Football preview: UAB takes on No. 2 Georgia, Alabama welcomes Mercer, Auburn hosts Alabama State

Football preview: UAB takes on No. 2 Georgia, Alabama welcomes Mercer, Auburn hosts Alabama State
The UAB Blazers shut out Jacksonville State in their season opener. This weekend brings a trip to Athens to face the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs. (UAB Athletics)

The No. 1 and No. 2 college football teams will be the focus of fans in Alabama this week.

Of course, some will be looking east toward Athens, Georgia, while others will peer west to Tuscaloosa.

UAB, coming off its season-opening win over Jacksonville State, takes a step up as it visits the Georgia Bulldogs at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.

“We know what we have in front of us,” Blazers coach Bill Clark said. “Going to a capacity crowd in one of the toughest places to play in the country. They have talent at every position and they are well coached. I’ve known Kirby (Smart, Georgia’s coach) for a very long time. They do a lot of things and they are very detail oriented, obviously by their success since he has been there. We know we have our work cut out for us and we’re working on getting ourselves better.”

Reports this week suggest that Georgia could be without its starting quarterback. Dawgs247 posted that JT Daniels‘ status for Georgia’s home opener against UAB is in question. According to people with knowledge of the situation, Daniels is dealing with an injury to his core, likely ribs or oblique.

Those same sources indicate that the injury isn’t long-term but that Daniels is truly day to day for the time being. He practiced Monday but did not get in much work on Tuesday, with Carson Beck getting a large portion of the first-team reps. If Daniels is unable to play against UAB, a decision that has not yet been made according to sources, Beck would likely get the start.

Half an hour after UAB kicks off against Georgia, No. 1 Alabama plays its home opener at 3 p.m. against Mercer on the SEC Network. And despite having manhandled then-No. 14 Miami 44-13, coach Nick Saban focused on the Tide not maintaining its intensity in the second half of that contest.

That, Saban said, “is something we need to work on. We can’t let external factors, whether it’s the scoreboard or any of that kind of stuff, affect our attention to detail, our mental energy, intensity and intelligence we play with so we can continue to execute. We need to put together a 60-minute performance all the time, regardless of who we’re playing.”

Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams scores a touchdown in the Tide’s blowout victory over Miami in the team’s season opener. (Crimson Tide Photos)

Auburn displayed a nearly perfect offense as the Tigers throttled hapless Akron. This week, the Tigers (1-0) host FCS Alabama State (1-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday on the SEC Network.

“The big thing this week is our maturity level, just handling Week 2, making sure of our preparation (and) the things we learned from the week before,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “That’s on staff. That’s on players. Everybody in this building. That’s certainly where our head is at.”

Tank Bigsby runs for a touchdown during Auburn’s season-opening victory over Akron. (Shanna Lockwood/AU Athletics)

In other action taking place this weekend:

Birmingham-Southern at Huntingdon: The Panthers and Hawks will renew acquaintances at 6 p.m. Saturday on Charles Lee Field at Samford Stadium. BSC outscored LaGrange 42-17 last week, while Huntingdon fell 28-24 to Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Chattanooga at North Alabama: The Lions (0-1) lost 49-28 last week to Southeastern Louisiana. The Mocs lost their opener 30-20 to Austin Peay, whose rank has risen to No. 17. Kickoff is 6 p.m. Saturday in Braly Stadium.

Jacksonville State at Florida State: JSU pushed the Seminoles last fall before falling 41-24. The Gamecocks, now No. 16 in the FCS, will try to finish the deal at 7 p.m. Saturday.

West Alabama at Tuskegee: The Golden Tigers lost 30-0 to Fort Valley State in the Red Tails Classic in Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. They launch their home schedule at 1 p.m. Saturday at Tuskegee’s Cleve L. Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium. UWA’s Tigers (1-0) beat Morehouse 48-7 in their first game.

Liberty at Troy: The Trojans beat Southern 55-3 last week. A much taller challenge is in store as one of the top programs in the Group of Five comes calling at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Miles College at Southern: After narrowly falling 14-13 to FCS’s Alabama State, the Golden Bears will take on their second straight member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference at 6 p.m. Saturday.

South Alabama at Bowling Green: The Jaguars (1-0) aim to double their win total through two games at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Samford at Western Carolina:  The Bulldogs beat Tennessee-Martin 52-14 last week. They’ll try to keep the offensive train barreling down the track at 6 p.m. Saturday.

HIGH SCHOOLS

Class 7A: Theodore (3-0) is No. 6 in the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association poll. The Bobcats travel to No. 10 Daphne (1-1) on Friday.

Class 6A:  Gardendale (2-1) hosts No. 2 Clay-Chalkville (3-0) on Friday.

Class 5A: No. 4 Leeds (3-0) welcomes nearby rival Moody (3-0) on Friday.

Class 4A: Cherokee County split its first two games of the season. The Warriors will try to climb above .500 as No. 7 Anniston (3-0) comes calling on Friday.

Class 3A: Southside-Selma (2-0) was among those getting votes in the state poll, but not as many as No. 7 Montgomery Academy, which hosts the Panthers Friday.

Class 2A: Fayetteville (2-0) hosts No. 2 Lanett (2-1).

Class 1A: No. 3 Pickens County (2-0) hosts No. 7 Marion County (3-0).

AISA: You’d think there’s enough to ponder when No. 7 Tuscaloosa Academy (1-1) is playing at No. 6 Bessemer Academy (1-1). But you’ve only scratched the surface, considering the opposing head coaches are brothers. Josh Wright is at Tuscaloosa and Jonathan Wright is at Bessemer. Each played at Pickens Academy in Carrollton. Josh has been at Bessemer the past few years and Jonathan was an assistant there. Josh took the Tuscaloosa job this year and Jonathan was promoted to Bessemer head coach.

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