Gilbert, Apollos stave off Express to improve to 3-0

Runnin' and gunnin', quarterback Garrett Gilbert, coach Steve Spurrier and the Orlando Apollos stayed undefeated on Saturday night in Alliance of American Football action.

Gilbert was a one-man highlight reel in the second half, scoring touchdowns through the air and on the ground as he tossed a beautiful 37-yard lob for a score on the run and rushed for a 21-yard touchdown up the sideline via a spin move.

It added up to a 21-17 victory for the Apollos over the Memphis Express at Spectrum Stadium that improved Orlando to 3-0 in a game that aired on the NFL Network.

Gilbert threw for 207 yards and the score to Rannell Hall (four catches for 68 yards) as he completed 14 of 28 passes and ran for 43 yards on seven carries. Running back D'Ernest Johnson added 13 attempts for 79 yards and a touchdown.

While Gilbert dazzled, Memphis starting signal-caller Christian Hackenburg sputtered as Memphis remained winless at 0-3.

The Jets castoff was benched after throwing two interceptions and completing eight of 14 passes for 88 yards. Hackenburg was replaced by former Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who looked excellent in a comeback bid that fell short.

Mettenberger threw a pair of touchdowns, completed nine of 12 passes for 120 yards and hit receiver Gerrard Sheppard on a 40-yard dime for a score and then connected with Anthony Manzo-Lewis on the subsequent two-point conversion.

The points were the last of the game as the Apollos salted the game away behind the running of Johnson and De'Veon Smith (eight carries for 52 yards).

Orlando's defense also stymied Express running back Zac Stacy, who was held to 29 yards on 14 carries. The former Rams ball carrier entered the game as the league's leading rusher.

Orlando burst out to a 9-0 lead following a Johnson four-yard touchdown and a 31-yard field goal by Elliott Fry and it looked like the rout was on. However, the Memphis defense slowed Gilbert and the Apollos offense while Mettenberger led the Express on three second-half scoring drives.

But Spurrier's squad came out on top while NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary is still searching for Memphis' first win, though the Express coach appears to have found a new quarterback.

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