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 Memphis Showboats

Game Notes: Memphis Showboats at Michigan Panthers - Week 8

May 16, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)
Memphis Showboats News Release

Series Notes:

- This is the second meeting between Memphis and Michigan this season. The Panthers won 35-18 at Memphis in Week 5.

- Since the 2022 USFL season, Michigan holds a 2-1 series edge (including 2022 when Memphis was the Tampay Bay Bandits).


The Memphis Showboats will be looking to snap a six-game losing streak Saturday at Ford Field.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Panthers will be looking to continue a wave of positive momentum. The Panthers secured a spot in the USFL Conference Championship Game last week and have won three straight.

In the first matchup, back in Week 5, Michigan jumped out to a 19-0 lead. The Showboats climbed back into it, pulling within seven late in the third quarter. But the Panthers scored the final 10 points.

The Michigan offense features the 1-2 punch of Matthew Colburn II and Wes Hills in the backfield.

Colburn ranks No. 3 in the UFL in rushing (294 yards), while Hills is No. 6 (277 yards). Meanwhile, the Panthers' defense is No. 3 in the UFL in scoring defense, allowing just 18.6 points per game.

Memphis allows a league-most 31.1 points a game.

Saturday's game is slated for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff and will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

The Memphis radio broadcast will be heard on News Talk 98.9, with Eli Savoie, Russell Copeland and Tyler Springs on the call.


The Arlington Renegades jumped on the Memphis Showboats early and used that momentum to pull away for a 47-23 victory.

Arlington had already grabbed a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter. Memphis was looking to get some momentum and went for a deep shot down the left sideline. But Troy Williams' pass was intercepted by Tenny Adewusi, who returned it 47 yards to the Memphis 24-yard line.

Two plays later, DeVeon Smith powered into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run. The two- point conversion was successful and Arlington led 22-3 with 11:50 left in the first half.

The rest of the game was back-and-forth, but Memphis couldn't close the early gap.

Williams finished 14-of-21 passing for 127 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Case Cookus was 11-of-17 for 103 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception in relief. Williams led the Showboats in rushing with 37 yards on six carries. Davis hauled in seven receptions for 83 yards and a score, while Vinny Papale caught seven for 55 yards and a touchdown.


Case Cookus left the Week 4 game at St. Louis with a shoulder injury, leading to Troy Williams' first start in Week 5. Cookus returned to the lineup in Week 6. Williams was back under center last week vs. Arlington. But he suffered a rib injury on this third- quarter touchdown run and left the game. Cookus will make the start this week, with Williams still nursing injuries from last week.


- Darius Victor is the No. 10 rusher in the UFL. He has tallied 206 yards on 71 carries with 1 touchdown this season. Victor is averaging 29.4 yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry this season.

- Titus Swen and Darius Victor have an interesting shared background. Both were refugees of Civil War-torn Liberia in their youth. Both found their way to the U.S., picked up football, became running backs and now share the same locker room with the Showboats.

- Cyrus Habibi-Likio joined the team prior to the Week 4 matchup at St. Louis and has seen plenty of action the last three weeks. The Boise State product, who also played at Oregon, saw his first carry of the season in Week 6 vs. Birmingham, a 2-yard run vs. the Stallions.

- Titus Swen has 20 carries for 54 yards this season. But he has seen a large role on special teams. Swen has taken over as the top kick returner for the Showboats and is averaging 26.7 yards per return, with a long of 38.


- Case Cookus was a two-year starter for the Philadelphia Stars. Josh Love started nine games for the Michigan Panthers last season. Troy Williams started eight games for the Pittsburgh Maulers last season. No other UFL team can boast that amount of USFL/XFL starting experience among its top three quarterbacks.

- Cookus ranked No. 2 in the USFL in passing yards last season, throwing for 2,433 yards, while playing for the Philadelphia Stars. He also passed for 14 touchdowns, which ranked No. 3 in the league.

- Williams was one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the USFL last season. He passed for 1,414 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing for 341 yards and three scores for the Pittsburgh Maulers. Williams made his first 2024 start last week against Michigan, going 19-of-37 for 248 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

- Love passed for 1,556 yards and 13 touchdowns with 13 interceptions for the Michigan Panthers last season.


Darius Victor was the 2022 USFL Offensive Player of the Year, an All-USFL selection and led the league in rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 477 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022 for the New Jersey Generals. While his touchdown total went down in 2023, he rushed for 551 yards last season and his yards per carry was up nearly one full yard. In 2022, he averaged 4.54 yards per carry and that average increased to 5.51 last season.


Daewood Davis put up one of the top highlights of Week 5 in the United Football League. Quarterback Troy Williams found him streaking down the left sideline against Michigan and Davis did the rest, going 82 yards for a score. It is still the longest touchdown and play from scrimmage so far this season in the UFL.

Davis added seven receptions for for a team-high 83 yards and a TD vs. Arlington last week.

Davis currently ranks No. 7 in the league in receiving yards with 357 and No. 4 in receptions with 35.


- Vinny Papale has four touchdown receptions this season. He has one in each of Memphis' four road games. He'll look to complete the road touchdown tour this week in Michigan as Memphis plays its final road game of the season. His four TD receptions put him in a tie for No. 2 in the UFL.

- Jonathan Adams ranked No. 6 in the USFL in receiving yards last season, playing under John DeFilippo with the New Orleans Breakers. Adams hauled in 41 receptions for 511 yards and 2 touchdowns.

- Papale was the Showboats' leading receiver last season, catching 33 balls for 345 yards and three scores. He was also an All-USFL selection as a Special Teams Player. And yes, if you recognize his name, his father is Vince Papale, the subject of the movie Invincible.


- Surratt was the top-ranked tight end in the USFL in both receptions and receiving yards last season. He hauled in 50 receptions for 552 yards. His reception total was No. 2 in the league among all receivers, while his receiving yards ranked No. 3 among all receivers. He did all that under John DeFilippo with the Breakers.

- Jay Jay Wilson returns to the Showboats after catching 16 balls for 170 yards and a score last season.

- Wes Saxton comes to the Showboats after playing for the New Jersey Generals in both 2022 and 2023. Saxton missed the last two games with an injury. He returned from injury and tallied an 11-yard reception last week vs. Birmingham.

- Saxton iced the victory for the Showboats vs. Houston in Week 1, recovering a muffed punt, allowing Memphis to run out the clock and secure the win.


- Jarron Jones returns to the Showboats as a two-time All-USFL selection for the franchise. He earned that honor with the Tampa Bay Bandits in 2022, before the franchise became the Memphis Showboats.

- Jared Thomas was a 2022 All-USFL selection with New Orleans and played for the XFL Seattle Sea Dragons last season.

- Terry Poole got the start at left tackle in Week 1 at Houston, but has since been released. Larry Tunstall took over the left tackle spot the next three weeks. Marcus Tatum took over at left tackle in Weeks 5 and 6 with Tunstall injured. However, Tunstall returned to the starting lineup last week.

- Darrin Paulo has started all seven games at left guard. Thomas has held down the center spot, Jarron Jones (tackle) has manned the right tackle position. Salesi Uhatafe got the start at right guard last week, with Jordan McCray out.


Tight end Sage Surratt is averaging 10 yards per reception, with 18 catches for 180 yards and 2 TDs. His touchdown total is tied for No. 10 in the UFL and is tied for No. 2 among tight ends.


- Atkins returns to the Showboats this season. He was a 2023 All-USFL selection, recording 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Atkins has been with the franchise since 2022, when it was the Tampa Bay Bandits.

- Daylon Mack is No. 2 on the Memphis defensive line with 12 total tackles this season. Seven of his stops have been solo tackles.

- P.J. Hall is the only Showboats' defensive lineman to score multiple tackles for-loss so far this season. Hall has two stops behind the line of scrimmage, including a sack in the Week 5 matchup vs. Michigan.


Defensive tackle John Atkins Sr. is the anchor for the Showboats' defensive line.

Atkins leads all Memphis defensive linemen in total tackles with 14. He has also recovered a fumble this season.


Despite being listed as a backup on the depth chart, Malik Lawal sees a great deal of action at his inside linebacker position and he's making the most of it. Lawal is No. 2 on the team in total tackles with 35, including 24 solo stops, despite missing last week.

Lawal has also tallied two tackles for-loss and forced a fumble for Memphis. He tied for the team lead with eight tackles last week vs. Birmingham.


- T.J. Green returns to the Memphis secondary. He tallied 21 tackles last season and his lone interception of the season secured a win over Houston on May 28, 2023. He currently ranks No. 4 on the team with 29 total tackles, including a sack.

- Quenton Meeks returns to the 'Boats after posting 21 stops and 1 INT last year. He played for both New Orleans and Tampa Bay in the USFL's 2022 season. Meeks returned an interception 42 yards at St. Louis in Week 4. He leads the team with 3 pass breakups.

- D.J. Daniel returned to the Showboats' defensive backs room two weeks ago. He was signed after being released just prior to the season. Daniel has recorded two solo tackles in each of his three games back with Memphis.

- Jarey Elder ranks No. 3 on the team with 29 tackles and No. 2 with 25 solo stops.


- Matt Coghlin made 18-of-19 field goal attempts last season for New Orleans. He was 6-of-6 from 40-49 yards and did not miss a field goal of less than 50 yards. He is now 12-of-13 this season and still has not missed from less than 50. Coghlin buried a career-best 57-yarder in Week 3 at Birmingham.

- Matthew White averaged 44.9 yards per punt last season for the Breakers, ranking No. 4 in the USFL. He currently ranks No. 5 in the UFL with an average of 43.0 yards per punt. His 66-yarder in Week 3 at Birmingham is the longest of the UFL season.

- Head coach John DeFilippo is very familiar with his specialists. The Showboats' new head coach brought his kicker, punter and long snapper over with him from the New Orleans Breakers. Coghlin handles the placekicking duties, while White punts and holds for placekicks. Turner Bernard is the long snapper.


The Showboats have announced their captains for the 2024 season, as determined by a team vote. The 2024 Memphis Showboats captains are:

- DL John Atkins Sr.

- QB Case Cookus

- DB Jarey Elder

- RB Darius Victor

- P Matt White


- Lawal's 35 total tackles have him tied for No. 9 on the United Football League's total tackles chart.

- Outside linebacker Greg Reaves leads the Showboats with 3.5 sacks. Reaves had two sacks, including a strip sack for a turnover against Houston in Week 1. He got back on the board with another sack vs. Michigan in Week 5.

- Anthony Butler led the linebacking corps with seven total tackles last week against Arlington. He tallied five solo stops, 2 assisted tackles and 1 tackle for-loss.

- Outside linebackers Maximillian Roberts and Jordan Ferguson each have three sacks this season.

- T.J. Neal is No. 3 on the team with 22 total tackles.


Delrick Abrams leads the Showboats with 37 total tackles and 30 solo tackles. He's also tied for the team lead in tackles for-loss from his cornerback position. He has also tallied 1 intercption and 2 pass breakups.


The Showboats were No. 1 in the United Football League in takeaways prior to Week 6, but have not created a turnover in the last two games and now rank No. 4 with 9 takeaways. On the flip side, Memphis is leading the league in giveaways with 17 for a -8 turnover margin that ranks No. 8 in the league. The Showboats lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions last week at Arlington.


While the Memphis offense has struggled, the Showboats are still No. 3 in the league in third-down conversions. Memphis has converted 53-of-83 third downs (42.2 percent). Defensively, the 'Boats are struggling to get off the field, ranking last in third- down conversion defense at 52.0 percent (39-of-75).


The Showboats have made four roster moves so far this season. The most recent was signing Terrill Hanks after Jeff McCulloch was placed on injured reserve.

Signed: Terrill Hanks, ILB, New Mexico State; D.J. Daniel, DB, Georgia; Marcus Tatum, OL, UCF; Cyrus Habibi-Likio, RB, Boise State

Waived: Christian McFarland, DB, Idaho State; Trey Williams, RB, Texas A&M; Terry Poole, OL, San Diego State

Injured Reserve: Jeff McCulloch, LB, Texas


The Showboats' defense currently ranks No. 6 in the UFL in sacks. Memphis has gotten to the quarterback 13 times this season. Meanwhile, the 'Boats have a allowed a league-most 32 sacks this season.


Memphis converted the first 3-point conversion in UFL history in Week 6 vs.

Birmingham on a Troy Williams-to-Dee Anderson pass. The league is 2-of-5 on 3-point conversions this season after San Antonio converted one last week.

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