December 19, 2018 / 3:46 AM / 5 months ago

UAB routs NIU for first-ever bowl win

EditorsNote: Tweaks yardage in 10th graf

Tyler Johnston III completed 17 of 29 passes for 373 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Xavier Ubosi, and UAB cruised to a 37-13 win over Northern Illinois in the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday in Boca Raton, Fla.

Ubosi finished with seven receptions for 227 yards and scored from 70, 46 and 66 yards.

Spencer Brown also caught a TD pass for UAB (11-3), which finished with its most wins in a single season and earned the first bowl victory in school history. The football program was shut down after the 2014 season only to be reinstated in 2017.

Marcus Childers completed 22 of 29 passes for 179 yards for Northern Illinois (8-6). Tre Harbison had the lone touchdown for the Huskies, who won the Mid-American Conference and sought their first bowl win since 2011.

The Blazers put the game out of reach late in the third quarter on Ubosi’s third touchdown grab from 66 yards out. The play pushed UAB’s lead to 34-13 and demoralized a Northern Illinois secondary that already had given up two big plays.

A 42-yard field goal by Nick Vogel made it 37-13 in the final minute of the third quarter.

The Blazers led 27-10 at the half.

UAB opened the scoring on its first play from scrimmage with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Johnston to Ubosi. The wide receiver sprinted down the right sideline and caught a perfect spiral that traveled nearly 50 yards in the air.

The Blazers made it 10-0 before Northern Illinois struck back with a touchdown run by Harbison from 1 yard out.

Brown caught a 3-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to increase UAB’s lead to 17-7.

A 27-yard field goal by Andrew Gantz cut the Huskies’ deficit to 17-10 before UAB answered with another big play.

Johnston again connected with Ubosi, this time from 46 yards, to increase the Blazers’ lead to 24-10 with 5:11 left in the first half. Vogel added a 35-yard field goal as time expired to stretch the halftime lead to 17 points.

UAB cornerback D.A. Williams was immobilized and carted off the field on a backboard after a scary play during the first half. Williams lowered his helmet to make a tackle and struck his head against the knee of a Huskies receiver.

—Field Level Media

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