ROSEMONT—If the Rush come out against Dallas in this Friday’s Playoff opener,it will be a short Post Season.This was a train wreck from the very start.Despite hoping to gain momentum before their playoff showdown with the Vigilantes, the Rush lost their final regular season game against the Milwaukee Mustangs 54-34 in front of 10,269 fans at the Allstate Arena.
“We just beat ourselves tonight,” said Rush head coach Bob McMillen. “We didn’t give our team the opportunity to win.”
First the good news, WR Reggie Gray led the Rush with five touchdown receptions for 123 yards as he also broke the Rush franchise record for most receptions in a single season. He now has 130 receptions this season. Gray also tied the team record for most touchdowns in a season with 53. Now the bad news, the Rush had numerous opportunities to overtake the Mustangs but committed five turnovers and were unable to overcome the hot offense of the Mustangs, who finished off their regular season 7-11.Milwaukee took advantage of some early turnovers by the Rush to jump out to a 9-6 lead in the opening period. Rush QB J.J. Raternik committed two turnovers as the defensive line of the Mustangs overpowered the the Rush offense early on.Things got even more difficult for the Rush in the second quarter; Milwaukee went on a 21-0 run and extended their lead to 30-6 with 7:26 in the second period after Mustangs DL Broderick Stewart scored a touchdown off a fumble by Rush FB Johnie Kirton. However, Gray scored back-to-back touchdowns to provide life to the Rush offense and helped the Rush to get within 10 points of the Mustangs at the half.The Mustangs, however, went on a 14-0 run as QB Gino Guidugli threw two touchdown passes to WRs Dwayne Eley Jr. and Victor Williams to give Milwaukee a 44-20 lead with 9:43 in the third period. Guidugli finshed the game with three touchdown passes going 18 of 28 for 193 yards and Eley Jr. led the Mustangs receiving corps with two touchdown receptions for 58 yards.The Rush put forth a valiant final effort in the fourth quarter as the offense, led by backup QB Dominic Randolph, was able to muster 14 more points. Randolph played the majority of the game after entering early in the second quarter. He finished the night going 11 for 16 for 167 yards and three touchdowns. But the Mustangs answered every Rush score and seized complete control of the game after Guidugli’s third and final touchdown pass with 4:42 remaining on the clock.
“This isn’t how you would like to enter the playoffs,” said McMillen. “But we will work hard this week to come back dominant against the Vigilantes.”
The regular season is complete and the Rush will now turn their attention to the AFL playoffs as they meet Dallas at home on Friday, July 29th at 7:30 pm CST. With DB Vick Hall expectedback,it should give the Rush a big boost.