A rowdy crowd showed up for the heated rivalry between the Columbus Lions (0-2) and the Jacksonville Sharks (1-1). While the first half saw a lot of back and forth between the two teams, the 3rd quarter proved to be the turning point of the game. Jacksonville would blank Columbus in the 3rd on the way to a 48-24 win over the Lions.
Coach Jason Gibson said it best. “We need to improve on offense and fast or we are in trouble. Defense can’t continue to carry us”. The Lions defense only gave up 178 passing yards to Jacksonville, a team that threw for over 300 yards against the New York Street the previous week. Columbus was also able to get two interceptions, one that came toward the end of the 2nd quarter that stopped the Sharks offense, who was knocking on the door for another touchdown.
While the defense played their hardest, the offense found trouble to get going. Luke Collis was 20-41 on the night with 3 touchdowns and another 2 interceptions, pushing his season total to 4. Paris Mack continued to be a problem for defenses hauling in 7 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. An average of 15 yards per catch almost matches his 19.2 yards per catch performance against Orlando. Bones Bagaunte reeled in the most catches with 10 for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Even though Columbus outgained Jacksonville 208 yards to 200 and ran 56 plays to the Sharks 37 plays, the team failed to put together drives to stay step for step with the Sharks. Columbus would only average 3.7 yards per play. The offense would sputter on 3rd down, only converting 2 of 8 and only scored 6 points in the 2nd half.
The Sharks will have a week off before traveling to play the Massachusetts Pirates (0-1). Columbus will also take a week off the regroup before welcoming the Orlando Predators (1-0) to the Columbus Civic Center. Orlando defeated Columbus 42-40 to open up the season last week.