DES MOINES, Iowa -- Even not even a nationally televised audience could help the Utah Blaze make it two wins in a row.
The Blaze fell to the Iowa Barnstormers 50-48 Friday night in Arena Football League action at Wells Fargo Arena.
The loss dropped the Blaze to .500 as they return home to EnergySolutions Arena next week to face the West Division-leading Arizona Rattlers (8-2).
Coach Ron James' squad has yet to win two games in a row this season. Utah QB Tommy Grady completed 22-of-40 passes for 276 yards, five touchdowns and one interception, struggling in the second half to connect with his receivers.
Utah notched the first score of the evening on a 16-yard pass from Grady to WR Ernie Pierce. Iowa answered back with a 31-yard touchdown pass from QB Jesse Schmidt to WR Brad Banks, however, the Barnstormers failed to convert on their extra point attempt.
Each of the teams exchanged another pair of touchdowns, but the Barnstormers were unable to stop another connection between Grady and Pierce, giving Utah the 20-14 advantage as they entered the second quarter of play.
The Barnstormers matched the Blaze's touchdowns in the second quarter, leaving the teams tied 34-all at halftime.
Iowa capitalized on its first possession of the second half on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Schmidt to Banks, but yet again they were unable to convert through the uprights.
Utah's run option and produced a 4-yard rushing touchdown by FB Ben Stallings, then Utah's defense emerged on the following possession and held the Barnstormers to a field goal.
The special teams followed suit with a 58-yard kickoff return by WR Chris Bocage as the teams entered the final quarter with the Blaze on top 48-43.
The tide turned for the Blaze in the fourth quarter after Iowa forced the Blaze to attempt a field goal. The failed attempt was pre-empted by a valiant defensive front by DL Caesar Rayford, who recovered a forced fumble by LB Mike Lewis. Iowa sealed the victory on 29-yard touchdown pass on the following possession from Banks to WR Tommy Ellingworth.
Pierce led the receiving corp with 10 catches for 163 yards and four touchdowns. LB Devin Johnson led the defense with 5.0 total tackles.