SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose SaberCats (2-1) fell just short at the Pittsburgh Power (1-1), losing 48-47 in front of 4,309 fans at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Pittsburgh quarterback Tommy Grady led the way, completing 20-of-41 passes for 182 yards and five touchdowns.
The Power would get on the board early, as three plays into the game, Grady connected with wide out Prechae Rodriguez for a 13-yard touchdown reception. On the SaberCats first play from scrimmage, quarterback Nathan Stanley was picked off by defensive back Latarrius Thomas. On the next Pittsburgh drive, Grady and Rodriguez hooked up for a fourth down touchdown to put the Power up 14-0. On their second possession, the SaberCats would again turn the ball over, this time on a fumbled snap. Grady would finish off the first quarter with a one-yard quarterback keeper, pushing the Power lead to 21-0.
Opening the second quarter, Stanley attempted a home-run pass to wide receiver Reggie Gray, only to get intercepted in the end zone by defensive back Virgil Gray of Pittsburgh. After forcing a turnover on downs, Stanley connected with wide receiver Huey Whittaker for a five-yard touchdown, cutting the Power lead down to 14 points. A big return from wide receiver Aaron Lesue led to Grady and Rodriguez’s third hookup of the night, pushing the Power lead back up to 28-7. After a turnover on downs, Grady and Rodriguez connected for a fourth time in the half, pushing the lead to 35-7. San Jose wasn’t done yet, as Stanley drove the offense down to the one, where fullback JJ Payne found pay dirt; however, the extra point was no good. On the ensuing kickoff, a live ball off the bar found its way to SaberCats defensive back David Hyland, where he dove into the end zone with two seconds remaining the half for the score. At the half, the Power held the advantage 35-20 over San Jose.
After recovering an onside kick from Pittsburgh to open the second half, Whittaker took a pitch from Stanley into the end zone from three yards out, cutting the Power lead to eight points early in the second half. Pittsburgh would respond, scoring the first third quarter points against San Jose this season. Grady connected with wide receiver Shawn Kauleinamoku for the score, putting the Power up 42-27. San Jose would respond, as Stanley and Whittaker hooked up again to cut the lead right back to eight points at the end of three quarters.
Pittsburgh would orchestrate another scoring drive to start the final quarter. Former SaberCats fullback Tommy Taggart reached the end zone, however a missed extra point kept the deficit at 14 points for San Jose. On the next SaberCats possession, Stanley was picked off for the third time on the night, this time by defensive back Sergio Gilliam. After the San Jose defense forced a turnover on downs in the end zone, Stanley drove the offense down inside the Power ten-yard line, where he connected with Gray from eight-yards out to pull the SaberCats within seven with :48 seconds left. San Jose would recover the ensuing onside kick, as defensive lineman Marc Scheichl came up with the recovery. Stanley once again led the offense down the field, finding Gray for a one-handed over-the-wall touchdown with three seconds remaining, bringing the score to 48-47. Going for the win, Stanley looked for Willis but the pass fell incomplete in the back of the end zone. The Power would go on to win 48-47.
SaberCats Media Services contributed to this report.