Jacksonville Sports Day

XFL: Tampa Bay Vipers Still Looking for First Win After 34-27 Loss

TAMPA — Houston QB P.J. Walker, receiver Cam Phillips and the Houston Roughnecks continued their high-scoring and undefeated ways as they fended off the winless Tampa Bay Vipers, 34-27.

Walker had 306 yards passing and three touchdowns, all of them to Phillips, whose day saw a second-straight three-TD game to go with eight catches for an XFL season-high 194 yards.

“I try to just prepare as best as I can,” said Walker, whose team stayed perfect on the season, improving to 3-0, as Houston holds the lead in the XFL West.

The Vipers fell to 0-3.

The game was in doubt with Tampa Bay driving until Houston linebacker DeMarquis Gates picked off Vipers quarterback Taylor Cornelius with 1:05 to play to seal the game.

“When the time came in the fourth quarter, our defense stepped up big time,” Walker said.

Phillips’ 84-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the first quarter gave the Roughnecks an early lead, but the Vipers kept up throughout.

Cornelius threw for 193 yards and a touchdown and adding a score on the ground.

Quinton Flowers scored the first offensive touchdown in Tampa Bay Vipers history when he scrambled into the endzone on a 7-yard keeper with 9:17 left in the second quarter.

Receiver Jalen Tolliver had eight receptions for 104 yards.

The Roughnecks got a game-high 72 yards rushing on seven carries from running back James Butler. Walker added a rushing score, but it was his final scoring throw to Phillips from 17 yards out that stood as the game-winner.

Tampa Bay started the game with a scoring drive on the team’s opening possession for the first time this season.

Rannell Hall returned the opening kickoff 34 yards to the Tampa Bay 41-yard line, setting up the Vipers for a 7-play, 29-yard drive that resulted in a 48-yard field goal from Andrew Franks.

·The rushing touchdowns scored by Flowers and Cornelius marks the first time this season that an XFL team has recorded two rushing touchdowns by the quarterback position in a single game.

In the first half, Tampa Bay accumulated 77 rushing yards on 20 attempts, good for second-most in the first half of any contest this season (92 yards – St. Louis against Dallas, Week One)

Tampa Bay entered the game as one of just two teams (St. Louis) to have surpassed 100 yards rushing in both games this season.

The Vipers amassed 129 yards on the ground.

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