Rosemont, Ill. — The Milwaukee Mustangs played a little game of tit-for-tat with the Chicago Rush Saturday night.
As it is with every other Chicago/Milwaukee rivalry, the participants and fans of these Arena Football League teams don’t like each other very much.
When the dust settled and the animus had subsided, the Mustangs lost a heartbreaker to the Rush, 62-61, at the Allstate Arena here.
It was one of those classic AFL games where you got the feeling whichever team touched the ball last would emerge victorious.
So when Nick Setta’s extra point sailed through the uprights with four seconds left, the mostly Rush-favoring crowd breathed a sigh of relief.
Rush Quarterback Russ Michna had just tied the game when he hit Jared Perry in the right corner.
The Mustangs fall to 2-3 while Chicago is now 5-1.
Jared Jenkins had four touchdown receptions for Milwaukee. Terrance Turner matched the effort for the Rush in what was the textbook definition of a see-saw battle.
The two quarterbacks redeemed themselves, each having better games than in lopsided losses last week.
Mustang QB Gino (G-squared) Guidugli came out firing on all cylinders going 11 for 12, 115 yards and two touchdowns as the teams played to a 14-14 first quarter tie.
On the Rush side, Michna shook off his four interception performance of a week ago and was 4 for 4 and one score in the same time frame.
Guidugli relied on his own, personal 1-2 punch at receiver in the contest.
Jared Jenkins and Jonathan Wilson traded off taking TD passes from Guidugli in the first half, with Wilson nabbing the first and third and Jenkins the second and fourth.
The ‘stangs had a 28-21 lead with 2:34 left in the first half on the fourth score.
Jenkins caught the ball in the flat, spun away from the defending and lollygagged his way across the goal line.
On the ensuing drive, the ‘stangs had good coverage in the red zone.
But on a third down from the eight yard line, Kelvin Rodgers’ interception was nullified by an offside penalty.
Michna ran it in from the three on fourth down with no time left and the half ended at 28 apiece.
On the defensive side of the ball, newly re-acquired Rodgers provided stability in the secondary and on Special Teams as a kick returner.
The ‘stang D-line had a good first half with defensive Player of the Game Luis Vasquez getting four tackles and a sack and Dwayne Lefall hurrying Michna into passing before he was ready.
The back and forth scoring pattern was broken when the Rush took the second half kick and drove down to take their first lead of the game.
Terrance Turner took Michna’s dart in the corner of the end zone from three yards out to make it 35-28 with 11:54 left in the third stanza.
Rodgers took the kick and ran it back 31 yards.
On the next play, a wide-open Jenkins snagged a Guidugli pass at the one and rolled across the goal to knot it at 35.
An ill-advised onside kick was scooped up by the Rush, but the Mustangs swarmed all over Michna.
After consecutive offsides penalties and a sack by Vasquez, Chicago settled for a 50-yard field goal which was wide left.
The rookie-in-name-only, Jenkins, got his fourth touchdown catch of the game on the next drive.
Ryan Gates first missed PAT gave the ‘stangs a 41-35 lead with 4:17 left in the third.
Turner’s third scoring catch from 22 yards out, coupled with Nick Setta’s sixth straight point after, gave Chicago the slim, 42-41 lead at the 2:26 mark.
After losing ground on an offensive pass interference call, Paul Josue took a lob toss from Guidugli in stride and completed a 42-yard touch.
The fake on the two-point conversion was snuffed out and it failed, leaving the ‘stangs with a five-point cushion, 47-42, early in the fourth.
Michna wasted no time getting downfield.
But a second end zone pick by Milwaukee (this one by Marcus Everett) was negated by an illegal defense penalty and Michna hit Turner for his fourth TD reception of the game and the 49-47 lead.
Milwaukee clawed its way to the lead when the burly Nick Toresso took a pass from Guidugli and gamboled 17 yards for the touchdown.
The Mustangs missed another two-point conversion for a 53-49 lead.
The Rush took advantage of another failed onside kick and Marquis Hamilton took Michna’s bullet for a three-yard score and a 55-53 lead with 3:10 to play.
Guidugli drove his team down and plunged over from the one to regain the edge.
Backup QB Shane Boyd threw the two-point conversion to give Milwaukee a short-lived, 61-55 lead.
With 55 seconds left in the game, no AFL team rests easy.
Michna showed everyone why that is with his last-second heroics.
The ‘stangs return to the friendlier confines of the Bradley Center on Saturday, April 28th when the Utah Blaze make their way to Milwaukee.
It is ‘College Night’ and the University of Wisconsin Marching Band will be performing along with other surprises.
Tickets are available at the BC box office, through Ticketmaster, at www.MkeMustangs.com or call the team’s office at 414-224-4000.
Fans may follow the players and the Fillie Dance Team on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
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