SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Blaze know just how tough the AFL's West Division is.
The Blaze (5-8) return to Salt Lake City in Week 15 looking to knock off the division-rival San Jose SaberCats (9-4) tonight in Arena Football League action.
The matchup marks the second meeting between the teams during the 2013 season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at EnergySolutions Arena.
Week 14 featured two West Division matchups as the Blaze battled the Spokane Shock and the SaberCats took on the Arizona Rattlers. Following three consecutive victories dating back to 2012, Utah finally fell to Spokane in an 80-41 decision. Meanwhile, San Jose handed Arizona its second loss of the season in a 72-42 victory.
San Jose defeated Utah by a one-point margin during a Week 10 meeting, but the Blaze defense held the SaberCats to a season-low 35 points. Despite an uncharacteristic performance last week, Utah retains its No. 2 ranking in passing defense (239.8 ypg) while placing third in total defense (262.8 ypg).The Blaze have been especially effective on fourth down, allowing opponents to convert just 27.3 percent of attempts.
With quarterback Russ Michna leading the way, the SaberCats have produced the AFL's four-ranked passing offense. Michna has brought efficiency to San Jose's offense and threw for 313 yards and nine touchdowns last week against Arizona. In their previous matchup, Utah managed to hold Micha to just 246 yards and four scores while forcing two interceptions.
Quarterback Jason Boltus is likely to make the third start of his career this week after passing for a career-high 362 yards and six touchdowns. The favorite target for Boltus has been rookie wide receiver Mario Urrutia. Over the past two games, the duo has hooked up 18 times for 200 yards and six scores. Urrutia has been sensational in his inaugural campaign and currently leads all rookie wideouts in every receiving category.
San Jose ranks second in total defense (257.5 ypg) and fourth in passing defense (246.0 ypg). In the secondary, the SaberCats employ AFL Hall of Famer Clevan Thomas, who currently leads the Arena Football League with nine interceptions.