High-Powered Offenses Go Head-To-HeadMay 15, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) Utah Blaze
The Blaze suffered its first defeat in five games last Friday, falling to the San Jose SaberCats on the road, 70-59. On the same weekend, the Rattlers knocked off the Chicago Rush, 77-43. With identical 6-3 records, the winner of the Blaze versus Rattlers will claim sole possession of second place in the division.
Utah will be charged with the task of stopping the 2011 National Guard MVP of the Year in Rattlers QB Nick Davila, who through nine games, has thrown for 2,648 yards with 57 touchdowns. Davila's favorite target is WR Maurice Purify, the 2011 Rookie of the Year who has accounted for 1,112 yards and 26 scores. Arizona ranks second in the AFL in total offense (328.1 ypg), as well as third in scoring (64.8 ppg) and passing offense (305.0 ypg).
"The Arizona Rattlers possess one of the best offenses in the AFL," said President & Head Coach Ron James. "Their quarterback and wide receiver corps have been exceptional all season. We need to find a way to limit their production this week in order to be successful."
The Blaze defense must get back to doing what it does best - pressuring the quarterback. "Sack City" has been relatively quiet over the past three games, but is always a threat to wreak havoc in the backfield. Davila has thrown nine interceptions on the season, which is the fifth-highest total in the AFL. If Utah can force errant throws, the Blaze will have a strong opportunity to gain extra possessions off of turnovers.
"We have been working hard all week on getting our pass rush back in gear," said James. "This is the type of game in which we need to pressure the quarterback and make it difficult for the Arizona offense to be efficient."
Of course, keeping up with Arizona's offense is also critical to coming away with a victory, but there may not be a unit better equipped to do so than the Blaze. Utah's offense has been shredding opposing defenses, averaging over 68 points during its last five games. Over that span, QB Tommy Grady has tossed 46 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions.
Grady has a wide array of weapons at his disposal, including WR Aaron Lesue, who leads the league in scoring (20.9 ppg) and touchdown receptions (31). WR Shaun Kauleinamoku has played in just two games with the Blaze, but has already developed a strong rapport with Grady. In limited action, Kauleinamoku has hauled in 19 passes for 267 yards and nine touchdowns. Last but certainly not least, WR Alvance Robinson continues to be a significant contributor capable of moving the chains, recording 60 receptions for 816 yards and 13 scores in seven games.
Arizona ranks 14th in total defense (319.8 ypg) and passing defense (305.0 ypg), but has been effective in keeping points off the board. The unit ranks fourth in the AFL in scoring, allowing just 50.4 points per game. The Rattlers feature a solid corps of defensive lineman, led by nose guard Anttaj Hawthorne, who leads the group with 4.5 sacks. Mack Linebacker Cliff Dukes will also return to the lineup this week after spending the past month and a half on injured reserve. Dukes led the AFL with 13.0 sacks in 2011.
"The Rattlers have a strong pass rush and a very aggressive defensive backfield," said James. "They are a well-coached team with a ton of veteran players. We will need to be on top of our game offensively in order to handle the pressure their defense applies."
The Utah Blaze vs. the will air LIVE on KMYU (Dish/DirecTV channel 12, Comcast channel 22), with Mychal Clanton (play-by-play), Kevin White (color commentary) and Dave Fox (Sideline) calling all the action. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM MT.
You can also view the game online through the Arena Football League's exclusive partnership with Ustream, the leader in live and interactive video streaming. Visit www.UTBlaze.com/LIVE to stream the game live and at no cost! Game coverage can be heard in the Salt Lake City area on The Zone 1280 AM/97.5 FM, the radio home of the Utah Blaze.
Arena Football League Stories from May 15, 2012
- Kauleinamoku Earns Weekly Offensive Honor - Utah Blaze
- Mustangs Rodgers and Thurman Take Home AFL Week 10 Honors - Milwaukee Mustangs
- VooDoo Players Visit Tulane Hospital for Children on Tuesday Afternoon - New Orleans VooDoo
- Sharks Acquire DL Jabari Fletcher - Jacksonville Sharks
- VooDoo Add DB Leslie Majors; Trade WR Carlese Franklin to Gladiators - New Orleans VooDoo
- Two Storm Chasers Named Finalists for AFL's Net10 Dream Team - Iowa Barnstormers
- Gladiators DE Jeramie Richardson Named AFL Playmaker of the Week - Cleveland Gladiators
- Sanders Receives Week 10 AFL Honors - Spokane Shock
- Kauleinamoku and Sanders Earn Week 10 Honors - AFL
- Tampa Bay Storm head to Cleveland to Play Gladiators - Tampa Bay Storm
- High-Powered Offenses Go Head-To-Head - Utah Blaze
- Talons Move up to No. 4 in the League, No. 2 in Division - San Antonio Talons
- Spokane prepares to host Philadelphia coming off overtime victory - Spokane Shock
- Predators Take on Former Head Coach Pat O'Hara, VooDoo - Orlando Predators
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.