Miami football UAB one of best non-conference games per CFB expert

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 2: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 2: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The UAB at Miami football game should be one of the best non-conference games of 2020 according to The Athletic National College Football expert and Hurricanes alum Bruce Feldman.

The Miami football team will host UAB in their only non-conference game of 2020 in season opener September 10. National College Football expert and Miami alum Bruce Feldman of The Athletic projects that the game between the Hurricanes the Blazers to be the third-best non-conference game of 2020.

UAB will begin their season Thursday night against Central Arkansas. The Bears won their season opener 24-17 on Saturday against Austin Peay. The Blazers had the eighth-best defense in the nation in 2019 allowing 301.9 yards per game. It could be a low scoring game with Miami having the 13th best defense in 2019.

UAB allowed less than 300 yards in five games in 2019. In their one game against a Power Five team in 2019, UAB held Tennessee to 302 yards in a 30-7 loss. The UAB offense only had 237 yards and four turnovers to thwart any chance for the Blazers upset. The Miami offense is going to have to be ready against UAB.

The Blazers will travel to Hard Rock Stadium with the advantage of having played their season opener already. The 2020 college football season can be a vast unknown with COVID-19 and how it affects teams. UAB will be able to grasp one game and make any adjustments that might be needed against the Miami football team.

"3. UAB at Miami, Sept. 10D’Eriq King will face an interesting test in his ’Canes debut. The Blazers have a salty defense that ranked No. 9 in the FBS in fewest yards allowed per play. UAB defensive coordinator David Reeves does a really good job and has produced top-10 defenses in the past two seasons.The Blazers have nine defensive starters returning, led by CB Brontae Harris, LB Kris Moll and DE Jordan Smith. This is a really good Conference USA team. On offense, RB Spencer Brown is a stud, and Freaks list WR Austin Watkins is a problem for defenses with a proven commodity in QB Tyler Johnston.But the ’Canes have a bunch of talent on defense. Miami was No. 12 in the nation in defense last year. This will also be the Miami debut of heralded DE transfers Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips, who has been wowing folks inside the program of late."

Harris returns after missing the entire 2019 season with a foot injury. Before he was injured Harris was on the Thorpe Award watch list for the nation’s best defensive back. In 2018, Harris had 34 tackles, two interceptions and tied for 11th nationally among sophomores with 11 pass breakups.

Miami Hurricanes Football
Miami Hurricanes Football /

Miami Hurricanes Football

Moll had 105 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three forced fumbles in 2019. Smith had 48 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, eight sacks and three of his own forced fumbles. The Blazers’ defense showed it can compete with a Power Five team in the loss to Tennessee in 2019.

The UAB offense will be far less of a challenge for the Miami defense. Brown ran for 566 yards and five TDs in 2019, but averaged only 3.8 yards per carry. Johnston threw for 2,250 yards and 17 TD but also had 15 interceptions. Miami is going to have to force turnovers against UAB. At 6’2, 210 pounds Watkins will be the biggest concern.

In 2019, Watkins had 57 receptions for 1,092 yards and six TDs. Watkins 19.16 yards per reception was 21st in FBS in 2019. The debuts of Phillips and Roche should be productive against what was a mediocre UAB offensive line in 2019. The Blazers were 55th nationally allowing 25 sacks in 2019.

Next. First two 2020 Miami game times and networks announced. dark

The UAB at Miami football team kickoffs at 8 PM ET September 10 on the ACC Network. Points could be at a premium. With Miami having a big advantage at QB, the Hurricanes should be able to generate enough offense to win the season opener in the first meeting between the programs.