The UFL Is Redefining The Game Of Football

The UFL continues to redefine football with thrilling come-from-behind victories, 66-yard touchdown sprints, outstanding field goal kicking, and plenty of excitement.

Last weekend, the league had another slate of games to remind fans that this league stands on its own and doesn’t try to mimic the NFL. Fans tuned in to watch the Birmingham Stallions put the smackdown on Case Cookus and the Memphis Showboats with a resounding seven sacks and an unstoppable offense that put 33 points on the scoreboard to defeat the Showboats 33-14. On Sunday, the Michigan Panthers scored 34 points to overcome the Houston Roughnecks 34-20. The St. Louis Battlehawks successfully held off a fourth-quarter rally by the San Antonio Brahmas to win the game 31-24. And in a surprising turn of events, the D.C. Defenders got the best of the former XFL Championship Arlington Renegades when kicker Matt McCrane nailed a 49-yard FG to win 29-28 with four seconds remaining in the game. 

The UFL Is Redefining The Game Of Football

Outstanding Field Goal Kicking

Last-minute scores are becoming increasingly common in the UFL. Several games have been decided by a field goal in the closing seconds, and this week could bring another thrilling finale. The UFL kickers have been outstanding. Half of the eight kickers are perfect on the season, and six kickers have at least one field goal over 50 yards. Jake Bates, the Michigan Panthers kicker, can boast a 64-yard, a 62-yard, and a third field goal from 55 yards. In addition to the 49-yard field goal mentioned above, D.C. Defenders’ Matt McCrane kicked a 58-yard field goal last week. When teams are confident their kicker can nail a field goal from more than 50 yards in the closing seconds, the game suddenly takes on an electrifying element. 

Shocking Twists And Turns

The fourth and 12 onside kick alternative is also producing some exciting twists. On multiple occasions, this rule has changed the game and resulted in a thrilling and often surprising outcome. In Week 2, after trailing the Memphis Showboats, the San Antonio Brahamas engineered a surprise come-from-behind victory when they finally got on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter. The Brahmas successfully converted the fourth and 12 from the 28-yard line, and with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game, Chase Garbers threw the game-winning touchdown to Cody Latimer. 

What To Look For This Weekend

Jake Bates isn’t the only big playmaker for the Michigan Panthers. After scoring the previous week with an awesome 76-yard touchdown, wide receiver Marcus Simms found the endzone again last weekend for a 66-yard touchdown reception. This week, Simms faces one of the top defenses in the league with Jordan Mosely and Jordan Williams who are leading the UFL in tackles. 

The Panthers quarterback E.J. Perry had his most complete game of the season last week. Perry, the number one ranked quarterback in the league, passed for 16-of-19 for 208 yards with one touchdown, and two more rushing scores. The Panthers’ defense led by Frank Ginda and Kai Nacua is off to a very strong start and this weekend, the Brahmas will be without starting quarterback Chase Garbers who is out for the season with a wrist injury.

Quinten Dormady, who is replacing the injured Garbers, gets his first start this week. A graduate of Central Michigan University, Dormady previously played in the CFL and the XFL with the Orlando Guardians. Dormady inherits one of the best-receiving corps in the UFL with Jontre’ Kirklin, Cody Latimer, and Marquez Stevenson. With both teams at 2-1 and looking to lock in the win and secure their place in the standings, this promises to be a high-stakes game. 

Stallions v. D.C. Defenders

Following their surprise win against the Renegades, Jordan Ta’amu and the D.C. Defenders (2-1) travel to Birmingham to battle the undefeated Stallions who have the top-ranked defense. 

This game also features two of the hottest quarterbacks in the league. Ta’amu is off to a great start this season, picking up right where he left off as the 2023 XFL Offensive Player Of The Year. Ta’amu led the Defenders to an upset victory on the road last week with a 241-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Renegades, capped off by McCrane’s game-winning field goal.

Adrian Martinez got his first start with the Stallions last week and proved why he should be the starting quarterback going forward. Martinez completed 18 of 28 passes for 334 yards and two touchdowns while adding 44 more rushing yards with one touchdown in the Stallions’ 33-14 victory over Memphis. 

In another exciting game this weekend, the Showboats will take on the St. Louis Battlehawks. Both A.J. McCarron and Case Cookus are talented quarterbacks capable of scoring with a long touchdown bomb. Cookus has the edge over McCarron because of his mobility and is currently the leading rusher for the Showboats. McCarron has one of the best receivers in the league with Marcell Ateman. This game should be a high-scoring game that comes down to the final seconds. 

Finally, the Arlington Renegades and quarterback Luis Perez take on the Houston Roughnecks. Perez has a 66% completion rate on the season with 737 yards (64/97 attempts) with four touchdowns and one interception. Taking over for the injured Jarret Guarantano, Reid Sinnett will be making his second start at quarterback for the Roughneck. Sinnett performed well last week in the loss to the Panthers. Both teams are better than their 0-3 record would indicate and this week, one team will notch their first victory. 

Main Image: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

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