"It was a matter of time," Rippon said. "He has not given up. He's a really hard runner. Teams had ability to put some pressure on him and fill gaps. Their line was still developing. He was still banging away and banging away. But you saw in the last three games that he just kept on going and the team started to rally around what he was doing."
Marshall players also mention Reaves' toughness, how he can both find holes and make holes when they might not be there. Plus, his frame and strength make him tough to bring down.
Ask Reaves how he describes himself as a running back, and he says it's a tough question to answer.
"I got asked this question in high school and I really don't know how to answer it," he said. "I like to feel like I'm balanced. I like to think I run with a great bit of power, but I also have the ability to make a defender miss."
What Reaves does know is that UAB's newfound running ability should make the Blazers even more dangerous, especially against a Marshall defense that is next to last in the conference, allowing 223 yards per game. The Blazers' ground gains, he said, offer a psychological boost as well.
"It gives us great confidence and trust in each other," he said. "It reassures the trust we already have in each other. I trust them to open up the holes and they trust me to see the cuts and see the holes."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.