Iowa Barnstormers receiver Jesse Schmidt set an Iowa record with seven touchdowns and some horrible calls by a single official went in Iowa's favor, but in the end Chris Gould and the Chicago Rush overcame the turmoil with a 50-49 win.
After grasping the momentum in the second quarter, the Rush started to pull away in the third quarter, taking an eight-point lead on a touchdown catch by Charles Dillion. On the ensuing kickoff the momentum started to be "given" to the Barnstormers. Chris Gould had a great onside kick attempt which was recovered by Chicago.
However, the Rush were "offsides" giving the Barnstormers great field position. After two good defensive plays to force third down, a third great play by the Rush defensive backs was made. However, the Rush were guilty of pass interference. In the eyes of the official Reggie Berry the Rush defender was too early on the pass breakup. Iowa went on to score, cutting the Rush lead to 41-40.
After a good defensive play by Iowa on what would have been the answering touchdown, Russ Michna could not find a receiver open and was called for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety and an Iowa 42-41 lead.
The Rush defensive came up big on the next Barnstormer possession, stopping Iowa short of a first down, giving the Rush offence a chance to take the lead back. The attempt came in the form of a field goal by Chris Gould.
By accounts of video and radio, the field goal split the uprights to give the Rush the lead. Official Reggie Berry decided it was no good. After the Rush protested this horrible call, they were assessed two personal fouls and a missed field goal.
The Rush defense started to put pressure on Iowa QB Brad Banks, but he was able to connect with Jesse Schmidt for the seventh time of the game, giving Iowa a 49-41 lead.
Reggie Gray, who had caught three touchdowns, nearly pulled a Devin Hester, returning the ball to the Barnstormer 16-yard line. He capped the drive with his fourth touchdown, cutting the lead to 49-47. The Rush attempted a two-point conversion. It failed as Michna decided to throw into coverage instead to trying to take the ball in himself.
Iowa took the ball for their final time. On first down, Mark Weivoda finally was able to get some pressure on Banks. The officials obviously don't know what a holding call is, but Banks completed the pass. The hit rattled Banks, who overthrew his targets his next three attempts and the Rush defense gave the ball back to Russ Michna and the offense.
Following the one-minute alert, Michna hit Tod Devoe on a quick screen. Devoe made a great run after the catch, taking the ball to the 10-yard line. Michna then ran the ball to burn up some clock, could have scored but decided to slide down at the 1-yard line. Russ struggled through most of the game, but this savvy move shows why he needs to lead this offense.
With 4.1 seconds left, Chris Gould trotted onto the field to attempt the game-winner, which he made. However, on offsides call on Iowa forced him to kick a second time. This kick, as much as the officials may not have wanted it to be, was good. The Rush took a 50-49 lead with 1.5 seconds left. The Rush stopped the Barnstormer return man and the game was over.
This win was impressive for the Rush. They did not play well for most of the game. Being able to go onto the road and beat a good team when you don't play well is a sign of a good team—a championship team.
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