BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) A.J. Erdeley threw two touchdown passes and ran in another as UAB defeated Alabama A&M 38-7 on Saturday in the Blazers' first game following a two-season hiatus.
School officials shut down the UAB program at the end of the 2014 season for financial reasons, but it was reinstated six months later after a fundraising effort generated what eventually became more than $40 million in contributions. The Blazers then sat out the 2015 and 2016 seasons in order to rebuild their roster.
There was a true game-day atmosphere outside Legion Field in the hours before kickoff, something the program lacked while going through nine consecutive losing seasons.
The Blazers led 10-7 at halftime, then broke the game open midway through the third quarter on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Erdeley to Sederian Copeland, followed less than a minute later by a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown by Anthony Rush.
The only score for Alabama A&M in what was its season opener as well came on a 46-yard pass from Aqeel Glass to Rod Randolph.
UAB: At times, the Blazers looked a lot like a team that had not played in more than 1,000 days. But led by a defense that allowed 183 yards in total offense, UAB was able to wear down the FCS Bulldogs.
ALABAMA A&M: The 38 points given up by the Bulldogs was basically the same as last season's 38.7 per-game average.
The Blazers were greeted by an announced crowd of 45,212, the largest in program history. UAB often played in front of home crowds of less than 10,000 before the temporary shutdown. The increase apparently caught some fans off guard, as cars were still lined up outside the stadium for nearly a mile at kickoff.
UAB: Visits Ball State in the program's first game against a Mid-American Conference opponent.
ALABAMA A&M: Plays at Vanderbilt, the second of three consecutive road games to start the season.
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