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Bandits halt Beef winning streak, 47-41
OMAHA -- Fred Jackson was churning for extra yardage all night.
United Indoor Football's rushing leader scored five touchdowns, highlighted by an 11-yard run with 10 seconds left to give the Sioux City Bandits a 47-41 North Division victory over the Omaha Beef Saturday night at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
Jackson was briefly halted on his initial run from scrimmage, but used his powerful legs to get his 6-1, 205-pound frame across the end zone to give the Bandits their sixth straight victory.
Jackson improved his season rushing total to 1,262 yards after rushing 18 times for 105 yards. It was the fifth 100-yard plus rushing game of the season for the former Coe College standout, who also scored on runs of 25, one and five yards.
It was also the second time Jackson topped the 100-yard mark against the Beef. He rushed for 102 yards and four touchdowns in the Bandits' 54-51 win at Omaha on April 9.
Jackson's fourth rushing touchdown of the game and overall, his 45th of the season concluded a three-play, 34-yard scoring drive which snapped a 41-41tie and lasted only 15 seconds.
Omaha (8-6), which entered with a three-game winning streak, rallied from a 41-26 deficit to tie the game on a two-yard touchdown catch by Jason Mitchell. Allen Burrell, who during the third quarter had the ball stripped by Bandits' cornerback Deron Rush as he was on his way to scoring a 30-yard touchdown run on an end-around play, provided a crucial two-point conversion run to tie the game.
Sioux City (12-2) started the eventual game-winning drive at its 16 and quarterback Jarrod DeGeorgia (11-for-16, 126 passing yards, 2 touchdown passes) hit Kenneth Horton with a catch at the Omaha 23-yard line. Jackson, who also caught a 18-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, grabbed a pass at the 11-yard line on the play before scoring his 33rd rushing touchdown of the season.
Omaha had only 8.4 seconds left, but was out of time outs. Beef quarterback John McMenamin misfired on his first pass attempt from midfield, but Corey Mayes came up with his second interception in as many games to clinch the Bandits' victory, which avenged a 52-42 loss which Omaha scored on May 14 at the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena.
Mayes had one of the Bandits' three takeaways on the night. Omaha was on its way to scoring a first-quarter touchdown when Sioux City recovered a fumble in the end zone. The turnover haunted the Beef, as Dave Perrigo, who scored on a 32-yard touchdown catch on the Bandits' previous series, provided a key downfield block on Jackson's 25-yard touchdown run for a 20-9 lead.
Omaha pulled within 20-19 at halftime, but the Bandits stretched their lead on Jackson's five and one-yard scoring runs on their first two possessions of the third quarter. Jackson's one-yarder for a 34-19 lead came three plays after 6-4, 265-pound John Bowman scooped up Rush's forced fumble and rambled 44 yards to the Beef six-yard line.
James Johnson rushed 23 times for 87 yards for the Beef and lifted his team within 34-26 on a five-yard run, but the Bandits answered back with Jon Paulsen's three-yard run for the 41-26 lead.
McMenamin scored on a one-yard rush to conclude an 11-play, 35-yard scoring drive that lifted the Beef within 41-33, but Omaha electrified the home crowd as Henry Whitehead recovered an onside kick and rushed to the Bandits' 15-yard line.
Runs by both Johnson and Quincy Wright pulled Omaha within one yard of a touchdown. However, Sioux City's defense, led by the massive line of Bowman, Anthony Thomas (6-4, 330) and Art Maulupe (6-3, 300), stopped McMenamin on three straight runs from the one.
It was the Bandits' final road game of the season.
The Bandits will host the Sioux Falls Storm in the regular-season finale Friday night, starting at 7:05 at the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena. The Bandits are 2-0 against the Storm this season with a 50-43 win on April 16 and a 38-34 win on June 25. Both games were at the Sioux Falls Arena.