The Rush got back into the win column in a huge way. Here is how it all went down:
First Quarter: Reggie Gray fumbled the opening kickoff but the Rush did manage to recover in time for touchback to start the game on their own 5 yard line. On first down, Russ Michna hit Jared Perry for a 32 yard pass to take it to the Spokane 16. But the Rush would be held on the next 3 plays to force 4th down. Joe Houston kicked a 22 yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 11:42 remaining in the first. Spokane got a huge kick return out to midfield on the insuing kickoff.
The Shock would score in two just two plays, the capped off the drive with Shock Quarterback Kyle Rowley finding Brandon Thompkins from just 6 yards out. But they would miss the extra point so they would only have a 6-3 lead with 10:17 remaining. On the Rush’s next possession it appeared that Russ Michna had scored on a 20 yard touchdown run when the Spokane defense over pursued. But it was called back by a holding penalty.
But not to fear, Jared Perry would come through with back to back catches of 4 yards and 8 yards scoring on the latter. The extra point would give the Rush the lead back, 10-6 with 7:33 remaining. Spokane would use nearly 5 minutes of clock on their next possession but would ultimately fumble the ball at the Rush 5 yard line. Kelvin Morris recovered the fumble and took the ball all the way down th the Spokane 14 with 2:20 remaining.
Two plays later Reggie Gray caught a touchdown pass but it was called back by a holding penalty. Russ Michna would get sacked on the very next play. But just before time ran out Russ Michna threw a 40 yard bomb to Terrance Turner to take a 17-6 lead to end the first quarter.
Second Quarter: The Shock almost fumbled the opening quarter kickoff and had to start from their own 2 yard line. But they would score in just three plays to make the score 17-13 Rush with 12:46 remaining before halftime. When the Rush got back on offense penalties would plague their next drive. That was until Reggie Gray came through in a big way. First he made a huge 4th down catch, then scored from 19 yards out on the next play. The Rush led 24-13 with 8:09 before halftime.
Then 3 minutes later Spokane would score when Rowley found Wide Receiver Steven Black from 17 yards away to cut the Rush’s lead to 24-20 with 5:11 until halftime. The Rush would march down the field and score in 8 plays. Russ Michna found Jared Perry for an 11 yard screen pass for the score. The Rush led 31-20 with 1:19 left before halftime. Spokane managed to get down to the Rush 14 yard line with :34 seconds left. But Rush DB Semaj Moody picked off a Kyle Rowley pass to get the ball back.
Third Quarter: Spokane got the first possession of the half and they would score on the opening second half kickoff. They cut the Rush lead to 31-27 with 13:50 left in the quarter. But the Rush offense just can’t be contained, Reggie Gray got his second touchdown catch of the game on the Rush’s second half possession. The Rush extended their lead to 38-27 with 11:26 remaining. But Spokane would answer back on their second possession of the half.
Brandon Thompkins hauled in his second touchdown pass of the game to cut the Rush’s lead to 38-34. But the Rush just would not be denied. A monster kick return set up a 13 yard touchdown pass from Russ Michna to Jared Perry, it would be Perry’s second score of the afternoon. The Rush now led 45-34 with 7:56 left in the 3rd. But two and a half minutes later, Spokane answers back. Brandon Thompkins scored his third touchdown of the game with an impossible catch in the back of the end zone.
The Rush lead was cut to 4 again, 45-41 with 5:16 left in the quarter. But the Rush would not be outdone. Jared Perry scored on a 38 yard pass from Russ Michna after beating double coverage. The Rush would now lead 52-41 with 1:47 left. But Terrance Sanders would score for Spokane on the ensuing kick off. This would cut the Rush lead to 52-48 with 1:24 left in the 3rd. Spokane would attempt an onside kick after that but would fail to recover.
The Rush would start their next possession from the Spokane 4 yard line. Russell Monk nearly fumbled his first carry of the 2012 season which cost the Rush 2 yards. But on the next play Russ Michna would throw his eighth touchdown pass of the game to Terrance Turner. The six yard catch would be Turner’s third catch of the game. The Rush led 59-48 as the third quarter came to a close.
Fourth Quarter: Spokane started the quarter on offense and Kyle Rowley would throw his seventh touchdown pass of the game to Brandon Thompkins. His third touchdown catch of the game cut the Rush lead to 59-55 with 12:20 left in the game. On the Rush’s next possession Russ Michna would set a franchise record by throwing his ninth touchdown pass of the game to Jared Perry. It would be Perry’s 4th TD catch of the game. The Rush now lead 66-55 with 8:56 remaining.
When Spokane’s offense took the field Kyle Rowley threw the ball right to Rush DB Brian Lainhart instead of one of his receivers. The Rush got the ball back with 7:23 remaining. On the ensuing possession for the Rush, J.J. Payne would take a screen pass down to the 4 yard line. Backup Quarterback Luke Drone would score on a 4 yard touchdown run on the next play to give the Rush a 73-55 lead. But Spokane would come back with another Kyle Rowley touchdown pass on 4th down to cut the Rush lead to 73-62 at the one minute warning.
Spokane would try another onside kick but Kelvin Morris made sure Spokane would not recover it. The Rush would then run out the clock to break their 2 game losing streak with a 73-62 victory.
Russ Michna set two franchise records for the Rush today with 412 passing yards and 9 passing touchdowns. 4 of those touchdowns were caught by Jared Perry, 3 by Reggie Gray, and the other 2 were caught by Terrance Turner. Former Chicago Rush players Palauni Ma Sun and Josh Ferguson were non-factors in today’s game. They didn’t see any playing time. Today’s victory marks the first time that the Rush have beaten Spokane. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue in the future.
After the game Head Coach Bob McMillen said that “Russ has great chemistry with all of the receivers on this team. They gel together in practice every week and nine times out of 10 it pays off. ” The Rush are still undefeated at home this season (6-0), three of those victories have been when wearing their alternate black uniforms.
I asked Coach McMillen if the black uniforms were a good luck charm and his response was: “If we could wear them on road that would be great” he said while laughing. “But in all honesty I don’t think it has anything to do with the uniforms but everything to do with the team we have on the field every week.” Coach McMillen also said that there is a chance that Vic Hall could come back from the injured list next week. The Rush have sorely missed him out there in the defensive secondary. Next week the rush are back on the road where they will take on the Utah Blaze in Salt Lake City.
The Rush still have yet to win a game on the road and Coach McMillen says that Utah has one of the best offenses in the league. And if that is the case then having Vic Hall back would be a huge boost of confidence for this Rush team. The Rush will need to play their best football of the season if they are to win on the road next week. Here is today’s box score:
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Here is today’s post-game press conference: