2022 Bowl Games schedule, college football scores, live updates: Toledo holds off Liberty in Boca Raton Bowl

Bahamas Bowl: UAB 24, Miami (OH) 20

UAB just needed its defense to make a stop with the goal line on their back as Miami (OH) wide receiver Jalen Walker was on his way to the end zone eyeing a last-second, game-winning touchdown. The Blazers wrapped up Walker and brought him to the ground at the 2-yard line, sealing a 24-20 win in an epic edition of the Bahamas Bowl. 

It was a win for UAB that came with mixed emotions as interim coach Bryant Vincent, who took over the team following Bill Clark’s retirement in July, went out a winner in his last game leading the team. Meanwhile, over on the sideline, there was Trent Dilfer, UAB’s next head coach, taking in the performance and rooting on the team that he will inherit as the program turns the page from 2022 to 2023. 

UAB was also without its star running back, DeWayne McBride, after the NCAA’s leading rusher and Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year announced shortly before the game that he would not be playing. Early on there was no sign that McBride’s absence would play a role in the eventual outcome, as backup running back Jermaine Brown was more than capable of being productive with a heavier workload and the Blazers jumped out to a 10-0 lead. But Miami put together an impressive touchdown drive right before halftime to cut that lead 10-6 and give the RedHawks some momentum heading into the locker room. It was the first of two touchdown passes from Miami quarterback Aveon Smith with both scores coming on impressive catches. 

UAB mistakes nearly handed the game away in the second half as the Blazers both fumbled a punt late in the third quarter to set up a one-play touchdown drive for Miami and then lost a fumble with six minutes left in the fourth quarter with the Blazers trailing 20-17. But the Blazers defense, like it did on the final play, stood tall and forced a field goal attempt after that fumble to give UAB’s offense one more chance for a game-tying or go-ahead score. Brown was the star of the drive and the star of the game, scoring his second touchdown of the day and rounding out a 24-carry, 116-yard performance. 

Needing a TD to win, Miami’s final drive was hectic. There were 12 plays, multiple penalties and two fourth-down conversions by the RedHawks. But ultimately it was that final tackle that allowed UAB to hold on for the win, giving the Blazers a victory in the same bowl game where they first made an appearance in 2017 at the end of the program’s first season back on the field after the program was shut-down. 

It is a fitting end to a great era of UAB football as the Blazers turn the page from the Bill Clark era to the Trent Dilfer era and from being in Conference USA to jumping up to the American Athletic Conference. The last five years have included multiple bowl bids, two conference championships and three conference title game appearances. Now it’s up to Dilfer and the rest of this UAB team to try and match those results in the AAC, and the best news for the Blazers comes from the fight they showed in the Bahamas Bowl and what it says about the current state of this team.