Stallions Ready for First Home Game
The Salt Lake Stallions will be playing in front of their home fans for the first time in history. They are hosting the Arizona Hotshots at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The hometown fans should see a pretty good game.
Through the first two weeks the Hotshots are unbeaten. They have proven themselves to be a second-half team so far. The Stallions played the Hotshots in Sun Devil Stadium in Week 1. Arizona outscored Salt Lake 19-6 after halftime to win by 16. At Memphis last weekend, the Hotshots overcame a 12-0 deficit to win 20-18. They seem to make plays when they are needed
This week may be a different story. Arizona will have a challenge playing in 30-degree weather and more than 4,632 feet above sea level. It could make for some tired players near the end of the game.
When the Stallions have the Ball
The Stallions will once again not announce their starting quarterback until game time. Josh Woodrum has been practicing this week, but Matt Linehan and Austin Allen have been receiving an even amount of reps. For us sports bettors it makes it a little more hard to figure out things.
The Hotshots won the first meeting by 16 points. It is misleading, as they scored only one more touchdown than the Stallions. Running back Matt Asiata, wide receiver Jordan Leslie and tight end Nick Truesdell each found the end zone in Week 1. They will look to do so again against the Hotshots solid D. They are led by defensive back Robert Nelson, defensive tackle Will Sutton and linebacker Steven Johnson.
Speaking of Johnson, he has been one of Arizona’s best defensive players so far. He had an interception and seven tackles against the Stallions in Week 1. He then turned around and had nine tackles with a forced fumble in Week 2 against the Express.
When the Hotshots have the Ball
Arizona’s run-pass option (RPO) offense has struggled to get going early in the first two games. It is like they have to see how the flow of the game is. When they do get going and the Hotshots are clicking they are hard to stop. Quarterback John Wolford spreads the ball around really well. His favorite target has been Rashad Ross, who has 170 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The running game is pretty devastating as well. Tim Cook and Justin Stockton have found the end zone while Jhurell Pressley leads the crew with 121 yards on the ground.
It’s no secret that the Stallions defensive line is locked in. Head coach Dennis Erickson has been confident in the unit since preseason. The defense as a whole came together in Week 2 against the Iron. They held Birmingham to more than 100 fewer yards than it had in Week 1.
When the Memphis Express put pressure on Wolford in Week 2, he made mistakes and threw two interceptions. The key for the Stallions pass rush is to put consistent pressure on Wolford throughout the game. If they can.
Stallions Players to Watch
DE Karter Schult: In the Week-2 matchup against Birmingham, Schult forced a fumble, deflected a pass, picked up two sacks and recorded six tackles. He consistently put pressure on Iron quarterback Luis Perez. It was key as Perez threw for only 184 yards after going for 252 in Week 1.
RB Joel Bouagnon: The Stallions back scored the team’s only touchdown in Week 2 against the Iron. He led all rushers in the game with 70 yards.
CB Will Davis: This former Utah State and NFL corner has disrupted passes and taken down ball carriers in the first two weeks. He has made 12 tackles and defending four passes.
Hotshots Player to Watch
LB Steven Johnson: The veteran inside linebacker has 16 total tackles (13 solo) to lead Arizona. He also has an interception, forced fumble and four tackles for loss.
By the Numbers: Schult is tied for the lead in The Alliance with three sacks. He is second with 11 quarterback pressures. Hotshots WR Richard Mullaney is second on the team with seven receptions. He is expected to miss this weekend’s game. Look for WRs Freddie Martino and Marquis Bundy to get more looks. aDon’t be surprised if the tight ends are more involved. Arizona is No. 1 in The Alliance in total yards per game, at 400, rushing yards per game at 179, red-zone efficiency with touchdowns on 80 percent of possessions, and two-point conversions coming in at 71%.
Pick: Hotshots -4.5, Under 44 (opened at 46).
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AAF Week 4 Schedule
|Orlando at Salt Lake||Saturday, March 2||4 p.m.||B/R Live|
|San Diego at Memphis||Saturday, March 2||8 p.m.||NFL Network|
|San Antonio at Birmingham||Sunday, March 3||4 p.m.||CBS Sports Network|
|Atlanta at Arizona||Sunday, March 3||8 p.m.||NFL Network|