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Turnovers cost Blaze in loss to Storm

Sunday April 7, 2013

 Utah Heads into Bye Week Following Loss to Tampa Bay

SALT LAKE CITY – Five turnovers proved to the difference on Saturday night, as the Utah Blaze (1-2) dropped a 77-65 contest to the Tampa Bay Storm (2-1) at EnergySolutions Arena. Quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 355 yards and six touchdowns, but the effort fell short as the team failed to maintain consistency in the second half.

For at least a quarter of play, the Blaze appeared to have recaptured the magic of the 2012 season, jumping out to a 21-7 lead to start the game. QB Tommy Grady hooked up with WR Aaron Lesué for two touchdowns and FB Ben Stallings pounded the ball into the end zone from a yard out after the Blaze recovered a kickoff that ricocheted off the crossbars.

The game began to shift in the second quarter, as Utah turned the ball over on two of its three possessions. A 12-yard touchdown pass from Grady to WR Chase Deadder was bookended by a fumble and an interception by the Blaze. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay scored three times off two short touchdown runs by FB Terence Crosby and another by QB Adrian McPherson, resulting in a 28-28 tie at the half.

The two teams battled to a 35-35 tie to open the third period, as WR Joe Hills snared a touchdown pass for the Storm while Blaze WR Brandon Thompkins hauled in a 40-yard scoring toss. However, Tampa Bay would score on three straight possessions to take a 51-35 lead.

Hills caught a five-yard touchdown and Utah turned the ball over on its next possession, as Grady was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety. McPherson rushed six yards to the end zone for a touchdown before Utah answered with a 10-yard scoring reception by WR Mario Urrutia to cut the deficit, 51-41.

The Storm jumped out to a three possession lead from that point, scoring first off a 36-yard touchdown catch by Hills. The Blaze looked poised to score after driving the ball to the opponent’s goal line, but Tommy Grady had his pass batted at the line of scrimmage and LB Jean Fanor intercepted the loose ball.

Tampa Bay quickly converted the turnover into points to open the fourth quarter of scoring, as Hills notched a 26-yard touchdown catch to push the score to 64-41. Thompkins answered with a highlight-reel 53-yard return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, but the teams traded scores to close out the game. The Blaze found the end zone off of a two-yard touchdown run by Stallings and a 16-yard catch by Urrutia while Tampa scored with a short run by Crosby and another reception by Hills.

The Utah Blaze head into a bye week before returning to action on Saturday, April 20th in a nationally televised game against the Chicago Rush at EnergySolutions Arena. Tickets are still available for purchase by calling 1-888-99BLAZE or online at UTBlaze.com!

RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tampa Bay Storm QB Adrian McPherson

RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tampa Bay Storm DL Tank Tyler

J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Tampa Bay Storm WR Joe Hills

CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
40-yard touchdown reception by Utah Blaze WR Brandon Thompkins (10:22 in the 3rd Quarter)

AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
53-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Utah Blaze WR Brandon Thompkins (7:56 in the 4th Quarter)

ABOUT THE BLAZE
The Utah Blaze host the Chicago Rush in a nationally televised matchup on Saturday, April 20th at EnergySolutions Arena. Get YOUR tickets today by calling 1-888-99BLAZE or online at UTBlaze.com! Interact with us all week leading up to the game on Twitter (@UTBLAZE) or Instagram (@UtahBlaze). Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/utahblaze) or head to UTBlaze.com for all the latest news!