Memphis Showboats (1-0) at Houston Roughnecks (0-1)


by  Brittany Rader

HOUSTON, TEXAS – In their 2024 season home opener at Rice Stadium, the Houston Roughnecks fell short in a penalty riddled conference clash to the Memphis Showboats, 18-12.  Coming off a previous 7-3 record during the 2023 XFL season, the Roughnecks are now holding the fourth spot in the USFL conference. 

Rallying a strong offensive or defensive momentum in the first proved to be hard for the Roughnecks as the Showboats put up the first points on the board with a 27-yard field goal. As the Roughnecks lined up for their first down of the quarter, Memphis would continue to flourish with a forced fumble by Kyree Woods and recovery for a touchdown by Christian McFarland, giving them a 9-0 lead to end the first. 

With the start of the second quarter, Houston would also begin to make impactful mistakes on the defensive side as CB Corn Elder drew a pass interference penalty, giving the Showboats good field position to the Houston 16-yard line. Memphis would capitalize on the mistake and increase their lead to 15-0 with an attention-grabbing toe-drag touchdown by WR Vinny Papale. Although they were down early, the Roughnecks did not go quietly into halftime.  The offense began to take charge with big yardage gains by WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR Emmanuel Butler, and RB Kirk Merrit–setting K J.J. Molson for a 55-yard field goal putting them on the scoreboard 15- 3. 

Following halftime, the boys in the blue came out with a new attitude, as they started the new set of 15 minutes with an interception by OLB Reuben Foster. Even with the big takeaway, Houston was still unable to produce successful drives on both sides of the football. Neither team would score this quarter, but both teams would continue to draw penalties–totaling 4 for the quarter. 

Even with many mishaps through the three quarters, the Roughnecks would begin their

comeback in the fourth. With back-to-back scoring by field goals for each team, bringing the score to 18-6, turnovers on both sides would turn this game into a nail-biting thriller. Following a forced fumble recovered by OLB Reuben Foster at the Memphis 22-yard line, RB Kirk Merritt would push the team into the red zone with a 15-yard gain. QB Jarrett Guarantano would rush for a 1-yard touchdown, increasing their score to 18-12 and giving the Roughnecks a fighting chance to win the game. 

Unfortunately, even after a thrilling drive, Houston would still come up short as Memphis would

control the last 5 minutes of the contest–sealing their 18-12 win. 

The Roughnecks will begin their away game stretch on Sunday, April 7 against their former XFL rivals, the D.C. Defenders at Audi Field. Game 2 will air on FOX, with kickoff slated for 4pm ET. 


  • QB Jarrett Guarantano recorded 157 passing yards and his first rushing touchdown of the season. 
  • OLB Reuben Foster came up with his and the team’s first interception of the season. 
  • DL Toby Johnson, DE Ethan Westbrooks, and OLB Ronheen Bingham each recorded a sack in the season opener. 
  • The Roughneck QB’s connected with nine different receivers in the game. 
  • CB Jimmy Moreland had a game-high 5 total tackles.


  • UFL Shop , opens in a new tab
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Careers , opens in a new tab