Keep things rolling.
That’s what the Utah Blaze are hoping to do this weekend after finally putting together a complete performance in last week’s 57-40 road victory over Cleveland. But the Blaze, at 2-3, have their work cut out for them Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
They face the West-leading Spokane Shock (5-1), who aim to keep Utah winless at home.
“For me, every game is the same,” said defensive back Maurice Leggett. “It’s always high intensity. I take every game personal. I take every ball thrown my way personal.”
That attitude helped the Utah defense dominate Cleveland last Saturday, and in order to secure its first home win of the year, the team will have to win the turnover battle against a talented Spokane offense headlined by Erik Meyer and Adron Tennell.
“We were waiting to play that type of a game for weeks,” said Blaze coach Ron James. “Now we find ourselves in a strange situation having not won at home.”
Quarterback and last year’s AFL MVP Tommy Grady said the team is set to make sure they won’t be having the same conversation a week from now. He said the chemistry between him and his receivers is starting to develop — as advertised by his AFL-leading passing offense with more than 300 yards per game — and added that his broken right index finger is finally healed.
“It’s a process,” he said, “but we’re going to get better each week.”
During Utah’s three-game home skid, the third quarter was the 15-minute period that led to poor play and put the Blaze in a hole. James said his team “solved the puzzle” and looks at the win in Cleveland as a sign of things to come.
And, per usual, said when his team avoids turnovers and penalties, they can be among the league’s elite.
“When we do that,” he said, “we have a better chance than most teams to win.”
Spokane at Utah
O At EnergySolutions Arena
Kickoff • Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • KJZZ; Radio • 97.5 FM
Records • Shock 5-1;Blaze 2-3
Last meeting • Utah 55, Spokane 44 (June 16, 2012)
About the Shock • Offense ranks second in the AFL in points per game (67.7).
About the Blaze • Against Cleveland, receiver Aaron Lesue had 156 yards and four touchdowns on 14 receptions.