Friday, November 16, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 62



Houston offense running for dear life against UAB

By Christian Schmidt
Daily Cougar Staff

Saturday's game has been characterized as a clash of the titans the UH offense's irresistible force meets the immovable object of
Alabama-Birmingham's defense.

Max Lacayo/The Daily Cougar

The Cougar offensive line faces up to Louisville's defense Saturday in its most recent trial. It will go up against UAB and the nation's top run
defense tomorrow.

UH has one of the nation's top offenses with quarterback Kelly Robertson and running back Joffrey Reynolds combining to form one of the
nation's most productive backfield tandems.

UAB's defense has also earned its fair share of accolades this season. The Blazers have the nation's top run defense, giving up a miniscule
53.8 yards a game on the ground, 16 fewer yards per game than Virginia Tech, the nation's No. 2 rushing defense. Opposing teams are
averaging a mere 1.75 yards per carry.

"Another thing that we've spent a lot of time on is trying to establish some kind of consistency in our run game," UH head coach Dana Dimel said.
"And that will be a big challenge for us."

Much of the onus of producing that running game will fall on the shoulders of Reynolds. Reynolds is coming off a 114-yard performance last
week against Louisville, but should find the going much tougher against the Blazer defense.

Houston's best chance to score will come through the air. UAB is ranked 47th in the nation against the pass, giving up 205 yards per game.

Dimel is equally as worried about what he terms "hidden yards." Such yards do not show up on the opposing team's offensive statistics, but they
are vital in the battle for field position.

Last weekend at Louisville, the Cougars were victimized by a punt return for a touchdown as well as a 59-yard kickoff return that set up a
Louisville touchdown.

"I was not especially pleased at all with our special team coverage and kick-off coverage (last weekend)," Dimel said. "We need a real good
effort out of our kick-off coverage team. They've got to have a big day."

These hidden yards may prove the difference in a football game that is likely to be a low-scoring affair.

While the Cougars are now playing for little more than their bruised and battered pride, UAB is looking to become bowl eligible and go to the
first bowl game in their 10 seasons of football. With its game next week against Pittsburgh, this may be the Blazers' best chance to get the sixth
win they need.

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