If Spokane has an average night offensively, San Antonio is in trouble.
If the Talons have an average night defensively, Spokane is in trouble.
The Shock, second in scoring in the Arena Football League at 66.8 points per game, and the Talons, one of the league’s stingiest defenses at 45.2 points allowed, collide tonight at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Spokane (6-3) snapped a three-game losing skid with a victory over New Orleans last week and sits in third place in the rugged West Division. San Antonio (4-4), winner of four of its last six, is in first in the Central, despite an 0-2 record against division foes.
“They’re just playing efficient football and their defense is one of the strongest in the AFL,” Shock coach Andy Olson said. “They’re holding teams to low scores every week. Their pass rush is one of the best.”
In the pass- and point-happy AFL, San Antonio is 4-0 when holding opponents in the 30s. The Talons have lost three close games when foes scored in the 40s. Only top-ranked Arizona roughed up the Talons defense, rolling to an 83-40 win.
San Antonio intercepted six passes in a 57-33 win over Cleveland last week. The Talons have cracked the 50-point barrier only twice. They’re averaging nearly three turnovers per game.
Nick Hill, one of four to take snaps at quarterback, has provided stability. The AFL veteran has modest stats – 21 touchdowns, nine interceptions, completion percentage of 59, passer rating of 86.8 – but he’s 4-1 as the starter.
San Antonio has 20 sacks, tied for second in the AFL, and has forced 20 turnovers. Key playmakers include Joe Sykes (6.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries), Tim McGill (four sacks), Jamar Ransom (six interceptions) and Fred Shaw (five interceptions).
“Our line was pretty outstanding last week, but they’ll definitely be tested,” Olson said.
Defensive back Paul Stephens, injured in the second half last Saturday, probably won’t play. Recently signed Ruschard Dodd-Masters is expected to be in the DB rotation. … Linebacker Terence Moore has been placed on league suspension and will be replaced by Arvell Nelson. Olson declined to discuss specifics, saying Moore’s situation is “between the player and the coaches.”
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