Five Takeaways From The First UFL Game

The highly-anticipated inaugural game between the two-time reigning USFL Championship Birmingham Stallions and the XFL Championship Arlington Renegades is officially in the books. Head Coach Skip Holtz and the Stallions dominated the Renegades 27-14 and in a very impressive showing, Matt Corral put to rest any hint of a quarterback controversy leading into today’s game.

Five Takeaways From The First UFL Game


Quarterback Issue Settled 

Corral passed for over 201 yards with one touchdown and a late-game interception. Although Coach Holtz may have debated whether to start Corral over Adrian Martinez, giving Corral the start proved to be the right decision. When the Stallions were down 11-3 late in the first half, Martinez was given a chance to lead the team. While Martinez is a potential playmaker who can run the football, multiple injuries have plagued him throughout his career. Yesterday’s game was a disastrous first outing for Martinez that ended early with an interception, a sack, and a foot injury.

An Impressive Offensive Effort 

After a slow start, the Stallions’ offense began to click and with less than a minute remaining in the first half, Corral released a beautiful pass to wide receiver Deon Cain for the Stallion’s first touchdown of the season. Birmingham’s run game also looked solid. Both RBs scored with Ricky Person adding a one-yard touchdown and C.J. Marabel contributing to the score with a seven-yard touchdown run.

Areas of Improvement 

Chris Blewitt has the unenviable job of replacing the Stallions’ former kicker, Brandon Aubrey, who is now with the Dallas Cowboys, Although Blewitt tied the game with a field goal in the first half, he muffed a late-game kick. 

Positive Signs For The Renegades

Despite the loss, there were several positive takeaways for the Renegades. Returning quarterback Luis Perez who was the MVP of the 2023 Renegades Championship game, demonstrated nice chemistry with wide receivers Isaiah Winstead and Deontay Burnett. Winstead scored the league’s first touchdown with a stunning 51-yard reception from Perez that put the Renegades up 11-3 right before the half. Burnett contributed a couple of solid receptions and looks to become a favorite target. 

Returning running back Leddie Brown demonstrated his ability to find the open spot and move the chains. The combination of Brown and former University of Michigan running back De’Veon Smith could make for an impressive backfield. 

The Renegades kicking game was another positive with Arlington kicker Taylor Russolino contributing two field goals. 

One area where the Renegades need improvement is holding onto the ball. Turnovers hampered Perez today who had an interception and one costly fumble following a sack.

The Two Point Conversion 

By eliminating the point after the touchdown kick, the offense can only add extra points by getting to the end zone with either a passing or running play. Both the Renegades and the Stallions had the opportunity to place the ball on the five-yard line and successfully converted for the two-point score. The rule adds an exciting element to the game and provides the added incentive to go for three points by attempting the conversion from the 10-yard line. 

Final Thoughts On The Big Game

The game had surprisingly few penalties which made for a far more enjoyable viewing experience. One notable exception was a roughing the passer call early in the game that led to the Renegades’ first touchdown. Overall, the new rules make the game more exciting and faster-paced.

The UFL introductory game was launched with a great deal of hype and media coverage. The stadium was filled with plenty of Hollywood celebrities and sports personalities who added to the excitement and perception that the UFL game was the place to be on a spring afternoon.

UFL co-owners Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia were on hand for pre-game festivities and visited the broadcast booth for an interview during the game. Garcia may have been the visionary force behind the league purchase, but it’s the charismatic and extremely likable Johnson who is the face of the UFL. Only time will tell if this level of interest is sustainable but if anyone can entice newcomers to watch spring football, it’s “The Rock.” 

Main Image: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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