Two seasons after reinstating football, UAB wins Conference USA title over Middle Tennessee

There is no comeback story in college football as great as UAB's. The Blazers watched helplessly as their program was taken away four years ago. Now, two full seasons after being reinstated, UAB are Conference USA champions thanks to a 27-25 win over Middle Tennessee

The game, as one would expect, didn't demand a ton of attention with other, bigger conference titles being played. However, this was quietly one of the more entertaining games of the day. The two sides exchanged the lead three times over the course of the game, with UAB nailing a go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 3:28 left to play. 

However, the ending will be the most controversial part. Facing a fourth-and-2 with 1:05 remaining, Middle Tennessee's defense went to the line of scrimmage with 12 men on the field. That was a five-yard penalty and gave the Blazers a new set of downs, which was enough to run out the clock for the win. As incredible as UAB's story is -- and it is incredible -- that's a heart-wrenching way to lose a game. 

Still, it's been a good season for the Blue Raiders, which won five of their last six games in the regular season (the lone loss was to Kentucky in a nonconference game). But UAB, of course, is the headline. Coach Bill Clark has done a remarkable job of literally rebuilding the program from scratch, using a bevy of transfer players to fill out a roster. That UAB has gone to a bowl game in each of the two seasons since reinstatement is one thing. That UAB was good enough to win 10 games and its conference is something else entirely. 

Clark should have been a unanimous choice for Coach of the Year a season ago, and frankly, he should be an overwhelming favorite to win a bunch of those awards this time around, too. He'll also be on a number of short lists moving forward to move up the college football coaching ladder after getting an extension before Saturday's game.

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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