Vegas didn’t like their odds, but the Milwaukee Warriors bet on themselves and won, upsetting the previously 6-2 Omaha Express, 22-17.
“I have to hand it to my guys. No matter how many struggles we’ve had, they don’t get down,” said Milwaukee coach Dave Dickenson. “No matter who we’re playing, we believe we should win, and we went out and showed that tonight.”
The Warriors started hot, with their offense needing just two snaps to hit paydirt. On the second snap, Matt Barkley hit tight end Donald Parham, and Parham did the rest, rumbling 49 yards for a touchdown. Elliott Fry missed the extra point, his first miss of the year, but he would redeem himself. After Omaha got on the board with a field goal late in the first, Fry extended the lead to 9-3 with a 48-yard kick late in the half.
The Warriors came out of the break rolling, driving 75 yards in 11 plays. Ito Smith capped it off with a 1-yard plunge to extend the lead to 16-3.
Omaha locked in and scored the next 14 points, taking the lead at 17-16 late in the third quarter on a 22-yard pass form Taryn Christian to Terrelle Pryor.
Milwaukee showed their newfound resilience, rolling up a 10-play, 59-yard drive. Barkley made it count, hitting Antonio Brown on a 12-yard pass to regain the lead. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Warriors were up 22-17 with 5:46 left.
The defense did the rest, turning the Express away on their last two drives to seal the victory.
Barkley’s up-and-down season saw far more ups against Omaha as he completed 16 of 24 for 226 yards 2 touchdowns and no turnovers.
His favorite target was Brown, who caught 5 for 85 and the score. The other Antonio, Antonio Callaway, caught 5 for 58.
Andrew Harris led a steady ground game with 98 yards on 24 carries.
Joe Ostman was a terror, getting into the backfield for 9 tackles and a sack. DJ Reader and Ronald Ollie each added a sack.
The 3-6 Warriors continue a string of must-win games this week when they travel to play the 3-6 Louisville Cougars. Back in week four, Louisville handed Milwaukee one of their many nail-biting losses, 26-23.