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VooDoo Fall Short Against Iowa

Sunday March 31, 2013

 NEW ORLEANS (March 30, 2013) – Big plays on offense was the story as the New Orleans VooDoo (1-1) come up short in its first meeting with the Iowa Barnstormers (2-0), falling 48-34 on Saturday night.

Iowa hit the ground running on its first drive as Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game quarterback J.J. Raterink found wide receiver Collin Taylor for 44 yards. That big play set up a one yard run by receiver Marco Thomas. Raterink was less efficient than his first outing, but he completed 15-30 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns. He was sacked three times and threw an interception, but he also rushed for two scores on nine carries.

The VooDoo failed to capitalize on a series of opportunities late in the first quarter. The Barnstormers were penalized five times on defense on the VooDoo’s second possession of the period, but VooDoo fullback Bruce Figgins was unable to punch it in. Quarterback Kurt Rocco threw two incomplete passes to turn it over on downs. Iowa later scored on the ensuing possession. Rocco had a much better night than last week statistically, completing 23-46 passes for 259 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw two costly interceptions.

Iowa built a 14 point lead in the second quarter as Raterink found Thomas for two touchdowns. Thomas led all Iowa receivers with nine receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns. New Orleans was able to close within eight after Rocco tossed a 13 yard touchdown to wide receiver Derek Lee. The halftime score was 28-20 after the missed extra point attempt.

The VooDoo opened the third quarter with a turnover as Rocco fumbled at the Iowa 23-yard line. Riddell Defensive Player of the Game, defensive back Errick McIntosh, recovered the fumble. McIntosh led the way defensively with 10 tackles and an interception. The Barnstormers increased their lead to double digits once more as Raterink hurled a 36-yard TD pass to wide receiver Darius Reynolds to make it 34-20. The VooDoo kept fighting as a big 39-yard pass and catch from Rocco to Lee set up a Figgins two yard run to cut the lead to 34-27.

The Barnstormers turned it over on downs to start the fourth quarter, but the VooDoo was unable to answer as Rocco was intercepted in the end zone by McIntosh. Iowa capitalized on the pick as Raterink made the biggest play of the night as he found Reynolds for a 39-yard score, which was the game’s Cutters Catch of the Game and the AFL Highlight of the Game. This put Iowa up 41-27. New Orleans answered right back as Rocco tossed a 16-yard touchdown to wide receiver Donovan Morgan, who suited up for the first time this season after missing last week with an injury. New Orleans tried an onside kick for another chance on offense, but Iowa recovered. The Barnstormers turned that into a score as Raterink ran in a touchdown from a yard out to quiet the comeback and make the score 48-34.

New Orleans had one more chance, but Iowa defensive back Ter’Ran Benton intercepted Rocco to finish the game. Iowa kick returner Jason Simpson was the game’s J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game as he averaged 22.3 yards on kick returns, including a game long of 48 yards to set up an Iowa touchdown drive.

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