Monday, March 19, 2012

Blocked FG leads Soul to win in NOLA

NEW ORLEANS (March 18, 2012) – It was a record-setting night for Philadelphia Soul wide receiver/kick returner Jeff Hughley, but it was a last-second blocked 40-yard field goal by the Soul’s Bryan Robinson that sealed a season-opening, 63-62, victory for the Philadelphia Soul (1-0) over the New Orleans VooDoo (0-1) in front of 5,307 fans at the New Orleans Arena on Sunday night.

“We are excited to get the victory, but we know there are things that we need to work on for next week,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “The good news is that they are all correctable mistakes, but that doesn’t take away from the huge game that Jeff (Hughley) had tonight.”

Hughley, who was named the National Guard MVP, Offensive, Ironman and Playmaker of the Game by the media, set the team’s single-game record for all-purpose yards (357) and kickoff return yards (265), while tying the record for most kickoff returns (10) in a single game.

Philadelphia quarterback Dan Raudabaugh finished by connecting on 22-of-30 passes for 310 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.  Leading the receiving corps for the Soul was Tiger Jones with 10 receptions for 132 yards and three touchdowns, while Donovan Morgan had eight receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns.  Hughley added four catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 265 return yards and a return touchdown.

New Orleans quarterback Kurt Rocco led the VooDoo by connecting on 25-of-39 passes for 314 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.  Wide receiver Quorey Payne was New Orleans’ leading receiver with 10 receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns.

The Soul started the scoring on their first drive when Raudabaugh found Jones on a 7-yard scoring pass to take a 7-0 lead.  After a defensive stop on the VooDoo’s first drive Raudabaugh connected with Morgan on a 13-yard pass play to take a 14-0 lead and finished the first quarter up 14-6.

Raudabaugh added a touchdown strike to Hughley and another to Jones and went into the halftime leading 28-20.

Hughley had a 54-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter to give the Soul a 42-34 lead.  The teams continued to exchange scores through the third quarter and into the fourth until New Orleans’ Rocco connected with L.J. Castile with 13:33 remaining in the contest to give the VooDoo their first lead of the game, 48-42.

Fourth quarter touchdowns by Hughley, Derrick Ross and the final score by Morgan with 17 seconds remaining to set up the dramatic finished.  The VooDoo thought they had the game-winning catch when Payne failed to hold on to the ball in the endzone with three seconds left, which forced New Orleans to attempt a 40-yard field goal by kicker Josh Shene for the win.

After a good snap and hold, Soul defensive lineman Bryan Robinson broke through and blocked the kick and the clock ran out and gave the Soul the 63-62 victory.

The side story of the game was the Soul’s penalties and turnovers.  Philadelphia committed 12 penalties to New Orleans’ two, while the Soul fumbled twice and the VooDoo did not fumble.

The Soul travel to face the Eastern Division rival Pittsburgh Power next Friday night at 8 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center.  The game will be shown on NFL Network.

National Guard MVP:  Philadelphia’s Jeff Hughley
Russell Athletic Offensive Player: Philadelphia’s Jeff Hughley
Riddell Defensive Player: New Orleans’ Jorrick Calvin
JLS Ironman: Philadelphia’s Jeff Hughley
AFL Playmaker: Philadelphia’s Jeff Hughley
Cutter’s Catch of the Game: New Orleans’ L.J. Castille’s TD catch in the third quarter.
Spalding Highlight of the Game: New Orleans’ L.J. Castille’s TD catch in the third quarter.

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