Updated: April 25, 2013 7:29AM
The Rush’s 2013 season opener featured a lot of new things: new owner, new logo, new uniforms and a new theme of “redemption” after failing to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 2012.
That “redemption” directive didn’t get off to a good start during a 63-41 loss to the Iowa Barnstormers before a crowd of 6,026 on Saturday at Allstate Arena.
Iowa, coached by former Rush coach Mike Hohensee, jumped to a 12-0 lead and never looked back. It was Hohensee’s first win over his former team in three tries.
“Redemption is about making the playoffs again, but right now we just want to get our first win,” said third-year coach Bob McMillen after the Rush’s first season-opening loss in five years.
Barnstormers receiver Darius Reynolds caught four touchdown passes from J.J. Raterink, including a one-handed grab for a 39-14 lead with 11 seconds left in the first half.
The Rush salvaged a score with no time remaining on a six-yard pass from Carson Coffman to Morgan Park graduate Reggie Gray (four TDs), cutting the lead to 18.
The Rush cut the deficit to 39-28 on the first drive of the third quarter on a 29-yard pass from Coffman to Gray. Iowa answered with a nine-yard pass from Raterink to Marco Thomas to build the lead back to 18.
“We played a horrible first half but closed it out right,” Gray said. “This was a frustrating loss all the way around.”
The Barnstormers led 46-35 after three quarters and never allowing the Rush to rally. Barnstormers defensive backs De’Mon Glanton and Ter’Ran Benton recorded key interceptions in the final quarter.
The Rush will try for redemption again next Sunday, when they host the Spokane Shock.