UAB And Troy Renew Their Rivalry
By Dan Harralson
UAB and Troy, the two long-time non-BCS schools in Alabama, meet for the ninth time this week.
Troy takes a two-game series winning streak into Saturday night's game at Veterans Memorial Stadium (6 p.m. CT, ESPN3).
The all-time series is dead-locked at four games. Three of the eight contests were decided by one point.
Troy head coach Larry Blakeney talked to Football.com about Saturday night's renewal of the rivalry.
"It's been a long off-season and everyone's worked hard," Blakeney said of entering his 23rd year as the Troy head coach. "I'm sure UAB has worked hard, too, and game week is upon us. We have some finishing touches, but it's time to play and really find out how good of a football team we really do have."
UAB head coach Garrick McGee, has been preaching all off-season about his approval of the talent on his Blazers team — and Blakeney can see the talent also.
"I know UAB has several guys back on both sides of the ball, a punter, a kicker, and you know they are a very good football team coached by a guy that's been around and knows how to formulate plans and get ready for a game," Blakeney said.
Troy looks to improve last year's disappointing 5-7 record. The Trojans have nine returning starters, four on offense and five on defense, but most importantly the Trojans have senior quarterback in Corey Robinson.
Robinson will look to exploit a UAB defense that gave up an average of 426.8 yards per game, 55 total touchdowns and 244 yards through the air in 2012.
Robinson was the Sun Belt's leading passer in yards per game before a head injury sidelined him. He was carted off the field after a sack against Western Kentucky last year. Before the injury, the Trojans were 3-2 with losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and Mississippi State, each by a touchdown.
Robinson means a lot to Blakeney's offense. His 10,258 career passing yards are proof. The senior holds Troy records for single-game passing yards and passing yards in a season.
The key match-up will be Robinson going against a UAB defense that returns eight starters.
Last year, UAB held the Trojans quarterback to a season-low 164 passing yards, but Robinson was able to connect on two touchdowns. That was the difference in the game and UAB will have to eliminate that Saturday night.
Robinson and the Trojans will have to stay healthy in order to escape back-to-back losing seasons.
"We're hopeful that we're going to be better and hopeful that we're going to be as healthy than we have been in awhile," Blakeney said. "From a standpoint of going into a game, an opener, we've had good luck so far with injuries and look to go into the game close to full strength.
"I'm looking forward to the game. It's anybody's game like this game always is. Garrick McGee will have his guys ready and we'll have our guys ready."
UAB and Troy will kick off the year playing each other just like last year.
"It's big for both sides and has been an even series over the years," Blakeney said. "It's a tough opener. I don't know if I like it or don't like it. It's a lot of self-induced pressure for both places. Any time you play across conference lines, play against an in-state rival, it's bigger. It's big to us. I know it's big to them.
"I hope our players invest in 60 minutes of the best they've got."
All-Time Series, UAB And Troy
2012: Troy 39, UAB 29
2011: Troy 24, UAB 23
2010: UAB 34, Troy 33
2009: Troy 27, UAB 14
2006: UAB 21, Troy 3
2005: UAB 27, Troy 7
2003: Troy 20, UAB 9
2002: UAB 27, Troy 26