WEST VALLEY CITY — The Utah Blaze found themselves completely outmatched against the freight train that was the Chicago Rush, ultimately ending in 70-50 loss at The Maverik Center on Saturday night.

Early on, the Blaze looked impressive and appeared to have an edge. On their opening drive, quarterback Mark Thorson orchestrated a nine-play drive and Utah took the early lead when Thorson plunged into the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak.

Not to be outdone, Chicago quickly answered with a touchdown on the ensuing possession when former University of Utah receiver Travis LaTendresse found himself wide open in the center of the end zone after a nasty corner/post double-move route.

LaTendresse, who was just signed by the Rush on Thursday and had not yet practiced with the team, wound up with three touchdown catches.

The two teams traded scores on the next two possessions to end the first quarter tied. In a risky move, Chicago (7-3) opted to fool Utah (1-8) on a surprise onside kick — and the gamble proved genius. The Rush not only recovered the kick, but they advanced the ball to the Blaze 7-yard line. Two plays later, Chicago quarterback Russ Michna found Allen Turner in the end zone.

Things went from bad to worse on the following kickoff, when Utah fumbled the football. The Rush emerged from the scrum with the ball and soon extended the lead to 14 points on Michna's fourth touchdown pass of the half.

Chicago's Josh Ferguson eventually added insult to injury to close out the half. On a desperation fourth-down pass, Ferguson jumped the telegraphed toss on the Blaze sideline and made a house call from 38 yards out — ending the first half with the score 42-20, a deficit that would be insurmountable for Utah.

"It really isn't schemes or anything what the defense is doing to us — it's what we're doing to ourselves," said Blaze coach Ron James. "We're careless with the ball right now.

"Going into halftime, we threw that interception and it went back for six. That really turned the tide of the game. We had two turnovers for touchdowns. We lose by 20 points; if we don't give them 14 of them, we're in a one-possession game with a chance to win."

Michna, who was named the offensive player of the game, completed 16-of-19 passes for 217 yards and six TDs.

NOTES: Attendance was announced at 4,892. ... The Blaze will take on the Tampa Bay Storm (6-3) Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at The Maverik Center.

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com