Blaze lose first game of the season in Nashville 69-55

Blaze lose first game of the season in Nashville 69-55

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NASHVILLE - The Utah Blaze jumped out to an 20-7 lead in the first quarter, but the defense was unable to hold the Nashville Kats offense in Sunday's 69-55 loss in front of 7,108 fans at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

"We were out hustled tonight - plain and simple," said Blaze head coach/general manager DANNY WHITE. "The ball wasn't bouncing our way and we have to find a way to stop teams. You can't win in this league if you aren't able to come up with those stops."

Utah QB JOE GERMAINE finished the game 28-of-36 passing for 326 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. WR ORSHAWANTE BRYANT led Blaze (2-1) receivers with 12 receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown, while WR SIAHA BURLEY added nine receptions for 150 yards and three touchdowns.

The Blaze struck first when Germaine found Burley on a 19-yard scoring strike on the first drive and took a 20-7 lead after Germaine hooked up with WR/LB RYAN DENNARD on an 8-yard pass with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter.

Nashville countered with a pair scoring strikes from Offensive Player of the Game QB JEFF SMOKER to WR KENNY HIGGINS to give the Kats their first lead of the game at 21-20 at the end of the first quarter. A lead they would not relinquish.

Nashville outscored the Blaze 21-14 in the second quarter and 14-7 in the third quarter.

Smoker finished 19-of-30 passing for 273 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. The ADT Defensive Player of the Game, OL/DL JAMES BARON, had two tackles and including a sack and a pass breakup, while WR/DB MAURICE BROWN earned Ironman of the Game honors.

The story of the game was Nashville FB DAN ALEXANDER, who tied an AFL record with five rushing touchdowns.

The Blaze will return home to face the Grand Rapids Rampage (1-2) next Friday at the EnergySolutions Arena.

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