SPOKANE, Washington – The Spokane Empire will face the Colorado Crush in Week 14 of the 2017 Indoor Football League regular season on Thursday, May 18 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, CO with a 6:30 pm PST kickoff.
The Empire will play game three of the four game series against the Crush down in Colorado in a special Thursday night matchup. The first game between these two saw Spokane absolutely rout the Crush, 70-37. For game two, things were much closer, but the Empire were still victorious by a score of 36-24.
Lately, the Empire have dropped two in a row for the first time since the final two weeks in the 2016 regular season. Spokane's losses against Sioux Falls and Arizona serve as a warning of slipping out of the playoff picture since Nebraska holds the valuable tiebreaker, should the Danger and the Empire finish with the same record behind the Rattlers.
This will be the first time that Marvin Jones gets a crack at Spokane a head coach instead of a coordinator. Though he has only two games under his belt as the boss (both loses to Salt Lake), the former New York Jets standout is eager to turn his team's luck around with a signature win against Spokane. Jones was named interim head coach after the departure of Jose Jefferson in early May.
The Crush may be currently in the bottom of the Intense Conference standings, but they aren't the overall IFL cellar dwellers with a higher win percentage than Green Bay and Cedar Rapids. An interesting note, both wins for Colorado came with their starting quarterback Sean Goldrich out on injury. Now back in action, he seeks his first win this year under center with a weary Empire team in his crosshairs.
Goldrich going into Week 14 is averaging 112.7 passing yards a game. Not much of a rushing QB, he'll have to rely more on his receiving corps consisting mostly of Lovie Rose III and Kyle Kaiser. While Kaiser is the team leader in receiving yards and an IFL leader in touchdown receptions, Rose III has had the hot streak lately averaging 63.7 ypg in his last three outings.
Empire QB Charles Dowdell accounted for five passing touchdowns last week against Arizona, but turnovers hampered any opportunities at more. The defenses that Dowdell has faced as of late have taken him out of the top five positions of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. The signal caller is still on the leaderboard as a passer. With 39 touchdown passes thrown, Dowdell is good for the third place spot in the IFL for said category.
Defensively, the Empire looked like they absolutely missed their playmakers last week with Nick Haag and Adrian James signing NFL and CFL contracts respectively. Andrew Jackson and Pasquale Vacchio are still holding down the linebacker position.
As far as sacks go, the main man is still J.D. Griggs. Though the Empire didn't record a sack against the Rattlers last week, Griggs still leads the IFL with 8.5 sacks on the year. By comparison, the Crush have recorded eight sacks as a team. Defensive woes don't stop there for Colorado as they are the only unit in the IFL that have yet to record a defensive touchdown.
Thursday's game will 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.