July 27th, 2013
By Emily Zahner and Kahlil Najar
SAN JOSE, CA—In the last game of the regular season, the San Jose SaberCats (13-5) hosted the visiting Chicago Rush (10-8) in what promised to be a high caliber playoff-type game. Both teams were looking to end the season on a high note and carry the winning momentum into the post season. San Jose came out victorious, taking the win 65-40. Carried by a spectacular performance by QB Russ Michna and wide receivers Jason Willis and James Roe, the SaberCats erased all memory of last weeks’ 65-43 loss to the Philadelphia Soul.
After a kickoff return for a touchdown by the Rush, the first quarter was all SaberCats. Clevan Thomas picked off Carson Coffman one yard into the Cats end zone with less than a minute to go in the first, and returned it for a pick-6. This gave Thomas the franchise record of 14 interceptions this season for San Jose, and he wasn’t even close to being finished. By the end of the first, the score was 23-14 SaberCats. Late in the second, Thomas almost had his 15th, but the ball just tipped his fingers, giving the interception to teammate JC Neal. Going in to half, San Jose lead Chicago 37-19, carrying all the momentum. The third was a low scoring quarter, as both teams only completed one score, bringing the score to 44-26. In the fourth, Clevan Thomas brought the fireworks, hauling in another pick-6 that brought the franchise record to 15. This was his sixth of the season, making him the record holder for the most pick-6 in a season. The Cats finished strong in the fourth, sealing their 16th victory of the season by a score of 65-40.
For the first time playing against his former team, Russ Michna had a night for the ages. Michna completed 19 of 24 passes, averaging 13.5 yards per throw. With five touchdown completions, the SaberCats QB extended his streak to seven games in which he has thrown five or more TDs. Michna would be replaced by backup QB Mitch Mustain late in the fourth, presumably giving him some rest prior to the playoffs. On the other side, Chicago’s QB Carson Coffman struggled. While he threw 20 for 36, for 223 yards with two touchdowns, he was picked off three times and was sacked four times.
The SaberCats begin their 2013 Post Season next Sunday against the Arizona Rattlers in Phoenix, AZ. The Rattlers are 15-3 this season, number one in the West Division of the AFL.