ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Wrapping a three-game road tour, the Utah Blaze dropped a 67-43 decision to the Chicago Rush in Arena Football League action at the BMO Harris Bank Center Saturday night.
The Blaze trailed by just six points at halftime, but struggled to find a rhythm in the third and fourth quarters.
The Blaze defense took the field to start the game and provided a lockdown effort, holding the Rush to four-and-out on the opening possession. Quarterback Tommy Grady quickly converted the early turnover into points, needing just four plays before tossing a 19-yard TD pass to receiver Mario Urrutia.
Chicago responded with a score of its own as quarterback Carson Coffman found wide receiver Reggie Gray in the end zone from 20 yards out, but the Blaze maintained a 7-6 lead after a missed PAT.
Utah added to its advantage on the next drive as Grady fired a completion to receiver AJ Jackson, who sprinted 33 yards for the score.
However, Chicago would take a 20-14 lead after two unanswered scores. Coffman capped off the ensuing Chicago drive with a one-yard QB sneak for a score and receiver Jared Jenkins caught a 15-yard scoring pass a possession later.
Needing a spark on offense, rookie receiver Braylon Bell answered the call for Utah (4-7). Bell hauled in a short pass from Grady and went streaking 19 yards up the sideline, eluding would-be tacklers before crossing the goal line. Reggie Gray caught a quick TD pass moments later for the Rush, but Utah responded as Urrutia made a leaping TD catch.
Chicago got the final word of the half as Jenkins corralled an 18-yard touchdown pass to give the Rush a 34-28 lead at the midway point.
Chicago built a 53-28 lead in the second half, beginning with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Coffman to Jenkins. Grady was intercepted by linebacker Kelvin Morris on the ensuing possession and the Rush found the end zone again. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jenkins caught a short pass and ran 39 yards for a score.
Utah finally responded with 8:36 in the fourth quarter, as backup quarterback Jason Boltus entered the game and lofted a four-yard pass to Urrutia.
The Rush would score on the next play from scrimmage, as Coffman hit receiver DJ Woods.
Facing a fourth-and-goal on the ensuing drive, Boltus gunned an eight-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Bell with 2:22 remaining in the game. Fullback Ben Stallings punched in the two-point attempt to narrow the deficit, 60-43.
The Blaze battle the Jacksonville Sharks at EnergySolutions Arena next Saturday.