SAN JOSE -- One week after their biggest disappointment, the SaberCats played their best overall game of the season against one of the best teams in the AFL.

Fred Williams caught five of Russ Michna's nine touchdown passes, and San Jose rolled over the West Division rival Arizona Rattlers 72-42 Saturday night in front of 9,296 fans at HP Pavilion.

The SaberCats (9-4) responded to last week's upset loss at the Iowa Barnstormers by holding a team meeting and clarifying their goals.

"We talked about what direction we wanted to go," Michna said. "This is a talented team no doubt, and the most disappointing thing about last week was we had a chance to win and we didn't pull it out. That resonated a little bit. We didn't want to let that happen again."

Jason Willis caught two touchdown passes and Amarri Jackson and Huey Whittaker each caught one as the SaberCats won their fifth straight at home.

The SaberCats scored on all but their final possession, adding an interception and safety for good measure. The Rattlers (12-2) were ranked No. 1 in both scoring offense and scoring defense, but San Jose had all the answers in ending Arizona's nine-game winning streak.

"The crazy thing about this game is how fast momentum can change and how hard it is to regroup," Michna said. "Arizona is a top team and they had a rough night. A few bounces went our way."

After the teams matched touchdowns through their first three possessions, the San Jose defense rose to the occasion and stopped Arizona on downs late in the second quarter, with J.C. Neal knocking away a long pass.


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Terrance Carter was a menace all night for the SaberCats. He consistently interrupted the offense and made life miserable for Arizona quarterback Nick Davila. Carter also recorded a safety in the third quarter that all but finished off the Rattlers.

Ken Fontenette returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter to put the SaberCats ahead 56-28. San Jose scored 30 points in the third quarter, easily its best offensive period of the year.

  • Carter's safety was the SaberCats' fourth of the season. Jabari Fletcher and Justin Warren, who was placed on injured reserve Monday, previously were credited with safeties, along with a team safety.

  • With his five touchdowns, Williams became the third SaberCat to score at least 20 touchdowns this year.

  • Michna has 42 touchdowns passes and five interceptions in eight games. Aaron Garcia had 24 TD passes and 13 interceptions in his four games with San Jose before being traded to Orlando for Jackson in April.

  • The SaberCats led by 37 points after the third quarter, their biggest margin of the season.

    saturday's game
    SaberCats (9-4) at Utah (5-8), 6 p.m. CSNBA