A week after their thrilling matchup against the Vikings the SWARCO Raiders await their next big game. In Week 6 of the 2012 Austrian Football League (AFL) season, The Oakland Raiders sister-team host the JCL Giants Graz. Kickoff on Saturday at Tivoli Stadium is at 5:15 a.m. PT (2:15 p.m. CET).
"It's important for us to get the loss at Vienna out of our heads quickly", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We have to focus on the Giants. Chris Gunn is an experienced playmakers and Alex Gross might be the most complete player in the AFL".
For the Tyroleans it's the second game against a powerhouse in a row. Yet the Giants almost lost their second game of the season last weekend. But thanks to a last-second touchdown and a two-point conversion Graz survived 36-35 at Prague.
The Giants' only loss came in week 1 at Vienna (20-13). Since then the team from new head coach Nick Johansen is unbeaten. The Giants beat the Rangers (67-0), the Panthers (42-28), and won at the Dragons (61-35) and at Prague (36-35).
Graz possesses the league's best scoring offense (43.8 points per game), but the Giants defense allows the second-most passing yards per game (172.4) and the second-most passing touchdowns (10). Then again the defense knows how to stop the run, allowing only 75.2 rushing yards per game (1st place).
Saturday's game will be special for Johansen. The Giants head coach was an assistant coach with the SWARCO Raiders from 2007-2010. This week will be his first trip back to Innsbruck. Last season he was the Giants offensive coordinator when the SWARCO Raiders won 34-20 at Graz. The Tyroleans scored all 34 points on the road. In 25 contests in the AFL and EFL the SWARCO Raiders won twelve times.
In their matchup last year QB Kyle Callahan completed 23 of 31 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. WR Talib Wise had eight catches for 83 yards. RB Florian Grein gained 55 yards on 11 carries and scored twice. The SWARCO Raiders defense intercepted three passes in the second half.
This season the Tyrolean defense allows its opponents only 10 first downs and 218.2 yards per game. CB Manuel Eisenführer caught 2 interceptions and has 15.5 tackles (14 solo). LB Christoph Schilcher has 19 tackles (15 solo). LB Philipp Margreiter follows with 17 tackles (12 solo), a sack and a punt return touchdown. LB Florian Hueter had 13 tackles in four games (nine solo).
DL Markus Eitzenberger had 11.5 tackles (6 solo), 2.0 sacks as well as a forced and a recovered fumble. DT Reinhard Pardeller also has a sack, forced a fumble, has 4.5 tackles for loss and 14 total tackles (13 solo). DE Markus Hechenberger and DL Benedikt Brugnara each recovered a fumble. In his only game-action this season LB Chris James had 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and a blocked punt. S John Clements has 4.5 tackles.
On offense Callahan completed 54 of 91 passes for 795 yards with 5 touchdowns and one interception. He had 26 rushes for 217 yards and four touchdowns. RB Andreas Hofbauer gained 176 yards on 46 carries and scored 6 touchdowns. Grein had 26 rushes for 154 yards and two scored. RB Lukas Miribung ran the ball 13 times for 72 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Wise caught 9 balls for 177 yards and a touchdown and rushed seven times for 15 yards and two scores in two games. WR Julian Ebner leads his team with 16 catches for 246 yards and three touchdowns. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 12 balls for 135 yards and a touchdown. WR Clemes Erlsbacher caught five passes for 82 yards.
Erlsbacher also excels on special teams. He punted 16 times for 583 yards (36.4 yards per punt). 10 punts were downed inside the opposing 20-yard line. He also returned 4 punts for 132 yards. Clements had three punt returns for 122 yards and a touchdown. Wise had five returns for 83 yards. The Tyroleans had a total of 15 punt returns for 371 yards and two touchdowns. The punt coverage unit allowed only 3-yards on three returns.
The team's best kick returner is DB Enrico Martini, who averages 26 yards per return (4 for 104 yards). K Christian Kellner was good on 5 of 6 field goal tries and on 23 of 24 points after touchdown.
The Giants trust in QB Chris Gunn and RB Alex Gross, who leads the AFL with 9.9 yards per rushing attempt (45 runs for 444 yards) and 10 touchdowns. Gunn completed 60 of 104 passes for 936 yards. His 12 touchdowns lead the AFL. He threw 3 interceptions. Gunn also rushed 30 times for 247 yards and four touchdowns.
The team's best receiver is also the league's best receiver: WR Armando Ponce de Leon caught 28 passes for 491 yards and six touchdowns. WR Philipp Sommer hauled in 11 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. WR Max Trauer caught 9 balls for 156 yards and two scores.
Gross is also the defensive leader of the Giants. He is first in the AFL with 50 tackles (39 solo), has 15.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks as well as a forced and recovered fumble. LB Marco Zoechner has 14 tackles (12 solo), three tackles for loss and a sack. LB Leo Sumnitsch has 13 tackles (nine solo) and 2.5 tackles for loss. CB Christof Promitzer caught two of his team's three interceptions.
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2012 season live and as-live for free onwww.raidersTV.at.