On Dec. 2, 2014, the University of Alabama-Birmingham ended its football program. On Dec. 1, 2018, the UAB Blazers football team won the Conference USA Championship.
Since it was reinstated in 2016, the turnaround has been remarkable for this once-defunct program.
Shortly after defeating the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro, UAB head coach Bill Clark was thankful for the support the program has received.
“The city of Birmingham, UAB, the people believed in this,” said the coach. “We raised $50-million to bring our program back. This [championship] is a thank you to them.”
In two full seasons of football since reinstatement, UAB is 17-8.
The Blazers are the 2018 Conference USA champs following a back-and-forth game that looked like either team could win for much of the afternoon.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Johnston utilized his arm and his feet combining for 196 yards of total offense accounting for two of UAB’s three touchdowns.
Running back Spencer Brown was the game MVP, however, following his 31-attempts for 156-yards on the ground.
The rather large contingent of Blazers fans was loud and proud in Murfreesboro on the last two Saturdays. They were much louder and a lot prouder when the clock showed 0:00 in the Championship Game.
“We had a great fan group come today,” said Clark. “I told our guys, ‘No offense to Middle, but we’ve got as many fans as they did.’ Maybe we did, maybe we didn’t, but it sure seemed like that.”
They didn’t just show up in Murfreesboro either. Apparently, the Blazers faithful are really good about supporting their program.
“UAB fans, all of the folks that helped bring our program back, they’ve shown up. Last year we led the conference in attendance and this year we’re right up there.”
The Blazers supporters and band, in addition to a better-than-usual MTSU crowd, added to the championship atmosphere inside the stadium on Saturday.
While the end of the game seemed like a horror flick for the Blue Raiders, it was like the ending to the feel-good movie of the year for the Blazers.
“The joke has been who is going to play in this movie? Because there’s going to be a movie someday. Then it was how do we want this movie to end? And we needed to end it with a championship,” said Clark.
On Saturday, his Blazers officially completed their resurrection story.