After nine weeks of seemingly every break going against his team, Utah Blaze coach Danny White found himself in a strange position.
He actually wanted the good bounces to stop.
"I was actually, at the end, hoping we wouldn't get any more breaks," White said after the Blaze pounded Colorado with a 71-36 decision.
"Why can't we save some for when we need them?"
What was a close game at the end of three quarters Utah held a 36-29 lead turned into a blowout as the Blaze scored 35 points in the final quarter to run away with the win.
Getting the fun and games started was Reggie Doster, who picked up a fumbled snap and, when nobody from Colorado touched him while he was down, scrambled 48 yards for a touchdown. That gave Utah a 50-29 lead that only got bigger as the game went on.
Utah's defense and special teams forced seven stops, including three lost fumbles, one interception and some impressive goal-line stands.
"It was all coming together tonight," White said.
Now playing with more confidence and momentum than they'd shown all season, the Blaze (2-9) hope to play their way into playoff contention with five weeks left in the regular season. A few more wins and Utah can still sneak into the 12-team playoff field through the backdoor.
"We're looking at it like we're 2-0," Blaze receiver JJ McKelvey said. "As long as we keep playing as a team, we'll be all right."
Saturday, in front of 13,787 fans at EnergySolutions Arena, there was plenty of teamwork to go around.
With quarterback Joe Germaine completing 25 of 33 passes for 289 yards and six touchdowns, the Blaze offense was clicking. McKelvey had a stellar game, grabbing nine receptions for 89 yards and four touchdowns. Huey Whittaker, likewise, had another strong outing with seven catches for 107 yards and a score. Aaron Boone added another six receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown.
"I don't want to be arrogant," McKelvey said, "but we're doing pretty good as a receiving corp."
Just as good against the Crush was the Utah defensive backfield.
In addition to Doster's fumble recovery for a touchdown, Eddie Canonico added a diving one-handed interception and Damon Mason joined them in delivering numerous bone-jarring hits on Crush receivers. Utah was credited with eight passes broken up as Colorado quarterback John Dutton had a game he'd just as soon forget as he was often slow in delivering the ball or made rushed passes while under pressure from the Blaze defensive line.
"This was a pretty good team we beat tonight," White said. "But tonight, we got all the breaks. We got everything."
That point was more than evident in the final couple of minutes as Colorado lost two kickoff returns. One was fumbled by returnman Chad Owens and returned 14 yards by Utah's Kelvin Morris for the final points with 44 seconds to play, and to really cement things the ensuing kickoff was not snared by Owens and Whittaker fell on it to prevent Colorado from running another play.Now, the Blaze hit the road hoping the good bounces follow them to San Jose for a critical contest against the defending AFL champion Sabre Cats on Saturday.
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