Miami football should be able to bring out turnover chain versus UAB

One of the keys for the Miami football team against UAB is forcing turnovers. The Blazers were one of the worst in FBS in turnovers in 2019 and that continued in their 2020 season opener.

UAB turned the ball over three times in their season opener against Central Arkansas. In 2019, the Blazers finished tied for 127th in FBS with 28 turnovers tied with Duke. The defense for the Miami football team needs to place an emphasis on forcing turnovers against the Blazers. Miami was 40th forcing turnovers in 2020.

The three UAB turnovers against Central Arkansas all in the first half led to 21 points. Central Arkansas has drives of 15 and four yards with the third turnover a 35-yard fumble return for a TD 1:21 before halftime. The turnovers made the final score appear much closer than it was. UAB outgained Central Arkansas 459-293.

The turnover chain has made fewer appearances in each of the last two seasons than its inaugural season in 2017. Miami tied for third in 2017 forcing 31 turnovers. In 2018 Miami finished 16th with 25 turnovers forced and the Hurricanes were 40th in 2019 with only 20 forced turnovers. Forcing turnovers has to be a 2020 emphasis.

UAB had multiple turnovers in 10 of their 14 games in 2019. Not surprisingly the Blazers finished 4-0 in those games. The latter three games during a late-season three-game win streak that pushed UAB to 9-3 before losing in the Conference USA Championship game to FAU and the New Orleans Bowl to Appalachian State.

Offensive Game Log Table
TurnTurnTurn
RkDateOpponentResultFumIntTot
12019-08-29Alabama StateW (24-19)202
22019-09-07@AkronW (31-20)011
32019-09-21South AlabamaW (35-3)022
42019-09-28@Western KentuckyL (13-20)044
52019-10-05RiceW (35-20)022
62019-10-12@Texas-San AntonioW (33-14)112
72019-10-19Old DominionW (38-14)112
82019-11-02@TennesseeL (7-30)134
92019-11-09@Southern MississippiL (2-37)022
102019-11-16Texas-El PasoW (37-10)000
112019-11-23Louisiana TechW (20-14)011
122019-11-30@North TexasW (26-21)101
132019-12-07@Florida AtlanticL (6-49)022
142019-12-21NAppalachian State*L (17-31)213
14 Games82028
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 9/9/2020.

UAB was 110th in turnover margin in 2019 and 109th in turnover margin per game at negative 0.57. The Miami football team was 46th in the turnover margin per game in 2019 averaging 0.25  per game less than their opponent. The focus should be on Blazers QB Tyler Johnston who threw 17 TDs and 15 interceptions in 2019.

Johnston threw for 143 yards, two TDs and one interception against Central Arkansas. Lost fumbles by wide receivers and Myron Mitchell and Trea Shropshire were the other UAB turnovers. The fumble by Shropshire came on his only reception of the night on the Bears return for a TD.

In their one game against a Power Five team in 2019, Johnston threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in a 30-7 loss to Tennessee. All four turnovers came in the first half and led to 20 Volunteers points on the way to a 23-0 halftime lead. If Miami can duplicate the great start it will unleash the Hurricanes pass rush.

Forcing turnovers could be the decisive stat against UAB. Miami was 61st in 2019 with 10 interceptions. Johnston was third in the FBS in 2019 with the 15 interceptions thrown. The Hurricanes should be able to generate a ferocious pass rush to hurry Johnston into mistakes. That should help set up the Miami offense.