UFL MVP power rankings: Jake Bates, John Lovett enter after Week 6


by RJ Young | FOXSports.com

Here's a look at which players stood out in Week 5 for the MVP race.

Week 6 of the UFL season provided football fans with plenty of excitement, as the Birmingham Stallions remained undefeated on the year and secured a playoff spot after beating the Memphis Showboats by double digits.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Battlehawks (5-1) took care of the Houston Roughnecks (1-5), and the San Antonio Brahmas (4-2) came up short on the road against the DC Defenders (3-3).

Elsewhere, the Michigan Panthers (4-2) outlasted the Arlington Renegades, sending the reigning XFL champions to 0-6 on the season.

Here's a look at which players stood out in Week 6 for the MVP race.

1. Adrian Martinez, QB, Birmingham Stallions

Week 6 result: Defeated Memphis Showboats, 39-21

Week 6 stats: 23 of 36 (63.9%) for 369 passing yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and 25 rushing yards on five carries

The best team in spring football gets better each time Nebraska product Martinez starts behind center.

While the Stallions struggled against the DC Defenders when former Ole Miss QB Matt Corral got the start — scoring just 18 points — Martinez’s ability to make plays down the field with his arm and legs makes him the most potent and versatile offensive threat in the league.

The Stallions have averaged 35.5 points over their last two games due to Martinez’s prodigious production.

When Showboats defensive coordinator Carnell Lake looked to spy Martinez early in their Week 6 contest — with a corner in T.J. Green, no less — Martinez beat Memphis' defense with an aerial assault heretofore unseen.

Martinez became the first player in the UFL to pass for 300-plus yards (334) in the Stallions' Week 3 victory, and last weekend he became the first player to pass for 300 or more yards in multiple games (368) and more than 350 yards this season with four passing touchdowns.

If that wasn’t enough, Martinez ranks second in the UFL in rushing with 327 yards on just 31 rushes and is the only player in the league to rush for more than 150 yards and throw for 350 yards this season.

2. AJ McCarron, QB, St. Louis Battlehawks

Week 6 result: Defeated Houston Roughnecks, 22-8

Week 6 stats: 24 of 37 (64.9%) for 255 passing yards, three touchdowns, one interception

McCarron has shown himself to be one of the most capable leaders in the UFL and has taken full advantage of parts of Bruce Gradkowski’s offense. In weeks when the passing game was weak, he led an offense that featured the only team with two running backs going over 100 yards in a single outing.

In weeks when the passing game has caught fire, he has made spectacular use of wideouts Hakeem Butler and Jahcour Pearson, and he has been on the money when throwing into the end zone.

McCarron not only leads the UFL in passing yards (1,330) but has also thrown five more touchdowns (13) than Defenders QB Jordan Ta’amu, who boasts the second-most with eight.

3. Jake Bates, K, Michigan Panthers

Week 6 result: Defeated Arlington Renegades, 28-27

Week 6 stats: 5 for 5 (100%) with a long of 60 yards

Bates has made 12 of 14 field goal attempts with a long of 64 and three makes of 60 yards or more so far this season. He’s tied for first in field goal makes and percentage made (85.7%) with former Lou Groza Award winner Andre Szmyt and former first-team All-Big 12 kicker Matt McCrane.

He made yet another crucial field goal in Week 6 — a 42-yarder as the clock expired — to firmly put the Panthers in the catbird seat for the last playoff spot available in the USFL Conference.

4. John Lovett, RB, San Antonio Brahmas

Week 6 result: Lost to DC Defenders / 18-12

Week 6 stats: 153 rushing yards on 23 attempts (6.7 yards per carry) with a long of 30 yards, one receiving touchdown

In a narrow defeat on the road, Lovett rushed for a league-high 153 yards on 23 carries by a tailback; In the Brahmas' Week 5 win, he rushed for 95 yards on 13 rushes.

Lovett sits just four points (34) behind Stallions running back Ricky Person for the most points scored in the UFL (38) heading into Week 7. If the Brahmas sew up one of the two spots in the XFL Conference Championship, it will likely feature a steady dose of Lovett, who leads the league in rushing with 348 yards, down the stretch.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The Number One College Football Show." Follow him at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" on YouTube.


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