SAN JOSE -– The San Jose SaberCats (12-4) topped the Tampa Bay Storm (8-8), 52-43, Friday night at the SAP Center in front of 8,645 fans. Rookie quarterback Nathan Stanley had another strong outing, completing 24-of-41 passes for 291 yards, with five touchdowns and zero turnovers.
However, it was wide receiver Dominique Curry who stole the show. The electric playmaker finished with five total touchdowns, three through the air, and two on the ground, to lead the charge.
The Storm had the games first possession, and on fourth down Randy Hippeard found Joe Hills on a fade route for a big 25-yard touchdown. Stanley and the SaberCats wasted little time responding, marching down the field and ultimately connecting with Reggie Gray for a 6-yard score to tie it up at 7-7.
Tampa Bay hit pay dirt with another long strike, this time with Amarri Jackson for a 38-yard touchdown catch, putting them back on top by seven. San Jose closed out the first quarter with a 13-yard catch and run down the right side by Rod Harper, to even the score at 14-14.
Tampa Bay opened up the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown to Hills, his second of the night. The score made it 21-14. On the ensuing drive, Curry made a pair of amazing catches; the first diving into the stands, and the second in the end zone with a defender draped on him to tie the game back up.
Off of an on-side kick attempt, the Storm took advantage of good field position, scoring on an 11-yard reception in the corner of the end zone by Jackson. After a 32-yard catch and run by Rich Ranglin, they called Curry’s number again, this time on the ground for a two-yard score around the left edge. The late touchdown sent both sides into the locker rooms all tied up at 28-28.
San Jose got the ball to start the second half, and quickly drove down the field, culminating in a nine-yard dart to Curry for a touchdown. The score gave the SaberCats their first lead of the evening, 35-28. Curry’s big night was only getting started. On the following kick off, he recovered an onside kick, and put an exclamation point on the drive, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown catch.
The score extended San Jose’s lead to 42-28. Tampa Bay finally got themselves on the board in the second half, when Hippeard found Tolliver in the corner of the end zone for a 22-yard score, bringing them to within seven.
The fourth quarter began with San Jose eating up a lot of the clock on a long drive that ended with a Nich Peruit 22-yard field goal, to put the SaberCats up, 45-35. On the following drive, Hippeard heaved one into the end zone, but Simeon Castille showed off his great closing speed, and came down with the interception.
The SaberCats capitalized on the turnover when Curry found the end zone for the fifth time, taking it in for a three-yard run. The touchdown extended San Jose’s lead to 52-35. Tampa Bay answered with a three-yard touchdown catch from Hills, and with a successful two-point conversion attempt, left the score 52-43. The SaberCats recovered a last onside kick attempt, and ran out the clock to seal the victory.
The SaberCats take to the road for the final two games for the 2014 season, starting with a trip to Philadelphia next Sunday, July 20th at 1:00 PM PT. San Jose took the first meeting against the Soul all the way back in Week 2 with a 70-33 win at the SAP Center.