Tampa Bay Storm
McPherson lifts Tampa Bay Storm past Cleveland
Last week, he did it with his legs. This week, it was with his arm.
Adrian McPherson threw for eight touchdowns and rushed for two more, and the Storm defense forced five turnovers in Saturday night's 69-47 win over the Cleveland Gladiators in front of an announced crowd of 10,142 at the Forum.
"I thought from the start that we had a good team," McPherson said. "My job is to just get it to the playmakers and make sure we win. If I can get the ball in their hands, then I know we'll be successful."
McPherson, who has accounted for 17 touchdowns through two games, hooked up with Joe Hills (three), Michael Lindsey (two), Greg Ellingson (two) and Alfred McCullough on scoring passes. McPherson went 25-for-38 for 362 yards and added scoring runs of 1 and 14 yards.
"We all knew that when the lights turned on (Adrian) would lead them. He's got this aura about him, this leadership that quarterbacks have that you can't coach," Storm coach Dave Ewart said. "He was just born with it."
Added Hills: "Adrian is the man. You can't say enough about a guy like that on your team."
McCullough, a 6-foot-2, 330-pound offensive lineman, rumbled 17 yards in second quarter as the Storm (1-1) took a 35-27 lead at halftime.
Hills, named the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game, had an early fumble but made up for it with 10 catches for 155 yards, including a 15-yard grab that he pulled in before being flipped over the end-zone wall.
"He's a beast," Ewart said with a smile.
"It's easy when he's 6-5 and plays 6-5," McPherson added. "I know that if I just put it out there, he'll go get it ... but that (catch) was ESPN material."
Hills said the team needed to wash the bad taste of the Week 1 loss to Jacksonville away.
"It was a rough week, so we just went back out to work at it," Hills said.
Chris Smith had two interceptions for the Storm and Jean Fanor had one late in the game. R.J. Roberts and Rodney Beamon had fumble recoveries.