TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Storm heads to “The Alamo City” to take on the San Antonio Talons this Saturday, July 13 at 8:30 PM ET. This will be the second of a two game season series between these teams. Last time out saw the Talons escaped the Tampa Bay Times Forum with a 56-32 victory.
This will be the sixth time these two teams have met, with the Talons holding a series leading record of 4-1. Prior to the 2012 season, the Talons were located in Tulsa, OK, with the lone Storm victory coming in Tulsa during the team’s 2010 playoff run to ArenaBowl XXIII.
The teams’ previous matchup marked the return of quarterback Nick Hill to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, but this time as the signal caller for the Talons. He led his team to a victory, connecting on 23-of-35 passes for 187 yards and four touchdowns. The Talons defense also stepped up, putting tremendous pressure on the Storm quarterbacks. The game would see both Adrian McPherson and Shane Boyd go down with injuries.
Coming into this week’s matchup, the Storm is left searching for answers. After starting the season off hot, the team has cooled as it enters San Antonio on a four game losing skid. The team will look to turn it around with either Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson or Randy Hippeard.
Whoever is under center will look to Storm receivers Joe Hills and Chris C. Davis. Hills, the team’s leading receiver, has reeled in a touchdown reception in 17 straight games dating back to last season. He has 36 touchdowns on the season, and needs only two to break the team’s single-season record, held by Tyrone Timmons (37) for most touchdown receptions. This past week, Davis led the Storm with 110 receiving yards on eight receptions.
In order to stop the Storm’s offense, the Talons will rely on its pass rush. Led by former Storm defensive lineman Tim McGill, the Talons defense is one of the best in the league. Over the season, the Storm offensive line has allowed 41 sacks. The team will have its hands full when dealing with the Talons’ defensive line, as it ranks second in the league with 29 sacks. The success of San Antonio’s defensive line can be attributed to defensive lineman Joe Sykes who has 11 sacks on the season. Sykes had one of his best games of the season versus the Storm, amassing 3.5 sacks in the teams’ earlier matchup.
The Storm’s defensive backfield will be the key to Tampa Bay’s success. The team is tied for second in the league with 24 interceptions, and will be looking to collect more this weekend. San Antonio leads the league with 33 interceptions thrown, and if the Storm defensive line applies pressure, it could force the Talons to make some costly turnovers. It should be noted that the Talons will be relying on quarterback Rohan Davey, who has thrown four interceptions in the past two games.
A win for the Storm would get the team back at .500 with an 8-8 record, and improve its chances of securing a playoff berth.