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Bloomington Extreme defensive back James Temple returns a block punt for a touchdown against Wichita Wild on Friday, April 29, 2011, at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. (Pantagraph/CARLOS T. MIRANDA)

A sudden two-game slide has put the Bloomington Extreme in a position unfamiliar this season: looking up in the Great Lakes Division standings.

“We were responsible for a lot of the bad things that happened to us,” Extreme coach Mike Murray said of a 60-28 loss to unbeaten Sioux Falls, the Indoor Football League’s top team. “Everything we saw was correctable.

“We didn’t play up to our potential. We’ve played the type of ball offensively and defensively that would’ve allowed us to compete in that game. We’ve got to get back to that.”

The Extreme’s first shot at getting back to that comes today in a 7:05 p.m. game against the division-rival Chicago Slaughter at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

Both teams enter the contest at 7-3, one half-game behind Green Bay. With the Blizzard playing at Sioux Falls on Sunday, tonight’s winner could move atop the division.

“That makes it more exciting. In the league things just keep adding up; the records are tight and it’s going to be close all across the league,” said veteran defensive back James Temple, who raised his interception total to three last week with one of two picks against Storm quarterback Chris Dixon.

“We just need to get back to the basics and fundamentals. Intensity in practice should bring intensity back to the games and that’s all we need, just a little pick-me-up,” Temple added. “We just need to get our structure right, just fly around and have fun and everything will be all right.”

Bloomington claimed a 52-44 win over the Slaughter on April 1 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The Extreme is 3-1 in divisional games and would hold tiebreakers over both Green Bay and Chicago with a victory.

“I don’t think we need to do anything special; we just need to line up and play ball,” said receiver John Cooper, who caught two touchdown passes in his first action with the Extreme since last season. “We have the guys here that are capable of winning any game when we step out on the field.

“What we need to do is be precise and execute. If we’re efficient and executing I don’t think there’s a team in the league that can beat us.”

Chicago owns a five-game home winning streak and has won four of its five contests following the loss to the Extreme. Former Bloomington receiver Shatone Powers leads the league with 1,204 all-purpose yards and 709 receiving yards for the Slaughter, which averages 47.7 points per game while allowing 42.2.


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