The Philadelphia Soul defeated the Tampa Bay Storm 73-55, Saturday behind three touchdowns from Derrick Ross. The veteran running back is now just 54 yards shy of the Arena Football League career rushing record.
Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed an impressive 87 percent of his passes (20-for-23) for seven touchdowns and 297 yards passing. Wide receiver Tiger Jones pulled in eight catches — two for touchdowns —on his way to 122 yards receiving. Ryan McDaniel added three touchdowns on seven catches and 108 yards. With the win, the Soul improve to 5-4. The Storm drop to 6-4.
The Storm led 34-31 at halftime, but Ross’s three-yard TD run in the third put the Soul ahead for good.
"We came out in the second half and played like the team we are capable of being,” said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel via a team press release. "Two big defensive stops to start the third quarter and Dan [Raudabaugh] was efficient with the football. When you do those things and balance it with Derrick [Ross] in our rushing game, we will win a lot of games with the kind of performance.”
Calvin Fance and Bryan Robinson sacked Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson on back-to-back plays to force a turnover on downs in the first quarter.
Kicker Carlos Martinez recovered his own onside kick attempt to start off the fourth quarter, setting up a 44-yard touchdown strike from Raudabaugh to McDaniel.
In an interview with arenafootball.com, Ross reflected on approaching the AFL’s all-time rushing record:
"A lot of people have mentioned it," Ross said about the rushing record heading into the game. "I really haven’t thought about it. I’m just trying to win a championship for Philly and everything. I’m not trying to worry about the individual goal, which is good. Anything you get is an honor, but I’m just trying to get this championship."
Ross will have a chance to break the record on Saturday, June 1 at the Wells Fargo Center when the Soul host the Arizona Rattlers, who boast an AFL-best 8-1 record, in a rematch of last year’s Arena Bowl.