After a much-needed bye week, the 49ers are back in action this week against the UAB Blazers who currently have a 3-2 record. After a close loss to the UTEP Miners in their last game, the 49ers look to find a spark heading into the second half of the 2022 season. It will be a tall task as the Blazers boast the nation’s best pass defense, and aren’t too shabby against the run either.
Head Coach Will Healy mentioned in his opening comments to the media, that he was very pleased with how his guys did over the bye week. They didn’t treat it as a week off, but rather, a week to improve and get better.
“I was very proud of our football team and how we handled the beat your best week that we had last week,” Healy said in regards to how the team did over the bye week. “I think in the past I have made the mistake of not getting enough out of our off week.”
Heading into a game where the 49ers will, yet again, be several touchdown underdogs, coach Healy knows that the task at hand is a tough one. However, he feels that if they put their best football out on the field, that his team has a chance to come out on top.
Keys for the 49ers to pull off the Upset
Stop the run
The Blazers have two dynamic running backs in DeWayne McBride and Jermaine Brown Jr. This poses a problem for the 49er defense which has been prone this season as well as last to give up several yards on the ground to good running backs.
“I think the backs are both unbelievable players,” Healy mentioned. “It will be a challenge for us to tackle them for four quarters this week.”
Don’t be the hero
Regardless if it is Chris Reynolds, Grant DuBose, or whomever, the 49ers can’t try to make hero plays all game against a defense as UAB has. Their corners play great press coverage, and the 49ers are strong in the passing game, but it doesn’t mean relying solely on that facet of their game. Mix in the run and take what the defense gives you.
Own time of possession
This UAB team can put up points in a hurry. In their three wins, they have put up 20-plus points in the first quarter in each game.
Charlotte needs to utilize the run and screen game in order to chip time away from the clock and keep the ball out of the Blazers’ hands. It is easier said than done, but with the cohort of runningbacks that the 49ers have, it should be easier for a team like the 49ers than other teams who rely on one back.
The 49ers need to win five of their last six games to become bowl eligible. Yes, you read that correctly, five of six. It is a very long shot that they can accomplish this, but Healy has said all season that this team’s best football is still in front of them.
Saturday’s game will be broadcasted via Stadium. You can also listen live on ESPN 730 The Game. 3:30 p.m. is when kickoff is set for Saturday. Charlotte sits at 23.5 point underdogs as of Tuesday.