ORLANDO 29, BIRMINGHAM 24
April 1, 2001

Bolts Snake Bitten at Home

IRMINGHAM, Alabama (Ticker) -- The Birmingham Thunderbolts will not be making any noise in the XFL playoffs.

The Thunderbolts squandered an eight-point lead in the fourth and became the XFL's first team to be eliminated from playoff contention with a 29-24 loss to the Orlando Rage.

In a matchup of the XFL's best team against the worst, Birmingham actually outplayed the Rage for much of the night and had a 24-16 lead with 6:44 remaining after Eric Sloan returned his third interception of the contest 59 yards for a touchdown.

But behind backup quarterback Brian Kuklick, the league-leading Rage were able to rally.

Kuklick found Shannon Culver with a 49-yard touchdown pass, capping a seven-play, 73-yard drive that pulled the Rage within 24-23 with 2:54 to play.

After forcing the Thunderbolts to go three-and-out, the Rage moved 56 yards in eight plays for the winning score. A 27-yard interference penalty on defensive back Toya Jones moved the ball to the Birmingham 7.

Two plays after the penalty, Derrick Clark scored on a one-yard run to give Orlando a 29-24 lead with 26 seconds remaining.

Birmingham (2-7), which needed to win its last two games to have any shot at garnering the Eastern Division's final playoff spot, suffered its sixth straight loss after a 2-1 start.

The Rage (8-1), who already have wrapped up the Eastern Division title, have won two straight after sustaining their lone loss.

Kuklick had touchdown passes of 52 yards to Dialleo Burks and 33 yards to Mario Bailey in the second quarter, giving Orlando a 13-12 advantage.

Making his second straight start in place of Jeff Brohm, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury, Kuklick finished 17-of-33 for 257 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Jat Taylor kicked a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give Orlando a four-point lead before Birmingham used some trickery to move back in front.

Off a lateral, tight end Joe Douglass found Quincy Jackson with a 22-yard TD pass to give the Thunderbolts an 18-16 lead with 8:26 left.

Graham Leigh, the Thunderbolts' third-string quarterback, completed 16-of-32 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown.

James Bostic rushed for 89 yards on 14 attempts for Birmingham, which suffered a 30-6 loss at Orlando earlier this season.

SUMMARY

XFL     FINAL             1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH     TOTAL
                          ---  ---  ---  ---     -----
        ORLANDO             0   13    0   16      29
        BIRMINGHAM          9    3    0   12      24     FINAL

    SCORING SUMMARY

    1ST QUARTER: BIR - TD, QUINCY JACKSON 9 YD PASS FROM GRAHAM LEIGH (PAT
                           FAILED), 6:53. Drive: 8 plays, 72 yards in
                           4:45. Key plays: Bostic 46-yard run to Orlando
                           7. BIRMINGHAM 6-0
                 BIR - FG, BRAD PALAZZO 37 YD, 12:03. Drive: 7 plays, 43
                           yards in 3:10. Key plays: Leigh 27-yard pass to
                           Drake to Orlando 31; Alexander 11-yard run to
                           Orlando 20. BIRMINGHAM 9-0
    2ND QUARTER: ORL - TD, DIALLEO BURKS 52 YD PASS FROM BRIAN KUKLICK
                           (BRIAN KUKLICK PASS TO DIALLEO BURKS FOR
                           CONVERISON), 9:32. Drive: 1 play, 52 yards in
                           0:49.  BIRMINGHAM 9-7
                 ORL - TD, MARIO BAILEY 33 YD PASS FROM BRIAN KUKLICK (PAT
                           FAILED), 13:21. Drive: 5 plays, 56 yards in
                           2:00. Key plays: Black 8-yard run to Birmingham
                           48; Black 9-yard run to Birmingham 39. ORLANDO
                           13-9
                 BIR - FG, BRAD PALAZZO 32 YD, 15:00. Drive: 9 plays, 68
                           yards in 1:34. Key plays: Bostic 15-yard run on
                           3rd-and 8 to Birmingham 49;Leigh 23-yard pass
                           to McGuire to Orlando 28; Alexander 8-yard run
                           to Orlando 20. ORLANDO 13-12
    3RD QUARTER: NONE
    4TH QUARTER: ORL - FG, JAY TAYLOR 26 YD, 4:36. Drive: 8 plays, 58
                           yards in 4:22. Key plays: Kuklich 14-yard pass
                           to Swayne to Birmingham 33; Black 20-yard run
                           to Birmingham 13. ORLANDO 16-12
                 BIR - TD, QUINCY JACKSON 22 YD PASS FROM JOE DOUGLASS
                           (PAT FAILED), 6:11. Drive: 3 plays, 33 yards in
                           1:55. Key plays: Alexander 63-yard kickoff
                           return to Orlando 33; 12-yard pass interference
                           penalty on Bell to Orlando 22. BIRMINGHAM 18-16
                 BIR - TD, ERIC SLOAN 59 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (PAT
                           FAILED), 7:57. BIRMINGHAM 24-16
                 ORL - TD, SHANNON CULVER 49 YD PASS FROM BRIAN KUKLICK
                           (BRIAN KUKLICK PASS TO MARIO BAILEY FOR
                           CONVERISON), 11:53. Drive: 7 plays, 73 yards in
                           3:39. Key plays: Kuklick 9-yard pass to Bailey
                           to Orlando 36. BIRMINGHAM 24-23
                 ORL - TD, DERRICK CLARK 1 YD RUN (PAT FAILED), 14:34.
                           Drive: 8 plays, 56 yards in 1:32. Key plays:
                           Kuklick 9-yard run to Birmingham 47; Kuklick
                           13-yard pass to Burks on 3rd-and-1 to
                           Birmingham 34; 27-yard pass interference
                           penalty on Jones to Birmingham 7. ORLANDO 29-24



TEAM STATISTICS

                              ORL            BIR
                         --------       --------
FIRST DOWNS                    15             15
Rushing                         5              4
Passing                         8             10
Penalty                         2              1
3RD-DOWN EFFICIENCY          7-13           4-13
4TH-DOWN EFFICIENCY           0-0            0-0
TOTAL NET YARDS               350            323
Total plays                    55             58
Average gain                  6.4            5.6
NET YARDS RUSHING             105            116
Rushes                         20             22
Average per rush              5.3            5.3
NET YARDS PASSING             245            207
Completed-attempted         17-33          17-33
Yards per pass                7.0            5.8
Sacked-yards lost            2-12           3-24
Had intercepted                 3              0
PUNTS-AVERAGE              5-49.4         8-38.1
RETURN YARDAGE                128            201
Punts-returns                7-57            4-1
Kickoffs-returns             5-71          5-107
Interceptions-returns         0-0           3-93
PENALTIES-YARDS              4-35          11-85
FUMBLES-LOST                  0-0            0-0
TIME OF POSSESSION          29:39          30:21


PLAYER STATISTICS

Missed field goals:  None.

Orlando rushing: Mike Black 5-41, Derrick Clark 10-40, Brian Kuklick
4-22, Shannon Culver 1-2.

Birmingham rushing: James Bostic 14-89, Curtis Alexander 7-25, Graham
Leigh 1-2.

Orlando passing: Brian Kuklick 17-33 for 257 yards, 3 INT, 3 TD.

Birmingham passing: Graham Leigh 16-32 for 209 yards, 0 INT, 1 TD,
Joe Douglass 1-1 for 22 yards, 0 INT, 1 TD.

Orlando receiving: Kevin Swayne 6-56, Mario Bailey 4-55, Dialleo
Burks 3-73, Shannon Culver 2-67, Derrick Clark 2-6.

Birmingham receiving: Stepfret Williams 4-56, Quincy Jackson 4-49,
Joe Douglass 4-40, Kaipo Mcguire 2-29, Kevin Drake 1-27, James Bostic
1-18, Curtis Alexander 1-12.

A: 10,163.