The Birmingham Stallions defeated the Philadelphia Stars in a thrilling game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, to win the USFL championship for the first time.
The Stallions were the best team during the regular season, so it felt only fitting. However, the Stars didn’t give up easily; they fought right up until the last seconds before losing 33-30.
The best actions from Sunday are listed here.
Philadelphia Stars 30, Birmingham Stallions 33
Setting the stage
The USFL began play in April, ushering in a new era of professional football, and the title game marked the end of the USFL’s 10-week regular season and one round of postseason play.
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The Stallions used their first possession to grab a three-point lead after a strong gain from Bobby Holly put them up for an early field goal while the Stars went three-and-out on their opening drive.
Philadelphia quickly responded with its own field goal, tying the game at 3-3.
However, the score didn’t stay tied for long as Birmingham scored in the last seconds of the first quarter courtesy to the skillful footwork of Stallions running back Bo Scarbrough.
The result gave the Stallions a 10-3 advantage going into the second quarter.
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Early in the second half, Case Cookus of the Stars completed a dime-sized back-shoulder pass to wideout Jordan Suell to pull Philadelphia within one point, 10-9.
Stallions quarterback J’Mar Smith joined the action on the following drive, connecting with Marlon Williams on a 41-yard bomb to give Birmingham a comfortable lead once more, 17-9.
Before the half, the Stallions added another field goal to increase their advantage to 20-9 after a tremendous run by Scarbrough had Birmingham deep in the opponent’s area.
The Stars started the second half well. Cookus’ truly acrobatic throw on a crucial third down helped Philadelphia close the gap to five points, 20-15, and they made the most of their lone third-quarter drive.
On the sideline, he afterwards reviewed the action.
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Early in the fourth period, the Stallions had an opportunity to increase their lead, but a failed field goal kept the score at one.
When Cookus committed a personal foul, the Stars were able to advance down the field and take the lead. A touchdown was then scored by Devin Gray, giving Philadelphia a 23-20 advantage.
Birmingham made another error when Stallions quarterback Alex McGough was intercepted close to the end zone, giving the Stars the ball back midway through the half. However, Philly was unable to take advantage of the error and promptly went three-and-out, forcing a punt.
With little over three minutes remaining, Victor Bolden caught a short touchdown pass from McGough to give the Stallions the lead back, 26-23.
Scooby Wright returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown to put the Stallions in fantastic position and increase the score to 33-23.
KJ Costello’s touchdown pass allowed the Stars to cut the deficit to 33-30.
The USFL-allowed alternative to an onside kick was then tried out by Philadelphia. The Stars might try to convert a fourth-and-12 rather than punting it.
But the stallions prevailed, winning the title in the process.
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