By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – UAB went 2-10 last season, including an embarrassing 62-27 loss to Southern Miss which led to the resignation of head coach Garrick McGee.
Bill Clark made his way up from Jacksonville State to take over the helm of the Blazers and is already producing results. UAB manhandled Troy 48-10 in its opener last week, proving that things are changing within the program in just a few short months.
“This is a completely different team than you saw last year,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “You see a team that believes in what they do. They play hard.”
The Blazers chewed up 338 yards on the ground against Troy, with sophomore Jordan Howard gaining 179 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and senior D.J. Vinson adding 22 attempts for 106 yards and a score.
Howard is the power back at 6-foot-1, 224 pounds while Vinson is more of an all-purpose back at 5-10, 202. Mullen is expecting to see a steady dose of both on Saturday.
“They’re going to try to be a physical power team and run the ball at us,” Mullen said. “We have to be stout there, but you also have to be very sound for all the play action shots and screens that are going to come off of it.
“They have a big running back that’s going to pound away at you and get those extra couple yards with every carry.”
UAB also has a new look on the defensive side of the ball this season. The Blazers surrendered just 272 yards and shutout Troy’s spread offensive attack in the second half.
“They show a lot of multiple looks on defense, and they’re going to try to confuse you with a lot of different looks coming in a lot of different directions,” Mullen said.
“We’re going to have to execute on the offensive side of the ball as well in this game.”