SaberCats Remain Perfect, Beat Portland 64-45

By Shawn Whelchel


The San Jose SaberCats remained undefeated on Saturday night after steadily defeating the Portland Thunder by a score of 64-45 in an entertaining and chippy match at SAP Center

The SaberCats defense came out strong to open Saturday night’s contest, disallowing the Thunder to gain any offensive momentum through their first two sequences. Linebacker Francis Maka made an early statement for the group after breaking through Portland’s line to send quarterback Kyle Rowley crashing into the pads behind the end zone for a safety during his second trip onto the turf.

On the other end of the ball, SaberCats quarterback Erik Meyer looked comfortable against a young, but talented Thunder secondary. San Jose put on an offensive spectacle for fans at SAP Center, with Meyer throwing four touchdowns of 20-yards or more in the first two quarters, including both a 35 and 43 yard bombs to the speedy D.J Stephens for a pair of highlight reel catches.

Portland wouldn’t go into the half quietly though, as flared temples jump-started what was a stagnant effort thus far. After connecting with Jared Perry for their second score of the game, the Thunder’s defense tagged Meyer’s for his first mistake of the game after throwing an interception near San Jose’s 5-yard line. After a brief scrum between both teams, Portland capitalized on the mistake with a quick touchdown to cut the score to 37-19. But San Jose would get the last laugh before heading to the locker room as Reggie Gray made good on his “Big Play” nickname by taking a 56-yard kickoff return to the house to send his team into halftime with a 44-19 lead.

Despite yet another SaberCats goal to open the second half, the Thunder managed to pull to within striking range by the end of the third quarter after a touchdown reception by V’Keon Lacey and a fumbled kickoff return by San Jose that was smothered by Portland’s Osagie Odiase for two quick scores. San Jose headed into the final frame with a 51-32 advantage.

To halt Portland’s rising momentum, San Jose opened up the fourth quarter with two quick scores of their own following Gray’s second touchdown of the game and Stephens’ third, that was setup by a Ken Fontenette interception. But again, Portland would respond with a pair of quick scores of their own following touchdowns by Perez Ashford and Lace, that was setup by yet another careless SaberCats fumble on a kickoff. But the SaberCats would not let the game slip away as they would pad their lead with yet another touchdown before relying on the defense to keep Portland off the board again before the final whistle.

The SaberCats will take their 5-0 record into their biggest challenge of the season as they head to Arizona to take on their rival Rattlers next week.


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