The Florida Tuskers played uninspired, sloppy football for about 50 minutes against the California Redwoods on Thursday night. Nevertheless, the Tuskers will enter the first UFL title game with a chance to complete an undefeated season.
The Florida Tuskers completed a fourth quarter comeback to defeat the California Redwoods 34-27 on Thursday night. A full game recap and box score can be found here.
The Good: Good news for Las Vegas as California (potentially) exposed some weaknesses the Tuskers may have, especially in the secondary. California quarterback Shane Boyd played the best half of any Redwoods QB in the first half of Thursday night’s game, leading California to the lead at halftime. While Boyd finished with impressive stats (he completed 23 of 35 pass attempts for 287 yards and two touchdowns), he also threw a very bad interception in the fourth quarter. Florida DB Darius Vinnett stepped in front of an errant Boyd ball and ran 58 yards before being tripped up inside the ten yard line by the visibly dejected California quarterback.
The Tuskers were truly tested for only the second time in the inaugural UFL season. They responded when it mattered, putting 14 points on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter to take the lead. In the final few minutes of the game, the defense then recovered a Shane Boyd fumble after Boyd was sacked to clinch the game and the perfect regular season for Florida.
The Bad: For the first time this UFL season, Florida Tuskers quarterback Brooks Bollinger looked, well, like a guy that couldn’t play backup to Tony Romo. Bollinger’s stats weren’t terrible (18/29, 220 yards, a touchdown and interception) but he looked either confused/uninterested for much of the game. His one interception was the result of a tipped ball at the line and that interception was taken to the house by big man Jason Steward (49 yard return). In all fairness to Bollinger, he did throw the go ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. That play is more notable for the fact that Florida wide receiver Jayson Foster held onto the football after getting ca-rushed in the end zone.
The Tuskers defense was atrocious for three quarters and California basically moved down the field at will. Florida only sacked the scramble happy Shane Boyd once and the defensive backs left California receivers wide open throughout the football game. The point? The Florida Tuskers hardly looked like the best team in the UFL on Thursday night.
The Ugly: Nobody cared. If you happened to turn this football game on at anytime Thursday night, you may have wondered if a live crowd was actually in attendance. Whatever number UFL or California Redwoods officials give for the attendance, I assure you that numeral is a lie. The undefeated UFL powerhouse was playing and people still weren’t interested. Not good for the UFL.
Overall: The California Redwoods probably played their best game of the UFL season and Florida played the worst game the team has played all season. The result? A hard fought road victory for the Tuskers. Even after tonight, I still cannot see the Tuskers losing the first UFL championship game to Las Vegas. All the Tuskers must do to claim the UFL crown and complete the undefeated season is play as they did in the final ten minutes of the game. Even then, Florida was good, not great. That will still be enough.
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