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Utah Blaze Clinch Playoff Spot

Utah Blaze Clinch Playoff Spot


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QB ANDY KELLY, who was released by the Brigade earlier this season, is now 4-1 as a starting since being picked up off waivers. He led the Blaze in the emotional playoff-clinching win, finishing 29-of-38 passing for 306 yards with five touchdowns, including the game-winner to WR/LB TOM PACE with six seconds left.

“We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” Kelly said after his third 300-yard performance in a Blaze uniform. “I know those guys. I have played with those guys. I know they had a good team. Fortunately for us, we made enough plays down the stretch. We are in the playoffs, and that is the main thing.”

FB/LB KAUTAI OLEVAO turned the tide of the game, stuffing a key fourth down to swing the momentum in the Blaze favor. After coming up short in two, critical fourth quarter failed red zone attempts, plus two unsuccessful onside kicks, Utah caught two huge breaks with two missed extra point attempts by the Brigade, including a crucial block by OL/DL JOHN CULP with under a minute to go.

The victory gives Utah head coach DANNY WHITE his 13th postseason appearance in his 14 years in the AFL. “This is one of the most gratifying years I have ever had, already, and we are not done yet,” the two-time ArenaBowl champion coach said. “When I think about the last 12 months and everything that has gone into what you saw tonight, I am proud of what we have done.”

Utah OS SIAHA BURLEY was named Offensive Player of the Game as led the team with 13 receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns, breaking expansion records for receptions (136) and touchdowns (44) in a season. Burley also finished the year leading the league in receiving yards with 1,934 - the second-highest receiving yards in AFL history.

DS KELVIN HUNTER was named ADT Defensive Player of the Game for the third time this season with a team-high 11.0 total tackles. Pace was named Ironman of the Game with his game-winning touchdown catch. Pace finished with five catches for 49 yards and one touchdown in the air and one on the ground and a team-high 121 kick return yards.

The Blaze can only host a playoff game next weekend if Chicago (at Grand Rapids) and Nashville (home vs. Tampa Bay) both lose tomorrow. The Blaze will most likely be on the road and the final seeding will be determined Saturday night. If the Blaze host a playoff game at the Delta Center next weekend, tickets will be available at www.utahblaze.com, the Delta Center box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (801) 325-SEAT or at all Ticketmaster outlets.

--BLAZE--

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