Danger set to travel to Sioux Falls for United Bowl |
It is safe to say the Nebraska Danger is an underdog in the 2013 United Bowl on Saturday night. To be fair, the Danger didn’t even exist the last time that Sioux Falls lost an IFL playoff game – the 2010 United Bowl – in Billings, MT in July of 2010.
Since then, the Danger were founded – on October 4, 2010 – and won eight games during their first two campaigns. In those same two seasons, Sioux Falls won two IFL titles and 33 of the 34 games they played. But, in 2013, the teams both have posted 11-4 records and split games during the regular season which sets up a winner-take-all game at Sioux Falls Arena.
“We are honored to be a part of this football game,” said Nebraska Danger general manager Mike McCoy, who was named IFL Executive of the year on Tuesday. The Danger was also named IFL Franchise of the Year, which will be awarded to the team on Saturday.
“When we started this, we had a three year plan to make the playoffs,” McCoy added. “We’ve had tremendous support from the Bosselman family and the community. I don’t know that we expected to be in the United Bowl this quick. We are looking forward to a great game with Sioux Falls.”
The tall order for the Danger begins by just having a chance in Sioux Falls. Hailed, as the “Capital of Indoor Football” the Storm has not lost at home since May 15, 2010 when the Omaha Beef took a 43-37 win. Since that setback, they have won 33 consecutive home contests.
It was the Danger, however, who ended one Sioux Falls streak in the opening game of the season when they defeated the Storm in Grand Island’s Heartland Events Center, 30-21. The win ended Sioux Falls’ 21-game win streak and began the Danger’s undefeated home campaign. In game two on May 4th, Sioux Falls took a 43-41 win at home.
“That was a big game for our guys early in the season,” Nebraska head coach Mike Davis said. “We knew they had changed a few players since last year, but Sioux Falls is Sioux Falls for a reason. I think that game helped our guys believe throughout the year that we could play with anyone in the league.”
It was defense and special teams that won the game for Nebraska early in the year. Marcus Barnett returned the opening kick for a touchdown and the Danger defense did not allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter in the victory. Davis thinks those things will be a key to winning the United Bowl as well.
“It’s going to take a big time effort from our defense to keep them out of the end zone,” Davis said. “And, we’ll have to force a few turnovers as well. Our offense will have to play just as good, if not better, than they have all season.”
When Nebraska’s offense and the Storm defense is on the field, fans are likely to see the two best units in the IFL battling. Both lead the league in scoring, with Danger averaging a league high 54.8 points per contest and Sioux Falls allowing a league low 35.7.
As amazing as Danger quarterback Jameel Sewell’s numbers have been – he led the league in touchdowns (77), passing yards (2,531) and rushing yards (654) – his defensive counterpart in Sioux Falls has been just as good. Linebacker Tyler Knight led the IFL with 153 tackles in the regular season, had four sacks, five forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and eight pass breakups.
Last week, in the United Conference championship game against Cedar Rapids he recorded a team-high nine tackles and the Titans managed just two offensive touchdowns in the Storm’s 44-20 win. Sewell accounted for 180 yards of offense and five touchdowns in last week’s dramatic 55-50 win over Colorado in the Intense Conference title game. Backfield mate Randy Bell added 55 yards rushing and two more scores for Nebraska.
“They play defense at a really high level,” Davis said. “We’ll have our work cut out for us. Sometimes I thing think the other matchups can get overlooked though. Our defense will have to keep their offense out of the end zone and special teams will be a big factor. I think you have probably the two best kickers in the league playing as well.”
Tickets for the United Bowl are available by calling (605) 274-6686. The Danger section is Section "S”, where tickets are $15. Additional seating locations are available.
A championship send-off is planned for Friday morning at 9:30 A.M at Bosselman Corporate Office, 3123 W. Stolley Park Rd., in Grand Island with free Cinnabon cinnamon rolls available while supplies last. Fans traveling to the game are invited to attend pre- and post-game activities in Sioux Falls. Details will be announced soon. For fans who want to cheer on the Danger in Grand Island, a viewing party will take place at Bandits, 1016 N. Diers Ave.
A press conference is scheduled for 4:00 P.M. on Friday at the Sioux Falls Arena with coaches, owners and select players of both teams in attendance.