SALT LAKE CITY – Spokane remains winless against West Division rivals this season.
Utah thumped the Shock 84-63 on Friday at EnergySolutions Arena, dropping Spokane to 0-3 against the West and 3-4 overall. Fifth-ranked Utah improved to 6-2 with its fourth consecutive victory.
Spokane started digging a hole on its first play from scrimmage. A bobbled snap resulted in quarterback Kyle Rowley being tackled in the end zone for a safety. Utah scored quickly on the first of Tommy Grady’s 11 touchdown passes and the Blaze led 9-0.
Rowley was intercepted three times in the first half, including on the final play by former Shock linebacker Antwan Marsh, and Spokane was called for 10 penalties as Utah raced in front 43-21.
“A lot of mistakes, a lot of mental mistakes,” Shock coach Andy Olson said in a postgame radio interview. “We just dug too deep of a hole and we couldn’t come back.”
Utah extended its lead to 29 early in the third quarter on Grady’s touchdown pass to Aaron Lesue. Those two connected for five touchdowns and ex-Shock receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku had four TD catches. Grady’s 11 touchdown passes tied an Arena Football League single-game record.
Utah’s 84 points are the most allowed by Spokane in the franchise’s seven-year history. The previous high was Louisville’s 79 points in Spokane’s inaugural season in arenafootball2 in 2006.
Rowley finished with nine touchdown passes. Brandon Thompkins had eight TD receptions, breaking Raul Vijil’s franchise record of seven, but he had a couple of costly drops late in the first half.
“(Thompkins) was more aggressive in the second half,” Olson said. “He didn’t play very well in the first half, but he came out and did a great job in the second.”
Utah was 5 of 5 on fourth-down conversions. The Blaze scored on all but one of their possessions.
“We have to be smarter,” Olson said. “In clutch situations we continue to make stupid mistakes.”
Spokane plays at home against New Orleans on Friday.