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SaberCats win season opener

LAS VEGAS — The SaberCats kicked off their 2015 AFL campaign Monday night with a rather easy 59-41 victory over the fledgling, first-year Las Vegas Outlaws.

While the Outlaws looked incredibly lost and out of sync for much of the first half, the SaberCats looked as if they were already in midseason form, other than random penalties. They opened up a 28-0 lead and scored on six of their seven first-half drives.

“We were prepared to play against a few different defenses and a couple things offensively, and I thought the guys came out and played a good first half,” San Jose coach Darren Arbet said. “I thought the second half we didn’t play as well as we could have, and I told them that.”

Behind quarterback Erik Meyer’s arm, San Jose racked up 223 yards of offense on its first six drives, scoring on each of them. The SaberCats’ only drive that came up empty was the final one of the first half, though they went into the locker room with a 42-13 lead.

Meyer took advantage of the first-year Outlaws’ secondary, using deep throws on four of those first-half touchdowns, connecting for 32, 29, 46 and 33 yards. Adron Tennell and Ben Nelson each caught two first-half touchdowns.

“In this kind of game, you always want to come out and attack when you throw the ball a lot, so we were trying to push the ball down the field,” said Meyer, who finished with 294 yards on 18 of 29 passing, with six TDs. “Our receivers made some big-time plays, our O-line did great, there was a lot of protection, so it made my job a lot easier.”

Reggie Gray led the SaberCats with seven receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown, while Tennell finished with 84 yards on five catches and two TDs.

After the Outlaws took the opening kick of the second half nearly the length of the field, scoring on 10 plays in 6:21, and cut the lead to 42-20, it appeared they might have momentum going when they stopped San Jose on the ensuing drive.

But Outlaws quarterback J.J. Raterink fumbled on the first play of Las Vegas’ next drive, and San Jose’s David Hyland returned it inside the red zone to set up the SaberCats’ next score, a 7-yard reception by Tennell for a 49-20 lead.