BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)– It’s Thursday night lights – college edition – as UAB and Samford both open at home Thursday evening.

Samford kicks off first at 6p.m. against the Shorter Hawks. University officials said it’s “Homewood Day.” There will be tailgating, the Bulldog Walk and Homewood cheerleaders there to welcome all the fans.

General Manager of Ticket Sales and Operations David Moore said fans can expect good defense, hard hitting and a lot of points.

The Samford Bulldogs are coming off a conference championship with some big names returning this year like quarterback Michael Hiers.

“It’s better than anything else,” said Samford junior William Malcolm. “The atmosphere’s great and the Samford atmosphere’s great. I think a lot of people here just love the sport and they’re all excited to go to it.”

The Bulldogs are expecting a packed house Thursday night. Their overall goal is coming together as a team and a community to get the win.

They also hope to provide students and fans with a family friendly atmosphere.

“I want your family to come in, feel comfortable, down there close as you can to the field, high fiving players after games,” Moore said. “And also, you’re not spending a whole lot of money for it. It’s affordable for the family so you can bring everybody.”

Moore said tickets are still available at You can use promo code “HOMEWOOD” for a discount.

The same day, UAB will battle North Carolina A&T with a 7p.m. kick off. New head coach Trent Dilfer said he’s leaning into his NFL roots as he leads the blazers into this new season.

Coach Dilfer said he understands the skeptics and the curious, but hopes people show up to see what they’ve been working hard on during the off-season.

He said the players have bought into something bigger than themselves. Dilfer said football is more than just the result of a game – it’s about the journey.

“There’s going to be ebbs and flows; there’s going to be wild successes and there’s going to be some setbacks,” said Dilfer. “Not necessarily losses, but setbacks, and I’ve always enjoyed that part of it and I want our building to enjoy that part of it.

“The relationships grow because of that. The greatest relationships I have in my life outside of my family are football relationships because of what you go through with these people. And I’m excited, our entire building going through this journey and then the relationships coming out of it.”

Dilfer said he hopes the community has pride in how their boys perform and represent our city on the field. He said they’re incredibly focused, but also hope to have fun feeding off the crowd’s energy.

Dilfer said fans can expect an exciting style of football this season.

“A smart style of football,” he said. “My NFL roots, I’m not going to deny them. (there’s) a complexity to our schemes that I don’t think has been seen before. A lot of versatility with our players, a great coaching staff and hopefully a lot of remaining touch downs on offense and a lot of stops on defense.”