In collaboration with M!KEDROPSPORTS

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

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

Date/Time: Tuesday, December 18 at 7:00 ET

Location: FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida

Bowl history

Originated: 2014

History of Conferences: Conference USA is 3-0, having won 3 of the 4 all-time Boca Bowls; MAC teams are 1-2

Last year’s result: FAU beat Akron 50-3

UAB bowl history

UAB is 0-2 all-time in bowl games. They have also had the two greatest bowl locations you can ask for, losing in Hawaii in 2004 and Bahamas in 2017.

Facing, NIU from the MAC gives them a chance to avenge their bowl loss to Ohio last year. 

Northern Illinois bowl history

Northern Illinois is 4-8 all-time in bowl games. They are currently on a 5 game losing streak that started in 2012, with a loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. That was coach Rod Carey’s first game with the Huskies (he replaced Dave Dorean, now at NC State). Carey is looking for his first bowl win. Huskies lost 36-14 in the Quick Lane Bowl to Duke in 2017. The last win came in 2011 in the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Arkansas State.

Series history

The Boca Raton Bowl  will be the first all-time meeting between these schools.

Game Notes

Players to watch

UAB: Spencer Brown, RB 

Northern Illinois: Marcus Childers, QB 

UAB

The UAB story is awesome. After the 2014 season, school administrators voted to shut down the football program.Head coach Bill Clark was persistent in his attempt to rebuff those admins and two years later, football was reinstated. In 2017, the Blazers went 8-5 and made just the second bowl game in school history and this year they finished 10-3 and won the C-USA Championship game.

UAB is ranked 14th in total defense and gave up the 10th fewest points per game in 2018, allowing just 17.3 ppg.

Northern Illinois

NIU had the odd distinction during the regular season of allowing more points per game than they scored – they allowed 21.5 points against them and scored 20.7 ppg. 

The Huskies had one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, losing to Iowa, Utah, and Florida State (which in retrospect isn’t actually a good loss) and beat BYU. Their best wins came against 8-4 Ohio and 10-3 MAC East champs, Buffalo. 

Final analysis

The Boca Raton Bowl is one of three bowls that features two conference champions. UAB is seeking their first bowl win in program history, after being extinct two years ago, while NIU looks to snap their recent bowl losing streak. These teams are both very strong defensively and points will be a struggle, meaning both teams must avoid mistakes and turnovers and play as clean of a game as possible. 

For more college football talk, you can follow me at M!KEDROPSPORTS, on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports 

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