BOCA RATON, Fla. — Two seasons after its soccer workforce returned to motion following a two-year hiatus, Alabama-Birmingham closed out the yr on an electrifying notice.

Tyler Johnston III threw for 373 yards and 4 touchdowns, three of them to Xavier Ubosi, and the Blazers beat Northern Illinois, 37-13, within the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday evening.

Ubosi had seven catches for 227 yards for the Convention USA champion Blazers (11-Three), who bought their first-ever bowl victory in three appearances. U.A.B. performed in its second consecutive bowl sport for the reason that program returned after being shut down following the 2014 season due to rising debt. It was reinstated the subsequent yr and returned to the sphere in 2017.

“I assume in our wildest goals we dreamed of successful a convention championship after which cap it off with a bowl win, so it’s actually that candy,” Blazers Coach Invoice Clark stated. “I don’t assume it might have gone any higher for us, so I’m very proud.”

Northern Illinois (Eight-6), the Mid-American Convention champion, has misplaced six consecutive bowl video games since beating Arkansas within the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl.

“We gave up three touchdowns on three deep balls,” Huskies Coach Rod Carey stated. “Old school go routes. Give these guys credit score. They ran by us. They threw it, caught it. That’s the distinction. If not, it’s 16-13. Within the fourth quarter, I like our possibilities.”

Johnston, who took over the beginning job for the injured A. J. Erdely at midseason, set profession highs in passing yards and landing passes. Ubosi got here into the sport ranked second within the nation at 21.Eight yards per catch, and his landing receptions coated 70, 46 and 66 yards.

“I’m shocked, however on the similar time you’re employed for it,” Ubosi stated. “Simply follow arduous, and no matter you do in follow you’ll do within the sport.”

The All-American Spencer Brown, who entered with 1,167 dashing yards and a team-record 16 touchdowns, caught a Three-yard shovel move for a rating and had 78 yards on the bottom.

U.A.B.’s 10th-ranked protection harassed Huskies quarterback Marcus Childers, sacking him 5 occasions and forcing two fumbles, recovering one. Northern Illinois led the nation with 50 sacks however by no means bought to Johnston.

Johnston hit Ubosi in stride for a 70-yard landing simply 18 seconds after the opening kickoff.

“It made it simpler for me,” Johnston stated. “Everybody needs to attain on the primary play of the sport.”

After a penalty on a punt gave the Blazers a fourth-and-1 alternative that they transformed, the duo related once more with 5 minutes 11 seconds remaining within the first half for a 24-10 lead.

Just a little greater than two minutes after the Huskies made it 27-13 early within the third quarter, Johnston discovered Ubosi down the sideline for his third rating.

“We discuss lots about making historical past,” Clark stated. “We talked about it with Tyler and Xavier and we knew we have been going to make historical past. We needed to complete.”

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