The Rush may have had more artful performances this season, but no one's about to complain after Sunday's 55-52 Arena Football League victory over Grand Rapids left it with six wins at the season's halfway mark. That equals the franchise's second-best start.
"Six-and-two," Rush coach Mike Hohensee said. "That's all that matters with us."
Starting his second straight game, quarterback Russ Michna established himself as No. 1 on the depth chart by going 28 of 33 for 300 yards and five touchdowns.
"Russ Michna played a phenomenal game," said Hohensee, whose original starter, Sherdrick Bonner, remains hobbled with a sore knee. "Right now [Michna] is our starting quarterback. He made some great decisions today and has a great understanding of what's going on around him."
Michna lofted a game-winning, 14-yard pass to wide receiver Damian Harrell with 2 minutes 6 seconds left. Positioned in the corner of the end zone behind Rampage defenders Ahmad Hawkins and William Haith, Harrell timed a perfect leap above the pair to haul in the pass.
But without an alert play by Rush defensive back Dennison Robinson, Michna and Harrell might not have had that final chance.
The Rampage (2-5) led 52-48 with less than five minutes to play and had a chance to pad the lead when Rush receiver Donovan Morgan fumbled at his own 12 after a catch. Grand Rapids recovered.
On the next play, Rampage quarterback James MacPherson fired an end-zone pass intended for Hawkins. But the ball ricocheted off the lower crossbar along the back goal line and bounced forward. Robinson dove and caught the ball at the Rush 2.
Michna then marshaled a 48-yard drive as he hit three straight passes, including a 21-yarder to Morgan.
"Once we got the ball back after the interception, I was hoping they would continue to come my way," Morgan said. "I fumbled the last one, but I wanted another chance, and coach believed in me. They came back to me, and I was able to help out on the last drive."
Morgan, a rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette, had a game-high and season-best 10 receptions that netted 149 yards and four touchdowns.
The Rush opened the game with a 26-yard touchdown strike from Michna to Morgan for a quick 7-0 advantage. But they turned the ball over three times after that, and the teams exchanged leads eight times.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times