PHILADELPHIA — Dan Raudabaugh threw two touchdown passes to Darius Prince in a key mid-game run, and the Philadelphia Soul handed the Albany Empire its first road loss of the season 54-43 in an Arena Football League game Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
The loss denied the league-leading Empire (8-2) a shot at clinching the No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
Philadelphia outscored Albany in the middle quarters 27-7 to turn a 14-7 deficit into a 34-21 advantage, and held off the league-leading Empire.
Philadelphia led 54-35 when Albany backup quarterback Mason Espinosa found AJ Coney with 10 seconds left. It was the first AFL touchdown pass and catch for the rookie tandem.
Albany starter Tom Grady threw three touchdown passes to Malachi Jones and one each to Quentin Sims and Collin Taylor. Albany was up 21-14 in the second quarter following the Taylor TD catch, but Philadelphia rattled off three consecutive touchdowns in building its 34-21 lead with one period to play.
Albany had prevailed at Philadelphia (6-4) in the third week of the season 57-48, and the teams will play again to end the regular season at Times Union Center July 20.
Albany had won two in a row since its first defeat, 42-41, against the Baltimore Brigade. Philadelphia has won three in a row.
Raudabaugh threw three scoring passes to Prince, two apiece to BJ Bunn and Lonnie Outlaw, and the game MVP was 21 of 32 for 231 yards. Jones had 11 receptions for 171 yards and was tabbed the Offensive Player of the Game. Soul defensive back Torez Jones was selected the Defensive Player of the Game after making four tackles and collecting one of the Soul’s two interceptions. The Soul defense also recorded the first sack against Grady this season.
Albany was 4-0 on the road before Saturday’s contest, which ended when the Soul recovered an onside kick attempt and Raudabaugh took a knee. The Soul clinched a playoff berth with the victory.
Albany 14 7 0 22 — 43
Philadelphia 7 13 14 20 — 54
A — Jones 27 pass from Grady (Trevino kick)
P — Prince 2 pass from Raudabaugh (Spencer kick)
A — Sims 9 pass from Grady (Trevino)
P — Prince 10 pass from Raudabaugh (Spencer kick)
A — Taylor 13 pass from Grady (Trevino kick)
P — Bunn 3 pass from Raudabaugh (kick failed)
P — Prince 15 pass from Raudabaugh (Spencer kick)
P — Ferns 2 run (Spencer kick)
A — Jones 30 pass from Grady (Trevino kick)
P — Outlaw 3 pass from Raudabaugh
P — Bunn 24 pass from Raudabaugh (pass failed)
A — Jones 20 pass from Grady (Trevino kick)
P — Outlaw 4 pass from Raudabaugh
A — Coney 24 from Espinosa (Grant pass from Espinosa)