Dominic Rhodes' Record-Setting Night Keeps Virginia Undefeated
VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA - Dominic Rhodes rushed for a record 217 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Virginia Destroyers to a 28-6 victory over the Sacramento Mountain Lions before a crowd of 12,617 in United Football League action on Friday night at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.
Rhodes' 217 yards, on 18 carries, shattered the UFL single-game rushing record of 147, set last year by Hartford's Lorenzo Booker. Rhodes also became the first player in league history to rush for three touchdowns in a single game as he helped Virginia edge closer to the right to stage the 2011 UFL Championship Game.
The Destroyers (3-0) remain the UFL's only unbeaten team at the top of the standings as the Mountain Lions (0-3) put up a tough defensive stand for much of the game but are still looking for their first victory of the season.
The Destroyers took an early lead with a methodical 12-play, 81-yard drive that ate up almost eight minutes of clock in the first quarter. Quarterback Chris Greisen completed six straight passes and Rhodes ran a half-dozen times, capping the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run. Gabe Alvarado added the extra point for a 7-0 Destroyers lead.
Sacramento answered in the second quarter on a 23-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback McCleod Bethel-Thompson, seeing his first UFL action, to wide receiver Aaron Woods in the front left corner of the end zone with just under five minutes left in the half. After a bad snap on the extra point attempt, kicker Jose Martinez hit the crossbar, leaving the Destroyers with a 7-6 lead.
The Destroyers were hurt by a pair of turnovers in the second quarter on what started out as big plays. Linebacker Tony Taylor intercepted a pass and ran it back 20 yards before fumbling it back to Sacramento at the end of the return. Later in the quarter, Dominic Rhodes busted off a run of close to half the length of the field, but Mountain Lions cornerback Ronnie Prude punched the ball out of his grasp and the loose ball rolled more than 30 yards into the end zone for a turnover and a touchback.
Sacramento missed a key opportunity to take a lead in the third quarter when Bethel-Thompson drove the Mountain Lions inside the 10-yard line, only to have kicker Jose Martinez miss a 26-yard field goal attempt when his kick caromed off the right upright.
After that failed kick, the Destroyers took over on their own 20-yard line, and Greisen moved them up the field, completing all five of his passes on the drive and scrambling up the middle for a 9-yard gain deep in Sacramento territory. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Greisen rolled to his right and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to a sliding Jamarko Simmons for a 14-6 lead.
Rhodes added to the lead less than five minutes later with a 25-yard touchdown run that he broke open by neutralizing a defender with a stiff-arm at the 20. Alvarado's third extra point of the night put the Destroyers up 21-6 with 10:17 left in the game.
Rhodes capped his explosive record-setting night with a 33-yard run around the left end for his third touchdown, putting the Destroyers ahead 28-6 with 3:13 left.
The game was also full of star power away from the field. Academy Award winner Denzel Washington - father of Sacramento running back John-David Washington - watched the game from the sidelines. Also, the local vocal group 4Sure sang the National Anthem and performed at halftime, while former Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Cowher performed the game's coin toss.
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United Football League Stories from October 7, 2011
- Destroyers beat Mountain Lions - Virginia Destroyers
- Dominic Rhodes' Record-Setting Night Keeps Virginia Undefeated - Virginia Destroyers
- Virginia Destroyers Lead Sacramento 7-6 At Halftime - Virginia Destroyers
- UFL Transactions - UFL
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