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Storm's turnover magic key against VooDoo

Storm head coach Dave Ewart, left, tries to outrun defensive back Rashad Barksdale, right, as Barksdale returned an interception against the Orlando Predators.

AUSTIN ANTHONY | Times

Storm head coach Dave Ewart, left, tries to outrun defensive back Rashad Barksdale, right, as Barksdale returned an interception against the Orlando Predators.

Turnovers are critical in outdoor football. But with defensive stops rare in Arena Football, miscues are even more important.

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Tonight's matchup between Tampa Bay and New Orleans offers a tale of two teams.

The Storm has been one of the best teams in the league this season in creating and preventing turnovers, its plus-17 margin third.

"Turnovers are the name of this game," coach Dave Ewart said. "When we get them, we win. When we don't, we have trouble."

New Orleans, which hosts the Storm tonight, is at the other end of the spectrum, last at minus-21.

Particularly poor has been the VooDoo's pass defense. New Orleans has picked off just eight passes while its quarterback, Kurt Rocco, has thrown 11.

Adrian McPherson has thrown just three. But the Storm had two fourth-quarter fumbles that contributed to last week's home loss to Orlando.

"We have to take care of the ball better in those situations," Ewart said. "Those are mistakes we can't afford to make."

Tampa Bay picked off two passes in a 63-32 win against New Orleans on May 4. Vance Cuff took one back 30 yards for touchdown.

HOT HAND: McPherson was nearly flawless on May 4. The former Florida State star went 13-of-16 for 197 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 29 yards and four touchdowns while leading scoring drives on all eight possessions.

Super in the Dome: The Storm is 2-0 at the Superdome. It beat the now-defunct New Orleans Night in 1991, its first season in Tampa Bay, and 1992. The VooDoo are playing at the Superdome while the New Orleans Arena is being renovated.

Tampa Roots: The VooDoo is led by coach Pat O'Hara, whom Storm fans might remember. O'Hara led Orlando to league titles in 1998 and 2000. And in the 2003 ArenaBowl for the Storm, he came off the bench for an injured John Kaleo and went 7-of-13 for 103 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-29 win against Arizona. O'Hara also was drafted by the Bucs in the 10th round in 1991.

Standings Watch: While Tampa Bay lost to Orlando last week, Jacksonville fell at Spokane. That left the Sharks (8-4) one game ahead of the Storm (7-5) in the South Division with six games left. Jacksonville, which won the teams' first meeting on March 23, hosts Tampa Bay in the regular-season finale July 27.

on the road: Tampa Bay is 5-1 on the road this year, a far cry from last year's 1-8. But it is 2-4 at home after going 7-2 last year.

Storm's turnover magic key against VooDoo 06/14/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:07pm]
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