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In a tradition normally reserved for the final buzzer, the arena announcer called for fans to rush the field with just under five minutes left in the first quarter.

The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles had just scored the franchise's first touchdown, after all — and the fans had called the play.

Indoor football returned to Salt Lake City on Thursday night with an inaugural Eagles 78-47 blowout loss to the Nebraska Danger, but the experiment itself provided glimpses of entertaining arena action on the field for a team named, coached and constructed by internet voters.

The first touchdown drive culminated with quarterback Verlon Reed finding receiver Derwyn Lauderdale in the corner of the end zone on a 5-yard pass. Reed got off to a rough start, fumbling in his own end zone to put Nebraska up 7-0 early, but recovered to gash the Danger defense on the ground and through the air to the tune of 227 total yards and seven touchdowns on the night.

The Eagles defense struggled, however, allowing Danger quarterback Derrick Bernard to find wide open receivers and stroll into the end zone himself to account for seven scores.

As the home team fell further behind, the Screaming Eagles pressed for two-point conversions, but succeeded on only two of four attempts. The game was out of reach by the end of the third quarter after Reed overthrew former BYU wide receiver Devin Mahina on fourth down and Nebraska tacked on another score on the following possession to make it 56-33 as time expired.

The announced attendance was 8,191, a few fans wearing jerseys from the defunct Utah Blaze after that franchise dissolved in 2013.

Several players with Utah ties saw action for the Eagles. Former Utes cornerback Davion Orphey broke up a few passes, while Mahina was a consistent possession receiver, catching six passes for 54 yards and a late touchdown. Overall, six players from Utah colleges hold places on the Eagles roster.

As Nebraska poured on one more score to go up 31 points, the Eagles players slumped in their folding chairs behind the end zone in lieu of a proper bench with a handful of seconds left on the clock.

Coach William McCarthy, who had his hands tied for half of the play calling, gave one final message to a team still clearly finding its footing: "Finish up."

The Screaming Eagles return to action on Feb. 26 on the road against the Colorado Crush.

Twitter: @BrennanJSmith —


R Indoor football returns to Utah, with the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles falling to the Nebraska Danger 78-47.

• The Salt Lake franchise's first touchdown is a 5-yard pass from Verlon Reed to Derwyn Lauderdale.

• A crowd of 8,191 is on hand for the arena game.

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