TULSA, Okla. — Justin Allgood threw eight touchdowns to lead Tulsa past the Storm 69-58 Saturday before about 6,000 at the BOK Center in the teams' debut in the new Arena Football League.
The Talons won two titles in arenafootball2, the AFL's developmental league, in 10 seasons. But Saturday's game was considered against tougher competition. Tampa Bay won more titles (five) than any team in the former Arena League, which folded after the 2008 season.
"It shows we can play with the big boys," said Allgood, who was 26-of-36 for 274 yards.
Allgood threw four touchdowns to Donovan Morgan, who had 120 yards on nine catches.
"It's not so much the catches he makes as the other things that opens up everybody else," Allgood said.
The Talons couldn't handle Tampa Bay receivers Tyrone Timmons and Hank Edwards. They combined for 308 receiving yards and eight touchdowns from Brett Dietz, the Storm's holdover quarterback from the final Arena season. (Timmons had 181 and five, Edwards 127 and three).
But two defensive plays by Tulsa's B.J. Barre helped turn the tide.
With the Talons leading by 12 early in the fourth quarter, Barre drilled tight end Thomas Kaleita, causing him to fumble after a fourth-down catch.
The Storm would have had a first down deep in Talons territory. Instead, Gabe Nyenhuis recovered, and Tulsa quickly stretched the lead to 56-37 with 12:44 left on Allgood's 10-yard touchdown to Morgan.
The Storm capitalized on Tulsa's only nonscoring possession to make it 56-51 on Dietz's pass to Edwards with 5:46 left. But Allgood answered with another scoring strike to Morgan. And Barre picked off Dietz over the middle with 1:38 left.
Allgood praised the Talons offensive line for keeping Tampa Bay's talented pass rushers out of the backfield.
"They may have a great pass rush, but we have one of the best O-lines in the business," he said. "I didn't get sacked one time, and I didn't get hit very much.
"They did a fantastic job."