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EMPIRE GAME PREVIEW – WEEK 9 VS. COL

Spokane looks to bounce back after bye week against Colorado
04/11/2017 11:37 AM -

The Empire (4-2, 3-1) will host the Colorado Crush (1-5, 1-5) in Week 9 of the 2017 IFL regular season this Friday, April 14 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena with a 7:00 p.m. PT kickoff.

This Friday will be the second regular season match-up between Crush and the Empire, the first in Spokane. In their first match-up of the season in Week 5 in Colorado, Spokane came away with a dominating performance with a season high 70-37 victory.

Spokane will be returning from the second and final bye week of the 2017 season after falling to conference rival, Nebraska Danger by a score of 36-42 on April 1.

While the Empire endured their first loss of the season before entering their second bye week, Colorado was able to post their first victory of the year thanks to a 36-yard field goal by Spencer Groner as time expired in a 52-49 win over Salt Lake.

All five of Colorado’s losses so far during the regular season have been to Intense Conference opponents, while Spokane has only dropped one conference game beyond their double-overtime loss to the United Conference’s Wichita Falls Nighthawks back in Week 3.

The Empire will look to get back on track in their return to Spokane Arena in Week 9 against the Crush. Spokane will continue to rely on their commanding defense while Colorado will look to their run game to try to limit turnovers as they have posted the worst turnover margin in the IFL through the first eight weeks of the season (-10).

In their last matchup in Week 5, Spokane’s offense picked apart the Colorado defense as Spokane quarterback Charles Dowdell completed 17-of-23 pass attempts for 200 yards and seven touchdowns to four different receivers.

Spokane’s 9th Man may also see the running back tandem of Trevor Kennedy and Mulku Kalokoh on the field together for the first time this season. Kalokoh and Kennedy together account for 11 touchdowns and 376 total yards in a combined six games. 

Colorado is ranked fifth in the IFL in rushing offense (70.5 yards per game), but will face the first ranked rushing defense in the Empire who has held their opponents to less than 37 yards per game.

Spokane’s defense has been an integral part of the team’s success so far this season which will be also be a key to victory against Colorado. Spokane’s defense ranks in the top three in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense, interceptions, and yards per rush in each respective category. Spokane also is second in sacks with 13 on the season where Colorado has failed to protect their quarterbacks with allowing the most sacks in the league.

If Spokane is able to successfully limit the Colorado rushing attack and force the pass, the Crush could be in for a long night as they have thrown seven interceptions this season and are averaging a league-worst 123.3 passing yards per game. Two of their seven interceptions thrown this season were to Spokane in their last match-up in Colorado.

Friday’s matchup will also feature a new signal caller for the Colorado Crush in Liam Nadler, who has taken over for Sean Goldrich while he is on the short-term injured reserved. In just two games for the Crush, Nadler has completed 25-of-38 passes for 289 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

Colorado will also look to utilize two talented running backs in Josh Ford and Paris Cotton. Ford leads the Crush in rushing yards (144) and is third in receiving yards (64). The duo will have another opportunity to show their abilities against a stout Spokane rushing defense as the Empire limited the pair to only 52 rushing yards on nine carries in their last meeting.

This Friday’s game against Colorado is “Flashback Friday”. Fans are encouraged to dress up in their best 70’s, 80’s or 90’s attire for a chance to win prizes. The game will be broadcast live on the IFL’s YouTube Channel and also available on 700 ESPN and 105.3 FM radio in Spokane with Larry Weir on the call.

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