Apollos win ugly, 21-17 over Memphis
It wasn’t the offensive showcase of the previous two weeks, but the result was the same. The Orlando Apollos defeated the Memphis Express, 21-17, in front of an announced crowd of 20,384, to stay undefeated in their inaugural Alliance of American Football campaign.
“It was a victory,” said Head Coach Steve Spurrier. “It wasn’t real pretty, but we managed to win it.”
Apart from the opening drive of the game, the Apollos struggled to move the ball down the field against a very strong Memphis defense. QB Garrett Gilbert, fresh off a 393-yard passing performance against San Antonio, was held in check all game. Gilbert finished with 14 completions and 207 yards passing and a touchdown.
It was Gilbert’s legs that sealed the game for Orlando, with the QB taking an option run 21 yards to pay dirt with 9:07 left in the fourth quarter. Though the Apollos had led all game, it was that touchdown that proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Memphis.
“It’s just a matter of keeping them honest,” Gilbert said of the play. “I’m not going to out-run anybody, but every once in a while, a little deception keeps everybody on their toes. It just happened to be the right call at the right time and we were able to make a play.”
The Orlando defense once again showed why they’re one of the top units in the league, forcing two early turnovers and ultimately chasing starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg from the game entirely. The defense also held league leading rusher Zac Stacy to just 29 yards on 14 carries.
Next up for the Apollos is a road contest on Saturday, March 2. Orlando will face the Salt Lake City Stallions, fresh off their first victory of the season over the Arizona Hotshots. The game will air on Bleacher Report Live as well as WRDQ TV 27 in the Orlando market.