HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — After losing his starting job this off-season, Cedar Rapids Titans quarterback Colton Hansen knew his chance would come.
That opportunity came sooner than expected.
Hansen stepped back into the spotlight Sunday in the second half of Cedar Rapids’ 58-52 win over the Chicago Slaughter, throwing five touchdown passes in the second game of the season.
“I knew I had to make the best out of my opportunity,” Hansen said after the Titans’ second straight win over Chicago. “You can’t let anything bring you down. You just have to make the best out of every opportunity you get. Everybody played really, really well.”
Coach Mark Stoute decided he’d put Hansen in if the Titans (2-0) built a comfortable lead. After starter Charles McCullum passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to make the score 24-7 early in the second half, Stoute called Hansen’s number.
“We came in with the game plan that if we got up big early, we would definitely get him some playing time,” Stoute said. “He performed great.”
As it turned out, the Titans needed Hansen to return to his 2012 form to keep them undefeated. The third-year pro settled in on his first drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Carl Sims, who finished the game with three touchdowns catches.
“Colton was a big factor,” Sims said. “He came in and slung that ball around. That’s what we’ve kind of been missing, that gunslinger, and he brought it to the table tonight. It’s great to have two guys we can depend on.”
But each time Hansen slung a touchdown pass, the Slaughter had an answer.
Chicago quarterback Cody Kirby threw all four of his touchdown passes in the second half, and Juice Williams caught one touchdown pass and rushed for another to keep the Slaughter in the game.
The Slaughter cut the Titans’ lead to 51-45 with 50 seconds left, but Hansen answered almost immediately with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Sims.
Chicago scored again in the waning seconds, but Cedar Rapids was able to close a game that was too close for Stoute’s taste.
“In the second half, we just let down,” Stoute said. “To give up (45 second-half) points was not good for the defense. We have got to get better if we expect to take this thing to the next level.”