SALT LAKE CITY -- Angry but not distracted, the Utah Blaze return to action this weekend, hosting the Chicago Rush at 8 p.m. tonight at EnergySolutions Arena.
The matchup is the Arena Football feature game for Week 5, and will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.
The Blaze (1-2) dropped a 77-65 decision to the Tampa Bay Storm during Week 3 and will be looking to get back on track after their bye week.
"The two biggest areas we have to eliminate are penalties and turnovers and to be able to do both of those, you've got to be a little more disciplined," coach Ron James stated during the bye week. "We've got to put ourselves in better positions, play smarter football and hone in on situations a lot better."
Meanwhile, Chicago (2-2) is riding a two-game winning streak and evened its record after earning a 45-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Power in Week 4.
Reigning Arena Football League MVP Tommy Grady will face a familiar adversary in Chicago Rush quarterback Carson Coffman.
Last season, Coffman served as the backup to Grady in Utah. After securing the starting role in Chicago, Coffman has passed for 816 yards with 18 touchdowns through four games in 2013.
Aside from Coffman, Chicago employs several players with ties to the Utah Blaze. Wide receiver Jared Jenkins was in camp with the Blaze this season and joined the Rush after being reassigned during final cuts. Defensive end Jacob Hardwick played for Utah as a rookie last season. Linebacker Kelvin Morris started at Jack for the Blaze during the 2008 season.
With a full week of rest and recovery behind them, Utah will look to sure up the issues that plagued the team over its first three outings.
Grady will seek to improve the efficiency of the offense against a strong Chicago secondary. The Rush boast the Arena Football League's second-ranked passing defense, as the unit has surrendered 221.2 aerial yards per game while allowing just 48.5 points per contest. Chicago's defense is headlined by defensive back Jorrick Calvin, who notched 10 interceptions as a rookie a year ago and currently leads the team with 31.5 tackles.
Getting the passing game back to its usual standards will require Grady to find his top two targets early and often. Rookie wide receiver Mario Urrutia has quickly proven to be an explosive deep threat, delivering team-highs in every category with 21 receptions for 338 yards and nine touchdowns. Urrutia is currently tied for third in the AFL in scoring (18.0 ppg) and has posted the fifth-highest yards per catch average in the League (16.1). At the same time, veteran wideout Aaron Lesue continues to acclimate to the offense after missing the first two games with injury. Lesue was Grady's favorite target in 2012 and managed to snare seven passes for 103 yards and two scores in his first game back against Tampa Bay.