Boca Raton Bowl – Dec 18

Alabama Birmingham Blazers (10-3)  vs  Northern Illinois Huskies (8-5)

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UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM  |  CONFERENCE USA

Coach:  Bill Clark

UAB Players to watch:

**Sophomore RB Spencer Brown  (6-0/228)

Brown was voted CUSA Freshman of the Year in 2017.
Photo:  UAB Athletics

Brown ran for 1,149 yards and 16 touchdowns en route to setting the new school record for single-season rushing scores. His 16 touchdowns are the seventh most nationally, while his 1,149 rushing yards ranks him 20th in the country.

Senior OT Justice Powers (6-3/300)

Brown has been the beneficiary of running behind one of the top offensive lines in the country. Right tackle Justice Powers led the charge for the Blazers’ rushing attack. Powers started all 26 of his career games at UAB, dating back to the start of last season.

Senior DE  Jamell Garcia-Williams  (6-8/255)

Garcia-Williams led the team in both sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (15.5), which ranked him third and sixth, respectively, in Conference USA, while adding 42 tackles to his stat line. 

Senior NT Anthony Rush  (6-5/340)

Rush has been a force at the nose tackle position, finishing the regular season with 38 tackles, 9.5 TFL and 1.0 sack, and was key in run defense.

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NORTHERN ILLINOIS  |  MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Coach:  Rod Carey

No. Illinois Players to watch:

*Junior DE Sutton Smith  (6-0/230)

Smith was named a first team All-American by the Associated Press and ESPN. 
Photo:  Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

National rankings include seventh in sacks, 15th in tackles for loss, fourth in fumbles and third in blocked kicks.  Smith led an NIU defense that set the school record for team sacks in a season with 50. In addition to his ability to stop opposing offenses, Smith, also scored a pair of touchdowns in 2018. 

Senior LT Max Scharping  (6-6/320)

He went more than two full seasons without giving up a sack while playing nearly every snap of every game for NIU, and scored the first two points of his NIU career on October 13 versus Ohio by taking a lateral pass in for a two-point conversion. Scharping has now started 50 consecutive games for the Huskies.

*Junior LB Antonio Jones-Davis  (5-10/220)

Jones-Davis is NIU’s leading tackler and ranks 55th nationally in total stops. He broke up a team-leading sixth pass to go with six stops at Akron and made a team season high and career-best 16 tackles with 10 solo stops vs. CMU. 

***Freshman RB Tre Harbison  (5-1/218)

The redshirt Freshman currently ranks second in the MAC in rushing yards and rushing yards per game. He is NIU’s leading rusher averaging 5.5 yards per carry on 145 attempts and four TDs.

***

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
UAB 37, Northern Illinois 13

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