November 8, 2010 - United Football League (UFL) - Hartford Colonials
"This game is for all the marbles. If we don't win, we're done. We need to win and they need to win. It will be an exciting game and probably come down to the last play." - Hartford Colonials Head Coach Chris Palmer on Thursday's clash with the Florida Tuskers in Orlando.
DESTINY OR DOOMSDAY FOR COLONIALS?
Despite being in last place, the Hartford Colonials are still alive for a berth in the United Football League Championship game Nov. 27 in Omaha. Hartford (2-4) needs to win its two remaining games and Omaha must lose its final two. If that happens, Hartford, Florida and Sacramento would each finish the regular season at 4-4 and tied for second. But the Colonials, who were all but eliminated two weeks ago after a heartbreaking overtime loss in Las Vegas, would advance to the title game by virtue of the tiebreaker.
The UFL tiebreaker procedure states: "In the event of a three-way tie, a head-to-head tiebreaker will first be used to eliminate a team. For example, if three teams finish tied with a 4-4 record, they will be measured head to head within that group of three teams."
The tiebreaker would favor the Colonials because they would have a 3-1 record against Sacramento and Florida, while Sacramento would be 2-2 and Florida 1-3.
BYE WEEK; HELLO FLORIDA
Coming off a bye week, the Colonials play the Florida Tuskers at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It is Hartford's third straight road game and the second time the Colonials followed a bye week with a game against the Tuskers. When the teams met in Week 4, Hartford committed a season high in turnovers (four) and penalties (seven) in a 33-20 loss at Rentschler Field. The Tuskers scored 13 points off turnovers. The Colonials led 13-10 at halftime but were outscored 23-7 in the second half. Thursday's rematch will be televised on HDNet and broadcast on ESPN Radio 1410/WPOP-AM.
The Colonials ended a four-game losing streak Oct. 30 with a 27-26 win at Sacramento. Both of Hartford's wins have been against the Mountain Lions, including a 27-10 victory in the UFL season opener at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT. In the rematch, the Colonials overcame an early 14-0 deficit and trailed throughout before pulling out the 1-point win on Taylor Mehlhaff's 22-yard field goal as time expired. Seconds earlier, Mehlhaff missed a 42-yard FG attempt but was given a second chance after Sacramento's Terrell Maze ran into the kicker. Mehlhaff had missed his first two field goal attempts, from 34 and 22 yards - but made his final two, including 33-yarder that cut the deficit to 26-24 with 3:08 remaining. Colonials running back Lorenzo Booker ran for 147 yards, a UFL single-game record, and scored the first rushing touchdown of the season for Hartford. Wide receiver Markee White had a team-high nine receptions, none bigger than the 69-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Perrilloux. White finished with a franchise-record 152 receiving yards.
Linebacker Kenny Ingram: "We have unfinished business with Florida. The first time we played them, we left a lot of corrections out on that field that we need to do. So this week is just finishing unfinished business."
Running back Lorenzo Booker: "It's good to be in the hunt. But at the same time thinking about what can happen later does us no good if we don't take care of what's in front of us right now. So we just try to make it a one-game season. Especially since we lost to them the last time. We got to look at the tape and look at all the mistakes we made the last time, and we still had a chance to win the game. So we feel like if we cut out the mistakes, we'll be in a heck of a position to get another win. We haven't had back-to-back wins this season. I'd like to see what it feels like to win twice in a row."
Quarterback Ryan Perrilloux: "It's a huge game for us to get back into the thick of things. So we're going to come out and play hard. It's going to be a big game for both of us. It's going to be a dogfight until the end."
In Hartford's 27-26 win at Sacramento, Colonials RB Lorenzo Booker set a UFL single-game record with 147 rushing yards. The previous mark was 139 by Las Vegas RB DeDe Dorsey. Booker also set single-game franchise records for most all-purpose yards (155) and the long run from scrimmage (47 yards). In addition to Booker's performance, Colonials WR Markee White set a new franchise mark with 152 receiving yards and his nine catches matched the mark for most in a game. Craphonso Thorpe had nine receptions for the New York Sentinels last year. The Colonials also set or matched franchise records in first downs (26), total net yards from scrimmage (478), net yards passing (298) and rushing (180).
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
The Colonials have had three players earn UFL Player of the Week honors this season. The most recent
was running back Lorenzo Booker, who was named Offensive Player for Week 7. Booker rushed for a UFL-record 147 yards on 17 carries and scored a touchdown to lead Hartford to a 27-26 win over Sacramento.
PlayerAwardPerformanceResultQB Josh McCownOffensive - Week 111-18 passing, 265 yards, 3 TDs27-10 win vs. SacramentoDE Derek WalkerDefensive - Week 683-yard fumble return for TD24-21 OT loss at Las VegasRB Lorenzo BookerOffensive - Week 7UFL-record 147 yards rushing27-26 win at Sacramento
Colonials QB Ryan Perrilloux, who splits signal-calling duties with starter Josh McCown, had his best performance of the season in the 27-26 win at Sacramento. Perrilloux made the most of his limited time under center, completing 4 of 4 passes for 98 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown pass to Markee White. On his first series, with the Colonials trailing 14-0, Perrilloux engineered a 6-play, 66-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Perrilloux hooked up with White on the 69-yard touchdown to give the Colonials a 21-20 lead. Then with 2 minutes remaining and Hartford trailing 26-24, Perrilloux stepped in for McCown, who was on the sidelines having his chin bandaged. Perrilloux completed passes of 14 and 4 yards before giving way to McCown. The drive was capped by Taylor Mehlhaff's 22-yard field goal that proved to be the difference.
AN AVERAGE OF NEARLY ONE A DAY
Starting with the release of wide receiver Taurus Johnson, the Colonials have made a total of 24 player transactions over the last 25 days. Below is the list of roster moves:
THE NEW GUYS
For the third straight week, the Colonials made a handful of roster moves. The team signed safety Quintin Demps, kicker Sam Swank and receiver Aaron Valentin. Hartford released safeties Ryan Glasper and Marshall McDuffie, and kicker Taylor Mehlaff.
Quintin Demps (5-11, 206): Fourth-round draft pick out of Texas-El Paso by Philadelphia in 2008. Demps spent the last two seasons with the Eagles. He had 32 combined tackles, one interception and one sack in 25 NFL regular season games. Demps, 25, also appeared in four playoff games, making one start. As a rookie in 2008, Demps was the primary kick return specialist for the Eagles. He averaged 25.3 yards a return that season, including a 100-yard touchdown against the Ravens.
Sam Swank (6-2, 201): Handled kicking and punting duties at Wake Forest. Swank was a three-time semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the top placekicker in college. He converted 71 of 93 field goals attempts (76.3 percent) and holds the Wake Forest record for field goals. He made 17 of 22 attempts from 30-39 yards, 19 of 30 from 40-49 yards, and 9 of 13 from 50-plus yards. His career long is 53 yards twice. As the Demon Deacons punter, Swank averaged 40.1 yards. He signed a contract with the Eagles following the 2009 NFL Draft, and subsequently signed deals with the Bengals and Giants.
Aaron Valentin (6-2, 205): Had 65 career receptions for 845 yards and nine touchdowns in two years at Purdue. Also returned kickoffs (21.9 avg.) and punts (12.1) for the Boilermakers. Played at Erie (N.Y.) Community College before transferring to Purdue. Signed as a free agent by Cleveland following the 2010 draft and participated in the Browns rookie minicamp.
Hartford Colonials team owner Bill Mayer, 70, ran the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday along with his son Will. The father-son duo raised money for the Harlem Academy, a private school founded in 2004 by Vincent Dotoli, Will Mayer's close friend. The Mayers completed the 26.2-mile run in 4:58:33, which is an 11:27 mile pace. It was Bill Mayer's second marathon. Previously, he ran in the Big Sur Marathon in California.
A RISING STAR AT LINEBACKER
Colonials linebacker Simoni Lawrence has led the team in tackles each of the last three games, registering a total of 23 in that stretch. The youngest player on the team at age 21, Lawrence was drafted by the Colonials in the fifth-round out of Minnesota, where he played two seasons after transferring from Valley Forge (Pa.) Military College. He was named All Big-Ten Honorable Mention as a senior with the Golden Gophers and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Rams. After being released by St. Louis, Lawrence signed with Philadelphia and spent training camp with the Eagles until being released the final week of August.
HE'S PRODUCING IN AND OUT OF THE BACKFIELD
Colonials RB Lorenzo Booker has gained an average of 7.1 yards every time he's had the ball in his hands. Booker has rushed for a UFL-leading 395 yards on 68 attempts, averaging 5.8 yards a carry. He also has 19 receptions for 221 yards, an average of 11.6 yards per catch. His 616 total yards from scrimmage is second in the league behind Sacramento's Corey Ross, who has played one more game than Booker.
The Colonials scored 13 points in the fourth quarter against Sacramento. Prior to that, Hartford had scored a total of 18 fourth-quarter points in their first five games combined.
BY THE NUMBERS
5.5 - Average margin in four losses.
5 - Number of games the Colonials have scored first.
5 - Number of games the Colonial have led at halftime.
21 - Penalties in first three games by Colonials.
14 - Penalties in last three games.
BY THE QUARTERS
Starting with the Oct. 9 game against Florida, the Colonials have not scored in the third quarter in each of the last four games. The drought has covered 13 consecutive third-quarter possessions. Below is a closer look at how the Colonials have fared in all four quarters.