Blaze fall short to SaberCats despite 4th quarter rally
The Utah Blaze (5-9) dropped a 57-49 decision to the San Jose SaberCats (10-4) despite a fourth quarter rally in which the team outscored its opponent. Making his third start of his career, Blaze quarterback Jason Boltus completed over 64 percent of his attempts for 306 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 44 yards on the ground.
Rookie wideout Mario Urrutia led all receivers in the game with 10 catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns. AJ Jackson hauled in three scores of his own, totaling eight receptions for 91 yards. Chase Deadder added eight grabs for 91 yards and one touchdown.
San Jose opened the scoring on the night as Huey Whittaker reeled in an early touchdown pass from Russ Michna. However, Utah’s special teams would only allow a six point advantage, as Lavon McCoy blocked the point after attempt.
The Blaze took the lead with just 27 seconds remaining in the first, as Mario Urrutia snared a six-yard touchdown pass from Boltus and Kyle Brotzman connected on the PAT. Utah’s defense closed out the quarter by denying Michna on the next play from scrimmage, as Antwan Marsh made a leaping interception to give the ball back to the Blaze. Urrutia and Boltus quickly converted the turnover into points, as the duo hooked up on a 27-yard touchdown toss just two plays into the second quarter.
San Jose found the end zone on the ensuing drive off a one-yard scoring plunge by defensive end Jabari Fletcher. Utah responded as AJ Jackson hung on to a one-handed 16-yard touchdown reception after slamming into the dasher board walls. Following a six-yard touchdown scramble by Michna, Boltus dodged would-be tacklers before lofting a six-yard score to Deadder.
Jason Willis caught an eight-yard touchdown pass with 42 seconds remaining in the second quarter and the SaberCats recovered an onside attempt on the ensuing kickoff. San Jose took a 34-28 lead into the locker room at halftime, as Michna found Willis for a 10-yard touchdown with nine seconds on the clock.
The SaberCats earned the only score of the third quarter off a touchdown grab by Amarri Jackson. The Blaze offense answered early in the fourth quarter, as AJ Jackson outmuscled a defender for a 16-yard touchdown reception to decrease San Jose’s lead, 41-35. Michna connected with Whittaker on a nine-yard score during the ensuing series, but Utah would need just one play to find the end zone. On the next play from scrimmage, Mario Urrutia caught a pass over the middle and raced 34 yards up the right sideline for the touchdown.
The Blaze defense forced a lengthy drive on the following series, ultimately holding the SaberCats a 24-yard field. Jackson hauled in his third touchdown of the night on a 12-yard throw from Boltus during the next drive. Michna hit Willis for a touchdown on the following series, but Mike Alston blocked a crucial point after attempt to keep it a one-possession game.
Utah regained possession with 43 seconds remaining in the game and appeared poised to score after driving to the opponent’s four-yard line. However, a missed exchange on the snap resulted in a fumble for the Blaze and the SaberCats recovered the loose ball to finalize the 57-49 loss.
Credit Michael Dijulio
Utah Blaze Director of Communications
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