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 D.C. Defenders

Defenders Cruise Past Showboats in Road Finale, 36-21

May 26, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)
D.C. Defenders News Release


MEMPHIS, Tennessee - The D.C. Defenders (4-5, 2-3 XFL) defeated the Memphis Showboats (1-8, 1-4 USFL) handedly on Sunday afternoon, 36-21.

Following a Memphis punt on the opening possession of the game, QB Jordan Ta'amu would lead the D.C. offense on a seven-play, 77-yard scoring drive in just three minutes. On fourth down, Ta'amu connected with WR Chris Rowland for a score from 35 yards out, giving the Defenders an early 6-0 lead. A quick three-and-out by the Showboats gave D.C. the ball back, with them driving as the first quarter came to an end.

WR Keke Coutee found the end zone on a 6-yard rush to start the second quarter, capping off the Defenders' 14-play, 89-yard scoring drive. Ta'amu hit TE Kaden Smith on the ensuing two-point conversion, extending the D.C. lead to 14-0. After another Memphis punt, Ta'amu would give the Showboats the ball right back with an interception thrown in the back of the end zone, picked off by CB D.J. Daniel. Back-to-back punts by the two teams led to Memphis' first points of the game, as RB Darius Victor pounded in a 6-yard touchdown. A successful one-point conversion pass from QB Josh Love to WR Jonathan Adams made it 14-7.

D.C. responded accordingly with a two-minute drill executed to perfection, as the Defenders marched down the field, eventually finding TE Alex Ellis for a 15-yard score. Ta'amu ran it in for the two-point conversion, giving them a 22-7 lead heading into the break.

The Defenders stayed hot in the second half, as their offense went on a nine-play, 62-yard scoring drive to start the third quarter. Ta'amu ran in a QB keeper for a one-yard touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion pass to K. Smith, pushing the D.C. advantage to 30-7. After yet another Memphis punt, Ta'amu would throw his second interception of the day, as CB Delrick Abrams picked it off in his own end zone.

The Showboats would make good on the turnover at the start of the fourth quarter, as Love linked up with WR Vinny Papale for a 14-yard touchdown, shortening the gap to 30-13. D.C. countered once again, as QB Jalan McClendon ran in a four-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 36-13. The Defenders came up with their first takeaway of the game on the next drive, as CB Dareon Conley picked off Love. D.C. couldn't capitalize on the interception, going three-and-out before Memphis would score on a 1-yard QB sneak by Love. A successful two-point conversion pass from Love to Adams made things interesting at 36-21.

On the ensuing alternate kickoff attempt by the Showboats, D.C. secured their second interception of the day on Love, this time thanks to FS Montae Nicholson, icing the game.

Up next, the Defenders return home to play their final game of the 2024 UFL season in week ten. They face off against the Arlington Renegades (2-7 overall, 1-4 XFL) on Sunday, June 2 at 12:00 p.m. ET on FOX at Audi Field.

POSTGAME NOTES

D.C. outgained Memphis in total yards (431-231), passing yards (263-105), and rushing yards (168-126). They had more first downs (27-13) and won the time of possession battle (34:29-25:31).

QB Jordan Ta'amu went 20-for-24 (83%) with 237 yards, 2 TD, and 2 INT, for a passer rating of 177.1. He added four carries for 38 yards on another TD on the ground.

Backup QB Jalan McClendon had five carries for 14 yards and a TD, and went 3-for-6 (50%) for 40 yards. The touchdown was McClendon's first of the season.

WR Chris Rowland caught three passes for 49 yards and a TD. The touchdown was Rowland's third of the season.

WR Keke Coutee had a team-high 69 receiving yards on five receptions, in addition to three carries for 17 yards and a TD. The touchdown was Coutee's first of the season.

TE Alex Ellis finished with three receptions for 28 yards and a TD. The touchdown was Ellis' second of the season.

D.C. had two sacks and five tackles for loss on the day.

FS Montae Nicholson had a team-high 7 tackles (4 solo, 3 assist), one pass breakup, and an INT. The interception was Nicholson's of the season.

CB Dareon Conley tallied 4 tackles (3 solo, 1 assist), along with one pass breakup and an INT. The interception was Conley's first of the season.


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