Danger defense stiflesBemidji in home opener
GRAND ISLAND,NEB – Playing with a short-handed offense didn't bother the Nebraska Danger onSaturday night. The defending Intense Conference champions used a stubborndefense that held the expansion Bemidji Axemen to 136 yards as the Danger wontheir home opener, 43-19.
The 19 pointswas a franchise-low allowed by Nebraska topping their season-opening numberfrom last season when they defeated Sioux Falls 30-21.
"We kind ofchallenged our guys a little bit this week," Nebraska coach Mike Davis. "Wewere not real happy with how we played last week in Sioux Falls and with theinjuries we had on offense, we needed a big game from those guys.
"I thoughtthey performed well."
Afterallowing an Axemen touchdown from Hunter Wanket to Maurice Patterson to openthe scoring, the Danger defense took over from there. They stopped Bemidji onfour consecutive possessions to finish the half before new quarterback CodyKirby went to work.
Playing for2013 league MVP Jameel Sewell, who was injured last week against Sioux Falls,Kirby gave the Danger the lead for good with 49 seconds left in the firstquarter on an acrobatic 10-yard run. The Nebraska offense, also playing withoutall-league receiver Kayne Farquharson and Marcus Barnett, still managed 306yards on 20 first downs in the contest.
"I thought wehad a bunch of guys step up and play well for us on offense," Davis said. "Iwas happy to see our offense perform like they did. It was a little slow start,but that was expected a little bit."
Kirby, whoearned IFL rookie-of-the-year honors at quarterback for Chicago last season,had 73 yards rushing on 19 carries and finished the game 17-for-29 passing for206 yards. Most importantly, the Danger offense did not turn the ball over forthe second time in as many games.
The Dangerled just 27-13 late in the third quarter and gave the ball over on downs toBemidji. But, with a chance to cut into the lead, Wanket mishandled a snap andwas tackled in the end zone by Pig Brown for a safety. On Nebraska's nextpossession, running back Troy Evans scored on a 25-yard run for insurance and a36-13 Danger lead.
Evans andnewcomer Jacob Payne, each scored twice for the Danger. Evans recorded eightreceptions for 64 yards and Payne added 41 yards receiving. Wanket ledBemidji as he ran for 44 yards and threw for 80.
Nebraska willcontinue their three-game home stand next Saturday night with a 7:00 gameagainst the Texas Revolution at the Heartland Events Center. The Danger andBemidji are both 1-1 on the season.
Courtesy Nebraska Danger Media Relations