UFL Week 3

The UFL Week 3-Expect The Unexpected

Week 2 of the UFL gave fans plenty to cheer about in a weekend filled with innovative plays, a thrilling last-second comeback victory, an interception returned 98 yards for a touchdown, and another sensational performance from the Michigan Panthers’ kicker Jake Bates.  What can fans expect to see in week 3? 

The UFL Week 3-Expect The Unexpected


Arlington Renegades vs. D.C. Defenders

The battle between the Renegades and the Defenders promises to be a high-scoring game featuring two of the best quarterbacks in the league, Luis Perez and Jordan Ta’amu. Although Perez and the XFL Championship Renegades have played well, they’ve faced perhaps the league’s toughest schedule this early in the season, suffering back-to-back losses against the two-time USFL Championship Birmingham Stallions and the St. Louis Battlehawks.

Perez had another impressive outing last week going 21/29 for 233 yards and one TD.  But despite scoring 24 points against the Battlehawks, the Renegades were edged out 27-24 by a last-second 22-yard field goal by Andre Szmyt.

On Saturday afternoon, the Arlington Renegades will be taking on the red-hot arm of Ta’amu and the D.C. Defenders. Unfortunately, this week’s match against the Defenders won’t be any easier. Last week, D.C. defeated the Houston Roughnecks 23-18 with an impressive 11-point, 4th-quarter comeback. Despite his one interception, Ta’amu completed 16 /32 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. The Defenders are even on the season at 1-1 and will be looking to build on last week’s successful outcome.  

Birmingham Stallions vs. Memphis Showboats 

On Saturday night, the Birmingham Stallions will host the Memphis Showboats who are coming off a tough loss. The Showboats hope to return to their winning ways after a heartbreaking last-minute loss to the San Antonio Brahmas. What should have been a decisive win for the Showboats turned into a last-minute stunner when San Antonio scored 20 unanswered points late in the game. Although the Brahmas didn’t score a single point until the fourth quarter, they pulled ahead to win 20-19 with three seconds remaining in the game.  

Now, the Showboats are looking to right the ship with a strong defensive effort and a dominant offensive performance from QB Case Cookus against the Stallions, ranked number one in the league. While the Stallions look to be the team to beat this year, last week’s game against the Michigan Panthers proved they are not invincible.  The Panthers’ defense was able to hold off the dual passing attack of QBs, Adrian Martinez and Matt Corral, and put the endzone out of reach, forcing the team to rely on four field goals from kicker Chris Blewitt to win the game 20-13.    

Given how well the Showboats played against the Brahmas, currently the second-best team in the league, it’s not a stretch to believe the Showboats have the talent to beat the first-place Stallions.  The defense demonstrated they could shut down one of the better offenses – at least for three quarters. If QB Case Cookus can evoke the same chemistry and coordination he displayed with his receivers in the first week, then the Showboats will have a real opportunity for a surprise upset.    

Michigan Panthers vs. Houston Roughnecks

On Sunday afternoon, the 1-1 Panthers will be hosting the 0-2 Houston Roughnecks. Looking to rebound from last week’s loss against the Stallions, the Panthers’ defense, led by LB Frank Ginda, and safety Kai Nacua is arguably one of the best in the league. Ginda has 19 tackles over two weeks and Nacua had an outstanding first game and was credited with 11 tackles. In addition to the terrific defense, the team’s offensive star is the Panthers’ pride, kicker Jake Bates. After nailing a spectacular 64-yard field goal in the first game, Bates delivered two more long-range field goals last week, from 62 and 52-yards. Bates is a real offensive weapon and could be the difference in a close game.  

Not to be ignored, the Roughnecks also have a solid field goal kicker in J.J. Molsen, who is currently 4 for 4 on the season with a 55-yard kick against the Showboats in week 1.  Although the Roughnecks’ 0-2 start has been disappointing, one of the highlights of their game last week against the D.C. Defenders was a stunning defensive touchdown. In one of the most thrilling plays of the weekend, Roughnecks cornerback Corn Elders intercepted a Jordan Ta’amu pass and ran it back 98 yards for the score!  Another defensive threat for the Roughnecks is Reuben Foster who had a key interception in the first week.  This game promises to be an exciting one that could be decided by a field goal in the closing seconds.  

San Antonio Brahmas vs. St. Louis Battlehawks

In the final game of the weekend, the Brahmas will host the Battlehawks in what could turn out to be quite an offensive shooting match. The contest features A.J. McCarron, currently the league’s number-one quarterback against a close competitor for that title, Chase Garbers.

McCarron, who played backup to the Bengal’s Jake Browning last year, returned to the Battlehawks as a man on a mission. McCarron is 43/66 on the season for 464 yards with 4 TDs, no interceptions, and a completion percentage of 65.2%.  In his first season with the Brahmas, Chase Garbers has been equally effective in leading the team with a completion percentage of  73.8%,  (48/65) with 5 TDs and 1 interception.  In a game featuring two such talented quarterbacks, this game will come down to whichever team has the strongest defensive or special teams performance.  

Main Image: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

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