ArenaBowl XIX is Crushed
Throughout the game the both defenses were effective. After a couple of Georgia turnovers, their defense was able to stop Colorado or hold them to a field goal. Still the Colorado offense seemed strong enough get a big play off of the Georgia defense when they had to have it. Colorado penalties kept Georgia in the hunt in the first half.
Players and coaches from both teams attributed the increased rushing game to the rounded end zones in the Thomas & Mack Center. Only three arenas in the league (Las Vegas, Austin, and Orlando) have rounded instead of square corners at the back of the end zones, making them slightly smaller.
After the game Head Coach Mike Dailey, quarterback John Dutton and defensive specialist Rashad Floyd all spoke about how every player contributed to this victory and their success all season. When asked to comment on the performance Willis Marshall (133 yards gained and 4 touchdowns) Dutton said, "We never know from week to week who is going to step up for us. It is always someone different. Today we are glad it was Willis."
The first passing touchdown did not come until 7:53 of the third quarter, when John Dutton completed a twelve-yard pass to Damian Harrell for a Crush touchdown.
Colorado led the entire game until 9:05 of the fourth quarter, when Matt Nagy completed a 34 yard pass to Derek Lee to tie the game 34-34. At that point the game took on the flavor of typical arena football game shootout.
The Crush took the lead back with 7:02 remaining in the period on a John Dutton 45-yard completion to Willis Marshal that he took the width as well as the length of the .field to regain the lead 41-34. Georgia responded on the next drive to tie the game 41-41. Then Colorado took the lead 48-41 after another John Dutton pass to Damian Harrell.
Georgia tied the game 48-48 with 0:19 left on a Matt Nagy pass to Chris Jackson. But after a great game the Georgia defense went missing in action as Kevin McKenzie was all alone to receive a 45-yard pass to the Georgia four-yard line. That set up a Clay Rush field goal to win the game.
An exciting piece of irony in a league where the quality of the kicking game is criticized, the championship is decided by field goal kicker on the final play of the game.