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Crowded AFL playoff race

Tulsa blitzed Utah 81-51 Saturday night to create a four-way tie for the fourth and last National Conference playoff berth. Tulsa, Utah, Spokane and San Jose are 5-7. Kansas City is 4-9.

More on Utah's third straight loss here and here. The game was another indication of how reliant AFL teams are on quarterback play. Utah's Tommy Grady, after a hot start, has struggled recently and the Blaze don't have Erik Meyer to call on. Meyer became Spokane's signal caller after the Shock acquired him in a trade two weeks ago. Meyer had a solid debut (seven touchdowns, one interception) in Spokane's 75-54 win over Philadelphia on Friday night. Grady, who apparently was battling the flu, had two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Former Spokane offensive coordinator Matt Sauk served as Utah's interim head coach. Ron James didn't make the trip for medical reasons. Sauk is Utah's O.C. Utah has dropped its last two games by a combined 65 points.

Meanwhile, Tulsa's Justin Allgood, acquired from Philadelphia where he lost the starting job to Ryan Vena, was sharp in his return to his former squad. He had six touchdown passes as Tulsa scored an AFL season-high 81 points. Vena had a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns against Spokane.

Meanwhile, Arizona continues to roll with a couple of ex-Shockies (Davila, Gray, McCullough).

Spokane plays Utah July 9 in the outdoor game at Albi and visits San Jose on July 16.

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Greg Lee Greg Lee covers high school sports in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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