SPOKANE, Wash. -- There is something about San Jose quarterbacks that make the Spokane Shock defense turn up the pressure.
The Shock shut down Sabercats starter Russ Michna in the first half and backup play caller Mitch Mustain in the second en route to a 75-45 throttling at the Spokane Arena on Saturday night. The win puts the Shock (8-3) ahead of San Jose (7-3) for second place in the West much to the delight of the 9,138 in attendance.
"I'm a tell you this, man: As a defense as a whole, we knew what we had to do," linebacker Beau Bell said. "We had to come out here and do our jobs. Get to the quarterback, play great defense in the back end, get your hands on the ball, and that's what we did tonight. Great team defense tonight."
Spokane intercepted former Sabercats quarterback Aaron Garcia five times in a win in San Jose on April 19, after which San Jose traded the veteran.
The results will not likely be as dramatic this time around, but a 12 for 21 half that included an interception and only 16 points for Michna won't win the Sabercat any awards. To add injury to insult, Michna exited the game just before halftime and was being tested for a concussion. He did not return.
So the Shock turned their attention toward Mustain, who didn't fare much better, going 14 for 25 with three touchdowns -- all of which came after the game was decided -- and an interception.
"It was tremendous," said Shock head coach Andy Olson about the defensive effort. "Not easy to do against a team that's been close to perfect the last five games on offense."
Terrance Sanders provided the first defensive highlight of the night, taking an interception 42 yards for a score. Former Washington State receiver Jeffrey Solomon followed by recovering his own forced fumble on the ensuing possession.
The turnover led to the first of three rushing touchdowns by Adron Tennell, which established a new single-game Shock record.
Solomon added another interception before halftime. He also had a touchdown reception and a team-leading 10 tackles to round out his night.
The Shock got the mojo working from the opening kickoff. Sanders returned the ball 30 yards to start the game and Brandon Thompkins had a 20-yard touchdown catch on the first play from scrimmage to grab the early momentum.
After the Sabercats matched the touchdown with a scoring drive of their own to tie the game, 7-7, the Shock pulled away. Spokane led 41-16 at the half and didn't allow the Sabercats to score in the second half until there was 4:02 left in the third quarter.
"Looking at that clock at one point in the third quarter, I seen 16 points and I was like, 'Man,'" Sanders said. "I kind of got proud of what we done. Then they put a little bit more points on, but I would say this year, that's probably the best we played all together all season."