Chicago Claims Tenth VictoryJuly 15, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) Chicago Rush
"I thought Luke did a great job tonight. He played a great second half, controlled the offense like we asked him to and we got the victory because of him and the guys in this locker room," stated head coach Bob McMillen.
Reggie Gray put a game worth of stats into the first half by catching 8 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Leaping into the end zone for a score on the Rush's first possession Gray followed things up by gliding down the field to catch a 45-yard touchdown in stride to put Chicago up 14-13. However, it was a touchdown he didn't hold onto that swung the momentum Milwaukee's way in the first half. Mustang linebacker/wide receiver Marcus Everett tipped the ball out of Gray's hands in the end zone to secure his second red zone interception of the half. Mustang quarterback Gino Guidugli then tossed a pass Jonathan Wilson's way as he streaked past Jorrick Calvin for a 24-yard touchdown, giving Milwaukee their largest lead of the game with six minutes left in the second quarter.
Poor tackling doomed the Rush defense again on Milwaukee's next possession as a short completion to Taurian Washington ended up going for six when Jorrick Calvin's arm tackle went for not. A last minute Rush push for a score clanked off the left upright as Joe Houston missed on a 30-yard attempt as time expired on the second quarter. The Mustangs ability to go 3-3 on red zone opportunities to Chicago's 2-5 was the reason for their 34-21 halftime advantage.
The Rush sprung out of the locker room early from the break and it appeared to charge them on the opening kickoff as Reggie Gray weaved his way 54-yards for his third return touchdown of the year.
"Last year I was disrespected and didn't get Rookie of the Year and this year the (AFL) said I wasn't even an option for Ironman of the Year. It's kind of disrespectful and I wanted to come out and show the league wrong," stated Reggie Gray about how his 2012 season should put him in the Ironman of the Year conversation.
Backing him up on his kickoff return score was Jorrick Calvin who brought down his ninth interception of the year by withstanding a tough take down by Jonathan Wilson.
Reggie Gray's sixth touchdown of the game retook the lead 35-34, but Milwaukee responded with a six play, 47-yard drive on the shoulders of receiver Jonathan Wilson whose 39 receiving yards set up Guidugli's second rushing touchdown of the game.
The Rush offense couldn't be stopped when Marquis Hamilton used the shadow of Reggie Gray to sneak his way for a 9-yard touchdown catch three seconds into the fourth quarter.
The tipping point came with 10:48 to go in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee faced a fourth and goal at the Rush four-yard line. Guidugli tossed up a fade pass to the right side of the end zone, but Semaj Moody out muscled Jared Jenkins to deflect the ball to the ground. With the Rush taking over it was time for the quirkiest play of the game. Luke Drone tossed a pass that deflected off Mustang defensive back Lance Caldwell and rolled on top of the side board where Rush defensive lineman Jeffrey Fitzgerald, positioned on the bench, grabbed the ball away to prevent the interception. It caused a 15-yard penalty for interference, but allowed the Rush to retain possession. A few plays later Jared Perry used a wheel route to skirt down the sidelines for a 36-yard touchdown catch on fourth and eleven. A fake extra point by Luke Drone tossed two more points up on the scoreboard giving the Rush a 50-41 lead with 7:35 left in the game.
Jonathan Wilson continued his impressive effort by catching his second touchdown of the night to put the stamp on his 10 catch, 142-yard and two touchdown effort.
But the celebration was a quick after thought when Chicago responded with another score in two plays after securing Milwaukee's onside kick attempt. Marquis Hamilton's second touchdown catch of the game put Chicago back up 57-48 and marked his first multi-touchdown game since the home opener.
Luke Drone finished the evening with 327 passing yards and seven touchdowns, while his counterpart Gino Guidugli finished the night with 378 passing yards and six touchdowns.
Rush Rookie of the Year candidate Jared Perry caught 9 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
The victory by the Rush gives them their sixth season in franchise history with double digit regular season wins. They look to close out the season with another victory by traveling to Cleveland for a 6:30 p.m. game July 21st.
Arena Football League Stories from July 15, 2012
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- SaberCats Survive Iowa, 57-48 and Enter Playoffs on Three Game Winning Streak - San Jose SaberCats
- Chicago Claims Tenth Victory - Chicago Rush
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