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SALT LAKE CITY - The Eastern Division-leading Dallas Desperados (9-1) snuck out with a 66-59 victory over the over the Utah Blaze (5-5) when QB CLINT DOLEZEL hit WR WILLIS MARSHALL on a 45-yard scoring strike with seven seconds remaining in front of 13,734 fans at the EnergySolutions Arena.
"It's a gut check for us," said Blaze head coach/general manager DANNY WHITE. "Our guys have to look at the positives of what happened to us and turn this thing around. I think we have the character on this team to do just that."
Dallas WR MARCUS NASH was named Offensive Player of the Game with 11 receptions for 134 yards and six touchdowns. OL/DL COLSTON WEATHERINGTON was named the ADT Defensive Player of the Game by recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles, one pass breakup, and 2.5 tackles. The Ironman of the Game went to WR/DB WILL PETTIS, who recorded four receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown, plus three tackles and breaking up the final pass of the game off the net.
On the first scrimmage, Blaze QB JOE GERMAINE found WR/DB RYAN DENNARD for a 38-yard touchdown. Dallas countered when Dolezel connected with Nash for three first quarter touchdowns as the quarter ended in a 21-21 tie.
In the second quarter, turnovers slowed the pace of the game, as both teams suffered fumbles and only produced one touchdown a piece. Utah grabbed a 30-28 lead to end the half as K STEVE VIDETICH kicked a 32-yard field goal as the clock expired.
Dallas quickly fumbled the first snap of the second half and each team traded a pair of touchdowns. Nash provided all six touchdowns for the Desperados up to this point. Blaze WR TOM PACE caught a highlight-reel two-yard touchdown off a tipped pass.
The Blaze led 44-42 entering the fourth quarter, but the turning point of the game came when Dallas stopped the Blaze on consecutive fourth downs.
Germaine finished by completing 24-of-39 passes for 260 yards and seven touchdowns. WR SIAHA BURLEY finished with 11 receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns, while WR/DB RYAN DENNARD tallied four receptions for 87 yards and three touchdowns.
The Blaze travel to Kansas City in a rematch of the 2006 expansion teams next Saturday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Blaze will return home to the EnergySolutions Arena on Friday, May 18 to face division foe Las Vegas Gladiators at 7 p.m.