SALT LAKE CITY -- Boasting their best start in franchise history, the Utah Blaze (6-2) looked to keep their share of the National Conference West Division's top spot as they hosted the Spokane Shock at EnergySolutions Arena Friday night.
They didn't disappoint as quarterback Tommy Grady set a team record for touchdown passes with 11 and the Blaze scored the most points in team history on the way to a 84-63 win.
"I think Tommy only threw one bad pass," Utah coach Ron James said. "He manages to find his way around the pocket better than a guy whose 6-foot-7 should."
Led by Grady, Utah is averaging 309.7 yards-per-game through the air, first in the AFL. Grady threw for 26 touchdowns in the three games leading up to Friday and currently resides as league leader in total offensive yards (2,253), total offensive touchdowns (56), passing yards (2,198) and passing touchdowns (51).
Utah kept the pace against a Spokane defense that ranks dead last in the league for total defense (327.0 yards-per-game) and 16th in passing defense (304.5 yards-per-game) torching the Shock for 279 total yards.
Grady was 26-of-40 on the night for 258 yards.
Utah State alum Aaron Lesue once again led Utah's offensive production with 136 yards and five touchdowns on 11 catches. The effort capped his fourth game over 100 yards on the season
Former Spokane wideout Shaun Kauleinamoku contributed four touchdowns on six grabs as Utah took a 43-21 lead at the half.
While Spokane QB Kyle Rowley threw for nine touchdowns and a game-high 352 yards, early interceptions and countless dropped passes stalled the Shock all night.
Spokane wide receiver Brandon Thompkins logged a game-high 168 receiving yards and a season-high tying seven touchdowns on 10 catches.
Early in the fourth quarter Spokane defensive lineman Brandon Sharpe received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for roughing Grady, shortly after which he slapped the hat off the administering official and was ejected from the game.
Despite a late touchdown from Rowly to Adron Tennell that pulled Spokane within 14, Grady and the Blaze offense couldn't be stopped and the shot-caller iced the game as he found Kauleinamoku leaping over an end zone barrier for the game's final score.
Utah travels to San Jose for a division showdown with the SaberCats next Friday.