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Arlington Renegades Shock D.C. Defenders in 2023 XFL Championship Game

In the latest installment of the XFL, the championship game carried plenty of intrigue and finish with a surprising result.

The Arlington Renegades, who finished the regular season with an underwhelming 4-6 record, won the 2023 championship after an upsetting the D.C. Defenders, 35–26.

The Renegades not only shocked the football world but also the oddsmakers in Vegas, who closed Bob Stoops's squad as nine-point underdogs on Saturday night. 

Arlington, who qualified for the playoffs despite losing four of its last five regular-season games, dominated the league’s best team on both sides of the ball. The Defenders, who entered the championship game with an impressive 10–1 record under coach Reggie Barlow, couldn't recover from a 20–6 halftime deficit.

Despite posting the league's worst scoring offense (14.6 points per game) in the regular season, the Renegades scored a season-high 35 points against a fierce Defenders pass rush that finished second in the XFL in sacks (26).

Renegades quarterback Luis Perez was spectacular, completing 26 of 36 passes (72.2%) for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

The Renegades, who lost to the Defenders 28–26 back in Week 9, had an answer every time quarterback Jordan Ta’amu was able to get the Defenders within striking distance. After only throwing three interceptions all season, Ta’amu was under consistent pressure in the championship game and matched that total on Saturday night.

After allowing the Defenders to score 14 points in the third quarter, Stoops’s defense rose to challenge to help the team hold on to clinch the league’s first title since its reboot.

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