BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A.J. Erdely threw three touchdown passes, Spencer Brown ran for three scores and became the school’s sixth freshman to top 1,000 rushing yards, and UAB beat Rice 52-21 on Saturday to become bowl eligible for the fifth time in program history.

Brown, the nation’s second leading rusher among freshmen, gained 140 yards on 17 carries and has 1,049 on the season. He scored on a 1-yard run on UAB’s opening drive and on 9- and 1-yard runs.

UAB scored on its first four possessions before Brontae Harris grabbed a 64-yard pick-six. Garrison Mitchell’s fumble recovery led to Erdely’s 16-yard TD pass to Andre Wilson six plays later.

Erdley was 20-of-21 passing for 197 yards for the Blazers (6-3, 4-2 Conference USA) with a 43-yard scoring pass to Donnie Lee and a 5-yarder to Wilson.

Miklo Smalls ran for a score and was 9 of 15 for 179 yards passing for Rice (1-8, 1-4), with a 10-yard TD pass to Aaron Cephus, who had four catches for 100 yards. Austin Walter scored on a 70-yard run.

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