CEDAR RAPIDS – The Cedar Rapids Titans defense was reeling. They had allowed over 57 points per game, including a whopping 82 last week at Texas, during a three-game losing skid. Coach Mark Stoute’s defense would have to play harder and smarter to defeat the streaking Chicago Slaughter, winners of five straight.
“I told the guys all week long, this is one of the games where the mental process is going to win the game,” Stoute said. “It’s not a physical battle, they do what they do, we do what we do.”
The Titans’ defense responded, pitching shutouts in both the first and third quarter in routing the Slaughter, 62-28, before a lively standing-room only crowd Saturday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
“We’ve got to get back to the dominant defense that we had prior to last game,” Stoute said. “And now that our offense is fine, that’s a recipe for success.”
The Titans pulled even with the Slaughter at 5-3, having taken three-of-four in the season series. IFL rushing leader LaRon Council rushed for 74 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Charles McCullum threw for 148 yards, ran for 40, and had four total touchdowns.
“It all starts with the offensive line that we have, also the other receivers we’ve got out there,” said receiver Carl Sims, whose league-leading 16th touchdown in the fourth quarter extended the Titans’ lead to 62-22. “We just work as a team, find a way to get open.”
Former Illinois quarterback Juice Williams caught three touchdown passes for the Slaughter (5-3), whose three losses have all come against Cedar Rapids, who wore pink ankle and wrist tape in support of breast cancer awareness.
Starting safety T.J. Simmons, who leads the league in kickoff return yards, missed the game while serving a one-game for throwing a punch last week at Texas. Receiver Bryan Pray filled in admirably, returning a kickoff 54 yards for a score to seize momentum and give the Titans a 23-14 lead 5:32 before halftime.
“We were fortunate that in the preseason we had a chance for a lot of guys to return in the Green Bay game, so at least they’ve got some background at it,” Stoute said.
Olin-native quarterback Colton Hansen remains on injured reserve for the next 4-5 weeks with a torn oblique muscle. In addition to finding Hansen’s replacement, Stoute believes two or three of his players may be plucked in the flurry of post-draft free agent signings following this week’s NFL draft. While Stoute declined to name names, prior sources indicate both Council and defensive back Ricky Johnson have each garnered interest from two to three NFL teams.Following the bye week, the Titans travel to Tri-Cities Oct. 4.