It is time once again for Georgia football to play this week. This week’s opponent is the University of Alabama-Birmingham, or for short, UAB. Try reading it in Forest Gump’s voice, and it’s kind of funny.
UAB has a short history of playing football, which makes the program even more impressive, given how good they are. The Blazers started playing in 1991 at Legion Feild, their home until 2021 when a newer stadium, Protective Stadium, was built in 2021. The Blazers moved to Division One in 1996; however, they were Independent and not in a conference. In 1999, UAB joined the Conference USA. UAB was a conference member until 2022 and has since joined the American Atheltic Conference.
Georgia football has never played a team in the American Atheltic Conference. The league was re-founded in 2013, so it makes sense that Georgia has not played a team that was a current conference member. Georgia has played teams that are a part of the conference, but the schools were not members when the Dawgs faced them.
Georgia has faced off against UAB before. In fact, Georgia has faced the Blazers three previous times. Their first-ever meeting was in 2003, where the Dawgs squeaked out a 16-13 win. The Dawgs played the Blazers again in 2006, beating UAB 34-0. The last meeting between the two teams was 9/11/2021. Georgia won the game 56-7.
But the real story of that game was Stetson Bennett. If you recall, JT Daniels was hurt and would miss the game against the Blazers. Many believed that Carson Beck would get his first start (kind of weird now, right?). But then, late Friday, it was announced Stetson Bennett was to be the starting QB for the game. Twitter fans were very upset; there was panic across the entire DawgNation. What did Stetson do? Threw for a remarkable five touchdowns and had 288 yards passing. We knew little then, but we were all about to have a magical season in 2021. So thank you, UAB and Stetson Bennett.
Back to UAB, the Blazers program was shut down in 2014. Many will remember that famous video of UAB players yelling at President Ray Watts when it was announced the football would suspend operations. Because of that, Georgia football received transfer linebacker Jake Ganus. Who was the only bright spot on defense in 2014. Ganus won defensive MVP for the team.
The Blazers have been back since 2017 and were led by Bill Clark, who retired for health reasons in 2022. Offensive coordinator at the time, Bryant Vincent, filled in as interim head coach for the 2022 season.
Trent Dilfer now leads UAB. Yes, that Trent Dilfer. The super bowl winning QB, Trent Dilfer. Dilfer was coaching Lipscomb Academy, the Christian private school in Nashville, Tennessee. To go from coaching high school football to coaching Division-I football is incredible, especially since you are coaching against the back-to-back national champions.
UAB is currently 1-2 and has yet to play a conference game. The Blazers’ losses are against Georgia Southern 49-35 and Louisiana 41-21. The Blazers lone win was against North Carolina A&T 35-6. Jacob Zeno is the QB for UAB and looks pretty good.
Zeno has thrown for 956 yards so far on the season. UAB had to replace all five starting offensive linemen, which you can tell when watching them. Jermaine Brown, the Blazers’ primary running back, has struggled early in the season. Defensively, the Blazers’ best group is the D-line. 6-0, 305-pound Fish McWilliams and 6-6, 340-pound Tyrique Howard are not only big but really good ball players.
Finally, let’s make you a smarter Georgia fan at your tailgate! These fun facts should impress anybody at your tailgate when you drop the knowledge bomb on them. Here are some notable UAB alumni. Now, if you’re a Falcons fan, you know Roddy White went to UAB. Hopefully, most of your fellow tailgaters know that one. But Sam Hunt, a country music artist, also went to UAB. Also, according to Wikipedia, an associate professor at UGA, John Knox, went to UAB. Knox is a meteorologist and studies clear-air turbulence. Which is the most dangerous, I think? Who cares? I fear flying, so I don’t want to know.
So there you have it; you are more intelligent than most at your tailgate. You also now know way too much about UAB. Welcome to my world, a master of none, an idiot savant. Congrats!