Tampa Bay Heads West To Face San Jose

May 7, 2013

TAMPA BAY – The matchup between the Tampa Bay Storm and San Jose SaberCats, previously scheduled for Saturday May 11, will now take place on Friday, May 10 at 10:30 PM ET. Fans can listen to the action as Jason Dixon and Darek Sharp call the action for 1250 AM WHNZ, or they can watch live online at http://storm.arenafootball.com/allaccess/.
This will be the 16th time these two teams have faced each other. They last met in Tampa on July 23, 2011, a game in which the Storm won 57-44. While the SaberCats holds an 8-7 advantage over Tampa Bay, the Storm has outscored San Jose by a margin of 55 points over the course of the series.
The Storm heads into this matchup as one of the hottest teams in the league having won three straight, two of which were on the road. The team is 2-0 against the Western Division with wins against the Utah Blaze and the Spokane Shock. A win over the SaberCats would give the team a sweep of the division for the first time since 1998.

In order to get the win, the Storm will once again rely on its quarterback Adrian McPherson. In last week’s game versus the VooDoo, McPherson increased his league leading rushing touchdown total to 21, with a four touchdown performance. He also spread the ball around to all of his receivers for four scores. While the Storm missed Joe Hills, the team did find a new weapon to use in local St. Petersburg Catholic (St. Petersburg, FL) product, Chris C. Davis. Davis had six receptions for 68 yards and one touchdown.

Meanwhile, the SaberCats offense started the 2013 season off on shaky ground. Prior to the start of the season, the team brought in Aaron Garcia to take the reins for the recently retired Mark Grieb. Things did not work out well as he threw 13 interceptions in four games for San Jose. The team has now placed the offense in the hands of Russ Michna. In two games he has thrown 10 touchdowns with only one interception.

Michna will have plenty of tools to use as he will be throwing to former Storm receivers Huey Whittaker, and Amarri Jackson. Whittaker is second on the team with 29 receptions for 352 yards and eight touchdowns. He can also get it done on the defensive side of the ball as he has two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. Jackson was acquired in a trade with the Orlando Predators, and this will be the second time he has faced the Storm this season. The last time he faced Tampa Bay, as a member of the Predators, Jackson was held to five receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown.

The Storm defense will be swarming this game looking to extend its streak of consecutive games with an interception to seven. Defensive back Chris Smith is tied for fourth in the AFL with four interceptions, while De’Audra Dix is tied for seventh with three. The defensive backfield got its first touchdown of the season last game when Vance Cuff returned an interception 30 yards for the score.

The San Jose offensive line will also have a tough time with protection as the Storm defensive line has started to run on all cylinders. The team has recorded a sack in five consecutive games. Last season’s sack leader, Pernell Phillips, seems to be hitting his stride. Versus the VooDoo Phillips recorded his first two sacks of the season, while Tank Tyler increased his total to four. Tyler is now tied for fourth in the AFL.

The SaberCats defense will also be a force to be reckoned with. The Storm will have to watch for Jason Stewart and Terrance Carter, both of whom have recorded sacks in the past two games. Defensive back Clevan Thomas has a nose for the ball. He leads the team with five interceptions, nine pass breakups and 26.5 tackles.

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