Jim Fassel Leads Locomotives to UFL Championship

The Las Vegas Locomotives won their second United Football League championship game today against the Florida Tuskers in a rematch of last year’s championship game.

Fassel was named NFL coach of the year in 2003 and was coach of the year in 2010 in the UFL.

The Locomotives, led by head coach Jim Fassel, won the game because of Alfred Malone, who blocked a potential game-tying Nick Novak kick in the final seconds of the game. Tuskers quarterback Chris Greisen did all he could by completing 24 of 42 passes for 346 yards, but in the end it was the Locomotives quarterback that most valuable.

Chase Clement, who played at Rice University last year, was named MVP of the game. Clement completed 16 of 25 attempts for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The first touchdown came early in the game on a 70-yard pass play to Andrae Thurman which tied the game 7-7 following a score by the Tuskers. The second touchdown came in the second quarter when Clement completed a 30-yard pass to George Wrightster.

Right before halftime, the Locos had an opportunity to score more points but took a gamble and tried to get a touchdown instead of kick a field goal with less than 10 seconds before the half. The pass sailed out of the endzone with no time left on the clock and the Locos took a four point lead into halftime (14-10).

Both teams scored a touchdown in the third quarter including an impressive 37-yard TD run by Hakim Hill for Las Vegas as they retook the lead 21-17. In the fourth quarter, former NFL kicker Nick Novak made his second field goal of the day to pull within one point, but a safety by the Locos later in the quarter made it a three point game.

After an impressive drive by Florida led by quarterback Greisen at the end of the game as he led the Tusker from their 10 to inside the Las Vegas 30, Novak attempted to send the game into overtime by kicking his third field goal of the game. The kick was blocked with no time remaining and Las Vegas had won their second championship against Florida in as many years.

Former Superbowl champion Dominic Rhodes was the starting running back for Florida and he was able to rush the ball 20 times for 67 yards. Marcel Shipp, former Arizona Cardinal who split carries with Emmitt Smith when Smith played in Arizona in ’03, ran the ball for Las Vegas 16 times and gained 43 yards on the ground.

The game was close until the very end, and all 15,310 people that attended Rosenblatt Stadium watched an exciting football game. Clement, who won MVP, had a great performance and could possibly get a call from an NFL team somewhere *cough* Panthers *cough* due to his play. Even though the UFL doesn’t have the same significance as the NFL, the league provided a very entertaining championship game.

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