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Rush beat Blaze on last second field goal

Sunday April 21, 2013

 Utah falls to Chicago, 59-56

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Blaze (1-3) battled in a back-and-forth affair with the Chicago Rush (3-2), but a last second field goal proved to be the difference in a tight contest on Saturday night. With the game tied at 56 and just enough time left on the clock for one final play, Chicago kicker Jose Martinez connected on a 23-yard attempt to seal a 59-56 loss for the Blaze.

The two teams exchanged blows throughout much of the night as quarterback Tommy Grady faced his former backup in Chicago’s Carson Coffman. Grady ended the game throwing for 345 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions, while Coffman gained 275 yards with five scores.

After holding the Rush to four-and-out on the game’s opening drive, Grady took his first snap and connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Lesué. Chicago evened the score off a 13-yard toss from Coffman to wide receiver Rodney Wright., but Utah quickly regained the lead as Grady rolled to his right and fired a 27-yard score to wide receiver Brandon Thompkins.

On the first play of the second quarter, Wright rushed three yards to the corner of the end zone to tie the game for Chicago. Utah responded with a methodical drive, executing a lengthy 12-play, 47-yard touchdown possession that spanned nearly half of the second quarter. Linebacker Joe Mortensen subbed in on offense to cap the long drive, rumbling two yards to the end zone to give the Blaze a 21-14 lead.

The Rush matched Utah’s rushing touchdown with one of their own, as fullback J.J. Payne took the ball across the goal line from two yards out to again tie the game. But the Blaze needed only one play to find the end zone, as Lesué executed a diving 37-yard touchdown reception. Chicago ended the first half scoring as Coffman lofted a seven-yard touchdown pass to Wright to tie the game at 28 heading into the locker room at the midway point.

Utah received the opening possession of the third quarter and drove down the field before wide receiver Mario Urrutia snatched a 16-yard touchdown pass out of the air to take a one-score lead. Coffman found Reggie Gray for a scoring completion and the Blaze turned the ball over on the ensuing drive, as defensive back Jorrick Calvin intercepted a deep pass by Grady.

The Blaze defense answered the call following the turnover, as nose guard Keenan Mace plowed through the offensive line and forced a fumble on the quarterback-fullback exchange. Mace recovered the loose ball and Grady converted the turnover into points, finding Urrutia in the end zone from five yards out to take a 41-35 lead with 22 seconds remaining in the third.

Coffman connected with Gray on a seven-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the final frame, but the Blaze battled back as Lesué made a leaping touchdown grab from 24 yards out. WR Jared Jenkins caught a 30-yard scoring toss a play later and Grady was intercepted on the ensuing possession, as linebacker Kelvin Morris took the ball 32 yards for a touchdown to put the Blaze in a 56-48 hole with 2:57 remaining in the contest.

Utah again showed its resiliency on the next play from scrimmage, as Brandon Thompkins turned a short completion into an electric 45-yard touchdown run. Mario Urrutia snatched the two point conversion pass out the air to tie the game at 56 with 1:42 left on the clock.

The Blaze went for an onside attempt on the following kickoff, but the Rush managed to recover the kick. Chicago ran down the clock before kicking the late field goal as time expired.

The Utah Blaze will travel to Cleveland in Week 6 to take on the Gladiators on Saturday, April 27. Kickoff from Quicken Loans is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. MT. Follow the team all week leading up to the game on Twitter (@UTBlaze), Facebook (facebook.com/utahblaze) and UTBlaze.com.

RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chicago Rush Quarterback Carson Coffman

RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chicago Rush Defensive Back Jorrick Calvin

J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Utah Blaze Wide Receiver Aaron Lesué

CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
Interception by Chicago Rush Defensive Back Jorrick Calvin (8:17 in the 3rd)

AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Game-Winning Field Goal by Chicago Rush Kicker Jose Martinez (Final Play)

ABOUT THE BLAZE
The Utah Blaze hit the road in Week 6 to take on the Cleveland Gladiators on Saturday, April 27. 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!