UAB has now won two Conference USA championships since its rebirth.
The Blazers beat Marshall, 22-13, on Friday night to win their second C-USA title in three seasons. UAB kept the Marshall offense in check in the first half and then hung on for the win in the second half thanks to a key stop on a game-tying two-point conversion.
Marshall pulled within two at 15-13 with 5:38 to go when Grant Wells found Xavier Gaines for a 70-yard TD. But the two-point conversion to tie failed. And UAB scored 96 seconds later.
Tyler Johnston found Trea Shropshire for a 71-yard TD to extend the Blazers’ lead to nine and the lead out of reach for the Thundering Herd.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) December 19, 2020
UAB running back Spencer Brown had 30 carries for 149 yards while Johnston was 12-of-22 passing for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Shropshire had five catches for 180 yards and that TD.
Grant Wells 0-of-10 passing in first half
Marshall was in a first-half hole because the team couldn’t complete a pass. QB Grant Wells was 0-of-10 passing in the first half and didn’t get his first completion of the game until there was 7:51 left in the third quarter.
Wells’ performance was a big reason why Marshall started the season 7-0. But he threw five interceptions in the Thundering Herd’s loss to Rice and was just 8-of-23 passing for 138 yards and two scores against the Blazers.
UAB football shut down in 2015
UAB’s success is remarkable after the program was shut down following the 2014 season. The Blazers went 6-6 in 2014 and got bowl eligible for the first time since 2004. But the school announced that the program would be shut down because of budget concerns.
Public pushback immediately ensued. Six months after the school shut the program down it announced that it was coming back. The school broke ground on a new football facility in 2016 and resumed play in 2017.
UAB has never finished below .500 since returning to the gridiron. It retained coach Bill Clark through its hiatus and Clark’s program has gone 34-16 in the four years since the shutdown. And a fourth straight bowl game awaits the Blazers. The team will find out where it’ll play on Sunday.
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