What To Look For In Week 2 Of The UFL

The UFL premiered last weekend and despite a television schedule jam-packed with NCAA tournament action and Major League Baseball, fans showed up to check out the new league and support their favorite teams. Of the four games last weekend, ratings were highest for the heavily publicized duel between the two rival championship teams from the XFL and the USFL.

Overall, the numbers showed a definite increase over the per-game average of both leagues from a year ago. Just as UFL league co-owner, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson predicted, if fan engagement continues its climb, spring football is here to stay.

What To Look For In Week 2 Of The UFL


First Week Highlights 

In an impressive debut for the newly merged UFL league, the two-time USFL Championship Birmingham Stallions triumphed over their XFL Championship rivals, the Arlington Renegades 27-14. Despite entering last week with the Stallions’ starting quarterback assignment still up in the air, Matt Corral got the start and performed well enough to earn him the number-one quarterback ranking for the week. Corral passed for over 200 yards, scoring on a beautiful 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver, Deon Cain. Moments later, he capped off the scoring effort with a two-point conversion to running back Ricky Person

On the whole, the Stallions looked like a championship team. The offense combined a solid ground game from running backs C.J. Marabel and Ricky Person with Corral’s strong performance. Will they continue their dominance of the league this week and can Stallions quarterback Matt Corral hold onto his number-one power ranking against division rival Michigan Panthers? 

The Birmingham Stallions v. the Michigan Panthers 

Or, will the Michigan Panthers play spoiler, given the strength of their aggressive and punishing defense? Last week, the Panthers safety Kai Nacua trounced the St. Louis Battlehawks with a league-leading 11 tackles. In addition to a great defensive effort from the Panthers, the offense capitalized on a terrific running game from running back Wes Hills (85 yards on 11 carries) and the strong foot of their superlative young kicker Jake Bates to seize the win over the Battlehawks. Bates kicked a 64-yard field goal (the second-longest kick in professional football history) to win the game with mere seconds left on the clock.

We’ll find out who will emerge victorious this week when the Panthers host the Birmingham Stallions at Ford Field on Saturday, April 6th at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The Memphis Showboats v. The San Antonio Brahmas

In an interesting scheduling twist, all four of the winning teams from last week, the Stallions, Panthers, Showboats, and Brahmas are playing against each other this week. In the second match of undefeated teams, the red-hot San Antonio Brahmas travel to Tennessee to take on the Memphis Showboats. The Showboats secured an impressive week one victory with a score of 18-12 over the Houston Roughnecks last week. Showboats quarterback Case Cookus demonstrated spot-on chemistry with his receivers and had a strong showing with 204 passing yards and two touchdowns. His stats would have been even more impressive but Reuben Foster, the Roughnecks defensive standout, intercepted Cookus in the second half. 

The San Antonio Brahmas had a surprisingly strong opening performance against the D.C. Defenders last weekend to claim the number two spot in the league standings. The Brahmas dominated the Defenders 27-12 with a smothering defensive effort led by linebacker Jordan Williams who contributed 10 tackles. 

Brahmas Head Coach Wade Phillips, who has been described as one of the finest defensive minds in the NFL, scripted a game plan that kept the Defenders out of the endzone and allowed the Brahmas to have their way offensively with a gritty combination of offensive wizardry and trick plays. Quarterback Chase Garbers‘ 158 passing yards and three-touchdown performance made a strong impact along with a sneak play that left everyone talking when punter Brad Wing heaved a 40-yard touchdown pass to center Alex Mollet. 

Memphis Head Coach John DeFilippo knows to prepare for the unexpected this weekend and the Showboats will be counting on another powerful outing from the Kai Nacua and the defense. The Showboats will also need Darius Victor to put forth a stronger ground game to confuse the defense and provide another viable scoring alternative. The Memphis Showboats host the San Antonio Brahmas on Sunday, April 7th at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Main Image: Joseph Buvid-USA TODAY Sports

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