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Sunday, March 3

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Rush Mon Mar 12 2012

Rush Start Strong in AFL Opener

rush opener.JPG

By Etheria Modacure

The 25th season of the Arena Football League got underway this weekend and the Chicago Rush were able to win their opener over the Tampa Bay Storm, 70-48.

In front of 9,124 at Allstate Arena, the Rush defense was their strength as linebacker Kelvin Morris returned two interceptions for touchdowns and quarterback Russ Michna threw eight touchdown passes.

The Rush, who finished last season at 13-5, winning the Central Division of the American Conference, got their ninth home opener win in franchise history.

Michna started where he left off last season with touchdown passes to his favorite target Reggie Gray and newcomer Marquis Hamilton. Michna finished the game passing for 247 yards on 24 completions. Hamilton and Gray combined for seven touchdown receptions with Hamilton finishing the game with 117 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Gray had 80 yards on seven receptions with three touchdowns. The former Western Illinois player, in his second season with the Rush, was able to stretch the field for Michna similar to last season when the pair combined to torch defenses throughout the AFL.

In the first quarter, the Rush jumped out to a 21-7 lead over the Storm after two touchdown passes from Michna and an interception return for a touchdown by Morris. However, the Storm were able to manage a comeback to end the half tied at 35 with Chicago.

The Rush shut down the Storm in the third quarter and put pressure on quarterback Stephen Wasil, who went 8-for-11 in the quarter but was unable to convert any fourth downs. This gave the Rush the chance to pull away from the Storm, with Michna finding Hamilton and Gray for two touchdown passes.

The Rush will enjoy a bye week before they host the Orlando Predators on March 22.

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