CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In the final game of the 2011 Arena Football League season, the Utah Blaze (8-9) hit the road to face off against the Cleveland Gladiators (10-7) this evening.
The game will be a classic offense versus defense battle as the Blaze's fourth-ranked scoring offense goes up against Cleveland's top-ranked scoring defense.
Utah defeated the New Orleans VooDoo, 62-58, last week in their final home game of the season. The Blaze trailed for most of the game and were down by as much as 18 points in the third quarter. Utah came together in the fourth quarter and outscored the VooDoo 21-3 to come away with their first last-minute victory since 2007.
The Gladiators clinched the Eastern Division and a playoff berth when they beat the Pittsburgh Power 67-55 last Friday. Gladiator QB Kurt Rocco is in the top-10 QB efficiency.
Utah's playoff hopes ended when Spokane defeated San Jose on a last-second hail-mary pass a week ago.
"We made huge strides this season and I'm extremely proud of the way our team has fought and played together despite so much adversity," said coach Ron James.
* BLAZE NOTES: Blaze LB Michael Lewis will be looking to make history tonight. Lewis currently leads the AFL in forced fumbles this season with seven and only needs two more to tie the AFL single-season record. ...
Utah WR WR Chris Bocage (5-10, 190, USC) has been named the JLS Ironman of the Week by the Arena Football League. Against New Orleans, Bocage recorded 165 kickoff return yards, returning one for a touchdown. He also hauled in two receptions for 29-yards and a touchdown, while adding a rushing touchdown. ...
The Blaze added DL Jeramie Richardson (6-1, 265, Angelo State) and DB Josh Jones (5-10, 190, Harding) to the 2011 roster.