06/03/2012 5:12 PM
Head Coach Bob McMillen speaks with QB Russ Michna during the third quarter - photo by Justen Appelquist
- CHICAGO (June 3, 2012)
– On a Sunday afternoon that honored the late Johnie Kirton, the Chicago Rush (7-4) used a fumble recovery by his friend Kelvin Morris in the first quarter to widen the lead on way to a 73-62 victory over the Spokane Shock (6-5). 6,418 fans at Allstate Arena witnessed quarterback Russ Michna set Rush single-game franchise records for completions (32), passing yards (412) and touchdown passes (9).
Despite eight first half penalties by the Rush, Michna weathered through a first possession field goal drive to kick his game into record setting fashion. After throwing two incompletions on the first drive, Michna tossed only four incompletions the rest of the way. His prettiest pass came on the second offensive drive, squeezing in a pass between Spokane’s Paul Stephens and Marc Schiechl that landed in the hands of Jared Perry for an early 10-6 advantage.
“We share the wealth,” said Jared Perry discussing the Rush wide receiving core, “Reggie and me just talk about making plays all game long and we were able to get all four of (the wide receivers) involved early in the game.”
The ensuing possession is where Kelvin Morris (3 tackles), who switched his jersey number this week to Kirton's 37, forced and recovered a fumble from Shock WR Steven Black that set up a 36-yard pass from Michna to Terrance Turner. Two second quarter touchdown scores by Reggie Gray and Terrance Turner sustained the two possession advantage on way to a 31-20 halftime lead.
Second half adjustments worked for the Shock as they sprinted out of the break with a 41-yard touchdown grab by Steven Black (7 catches, 111 yards, 2 TD). The dynamic wide out continued his supreme catching by twirling for another sideline catch teeing up the first of three BrandonThompkins (9 catches, 113 yards, 4 TD) touchdowns in the second half. However, no matter the pace the Shock set in the second half, they were never able to make the deficit smaller than four points.
The inability to move closer stemmed from Rush signal caller Russ Michna (32-38, 412 yards, 9 TD) who continued his torrid performance in the second half. Making mince meat of the Shock secondary, Michna eclipsed the Chicago franchise record for passing touchdowns in a game by throwing his 9th to Jared Perry at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
“I feel that way every week,” stated Russ Michna when asked about when he thought today would be a big day. “This offense reacts so well on the run it becomes an easier game. There are only so many things a defense can do.”
The Rush defense answered the playmaking call by forcing three turnovers on the night, two of which came from a secondary that has seen eleven different starters this season. Defensive Player of the Game Semaj Moody intercepted Kyle Rowley late in the second quarter to keep the early 11-point lead safe. Perhaps the most important turnover came from Brian Lainhart, who intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter for the second straight week and gave backup quarterback Luke Drone the ammunition to take a 2-yard run into the end zone for the largest lead of the night.
The 18-point lead was safe for the last six minutes of the fourth quarter, even after Kyle Rowley (29-40, 402 yards, 8 TD, 2 INT) threw his eighth touchdown of the game to close the game back to within 11. His main target on the night was Adron Tennell, who took advantage of Rush newcomer Leslie Majors to the tune of 10 catches and 153 yards, but only one touchdown.
The victory gives the Rush their seventh win of the year and ignites confidence as they look ahead to a tough road matchup against the Utah Blaze (7-5) on June 9th.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – CHI Jared Perry
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – CHI Semaj Moody
JLS Ironman of the Game – SPO Terrance Sanders
AFL Playmaker of the Game – CHI Russ Michna
Cutters Catch of the Game – CHI Jared Perry’s TD reception that pushed Russ Michna to the Chicago Rush single-game record for passing touchdowns
Spalding Highlight of the Game – SPO Terrance Sanders 55-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
National Guard MVP – CHI Russ Michna
ABOUT CHICAGO RUSH
Tickets are available for the next Rush home game June 16th against Georgia. 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. For up to the minute updates on the