VFL and XFL defensive back Bryce Thompson. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.
Welcome back to the XFL, folks.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s revamped XFL product debuted over the weekend as eight teams battled against one another on Saturday and Sunday.
Eleven former Tennessee players are rostered across the league with six players recording stats in the first weekend of competition.
Jumping ahead a little bit to the final game of the weekend on Sunday night, the D.C. Defenders and Seattle Sea Dragons were going back and forth in a four-point game with the Defenders leading the contest. With seven minutes remaining in the game and Seattle down by four, former Tennessee and current Sea Dragons defensive back Bryce Thompson jumped a route and intercepted a crucial pass in the middle of the field.
D.C. quarterback Jordan Ta’amu was looking for former Vol Ethan Wolf on the play.
Thompson, as part of the visiting team, took the ball and ran it to the loudest part of the Defenders stadium as fans threw lemons and empty cups down at the players. According to the broadcast, the fans in that section were especially on edge considering that security had just taken away their “beer snake” which was made using hundreds of empty beer cups.
Ah, the XFL really is back, huh?
Sea Dragons get the INT then go over to taunt the DC fans who threw lemons at them pic.twitter.com/tZGGzvNbpH
— alex (@highIightheaven) February 20, 2023
More from RTI: ‘Don’t Play Timid’: Joey Halzle’s Message to Tennessee QB Nico Iamaleava
While Thompson was about to get the ball back to Seattle’s offense from that interception, the Sea Dragons were not able to score for the remainder of the game, losing to the Defenders by a score of 22-18.
During the Orlando Guardians game against the Houston Roughnecks on Saturday night, former Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormany replaced Paxton Lynch in the second half of the game. After entering late in the contest, Dormany was able to hit WR Andrew Jamiel for a 51-yard touchdown to close the gap. While Houston would go on to win the game, Dormady looks like he could potentially be taking over as the Guardians’ starter.
Andrew Jamiel with a 51 yard floater touchdown thrown by Quinten Dormady. They did not convert the 3pt attempt, and it stays a 2 possession game. pic.twitter.com/nPRznyizW8
— SSN – USFL (@SSN_USFL) February 19, 2023
Here’s a look at the stats from some of the former Tennessee players in the first week of the XFL:
Orlando Guardians (vs Houston)
QB Quinten Dormady (2015-2017)
12/18, 142 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
DB Shaquille Wiggins (2017)
DB Baylen Buchanan (2016-2018)
2 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 0.5 TFL
D.C. Defenders (vs Seattle)
WR Josh Malone (2014-2016)
TE Ethan Wolf (2014-2017)
Seattle Sea Dragons (vs D.C.)
DB Bryce Thompson (2018-2020)