Brent Stockstill

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UAB wins Conference USA championship in second season back after being shut down

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The most successful football season in UAB history now has its crowning achievement. A week after losing on the same field in the regular season finale, UAB celebrated a 27-25 victory at Middle Tennessee in the Conference USA championship game. In its second season back after a brief shutdown of the entire football program, UAB is a conference champion.

UAB’s defense came up with the critical fourth down stop at the UAB 46-yard line as a pass from Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill fell incomplete in good coverage. UAB was unable to run out the clock though, so the defense would have had to make one more stop of the Blue Raiders in the final minute of the game. But Middle Tennessee lined up with 12 men on the field on the fourth down before UAB snapped for a punt, and UAB was awarded a free first down. With no more timeouts to use, Middle Tennessee could not stop the clock and UAB ran out the clock.

UAB got a big day from running back Spencer Brown, who rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Tyler Johnston III passed for 140 yards and rushed for 56 yards while accounting for two total touchdowns. UAB really held firm inside the red zone on defense, forcing Middle Tennessee to settle for field goals on each of their first two possessions of the game and doing so once again in the fourth quarter. Success in the red zone for UAB managed to make up for giving up 456 yards of offense, including 362 through the air off the arm of Brent Stockstill.

Enough can not be said about the job Bill Clark has done at UAB. The head coach of the program for one year before the university shut the program down, Clark stuck with the program as it became clear the program would return after a brief hiatus. To take a program that was shut down to a conference championship in a span of four years is absolutely incredible and why Clark should not only be hearing some phone calls from schools in search of a head coach but also should be considered for some coach of the year honors.

UAB will now play in their second straight bowl game in as many years, and the Blazers will look for the first bowl victory in school history (0-2 all-time in bowl games). An official bowl announcement is pending, although a matchup with Sun Belt champion Appalachian State in the New Orleans Bowl would be a fun matchup.

After slow start, UAB takes halftime lead in Conference USA championship game

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Looking for the first conference championship in school history, UAB is leading Middle Tennessee at halftime of the Conference USA championship game, 24-16. UAB had scored 21 straight points in the half before Middle Tennessee closed out the first half with a field goal.

The two teams traded field goals to open the game, and Middle Tennessee tacked on another field goal to take a 6-3 lead on the third offensive possession of the game. Middle Tennessee extended their lead with Brent Stockstill connected with Tavares Thomas on a fourth-and-four play on the UAB 19-yard line for a score.

UAB answered the first touchdown of the game with a touchdown drive of their own. The Blazers took 16 plays to travel 75 yards to get in the end zone. Spencer Brown capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to bring UAB within three points after the extra point attempt by Nick Vogel. UAB took the lead with just over four minutes to play in the half with Tyler Johnston finding a streaking Andre Wilson for a 40-yard touchdown.

UAB added to their lead less than a minute later by turning a Stockstill interception into a short touchdown run by Johnston three plays later.

This is certainly still anyone’s game at halftime. UAB will get the ball to start the second half.

Davey O’Brien Award watch list highlighted by former finalists, semifinalists and SEC

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The Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback) took the spotlight in the ongoing college football watch list tour on Wednesday morning. A total of 30 quarterbacks were named to the initial watch list for the award, including six from the SEC along with a few potential Heisman Trophy candidates and a Heisman Trophy winner.

Highlighting the watch list are two finalists from last season; Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has been a two-time finalist for the award. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett and Washington State’s Luke Falk are also on the watch list and are each two-time semifinalists for the award. Joining them on the watch list are former semifinalists Jake Browning (Washington), Sam Darnold (USC), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)m and Wilton Speight (Michigan).

While the SEC led the way with six watch list players, the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 each had four players named to the watch list. The Big Ten had three, with Penn State’s Trace McSorley joining Barrett and Speight.

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson won the Davey O’Brien Award each of the past two seasons, becoming the second two-time winner of the award (Oklahoma’s Jason White in 2003-04). A player does not need to be included on the watch list in order to win the award, but only quarterbacks from the 130 FBS programs are eligible.

2017 Davey O’Brien Award Watch List

Austin Allen, Arkansas
Josh Allen, Wyoming
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Jake Bentley, South Carolina
Jake Browning, Washington
Shane Buechele, Texas
Sam Darnold, USC
Eric Dungey, Syracuse
Jacob Eason, Georgia
Jesse Ertz, Kansas State
Luke Falk, Washington State
Riley Ferguson, Memphis
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Quinton Flowers, USF
Deondre Francois, Florida State
Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Daniel Jones, Duke
Tanner Mangum, BYU
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Trace McSorley, Penn State
Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Brett Rypien, Boise State
Brandon Silvers, Troy
Wilton Speight, Michigan
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Mike White, WKU
Logan Woodside, Toledo

The Davey O’Brien Award will be trim its watch list down to a handful of semifinalists on November 7. Finalists for the award will be unveiled two weeks later on November 21, and the winner will be announced on December 7 at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.

Broken collar bone knocks out Middle Tennessee QB for the year

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Middle Tennessee has three more games to play, plus a potential bowl game, but they will have to go through at least the remaining three regular season games without leading passer, Brent Stockstill. The quarterback has been knocked out for the remainder of the season with a broken right collar bone. The school announced the injury update on Monday, a day after Stockstill underwent surgery.

“He asked the doctors if he could go back in and play. The doctors said no and that it could kill him,” head coach, and Brent’s father, Rick Stockstill said. “Brent asked if anyone had ever played with a (broken collarbone) and the doctors said no. Brent asked if he could be the first. I think that just shows the toughness and competitiveness he has for this team.”

Stockstill’s season comes to an end with 2,801 passing yards and 27 touchdowns with just five interceptions this season, along with 232 rushing yards. Middle Tennessee is holding out hope Stockstill may be available for a bowl game, but first the Blue Raiders will need to know when they may be playing in the postseason.

In the meantime, Middle Tennessee will run the offense with redshirt freshman John Urzua.Urzua came in off the sideline last weekend once Stockstill left with his injury and will make his first collegiate start this Saturday.