San Jose SaberCats vs. Arizona Rattlers at 5:30 PT tonight in Phoenix.
SaberCats: 2-0, last week defeated Orlando 65-62
Rattlers: 2-0, last week defeated Utah 77-49
Stat Matchup (AFL Ranking)
Points Per Game: 56.0 (6th)
Points Allowed: 52.0 (7th)
Total Offense: 275.5 Yds/Gm (9th)
Total Defense: 297.5 Yds/Gm (9th)
Turnover Margin +2 (Gained 7, loss 5) (T-5th)
Points Per Game: 71.5 (T-1st)
Points Allowed: 50.5 (5th)
Total Offense: 300.5 Yds/Gm (6th)
Total Defense: 354.5 Yds/Gm (14th)
Turnover Margin +9 (gained 11, loss 2) (1st)
QB - Aaron Garcia (552 yards passing, 12 TDs, 5 INT this season)
QB – Nick Davila (589 yards passing, 14 TDs, 2 INT this season)
WR – Huey Whittaker (14 receptions, 164 yards, 5 TDs this season)
WR – Jason Willis (15 receptions, 175 yards, 3 TDs, this season)
WR – Jamarko Simmons-Scott (6 receptions, 58 yards, 3 TDs this season)
WR – Maurice Purify (13 receptions, 192 yards, 3 TDs this season)
WR – Jared Perry (12 receptions, 187 yards, 4 TDs this season)
WR – Tysson Poots (8 receptions, 92 yards, 4 TDs this season)
DB – Clevan Thomas (11.0 tackles, 4 INT, 2 pass breakups this season)
DB – Virgil Gray (17.0 tackles, 1 INT, 2 pass breakups this season)
LB – Huey Whittaker (11.0 tackles, forced fumble, INT return & a pass breakup this season)
LB – Tyre Glasper (5 tackles & a forced fumble this season)
Keep an eye on…
SaberCats: DB Clevan Thomas with his 3 interception performance last week increased his career total to 54 and his 4 total this year leads the AFL. QB Aaron Garcia is tied for the league lead in interceptions with 5, yet the team is 2-0 to start the season. Garcia torched Arizona last season in two games accruing 594 yards and 12 touchdowns. San Jose’s defense is #1 in opponent 3rd down conversions having allowed only 3 on 18 attempts. But after Orlando converted 5 of 6 on 4th down last week; the SaberCats are second to last in the league in opponent 4th down conversions allowing 7 on 9 attempts. San Jose has not won three consecutive road games to start a season since 2002 and have not won three consecutive road games overall since 2008.
Rattlers: QB Nick Davila was voted week 2 MVP in the AFL for his 285 yard, 7 touchdown performance last week at Utah. His 14 total touchdowns this season are tied for 2nd in the AFL. The triple headed wide receiver monster of Maurice Purify, Jared Perry & Tysson Poots aka the Killer P’s, has scored 11 of the 20 touchdowns this season for Arizona has the #1 scoring offense after two weeks in the AFL with a point average of 71.5. Contrast to that is their total defense which is last in the AFL with opponents averaging 354.5 yards per game. They are the defending Arena Bowl Champions.
San Jose won both regular season meetings last year. This rivalry is second only to “The War On I-4” which is Orlando vs. Tampa Bay as far longevity in the AFL. The first ever game in San Jose history was against Arizona with the Rattlers winning in overtime on May 12, 1995. They have met twice in the Arena Bowl. 2002 in San Jose and then Arizona hosted the game in 2004. San Jose won both meetings. Combined these two teams have won six arena bowls and 14 of the past 15 division titles since the AFL adopted a four-division system in 1995. The SaberCats lead the all-time regular season series 20-18, while in the playoffs the series is tied 2-2 with San Jose losing 51-48 last season in a first round playoff matchup. It will be a rematch of sorts for Aaron Garcia and Nick Davila who met in Arena Bowl XXIV with Garcia winning the title and MVP honors. San Jose is 9-7 all-time and has won 4 of the last 6 meetings in the “Snake Pit”.
“You just have so many leaders on this team it is hard for them not to stick together.” – Head Coach Darren Arbet on his team’s resolve.
“Our focus on defense this week is finishing the play get off the field and getting the ball back to our offense.” – Clevan Thomas on the defensive focus this week in practice
Nick Laino works in studio operations at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and is the Public Address announcer for the San Jose SaberCats.