Late touchdown lifts Blaze over Rattlers 75-71

Late touchdown lifts Blaze over Rattlers 75-71

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PHOENIX - On a record-setting night, WR/LB RYAN DENNARD lifted the Utah Blaze (2-0) to a 75-71 victory over the rival Arizona Rattlers (0-2) in front of 9,594 fans at the U.S. Airways Center on Saturday night. The victory gives the Blaze sole possession of first place in the Western Division.

"This wasn't getting just a monkey off our backs, it was more like the size of a gorilla," said Blaze head coach/general manager DANNY WHITE on his first victory against his former team. "Our guys gutted it out in the second half. It really shows the type of heart that our guys have. I am proud of this team."

The Blaze offense was led by Offensive Player of the Game, QB JOE GERMAINE, who completed 34-of-48 passes for 433 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception, while adding one rushing touchdown. Ironman of the Game honors went to Dennard, who set personal bests with 16 receptions for 181 yards and a team-record seven touchdowns. The former Arizona State standout, who added two solo tackles and four assists on defense, is a leading contender for the League's weekly honor - an award that he won in Week 1.

The Rattlers led 20-13 after the first quarter, thanks to three touchdown passes from QB SHERDRICK BONNER to WR JEREMIAH POPE and WR TRANDON HARVEY. But the theme of the game for the Rattlers was missed extra points. Rattlers K GARY KRAL missed five extra points in the game.

For Utah, who were without the services of receivers SIAHA BURLEY and AARON BOONE due to injuries, Dennard stepped up and collected three first half touchdowns. The last coming with 11 seconds remaining in half, but the Blaze still trailed 39-27 at the half.

The second half storyline was perfection from Germaine. The former Ohio State star was a perfect 21-of-21 passing for 276 yards and six touchdowns in the second half. But Utah still trailed 52-48 after three quarters.

The key play in the game came with the 43 seconds remaining in the game and the Blaze trailing 71-69. Blaze K STEVE VIDETICH's onsides kick was recovered by rookie

LB VALENTINE CHUDE. This allowed Germaine to hook up with WR/DB ORSHAWANTE BRYANT on a 23-yard scoring strike with 13 seconds remaining and give the Blaze the four-point lead.

The Utah defense held Bonner in check as his pass to Pope was completed to the three-yard line, but Lawson made the tackle at the final horn. Arizona's JOSEPH TODD was named defensive player of the game with 7.5 tackles and an interception.

The Blaze will travel to Nashville (0-2) next Sunday where they will take on the Kats at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

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