Hopkins, UAB beat No. 12 BYU 31-28 in Independence Bowl

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UAB quarterback Dylan Hopkins (9) looks to throw during the first half of the Independence Bowl NCAA college football game against BYU in Shreveport, La., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Dylan Hopkins broke the Independence Bowl record for completion percentage in wind and driving rain, connecting on 19 of 23 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns in UAB’s 31-28 victory over No. 12 BYU on Saturday.

With UAB (9-4) facing fourth-and-7 with six minutes remaining, coach Bill Clark passed on a field-goal attempt, and Hopkins threw a 14-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass to Trea Shropshire, the only player from Louisiana on either roster.

“We knew to win the game we had to go for it,” Hopkins said.

BYU (10-3) appeared to be in good position to at least tie it, but Samson Nacua fumbled after making a catch inside UAB’s 25 with 3:36 remaining. The Blazers ran nine straight running plays to exhaust the remaining time.

“What a way to finish the game,” Ckark said. “We protected the ball. To win the game at the end — running the ball when they knew it was coming.”

DeWayne McBride ran for 183 yards and a score on 28 carries for UAB.

“UAB played a fantastic game,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “It was a tough game for us, but we will recover from this. We’ll learn, we will grow and we will be better. It is still a fantastic season, but it’s tough because we have to say goodbye to those seniors.”

BYU and running back Tyler Allgeier fought back from a 14-point deficit, tying it twice and eventually taking the lead in the fourth quarter. Allgeier ran for 192 yards and had three touchdowns.

Hopkins’ touchdown pass to Gerrit Prince, and McBride’s 64-yard scoring run gave UAB an early two-score lead.

Quarterback Baylor Romney — starting in place of injured Jaren Hall — put the Cougars back in the game with a strong start to the second quarter. Allgeier had a 1-yard scoring run, and Nacua had a 2-yarder to tie it.

UAB regained the lead with Hopkins’ 23-yard pass to Prince before halftime.

Allgeier ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run to tie it again 1:17 into the third quarter. His 1-yard run put the Cougars up 28-24 on the second play of the fourth quarter.

THE TAKEAWAY

BYU: The Cougars missed an opportunity for their highest postseason ranking in 26 years. The Cougars finished last season at No. 11 and No. 5 in 1996.

UAB: With two scores Saturday, Prince moved to fifth on UAB’s career touchdown receptions list (15) and fourth on the single-season list (10). The Blazers held a 14-0 led when linebacker Tyler Taylor was ejected for targeting late in the first quarter.

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