When Louisiana Tech and UAB kickoff at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Joe Aillet Stadium, the Blazer will be playing for a bowl berth.
The Bulldogs will be playing for pride.
UAB sits at five wins knowing a victory on Saturday would give the Blazers an opportunity to go to a postseason bowl.
Tech (3-8, 2-5 C-USA) isn’t as fortunate when it comes to postseason possibilities. They have none.
However, Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie isn’t allowing that to be used as any type of excuse entering the game.
“It’s about playing for our seniors,” said Cumbie. “I think that is something you can always hang on to. We have talked about this season a lot. If the won-loss record of our opponent or the location of where we play or any of those types of things has to dictate our energy, our effort and our preparation level, then it’s probably a hobby. You play for a sense of self pride. You play for a sense of pride for your teammate.”
Saturday’s contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on 107.5 FM and the LA Tech Athletics app while the contest will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
The Bulldogs suffered two overtime losses as well as a one score setback at Charlotte last week. Win two of those three and Tech would be playing for a possible postseason bowl berth as well.
UAB (5-6, 3-4 C-USA) would like nothing better than to defeat Tech and keep their season alive.
Cumbie said the Blazers are better than their 5-6 record indicates.
“They are very talented,” said Cumbie. “They are a really good team. They have had some injury problems at quarterback in the middle of the season that hindered them a little bit. They are very good.
“They have an interim head coach. Coach (Bill) Clark stepped down right before the season. Coach Vincent has done a great job of keeping it together. That’s just the structure and the program that UAB has.”
Tech’s biggest challenge will be slowing down UAB running back DeWayne McBride, a Doak Walker Award semifinalist. McBride enters the game ranked second nationally in both rushing yards per game (144.1) and rushing touchdowns (18).
“They have some really good players,” said Cumbie. “McBride is one of the best running backs in the country. He is going to be very difficult for us to tackle. It’s going to take a lot of guys running to the football, wrapping up and holding on to bring him down.”
McBride needs 147 rushing yards to set the single season school rushing record which is currently held by Jordan Howard who had 1,587 yards in 2014. He has had tremendous success in two games against Louisiana Tech, compiling 133 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman in 2020 and 210 yards and four touchdowns last season.
“We have to take care of the ball,” said Cumbie. “Create takeaways. If we do that, we will find ourselves in the game in the fourth quarter and have an opportunity to go win it.”