The Houston Roughnecks beat the Arlington Renegades 23-14 Sunday night at the University of Houston’s TDECU Stadium in front of a crowd of 11,765.

The Roughnecks were behind 14-11 at halftime, but the Houston defense shut out the Renegades in the second half to win 23-14.

“I am really proud of this team. We came in at halftime and we didn’t do as well as we thought in the first half, but we came out and played our game in the second half. It is early in the season but to be in first place is one of our goals,” Roughnecks head coach Wade Phillips said. “(Starting) 2-0 is pretty good and we are feeling good about it. Our defense played really well. We put a lot of pressure on them. In the second half, we fought from behind as a team, and I don’t think anyone blinked. We just went with our game plan, and we did things well.”

Houston’s Ajene Harris intercepted a pass on the Renegades first play of the game, which led to a 42-yard field goal by Hunter Duplessis. On the Renegades second possession, three consecutive sacks forced them to punt from their own 10 yard line. The Roughnecks William Likely returned the ball to Arlington’s 5 yard line where Brandon Silvers found Nick Holley with a 5-yard touchdown pass making the score 11-0 with 7:40 to go in the first quarter.

“It (scoring a touchdown) was a great feeling and a moment of triumph. The crowd was awesome. H-town always shows up. They always show me a lot of love. Coming here was truly life-saving and such a blessing,” Holley said. “I am very excited at the resiliency and talent level of this team. This is still a raw team that is going to come together. Once we get rolling we could do something really special.”

In the second quarter, the Roughnecks fumbled twice on consecutive punts giving the Renegades a short field which they took advantage of by scoring two touchdowns and taking a 14-11 halftime lead.

Houston took the lead for good with 7:42 to go in the third quarter when Cedric Byrd caught a 14-yard pass from Silvers to go up 17-14. In the fourth quarter with the game on the line, Houston’s Sean Davis intercepted a Renegades pass giving Houston possession on their own 30 yard line. On a third down and 11 play, Silvers passed to Ben Putnam for 24 yards, and then found Putnam again for another 18 yards. Max Borghi clinched the win with a 4-yard touchdown run, making the final score 23-14.

“I thought Brandon Silvers had a great game. He is one of the reasons we won,” Phillips said.

Silvers completed 14 of 28 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Backup quarterback Cole McDonald rushed seven times for 39 yards, and Ben Putnam caught four passes for 65 yards. The Roughnecks had 242 yards of total offense.

“My congratulations to Coach Phillips and the Houston Roughnecks team. They played a heck of a game. Really it came down to they just outplayed us, out coached us, all of it. In the second half, we got very little going. We feel the best attack is a balanced attack and running is a part of that, but you got to be able to move people, to create some space, and we could not do that consistently enough,” said Renegades head coach Bob Stoops.

For the Renegades, Drew Plitt completed 15 of 30 passes for 120 yards and had two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked five times for 38 yards. The Renegades had 125 yards of total offense.

The Renegades play the San Antonio Brahmas Sunday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at TDECU Stadium.

Scoring plays:

Q1: 12:01 HOU Hunter Duplessis 42-yard field goal.

HOU 3, ARL 0

7:40 HOU Nick Holley 5-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Silvers. 2-point conversion: Jontre Kirklin 2-yard pass from Brandon Silvers.

HOU 11, ARL 0

Q2: 9:23 ARL LuJuan Winningham 4-yard touchdown pass from Drew Plitt. 2-point conversion: failed.

HOU 11, ARL 6

3:52 ARL Nate Becker 14-yard touchdown pass from Drew Plitt. 2-point conversion: Tyler Vaughns 2-yard pass from Drew Plitt.

ARL 14, HOU 11

Q3: 7:42 HOU Cedric Byrd 14-yard touchdown pass from Silvers. 1-point conversion: failed.

HOU 17, ARL 14

Q4: 5:00 HOU Max Borghi 4-yar touchdown run. 1-point conversion: failed.

HOU 23, ARL 14

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