TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Storm (7-7, 2-3) takes on the Spokane Shock (10-4, 4-2) this Saturday, July 6 during Local Heroes Night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum...Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM ET.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two squads, and the first in Tampa Bay. The Shock defeated the Storm in ArenaBowl XXIII. While the overall series is tied at two games apiece, the Storm leads the regular season series, 2-1. The Shock has outscored the Storm by a total of five points over the four game history.
The two teams met earlier this season in Spokane back on April 27, where the Storm beat the previously undefeated Shock by a score of 70-62. The Storm defense was the difference, holding the Shock to just seven points in the first half and forcing quarterback Erik Meyer into two interceptions. Prior to that, Meyer had not thrown a pick in 193 pass attempts. Currently, Spokane leads the league in passing efficiency, throwing just seven interceptions on the season. However, the Storm’s defensive backfield can create turnovers and it has tallied 23 interceptions, good for third in the league.
In week 14, Spokane pummeled the Utah Blaze 80-41. Tampa Bay however, suffered a tough loss at home to Chicago on the last play of the game. With both teams getting a bye last week, the top performers should be well rested for Saturday.
Joe Hills has compiled an impressive 392 yards and eight touchdowns in two games played versus Spokane. Hills elevates his game against the Shock, as he’s had two of his best receiving performances when he faces Spokane, including 215 yards in the 2012 season finale. Hills has 1,449 receiving yards on the season, needing only 301 yards to break the franchise single-season record. He also needs just five touchdowns to break the Storm single-season record.
For Spokane, the team will look for quarterback Erick Meyer to lead the way. Through 14 games, Meyer leads the league in passing efficiency with a 126.5 rating. Terrance Sanders will also be on Tampa Bay’s radar. Sanders already set a franchise record for single season all-purpose yards with 1,926. Last time against the Storm, he set a single game record with 32 missed field goal return yards.
Both teams are fighting to secure their spots in the 2013 playoffs and with two of the top five scoring offenses in the league, this game is sure to be a high scoring thriller. The Shock will be in unfamiliar territory and Tampa Bay will look to take advantage.