Football Writers Association of America Dec. 1, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Gangi
Blazers earn bowl-eligibility for first time in 10 seasons
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DALLAS (FWAA) – Jordan Howard set a school record with 262 yards rushing, and J.J. Nelson continued to pace the nation in kickoff returns by bringing another back for a touchdown in the UAB Blazers' 45-24 win over Southern Miss. The win gave UAB (6-6) bowl-eligibility for the first time since 2004, and earned them the Big Game National Team of the Week award for games of the weekend of Nov. 29.

The announcement came exclusively on SiriusXM Radio's "College Sports Today," hosted by Mark Packer and Dan Hawkins.

UAB rushed for 371 yards behind Howard's eighth 100-yard game of the season, which also made him as the school's all-time single-season rushing leader with 1,587 yards. Nelson led the nation in kickoff return average (38.3 yards per return) going into the game, and added to his numbers with a 99-yard return in the third quarter. The UAB defense contributed seven sacks.

"It is a big deal for us. It was part of our goals," first-year UAB head coach Bill Clark said. "People thought we were crazy when we broke it down to conference champs and part of that was being bowl eligible. You get what you dream about. You get what you hope for and work for I'm very happy for these guys."

UAB was 2-10 a year ago, and lost to Southern Miss 62-27 in the final week. UAB's appearance in the 2004 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is the only bowl game in program history.

Other Big Game National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Nov. 29:

• Air Force (9-3): The Falcons upset rival Colorado State, 27-24, on a last-second 39-yard field goal that ended the Rams’ nine-game win streak and took them out of the Mountain West Championship game. Air Force, missing its starting quarterback and leading rusher, leaned on its defense, which came through as safety Weston Steelhammer had an interception in the fourth quarter and helped stuff a fourth-and-short play in the final minute.

• Stanford (7-5): The Cardinal went to the Rose Bowl and upset UCLA, 31-10, to knock the Bruins out of the Pac-12 Championship Game. Kevin Hogan was 16-of-19 for 234 yards and two touchdowns, and became the first Stanford quarterback to beat UCLA four times in his career, and is 3-1 at the Rose Bowl. UCLA scored first, but Stanford outscored it 31-3 the rest of the way and now owns the first seven-game win streak for either team in the 86-game rivalry.

• Western Kentucky (7-5): Brandon Doughty threw his Conference USA-record eighth touchdown pass in overtime, then hit Willie McNeal on the following play for a two-point conversion and a wild 67-66 win at previously-undefeated Marshall and snapping its 13-game home win streak. Western Kentucky gained 738 total yards against a Marshall defense that was the best in C-USA. Doughty was 34-of-50 for 491 yards, and Leon Allen ran for 237 yards and two touchdowns.

The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the first season The Big Game Football Factory has presented the award. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor. Each remaining Monday during the 2014 college football regular season, the FWAA will name a National Team of the Week.

Big Game USA is the largest American-owned football factory. Nearly half of all Football Bowl Subdivision programs play with a ball made by Big Game USA. This season, Big Game has introduced gametag™, the latest development in football technology. It allows fans an opportunity to own a piece of football memorabilia, but more than that, gametag™ offers complete authentication. Currently, four Division I schools (Mississippi State, Navy, Nebraska and Texas A&M) use balls equipped with gametag™. For more information about Big Game USA, visit or contact Josh Eells at 972-292-0700 or

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at or 214-870-6516.

2014 Big Game National Teams of the Week
• Weekend of Aug. 30: Texas A&M Aggies
• Weekend of Sept. 6: Virginia Tech Hokies
• Weekend of Sept. 13: Boston College Eagles
• Weekend of Sept. 20: Mississippi State Bulldogs
• Weekend of Sept. 27: Yale Bulldogs
• Weekend of Oct. 4: Ole Miss Rebels
• Weekend of Oct. 11: Baylor Bears
• Weekend of Oct. 18: West Virginia Mountaineers
• Weekend of Oct. 25: LSU Tigers
• Weekend of Nov. 1: Florida Gators
• Weekend of Nov. 8: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Weekend of Nov. 15: Oregon State Beavers
• Weekend of Nov. 22: Minnesota Golden Gophers
• Weekend of Nov. 29: UAB Blazers

Mark Anderson Las Vegas Review-Journal Mountain West
Lee Barfknecht Omaha World-Herald National
Zach Barnett Football Scoop Conference USA
Kirk Bohls Austin American-Statesman Big 12
Aaron Brenner Charleston Post & Courier ACC
Lee Feinswog SEC
Tommy Hicks Mobile Press Register Sun Belt
Joey Johnston Tampa Tribune American
Marc Morehouse Cedar Rapids Gazette Big Ten
Phil Steele Phil Steele Publications National
John Wagner Toledo Blade Mid-American
Jon Wilner San Jose Mercury News Pac-12