MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama State opens the 2019 season against in-state foe UAB at Birmingham’s historic Legion Field Thursday, Aug. 29 with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Hornet Sports Network. Pregame begins at 6:30 p.m. on the Hornets’ flagship station, WVAS-90.7 FM.
Alabama State and UAB have not met since 2008, with the Blazers winning that contest; however, Alabama State leads the all-time series 2-1. The Hornets look to claim their second consecutive season-opening win after defeating Tuskegee in overtime to kickoff 2018.
Alabama State looks to rebound from a late-season slide that saw them fall to fourth place in the SWAC East Division. That is exactly where they picked to finish in the Preseason Poll, voted on by the head coaches and sports information directors this season. They were picked to finish behind defending Alcorn State, Alabama A&M, and Jackson State; while they were picked to finish ahead of Mississippi Valley State in the East Division.
A win Thursday night would be the second consecutive season that the Hornets will have started the season off with a win, both under Donald Hill-Eley. Last season, they defeated Tuskegee in overtime at the Labor Day Classic to kick off the season. Alabama State has not won back-to-back season openers since the 2010-2011 seasons in which they combined for 15 wins, including finishing the 2011 season 8-3.
The last time that UAB and Alabama State met to open the season came in 1995 when the Hornets claimed a 13-3 victory before finishing the season 8-3 — winning their last six games of the season. The last time the two met was in 2008 — the third game of the season.
After last season, Alabama State is just three wins shy of 500 all-time. The Hornets have compiled a 497-477-41 record in their history.
Ezra Gray enters the 2019 season needing just 282 yards to reach 1,000 for his career. He rushed for 384 yards on 100 carries last season. His best game last season was when he rushed for 130 yards on 20 carries in a loss to Grambling State.
Joshua Hill sits eighth at the school for punt returns in a single season. The senior returned just eight punts last year but registered 114 yards and averaged 14.3 yards per return.
Anthony Craven is second at the school in punting just after one season. He booted the ball 78 times for an average of 42.7 yards. Hunter Hanson needs just seven points to hit 100 entering his junior year. He has 93 career points after a 52-point sophomore season.
Courtesy: Alabama State Athletcs