UAB vs. Appalachian State: R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
UAB vs. Appalachian State: R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Broadcast
UAB (9-4) vs. Appalachian State (12-1) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
– It’s always an energetic bowl no matter who’s in it and how it goes. It’s a little wilder and wackier if a Louisiana team is in it, but Appalachian State is going for its second straight New Orleans Bowl win after winning the Sun Belt title, an UAB is in a good bowl against a great team. It’s the last bowl game of a long Saturday of six games. For those who chase, here you go.
– Appalachian State has its third head coach in three years with Scott Satterfield doing a great job at Louisville, Eliah Drinkwitz off to Missouri, and now Shawn Clark is getting his shot to drive the race car. No matter who the coach is, this is a loaded team that deserved to be more in the mix for the Cotton Bowl as the top Group of Five conference champion.
It beat North Carolina and South Carolina on the road, beat a great Louisiana team for the Sun Belt title, and now it’s going for a fantastic 5-0 bowl record after making the move up to the FBS world.
– As amazing as the last two seasons have been for UAB after taking two years off as a program, this year might have been even more impressive. It was one thing for head coach Bill Clark to get everything back up and rolling after the time off, but it was another to reload after losing a whole slew of key parts.
The Blazers got to their second straight Conference USA Championship, but they couldn’t defend their title with a loss to Florida Atlantic. Whatever … this is the program’s fourth bowl appearance ever, going 1-2 with the first win over Northern Illinois last year in the Boca Raton.
CFN Podcast: R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl discussion, picks
Why Appalachian State Will Win
– The UAB offense occasionally seems to forget about scoring, at least lately. Getting whacked by Florida is one thing, and losing to FAU 41-6 is another thing, but the O struggled to push past 24 points over the second half of the season. That’s not going to fly against an Appalachian State defense led the Sun Belt in fewest yards allowed.
The Mountaineers bring a great pass rush, a fantastic secondary that clamped down on just about everything, and allowed 24 points or fewer in seven of its last nine games. UAB just doesn’t move the chains well enough, and …
– The Blazers have a massive turnover problem. They’ve given up 25 on the year with 12 in the four losses. Considering how bad their offense is, they can’t afford any mistakes whatsoever and have to be at least a +2 in turnover margin. That’s not going to happen.
Appalachian State is eighth in the nation in turnover margin and gave up just nine turnovers on the year, only losing the ball more than once in one game. It beat ULM 52-7 and overcame the mistakes with three takeaways.
– The ASU running game explosion and pop are there that UAB just doesn’t have. It’s averaging over five yards per carry in seven of its last eight games, only failing to hit the mark against South Carolina. ASU averages well over a yard per carry more than UAB does, and it has a more controlled and efficient passing attack. UAB will have to push; ASU won’t.
Why UAB Will Win
– Here comes the pass rush. The Appalachian State offensive line might be terrific, but UAB has a way of cranking up the pressure and getting into the backfield on a regular basis. The pass rush didn’t work against Florida Atlantic in the Conference USA Championship – it failed to come up with any sacks – but that was an anomaly.
The Blazers have the linebackers who can get into the backfield from all angles. The time off to get ready for the game will matter – the coaching staff will come up with enough wrinkles to make a difference.
– The UAB offense can push the passing game down the field. There might be too many interceptions, and it’s a wee bit reckless, but it’s going to keep on pushing. The receiving corps hits plenty of home runs with Austin Watkins averaging close to 20 yards per grab and Kendall Parham averaging 21 yards a catch.
The ASU secondary might be terrific, but it hasn’t faced a whole slew of top passing games. North Carolina and South Carolina were each able to throw for over 300 yards, and so was Troy.
– There shouldn’t be too much of a change with the loss of Drinkwitz, but Appalachian State not having its head coach around anymore changes things up. Shawn Clark has been around the program for forever and is more than ready to take over, but it’s different now. All the pressure is on him and his program to be fantastic, and UAB does a great job under Bill Clark when no one expects much.