SAN JOSE -- The San Jose SaberCats (11-6) defeated the New Orleans VooDoo (8-8) 55-31, in front of 9,251 fans at HP Pavilion on Saturday night. Quarterback Mark Grieb finished his night completing 22-30 passes for 242 yards and six touchdowns, giving him 105 on the season which is a new career-high for the future Hall-of-Famer. Wide receiver Samora Goodson hauled in nine passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns, wide receiver Fred Williams caught six passes for 77 yards and three touchdowns and defensive back Andre Jones added two key interceptions.
San Jose can now clinch a playoff berth tomorrow if both the Chicago Rush (9-6) and Spokane Shock (8-7) lose. The Rush host the San Antonio Talons (12-3), while the Shock travel to the city of Brotherly Love to take on the Philadelphia Soul (13-3).
New Orleans kicked off the scoring with a 42-yard field goal and Grieb hit wide receiver James Roe from 14 yards for the quarterbacks 100th touchdown pass of the season, tying a career-high. On the ensuing drive, Jones jumped a VooDoo receivers route, sprawled out for the interception and returned the pick 19-yards to extend San Joses lead, 14-3. Grieb then connected with Goodson for a 14-yard score and the SaberCats took a 20-3 lead into the second quarter.
VooDoo fullback Joe Alajajian showed off his athleticism, leaping over a SaberCats defender en route to a 28-yard touchdown reception to start the second quarter. San Jose answered back behind Williams seven-yard score and another big play by Jones. With five minutes left in the half, VooDoo quarterback Kurt Roccos pass sailed long, hit the bar in the end zone and bounced back into play where it was corralled by Jones who returned the interception 30 yards. San Jose was unable to capitalize, however, and New Orleans converted a 31-yard scoring strike, narrowing their deficit to 27-17 with 1:56 remaining in the half. Williams added an 18-yard touchdown and VooDoo wide receiver L.J. Castile pulled down a 14-yarder to bring things to 34-24 SaberCats at halftime.
San Jose continued their strong defensive effort in the third quarter. Defensive lineman Gabe Nyenhuis broke through his defender and blocked an attempted field goal while fellow defensive lineman Joe Sykes scooped up the bouncing ball and dashed three yards for the score. On the subsequent VooDoo drive, Nyenhuis forced a goal-line fumble that bounced out the back of the end zone and the SaberCats led 41-24 heading into the final period.
The SaberCats once again stepped up the pressure defensively after the teams traded touchdowns to begin the fourth quarter. Defense back Tanner Varner notched an interception of his own, the SaberCats third of the night and the offensive capitalized on the opportunity as Williams nabbed a nine-yard touchdown toss to conclude the games scoring.
New Orleans 31 points were the fewest allowed by San Jose this season and the three SaberCats interceptions marked a season-high as well.
Courtesy San Jose SaberCats media services.