Football season continues this weekend, as the XFL debuted with Saturday’s game between the Vegas Vipers and Arlington Renegades at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This is the third iteration of the XFL, following the original season in 2001 and a reboot in 2020 that was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
XFL 2023 started off fast: The Renegades defeated the Vipers 22-20, rallying from a 14-3 halftime deficit with 19 straight points before holding off Vegas’ tying 2-point conversion attempt with eight seconds left. Action continues at 8:30 pm ET at TDECU Field in Houston, as the Houston Roughnecks — led by longtime NFL coach Wade Phillips — host the Orlando Guardians.
Sunday will see the St. Louis BattleHawks travel to play the San Antonio Brahmas, who are coached by Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward, at 3 pm ET. Week 1 concludes at 8 pm ET in Washington, DC, as the DC Defenders host the Seattle Sea Dragons.
All XFL games will be streamed live on ESPN+ and are available on the ESPN family of networks (ABC, ESPN and FX).
After a rough first half, the Renegades scored 12 third-quarter points off two Vegas turnovers to take the lead and held on to move to 1-0. Arlington’s defense dominated the action in the second half, highlighted by two pick-sixes. Defensive tackle Tomasi Laulile keyed the third-quarter run with a 22-yard touchdown return off an errant pass by Vegas quarterback Luis Perez, while cornerback De’Vante Bausby scored on a 4-yard interception return for a TD in the fourth quarter. The Renegades’ D also came up big with eight seconds left, as TJ Barnes sacked Perez on a potential game-tying 2-point conversion attempt.
Renegades score 2nd pick-six of the game
De’Vante Bausby snags an interception and takes it back to the house for six.
Bausby’s pick came after the Vipers (0-1) stopped the Renegades short on a fourth-and-goal situation from the 1. Vegas kept Arlington’s offense out of the end zone, as the Renegades settled for three Taylor Russolino field goals, the third putting the Renegades ahead to stay late in the third quarter.
The first half went much better for the Vipers, who scored on two touchdown passes from Perez to receiver Jeff Badet to take a 14-3 halftime lead. Perez hit Badet with a 5-yard scoring pass on the first possession of the game, then connected with the former Oklahoma receiver on a 39-yard score in the second quarter. Perez also threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cinque Sweeting with 14 seconds left. Perez threw for 249 yards on 22-of-36 passing with three touchdown passes and two interceptions, while Badet had six receptions for 81 yards.
Jeff Badet snags the first XFL TD of the season
Luis Perez avoids the pressure and finds Jeff Badet for the score as the Vipers take a 6-0 lead vs. the Renegades.
Arlington quarterback Drew Plitt threw for 172 yards on 19-of-25 passing with an interception, while Sal Cannella hauled in seven passes for 70 yards.
Vipers fans right now… #XFL2023 | #XFLRenegades pic.twitter.com/DIRX8b8wpH
— Arlington Renegades (@XFLRenegades) February 18, 2023
Orlando Guardians at Houston Roughnecks
8:30 p.m. ET, TDECU Stadium, Houston
Spread: HOU -3.5 (35)
I’m on my way to Houston now.
I’ll see you at the game Mayor! @XFLRoughnecks @XFLGuardians gonna put on a show tonight
🏈👊🏾#XFL @XFL2023 https://t.co/YYsDkrcjMo
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 18, 2023
St. Louis BattleHawks at San Antonio Brahmas
3 p.m. ET, Alamodome, San Antonio
Spread: STL -3.0 (36.5)
Seattle Sea Dragons at DC Defenders
8 p.m. ET, Audi Field, Washington, DC
Spread: SEA -2.5 (37)