Saturday, February 24, 2001 – 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Citrus Bowl
TV: NBC Secondary Game (Matt Vasgersian and Jerry Lawler)


The Thunderbolts bring their big play defense into the Florida Citrus Bowl to face the high-powered Orlando Rage offense. The Bolts enter this week’s contest allowing an average of 12 points a game, and have not allowed a touchdown in seven straight quarters. The Rage is averaging 25 points a game on offense. 

Bolts safety and reigning XFL Defensive Player of the Week Duane Butler is establishing a reputation for making the big play. Last week against Chicago he picked off an errant Enforcer pass and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown with 1:40 left to play, sealing the win for Birmingham. At Giants Stadium, Butler was credited with causing a pair of fumbles. One that stopped a Hitmen score and another that resulted in a 12-yard fumble return for a score by Keith Franklin.

Butler, on his touchdown: “I got to the ball and took off running and then everything just got so loud and everybody just kind of looked the same,” Butler said. “I was running down the sideline and I turned around and saw (teammate) Eric Sloan and thought he was from the other team, so I kind of sped up again. But then I realized it was him and so I slowed down and just started bumpin’ to the music.” 

Middle linebacker James Willis continues to be the heart and soul of the Birmingham defense, rolling up 12 total tackles last week against Chicago. Willis has registered double-digit tackles in each of Birmingham’s three games and leads the team with 38 total tackles. 

Wideouts Stepfret Williams and Quincy Jackson have combined to make 60-percent of the receptions from quarterback Casey Weldon this season. Of 56 total receptions, Williams has 21 and Jackson 12. 
Bolts Tight end Nicky Savoie married Winston motorcycle drag racing champion Angelle Seeling. They were married last week. Savoie took the weekend off for honeymooning. 
Outside linebacker Dion Foxx and his brother own their own recording label, already having signed up several artists. 

The undefeated Orlando Rage return to the Florida Citrus Bowl on the heels of an 18-12, come-from-behind win over the Hitmen at Giants Stadium last Sunday. 

The Rage’s high-flying offense will face another stiff challenge this week in the Thunderbolts defense, which has not allowed a touchdown in seven quarters. Last week against the Hitmen, the Rage only scored 18 points after averaging close to 30 points in its first two contests. 

Maybe they should call it the “Rage Zone,” as through three games, Orlando has scored 6 touchdowns and one field goal in seven “Red Zone” opportunities. 

For a third consecutive game, the Orlando Rage topped the 100-yard mark in team rushing. Orlando leads the XFL in team rushing with 414 yards. 

QB Jeff Brohm led Orlando in rushing with 66 yards on six carries, including the game-winning TD, eliciting comparisons in the media to Steve Young, who he used to back up in San Francisco. Brohm’s totals included a 20-yard run late in the 4th quarter that helped set up Derrick Clark’s game-tying touchdown and a 33-yard touchdown run to win the game in the final two minutes. 

With five receptions for 88 yards, Rage wide receiver Dialleo Burks has now led Orlando in receptions for three consecutive weeks. 

Three Orlando Rage players will attempt to help themselves to a $5,000 birthday present this week. Running back Brian Shay (Thursday) and defensive linemen Ben Huff (Wednesday) and Bill Duff (Saturday), all celebrate birthdays this week and would like to celebrate with back-to-back win bonuses. When asked about what he wanted for his birthday before the New York game, Shay said “A couple of wins and the ensuing win bonuses would be a great gift for all three of us.”

[Hitmen at Enforcers | Bolts at Rage | Outlaws at Demons | Maniax at Xtreme]

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