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SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Blaze (0-8) extended their losing streak to eight as they dropped their third division game of the season to the San Jose SaberCats (4-4), 61-40. The loss came in front of 14,701 fans at EnergySolutions Arena on Friday night.
"The defense played the best game of the year easily; that's encouraging," said Blaze head coach/general manager DANNY WHITE. "We have to just keep finding those little positive things and focus on putting it all together."
The Blaze opened up scoring for the evening with an impressive 45-yard fumble return by Defensive Player of the Game LB KELVIN MORRIS (6-3, 236, Clemson). Morris finished the game with 5.0 total tackles, one fumble recovery, one interception and three pass breakups. San Jose answered back with a one-yard touchdown run by former Blaze player FB/LB FRANK CARTER (6-1, 260, MacMurray College). The Blaze were on top at the end of the first quarter, 10-7, after a successful field goal from Blaze K STEVE AZAR (5-9, 195, Northern Illinois).
The SaberCats opened up the second quarter with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Offensive Player of the Game QB MARK GRIEB (6-3, 215, UC Davis) to Ironman of the Game WR/LB JASON GEATHERS (6-2, 205, Miami.) Grieb was 21-of-31 passing for 311 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Geathers ended the night with his touchdown reception and 3.0 total tackles and two fumble recoveries on defense.
The Blaze quickly responded when QB JOE GERMAINE (6-2, 238, Ohio State) connected with WR JJ MCKELVEY (6-3, 227, Clemson) on a 13-yard touchdown pass. Both teams continued to exchange scores throughout the quarter, but the SaberCats led at the half, 34-27.
San Jose capitalized on several Blaze turnovers throughout second half and outscored Utah 37-13 to keep the final score in their favor, 61-40.
San Jose WR RODNEY WRIGHT (5-9, 181, Fresno State) led all receivers with nine receptions for 104 yards. McKelvey led Blaze receivers with eight receptions for 94 yards and three touchdowns.
Utah hits the road next week to face the New Orleans VooDoo at New Orleans Arena. The Blaze and VooDoo are set to kickoff on Friday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. (MT).
The Blaze will return home on Saturday, May 3 to take on the Kansas City Brigade at EnergySolutions Arena. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (MT).