Des Moines, Iowa —
After winning their season opener on the road against the Spokane Shock, the Iowa Barnstormers hosted the Utah Blaze for their home opener at Wells Fargo Arena. Utah came into the game after falling to the San Antonio Talons 48-54. While the St. Patrick’s Day crowd of 8,258 cheered loudly, they were ultimately disappointed when the Blaze were able to pummel the Barnstormers 69-49.
After winning the coin toss, the Barnstormers’ Craig Camay kicked off deep into Blaze territory. On the first play of their possession, Utah quarterback Tommy Grady fumbled the snap. Iowa was able to recover the ball and quickly score on a five-yard pass from quarterback J.J. Raterink to wide receiver Jesse Schmidt. While both teams had good defensive stands, the Blaze were able to score twice on quarterback keeps by Grady, ending the first quarter ahead of the Barnstormers 13-7 after a missed PAT by Kyle Brotzman.
Raterink was harrassed non-stop by a tough Utah defensive line. First Team All-Arena defensive lineman Caesar Rayfor was able to tie his own single-game franchise record with 3.0 sacks and one forced fumble. Iowa was held to a mere 220 yards in total offense and gave up six turnovers.
In the second quarter, Utah sprinted to a 20-7 lead. Fullback Ben Stallings was able to plow into the end zone, but Iowa narrowed the Blaze lead by scoring off another pass play from Raterink to Schmidt. Utah was able to answer back by converting a fourth-down attempt into a touchdown as Grady spotted wide receiver Aaron Lesue for a 21-yard touchdown. Raterink was able to scramble later in the quarter and find wide receiver Marco Thomas open for a 33-yard touchdown, making the score 27-21. On the following possession by Utah, Barnstormers defensive back Cameron McGlenn intercepted the ball, but the Barnstormers offense was not able to convert the turnover into points inside the red zone. Grady orchestrated a nice drive, tossing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Lesue with less than a second left in the first half of the game. The Barnstormers went into the locker room down 34-21 at halftime.
The Barnstormers opened up the third quarter seeing more Utah defense stop their progress. Iowa turned over their drive while not converting their fourth-down. Grady was quick to find Ernie Pierce for a 14-yard touchdown connection to move the Blaze to a 41-21 lead. The Barnstormers answered with consecutive scores before the third period ended. Raterink connected once again with Schmidt to score for the third time in the game. Iowa defensive lineman Rodney Gnat was able to strip the football from Grady during a sack on Utah’s next possession, leaving defensive lineman Justin Mincey available to scoop up the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown. At the end of the third, the score was 41-35.
The final quarter of the game was well-fought by both teams, but Utah’s defense was too much to handle. Raterink was sacked by Mike Lewis and lost the ball in Iowa’s first drive of the period. Keenan Mace was able to recover the fumble. Blaze receiver Chris Bocage then caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Grady to put Utah up 47-35. In the next two Iowa series, Raterink was sacked and lost the ball. During the second sack-fumble, Dain Taylor was able to recover the ball and score, pushing the Utah lead to 55-35. While both teams found touchdowns in successive possessions, the Barnstormers could not overcome the Blaze. Raterink was able to hit Thomas and Chris Matthews to score, but it was Grady’s 33-yard pass to Bocage and a returned onside kick by Pierce that sealed the win for Utah.
Iowa is now 1-1 for the 2012 season. They have a bye week, but will return to Wells Fargo Arena on March 31, 2012, to face off against the Chicago Rush.
- JSL Ironman of the Game – Jesse Schmidt (Iowa)
- Cutters Catch of the Game – Marco Thomas (Iowa)
- Spalding Highlight of the Game – Rodney Gnat (Sack/FF) / Justin Mincey (FR/TD)(Iowa)
- Defensive POTW (Week One) – Cameron McGlenn (Iowa)
Barnstormers game leaders
- J.J. Raterink – 21/36 passing for 261 yards, 6 TDs and 2 INTs
- Jesse Schmidt – 9 receptions, 103 yards, 3 TDs
- Cameron McGlenn – 8 tackles, 1 INT
Box Score and Stats
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