Parker Douglass’ 21-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Las Vegas Locomotives to a 20-17 victory over the Florida Tuskers Thursday night in the first-ever regular season United Football League game decided on the final play of regulation. The Locomotives saw a 10-0 lead turn into a 17-10 deficit, but rallied to improve to 1-1 and beat the Tuskers (1-2) for the first time in four regular season matchups, though Las Vegas defeated Florida in the UFL title game last season.
“We could not afford to go 0-2,” said Las Vegas coach Jim Fassel. “We fought back after losing the lead. There’s a lot of character on this team.”
DeDe Dorsey made his return to the Locos line-up felt after signing with the team this week. He rushed 14 times for 99 yards and caught seven passes for 105 yards. A 59-yard reception and 47-yard rush set up Locomotive scores, and a third-down completion from Tim Rattay kept Las Vegas’ winning drive alive.
“Outstanding,” Fassel said of Dorsey’s performance. “He’s played well against Florida in the past. I knew I wanted to get him the ball and he came through for us.”
Dorsey felt good about the Locos matchup in the passing game.
“I just needed a refresher course to pick up the offense,” Dorsey said. “We felt our backs would be better than the linebackers covering us. Anytime the backs could get out and catch a pass would be good for us.”
Florida took a 17-10 lead when Brooks Bollinger hit Cortez Hankton on a 13-yard touchdown with 6:36 remaining, but Las Vegas answered quickly with a 5-play, 71-yard drive that produced Tim Rattay’s 17-yarder to Andrae Thurman with 4:12 left to tie it.
Las Vegas’ defense forced a three-and-out, and the Locos moved 60 yards for Douglass’ game-winner.
Rattay finished 27 of 36 for 324 yards and two scores.
Special teams and defense had rallied the Florida Tuskers from a 10-0 deficit into a 10-10 halftime tie.
A Dominic Rhodes 14-yard run with 1:24 remaining one play after Aveion Cason’s 47-yard punt return evened things up at 10-10. Before that, a Simeon Castille interception set up a Nick Novak 45-yard field goal that got the Tuskers on the board.
“We could have easily been behind 21-0,” said Florida coach Jay Gruden. “Las Vegas dominated the first half and we had to feel good it was only 10-10. “We’re not all playing good at the same time. Individuals are having good plays, but we’re not consistent.”
Two long pass completions and five first-half sacks of Florida quarterback Brooks Bollinger helped Las Vegas take early control.
Rattay completed all eight of his first quarter attempts, including a 68-yartd strike to former Kansas City Chief Samie Parker, who took advantage of blown coverage and scored untouched on the final play of the period.
Despite the sacks, Bollinger finished 19 of 30 for 196 yards for the Tuskers, utilizing ten receivers. Maurice Price caught four passes for 26 yards.
Marcel Shipp complemented Dorsey with 65 yards on 19 carries for Las Vegas. Tab Perry caught five passes for 57 yards.
Nine of the last 13 UFL games have been decided by a touchdown or less, including the last four in a row.