The Chicago Rush overcame first half struggles to secure an overtime victory over the Iowa Barnstormers Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Arena in front of 8,472 fans.
The Rush becomes the first team with a 3-0 record following the victory over Central Division rival Iowa.
The Rush was off to a rapid attack in the first quarter after quarterback Russ Michna led the offense down the field and into the end zone with a seven yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Terrance Turner. The Barnstormers were quick to answer as QB JJ Raterink connected with Rush nemesis WR Jesse Schmidt for a touchdown to even the score. Schmidt led the Iowa offense with three touchdown receptions on the night. Iowa contained the Rush offense and forced the team to turn over the ball on downs to end the first quarter at a 7-7 tie.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns to begin the second quarter. Barnstormers fullback Rodney Filer rushed for two touchdowns in the period. The Rush scored after Michna connected with both WR Jared Perry and Reggie Gray for two passing touchdowns. However, Iowa scored 13 unanswered points after Raterink scrambled for the team's third rushing touchdown of the quarter and DB Antoine Thompson returned an interception for a touchdown. The Rush closed out the half with a brief bright spot as DL Derek Walker intercepted Iowa's two-point conversion attempt the opposite direction. However, Iowa led 40-28 over the Rush as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
The Barnstormers opened the second half with the ball, but the Rush held Iowa's offense after Raterink fumbled while being sacked and Rush DL Wayne Daniels recovered the ball. Michna and WR Marquis Hamilton capitalized on the Barnstormers fumble as the two connected for the first touchdown of the second half. The two teams exchanged touchdowns and Reggie Gray scored his second touchdown of the night before the end of the third quarter.
The Rush defense was stingy to begin the fourth quarter holding the Barnstormers to a field goal attempt which was missed by kicker Greg Camay. Chicago scored on its first offensive drive of the final quarter after Michna connected with Gray for their third touchdown connection of the night. Barnstormers FB Rodney Filer ran for a four-yard touchdown to put the Barnstormers up with a seven point lead. Rush WR Jared Perry caught a touchdown pass from Michna to tie the game at 55 with 17 seconds remaining in the game. Iowa failed to score in its last possession of regulation sending the game to overtime.
Barnstormers struck first in overtime as Raterink connected with WR Chris Matthews. However, Camay missed the PAT for Iowa. Rush FB JJ Payne ran for the game-winning touchdown before kicker Mike Salerno secured the victory with the extra point.