Saturday, April 07, 2012

Soul aim to bounce back in Georgia


PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Soul (2-1) head to Georgia this week to take on the Force (2-1), head coach Doug Plank’s former team.  Plank led the Force to the ArenaBowl in 2005, and Saturday’s game marks the first time he will be back in Georgia’s Gwinnett Center. 

The Soul are currently in a three-way tie for first in their division after dropping their home opener to the Cleveland Gladiators 62-68.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 7 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA. 

This Week 5 road matchup pits two opposites against each other.  Through the first four weeks, the Soul have made their mark on the offensive side of the ball, while the Force have performed at a high level defensively, ranking in the top 10 of almost every category.

“I always appreciated the great fan support Georgia has,” said Soulhead coach Doug Plank. “I’m sure that support hasn’t changed. The Force’s arena is the same, but the personnel have all changed since my time there. For me, this is just another game to put us back on our winning streak.”

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh continued his strong performance with another impressive outing that kept him among the league’s top quarterbacks.  Raudabaugh has completed 62-of-88 attempts for a passing efficiency rating of 123.2 that ranks No. 5 in the League. Through three games he has thrown for 782 yards and 20 touchdowns.  Raudabaugh’s 12.6 yards per completion rank him No. 8 in the AFL.  Thanks to Raudabaugh’s contributions, the Soul offense is ranked No. 1 in terms of scoring and No. 8 in total offense.

For the third straight week, Raudabaugh will have to dissect a top-ranked defense.  Georgia’s defense ranks No. 1 in scoring, rushing defense, interceptions, and turnover margin.  They are also No. 9 in passing defense.

The Soul will be without a big weapon this week, as WR Donovan Morgan is out with a broken wrist. Luckily, the team can still count on the Cutter’s Catch of the Week player WR Tiger Jones for big plays. Jones ranks first on the team and eighth in the League for receiving yards per game. WR/KR Jeff Hughley will also be a big help in Morgan’s absence.

Hughley’s performance on special teams has him ranked No. 1 in the league for all-purpose yards with 726 and the Soul’s kick return unit ranked at No. 4 in kick return yards.  Georgia looks to slow Hughley down with their No. 5 kickoff coverage unit and counter his output with their No. 1 ranked kick return game.

Both teams possess potent rushing games as the Soul and Force are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.  The difference comes in that the Force also have the No. 1 rushing defense while the Soul’s only comes in at No. 12.

The Soul are one of three teams in their division and eight in the Arena Football League with a 2-1 record.  A win may move them ahead of the pack and place them back in the driver’s seat of the Eastern Division. 

-courtesy of Philadelphiasoul.com
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