San Jose SaberCats game notes
THE QUICK FACTS:
Game: SaberCats (4-6) at Tampa Bay Storm (6-4).
Date: Friday, April 7, 2006.
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. (PT).
Site: St. Pete Times Forum (19,200).
Officials: Referee: David Lambros; Umpire: Al Granado; Head Linesman: Bill Ward; Line Judge: Brian Matthews; Back Judge: Joe Duncan.
Television: The game will be televised live in the Bay Area starting at 4:30 p.m. (PT) on TV20 with Ted Robinson calling the play-by-play and former San Francisco 49er Keena Turner handling the commentary duties.
Radio: San Jose's flagship station KNBR-1050 will broadcast the game live with Joe Castellano calling the play-by-play and former SaberCat super star Steve Papin supplying the commentary. The station will air a 30-minute pregame show starting at 4:00 p.m. (PT).
Internet: Log on to www.KNBR.com to hear a live webcast of Sunday afternoon's game.
Series Record: Tampa Bay leads 6-5.
Last Meeting: Tampa Bay 63, SaberCats 33 (Jan. 30, 2005 in St. Pete Times Forum).
Series Streaks: Tampa Bay Won 1.
Coaches: San Jose, Darren Arbet (8th season; 77-37 regular season, 86-41 overall). Tampa Bay, Tim Marcum (18th season; 155-62 regular season, 180-72 overall).
OVERVIEW: The SaberCats climbed back into the thick of the Western Division race with their 61-49 win over the first-place Arizona Rattlers on Apr. 2 and now travel to Tampa, Fla. to battle the Storm on Friday, Apr. 7 at 4:30 p.m. from the St. Pete Times Forum. Friday's game will be televised live in the Bay Area on TV20 and broadcast on the SaberCats flagship radio station KNBR 1050. Mark Grieb tossed a San Jose record tying nine TD passes in the win over Arizona while rookie OS Ben Nelson totaled 203 receiving yards, the 2nd highest game total in team history, on 11 catches with five TDs. James Roe caught the other four TD passes and San Jose moved within a game of the first place Rattlers and Las Vegas Gladiators. The SaberCats built a 13-0 first quarter lead and never trailed in sweeping Arizona for the third time in team history. The SaberCats will be looking for their first winning streak this season when they head to Tampa and first since last April. The Storm leads the all-time series 6-5 and handed San Jose its third-worst defeat with a 63-33 (30 pts) win the last time the teams played on Jan. 30, 2005 in Florida. San Jose's Darren Arbet earned his 86th career win last week tying him for 5th place all-time with Perry Moss while Tampa's Tim Marcum is the AFL's career leader with 180 wins.
2006 SAN JOSE SABERCATS (4-6)
Date Opponent Result Score (Rec)
Jan. 28 UTAH Lost 35-48 (0-1)
Feb. 6 @Las Vegas Lost 48-51 (0-2)
Feb. 12 @Arizona Won 58-50 (1-2)
Feb. 19 @Grand Rapids Lost 52-66 (1-3)
Feb. 26 @Chicago Lost (ot) 48-54 (1-4)
Mar. 4 @Utah Won 65-50 (2-4)
Mar. 12 LOS ANGELES Lost 61-75 (2-5)
Mar. 17 GEORGIA Won (ot) 56-55 (3-5)
Mar. 25 @Nashville Lost 48-51 (3-6)
Apr. 2 ARIZONA Won 61-49 (4-6)
Date Opponent Time (PT) Radio/TV
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 TAMPA BAY STORM (6-4)
Date Opponent Result Score (Rec)
Jan. 29 @Philadelphia Lost 34-52 (0-1
Feb. 3 @Grand Rapids Won 51-43 (1-1)
Feb. 10 GEORGIA Won 61-60 (2-1)
Feb. 19 ORLANDO Lost (ot) 64-67 (2-2)
Feb. 25 AUSTIN Won 58-48 (3-2)
Mar. 5 @Kansas City Won 69-59 (4-2)
Mar. 12 DALLAS Lost 35-64 (4-3)
Mar. 18 NEW YORK Won 60-44 (5-3)
Mar. 26 @Georgia Lost 51-61 (5-4)
Apr. 1 UTAH Won 56-41 (6-4)
Date Opponent Time (PT) TV
Apr. 7 SAN JOSE 4:30 pm
Apr. 15 @Austin 5:00 pm
Apr. 22 @Orlando 4:30 pm CSS
Apr. 29 KANSAS CITY 4:30 pm
May 6 @Columbus 4:00 pm
May 13 @Nashville 5:00 pm CSS, INHD
THE SERIES: Tampa Bay leads the all-time series 6-5 and holds a 5-3 edge in regular season games...The teams have split six games (3-3) played in Florida...The Storm won the first five series games before San Jose evened the series with a five-game win streak of their own...Tampa Bay won the last game between the teams, 63-33, in the 2005 season opener on Jan. 30 in Tampa, the third-worst defeat in SaberCats history...In their championship seasons of 2002 and 2004, the SaberCats twice defeated the Storm, winning at Tampa Bay during the regular season and in San Jose in the postseason...Six of the 11 series games have been won by the visiting team.
WHAT'S AHEAD: Following their cross country trek to Florida this week, the SaberCats will not leave the state of California over the final five weeks of the season playing four of their last five games at home with their only road game scheduled for Los Angeles on Apr. 29. San Jose returns home on Friday, April 14 to battle Western Division rival Las Vegas, the Gladiators are currently tied with Arizona for the spot in the division and defeated the SaberCats earlier this season 51-49 on Feb. 6.
SABERCATS SIDELINE REPORT: Bob Fitzgerald returns as host of the SaberCats Sideline Report, which airs every Sunday during the season on NBC11 at 11:50 p.m. immediately following Sports Sunday. Join Fitz and a special guest every week for this action-packed 8-minute segment.
SERIES NOTABLES: WR/LB James Roe set a team game record, a career-high and tied an AFL mark with seven TD receptions at Tampa Bay on Apr. 4, 2004...In that game, QB Mark Grieb tied a team record and career-high with nine TD passes...No lead is safe in the all-time series. The team scoring first has just a 5-6 record, while the team with a halftime lead is 5-4...OL/DL George Williams returned his 1st career interception for a TD at Tampa Bay on May 11, 2003...DS Omarr Smith played with Tampa Bay in 2003 setting season career bests with 78 solo tackles, 88.5 total tackles and 18 PBUs to earn all-league second team DS honors on his way to an ArenaBowl title...In each of the SaberCats two championship seasons (2002 & 2004), they have beaten the Storm in Tampa during the regular season and in San Jose during the playoffs...Tampa Bay gave the SaberCats their third-worst loss in franchise history with a 30-point (63-33) win on Jan. 30, 2005...In that game Mark Grieb threw his first ever interception against the Storm, he had thrown 133 passes without a pick before Lawrence Samuels snared one on San Jose's first drive of the game...Current San Jose backup QB Stoney Case spent the last two seasons as the Storms reserve...San Jose set a club record for fewest TDs scored (2) in a game in a 45-23 loss to the Storm on May 1, 1998 in San Jose...Two of San Jose's six lowest scoring games have come against Tampa Bay. The Storm won 36-22 on June 1, 1996 and posted a 45-23 win on May 1, 1998...San Jose's point total in its 63-33 loss at Tampa Bay on Jan. 30, 2005 is its lowest under offensive coordinator Terry Malley, who took over midway through the 1999 season.
LAST SERIES MEETING: Tampa Bay 63, SABERCATS 30 - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - St. Pete Times Forum - Tampa Bay quarterback Shane Stafford tossed a team record and career-high tying eight touchdown passes leading the Storm (1-0) to a 63-33 opening day win over the defending ArenaBowl champion San Jose SaberCats (0-1). Stafford threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Lawrence Samuels early in the second quarter to break a 7-7 tie and added three more in the quarter to give the Storm a 35-14 lead at halftime. Samuels, the game's Ironman, had 7 catches for 78 yards and a pair of scores. Stafford, named the Offensive Player of the game, completed 28-of-35 for 273 yards without an interception. The Storm outscored San Jose 28-7 in the second quarter with Stafford completing 12-of-13 passes for 115 yards and his four scores to help Tampa Bay build a 21-point lead at the break. Four different Storm receivers caught scoring passes. Freddie Solomon had game-highs of 10 catches, 126 yards and three scores. San Jose QB Mark Grieb threw a career-high 49 passes, the second-most in team history, and completed 25 for 298 yards and three scores. James Roe led all SaberCats receivers with 7 catches for 83 yards and a pair of TDs. Rookie Rodney Wright, starting at OS in his first career AFL game, scored a pair of rushing TDs and caught 6 passes for 66 yards. The 30-point loss was the third-worst in SaberCats history and the 33 points scored was their lowest output since May 29, 1999 when the team lost 34-30 to Iowa. The loss snapped San Jose's five-game win streak over the Storm and was its first on opening night since 1998.
Score By Quarters
SaberCats................................ 7 7 13 6 - 33
Storm...................................... 7 28 16 12 - 63
TBY Dell 8 pass from Stafford (George kick)
SAN Schexnayder 13 pass from Grieb (Frantz kick)
TBY Samuels 4 pass from Stafford (George kick)
TBY Solomon 17 pass from Stafford (George kick)
SAN Wright 5 run (Frantz kick)
TBY Dell 9 pass from Stafford (George kick)
TBY Samuels 18 pass from Stafford (George kick)
TBY FG George 31
SAN Roe 13 pass from Grieb (kick failed)
TBY Solomon 12 pass from Stafford (George kick)
SAN Wright 1 run (Frantz kick)
TBY Solomon 9 pass from Stafford (kick failed)
SAN Roe 16 pass from Grieb (rush failed)
TBY FG George 26
TBY Wiren safety
TBY Daniels 12 pass from Stafford (George kick)
Passing - SJ: Grieb 25-49-1-298; Rolovich 1-2-1-11. TB: Stafford 28-35-0-273; Case 0-1-0-0.
Rushing - SJ: Wright 3-9. TB: Muhammad 3-10; Penright 4-8; Stafford 1-(-6).
Receiving - SJ: Roe 7-83; Wright 6-66; Fernandez 5-62; Schexnayder 4-74; Wagner 3-12; Kinsinger 1-12. TB: Solomon 10-126; Samuels 9-78; Dell 3-25; Daniels 2-23; Derricks 2-14; Elpheage 1-7; Muhammad 1-0.
Kick Returns - SJ: Wagner 7-160; Wright 1-27. TB: Solomon 1-16; Samuels 1-3.
ALL-TIME SERIES SCORES
Jan. 30, 2005 @Tampa Bay 63, San Jose 33
June 5, 2004 @San Jose 56, Tampa Bay 52 (playoff)
April 4, 2004 San Jose 62, @Tampa Bay 55
May 11, 2003 San Jose 47, @Tampa Bay 34
Aug. 3, 2002 @San Jose 55, Tampa Bay 48 (playoff)
April 27, 2002 San Jose 61, @Tampa Bay 54
July 24, 1999 Tampa Bay 52, @San Jose 48
Aug. 8, 1998 @Tampa Bay 65, San Jose 46 (playoff)
May 1, 1998 Tampa Bay 45, @San Jose 23
Aug. 2, 1997 Tampa Bay 58, @San Jose 34
June 1, 1996 @Tampa Bay 36, San Jose 22
2006 TEAM STATISTICAL COMPARISON
Category (Rank) SaberCats Storm
Scoring Offense 53.2 (7) 53.9 (4)
Scoring Defense 54.9 (16) 53.9 (14)
Total Offense 316.5 (3) 316.6 (2)
Total Defense 297.5 (12) 301.7 (16)
Pass Offense 303.5 (T-2) 303.5 (T-2)
Pass Defense 281.7 (13) 282.5 (15)
Rushing Offense 13.0 (14) 13.1 (T-12)
Rushing Defense 15.8 (3) 19.2 (9)
Pass Rating 118.6 (5) 114.7 (7)
Pass Defense Rating 118.5 (T-16) 114.0 (15)
Interceptions 8 (T-14) 12 (T-5)
Kickoff Return Avg. 15.7 (15) 14.9 (18)
Field Goal Return Avg. 9.5 (14) 12.8 (10)
Turnover Margin Even (10) -2 (13)
3rd Down Conversions 45.5% (T-12) 46.2% (T-10)
4th Down Conversions 38.9% (14) 52.9% (5)
Sacks By 12 (T-7) 6 (16)
Sacks Against 11 (T-11) 11 (T-11)
2006 SABERCATS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Player Category No. Rank
Mark Grieb Total Offense 309.4 2nd
Mark Grieb Pass TDs 54 5th
Mark Grieb Pass Completions 249 2nd
Mark Grieb Passing Yards 3,091 2nd
Mark Grieb Pass Avg/Game 309.1 3rd
Mark Grieb Passer Rating 117.9 6th
Mark Grieb Pass Attempts 378 3rd
Mark Grieb Completion Pct. 65.9 8th
Clevan Thomas Fumbles Recovered 2 T-7th
Clevan Thomas Fumbles Forced 3 T-5th
Clevan Thomas Interceptions 4 T-10th
Clevan Thomas Total Tackles 50.0 15th
Joe Jacobs Sacks 3.0 T-15th
Joe Jacobs Tackles for Loss 4.5 T-10th
Brian Schmitz PAT Kicks Made 57 7th
Brian Schmitz PAT Kick Attempts 66 T-6th
Phil Glover Rushing TDs 8 T-2nd
Brian Johnson Rush Attempts 28 T-9th
Ben Nelson Yards per Catch 14.6 10th
James Roe TD Receptions 19 T-8th
Marquis Floyd Int Return TDs 1 T-4th
If the SaberCats defeat Tampa Bay it would...
*Give them a 5-6 season record.
*Even the all-time series at 6-6.
*Break a 1-game losing streak to the Storm.
*Give them a 3-4 road record.
*Give them a 27-14 all-time record against Southern Division opponents.
*Give them an 11-8 all-time road record against Southern Division opponents.
*Give them a 107-62 all-time regular season record.
*Give them a 48-38 all-time reg. season road record.
San Jose - Darren Arbet, 8th season
77-37 (.675) reg. season; 86-41 (.677) overall
5-2 (.714) career vs. Tampa Bay
5-2 (.714) career vs. Tim Marcum
Now in his eighth season at the helm of the SaberCats, two-time Coach of the Year Darren Arbet tied Perry Moss for 5th place on AFL's win list with his 86th career victory on Apr. 2 against Arizona. 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 71-29 (.710) 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.
Tampa Bay - Tim Marcum, 18th season
155-62 (.714) reg. season; 180-72 (.714) overall
6-5 (.545) career vs. San Jose
2-5 (.286) career vs. Darren Arbet
Legendary AFL head coach Tim Marcum is in his 12th season as head coach of the Tampa Bay Storm and his 18th overall as an AFL head coach. A charter member of the Arena Football League Hall of Fame, Marcum is the winningest head coach in Arena Football history with 180 total victories. He enters 2006 having won seven ArenaBowl championships and has coached in ten of the league's 19 ArenaBowls. Marcum is the only coach in Arena Football history to lead three different teams to ArenaBowl championships (Denver, Detroit, and Tampa Bay). A two-time recipient of the AFL Coach of the Year Award (1987 and 1998), Marcum was the first coach in AFL history to win more than 100 games and has missed out in playing for the league championship only six times in his career. His teams have also advanced to the postseason in every year he has coached. Marcum owns a 125-60 overall record in Tampa Bay and his teams have earned nine straight playoff berths, winning three championships.
JUST WIN BABY! - With San Jose's win over Arizona on Apr. 2, SaberCats' head coach Darren Arbet tied Perry Moss for fifth place on the all-time wins list with 86, just 94 wins behind the AFL's career leader Tim Marcum, who has 180 victories in his 18-year coaching career. Arbet's teams have been triumphant in five of the seven meetings with Marcum's troops.
CAREER COACHING RECORDS
Rk. Coach Team Record
1. Tim Marcum Tampa Bay 180-72
2. Danny White Utah 144-72
3. Mike Hohensee Chicago 99-91
4. Mike Dailey Colorado 95-61
5. Perry Moss None 86-35
Darren Arbet San Jose 86-41
ROSTER MOVES: The SaberCats shook up their roster prior to the Apr. 2 game against Arizona by activating FB/LB JaJuan Huddleston, OL/DL Chuck Reed and WR/DB Rodney Wright. Huddleston and Wright each played in the season opener against Utah back on Jan. 28 before sustaining injuries and going on IR. Rookie linemen Van Brown and Julius Gant and WR/LB Kevin McKenzie went on the injured list and the SaberCats released veteran OL/DL Nikia Adderson, who had started all 9 games on the defensive line at NG. Following the Arizona game the SaberCats activated WR/LB Fred Coleman from IR and waived him from the active roster.
RECENT ROSTER MOVES
Mar. 10 Signed OL/DL Van Brown. Re-signed OL/DL Alan Harper and put OL/DL Chuck Reed on IR.
Mar. 11 Activated WR/DB Barry Wagner from IR. Placed WR/LB Kevin McKenzie on IR.
Mar. 16 Activated OL/DL Albrey Battle and WR/LB Jason Geathers from IR. Placed OL/DL Joe Jacobs and OL/DL George Williams on IR.
Mar. 23 Signed OL/DL Frank Beede. Activated WR/LB Kevin McKenzie from IR. Placed WR/DB Marquis Floyd and WR/LB Jason Geathers on IR.
Apr. 1 Activated FB/LB JaJuan Huddleston, OL/DL Chuck Reed and WR/DB Rodney Wright from IR. Placed OL/DL Van Brown, OL/DL Julius Gant and WR/LB Kevin McKenzie on IR. Released OL/DL Nikia Adderson.
Apr. 3 Activated from IR and waived WR/LB Fred Coleman.
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. The players listed below with an asterisk by their name are eligible to be activated to the 24-man roster for this week's game.
Player Injury Status
Atnaf Harris* L foot stress IR
Chris Lewis* Back strain IR
Rufus Brown* L wrist sprain IR
Fitu Tu'ua* L 3rd finger IR
Alan Harper* Flu symptoms/Knee IR
Calvin Schexnayder* R Ankle Sprain IR
George Williams* L knee IR
Joe Jacobs* Lower back IR
Marquis Floyd* Groin IR
Jason Geathers* Hamstring IR
Van Brown Hyperextended Elbow IR
Julius Gant R Quad tendonitis IR
Kevin McKenzie R Ankle sprain IR
Player Milestone Needs
Mark Grieb 26,000 career pass yards 126
Mark Grieb 25,000 SJ career pass yards 129
Mark Grieb 2,000 career completions 5
Mark Grieb 500 career pass TDs 14
James Roe 500 career receptions 19
James Roe 150 career TD catches 1
Phil Glover 200 career rush yards 1
Phil Glover 20 career rush TDs 4
Brian Johnson 100 career rush yards 6
Brian Schmitz 60 career FGs made 1
Barry Wagner 50 career INTs 2
Clevan Thomas 30 career INTs 1
Terrance Joseph 10 career INTs 1
Omarr Smith 25 career INTs 1
RECENT RESULTS: SABERCATS 61, Arizona 49 - Sunday, April 2, 2006 - HP Pavilion - Quarterback Mark Grieb threw a SaberCats single-game record tying nine touchdown passes and San Jose (4-6) defeated Arizona 61-49 moving within a game of the first place Rattlers in the Arena Football League's Western Division. Grieb connected with James Roe and Ben Nelson on first quarter scoring strikes to give San Jose a 13-0 lead after the first period. Nelson and Roe combined for 21 catches, 314 yards and all nine of Grieb's touchdowns helping the SaberCats post their third ever regular season sweep of Arizona. Grieb completed 26-of-37 for 361 yards with no interceptions and San Jose evened the all-time series at 14-14. Arizona's Sherdrick Bonner connected twice with Curtis Fagan in the second quarter, the second coming on a 15 yard pass with just 15 seconds left in the half to bring Arizona within 33-28. But Grieb connected with Nelson on the first play of the ensuing offensive drive on a 41-yard strike upping San Jose's advantage to 40-28 at the break. Arizona narrowed the gap to five points twice in the second half but could never grab the lead. Nelson had the second-most receiving yards in San Jose game history with 203 and five touchdowns on 11 catches while Roe had 10 receptions for 111 yards and four scores. One week after throwing his 700th career touchdown pass, Bonner tossed six in the loss completing 21 of 41 attempts for 347 yards. Fagan was the top receiver with 11 catches for 187 yards and three touchdowns. The SaberCats amassed 378 yards of total offense, the fifth consecutive game they've exceeded the 300-yard mark, against an Arizona defensive unit that entered the game allowing just over 257 yards per game. San Jose travels to Tampa Bay next week looking for its first winning streak of 2006 and first since April 22, 2005.
Score By Quarters
Rattlers................................... 0 28 14 7 - 49
SaberCats................................ 13 27 7 14 - 61
SAN Roe 12 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
SAN Nelson 6 pass from Grieb (kick failed)
ARZ Gatewood 34 pass from Bonner (Kral kick)
SAN Nelson 40 pass from Grieb (kick failed)
ARZ Kelly 4 pass from Bonner (Kral kick)
SAN Nelson 29 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
ARZ Fagan 30 pass from Bonner (Kral kick)
SAN Roe 10 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
ARZ Fagan 15 pass from Bonner (Kral kick)
SAN Nelson 41 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
SAN Roe 9 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
ARZ Gatewood 15 pass from Bonner (Kral kick)
ARZ Bonner 4 run (Kral kick)
SAN Roe 7 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
ARZ Fagan 40 pass from Bonner (Kral kick)
SAN Nelson 33 pass from Grieb (Schmitz kick)
Passing - AZ: Bonner 21-41-0-347. SJ: Grieb 26-37-0-361.
Rushing - AZ: Kelly 1-0; Bonner 2-(-4). SJ: Johnson 3-20; Wagner 2-3; Glover 1-0; Grieb 1-(-6).
Receiving - AZ: Fagan 11-187; DeMatteo 3-64; Gatewood 2-49; Pope 2-28; Thomas 2-15; Kelly 1-4. SJ: Nelson 11-203; Roe 10-111; Wright 2-22; Pauley 2-14; Wagner 1-11.
Kick Returns - AZ: Pope 9-127. SJ: Wright 3-51; Wagner 1-3; Smith 2-0.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN - The SaberCats enter Friday's game at Tampa Bay with a 2-4 road record and need wins in each of their last two road contests to avoid a second straight losing season in away games. In 2005 San Jose went 3-5 on the road and were .500 (4-4) in 2004. The SaberCats have had just three sub-.500 records in road games during a season and have never had consecutive losing seasons. San Jose went 2-5 in both 1996 and 1999 along with its 3-5 mark last season.
WE MEET AGAIN - San Jose and Tampa Bay will meet for the 12th time on Friday, the most games the SaberCats have played against a non-Western Division opponent and the third-most games against any team. San Jose has played division rivals Arizona 28 times and Los Angeles 13 times while clashing eight times with both Nashville and Grand Rapids.
PUT UP POINTS - Count the 50-point mark as a major barometer for the SaberCats in their series with the Storm. In their six losses to Tampa Bay the SaberCats have failed to reach the 50-point mark while in their five wins they have scored more than 50 points four times. San Jose has scored just 206 points (34.3 ppg) in its six defeats and has scored 281 points (56.2 ppg) in its five wins. The SaberCats are averaging 53.2 ppg in 2006, good for 7th in the AFL while Tampa Bay has allowed an average of 53.9 ppg.
THAT 60's SHOW - San Jose reached the 60-point mark for the 3rd time this season and the 52nd time in team history in a regular season game in their 61-49 win over Arizona on Apr. 2. The SaberCats raised their all-time record to 45-7 (.865) when scoring 60 or more points in a game and are 2-0 when reaching the 60 plateau against the Storm.
GETTING OFFENSIVE - The SaberCats amassed 378 yards of total offense in their 61-49 win over Arizona on Apr. 2 and have totaled 300 or more yards in five straight games and in eight of the 10 this season. The team record for most 300-plus yard games in a season is nine, set in 2001 and matched in 2005. San Jose set a team record with six straight games of 300 or more yards of total offense during the 2001 campaign. The SaberCats currently rank 3rd in the AFL with 316.5 yards of offense per game just behind Tampa Bay, which averages 316.6 yards a game.
TOTAL OFFENSE LAST FIVE GAMES
Date Opponent Rush Pass Total Yds
Mar. 4 @Utah 5 295 300
Mar. 12 LOS ANGELES 9 393 402
Mar. 17 GEORGIA 14 327 341
Mar. 25 @Nashville 21 295 316
Apr. 2 ARIZONA 17 361 378
STAYIN IN CALI - San Jose's game in Tampa on Friday will be the last for the SaberCats outside the state of California. Following Friday's game, the SaberCats play four of their remaining five games at HP Pavilion with their only road game being a trip to Los Angeles on Apr. 29.
BACK TO BACK - Following their win over Arizona on Apr. 2, the SaberCats now have an opportunity to post consecutive wins for the first time since last April. San Jose has gone 14 straight regular season games without back to back victories and is 5-9 in that span. San Jose last won two in a row with wins over Dallas on Apr. 15, 2005 and at Colorado on Apr. 22, 2005.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE? - There really has not been an advantage in this series as the road team has won six of the 11 meetings with each team winning three times on the other's turf. However, the home team has been victorious in each of the last two games with Tampa Bay winning at home, 63-33, on Jan. 30, 2005 and San Jose posting a 56-52 win in HP Pavilion on June 5, 2004.
HEADS OR TAILS - The SaberCats won the opening coin toss in their game against Arizona on Apr. 2 and have been successful nine times in the team's 10 games. San Jose also won the coin toss to start overtime in both OT games to give them a 91.7 percent success rate this year.
GOING SOUTH - For the second time this season the SaberCats will play a game out of the American Conference when they will tangle with the Southern Division Storm on Friday. San Jose's only other game out of the conference this season came on Mar. 17 when they defeated the Southern Division Georgia Force 56-55 in overtime.
THE WACKY WEST - It was expected to be a competitive division, and it has been all season long. The SaberCats climbed back into the thick of the division race with a 61-49 win over the first place Rattlers on Apr. 2 and with their two wins this season over Arizona now hold the head-to-head tie break advantage. Las Vegas moved into a tie with Arizona by virtue of their win over Los Angeles. 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
Arizona 5 5 -- .500 3-3 4-3
Las Vegas 5 5 -- .500 3-1 4-2
San Jose 4 6 1.0 .400 3-3 3-6
Utah 3 7 2.0 .300 2-3 3-4
Los Angeles 3 7 2.0 .300 2-3 3-5
GUNSLINGERS - Two of the top QBs in the AFL will collide on Friday when San Jose's Mark Grieb faces Tampa Bay's Shane Stafford. So far this season, both Grieb and Stafford have played in all 10 games and are in a head-to-head race ranking first and second in the AFL in total offense, passer rating and passing yards. Grieb has completed 249-of-378 passes for 3,091 yards with 54 TDs and 8 INTs earning him a 117.9 passer rating while Stafford comes in a close second with a 114.7 rating has completed 253-of-395 for 3,093 yards with 57 TDs and 9 INTs on the season. Both players on pace to shatter Grieb's 2005 AFL record of 4,796 passing yards in a season with Stafford looking at 4,948 and Grieb projected for 4,945.
GRIEB, STAFFORD SEASON COMPARISON
Player Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Rtng
Grieb 249-378-8 3,091 54 117.9
Stafford 253-395-9 3,093 57 114.7
FULL NELSON - Rookie Ben Nelson continues to impress as the team's starting OS. In his fifth start Nelson totaled 203 receiving yards, the 2nd highest game total in team history, and 5 TDs on 11 catches in a 61-49 win over Arizona on Apr. 2. It was Nelson's 4th straight 100-yard receiving game tying him with James Roe for the 2nd longest streak in team history and leaving him one game shy of James Hundon's record 5-game stretch in 2003. His 3rd double-digit reception game of the year also leaves him one short of matching Roe's season record of four, set in 2004 and 2005. During his five starting assignments Nelson has totaled 51 catches for 745 yards and 13 TDs and is averaging 149 receiving yards per game. Count Nelson's first career game, in which he didn't record a reception, at Arizona on Feb. 12, Nelson is still averaging over 124 receiving yards per game, tops in the AFL.
MOST RECEIVING YARDS, TEAM, GAME
Rk Player Opp, Date Yards
1. Steve Papin at Los Angeles, 7/8/00 232
2. Ben Nelson vs Arizona, 4/2/06 203
3. Steve Papin at Anaheim, 7/5/97 202
4. James Roe vs Nashville 6/16/01 195
5. James Hundon at Arizona, 7/12/02 188
ROE-LIFIC - Overshadowed by the emergence of Ben Nelson, WR/LB James Roe continues to put up numbers very quietly. Roe tallied 111 receiving yards and 4 TDs on 10 catches in San Jose's 61-49 win over Arizona on Apr. 2. It was the 25th career 100-yard receiving game and 17th double digit reception game, both team records, of the 7-year veteran's career. Roe and Nelson (11) each had double-digit reception totals in the same game for the 2nd time this year and it's the 6th time in team history a pair of teammates each had 10 or more catches in the same game with Roe being involved all six times.
10 OR MORE CATCHES, TEAMMATES, GAME
Player (receptions) Opponent Date
Roe (10); Nelson (11) v Arizona 4/2/06
Roe (12); Nelson (11) v Los Angeles 3/12/06
Roe (11); Hundon (14) v Los Angeles 5/17/03
Roe (10); Hundon (10) v Indiana 4/19/03
Roe (11); Hundon (10) at Dallas 4/6/03
Roe (11); Baker (11) v Nashville 6/16/01
THE RUSHING LEADER - After setting a career-high with 17 rushing yards at Nashville on Mar. 25, Brian Johnson one-upped himself by establishing a new career-best in San Jose's win over Arizona on Apr. 2. Johnson ran for 20 yards on 3 carries, including a career-long run of 17 yards, also the team's longest run of the season, and the longest run from scrimmage since Shalon Baker scampered 18 yards against Philadelphia on Mar. 11, 2005. Johnson has overtaken Phil Glover as the team's leading rusher with 61 yards on 28 carries.
OPEN THE FIELD - That's a difficult task on a turf that's 50 yards long and 85 feet wide, but Ben Nelson is doing his best. Of the rookies' 13 TD receptions this year, six have been 30 yards or longer and three have been 40 yards or longer. In last week's win over Arizona, Nelson had TD receptions of 41, 40, 33, 29 and 6 yards.
ON THE MARK - QB Mark Grieb was surgeon-like in his dismantling of Arizona's defense in San Jose's 61-49 win on Apr. 2. Grieb tied his own team record and career-high with 9 TD passes and threw for 361 yards, the 7th highest single game total in team history, completing 26-of-37 attempts (70.3%). Over the last five games with Ben Nelson as his starting OS, Grieb has thrown for 1,684 yards (336.8 ypg) and 33 TDs completing 135-of-197 pass attempts (68.5%) for a passer rating of 130.16. Grieb has started five games against the Storm during his San Jose career and owns a 4-1 record while posting some impressive numbers. Grieb has completed 105-of-174 passes (60.4%) for 1,391 yards with 24 TDs and just one INT. During the last meeting between the teams on Jan. 30, 2005, he completed 25-of-49 for 298 yards with 3 TDs and threw his first INT against the Storm in San Jose's 63-33 loss. Grieb had thrown 133 passes without an INT before Lawrence Samuels snared one on the SaberCats first possession. Grieb tied his team record with 9 TD passes, including 7 to James Roe, in San Jose's 62-55 win at Tampa Bay on April 4, 2004. Grieb originally set the record at Arizona on July 6, 2001.
MOST TD PASSES, TEAM, GAME
Rk Player Opp, Date TDs
1. Mark Grieb v Arizona, 4/2/06 9
Mark Grieb at Tampa Bay, 4/4/04 9
Mark Grieb at Arizona, 7/6/01 9
4. 8 Players Tied 8
THE LEADERS - James Roe continues to add to his career leading totals in receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs while Barry Wagner is slowly creeping up the charts. Wagner had one catch for 11 yards against Arizona on Apr. 2 and needs just 2 catches to tie Steve Papin for 2nd place on the team's all-time list. Meanwhile, Roe is nearing the 500 mark after upping his career total to 481 with 10 catches in the game. Roe also needs just one TD catch to reach the 150 mark in his career.
TEAM CAREER RECEPTIONS
Rank Player Receptions
1. James Roe 481
2. Steve Papin 326
3. Barry Wagner 324
4. James Hundon 307
5. Shalon Baker 263
TEAM CAREER RECEIVING YARDS
Rank Player Receiving Yds
1. James Roe 6,248
2. James Hundon 4,648
3. Steve Papin 4,282
4. Barry Wagner 3,707
5. Shalon Baker 3,575
TEAM CAREER TD RECEPTIONS
Rank Player Receiving Yds
1. James Roe 149
2. James Hundon 99
3. Jerry Reese 76
4. Steve Papin 65
5. Shalon Baker 61
6. Barry Wagner 54
IN THE ARIZONA GAME:
The SaberCats won the opening coin toss for the 9th time in 10 games.
Brian Johnson ran for a career-high 20 yards with a career-long run of 17 yards.
OS Ben Nelson totaled the 2nd highest receiving yardage total in team history with 203, his 4th straight game with 100 or more yards tying James Roe for the 2nd longest streak in team history.
QB Mark Grieb tied a team record with 9 TD passes and matched his 2005 record with his 5th 300-yard passing game (361) of the season.
WR/DB Rodney Wright and FB/LB JaJuan Huddleston each played in their first game since opening night.
OL/DL Albrey Battle recorded his first full sack of the season (7.5 career) and first since Mar. 28, 2003.
Ben Nelson (11-203-5) and James Roe (10-111-4) became the first teammates in SaberCats history to post 10 or more catches, 100 or more receiving yards and 4 or more TD catches in the same game.
San Jose tied the all-time series with Arizona at 14-14.
TAMPA BAY PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB SHANE STAFFORD - The four-year AFL veteran recorded the most prolific season of any quarterback in Storm history in 2005. He broke season records for passing attempts (631), completions (405), touchdowns (83) and yards (4,522) and he is on pace to top all those numbers in 2006 already throwing for 3,093 yards and 57 TDs while completing 253-of-395 attempts. Stafford has faced the SaberCats five times in his career completing 116-of-200 passes for 1,438 yards with 27 TDs and four INTs. The last time Stafford faced San Jose he set a Storm team record with 8 TD passes completing 28-of-35 attempts for 273 yards in a 63-33 Tampa Bay win on Jan. 30, 2005.
WR/LB LAWRENCE SAMUELS - A two-time second team All-Arena player, Samuels broke the all-time Storm record for receptions with 590 and had 123 catches for 1,411 yards with 19 TDs last season. During his 11-year AFL career, Samuels has played in all 11 games against San Jose and has totaled 65 catches for 713 yards and 13 TDs with 19.0 tackles 6 pass breakups and 2 fumble recoveries. In his last meeting against San Jose, Samuels earned Ironman of the Game honors after catching 9 passes for 78 yards with 2 TDs and picking off a pair of San Jose passes on defense. In 2002, Samuels became first player to ever be named both MVP and Ironman of the Game in an ArenaBowl and on Aug. 3, 2002 he became the only player to return an INT for a touchdown against San Jose in a playoff game.
OS FREDDIE SOLOMON - Entering his fifth season in the AFL, all with Tampa Bay, Solomon has put up consistent numbers against San Jose. He has played in 4 games against the SaberCats and has compiled 27 receptions for 382 yards with 9 TDs and has returned 8 kickoffs for 147 yards. In a 63-33 win over San Jose on Jan. 30, 2005, Solomon had a game-high 10 receptions for 126 yards and 3 TDs with a 16 yard kickoff return. Since returning to the Storm lineup three games ago, Solomon has totaled 20 catches for 243 yards with 5 TDs.
WEEKLY PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Opp. (Date) Player
v UTA (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
@UTA (3/4) QB Mark Grieb, SJS
v LAA (3/12) WR/LB James Roe, SJS
v GEO (3/17) WR/LB Derek Lee, GEO
@NAS (3/25) WR/LB Cory Fleming, NAS
v ARZ (4/2) OS Ben Nelson, SJS
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Opp. (Date) Player
v UTA (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
@UTA (3/4) DS Clevan Thomas, SJS
V LAA (3/12) DS Antuan Simmons, LAA
V GEO (3/17) DS Nate Coggins, GEO
@NAS (3/25) DS Monty Montgomery, NAS
V ARZ (4/2) DS Joe Todd, ARZ
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) WR/LB James Roe, SJS
v LAA (3/12) WR/DB Kevin Ingram, LAA
v GEO (3/17) FB/LB Phil Glover, SJS
@NAS (3/25) WR/LB Cory Fleming, NAS
v ARZ (4/2) WR/LB James Roe, SJS
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