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 Memphis Showboats

Game Notes: Showboats vs Roughnecks - Week 10

May 29, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)
Memphis Showboats News Release


NO. 1 DRAFT PICK ON THE LINE

In 2022's Legacy USFL season, the Pittsburgh Maulers and Michigan Panthers entered the final week of the season with identical 1-8 records. The USFL determined the winner of that game would receive the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft.

With the same scenario unfolding this year in the inaugural season of the United Football League, UFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Daryl Johnston announced Tuesday that this week's game between the Showboats and Roughnecks would have the same stipulation, but with a twist.

Not only will the winner of this game get the overall No. 1 pick, but the victorious squad in this game will get the first pick in every round of the draft.

Sunday's game is slated for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium and will be broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Sports on Sirius XM.

The Memphis radio broadcast will be heard on News Talk 98.9, with Eli Savoie (play-by-play), Russell Copeland (analyst) and Tyler Springs (sideline, pre/post) on the call.

LAST WEEK

The D.C. Defenders racked up a season-high 431 yards of offense en route to a 36-21 victory over the Memphis Showboats Sunday.

D.C. jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Defenders led the Showboats (1-8) 30-7 early in the fourth and cruised to the 15-point win. Jordan Ta'aamu led the way for D.C., passing for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed for 38 yards and a score.

Darius Victor was a bright spot for the Showboats offense, rushing for 98 yards and a TD on just 14 carries. Victor's 6-yard TD run late in the second quarter pulled Memphis within one score, 14-7.

But D.C. answered quickly. Ta'amu drove his team 61 yards in seven plays, finding Alex Ellis with a 15- yard touchdown pass 14 seconds before halftime.

The momentum continued early in the third.

Ta'amu's 1-yard TD run pushed the D.C. lead to 30-7.

Vinny Papale scored his fifth receiving touchdown of the season early in the fourth, hauling in a 14-yard strike from Josh Love. The two backup quarterbacks traded rushing touchdowns late in the game to account for the final score.

BANGED UP QB'S

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 started in Week 7, but suffered a rib and hand injury. Cookus made the start in Week 8, but was relieved by Josh Love after suffering rib injuries during the contest. It was Love's first action of the season. Love relieved Williams in Week 9's game as well.

RUNNING BACK NOTEBOOK

- Victor is the No. 6 rusher in the UFL. He has tallied 337 yards on 96 carries with 2 touchdowns this season. Victor is averaging 37.4 yards per game and 3.5 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 since then. 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. He has also been a major contributor on special teams.

- Titus Swen has 25 carries for 75 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 25.7 yards per return, with a long of 38.

QUARTERBACK NOTEBOOK

- Love passed for 1,556 yards and 13 TDs with 13 interceptions for the Panthers last season. He is 18-of-26 for 161 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions in two games this year.

- Case Cookus was a two-year starter for the Philadelphia Stars. 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. He is 54-of-99 this season for 576 yards with 5 TDs and 5 interceptions.

VITO'S VITAE

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.

Last week, he had his best outing as a Showboat. Victor rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

DAEWOOD = DA MAN

Daewood Davis put up one of the top highlights of the season in Week 5. 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 another long score on the first offensive play of the game for Memphis at Michigan, going 65 yards for a TD. He has 2 of the 7 longest plays this season.

Davis currently ranks No. 4 in the league in receiving yards with 446, is tied for No. 2 in TD catches with 5 and ranks No. 6 in total receptions with 39.

WIDE RECEIVER NOTEBOOK

- Vinny Papale has four TD receptions this season. He had one in each of Memphis' first four road games. He finally hit paydirt at home last week vs. D.C. His five TD receptions are tied for No. 2 in the UFL with three others, including teammate Davis.

- 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. He has 27 receptions for 382 yards this season, ranking No. 12 in the UFL for receiving yards.

- 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.

TIGHT END NOTEBOOK

- 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. He now has 2 receptions for 25 yards this season.

- Wes Saxton comes to the Showboats after playing for the New Jersey Generals in both 2022 and 2023. Saxton has battled injuries this season. But he has seen action in seven games with one reception for 11 yards.

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

OFFENSIVE LINE NOTEBOOK

- 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. He has started 8 of the first 9 games.

- Jared Thomas was a 2022 All-USFL selection with New Orleans and played for the XFL Seattle Sea Dragons last season. He has started all 9 games.

- Larry Tunstall took over the left tackle spot in Week 2. Marcus Tatum started at left tackle in Weeks 5 and 6 with Tunstall injured. However, Tunstall returned to the starting lineup the last two weeks. He moved to right tackle in Week 9.

- Darrin Paulo started the first eight games at left guard, before moving to left tackle last week.

- Alec Lindstrom got the start at center last week.

SURE-HANDED SURRATT

Tight end Sage Surratt is averaging 10.0 yards per reception, with 24 catches for 239 yards and 2 TDs. He ranks No. 4 in the league in receiving yards among tight ends, trailing Sal Cannella (ARL), Cody Latimer (SA) and Jace Sternberger (BHAM).

DEFENSIVE LINE NOTEBOOK

- 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 15 total tackles this season. Nine 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.

BIG JOHN LEADS THE D-LINE

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

Atkins leads all Memphis defensive linemen in total tackles with 20. He has also recovered a fumble this season.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

Outside linebacker Jordan Ferguson has been one of the most successful Showboat defenders when it comes to making plays in the opponent's backfield. Ferguson leads the team with 5 tackles for loss. He is tied for the top mark on the team with 4 sacks, as well. In overall tackles, Ferguson ranks No. 4 on the team with 39 total stops (28 of the solo variety).

SECONDARY NOTEBOOK

- Lamont McPhatter has quietly become the Showboats' top defender. He ranks No. 1 on the team with 46 total tackles in just 7 games. His average of 6.6 tackles per game leads the team. He also has a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

- 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. 5 on the team with 37 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 and he recorded his first career sack last week vs. the Defenders.

- Jarey Elder ranks No. 7 on the team with 33 tackles and No. 4 with 29 solo stops.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTEBOOK

- Matt Coghlin made 18-of-19 field goal attempts last season for New Orleans and has continued to make kicks at a high rate. He is now 14-of-15 this season. His 93.3 percent success rate is No. 1 in the UFL. 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. 4 in the UFL with an average of 44.4 yards per punt. His 66-yarder in Week 3 at Birmingham is the second-longest of the 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.

O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN(S)!

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

LINEBACKER NOTEBOOK

- Inside linebacker T.J. Neal ranks No. 8 on the team with 33 total tackles, including 21 solo stops.

- Outside linebacker Maximillian Roberts is tied with Ferguson for the team lead in sacks with 4, despite playing in a non-starting role. Roberts has 15 total tackles to go along with a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

- Outside linebacker Greg Reaves is No. 3 on the team with 3.5 sacks. With 18 total tackles, nearly 20 percent of his stops have been sacks.

- Anthony Butler led the linebacking corps with seven total tackles in each of the past three games. He has racked up 23 stops in just five games played.

- Malik Lawal is No. 6 on the team in tackles (35), despite missing the last 3 games.

DELRICK SNAGS A SECOND INT

Delrick Abrams grabbed his second interception of the season in last week's game vs. D.C., making him the first Showboat this season to account for more than one interception.

TALKING TURNOVERS

The Showboats were No. 1 in the United Football League in takeaways prior to Week 6, but are now tied for No. 5 with 11 takeaways. On the flip side, Memphis is leading the league in giveaways with 20 for a -9 turnover margin that ranks No. 8 in the league.

The Showboats and Defenders were even with two turnovers apiece last week.

WHAT'S THE CONVERSION RATE?

While the Memphis offense has struggled, the Showboats are still No. 3 in the league in third-down conversions. Memphis has converted 43-of-101 third downs (42.6 percent). Defensively, the 'Boats are struggling to get off the field, ranking last in third- down conversion defense at 51.7 percent (50-of-97).

ROSTER MOVES

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

PAPER OR PLASTIC?

The Showboats' defense currently ranks No. 7 in the UFL in sacks. Memphis has gotten to the quarterback 17 times this season. Meanwhile, the 'Boats have a allowed a league-most 38 sacks this season (Houston is the next closest at 24).

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

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-6 on 3-point conversions this season after San Antonio converted one in Week 7.


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