SaberCats-Predators: At a glance

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SaberCats looking to impress in home opener

SaberCats-Predators: At a glance
March 29, 2013, 11:15 am
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This will be the 12th all-time meeting between these two premiere AFL franchises and the eighth game played in San Jose. 

We fully expect to have a competitive high level game and we’re at home, we gotta pull this out for our fans.
—SaberCats WR Huey Whittaker

Programming Note: San Jose SaberCats host the Orlando Predators in the 2013 home opener tonight at 7:30 PT on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

Season Records
SaberCats 1-0, last week defeated San Antonio 47-42
Predators 0-1, last week lost to New Orleans 51-45 in overtime

Stat Matchup (Last Week)
Points Scored: 47
Points Allowed: 42
Total Offense (yards): 268  
Total Defense (yards) 240
Turnover Margin +1 (Gained 4, loss 3)

Points Scored: 45
Points Allowed: 51
Total Offense (yards): 325
Total Defense (yards): 231 
Turnover Margin -1 (Gained 1, loss 2)

Key Matchups
QB - Aaron Garcia (264 yards passing, 5 TDs, 3 INT last week at Talons)

QB – Kyle Rowley (319 yards passing, 5 TDs, 2 INT last week at Voodoo)

WR – Huey Whittaker (8 receptions, 89 yards, 4 TDs last week at Talons)

WR – Prechae Rodriguez (9 receptions, 176 yards, 3 TDs last week at Voodoo)

DB – Clevan Thomas (4 tackles, 1 INT in first AFL game since 2008 Arena Bowl) Predators DB – Simeon Castille (3.5 tackles, 1 INT, 2 pass breakups last week at Voodoo)

LB – Huey Whittaker (3 tackles, forced fumble, INT return & a pass breakup last week at Talons)

LB – Tim Cheatwood (2 TFL for 6 yards, a forced fumble & a sack last week at Voodoo)

Keep an eye on…
SaberCats: Aaron Garcia threw his 1200th touchdown last week and looks to add to that total in his home debut. Garcia has come full circle as he began his AFL career playing in the first ever SaberCats game in San Jose on May 12th, 1995. Clevan Thomas also makes his return to San Jose. Thomas’ last game at Cats’ Lair was the American Conference Championship game in 2008. He recorded his 51st career interception last week which moved him to 2nd all-time in league history. Huey Whittaker for his all-around spectacular game in San Antonio that saw him catch 4 touchdowns and return a INT for another was awarded the AFL Playmaker of the Week award. Tommy Taggert, who last season in 11 games rushed 46 times for 119 yards and 12 touchdowns before being injured has returned to the team. Taggert is a fixture as a pass protector which should help in keeping Garcia upright as last week he was sacked twice and knocked down four times.

Predators: The last time Predators QB Kyle Rowley was in San Jose he was a member of the Spokane Shock, and he lit up the score sheet recording at the time an AFL record 12 touchdowns. He might have the ability to do that again as he has two playmakers at wide receiver. Prechae Rodriguez and former SaberCat Jason Geathers combined to score five TDs on 286 yards receiving last week at New Orleans. Two-time AFL Coach of the Year Doug Plank is the new man in charge of this rebuilt Predators team. The man they named the “46” defense after is a longtime adversary of the SaberCats going back to his start in coaching as the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Rattlers. The Predators have lost their last 10 road games dating back to last season.

Series History
This will be the 12th all-time meeting between these two premiere AFL franchises and the 8th one played in San Jose. The SaberCats are 5-2 at home against Orlando and have won six of the past seven meetings overall. One of the most notable games in this series was the 52-40 playoff win on August 10th, 2002 that sent the SaberCats to their first ever Arena Bowl. Last season San Jose defeated Orlando 51-34 at home behind four touchdowns from Mark Grieb and a relentless defensive attack that only allowed seven second half points.

“Kyle is a good Quarterback; he won a championship, last time I check you have to be pretty good to win one of those. Doug Plank, anytime they name a defense after you, that 46 defense, a physical guy, big time attitude and it’s defiantly carried over to his team, they have that attitude and toughness.”Darren Arbet on the matchup this week with Kyle Rowley, Doug Plank and the Orlando Predators

“I turned the ball over way too many times last week and we still came out with the win, but I have to cut that back and just stay together like we did last week.” Aaron Garcia on his keys to a win this week.

“We fully expect to have a competitive high level game and we’re at home, we gotta pull this out for our fans.” – Huey Whittaker on the matchup and playing the home opener

Nick Laino works in studio operations at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and is the public address announcer for the San Jose SaberCats


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