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 Massachusetts Pirates

Pirates Look to Right the Ship vs. Tulsa

May 21, 2024 - Indoor Football League (IFL)
Massachusetts Pirates News Release

Massachusetts Pirates running back Jimmie Robinson
Massachusetts Pirates running back Jimmie Robinson
(Massachusetts Pirates)

LOWELL, MA - The Massachusetts Pirates will look to get back in the win column on Saturday night at the Tsongas Center when they face the Tulsa Oilers at 7:05 (eastern). The Pirates have lost their last two games and sport a 5-3 record which has them in third place in the Indoor Football League's Eastern Conference. Tulsa has also fallen on hard times losing its last three contests. The Oilers are 3-5 and are in fifth place in the East.

The Last Time Out:

Pirates running back Jimmie Robinson scored on five rushing touchdowns but it was not enough as the Northern Arizona Wranglers held off Massachusetts 41-40 at the Tsongas Center. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Wranglers while breaking the Pirates three-game home winning streak.

Each team only scored twice in the second half. Down 28-26 at the break, the Pirates tied the game in the third quarter as quarterback Alejandro Bennifield connected with Teo Redding on a 37-yard pass play. He then found Thomas Owens with a 2-point conversion. In the final quarter, Wranglers quarterback Josh Jones' touchdown pass to Kobay White from 25 yards out, along with the point after by Alex Perez, put Northern Arizona out front 41-34. With 2:11 to play, Robinson found the end zone for the fifth time on a four-yard run, but the point after was no good, leaving the Pirates down by one.

The Massachusetts defense gave the home team hope. Defensive tackle Guy Thomas stopped running back David Elder for a five-yard loss and linebacker Calvin Bundage sacked Jones, forcing Perez to kick a 55-yard field goal which missed and was returned to the Massachusetts 22. The Pirates advanced the ball to the Wranglers 11, but on first and ten, quarterback Connor Degenhardt's pass to Owens was intercepted by Travion Banks to secure the win for Northern Arizona.

Robinson finished with 80 yards rushing on 17 carries with five scores. He also had 141 all-purpose yards. Bennifield was four of four passing for 79 yards and a touchdown. Degenhardt was four of seven for 44 yards with an interception. The top receiver was Redding with three receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. Bundage led the defense with eight solo tackles with three for a loss totaling 48 yards with one sack for a minus ten yards. Jones was 21 of 30 passing for 215 yards and five touchdowns for the winners. John Maldonado scored three times, (once rushing and two receiving) and Kobay White had six receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Malik Sonnier recorded eight tackles with one for a loss for Northern Arizona.

Last week, The Oilers were defeated on the road in San Antonio by the Gunslingers 54-43. Quarterback Andre Sale, who set several Tulsa records last season, returned to the team from the Arena Football League as his team in Louisiana folded. Trailing 40-15, Sale engineered a comeback with three straight touchdown passes to close the score to 40-37 with 13:15 remaining in the game. The Gunslingers however had too much firepower. Quarterback Sam Castrornova was 20 of 25 passing for San Antonio for 274 yards and seven touchdowns. He also ran for 51 yards as the Gunslingers held on for the win. His top target was Nyquan Murray with six catches for 93 yards and three scores.

For Tulsa, Sale was 18 of 35 passing for 160 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Alexis Rosario had four receptions for 34 yards and three scores. Montero Dubose had four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown, while Jonathan Nance had five grabs for 19 yards and a touchdown. The Oilers defense was led by Jordan Jones who had 7.5 tackles and Bennett Harvey who added seven stops.

The Series:

The Pirates own a 2-0 all-time record against Tulsa.

The Last Meeting:6/24/2023

The Pirates defeated the Tulsa Oilers 43 to 24 at the DCU Center. Massachusetts finished the home portion of its schedule with a perfect 7-0 mark. The win clinched a berth in the IFL playoffs.

The Pirates led 14-6 after the first quarter. Starting quarterback Anthony Russo (5 of 8 for 170 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions) then gave way to quarterback Alejandro Bennifield who saw his first significant action since being sidelined with an injury in week one. Bennifield staked the Pirates to a 34-18 halftime lead as he connected with wide receiver Isaac Zico on touchdown passes of four and eight yards and ran for an 11-yard score.

The Massachusetts defense allowed just one touchdown in the second half. Running back Jimmie Robinson added a 25-yard TD run and the final points were scored as Ali Mourtada kicked a 15-yard field goal. Bennifield finished 14 of 20 passing for 115 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Robinson, who ended the night with 154 all-purpose yards, ran 13 times for 69 yards and a pair of scores. Wide receivers Fabian Guerra had five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown and Neil Pau'u added five receptions for 38 yards. Linebacker Calvin Bundage led the defense with ten tackles.

Team Stats: (Includes IFL Rankings)

The Pirates offense scores 41.5 points per game (10th) while allowing 38.4 per contest (2nd). The defense allows the fewest yards per game in the IFL at 188.1 and ranks third vs. the run (51.1 yards per game) and is third against the pass at 127.0 yards per night. The Massachusetts defense is also first yielding 14.9 first downs per game. On third down, opponents are successful just 39 percent of the time (4th) and only at 35% on fourth down (3rd.) The Pirates offense is seventh averaging 221.1 yards per game.

The Oilers are scoring 41.6 points per game (11th) while allowing 45.5 per game (9th). The Oilers defense is last in the IFL with opponents gaining 249.5 yards per contest. Tulsa is sixth in passing yards with an average of 151.3 as the offense gains 196.9 yards per night (13th). They are also number five on fourth down conversions at 56.3 percent.

Players to Watch: (Includes IFL Rankings)

Pirates running back Jimmie Robinson leads the IFL with 376 yards rushing on a league leading 91 carries. He is tenth with 10 rushing touchdowns and seventh gaining 53.7 yards per game. He also leads the league with 138.3 all-purpose yards per contest. Robinson is also one of the top kick returners in the league with 22 returns (5th) for 434 yards (5th) averaging 19.7 yards per return.

Teammate Tavion Thomas has rushed the ball 28 times for 139 yards with four touchdowns. Thomas averages 5.0 yards per carry (7th) and 46.3 yards per game (7th).

Massachusetts quarterback Alejandro Bennifield is 79 (6th) of 121 (8th) passing for 916 yards (7th). He is completing 65.3 percent of his passes (8th) with 18 touchdowns (5th). He throws for 130,9 yards per game (10th) with an efficiency rating of 173.0 (7th).

Andre Sale is expected to continue at quarterback. Still, Daniel Smith in eight games is 111 (4th) of 168 (4th) for 1,061 yards (4th) with 17 touchdowns (6th). He completes 66.1 percent of his throws (7th) for 132.5 yards per game with an efficiency rating of 148.9.

Pirates' receiver Teo Redding has 28 receptions for 389 yards (9th) with eight touchdowns (T10). He averages 13.6 yards per catch and 47.5 yards per game.

Alexis Rosario for Tulsa has 39 receptions (3rd) for 433 yards (3rd) with 12 touchdowns (3rd). He averages 4.9 receptions per game (5th) and 54.1 yards per night (9th). Teammate Joshua Crockett is one of the leagues' top kick returners averaging 22 yards per return.

Defensively, Calvin Bundage is having an outstanding season for Massachusetts. He is third in tackles with 46 and ninth with 3.5 sacks. He also has eight tackles for a loss in seven games. Pirates' lineman Guy Thomas is tenth in tackles for a loss with eight in five games. He is also fourth in sacks with four. Defensive back Eugene Ford, who missed the last game due to injury, is second with 14 passes defended, third for third with four interceptions and fifth in passes broken up with seven.

For Tulsa, Jordan Jones is second in tackles with 46.5. Teammate Noah Lyles is second in tackles for a loss with 10.5.

The Coaches:

This is Rod Miller's first season as Head Coach of the Massachusetts Pirates and he is the sixth Head Coach in the history of the franchise. He is also the Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach. He is 5-3 leading the Pirates. Miller was the Defensive Coordinator for the Vegas Knight Hawks last season. His last stint as head coach was in Bismarck from 2019 through 2022 before the Bucks suspended operations. Miller was also a head coach in the China Arena Football League with the Qingdao Clipper. Prior to that, he led the Omaha Beef, the Trenton Steel and the Laredo Rattlesnakes.

Marvin Jones is in his second season as Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator of the Tulsa Oilers. Prior to the Oilers he was the Head Coach of the Omaha Beef of Champions Indoor Football from 2019 through 2022, winning a title in 2021 and making the championship game the next season. In 2017 Jones was the Defensive Coordinator and eventual Interim Head Coach for the Colorado Crush. 2018 saw Jones move to the Cedar Rapids Titans of the IFL as Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator.

As a player, Jones was an All-American linebacker at Florida State from 1990-1992. In1992, He was inducted into the FSU Football Hall of Fame in 2000, Jones was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2022. Following his collegiate career, Jones was selected fourth overall in the 1993 NFL draft by the New York Jets. Jones played 11 seasons for the Jets from 1993-2003, excluding the 1998 season. He appeared in 142 NFL games, compiling more than 1,200 tackles, with over 700 of those being solo.

About the Massachusetts Pirates The 2021 United Bowl Champions; Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL) and play their home games at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508)452-MASS (6277), email or visit Follow the Pirates on Facebook via, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates.

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Massachusetts Pirates running back Jimmie Robinson
Massachusetts Pirates running back Jimmie Robinson


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