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Oklahoma 7 at Arizona 49
1984 Week 5 - Saturday, March 24, 1984
Oklahoma Outlaws(3-1) at Arizona Wranglers(2-2)(-9.5)
Attendance: 29,434, TV: ESPN
TEMPE, AZ (AP) - When talking about Wranglers wide receiver Trumaine Johnson, Arizona Coach George Allen spares no superlatives. "He's the best there is. I wouldn't trade him for any other wide receiver in pro football," Allen said after Johnson caught two first-half touchdown passes from Greg Landry which sparked Arizona to an easy 49-7 victory over the Oklahoma Outlaws in a United States Football League game Saturday.
Johnson, the USFL's leading receiver last season, had five catches for 105 yards against Oklahoma including two touchdowns "Trumaine is so tough to cover and he proved that again tonight." Allen said. "You can't cover him man-to-man because he's so quick. Sometimes, two guys can't cover him and he's been double-covered most of the season so far."
"This is the first time we've faced a team whose defensive backs came up to the line of scrimmage and challenged you." Johnson said. "They played us real tight, so we tried to go with bump-and-runs and go for the big plays."
Arizona, now 3-2, led 21-7 at halftime and coasted from there before a crowd of only 29,434 at 70,021-seat Sun Devil Stadium. "I would rather have come in here with them 4-0. Thev were ready for us," said Oklahoma Coach Woody Widenhofer, whose expansion club's record fell to 3-2. "Arizona is a good football team. They're a lot better than 3-2."
The Wranglers took a 7-0 lead 2:10 into the game on Landry's 35-yard bomb to a wide-open Johnson.
With 3:14 left in the first quarter, Outlaws quarterback Doug Williams was sacked and suffered a bruised left shoulder. His backup, Rick Johnson, then fumbled the snap on the first play and Arizona linebacker Ed Smith recovered at the Oklahoma 20. Four plays later, Tim Spencer scored from one yard out for a 14-0 lead with 1:56 remaining.
Williams' 9-yard touchdown pass to Lonnie Turner midway through the second quarter made it 14-7 and the Outlaws recovered the ensuing kickoff when Lenny Willis fumbled at the Arizona 23. However, Williams was intercepted on the next play and the Wranglers engineered a 91-yard drive in 10 plays capped by Landry's 14-yard toss to Johnson for a 21-7 bulge 1:14 before halftime.
"That was the turning point right there," Williams said. "We were moving the ball and then hurt ourselves with turnovers. Then they took over and scored rightaway."
"We did more to hurt ourselves than they did to us," added Widenhofer. "For us to hang in there with them, we needed a mistake-free ballgame. We didn't get it."
Safety Frank Minnifield's 42-yard interception return 1:24 into the third quarter made it 28-7 and Williams was knocked unconscious trying to make the goal-line tackle. Landry hit Lenny Willis on a 17-yard scoring strike with 5:44 left in the third period.
Arizona went ahead 42-7 on Alan Risher's 12-yard touchdown pass to Larry Douglas 1:08 into the fourth quarter and closed out the scoring on Kevin Long's 2-yard run with 5:04 remaining.
"I told Risher to keep the ball on the ground because we didn't want to run up the score," Allen said. "But he hadn't played at all this year and it's tough to tell someone not to throw when he's in there for the first time."
Landry finished with 10 completions in 18 attempts for 167 yards while Risher hit six of eight tries for 88 yards. Williams was 11-of-20 for 142 yards before leaving the game with his third quarter injury. Rick Johnson completed only two of 10 passes for 21 yards with one interception.
"They lost Williams and they lost their leader," Allen said. ''Their other quarterback, Johnson, was under too much pressure. He didn't stand a chance."
Supplemental information courtesy of Chris Blackburn