Mustangs Lose In Final Seconds, 61-58
MILWAUKEE, WI - For the second straight week, the Milwaukee Mustangs (2-4) lost in the closing seconds, falling 61-58 to the Utah Blaze (5-2) in front of 6,689 fans at the Bradley Center on Saturday night.
Tommy Grady's 3-yard dump-off pass to Alex Michael with 5.7 seconds left in the game proved to be the deciding factor for the Blaze in a game that went back-and-forth throughout the evening.
"We gave them too much time and they came back," said Mustangs coach Bob Landsee.
The Mustangs were led by National Guard MVP of the Game Marcus Everett, who caught five passes for 67 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Gino Guidugli finished 20 of 28 for 280 yards and seven touchdowns for the Mustangs.
Milwaukee got off to its quickest start of the season when Kelvin Rodgers returned the opening kickoff the length of the field for a touchdown. The Blaze answered right back, converting two fourth downs on the drive and finishing with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Grady to Aaron Lesue. Milwaukee then found the end zone on the offense's first possession of the game, as Gino Guidugli hooked up with Marcus Everett from eight yards out to take a 14-7 lead.
Utah tied the game back up on the first play of the second quarter when Grady and Lesue connected for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Milwaukee, however, would regain the lead when Everett caught an 11-yard strike from Guidugli for his second touchdown reception of the evening. Milwaukee then extended the lead after a stellar defensive play.
After a 17-yard reception by Lesue, Ki'Ameer-Silk Johnson ripped the ball loose and the fumble was recovered by Jamar Love. That turnover paved the way for a 24-yard touchdown pass from Guidugli to AJ Kegg to give the Mustangs a 28-14 lead.
But Utah had some tricks up its sleeve. After a short touchdown reception by Alvance Robinson, the Blaze converted on a surprise onside kick attempt and knotted up the score at 28-28 with only 0:08 left in the half when Robinson hauled in another scoring reception. Milwaukee would still take the lead into halftime, however, as kicker Ryan Gates nailed home a 44-yard field goal as time expired to put the Mustangs ahead 31-28.
After a defensive stop by both teams to open up the second half, the Blaze took a 35-31 lead when Grady snuck into the end zone from a yard away. Guidugli and Jared Jenkins then connected on a 17-yard touchdown reception to take back the lead before Utah closed out the third quarter on top with a Maurice Bryant 23-yard touchdown catch to go up 41-38.
Everett hauled in his third receiving touchdown of the night to give the Mustangs a 44-41 lead, but Utah answered right back with another touchdown reception by Bryant to go back on top 48-44. Everett then helped the Mustangs regain the lead when he caught a 35-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing possession.
Chris Bocage caught a 2-yard touchdown pass with under a minute to go to put the Blaze on top 55-51, but Milwaukee put together a drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jenkins for a 58-55 lead with 0:28 remaining. But the final Utah possession put the Blaze ahead for good and sent the Mustangs away with a devastating 61-58 loss.
"We've got a long season ahead of us," added Landsee. We've got 12 games left. We're going to be just fine. It will get better. It's my responsibility."
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Arena Football League Stories from April 28, 2012
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