards, 6 TDs).

• The game will pair elite defenses as Northern Illinois yields 21.5 points per game (26th in FBS) and 2.7 yards per carry while UAB ranks 10th in points allowed (17.3 per game) and total defense (300.2). The Huskies lead the country in sacks (50) and rank sixth in tackles for loss (8.0 per game) and defensive end Sutton Smith is tied for the national lead in both categories (15 sacks, 24 TFL). The Blazers rank fourth in sacks (43) and fifth in tackles for loss (8.1) while setting the league record with three shutouts.

• Senior A.J. Erdely (56.1 percent completion rate, 1,539 yards, seven TDs, seven interceptions) is the starting quarterback but has played just once since late October due to shoulder problems. Backup Tyler Johnston III (56.8 percent, 950 yards, seven TDs, eight interceptions) threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Texas A&M on Nov. 17 and was 9-of-15 for 140 yards with a TD in the conference title game. Defensive lineman Jamell Garcia-Williams led the team in both sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (15.5), which ranked him third and sixth, respectively, in Conference USA, while linebacker Chris Woolbright was the team’s leading tackler with 74 – 13.5 of which went for a loss.

• Childers completed 21-of-33 passes for 300 yards with four TDs in the conference title game and also led the team with 58 yards rushing. Childers completed 57.6 percent of his passes for 1,996 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and his favorite receiver was Brown, who caught 55 passes for 484 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. Linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis led the team with 119 tackles and added four sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss.

StreakSmarter Pick
UAB Blazers