WEST VALLEY CITY -- It's wild how fast fortunes turn in arena football. One bounce of the ball, one swift defensive move and the rest of the game turns pretty much academic.
That's how Saturday's Utah Blaze game went as the Chicago Rush posted an 70-50 victory before a Maverick Center gathering very generously announced at 4,892.
Those quick moments went against the Blaze for the most part, spoiling the home debut of the Ron James regime and keeping the locals tied with the Dallas Vigilantes for the league's worst record at 1-8.
"We're very careless with the ball," James said. "Those plays turn the tide. Without them a 20-point deficit becomes a one-score deficit. That's arena football."
We're not talking the fumbled quarterback snap that happens every game. That did occur in the second quarter, but it had no real bearing. These did:
* After Chicago went ahead 21-14, the Rush (7-3) perfectly executed an onsides kick. DeJuan Alfonso picks up the bounce on the run and doesn't get stopped until he gets to the Utah 7. The Rush score two plays later.
* In the final seconds of the first half, a Utah drive ends when Josh Ferguson breaks to the ball at the right moment, picks off Blaze starter Mark Thorson and scampers the length of the field to give Chicago a 42-20 halftime lead.
* In the second half, Utah's defense thought it had a safety, but officials ruled that Rush QB Russ Michna fell at the Chicago 1. The nine-point swing took three plays later when Michna hit Travis LaTendresse to make it 49-27.
Utah had one of those moments when Aaron Lesue recovered a mishandled kickoff by the Rush for a touchdown to start the second half. The Blaze defense once again, couldn't back it up. Chicago's offense wasn't stopped until the fourth quarter with the Rush up 63-37 with Michna 16 of 19 for 257 yards and six TDs .
With Brett Elliott still injured and Michael Affleck dismissed, James auditioned two quarterbacks. Thorson was 13-of-20 for 142 yards and one passing TD and another rushing, while Taylor Tharp was 7-of-16 with three touchdowns manufactured -- two passing, one rushing
Former Weber State standout Akamu Aki finished with five catches for 43 yards.
* OWNERSHIP MOVE: Blaze owner Dave Affleck will be bought out of his ownership stake of the Blaze, according to team sources. The paperwork is expected to be complete next week. Affleck previously owned the Utah Valley Thunder.