PITTSBURGH , PA (May 18, 2013) – Tampa Bay’s Adrian McPherson’s seven touchdowns led the Storm to a 62-34 win over the Pittsburgh Power tonight at CONSOL Energy Center in front of 4,625. McPherson, the Russell Athletic Offensive Player Of The Game, was 20-22 for 240 passing and six touchdowns and added 29 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. McPherson’s 24th rushing touchdown of the season set a new Tampa Bay franchise season record and added to his AFL single season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Pittsburgh fell to 2-6 on the season and 0-5 at home. Tampa Bay improved to 6-3 and 4-1 on the road.
The Storm set the tone of the game early, scoring on their first play from scrimmage, as McPherson found Michael Lindsey for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The Power answered back on their first possession, an acrobatic 28-yard catch by Mike Washington that set up a Steven Sheffield 6-yard touchdown run, to tie the score at 7-7. Tampa Bay would take a 13-7 lead on Greg Ellington’s 13-yard catch. On the final play of the 1st quarter, the Storm’s De’Audra Dix picked off a Sheffield attempt in the end zone.
McPherson and Lindsey connected for a second score on the third play of the 2nd quarter to give Tampa Bay a 21-7 lead. The Power answered with a Kirby Griffin 20-yard touchdown run that made the score 21-14. Joe Hills was on the receiving end of McPherson’s fourth touchdown throw – a 32-yard pass – which put Tampa Bay up 28-14. Sheffield recorded his first touchdown pass of the game on a 39-yard toss to Washington, making the score 28-21. Ellington’s 6-yard touchdown reception, at 2:13 of the quarter from McPherson, gave Tampa Bay a 35-21 lead. The Storm scored on their first five possessions of the game.
The Power opened the second half with two consecutive turnovers, resulting in 13 Storm points. On the second play of the 3rd quarter, Tampa Bay’s James Harrell, the Riddell Defensive Player Of The Game, intercepted Sheffield and returned the ball 38 yards for a touchdown. The play was also the AFL Highlight Of The Game, putting Tampa Bay up by 20 points at 41-21. Chris Smith’s interception set up McPherson’s sixth touchdown pass, a 19-yard throw to Ellington which made the score 48-21. The Power failed to score in the quarter.
The 4th quarter scoring was opened by Alvin Ray Jackson’s over the wall, 3-yard touchdown catch on 4th and goal, which made the score 48-28. McPherson’s first rushing touchdown of the game came at the 8:54 mark, which increased the Storm lead to 55-28. Storm backup quarterback Randy Hippeard replaced McPherson and promptly found Jason Chery for a touchdown, increasing Tampa Bay’s lead to 62-28. Jackson scored a late touchdown from Sheffield, which closed out the game at 62-34. Sheffield finished with 23-of-44 passing, 4 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a game-high 276 yards.
Despite the Power loss this evening, Pittsburgh remains tied for the final AFL American Conference playoff berth, with losses this evening by both the Orlando Predators (2-6) and Cleveland Gladiators (2-6).
Pittsburgh’s next home game is next Saturday, May 25, as they take on Cleveland at CONSOL Energy Center. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Power freezer mug, compliments of Esmark. and as always, $1 Smith’s Hot Dogs and $1 7UP Fountain Drinks will be available for all fans. The game will also feature the second annual Pitt Ohio Power Food Drive. Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable donation to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The first 50 fans to donate will go down on the field before the game to welcome the Power with a special “high five tunnel”.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Adrian McPherson – Tampa Bay
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
James Harrell – Tampa Bay
J. LEWIS SMALL PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME
Michael Lindsey – Tampa Bay
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE GAME
Pittsburgh’s Alvin Ray Jackson’s Over The Wall Touchdown Reception In 4th Quarter
AFL HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Tampa Bay’s James Harrell’s 38-Yard Interception Return For Touchdown In 3rd Quarter