CHICAGO The San Jose SaberCats (10-6) defeated the Chicago Rush (9-6) 75-61, in front of 6,581 fans at Allstate Arena on Saturday night in arguably the most important game of San Joses season to date. Quarterback Mark Grieb completed 29-36 passes for 360 yards and seven total touchdowns (one rushing). Wide receiver Fred Williams had the best game of his young career, posting 11 catches for 164 yards and five total touchdowns.
The SaberCats opened the scoring, as Williams scored the first rushing touchdown of his career, getting in from two yards out to give San Jose the early 7-0 advantage. Chicago answered back immediately, as quarterback Russ Michna connected with wide receiver Jared Perry for a 30-yard scoring strike to tie things at 7. San Jose responded with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Grieb to wide receiver James Roe and after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Grieb found Williams for a nine yard score to push the lead to 21-7.
Chicago scored to trim the lead to 21-13 after Perrys second touchdown of the night, but San Jose scored on two consecutive possessions to stretch their lead to 35-13. Grieb hit wide receiver Samora Goodson for a 29-yard score and a net recovery on the ensuing kickoff set up a one yard touchdown run by Tommy Taggart, playing in his first game since being injured on May 5 in Arizona. The teams then traded scores, as the Cats led 42-20 and Grieb eclipsed the 5,000 yard passing yardage milestone for just the second time in his illustrious career, the last time being in 2011. The Rush pulled within 15 again, as Perry scored on a two-yard run, bringing the score to 42-27. San Jose converted a fourth down play as the first half expired, as offensive lineman Jasper Harvey brought in a deflected pass to put the SaberCats on top 48-27 at the break.
The Rush came out of the locker room firing, as Michna picked out Gray for a 26-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, cutting the lead to 14 points at 48-34 early in the third quarter. Taggart found paydirt again as he walked into the end zone untouched to stretch the SaberCats lead back to 21 at 55-34. Chicago came up with a 14-point run, sandwiched around a key goal line stand and Perry found the end zone twice, bringing the Rush within one score. Grieb then connected with Williams again on a 27-yard touchdown to push the lead to 62-47.
Chicago cut the deficit to seven on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Michna to Gray coupled with a two point conversion, 62-55 early in the fourth quarter. Williams exploded for a 57-yard kickoff return on the ensuing kick, capping his evening, putting San Jose on top 68-55. San Joses defense then made a massive play, as defensive lineman Gabe Nyenhuis forced a fumble that was recovered by Joe Sykes with nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Grieb then pushed the lead back to 75-55, as he scampered in from four yards out. San Jose held off Chicago and pulled out their tenth win of 2012, 75-61.
Courtesy San Jose SaberCats media services