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UAB at UGA Preview and Prediction – September 23, 2023

UAB at UGA Preview and Prediction – September 23, 2023

UAB AT UGA PREVIEW AND PREDICTION – Two years ago, Carson Beck was supposed to start against UAB. His poor week of practice cost him the opportunity. Stetson Bennett got the start instead, threw for five touchdowns and never looked back. 

The Fighting Trent Dilfers are coming to Athens this weekend. Unfortunately, despite a good amount of returning talent and a gifted QB, the UAB Blazers find themselves with their only win over an FCS squad through three weeks so far. They lost by 2+ scores to Louisiana and Georgia Southern. Against Georgia Southern, they coughed up 350 yards in the air, and they got gashed for over 300 yards on the ground by the Ragin’ Cajuns. Let’s just say their defense could use some work, which isn’t shocking given Dilfer’s playing history.

Quarterback Jacob Zeno is a fifth-year player, but still has limited experience. He’s already taken more snaps through three games this year than in all of year four. He has managed to throw for at least 280 yards in each game so far.

In terms of yards, his best performance came against Georgia Southern in a 33-for-43, 385-yard, two touchdown, one interception performance. He was nearly flawless in Week 1 against North Carolina A&T, going 38-for-41 with three touchdowns. However, his mistakes have been costly. When given time, he has the ability to thread the needle against defenses. Last week, he crumbled under Louisiana’s pressures and blitzes. 

Related: UGA vs. South Carolina Recap


When: 7:30 pm EDT, Saturday, September 23

Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.



The Odds







(1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)






(3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS)





The Opponent

UAB has shifted into an offense that slings the ball around a good bit, with 14 players receiving catches so far this year. Tejhaun Palmer and Samario Rudolph have been Zeno’s primary targets so far this season. Both are senior receivers, but Rudolph isn’t much bigger than Mekhi Mews, while Palmer is closer to RaRa Thomas in size.

The Blazers split the running load between two backs, but Zeno is also heavily involved in the run game and leads the team in carries this year. 

Dawgs Battling Injury Bug

UGA enters this game with the longest injury list since Kirby Smart became a head coach. Ladd McConkey is still out. Right tackle Amarius Mims had tightrope surgery this week to heal his ankle sprain and will be out multiple weeks.

Javon Bullard might give it a go, but I expect UGA to limit his snaps, if he plays at all. Kendal Milton picked up an MCL injury last week and will be out. Fellow back Rodrick Robinson has a high ankle sprain. UGA’s only scholarship running backs that are “healthy” are Daijun Edwards and Andrew Paul. 

Last week, Edwards brought a dynamic element to the backfield. While I think Georgia will unleash him again this week, I also know they’ll want to protect him and limit his touches. Expect Cash Jones to get a lot of action this week, and more Dillon Bell at running back. If Georgia can’t run the ball against this defense, Lord help us. 

Georgia Needs a Fast Start

Georgia has started slow offensively for three weeks now. Will Beck come in with a chip on his shoulder after his missed opportunity from two years ago?

I want to see Beck rip the ball downfield early in the game, not take a quarter or two to settle in. I want shots taken early and this game put away in the first half. That can happen because of Beck layering his throws down the field. I also expect RaRa Thomas, who I think began to show what he can do in our offense last week, to show out. I think Dom Lovett may nab a touchdown this week as well, and I think UGA might force-feed Bowers a touchdown pass in the red zone if it gets the chance. 

Related: Dan’s Week 4 College Football Picks

If Georgia is going to score the way it ought to in this game, it begins up front. The biggest question is, how does Georgia’s offensive line perform and even line up on Saturday? We’ll see if Austin Blaske is able to go at right tackle. If he is, does Xavier Truss return to left guard, where he has struggled all season or will he stick to the tackle role? Can Dylan Fairchild continue to progress this week?

More than anything, I want to see UGA blow guys off the ball, and establish a solid running game early, which allows Beck to take some shots downfield on play action.

Defensive Depth

Defensively, UGA will likely try to bring pressure to disrupt Jacob Zeno, while using as few players as possible. I expect the Dawgs to rotate in plenty of guys after a week where they used about as few players defensively as Kirby Smart ever does.

I think we’ll see some rotation at DB and LB in particular. I’m hoping LB Raylen Wilson and CJ Allen get plenty of minutes in this game.


When the spread is so massive, do not expect Georgia to cover. I do think UGA rolls in this one, but then pulls back the reins to slow things down. I think UGA pushes Beck to be more aggressive earlier in the game before pulling him.

This game won’t alleviate all the worries Georgia fans have about the offense, but I think it will help. The Dawgs should go into half with a comfortable lead and let the second and third stringers get in early, because they can’t afford to lose any more players.

UGA 41 – UAB 6

FUN My Pillow


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