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Rush Knocked Out by 51-6 Soul Run, Fall to 6-2 on the Road

Sunday July 7, 2013

 Taurus Johnson Bursts Out for Five Receptions, 95 Yards and Two Touchdowns

The Philadelphia Soul rode a 51-6 run midway through the game to a 58-26 victory over the Chicago Rush at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday evening. The Soul, which defeated the Rush by 31 points earlier in the season, are now responsible for Chicago's two most lopsided losses of the 2013 season.

“It’s the snowball effect,” coach Bob McMillen said. “Hopefully they’re all pissed off and they want to practice tomorrow. Hopefully, that’s their sense of urgency because if not we’ll be going home in three weeks and sitting in front of the television watching the playoffs so we have got to find ourselves.”

Despite the final score, Saturday represented a breakout performance for Rush wide receiver Taurus Johnson. In his second year in the Arena Football League, Johnson had just two yards on a single reception entering the City of Brotherly Love. He didn't
wait long to make his mark Saturday, hauling in a deep ball on Chicago's very first drive of the game.

“Taurus Johnson played tonight like he practices all week,” McMillen said. “He practically flies around. He tries to make our defense better and he is one of our better scout team runners. He stepped up tonight playing for D.J. Woods. If I had to give an award out tonight, I’ll give it out to Taurus Johnson. The kid played phenomenal and we have got to figure out a way to get this kid on the field.”

The Soul answered with a Tiger Jones touchdown. Defensive back Jorrick Calvin had near-perfect coverage on the Soul's leading wide receiver, as quarterback Dan Raudabaugh was a little long on the pass. Indeed, Chicago's top defensive back tipped the pass and nearly snagged the deflection off the wall, but Jones was able to
pry it away to tie the score at seven.

The Rush began to exhibit some difficulties on offense on their second drive, but Reggie Gray snapped Chicago out of a fourth and seven with a grab as he slammed into the left wall. Shortly thereafter, Gray ran a slant into the end zone and caught the ball falling backwards to give the Rush a 13-7 lead.

From there, the contest went downhill, as Philadelphia accounted for 51 of the next 57 points. Chicago’s troubles began when kicker Jose Martinez missed wide left on his point-after attempt. Then, Jones came up with a few more catches, including a diving snare, to set up a Derrick Ross touchdown run.

The Rush, set up by Jorrick Calvin’s solid sprint up field on the kickoff return, came yards away from retaking the lead, but wide receiver Jared Jenkins couldn’t haul in consecutive passes and Martinez’ field-goal attempt bounced off the left upright.

“He kicks every extra point and field goal in practice,” McMillen said. “He’s able to kick those in practice. I have no excuse why. There was nothing wrong with the snaps. There was no pressure. He’s just missed it. Jose has struggled the last month and a half.”

Still, Chicago hung tight a little while longer, as Philadelphia facing fourth and goal, settled for a field goal to take a 17-13 lead.

Coffman tried to bring Chicago back on one play on the ensuing drive, but his deep ball to Gray was underthrown and Rayshaun Kizer stepped in front for an easy interception. Raudabaugh quickly rubbed salt onto the wound, finding Jones for his second touchdown grab of the game. The teams traded another pair of touchdowns,
and with 39 seconds remaining on the clock, the Rush looked to close within one possession, trailing 31-19.

Penalties killed them on their final drive of the half, however, as a holding call put Chicago on its own 10 with 15 seconds to go and a false start further set the Rush back. On the final play of the half, Coffman rolled right and tried to find Gray, but the star wide receiver was well marked by Kizer, who deflected it away.

The Rush, trailing by 12 to begin the second half, quickly saw their deficit mount in the third quarter, as Tiger Jones sprinted down the field on a straight fly route to snag an easy touchdown. Chicago's woes deepened on the ensuing kickoff as Carlos Martinez sent a low ball off the net. When the Rush's two returners collided in
their pursuit of the tricky hop, Carlos Campbell was there to take advantage, pouncing on the loose ball for a 44-19 lead.

Luke Drone, in for Coffman, led the Rush to the periphery of the end zone once again, but several rushing plays resulted in negative yardage, leading to a fourthand-goal. On fourth down, the Rush benefitted from a pass interference call, but even that couldn’t save them, as Drone lofted a ball on third down that was picked
off in the back of the end zone. Drone threw another pick in the fourth quarter as he rolled left and tried to force a pass in along the sideline. Instead, Joe Goosby stepped in front for the interception and walked a tightrope along the right sideline to complete the pick-six.

“Our quarterbacks did not play well tonight at all,” McMillen said. “Neither one of our quarterbacks played well. The protection was fine.”

Drone did finally snap Philadelphia’s 51-6 streak with a pretty pass to Gray, who bounced off two tacklers into the end zone to account for the final score.

Tiger Jones received Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game honors. Rayshaun Kizer was the Riddell Defensive Player of the Game and the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game. Larry Brackins got the Cutters Catch of the Game for a fourth-quarter touchdown grab, while Joe Goosby’s pick-six earned AFL Highlight of the Game honors.