This weekend, the Memphis Showboats host Jordan Ta’amu and the D.C. Defenders in their last home game of the season at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. For two teams that started with such high hopes, it’s been a frustrating season with both teams shut out of playoff contention. The 1-7 Showboats, who haven’t won a game since the first week of the season, experienced a slow, steady collapse that was punctuated by moments of sheer brilliance; an 82-yard touchdown pass, a 65-yard touchdown, and a defensive fumble recovery touchdown.

The D.C. Defenders, who have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Jordan Ta’amu, fought hard throughout the season. They remained in playoff contention until last weekend when their post-season dreams evaporated in a disappointing 26-21 loss to the St. Louis Battlehawks.

For the Showboats who have struggled throughout the season, this game is an opportunity to right the ship and end the season on a more promising note. Despite rumors that the team would be eliminated in favor of another expansion team, in a promising show of support, the latest news indicates the Showboats will return to Memphis next season.    

Quarterback Strengths

Case Cookus has only played in 7 games this season but with just under 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns plus another 86 yards rushing on 19 carries, Cookus continues to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He also has the team’s longest carry, a 22-yard scramble.

In addition to his mobility, Cookus has shown good judgment in his passing attack with only four interceptions in 161 throws. His longest pass of the season was just last week against the Michigan Panthers, a 65-yard strike to Daewood Davis. Note: Davis was also on the receiving end of the UFL’s longest touchdown reception of the season, a scorching 82-yard bomb from quarterback Troy Williams.

However, the one statistic that continues to haunt Cookus and undercut the team’s success is his league-leading 20 sacks. To give you an idea of how bad this stat is, his next closest competitor, A.J. McCarron, has 15 sacks.

Despite the team’s 3-5 record, Jordan Ta’amu is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, passing for 123/222 for 1,390 yards with 11 touchdowns. Ta’amu also brings speed and mobility with an additional 156 yards on 37 carries, ranking him just under the team’s lead running back Cam’Ron Harris. Unfortunately, to offset these positive stats, Ta’amu also leads the league with seven interceptions this season and he’s tied for the third most sacks in the league with 13. 

Wide Receivers

Daewood Davis is currently the number two receiver in the UFL with 38 catches for 443 yards and five touchdowns but Memphis has two other young receivers who continue to show promise for the team. Jonathan Adams has a touchdown in 309 receiving yards on 22 catches and Vinny Papale has 30 receptions for 250 yards with four touchdowns.

Before his season-ending hamstring injury, Ta’amu’s favorite wide receiver Kelvin Harmon had an outstanding season with 375 yards on 31 catches and three touchdowns. Stepping up in his absence will be wide receivers Ty Scott (17 catches for 331 yards with 3 touchdowns) Chris Rowland (14 catches for 186 with 2 touchdowns) and Alex Ellis (16 catches for 183 with one touchdown). 

Rowland brings a multi-faceted presence to the team and handles kick returns for the Defenders. He currently leads the league with 1,132 all-purpose yards, 853 of which are credited to returning kickoffs. 

Running Backs

Currently ranked ninth in the league, Darius Victor has 239 yards on 82 carries with one rushing touchdown. Victor added another 126 yards in 23 receptions.

Cam’ron Harris is the Defenders’ leading running back with 178 yards on 63 carries and three touchdowns. Despite playing in only six games, Darius Hagans has one touchdown on 129 yards in 34 carries.

The Defense

The Showboats’ defense has a challenging assignment to try and curtail Ta’amu’s dual rushing and passing attack. With 37 tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery to his credit, Lamont McPhatter has led the Memphis defense this season. He is followed closely by Malik Lawal with 35 tackles and a forced fumble and Jordan Ferguson with 33 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Michael Joseph and Anthony Hines, III lead the pass rush for the Defenders and are among the league leaders in tackles at 58 and 57 respectively. Joseph also has a forced fumble to his credit.

This week could be an opportunity for players who want to showcase their ability in the hope of ascending to the next level. For the teams, this game is a chance for redemption and to continue to build on their strengths, reaccess their weaknesses, and retool for next season.  

author avatar
Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

Leave a comment

Sign Up Now

Become a member of our online community and get tickets to upcoming matches or sports events faster!
UFL News Hub