After dropping two straight road contests, the Chicago Rush got back on track Sunday afternoon behind a near-perfect performance from quarterback Russ Michna.
Michna torched the Spokeane Shock for 412 yards and 9 touchdowns on 32-of-38 passing in a 73-62 victory at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
In the fourth quarter, Michna broke his own franchise record for single-game passing touchdowns with his ninth on an 11-yard pass to Jared Perry. The 412 yards and 32 completions were also team records.
"I think I've played too long, that's what it means," Michna said jokingly.
"He is so smart out there," head coach Bob McMillen said. "We're calling plays and he's like, 'No, I like this better,' and he's changing and, all of a sudden, we see six points go up on the board. ... He's the hottest quarterback in the league right now."
Perry was the target for most of Michna's record-breaking day. He hauled in 11 passes for 131 yards and 4 scores. Terrance Turner and Reggie Gray combined for the remaining 5 touchdowns and had 138 and 91 yards, respectively.
Rush linebacker Kelvin Morris debuted his No. 37 jersey after changing this week in memory of his former teammate and friend Johnie Kirton who passed away Monday.
"It meant a lot," Morris said. "Just knowing that he's still with me, carrying me through the season."
The crowd observed a moment of silence prior to the game for the former Rush fullback. Kirton played for the Rush in 2011 and scored 3 touchdowns against his former team just last week as a member of the San Jose Sabercats.
After Morris forced and recovered a fumble in the first quarter, the Rush (7-4) and Shock (6-5) traded score-for-score through much of the game with neither team's defense able to come up with a stop until the fourth when Rush defensive back Brian Lainhart intercepted Kyle Rowley's pass with 8:22 remaining. Backup quarterback Luke Drone then ran for a 2-yard score to put the Rush up 72-55, the largest lead of the game. The Shock again closed within 11, but Morris recovered a late onside kick to give the Rush the final possession with one minute remaining.
The victory keeps the Rush perfect at home this season at 5-0. Michna said the crowd of 6,418 was the loudest he's heard in a while.
"You look around and there's not as many people out there as you'd like, but they're still out there making noise and everybody is involved," he said. "It's definitely an advantage for us."
The Rush hope to improve their 1-4 road record next week when they travel to Utah to take on the Blaze (6-5).
"Once we start get rolling on the road, we're going to be fine," Morris said.