— Saturday, December 18th UAB Blazers @ Brigham Young Cougars
The No. 13 Brigham Young Cougars (10-2) look to cap another double-digit win season as they head to the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl this weekend. Standing in their way are the 8-4 UAB Blazers, who finished the season on a 3-1 run. The kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday from Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the game will air on ABC.
These teams have never met, and this is the first Independence Bowl appearance for both schools. BYU is 16-21-1 in their bowl history but have won three of four under coach Kalani Sitake, including a 49-23 win over UCF last December. UAB has played in four bowl games in their history, going 1-3 with a win in 2018 and losses in 2017 and 2019 under current coach Bill Clark.
Cougars Offense Led by Allgeier
Brigham Young is just 5-7 ATS this season, and the under is 7-5 in their 12 games. They made a name for themselves this year by going 5-0 against the Pac-12, but losses to Baylor and Boise State kept them out of the New Year’s Six. The Cougars rank sixth in the nation in yards per play this season and 17th in total yards.
Quarterback Jaren Hall has thrown for 2,583 yards on the season with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has at least 275 yards and two touchdowns in four straight games. Hall has completed 64 percent of his passes while also rushing for 307 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cougars average 188 yards per game on the ground, led by sophomore Tyler Allgeier. The 220-pound back has 1,414 yards on the season and averages 5.7 yards per carry. He has 20 touchdowns and has scored in 10 straight games.
The Cougars have three receivers with at least 30 catches on the season, led by Puka Nacua with 42 for 796 yards. Nacua has scored six touchdowns, tied with Neil Pau’u for the team lead. Pau’u has 526 yards on 46 catches, while Gunner Romney has 31 catches for 539 yards with three scores.
The BYU-run defense will have to be ready for the UAB attack. They average, allowing 151 yards per game on the ground, 63rd in the nation. He defense had 19 takeaways on the season and 17 sacks.
Blazers Will Run Run Run
The Blazers are 8-3-1 ATS this season, and the under is 7-5 in their 12 games. They average 176 yards per game on the ground and 207 passing while scoring 29.4 ppg. The defense ranks 16th overall and 11th against the run, allowing just 104.9 per game on the ground.
UAB is all about the run game, but they lost star running back DeWayne McBride to injury late in the season. McBride had 12 touchdowns and led the team with 1,185 yards.
Jermaine Brown Jr. ran for 88 yards and three scores against UTEP after McBride left with the injury. Lucious Stanley had 58 yards against UTEP and has 213 on the season, well behind Brown’s 584 total.
The Blazers have 26 rushing touchdowns on the season and 15 through the air. Quarterback Dylan Hopkins has 15 passing scores and five on the ground while throwing six interceptions. He has completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,085 yards and has two touchdown passes in each of the last two UAB games.
The passing attack keys on Trea Shropshire, who leads UAB with 682 yards receiving, six touchdowns, and a 27.3 yard per catch average. Tight end Gerrit Prince has 32 catches for 656 yards and eight touchdowns, while wideout Rajae Johnson-Sanders has 23 catches for 394 yards and a touchdown.
The Blazers’ defense will pressure Hall all game as they have 31 sacks on the season. They have generated 19 takeaways with ten interceptions and nine fumble recoveries.
- BYU Cougars -6.5 (-110) Money Line -260
- UAB Blazers +6.5 (-110) Money Line +205
- Total Points: 55 Over -110, Under -110
The defenses for these teams will both be challenged by the running attack and offensive lines on the other side. BYU can respond with quick strikes better than UAB but look for both teams to control the game and the clock on the ground.
Because of that, possessions will be limited, and both of these teams hit the under more times than the over.
Betting Pick: Under 55 points (-110)
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Cole is really big into Major League Baseball, but really - the big four Pro US sports are his passion. Cole grew up a Yankees fan but married a Red Sox fan. It's tough around the house during those big games, but his hatred for the Red Sox has dissipated a little. Cole has a goal of seeing every Major League Baseball Stadium before the end of 2025!