Let’s preview the upcoming ONLY BOWL GAME HELD OUTSIDE THE U.S., the Hometown Lenders Bahamas Bowl. The bowl game pits the UAB Blazers against the Miami University Redhawks. The two teams will be staying at the beautiful Atlantis Paradise Island Hotel in Nassau. The game will be held at the multipurpose Thomas Robinson Stadium. The stadium was named after Bahamian athlete, Thomas Robinson who was the sole representative of the Bahamian Olympic delegation at four Olympiads. UAB needs to win this game to salvage a sub-par season since they won Conference USA in 2018 and 2020.
Bahamas Bowl is a mismatch (on paper)
The Redhawks played below average competition compared with UAB and in a deep look at their stats, the defense is susceptible to the run. Dewayne McBride didn’t win the Doak Walker award or was a finalist. He rushed for over 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Bahamas Bowl is a perfect moment for him to have an MVP game. The Blazers played some of the best offenses in the entire FBS. Based on a pre-season writeup of the Blazers season in College Football News, the Blazers lost edge rushers and took a step back in run defense. Read the article here. The Blazers did have the top pass defense in Conference USA and top defense in passing efficiency. Redhawks quarterback Aveon Smith is a dual threat quarterback but only averaged 126 yards per game passing.
UAB is at a crossroads
This season, their coach Bill Clark had to resign from the team due to back problems. They have been coached the entire season by interim coach Bryan Vincent. The school hired former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer to be their next head coach and he is currently helping the team with preparation for the bowl game as per an article in AL.com. Clark helped the team through its rebirth following a cancellation of the program because of a suspect finance report. Clark led the team to five winning seasons, five bowl bids, two Conference USA titles and a Conference championship appearance. This is the “down period” for UAB football and no doubt they will be back to eight plus wins next season.
Miami (OH) is led by a freshman
Aveon Smith is a freshman and became the starter because of the injury to junior quarterback Brett Gabbert. The Redhawks defense only surrenders 22.5 points per game and has the top rush defense in the Mid-American Conference. During the last three games of the season against NIU, Ohio and Ball State, the defense gave up over 150 yards per game. The top defensive players that will try to slow down the UAB rushing attack are linebackers Ryan McWood (121 total tackles, 6 tackles for loss) and Matthew Salopek (109 total tackles, 7.5 TFL). Brian Ugwu is the top edge rusher on the team with 5 sacks. Aveon Smith is a future star for Miami (OH) as he was the entire passing and rushing attack. Wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer is the top skill player for the Redhawks who will try to exploit the Blazer secondary. Maybe the Redhawks can keep the game close and hope for UAB mistakes. Gridiron writer Phillip Riggs gives good reasons why Miami (OH) has enough to compete in the Bowl game and win here.
UAB will win big in the Bahamas Bowl
It is very obvious that UAB will win the Bahamas Bowl, but by how much? UAB is favored by 11 as per USA Today’s article on the game spread here. I think that the game will be close in the first quarter but then UAB will begin to impose its will on the Redhawks. McBride and Jermaine Brown Jr. will both have 100 yard rushing days and UAB will win by more than 20 points.
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