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Vipers Win 63-54 At Utah

April 18, 2010 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Alabama Vipers News Release

LEHI, Utah - Alabama got four touchdowns each from running back Dan Alexander and wide receiver Larry Shipp, quarterback Kevin Eakin went deep with ease and the Vipers defense held strong late in a 63-54 victory before 4,898 fans Saturday night at the E Center.

Eakin completed 21 of 31 passes for 375 yards with five touchdowns and one early interception, while Shipp's offensive explosion came on eight catches for 199 yards and Alexander upped his Arena Football League-leading total to 13 rushing touchdowns.

The Vipers improved to 2-1 on the year and enter a bye week before hosting Milwaukee on May 1 at the Von Braun Center. Utah fell to 0-2 and visits Chicago next weekend.

Utah's Brett Elliott was 21 of 38 for 231 yards and four touchdowns, but was stung by Alabama defensive back Eric Crosby's late interception that kept it a 10-point game. Eakin would connect with CJ Johnson on a long bomb and the final Alexander run from 5-yards out and the seventh extra point by Brian Jackson in as many attempts closed out the Vipers offensive display for the night.

"It was just a great effort all the way around,'' Vipers coach Dean Cokinos said. "To come all the way out here and put up a solid effort really says a lot about this team. It was great to get that first road win. Now we'll take a slight breath with an off week and then get ready for Milwaukee."

The Vipers led 35-32 at halftime following a missed 20-yard field goal by Utah's Kenny Byrd and forced a long field goal attempt to open the third quarter. But Alabama's CJ Johnson fumbled the missed field goal return near midfield and the Blaze reclaimed the lead 38-35 on Elliott's 7-yard pass to former Kentucky star Aaron Boone with 10 minutes left in the third.

But the Vipers struck back fast on Eakin's 43-yard scoring bomb to Shipp to make it 42-38 at 8:44 of the third. The Alabama defense backed that up with a stop and an Eakin-to-Shipp connection on a fourth-and-11 play set up Alexander's 1-yard run for a 49-38 lead with 1:30 to go in the third.

Utah answered.

Elliott's long touchdown pass to Wendall Williams and a two-point pass to Boone made it a three-point game heading to the final 15 minutes, before Eakin hit Michael Johnson for a 20-yard score and his first touchdown catch of the year for a 56-46 advantage with 12:19 to play.

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