Shock Face Final Regular Season Test At Portland - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Shock Face Final Regular Season Test At Portland

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Erik Meyer will look to lead the Shock to one last win before the playoffs begin. (Photo: Reed Schmitt) Erik Meyer will look to lead the Shock to one last win before the playoffs begin. (Photo: Reed Schmitt)

by Spokane Shock Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane Shock (10-7) finish off their 2014 regular season schedule with a road trip to face the Portland Thunder (5-12) on Saturday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m. PDT.

Both teams have secured spots in the National Conference playoffs, with the Shock holding the No. 3 seed and the Thunder locking down the No. 4 seed just last weekend. Spokane will open the playoffs on the road at the San Jose SaberCats while Portland will travel to take on the Arizona Rattlers.

The Shock and Thunder have faced off twice already this season, with Spokane coming away with home victories in both games. Spokane has outscored Portland 113-75 in their two games and is undefeated (4-0) against the expansion Thunder and LA KISS. One of Spokane’s two victories came without quarterback Erik Meyer, with Brian Zbydniewski getting the start in his place and throwing for 273 yards and five touchdowns.

Two consecutive weeks of come-from-behind victories propel the Shock into this Pacific Division matchup, having most recently defeated the Tampa Bay Storm 55-52 in Monday night action on ESPN2. Trailing the Storm 31-20 at halftime, a Terrance Sanders kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter and pick-six in the fourth quarter helped push the Shock to their fourth straight victory.

The Thunder, despite losing to the Rattlers 65-55 last week, secured a playoff berth in their inaugural season when the KISS lost 72-65 to the San Antonio Talons. Portland QB Kyle Rowley completed 23 of 42 passes against Arizona for 311 yards and six touchdowns with one interception. After taking a brief lead early in the third quarter the Thunder surrendered three-straight touchdowns to go down 44-26, ultimately costing them the game.

Spokane is 4-0 and averaging 31.8 points per game more on offense since welcoming back Meyer from injured reserve. Meyer has completed 66.7 percent of his passes this year for 2,519 yards and 54 touchdowns while also contributing 111 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.

The Shock receiving corps finds themselves healthy and at full strength with the return of Adron Tennell for last week’s game. Mike Washington leads the unit with 102 receptions for 1,298 yards and 22 touchdowns while Tennell and rookie Rashaad Carter have contributed a combined 120 receptions and 28 scores.

Spokane boasts the fourth best defensive unit in the AFL, allowing only 47.2 points and 269.9 yards per game. The group’s 39 sacks and 29 interceptions put them at first and third best in the league, respectively. Sanders is fifth in the league with 10 interceptions, leading a Shock secondary that has come away with 43 pass break ups and over 152 tackles.

Shock defensive end James Ruffin continues to chase the AFL single-season sack record – he now has racked up 14.0 sacks and is 2.5 behind breaking the record mark of 16.0 set by Joe Sykes of San Jose in 2012.

On the other side of the ball, the Thunder offense has managed only 45.6 points per game, the 4th worst mark in the league. Production has increased for Portland since signing former Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley, who has gone 168-285 for 2,060 yards and 39 touchdowns in his seven games.

With their highest-scoring receiver, Eric Rogers, in the CFL, the Thunder turn to the trio of Jamar Howard, Duane Brooks, and Douglas McNeill III to produce for them – the group has combined for just 33 touchdowns this year.

Despite a lack of pressure up front on the defensive line, the Thunder secondary has managed to impress. Defensive backs Sonie Varmah and Dwight McLean have brought in 12 interceptions and 40 pass break ups together while Eric Crocker has added 9 interceptions and 11 pass break ups of his own.

Coverage of the game on TV can be found on Comcast SportsNet Northwest, online at WatchESPN.com or through the WatchESPN application, and on the radio at 700 ESPN AM.

2015 season tickets for the Shock’s 10th Anniversary Season are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (509) 242-7462 or visiting SpokaneShock.com.

 

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