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SaberCats complete season sweep of Thunder, 64-27

Sunday May 18, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose SaberCats (6-3) took care of the Portland Thunder (2-7), beating them for the third time this season, 64-27, at the SAP Center in front 8,243 fans on Saturday night. Coming off of a bye week, the SaberCats picked up right where they left off, winning their fourth straight. Quarterback Russ Michna was fantastic, completing 13-of-18 passes for 150 yards for seven touchdowns and no turnovers. His favorite target was wide receiver Dominique Curry, who finished with six catches, 75 yards, and four scores. San Jose’s defense was suffocating, coming up with three sacks and added one safety, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

On Portland’s first possession, quarterback Danny Southwick wasted little time reintroducing himself to the SAP faithful. Southwick connected with wide receiver Eric Rogers on the third play from scrimmage to give the Thunder an early 6-0 lead. However, the SaberCats would answer right back, as Michna connected with Curry on a 27-yard strike to put San Jose up 7-6. On the next Thunder possession, Southwick would drop back in his own end zone only to be swallowed up by defensive tackle Jason Stewart for the safety. After Portland attempted an onside kick but failed, Michna found wide receiver Jason Willis wide open in the end zone to put San Jose up 16-6. The SaberCats would continue to pressure Portland, and defensive lineman Luis Vasquez would block a field goal try to keep San Jose up double digits. Russ Michna would keep the offense going, as he connected with wide receiver Rod Harper for a 24-yard pitch and catch to push the SaberCats lead to 17 after one quarter of play.
Things didn’t get any easier for Portland in the second quarter, when they turned it over on downs on the opening possession. San Jose’s drive started on the Thunder six-yard line, and they quickly capitalized when Michna dove in for the quarterback sneak to make it a 30-6 SaberCats lead. Portland finally got back on the board when Southwick found Rogers in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown, reducing San Jose’s advantage to 30-13. The SaberCats followed by mounting another drive, culminating in a four-yard pass to a wide-open Curry for his second touchdown of the game, making it a 37-13 score. The Thunder then turned the ball over again, this time on an interception from defensive back Ken Fontenette, his first of the season. On the final drive of the first half, San Jose’s drive stalled at the goal line, sending them into the locker rooms with a 24-point lead.
The SaberCats didn’t skip a beat to open up the second half, when a streaking Curry hauled in his third touchdown of the evening, a 21-yard strike, to put them up 44-13. San Jose’s defense then came up big again, when the legendary Clevan Thomas grabbed an interception. Off of the turnover, kicker Nich Pertuit sent a 19-yard kick through the uprights to make it 47-13. Following the score, quarterback Darron Thomas relieved Southwick, and on his first attempt hit Jamar Howard for a 30-yard touchdown. A successful two-point conversion then made the score 47-21. Curry then struck gold for a fourth time, this time on a nine-yard touchdown reception. The score put San Jose up by 32. On Portland’s next possession, Thomas connected with Howard again on a 24-yard pass. They went for two, but failed, making it a 54-27 SaberCats advantage heading into the final frame.
San Jose opened the fourth quarter with a 15-yard touchdown to Willis, his second of the night, putting them up 61-27. The SaberCats defense then came up with another stop, forcing a turnover on downs. Backup quarterback Nathan Stanley then entered the game for the SaberCats in relief of Michna. On his second attempt, he threw an interception to defensive back Varmah Sonie in the end zone, who managed a 35-yard return to give Portland good field position. However, defensive back Kenny Okoro came up with a big play of his own on a huge pass breakup, to force the Thunder into another turnover on downs. On San Jose’s ensuing drive, Pertuit nailed his second field goal, a 34-yarder, to give the SaberCats a 64-27 lead. Portland failed to get anything going on their final drive, to seal the San Jose victory.
Next weekend the SaberCats hit the road when they travel to Spokane to take on their division rivals, the Shock. The game is on Friday, May 23, at 7:00 PM. Tune in to Comcast SportsNet or KNBR 1050 to catch all the action.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
—————– — — — — —–
Portland Thunder 6 7 14 0 27
San Jose SaberCats 23 14 17 10 64
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: SJ QB Russ Michna
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game: SJ DB Ken Fontenette
JLS Playmaker of the Game: SJ WR Dominique Curry
Cutters Catch of the Game: SJ WR Dominique Curry 27-TD catch in the first quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game: PDX DB Varmah Sonie INT and 35-yard return in the fourth quarter