PITTSBURGH – The San Jose SaberCats (12-4) knocked off the Pittsburgh Power (3-13) 78-20 in front of 7,132 fans at the Consol Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday night. Quarterback Russ Michna completed 15-of-17 passes for 156 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions before being relieved by Mitch Mustain after the half, with San Jose on top 48-7.
San Jose’s defense was absolutely dominant, holding the Power to 20 points, sacking the quarterback an eye-popping eight times and forcing four turnovers in the win. The 58-point win for San Jose was the largest in franchise history, surpassing a 73-17 win over the Oklahoma Wranglers on May 5, 2001.
San Jose opened the scoring, taking a quick 7-0 lead after a defensive stop, as Michna picked out a wide open Huey Whittaker for a five-yard touchdown. Following a successful onside kick, which was recovered by kicker Nich Pertuit, Michna found wide receiver Fred Williams on a nine-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 13-0.
San Jose forced a turnover deep in Pittsburgh territory and took advantage quickly when Michna connected with Whittaker for the second time in the quarter, pushing the lead to 20-0.
The Power got on the board early in the second quarter, as quarterback Shane Austin found wide receiver Mike Washington in the back of the end zone to pull within 13, at 20-7. Wide receiver Jamarko Simmons and the SaberCats responded quickly, as he forced his way in from a yard out, losing control initially, but recovered his own fumble for the score and pushed the San Jose advantage to 27-7.
San Jose’s defense forced another turnover on downs and struck on the first play as Michna and Whittaker connected for the third time in the half, and San Jose led 34-7. San Jose tacked on another pair of touchdowns to take a commanding 48-7 lead into the break.
The second half began the same way the first ended, as San Jose marched down the field and capped off the drive with an eight-yard Fred Williams touchdown run to extend the SaberCats lead to 55-7 early in the third. Austin and Washington connected for the second time on the night, this time from six yards out to cut the San Jose lead to 55-13.
Pertuit hit a 34-yard field goal late in the third to bring the score to 58-13 in favor of the SaberCats, which is how the third quarter concluded.
Whittaker scored his fourth touchdown of the game when Mustain found him near the goal line for an 11-yard scoring strike and extended the SaberCats advantage to 65-13 early in the fourth quarter.
SaberCats defensive back and Hall of Fame selection Clevan Thomas intercepted his second pass of the game and brought it back 49-yards for the score, pushing the lead to 71-13. That also marked the 13th interception of the season for Thomas, which tied his career single-season best from 2003. The two teams traded scores late in the quarter and San Jose came out with the 78-20 win.
San Jose SaberCats Media Services contributed to this report