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Arizona 24 at Houston 37

1984 Week 9 - Saturday, April 21, 1984
Attendance: 23,117, TV: ESPN


HOUSTON (AP) For Houston Gamblers coach Jack Pardee, it was a case of the student beating the teacher. "It's always nice to beat a George Allen team because you know you've beaten a well coached team," Pardee said, savoring his club's 37-24 United States Footbail League victory Saturday night over the Arizona Wranglers.

"When you go against your ex-coach, you sure don't want to lay any eggs," said Pardee, who played for Allen in the National Football League with Los Angeles and Washington.

The Houston defense, however, nearly had egg all over itself by blowing a 24-3 lead. But the Gamblers special teams put the contest out of reach when defensive end Pete Catan recovered a blocked 50-yard field goal attempt by Frank Corral in the fourth quarter and rumbled 58 yards for the score.

That came on the heels of Jim Kelly's 11-yard touchdown pass to Richard Johnson early in the final period after the Wranglers had knotted the score at 24-24. "I think it was our best overall game," Pardee said. "Really, other than two or three mistakes, it shouldn't have been as suspenseful a game as it was."

Tim Spencer had 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Arizona, now 4-5 but still second in the weak Pacific Division. Spencer's first score, a 25-yard run just before halftime, pulled the Wranglers to 24-10.

Then in the third period Greg Landry hit Trumane Johnson with a 13-yard TD strike and Spencer went in from the twototie the game. Kelly completed three passes for 57 yards on the 80-yard scoring drive that put Houston on its way to its sixth win in nine games.

The two teams traded field goals in the first quarter, Toni Fritch booting a 39-yarder and Corral one from 23 yards.

Kelly, who completed 17 of 23 passes for 357 yards to remain the top-rated quarterback in the USFL, almost single-handedly gave Houston its early 24-3 bulge, throwing touchdown passes of 53 and 77 yards and scoring himself on a two-yard run.


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