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SaberCats Double Up Predators 70-35

Sunday May 4, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose SaberCats (5-3) took down the Orlando Predators (5-2), 70-35. at the SAP Center in front 8,312 fans on Saturday night. Quarterback Russ Michna wasn’t busy, but he was efficient, completing 14-of-24 passes for 149 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receivers Jason Willis and Dominique Curry hauled in two scores apiece and the defense came up huge against one of the league’s best offenses, shutting them out in the third quarter, and racking up seven sacks.

Orlando opened the night with the ball, but that did not last long as San Jose defensive lineman Luis Vasquez picked up a fumbled snap and returned in for an early 7-0 SaberCats lead. On the ensuing possession, the SaberCats defense would once again make a play, as defensive back Kenny Okoro snagged his first career AFL interception. Michna would make the short field count, as he took a one-yard keeper into the end zone to extend the SaberCats lead to 14-0. On Orlando’s next possession, the offense would turn the ball over once again, as defensive lineman Terrance Carter came up with the fumble recovery. Again, Michna would make good on the short field, finding Curry from four-yards out to push the lead to 21-0. The Predators would finally dent the scoreboard late in the first quarter, as quarterback Jason Boltus connected with wide receiver Khalil Paden from 23-yards out to cut the deficit to 21-7 San Jose.

On the first play of the second quarter, Michna placed a perfect throw into the corner of the end zone for Willis to push the lead back up to 28-7. Orlando would answer right back, as Boltus hooked up with wide receiver Greg Carr on a fourth down 41-yard bomb to get back within 14 points. Looking to gain the points right back, the SaberCats offense would stall out and turn the ball over on downs inside the Predators five-yard line. After a 46-yard pass from Boltus to Paden, Boltus would fumble on a quarterback sneak, but it was recovered by offensive lineman Michael Simons in the end zone for the score. On a botched extra point attempt, Boltus found offensive lineman Terrance Campbell for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 28-22 San Jose. On the first play after the one-minute warning, Michna connected with Willis for a 27-yard touchdown to put the SaberCats back up by 13. After recovering a San Jose onside kick attempt, Boltus connected with Carr for an 11-yard score to close within six points at 35-29. After recovering a Predator’s onside kick attempt with 46 seconds left in the half, Michna found Curry streaking across the end zone for an 11-yard hook up to go back up 42-29. On the ensuing kickoff, Curry ripped the ball away from the returner Tanner Varner and took it two-yards for the touchdown, increasing the lead to 20 points. On the next Predator’s possession, backup quarterback Will Masoud replaced Boltus after he went down with an injury. Finishing off the half, the SaberCats sacked Masoud twice to go into the locker room leading 49-29.

Opening up the second half with the ball, San Jose continued to open it up as fullback JJ Payne found pay dirt from two-yards out to push the lead to 56-29. After a turnover on downs by Orlando, Michna found Harper for a nine-yard score.

Early in the fourth, Masoud connected with Carr from six-yards out, but the two point conversion was unsuccessful to keep the score at 63-35 SaberCats. After a failed onside kick by Orlando, Payne found the end zone from one-yard out to gain the points right back for San Jose. After a turnover on downs by the Predators, backup quarterback Nathan Stanley checked in, but the offense couldn’t produce any yardage. After consecutive turnovers on downs by each side, the SaberCats ran out the clock to secure the victory.

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score

—————– — — — — —–

Orlando Predators 7 22 0 6 35

San Jose SaberCats 21 28 14 7 70

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: SJ WR Dominique Curry

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: SJ DL Luis Vasquez

JLS Playmaker of the Game: SJ WR Dominique Curry

Cutters Catch of the Game: ORL WR Khalil Paden 23-yard TD Catch in 1st Quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game: SJ WR Dominique Curry strip fumble touchdown on kickoff in 2nd Quarter