ORLANDO 17, NYNJ 12
March 25, 2001

Rage Clinch Eastern Divison Title

ORLANDO-- Brian Shay's game-opening 95-yard kickoff return set up a touchdown and Brian Kuklick passed for another as the Orlando Rage clinched the Eastern Division title with a 17-12 win over the New York-New Jersey Hitmen.

At 7-1, the Rage became the first team to clinch a division title in the XFL's inaugural season and are assured of a first-round home playoff game.

Shay's return set up a one-yard TD run by Derrick Clark just 40 seconds into the game.

Kuklick, starting for the injured Jeff Brohm, fumbled late in the first quarter and linebacker Ron Merkerson returned it 43 yards for a touchdown to cut the Hitmen's deficit to 7-6.

But the Rage extended their advantage to 14-6 with 6:11 left in the second quarter when Kuklick connected with Dialleo Burks for a 20-yard TD. Jay Taylor's 20-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter made it 17-6.

The Hitmen got within 17-12 on a 33-yard scoring pass from Wally Richardson to Mike Archie with 5:32 remaining. They got the ball back at their own 34 with 1:46 left and got to the Orlando 46 before four straight incompletions stalled the drive and ended their two-game winning streak.

"Our defense came up big tonight when we needed it," said Orlando coach Galen Hall, whose team rebounded from its first loss of the season last week at Los Angeles. "I think they have played well all year."

Orlando's defense limited the Hitmen to 137 total yards and sacked Richardson four times.

Kuklick completed 16-of-30 passes for 202 yards and three interceptions.

Richardson was just 12-of-24 for 128 yards. New York-New Jersey had its two-game winning streak stopped but still controls its own destiny for a playoff spot. The Hitmen host division foe Chicago next week.

"We're still in the playoff hunt," New York-New Jersey coach Rusty Tillman said. "We still control our own destiny. We've got to regroup and beat Chicago. We've got to win the last two games."

SUMMARY

New York/New Jersey 12 Orlando 17 - Final

1 2 3 4 Total
New York/New Jersey 6 0 0 6 12
Orlando 7 10 0 0 17

Scoring Summary
First Quarter
Orl - Td, Derrick Clark 1 yd run (Brian Kuklick pass To Kevin Swayne For Converison), 1:03. Drive: 1 Play, 1 Yard In 0:03. Key Plays: Shay 95-Yard Kickoff Return To New York 1. Orlando 7-0

Nyn - Td, Ron Merkerson 43 yd Fumble Return (Converison Failed), 11:34. Drive: 1 Play, 43 Yards In 0:05.Orlando 7-6

Second Quarter
Orl - Td, Dialleo Burks 20 yd pass From Brian Kuklick (Brian Kuklick pass To Mario Bailey For Converison), 9:13. Drive: 6 Plays, 77 Yards In 3:14. Key Plays: Kuklick 19-Yard pass To Burks To Orlando 42; Kuklick 28-Yard pass To Culver To New York 28; Kuklick 7-Yard pass To Culver To New York 21. Orlando 14-6

Orl - Fg, Jay Taylor 20 Yd, 15:00. Drive: 11 Plays, 62 Yards In 3:32. Key Plays: Kuklick 16-Yard Pass To Swayne To New York 46; Kuklick 13-Yard Pass To Clark To New York 33; Black 9-Yard run To New York 24; Kuklick 13-Yard pass To Swayne To New York 15; Kuklick 9-Yard pass To Swayne To New York 6. Orlando 17-6

Third Quarter
None
Fourth Quarter
Nyn - Td, Mike Archie 33 yd pass From Wally Richardson (Pat Failed), 10:21. Orlando 17-12Att: 19,641


BOXSCORE
Team Statistics NYN ORL
FIRST DOWNS 9 14

Rushing 1 1

Passing 6 12

Penalty 2 1
3RD-DOWN EFFICIENCY 0-9 3-12
4TH-DOWN EFFICIENCY 0-2 0-0
TOTAL NET YARDS 137 257

Total plays 44 57

Average gain 3.1 4.5
NET YARDS RUSHING 30 64

Rushes 13 25

Average per rush 2.3 2.6
NET YARDS PASSING 107 193

Completed-attempted 12-27 16-30

Yards per pass 3.5 6.0

Sacked-yards lost 4-21 2-9

Had intercepted 1 3
PUNTS-AVERAGE 8-37.6 5-35.8
RETURN YARDAGE 122 172

Punts-returns 5-40 7-47

Kickoffs-returns 3-55 3-125

Interceptions-returns 3-27 1-0
PENALTIES-YARDS 6-45 4-45
FUMBLES-LOST 0-0 4-1
TIME OF POSSESSION 27:49 32:11

Player Statistics
Missed field goals :
Orlando (Jay Taylor 26).

Nynj rushing :
Wally Richardson 4-15, Joe Aska 7-8, Mike Archie 1-4, Dino Philyaw 1-3.

Orlando rushing :
Brian Shay 8-30, Derrick Clark 7-18, Mike Black 6-13, Brian Kuklick 4-3.

Nynj passing :
Wally Richardson 12-24 for 128 yards, 1 INT, 1 TD, Charles Puleri 0-3 for 0 yards, 0 INT, 0 TD.

Orlando passing :
Brian Kuklick 16-30 for 202 yards, 3 INT, 1 TD.

Nynj receiving :
Joe Aska 3-28, Kirby Dar Dar 3-27, Mike Archie 2-40, Zola Davis 2-13, Anthony Dicosmo 1-12, Michael Blair 1-8.

Orlando receiving :
Kevin Swayne 6-80, Dialleo Burks 3-53, Derrick Clark 2-25, Shannon Culver 2-23, Mike Black 2-17, Mario Bailey 1-4.

Nynj tackles-assists-sacks (unofficial) :
Brad Trout 9-0-1, Damen Wheeler 7-0-0, Ron Merkerson 3-2-0, Christian Maumalanga 4-0-0, Anthony Dicosmo 3-0-0, Joey Eloms 3-0-0, Donnie Caldwell 3-0-0, Tim Beauchamp 2-1-1, Israel Raybon 2-1-0, Vernon Crawford 2-0-0, Tyree Talton 2-0-0, Dwayne Sabb 1-1-0, Ben Hanks 1-1-0, Mark Tate 1-0-0, James Cotton 1-0-0, Ryan Collins 1-0-0.

Orlando tackles-assists-sacks (unofficial) :
Sedric Clark 5-0-2, Patrise Alexander 4-0-0, Stephen Fisher 4-0-0, James Burgess 4-0-0, Cory Gilliard 3-1-0, Ricky Bell 2-0-0, James Roberson 2-0-2, Kelly Malveaux 2-0-0, Rich Young 2-0-0, Shawn Banks 1-1-0, Omar Brown 1-1-0, Sean Love 1-0-0, Reginald Doster 1-0-0, Derrick Clark 1-0-0, Andre Purvis 0-1-0.

Interceptions :
Nynj (Donnie Caldwell 1 for 6 yards, Israel Raybon 1 for 0 yards, Brad Trout 1 for 21 yards); Orlando (Louis Riddick 1 for 0 yards).

Fumbles lost :
Orlando (Brian Kuklick).

Opponent's fumbles recovered :
Nynj (Ron Merkerson).

Officials :
Referee-Dave Cutaia, Umpire-Al Granado, Head linesman-Dale Newhouse, Line judge-Roger Mcginn, Back judge-Gregory Steed, Side judge-Mike Mccabe, Field judge-Michael Mothershead.

A : 19,641