A cloudless sky and bright sun were the apparent reason Bill Clark wore sunglasses Saturday morning.
But the UAB football coach told his wife he was glad he had them on when the emotion of the multitude at the Blazer Walk hit him.
“What a great feeling, what an emotional feeling it was to get off that bus and see that unbelievable crowd,” Clark said. “It was really amazing.”
The University of Alabama at Birmingham took its latest step toward again being a football-playing school when the Green team outscored the Gold 49-7 before an announced crowd of 7,822 at Legion Field in the team’s spring scrimmage game.
An impressive number of those fans were on the west side of the stadium on Graymont Avenue two hours before kickoff to welcome coaches and players as they went through Blazer Walk.
Their presence didn’t go unnoticed.
“It was unbelievable,” Clark said. “That was a big deal.”
“That was awesome,” Green team quarterback A.J. Erdely said. “We were pretty jacked up about that.”
Wide receiver Collin Lisa was among the players who had been around when the Blazers last played. He said he experienced a bit of déjà vu, recalling the first game he played for UAB.
“I’ll be honest,” he began. “I didn’t expect as many people to be at the Blazer Walk. We showed up two hours before the game and that thing was packed. People were excited and it felt like game day, for real.”
Saturday’s game pitted the first- and second-string players against those who were “2½ and three” on the depth chart, Clark said.
Tyler Johnston and Erdely split time under center for the Green team. Johnston completed 8 of 12 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown while Erdely was 7 for 10 for 108 yards and a TD.
Kalin Heath ran for 79 yards on 13 carries. James Noble had 62 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Donnie Lee scored twice and finished with 68 yards on nine totes.
Lisa was the top receiver on the day, catching five passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
“Seeing the stands, I had to step back for a second, like, ‘I’m really back now,’” he said. “This is really happening on Sept. 2.”
The Blazers open their comeback season at home against Alabama A&M on Sept. 2.
Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.