SaberCats vs. Voodoo at a glance

April 27, 2013, 11:45 am
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Programming Note: The San Jose SaberCats visit the New Orleans Voodoo at 5:30pm on CSN Bay Area Plus.

CSN Bay Area Plus Channel Locations
Comcast Cable - channel 780 (HD), 104 (SD)    
AT&T U-verse – channel 1771(HD), 771 (SD)         
Dish Network – channel 454 (SD)
DirecTV – channel 697-1 (HD), 697 (SD)

Season Records
SaberCats: 2-2, last week loss to Spokane 69-47
Voodoo: 1-3, last week loss to Pittsburgh 46-43

Stat Matchup (AFL Ranking)
SaberCats
Points per Game: 51.5(7th)
Points Allowed:  61.5 (T-12th)
Total Offense:  296.8 Yds/Gm (5th)
Total Defense:  278.5 Yds/Gm (10th)
Turnover Margin: -5 (gained 7, loss 13) (T-9th)
Opponent 3rd down conversion: 23.1% (6 allowed on 26 attempts) (1st)

Voodoo
Points per Game: 39.5 (13th)
Points Allowed:  53.8 (10th)
Total Offense:  215.2 Yds/Gm (14th)
Total Defense:  274.0 Yds/Gm (7th)
Turnover Margin: -7 (gained 4, loss 11) (13th)
3rd down conversions: 23.3% (7 converted on 30 attempts) (13th)

KEY MATCHUPS
SaberCats
QB – Russ Michna (69.8 Comp%, 4,470 yards passing, 89 TDs, 10 INT last season with Chicago)
Voodoo
QB – Zach Eskridge (58.3 Comp%, 100 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT this season)

SaberCats
WR – Jason Willis (34 receptions, 397 yards, 8 TDs, this season)
WR – Jamarko Simmons (22 receptions, 239 yards, 6 TDs this season)
WR – Huey Whittaker (19 receptions, 234 yards, 6 TDs this season)

Voodoo
WR – Courtney Smith (19 receptions, 276 yards, 4 TDs this season)
WR – Donovan Morgan (17 receptions, 182 yards, 5 TDs this season)
WR – Derek Lee (16 receptions, 186 yards, 6 TDs this season)

SaberCats
DB – Clevan Thomas (18.0 tackles, 4 INT, 2 pass breakups this season)
Voodoo
DB – Eddie Moten (21.5 tackles, 2 INT, 4 pass breakups this season)

SaberCats
LB – Huey Whittaker (12.0 tackles, forced fumble, INT return & a pass breakup this season)
Voodoo
LB – James Bryant (20.5 tackles, 2 sacks this season)

Keep an eye on…
SaberCats: QB Russ Michna will be making his 2013 debut after being signed this week following the trade of Aaron Garcia to Orlando. Michna was given the starting nod over backup Mitch Mustain due to his five year experience in the AFL.   His game management skills are also a big reason he is behind center as he has only thrown 41 career interceptions.  San Jose will have a healthy Huey Whittaker this week to add much needed spark to the receiving and defensive unit. Whitaker’s ability to play all three phases of the game will alleviate pressure on young Mervin Brookins to be able to concentrate more on DB and returning kicks.  A surprise has been the play of Jamarko Simmons who last week had 11 catches for 126 yards and a TD. Jason Willis will look to continue his great start with a new signal caller. Willis leads the team with 8 TD’s and his 34 catches not only lead San Jose but are good for 7th in the AFL.

Voodoo: QB Zach Eskridge looks to start in place of an injured Kurt Rocco. Eskridge last week split time with Rocco combining for 116 yards passing and 3 touchdowns.  Former SaberCat Courtney Smith also did not play last week but when healthy has been leading the receiving corps with 276 yards receiving. On the defensive side of the ball Former SaberCat Eddie Moten has been the main ball hawk for the Voodoo with a pair of interceptions and recording 21.5 tackles which is second on the team behind fellow DB Demar Robinson who has 26 tackles.  This will be the first AFL game in the Mercedes Benz Superdome since the New Orleans Night played there from 1991-1992.

Series History
New Orleans leads the all-time series 3-2. San Jose won last year’s meeting 55-31. San Jose’s defense allowed only 7 points in the second half and their 31 points allowed were a season best in 2012.  The SaberCats have never beaten the Voodoo in the Graveyard. San Jose all-time including Arena Bowl experiences in New Orleans are 1-4.

Quotable
“Experience; Mitch is doing great, getting better every week. He is picking up the game, but Russ has the experience and that is what we are going with right now” – Head Coach Darren Arbet on naming Russ Michna as his starting Quarterback this week in New Orleans.
“I’m excited. From the first minute I got here you can tell it’s a great organization a lot of good coaches, great players. From my times playing here the fans are excited and into the game. I’m excited to be here and get this thing rolling.” Russ Michna on his overall thoughts on becoming a SaberCat

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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