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San Jose SaberCats game notes

February 28, 2006 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) - San Jose SaberCats News Release

THE QUICK FACTS:
Game: San Jose SaberCats (1-4) at Utah Blaze (2-3).
Date: Saturday, March 4, 2006.
Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. (PT).
Site: Delta Center (13,143).
Officials: Referee: Terry Brown; Umpire: Rick Lowe; Head Linesman: Rod Pearson; Line Judge: Art Lucky; Back Judge: Scott Helverson.
Television: The game will be televised live in the Bay Area on TV20 beginning at 6:00 p.m. (PT). Bob Fitzgerald will call the play-by-play with former SaberCat Steve Papin supplying the commentary.
Radio: San Jose's flagship station KNBR-1050 will broadcast the game live with Ted Robinson handling play-by-play duties and former SaberCats standout James Hundon adding commentary. The station will air a 30-minute pre-game show starting at 5:30 p.m.
Internet: Log on to www.KNBR.com to hear a live webcast of Saturday night's game.
Series Record: Utah leads 1-0.
Last Meeting: Utah 48, SaberCats 35 on January 28, 2006 in San Jose.
Series Streaks: Utah Won 1.
Coaches: San Jose, Darren Arbet (8th season; 74-35 regular season, 83-39 overall). Utah, Danny White (14th season; 123-58 regular season, 143-68 overall).

OVERVIEW: The SaberCats dropped their second straight game and fell to 1-4 on the year with a 54-48 overtime loss at Chicago on Feb. 26. Despite the worst five game start to a season in franchise history, the SaberCats are just one game out of first place in the Western Division and travel to Salt Lake City for a rematch with the first-place Utah Blaze on Saturday, Mar. 4. The teams opened the season back on Jan. 28 at HP Pavilion with the expansion Blaze grabbing the first win in franchise history, 48-35. Since that day the SaberCats have been on the road and Saturday's contest brings an end to the team's record five-game road trip. Following the game San Jose will play seven of its final 10 games of the year at home. In their loss at Chicago, the SaberCats let a 12-point second half lead slip away and watched the Rush tie the game at 48-48 with just 11 seconds left in regulation sending the game into overtime. It was just the fifth overtime game in SaberCats history and the second time they have lost in the extra session. San Jose last played an overtime game on June 30, 2001, beating the Florida Bobcats at home. Saturday's game at Utah will be televised live in the Bay Area on TV20 and can be heard on the SaberCats flagship radio station KNBR 1050 starting at 6:00 p.m. (PT).

THE SCHEDULES:

2006 SAN JOSE SABERCATS (1-4)
Date Opponent Result Score
Jan. 28 UTAH Lost 35-48
Feb. 6 @Las Vegas Lost 48-51
Feb. 12 @Arizona Won 58-50
Feb. 19 @Grand Rapids Lost 52-66
Feb. 26 @Chicago Lost (ot) 48-54
Date Opponent Time (PT) Radio/TV
Mar. 4 @Utah 6:00 pm 1050-680/20
Mar. 12 LOS ANGELES 3:00 pm 1050/NBC
Mar. 17 GEORGIA 7:30 pm 1050/FSN
Mar. 25 @Nashville 5:00 pm 1050/NBC11
Apr. 2 ARIZONA 3:00 pm 1050/NBC
Apr. 7 @Tampa Bay 4:30 pm 1050/20
Apr. 14 LAS VEGAS 7:30 pm 1050/FSN
Apr. 22 AUSTIN 7:30 pm 1050
Apr. 29 @Los Angeles 7:30 pm 1050/20
May 6 COLORADO 7:30 pm 1050
May 13 COLUMBUS 7:30 pm 1050

2006 UTAH BLAZE (2-3)
Date Opponent Result Score
Jan. 28 @San Jose Won 48-35
Feb. 4 DALLAS Lost 53-56
Feb. 11 NEW YORK Lost 81-84
Feb. 18 @Arizona Lost 38-45
Feb. 25 @Los Angeles Won 68-66
Date Opponent Time (PT) TV
Mar. 4 SAN JOSE 6:00 pm FSN
Mar. 10 NASHVILLE 6:00 pm
Mar. 16 @Grand Rapids 4:00 pm FSN
Mar. 24 LAS VEGAS 6:00 pm KJZZ
Apr. 1 @Tampa Bay 4:30 pm FSN
Apr. 7 ARIZONA 6:00 pm FSN
Apr. 15 LOS ANGELES 6:00 pm KJZZ
Apr. 21 @Colorado 6:00 pm FSN
Apr. 29 @Las Vegas 7:30 pm
May 6 @Chicago 5:00 pm FSN
May 12 KANSAS CITY 6:00 pm KJZZ

THE SERIES: The teams met for the first time on Jan. 28 at HP Pavilion with the Blaze posting a 48-35 win for their first-ever victory. Fourteen of Utah head coach Danny White's 143 career victories have come against San Jose, including 13 wins as head coach of the Arizona Rattlers (1992-2004)...San Jose has lost a season series to a Western Division opponent just six times in its previous 11 seasons. A Blaze win would be the 7th.

WHAT'S AHEAD: San Jose finally returns to the confines of HP Pavilion when they entertain division rival the Los Angeles Avengers on Sunday, Mar. 12 in a scheduled NBC game. The first 5,000 fans through the turnstiles receive a SaberCats bandana sponsored by Symantec.
FORMER SABERCATS MAKE TRANSITION: Former SaberCat players Steve Papin and James Hundon are making the transition from successful playing careers to broadcasters. Papin, San Jose's career leader in all kick return categories, has been a color analyst on several San Jose radio and television broadcasts this season, while Hundon, one of San Jose's top receivers of all-time, has been heard on a few of the team's radio calls. Papin will work alongside Bob Fitzgerald on this week's television crew while Hundon will serve as commentator with Ted Robinson on KNBR 1050's radio call of the game at Utah.

SERIES NOTABLES: San Jose's loss to Utah on Jan. 28 was its first on opening day since 1998. The SaberCats had won seven straight season opening games before that...WR/LB James Roe and OS Rodney Wright both went down with injuries in the first quarter of the Jan. 28 game leaving the SaberCats shorthanded for nearly the entire game.

LAST SERIES MEETING: Utah 48, SABERCATS 35 - Saturday, January 28, 2005 - HP Pavilion - After winning their previous seven home openers, the SaberCats dropped their first game of the 2006 season at home 48-35 to the expansion Utah Blaze. Utah QB and Offensive Player of the Game Joe Germaine ignited the Blaze, completing 17-of-27 attempts for 199 yards and 5 touchdowns, three to OS Siaha Burley. After spending last season with the Chicago Rush, WR/DB Charles Pauley was one of the bright spots for San Jose, making a successful return to the SaberCats by hauling in 11 passes for 96 yards and 3 touchdowns. The night started off strong for the SaberCats. Utah won the coin toss and marched down the field to the San Jose 10-yard line, but lineman Joe Jacobs forced a fumble that was recovered by the SaberCats and returned to the Utah 11. QB Mark Grieb hooked up with WR/LB James Roe in the corner of the end zone on his first pass of the season for an 11-yard touchdown. On the play, however, Roe was injured and would not return to the game. Utah responded by scoring the first touchdown in Blaze history when Germaine found Burley in the end zone to knot the score at 7-7. San Jose and Utah exchanged touchdowns on their next possessions and closed out the first quarter tied at 14-14. Utah opened the second quarter with a field goal to break the tie and increased their lead after Germaine found WR/DB Orshawante Bryant in the end zone. Utah recovered the ensuing kickoff in the end zone to take a 31-14 lead that held up into halftime. After being tied after the first quarter, San Jose was outscored 17-0 in the second quarter. The SaberCats looked to get back into the game after a tough second quarter and did just that when FB/LB Phil Glover rumbled into the end zone on fourth and goal from the one yard line to cut the deficit to 21-31. The Blaze responded with a field goal to extend their lead to 34-21. The SaberCats looked like they were headed for another score after driving the ball to the Utah 14, but Grieb was picked off in the end zone by DS Kelvin Hunter for a touchback. However, the SaberCats defense held firm and didn't allow Utah to score off of the turnover. San Jose had a chance to close the gap, but K Brian Schmitz missed from 29 yards out. On Utah's next possession, Germaine connected with Burley again to give the Blaze a commanding 41-21 lead with 6:27 to go. San Jose responded with a 15-yard TD reception from Grieb to Pauley to cut the Utah lead to 41-28. The onside kick attempt by the SaberCats was unsuccessful and Utah took over at the San Jose 10-yard line. Once again, Germaine found Burley in the end zone for the score to extend their lead 48-28. Backup QB Stoney Case, making his SaberCats debut, threw a 6-yard pass to Pauley with 11 seconds to go to complete the scoring.

Score By Quarters
Blaze...................................... 14 17 3 14 - 48
SaberCats............................... 14 0 7 14 - 35

SCORING SUMMARY
SAN Roe 11 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
UTA Burley 4 pass from Germaine (Videtich kick)
SAN Pauley 17 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
UTA Bryant 39 pass from Germaine (Videtich kick)
UTA FG Videtich 21
UTA Bryant 11 pass from Germaine (Videtich kick)
UTA Woods 0 net recovery (Videtich kick)
SAN Glover 1 run (Schmitz kick)
UTA FG Videtich 22
UTA Burley 27 pass from Germaine (Videtich kick)
SAN Pauley 15 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
UTA Burley 5 pass from Germaine (Videtich kick)
SAN Pauley 6 pass from Case (Schmitz kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Passing: UTA - Germaine 17-27-0-199; Pace 0-1-0-0. SAN Grieb 28-40-1-236; Case 1-1-0-6.
Rushing: UTA - Clemens 4-7; Younger 1-3; Pace 2-1; Germaine 1-0. SAN - Johnson 1-2; Grieb 1-1; Coleman 3-(-3); Glover 2-(-4).
Receiving: UTA - Burley 5-54; Pace 5-50; Bryant 4-65; Damond 1-26; Younger 1-3; Henderson 1-1. SAN - Pauley 11-96; Coleman 7-64; Floyd 7-43; Johnson 2-24; Roe 1-11; Williams 1-4.
Kick Returns: UTA - Burley 3-45; Pace 1-17. SAN - Thomas 3-72; Wright 1-20; Coleman 1-12.

ALL-TIME SERIES SCORES
Date Score
Jan. 28, 2006 Utah 48, @San Jose 35

2006 TEAM STATISTICAL COMPARISON
Category (AFL Rank) SaberCats Blaze
Scoring Offense 48.2 (11) 57.6 (1)
Scoring Defense 53.8 (13) 57.2 (16)
Total Offense 284.4 (T-9) 326.2 (2)
Total Defense 274.0 (7) 308.8 (15)
Pass Offense 272.8 (7) 318.0 (2)
Pass Defense 254.0 (8) 301.6 (16)
Rushing Offense 11.6 (12) 8.2 (17)
Rushing Defense 20.0 (T-11) 7.2 (1)
Pass Rating 103.6 (9) 127.7 (3)
Pass Defense Rating 118.9 (17) 133.3 (18)
Interceptions 4 (T-13) 2 (T-16)
Kickoff Return Avg. 16.2 (T-8) 16.2 (T-8)
Field Goal Return Avg. 13.0 (10) 0.0 (T-16)
Turnover Margin -2 (T-13) +1 (T-6)
3rd Down Conversions 37.5% (15) 45.2% (10)
4th Down Conversions 40.0 (T-12) 57.1% (T-7)
Sacks For 7 (T-4) 3 (T-13)
Sacks Against 8 (14) 10 (T-15)

2006 SABERCATS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Player Category No. Rank
Mark Grieb Total Offense 281.8 7th
Mark Grieb Pass TDs 21 T-9th
Mark Grieb Pass Completions 114 T-8th
Mark Grieb Passing Yards 1,407 6th
Mark Grieb Pass Avg/Game 281.4 7th
Mark Grieb Passer Rating 102.2 9th
Mark Grieb Pass Attempts 181 6th
Calvin Schexnayder Touchdowns 10 T-8th
Phil Glover Rushing TDs 4 T-3rd
James Roe Yards Per Catch 15.4 T-8th
Marquis Floyd INT Return TDs 1 T-2nd
Marquis Floyd Forced Fumbles 2 T-3rd
Joe Jacobs Sacks 3.0 T-4th
Joe Jacobs Tackles for Loss 4.5 T-2nd
Brian Schmitz PAT Kick Attempts 26 10th

THE IFS...:
If the SaberCats defeat Utah it would...
*Break their 2-game losing steak.
*Give them a 2-4 season record.
*Move them into a first place tie in the Division.
*Even the series with Utah at 1-1.
*Give them a 2-3 record on their 5-game road trip.
*Give them a 42-26 all-time record against Western Division opponents.
*Give them a 17-15 all-time road record against Western Division opponents.
*Give them a 104-60 all-time regular season record.
*Give them a 47-37 all-time reg. season road record.

THE COACHES:
San Jose - Darren Arbet, 8th season
74-35 (.679) reg. season; 83-39 (.680) overall
0-1 (.000) career vs. Utah
10-7 (.588) career vs. Danny White
Now in his eighth season at the helm of the SaberCats, two-time Coach of the Year Darren Arbet enters the 2006 season ranked 6th in the AFL with 83 career victories and needs just three more wins to tie Perry Moss for 5th place. Last season Arbet led the SaberCats to their 6th consecutive winning season and playoff appearance. Since the start of the 2000 season his teams have compiled a 68-27 (.723) regular season record and have set league records for most regular season wins (13 - 2002), most wins in a season (16- 2002), most consecutive wins in a regular season (12 - 2002), most wins to end a season (11 - 2000) and the longest regular season win streak (15 - 2000-01). Last season Arbet became the second fastest head coach to reach 80 career wins, doing it in 111 games. Only Tampa Bay's Tim Marcum, who reached the 80-win mark in 96 games, got to that milestone quicker.

Utah - Danny White, 14th season
123-58 (.680) reg. season; 143-68 (.678) overall
14-11 (.560) career vs. San Jose
7-10 (.412) career vs. Darren Arbet
Entering his 14th season as an AFL head coach and first with the Blaze, White has compiled a record of 143-68 and advanced to the AFL Playoffs in 12 of the previous 13 years (hasn't missed the postseason since 1992). Prior to joining the Blaze, White was the head coach of the Arizona Rattlers for 13 seasons (1992-2004). The AFL Hall of Fame coach has two titles (1994 and 1997) to his credit and has made five ArenaBowl appearances (1994, 97, 2002-04). During his last season in Arizona in 2004, White compiled a 13-6 record and made his third straight ArenaBowl appearance. White won the AFL Coach of the Year award in 1993. He officially became the head coach of the Blaze on April 21, 2005.

CAREER COACHING RECORDS
Rk. Coach Record
1. Tim Marcum 177-70
2. Danny White 143-68
3. Mike Hohensee 98-87
4. Mike Dailey 92-59
5. Perry Moss 86-35
6. Darren Arbet 83-39

ROSTER MOVES: Prior to their game at Chicago the SaberCats activated WR/LB Kevin McKenzie and OL/DL George Williams from IR and replaced them with WR/LB Fred Coleman and OL/DL Alan Harper. Coleman sustained an ankle injury at Grand Rapids on Feb. 19 and missed the entire second half. OS Calvin Schexnayder sustained a sprained ankle in the first half at Chicago on Feb. 26 and did not return. His status for this week's game is uncertain. The team also re-signed OS Atnaf Harris on Feb. 21.

RECENT ROSTER MOVES
Date Action
Jan. 23 Placed DS Rufus Brown, OL/DL Julius Gant, OS Jason Geathers, OS Atnaf Harris and QB Chris Lewis on IR.
Jan 26 Signed OL/DL Frank Beede. Placed OL/DL Alan Harper on IR
Jan 28 Placed WR/DB Barry Wagner on IR.
Feb 1 Signed Niccolo Cancellieri to international PS.
Feb 3 Signed WR/LB Kevin McKenzie, WR/LB Calvin Schexnayder and OL/DL Wes Stephens. Placed WR/LB James Roe and WR/DB Rodney Wright on IR.
Feb 8 Released OL/DL Frank Beede.
Feb 10 Activated OL/DL Julius Gant, OL/DL Dan Loney, OL/DL Alan Harper and WR/LB Ben Nelson from IR. Placed OL/DL Jeff Ruffin, OL/DL George Williams and WR/LB Kevin McKenzie on IR.
Feb 11 Activated DS Omarr Smith from IR. Placed FB/LB JaJuan Huddleston on IR.
Feb 18 Activated WR/LB James Roe from IR. Placed WR/LB Ben Nelson on IR.
Feb 21 Re-signed OS Atnaf Harris.
Feb 25 Activated WR/LB Kevin McKenzie and OL/DL George Williams from IR. Placed WR/LB Fred Coleman and OL/DL Alan Harper on IR.

INJURY REPORT: At press time the SaberCats had 13 players on injured reserve. League rules stipulate that players on IR must be inactive for two weeks. San Jose added WR/LB Fred Coleman (ankle) and OL/DL Alan Harper (flu symptoms) to its IR list prior to the Feb. 26 Chicago game. OS Calvin Schexnayder sustained an ankle injury in the first half at Chicago and did not return for the second half. His status for this week's game is uncertain. The players listed below with an asterisk by their name are eligible to be activated to the 24-man roster for the game at Utah on Mar. 4.
INJURY REPORT
Player Injury Status
Albrey Battle* R ankle tendonitis IR
Atnaf Harris* L foot stress IR
Chris Lewis* Back strain IR
Rufus Brown* L wrist sprain IR
Jason Geathers* R Hip flexor IR
Fitu Tu'ua* L 3rd finger IR
Barry Wagner* L Hamstring IR
Rodney Wright* Turf toe IR
Jeff Ruffin* Upper back IR
JaJuan Huddleston* Finger IR
Ben Nelson* R ankle sprain IR
Fred Coleman Ankle sprain IR
Alan Harper Flu symptoms IR

MILESTONES
Player Milestone Needs
Mark Grieb 25,000 career pass yards 810
1,900 career completions 40
Phil Glover 200 career rush yards 29
Barry Wagner AFL career all-purpose yardage leader 165
50 career INTs 3
Clevan Thomas 30 career INTs 3
Team career lead in PDs 1
Calvin Schexnayder 8th place in AFL career receptions 4
5th place in AFL career receiving yards 193
Joe Jacobs 40 career sacks 1.5
Karl Bates 10 career sacks 0.5
Terrance Joseph 10 career INTs 1
Omarr Smith 25 career INTs 1
Nikia Adderson 10 career sacks 3.0
Brian Johnson 50 career rush yards 7
Charles Pauley 50 career receptions 2
James Roe 5,800 career receiving yds 47

RECENT RESULTS: Chicago 54, SABERCATS 48 (OT) - Matt D'Orazio tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Cornelius White in overtime giving the Chicago Rush a 54-48 win over the San Jose SaberCats. Chicago DB Jeremy Unertl's second interception of the game came on San Jose's first overtime possession setting the stage for the Rush to complete the comeback win. It was the fifth overtime game in SaberCats history and the first since June 30, 2001. The loss also dropped San Jose to a franchise worst 1-4 on the year. San Jose QB Mark Grieb connected with James Roe on a 46-yard scoring play midway through the third quarter to stake San Jose to a 40-28 lead. Grieb completed 17 of 28 pass attempts for 242 yards with five touchdowns on the game, but his two interceptions to Unertl led to a pair of Chicago scores. Grieb tossed a total of three picks for the game, all in the second half. Chicago's C.J. Johnson returned a missed Brian Schmitz field goal attempt 56 yards for a touchdown with 9:41 left in the fourth quarter to give the Rush its first lead of the game at 41-40. Roe's third scoring catch of the game and a two-point conversion gave San Jose a 7-point lead with under four minutes left in the contest, but Chicago forced overtime when D'Orazio connected with Buchie Ibeh on a 12-yard touchdown pass with just 11 seconds remaining. San Jose had one last chance in regulation, but following a holding penalty on the kickoff return, the SaberCats were backed up to their own 6-yard line. Grieb then was sacked by Khreem Smith on the San Jose one on the next play ending regulation. The SaberCats jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead following a 1-yard Calvin Schexnayder run after a net recovery on the opening kickoff by Phil Glover. San Jose held Chicago on downs on its first possession and Grieb connected with Roe from 24-yards out for a 13-0 lead six and a half minutes into the game. Chicago's Bob McMillen became the AFL's career rushing leader, briefly. He ran for a yard in the third quarter to overtake Les Barley, but on his next carry, McMillen was thrown for an 8-yard loss, moving him behind Barley once again.

TRENDS:
SLOW STARTS - With their overtime loss at Chicago on Feb. 26, the SaberCats have done something never before in their history. The loss dropped San Jose's record to 1-4 on the year, the worst five-game start to a season in the 12-year history of the franchise.

THE END IS HERE - Saturday's game at Utah brings an end to San Jose's franchise record five-game road trip. Over the last five weeks the SaberCats have traveled approximately 13,000 miles round trip with stops in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Grand Rapids, Chicago and Salt Lake City. A win over the Blaze would give San Jose a 2-3 record on the trip and be a huge boost for a team that plays seven of its last 10 games at home.

RECENT WOES - Over their last 16 games (the equivalent of a complete regular season schedule) the SaberCats have posted just a 7-9 record. Taking the last 11 games of 2005, including a first round playoff loss at Colorado, and the first five games of this season, San Jose is two games below the break even point. San Jose went 6-5 at the end of last season and is 1-4 through five games in 2006.

HEADS OR TAILS - San Jose has won the opening coin flip in all five games this season, but that obviously doesn't translate into wins as the team is just 1-4 on the year. San Jose did lose the coin toss to open the overtime period at Chicago and lost in the extra session.

NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS - The SaberCats allowed a 56-yard MFG return for a touchdown, had a PAT blocked and blew another PAT on a bad center snap at Chicago on Feb. 26. Through five games this season, San Jose has allowed a KO and MFG return touchdown, two net recovery TDs and have failed to convert three PATs due to poor short-snaps.

PROVING COSTLY - Turnovers are costly in any game, but especially in Arena Football when every possession is a scoring opportunity. The SaberCats committed three turnovers, all interceptions, and lost a possession on a missed field goal in their 54-48 loss at Chicago on Feb. 26. In their four losses, the SaberCats have been intercepted six times, lost two fumbles, had three opponent net recoveries (2 for TDs), turned the ball over on downs six times and missed four field goals. In their only win, San Jose didn't turn the ball over and only lost a possession on a missed field goal attempt.

CONVERTING - After allowing their opponents to convert just 33 percent of their 3rd down attempts (8-of-24) in the first four games of the season, the SaberCats were victimized eight times in nine 3rd down attempts, including eight straight conversions, by the Rush on Feb. 26. After failing on their first 3rd down of the game, Chicago converted its final eight 3rd down tries with QB Matt D'Orazio going 8-for-8 for 113 yards and 3 TDs.

THREES COMPANY - With three interceptions against the Rush on Feb. 26, QB Mark Grieb tied a team record that had been reached 11 times previously in franchise history. It was the sixth time Grieb had thrown 3 picks in a game, equaling the record originally set by Bobby Fresques in 1996. Fresques (twice), Ben Bennett, John Kaleo, Scott Wood and John Dutton, along with Grieb, all hold the record. San Jose is just 1-11 in games where their QB throws three INTs, with their only win coming on May 17, 2003 in a 47-43 win over Los Angeles with Grieb as the QB.

NOTES:
FIRST PLACE SHOWDOWN - It was expected to be a competitive division, and it is with Utah holding a one-game edge on the rest of the division. Saturday's game turns out to be a showdown for the top spot in the West between San Jose and Utah. A win by the SaberCats lifts them into a tie with the Blaze while the other three teams (Arizona, Las Vegas, Los Angeles) all play outside the division. A change in the 2006 playoff format has the four division winners (West, Central, South, East) receiving a bye in the first round of the postseason and hosting a game in the second round. Games within the division take on more importance this year with head-to-head competition factoring as the main tie-breaker. Since the AFL went to a four-division format in 1995, no team with a sub-.500 record has won a division title and just two teams, Orlando (2002) and New York (2003), have won division titles with a .500 mark.

2006 WESTERN DIVISION STANDINGS
Team W L GB Pct Div Conf
Utah 2 3 -- .400 2-1 2-1
San Jose 1 4 1.0 .200 1-2 1-4
Las Vegas 1 4 1.0 .200 1-0 1-1
Los Angeles 1 4 1.0 .200 1-1 1-3
Arizona 1 4 1.0 .200 1-2 1-2

OVERTIME - San Jose's overtime game at Chicago on Feb. 26 was just its fifth in the 12-year history of the franchise and only the second loss suffered by the team in the extra session. San Jose's last OT game prior to Feb. 26 was back on June 30, 2001, a 56-55 win over the Florida Bobcats. The team went 80 games (regular and post season) in between OT games. San Jose's only other overtime game on the road was a 37-31 win at Iowa on June 14, 1997.

K-MAC IS BACK - Kevin McKenzie returned to the SaberCats lineup after two weeks on IR with a groin injury and handled kickoff return duties flawlessly. K-Mac had career-highs of 8 returns for 136 yards and leads the squad with 10 KORs for 184 yards on the year. McKenzie was also pressed into duty as the SaberCats' OS when Calvin Schexnayder went down in the second quarter with an ankle injury. McKenzie responded with 6 catches for 54 yards and a TD amassing a game-high 192 all-purpose yards. He also added a pair of solo tackles on defense.

ROE-LIFIC - James Roe has returned from an opening night concussion and has emerged as the go-to-guy in San Jose's offense. In two games since his return, the three-time AFL All-Ironman team selection has 15 receptions for 236 yards and 4 TDs. Against Chicago on Feb. 26, Roe collected team-highs of 7 catches, 123 receiving yards and 3 TDs. Roe tied James Hundon for the team's all-time lead in 100-yard receiving games at 22 with his effort at Chicago and is the team's career leader in receptions (436), receiving yards (5,753) and TD catches (135). Roe missed nearly three full games after sustaining his injury early in the first quarter of a loss to Utah on Jan. 28.

TEAM CAREER 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES
Rank Player 100-yd games
1. James Roe 22
James Hundon 22
3. Steve Papin 17
4. Shalon Baker 10
5. Jerry Reese 9

PAPER OR PLASTIC - Lineman Joe Jacobs registered 1.5 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss in San Jose's loss to Chicago on Feb. 26. With a team-leading 3.0 sacks on the season, Jacobs needs just 1.5 to become the fifth player in AFL history to record 40 or more QB sacks in a career and is just one sack away from tying Robert Stewart for 5th place on the league's career chart. Jacobs has recorded 15.5 of his career total 38.5 sacks as a member of the SaberCats and ranks 2nd all-time behind Sam Hernandez on the team's chart. Jacobs tallied 1.5 sacks against Utah opening night on Jan. 28

AFL CAREER SACKS LEADERS
Rk Player 2006 Team Sacks
1. Sam Hernandez None 59.0
2. Sylvester Bembery None 43.0
3. James Baron Nashville 41.5
4. Tom Briggs Austin 41.0
5. Robert Stewart None 39.5
6. Joe Jacobs San Jose 38.5

THE GOOD AND THE BAD - QB Mark Grieb reached a few career milestones in San Jose's game at Chicago on Feb. 26. Grieb, the team's leader in games played, saw action for the 100th time in his SaberCats career and threw for 242 yards, eclipsing the 24,000-yard mark for his career (24,190), and five TDs to reach the 450 plateau (453). He completed 17-of-28 passes but tossed a team single-game record tying 3 INTs in the loss. Grieb and James Roe are the only players currently in the top 10 in games played to participate in a game this season.

REGULAR SEASON GAMES PLAYED
Rank Player Games
1. Mark Grieb 100
2. Sam Hernandez 90
3. Barry Wagner 84
4. Albrey Battle 82
5. Howard Butler 77
6. Shalon Baker 72
7. James Roe 72
8. Jerry Reese 65
9. Derrick Chachere 62
10. Matt Kinsinger 57

TIME TO GET SERIES - The SaberCats have played a home-and-home series with a Western Division opponent 29 times in their history and have been swept in a series just six times. The Danny White-led Arizona Rattlers won the season series from San Jose on four different occasions (1995, 97, 98, 04) while the Anaheim Piranhas did it in 1996. The last team to sweep San Jose in a regular season series was the Los Angeles Avengers, who won both games during the 2005 campaign. In contrast the SaberCats have swept their division opponent 13 times in a season series. A Utah win on Saturday would give the Blaze a season sweep.

SHAKES, RATTLE AND ROLL - OS Calvin Schexnayder had his quest to climb the career leader board in receptions and receiving yards derailed when he left San Jose's game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Shakes had 2 catches for 33 yards and a TD and ran for a score prior to his injury. He did not return to the game and his status is unclear at this time. Despite missing the first game of the year and nearly three quarters of the contest at Chicago, the 36-year-old leads the club in receptions (30), receiving yards (435) and TD catches (8). Schexnayder became the 10th player in AFL history to catch 600 passes and climbed into 6th place in career receiving yards. One of the league's all-time great offensive players, Shakes set an AFL record that still stands with 1,982 receiving yards in 1998.

AFL CAREER RECEPTIONS LEADERS
Rk Player Receptions
1. Barry Wagner 962
2. Eddie Brown 951
3. Cory Fleming 819
4. Darryl Hammond 797
5. Greg Hopkins 781
6. Hunkie Cooper 776
7. Gary Compton 743
8. George LaFrance 629
9. Alvin Ashley 628
10. Calvin Schexnayder 626

AFL CAREER RECEIVING YARDS LEADERS
Rk Player Rcv Yards
1. Barry Wagner 13,090
2. Eddie Brown 12,730
3. Gary Compton 10,247
4. Greg Hopkins 9,728
5. George LaFrance 9,004
6. Calvin Schexnayder 8,812

CLEVAN THE MAN - Two-time Defensive Player of the Year Clevan Thomas tied Pat McGuirk for the club's career lead in passes defended with 88 when he registered a PBU at Chicago on Feb. 26. Thomas needs 3 more pass breakups to tie McGuirk for the team's career lead in PBUs. Thomas surpassed McGuirk for the team's career interceptions lead last season.

CAREER PASSES DEFENDED
Rk Player PBU/INT PDs
1. Pat McGuirk 64/24 88
Clevan Thomas 61/27 88
3. Tommy Jones 45/17 62
4. Barry Wagner 41/18 59
5. Omarr Smith 37/16 53

IN THE CHICAGO GAME:
Mark Grieb played his 100th regular season game with San Jose and surpassed the 24,000 mark in career yards (24,190) and the 450 plateau in career TD passes (453)...San Jose won the opening coin toss for the 5th time this season...James Roe had 123 receiving yards tying James Hundon for the team's career lead in 100-yard games with 22...Chicago's Khreem Smith blocked a PAT attempt in the first quarter...Phil Glover's net recovery on the opening kickoff was the first by a SaberCat since Mar. 7, 2004...Clevan Thomas had one pass breakup tying him with Pat McGuirk for the team's career lead in passes defended (INT + PBU) with 88...Joe Jacobs had the 15 sack (15.5) of his San Jose career...Kevin McKenzie had career-highs of 8 KORs and 136 yards...Calvin Schexnayder sustained an ankle injury in the first half and did not return...Lineman Julius Gant left the game in the fourth quarter with leg cramps...San Jose played its fifth OT game and first since June 30, 2001.

BLAZE PLAYERS TO WATCH:
OS SIAHA BURLEY - In his first season with Utah, Burley has been a dominating force leading the AFL in touchdowns (17), all-purpose yards (1,003) and receptions (54). Burley has had double-digit receptions in 3 of Utah's 5 games, including 16 against New York on Feb. 11, the second-highest total in the AFL this season. In his first game against San Jose this year, Burley was held to his lowest catch total with 5 but he did have 3 TDs. In nine career games with four different teams against the SaberCats he has had an up-and-down history totaling 52 catches for 707 yards with 17 touchdowns. Last year the SaberCats held Burley in check limiting him to just 11 catches for 132 yards and a TD while splitting the season series with the Rattlers. Burley showed his offensive skills in ArenaBowl XVIII with 11 catches for 166 yards and 4 TDs, but San Jose defeated the Rattlers, 69-62.

QB JOE GERMAINE - The former Arizona back-up has made his presence known in the AFL in 2006 ranking 2nd in total offense and 3rd in TD passes while leading the league's highest scoring offense. Germaine has started all 5 games for the Blaze completing 130-of-190 for 1,653 yards with 30 TDs and just 3 INTs. He threw for 444 yards and 10 TDs in an 84-81 loss to New York on Feb. 11 and struck for 387 yards and 8 TDs in a win at Los Angeles last week. Against the SaberCats on Jan. 28, Germaine completed 17-of-27 attempts for 199 yards and 5 TDs without being intercepted in a 48-35 win. His only other action against San Jose came as a member of the Arizona Rattlers on Apr. 3, 2005 when he went 17-of-34 for 210 yards with 3 TDs and an INT. The SaberCats sacked him twice in that game on their way to a 48-27 win.

WR/LB TOM PACE - Utah's third leading receiver this season with 21 catches, 234 yards and 4 TDs, Pace has been a thorn in San Jose's side during his career. In 8 games against San Jose, Pace has 21 catches for 241 yards and 4 TDs and also returned 3 KOs for scores. Pace had 2 KOR scores against San Jose as an Arizona Rattler on May 14, 2005 and added a 55-yard KOR TD on Apr. 3, 2005. He is one of just two players to have multiple KOR scores in a game against San Jose.

WEEKLY PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Opp. (Date) Player
v UTAH (1/28) QB Joe Germaine, UTAH
@LVG (2/6) OS Marcus Nash, LVG
@ARZ (2/12) OS Calvin Schexnayder, SJS
@GRR (2/19) WR/DB Timon Marshall, GRR
@CHI (2/26) OS C.J. Johnson, CHI
@UTAH (3/4)
v LAA (3/12)
v GEO (3/17)
@NAS (3/25)
v ARZ (4/2)
@TBY (4/7)
v LVG (4/14)
v AUS (4/22)
@LAA (4/29)
v COL (5/6)
v CLB (5/13)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Opp. (Date) Player
v UTAH (1/28) DS Kelvin Hunter, UTAH
@LVG (2/6) DL Wilky Bazile, LVG
@ARZ (2/12) DS Clevan Thomas, SJS
@GRR (2/19) DS Johnnie Harris, GRR
@CHI (2/26) DS Jeremy Unertl, CHI
@UTAH (3/4)
v LAA (3/12)
v GEO (3/17)
@NAS (3/25)
v ARZ (4/2)
@TBY (4/7)
v LVG (4/14)
v AUS (4/22)
@LAA (4/29)
v COL (5/6)
v CLB (5/13)

IRONMAN PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Opp. (Date) Player
v UTAH (1/28) WR/DB Orshawante Bryant, UTAH
@LVG (2/6) WR/DB Coco Blalock, LVG
@ARZ (2/12) WR/DB Charles Pauley, SJS
@GRR (2/19) WR/DB Marquis Floyd, SJS
@CHI (2/26) WR/LB James Roe, SJS
@UTAH (3/4)
v LAA (3/12)
v GEO (3/17)
@NAS (3/25)
v ARZ (4/2)
@TBY (4/7)
v LVG (4/14)
v AUS (4/22)
@LAA (4/29)
v COL (5/6)
v CLB (5/13)

THE SABERCATS RECORD WHEN...:

Scoring Allowing
0 - 9 points 0-0 0-0
10-19 points 0-0 0-0
20-29 points 0-0 0-0
30-39 points 0-1 0-0
40-49 points 0-2 0-1
50-59 points 1-1 1-2
60-69 points 0-0 0-1
70-79 points 0-0 0-0
80+ points 0-0 0-0

Games decided
by 7 or fewer points 0-1
by 3 or fewer points 0-1

Leading after the 1st 1-2
Trailing after the 1st 0-1
Tied after the 1st 0-1

Leading at Half 1-1
Trailing at Half 0-3
Tied at Half 0-0

Leading after the 3rd 1-2
Trailing after the 3rd 0-2
Tied after the 3rd 0-0

Scoring First 0-4
Opp. Score First 1-0

More Total Offense 0-3
Less Total Offense 1-1

More Pass Yards 0-3
Less Pass Yards 1-1

More Rushing Yards 1-0
Less Rushing Yards 0-3

Thursday games 0-0
Friday games 0-0
Saturday games 0-1
Sunday games 1-2
Monday games 0-1

On NBC 0-1
On TV20 1-2
On NBC11 0-0
On FSN 0-1

vs. West 1-2
vs. Central 0-2
vs. South 0-0
vs. East 0-0

Winning coin toss 1-4
Losing coin toss 0-0

Outscoring Opponent 1-0
Being Outscored 0-4

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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from February 28, 2006


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