06/27/2012 12:33 PM
Victories have become few and far between for the Cleveland Gladiators (6-8) as of late, as they look get their first win in over a month against the Milwaukee Mustangs (5-9) this Friday on the NFL Network. Cleveland has lost five straight, most recently against the Jacksonville Sharks, 56-42 this past Saturday.
A visit from the Mustangs could be just what the doctor ordered for the Gladiators, with Milwaukee having lost five of their last seven games. In their last matchup earlier this season, Cleveland was able to drop Milwaukee, 69-48.
The Gladiators top-rated scoring defense was the story of the night, intercepting Mustangs quarterback Gino Guidugli twice, recovering two fumbles and recording two defensive touchdowns. Defensive lineman Jeramie Richardson made an impact on both sides of the ball, rushing for three touchdowns, and recovering a blocked field goal attempt for a score.
However, Milwaukee has been solid on offense all season long, currently ranking 7th in the AFL in scoring (57.7 ppg) and 10th in both passing yards (3,704) and rushing yards (240). Guidugli comes in having completed 283-of-446 passes for 3,777 yards and 73 touchdowns and also has 14 touchdowns on the ground.
“Gino is going to make things happen,” Gladiators head coach Steve Thonn said. “He’s dynamic enough to score through the air or on the ground.”
His top targets have been wide outs Jared Jenkins and Andrae Thurman, both of whom have surpassed 20 touchdown receptions this season.
For Cleveland, the Gladiators face a weak Milwaukee secondary, which has given up over 300 yards per game this season. Quarterback John Dutton is coming off a tough outing in which he threw four interceptions, but on the season, he has completed 318-of-506 passes for 3,517 yards and 68 touchdowns.
Look for the dynamic receiving duo of Dominick Goodman and Robert Redd to have big games, as both players continue to have big seasons. Goodman has caught 132 passes for 1,377 yards and 28 touchdown passes while Redd has caught 97 passes for 1,133 yards and 23 touchdowns this season.
Cleveland’s defense still ranks first in the AFL in total defense having only given up 3,466 yards (266.6 ypg) and 85 touchdowns this season. The Gladiators were relentless against Guidugli earlier this season, sacking him and picking him off twice.
Kickoff is set for 8:00 pm from Quicken Loans Arena and will be broadcasted on the NFL Network. Check your local listings for the NFL Network in your area.