ROSEMONT—Reggie Gray exploded in the fourth quarter scoring two consecutive kick-return touchdowns as the Rush defeated the Iowa Barnstormers 58-48 in front of 9,063 fans at the Allstate Arena. The 9,063 fans in attendance also helped the AFL break the one millionth fan mark on the season.
“Reggie never seizes to surprise me,” said head coach Bob McMillen. “This was a crucial divisional win. We really needed it to remain ahead of Dallas.”
Rookie QB Dominic Randolph, who made his first career start in place of Michna, threw for 189 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. WR Charles Dillon also had a dominant night as he contributed 104 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Rush FB Johnie Kirton had a record-breaking night as he tallied 28 yards and two touchdowns against the Barnstormers. His 28 rushing yards helped him break the Rush franchise record of 285 rushing yards in a single season which was set by current head coach Bob McMillen.The Barnstormers got off to a fast start taking a 27-7 lead in the first quarter. Iowa WR Jessie Schmidt scored three touchdowns in the opening minutes and finished the game with 109 yards receiving helping the Barnstormers put the hometown team on the ropes early. But after overcoming some early turnovers, the Rush made an improbable rally scoring 36 straight points while holding the Barnstormers to zero points through three quarters.The Rush’s defense, in particular, kept Iowa in check and allowed the Rush to snag more offensive opportunities. JLB Kelvin Morris had two interceptions in the game while MLB Marcus Waugh’s crucial pick came with 5:09 left in the game to help preserve a late 54-47 lead. The defense also dominated the Iowa’s offensive line, as the Rush sacked QB Bryan Lee-Lauduski five times.
“I was really proud of how we played but particularly with our defense,” said Coach McMillen. “Kelvin did an outstanding job filling in the role.
Fans in attendance also helped the Rush collect hundreds of teddy bears for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago by participating in the inaugural “Teddy Bear Toss for the Red Cross.”
After winning their 10th game, the Rush (10-4) will face off against the Utah Blaze (7-7) in Week 17 at the Allstate Arena Friday, July 1st at 7:30 pm CST.
NATIONAL GUARD MVP: Dominic Randolph-CHI
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Charles Dillon-CHI
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kelvin Morris-CHI
JLS IRONMAN: Reggie Gray-CHI
NIFTY PLAYMAKER OF THE GAME: Kelvin Morris-CHI
CUTTER CATCH OF THE GAME: Kelvin Morris’ 2nd INT
SPALDING HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME: Reggie Gray’s 2nd 55-yard kick return for a touchdown