Blaze drop another tough AFl nail-biter

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:10 PM

Standard-Examiner Staff

SAN ANTONIO — The Utah Blaze dropped a narrow decision to the San Antonio Talons, falling by one point for the second straight week in a 42-41 decision on Monday at the Alamodome. Quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 248 yards with three touchdowns, hooking up with rookie wideout Mario Urrutia 13 times for 101 yards and one score.

The Blaze (4-6) defense logged six takeaways in the game, including three turnovers on downs and two interceptions. Defensive back David Hyland paced the group with nine total tackles while adding an interception returned for a touchdown.

Utah opened the game with a crisp 37-yard drive in which Grady completed four straight passes, including a seven-yard touchdown strike to Chase Deadder. DJ Stephens quickly tied the game for San Antonio, returning a kickoff 56 yards for a score. The Talons took their first lead as quarterback Xavier Lee scored from a yard out.

Facing a 14-7 deficit, Utah’s defense turned up the heat on Lee and the Talons offense. Making his Arena Football debut, rookie defensive back Tony Tatum provided the first spark by tipping a pass and coming down with an interception inside the red zone. Fullback Ben Stallings then plowed into the end zone from a yard to cap a five-play, 48-yard drive.

On the next play from scrimmage, David Hyland snatched a bobbled pass out of the air and returned the interception 16 yards for a touchdown to give the Blaze a 21-14 lead. Stephens then tied the game for San Antonio off a 33-yard reception, but Grady responded by directing Utah to the end zone with six straight completions. Grady capped off the 45-yard drive by firing a 10-yard touchdown strike to Aaron Lesué, giving the Blaze a 28-21 advantage at halftime.

San Antonio opened the second half with two straights scores to regain the lead, beginning with a 42-yard touchdown reception by Jomo Wilson. Lee then found Sale Key from eight yards out to give the Talons a 35-28 lead.

Utah earned the first score of the fourth quarter as Grady tossed a 13-yard touchdown to Mario Urrutia to tie the game, 35-35. Lee connected with Jomo Wilson for a score on fourth down during the ensuing drive, but Ben Stallings answered with a one-yard touchdown run for the Blaze. Trailing 42-41 with 55 seconds remaining, Utah attempted to take the lead with another rushing attempt. However, Stallings was denied at the goal line and San Antonio ran out the clock to end the game.

Utah travels to Rockford, Ill., in Week 12 in the finale of a three-game road trip.

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