DULUTH, Ga. — The Utah Blaze (4-2) picked up their first road victory of the season on Friday, winning a 74-71 decision versus the Georgia Force (5-3).
"We rose to the challenge in a hard-fought contest," said Blaze head coach Ron James.
Former Blaze quarterback Brett Elliott grabbed the first score of the evening on a 7-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Purify.
Utah answered back with a 5-yard touchdown pass of their own from quarterback Tommy Grady to Alvance Robinson midway through the first quarter. Each of the teams exchanged another touchdown before the quarter ended with Georgia leading, 13-12.
Grady connected with Aaron Boone on a 20-yard reception to start of the second quarter. After Georgia notched a 56-yard touchdown return, the Blaze didn't lose their stride with a successful onside kick that was returned for a touchdown by Ernie Pierce. Despite Georgia's efforts, the Blaze outscored the Force, 28-21, with the help of a fumble recovery and sack by defensive lineman Caesar Rayford.
Georgia began to close the gap in the fourth quarter after picking up a safety that was followed up with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Elliott to Larry Shipp. The Force overtook the lead briefly in the final quarter and outscored the Blaze, 23-20.
However, Utah prevailed in successfully managing the clock in the final minute of play as Grady setup the Blaze for their final touchdown of the evening. Grady connected with Boone on a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Grady finished the night completing 33-of-45 passes for 344 yards and ten touchdowns.
Boone led the receivers with 18 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns. Boone, Robinson and Lesue each finished with three touchdowns on the night. Al Phillips led the defense with seven tackles. Rayford also had three sacks and two fumble recoveries.