Renegades anger defenders and snatch unlikely XFL title ESPN

Renegades anger defenders and snatch unlikely XFL title – ESPN

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    DJ Bien-Aime, ESPN May 13, 2023 11:34 pm ET

The Arlington Renegades, led by quarterback Luis Perez, captured the XFL Championship by defeating the DC Defenders 35-26 and completing their unlikely run.

The Renegades went into the playoffs with a losing record (4-6) but managed to win the championship against a defending team that lost 10-1.

Perez led the Renegades offense by rushing for 288 yards and three touchdowns with a 26-36. He was named MVP of the game.

The Renegades, coached by former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who won a national championship with the Sooners in 2000, won the redesigned XFL’s first championship under the new ownership group led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia and Red Bird Capital Partners.

The Renegades’ season changed course when they traded with the Vegas Vipers for Perez in Week 7. Before the championship, they did not win two games in a row throughout the season and alternated wins and losses in the first six weeks.

The main reason was the Renegades’ struggling offense, which was averaging 13 points per game prior to the Perez trade. Once Perez became the starter, the Renegades’ scoring increased to 19.8 points per game and their yards per game increased to 343.

The wins didn’t come immediately as it was 1-2 in Perez’s starts. Despite having a under-.500 record in the regular season, they made it into the postseason by finishing second in the South Division.

As the postseason rolled around, the Renegades flipped the switch and started in the South Division championship. They earned a surprise win by defeating the No. 1 seeded Houston Roughnecks when Perez threw for 289 yards and three touchdown passes.

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And that momentum continued throughout the championship game.

The Renegades took a 20-6 lead in the first half by scoring two touchdowns on their first two drives. Their defense complemented the offense as they took defenders, who were averaging 30.5 points per game, to six points in the first half – their second-worst performance of the season.

But in the third quarter, defenders scored 14 points, starting with running back Abram Smith, who started the offense when he rushed on the fourth down for a 52-yard touchdown on the first drive. Then, a few drives later, quarterback Jordan Ta’amu threw a 72-yard touchdown at wide receiver Josh Hammond, cutting the Renegades’ lead to 26-20.

However, Perez threw a 30-yard touchdown on running back Leddie Brown, extending the lead back to 32-20 by the end of the quarter.

As the fourth quarter came, the Renegades held the defenders to six points en route to the title.