The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles will be looking to end a three-game losing streak as they return home to face the Colorado Crush again at the Maverik Center. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. ET. You can help call all the offensive plays in real time again via the Screaming Eagles app. (Download here on Android or iOS)
Salt Lake beat Colorado 42-41 on Feb. 26. You can read a preview of tonight's game below.
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This week, Salt Lake Screaming Eagles fans narrowly voted against signing troubled former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy. But for Screaming Eagles players, the focus was all on the mission for this weekend: Just win, baby.
Salt Lake fans rejected Hardy by the narrowest of margins—less than .25% of the votes cast—and Screaming Eagles players rejected the notion that they needed the addition of a former NFL Pro Bowler to turn around the team’s 1-3 record. They'll try to get back on track Friday at home against the Colorado Crush.
“We understood all the talk about bringing (Hardy) in,” safety Don Unamba said. “But as a defense it’s hard not to take that personally We’re gonna show people that we have all the talent we need to win games already on the squad.”
The Eagles have zero sacks this season, something that has been tough to swallow for defensive tackle Jerrod Black, whose jersey bears the moniker "Sack Lake City."
“We sat down in film this week and counted eight sacks we missed since the start of the season,” Black said. “Eight! We’ve had guys cornered, we’ve had two hands on guys…we’re so close and now we just have to execute.”
The Screaming Eagles have struggled in the first quarters of games this year, only scoring 16 points and giving up 59 through their first four contests. Turnovers, defensive miscues and untimely penalties all helped put the team in a 17-0 hole against the division-leading Spokane Empire last week, and head coach Matthew Sauk is focused on getting slow starts out of the team’s system.
“I told them that they’re too good a team to keep putting themselves in a hole,” Sauk said, “and that they’re hiding how good they are when these bad first quarters end up being the difference in the game.”
Sauk was pleased with the team’s effort this week, however.
“Practices have been sharp and they’ve looked focused,” Sauk said. “And even though this was a distracting week, we talked about the chance to be professionals, ignore all the outside stuff and take care of business for all four quarters.”
Running back Breon Allen, who caught six passes and two touchdowns last week as a wide receiver, is looking forward to facing his former squad, the Colorado Crush, this week. Allen missed the teams’ first meeting of the season with a pulled hamstring.
The Crush are 0-5 this season entering Friday's game. The team rolled out its third quarterback of the season in Liam Nadler during last week’s 55-23 loss to the Nebraska Danger, and it’s not clear who will be at the helm for Colorado to start Friday’s contest. And the Crush have struggled defensively as well, allowing a league-worst 292 points through the season's first five games.
The game, which SI.com will stream live, will start at 9:05 p.m. ET.