Titans fade late, Slaughtered

Quick start at Chicago before losing second straight IFL game

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – The Cedar Rapids Titans jumped out to a quick lead during Saturday's 50-45 loss to the Chicago Slaughter, but quarterback Charles McCullum and the Titans' offense went ice cold in their second straight loss after a 22-day break.

Before the extended break, the Titans (4-2) were the only 4-0 team in the Indoor Football League. Now, they find themselves tied with the Slaughter (4-2) for the lead in the United Conference.

“We came back [from the break] kind of flat,” McCullum said. “We just have to be more focused. The first half, we played strong, and then we came out flat.”

Backup quarterback Colton Hansen almost rescued the floundering Titans when he found Carl Sims for a 15-yard touchdown with 10:55 to go, giving Cedar Rapids a 45-38 lead. But Chicago responded quickly, and receiver Juice Williams caught a game-winning five-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds remaining.

After struggling early in last week's loss to previously-winless Green Bay, quarterback Charles McCullum found his groove right away on Saturday. McCullum found receiver Bryan Pray for a 37-yard touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage, and he'd add three more touchdown passes in the quarter to give the Titans a 27-14 lead.

But the Stillman College product cooled off after the first, completing just one of his next 10 passes before he was pulled in late in the third quarter.

“I really don't know what changed [after the first quarter],” McCullum said. “I guess you could say we got complacent.”

The Cedar Rapids defense was able to keep the Slaughter at bay in the first half, but Chicago scored twice in the third quarter to take a 38-37 lead before a back-and-forth fourth quarter.

The Titans head south to play the Texas Revolution next week, where they'll try to regain the chemistry that made them successful early in the season.

“In the first part of the year, everybody was on one page, we were hustling, everybody was together,” McCullum said. “It was like a team. Now, we've got to get back to that team concept.”

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