05/12/2012 11:41 PM
QB Luke Drone finished the game with 6 total touchdowns
– Nick Davila and the Arizona Rattlers (6-3) coasted in the second half to dominate the Chicago Rush (6-3) 77-43 Saturday night in front of 7,280 fans at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.
Chicago started backup quarterback Luke Drone (28-51, 396 yards, 4 TD, 2 rush TD), who began the game strong by leading the Rush offense to a touchdown on the game's opening possession. A 35-yard completion to Jared Perry was followed up by a muscling effort by Drone to rush in for the first of his two rushing scores. However, the increase in team confidence was short-lived as Arizona’s Trandon Harvey (153 all-purpose yards) ran through Mike Salerno on the kickoff and continued all the way to the end zone to tie the game at seven.
Drone continued to match Arizona QB Nick Davila (16-22, 213 yards, 6 TD) score for score in the first half outside of an interception by Rattlers JLB Kevin McCullough (5 tackles, 1 INT) who sprinted in for six points. Regardless, two touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns highlighted a successful beginning by Luke Drone who led the Rush to 31 first half points.
Reception streaks marked the first two quarters for the Chicago wideouts, as Marquis Hamilton (6 catches, 69 yards) caught four straight passes and Terrance Turner (11 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD) topped that with six straight catches during the second quarter.
The second half is where the mistakes unfortunately piled up for the Rush offense. A fumbled snap and two turnovers on downs allowed Arizona’s Nick Davila to take a four point Rattlers lead and build it up to 33 early in the fourth quarter. Rattlers WR Glen Fox (9 catches, 107 yards, 4 TD) was a key contributor, adding four touchdown receptions. Chicago couldn’t settle down as the Arizona lead climbed and didn't score in the second half until the 10:01 mark of the fourth quarter.
Even though the game spiraled out of hand, WR Reggie Gray (6 catches, 132 yards, 2 TD) was able to snare two touchdown receptions and surpass WR Bobby Sippio for the all-time team record for career receiving touchdowns.
The Arizona Rattlers second half offensive boost was aided by the injury to Chicago defensive back Vic Hall. Breaking up a touchdown pass, Hall fell awkwardly near the wall and would leave the game during the first minutes of the third quarter. First time AFL players Jack Williams and Brian Lainhart tried to acclimate to the secondary, but the seasoned Davila took advantage of the inexperience.
The loss drops Chicago into a tie with the San Antonio Talons (6-3) for first place in the National Central Division. The 34-point loss is the worst defeat in the Bob McMillen coaching era and the largest for Chicago since 2006.
"This entire team takes responsibility for the loss, but we'll come back from it as a team," stated Head Coach Bob McMillen.
Luke Drone’s 51 passing attempts are a new single-game team record, breaking the mark of 47 set in 2008.
Chicago goes into their bye-week and will return to action May 26th with a road contest in San Jose (7-2).
ABOUT CHICAGO RUSH
Tickets are available for the next Rush home game June 3rd against Spokane. Season ticket and flex plans also on sale with prices starting as low as $8 a ticket, and can be purchased by calling the Chicago Rush office at 855.RUSH.WIN (855.787.4946) or by visiting arenarush.com. Coming off their best regular season record (13-5) in 2011, the 2006 ArenaBowl Champion Chicago Rush are looking to make their 11th straight playoff appearance in 2012 under the leadership of Coach Bob McMillen.