By Jim Meehan
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It doesn’t seem to matter who San Jose has at quarterback when it faces the Spokane Shock.
The last three meetings between the West Division rivals have produced one-sided outcomes in Spokane’s favor.
The third-ranked Shock dominated from start to finish, forcing three turnovers and scoring on every possession before running out the closing seconds of a 75-45 victory over No. 2 San Jose in front of an announced crowd of 9,138 Saturday at the Arena.
Spokane (8-3), winners of three straight, defeated the SaberCats (7-3) for the third consecutive time by an average margin of 26.3 points. Those three wins have come against certain Hall of Fame quarterbacks Mark Grieb (90-63 last season) and Aaron Garcia (69-47 six weeks ago), and Russ Michna, who was signed after Garcia tossed five interceptions against Spokane in April.
Michna didn’t make it through the first half, leaving with a possible concussion. He exited after going 12 of 21 with no touchdowns and Spokane in front 41-16.
Spokane did just about everything right in the first half. The Shock scored on its five possessions, twice on Brandon Thompkins touchdown catches, twice on Adron Tennell runs and once on quarterback Erik Meyer’s 1-yard run on fourth down.
Spokane scored 41 points in the first half against a SaberCats’ defense that hadn’t allowed more than 38 in their last five games.
The Shock defense made a stop on San Jose’s second series when Terrance Sanders broke up a fourth-down pass intended for Jason Willis.
Sanders helped break the game open when he wrestled the ball away from Willis and raced 42 yards for a touchdown. Jeffrey Solomon, pressed into defensive back duty when Patrick Stoudamire was shaken up, picked off a pass from backup quarterback Mitch Mustain late in the first half.
San Jose’s first series of the third quarter ended with a Mustain incomplete pass on fourth down. The Shock capitalized on Meyer’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Solomon, boosting Spokane’s lead to 48-16.
Meyer finished with four touchdown passes and backup quarterback Arvell Nelson tossed two TDs. Thompkins had five catches for 86 yards and four touchdowns.