Birmingham Stallions Win Inaugural USFL Title Game, 33-30
Unlike in 2019, spring football saw its championship game come to pass. In Canton, Ohio, the Birmingham Stallions met the Philadelphia Stars in the inaugural championship game of the revived USFL.
After an entire season’s slate of games in Birmingham, the league’s best team during that stretch was matched up with an opponent it beat all the way back in the fifth week of play.
After forcing the Stars to punt in the game’s opening possession, the Stallions quickly drove into field goal range and converted for the game’s first score. On the ensuing possession, the Stars got into the red zone but the Birmingham defense held. Philly converted the field goal try to knot the game up.
Fan favorite Crimson Tide alum Bo Scarbrough took a 36-yard carry home to close the first quarter with a 10-3 Stallions advantage.
Birmingham wound up faltering deep in their own territory after a stop to open quarter number two. The Stars mounted another lengthy drive which turned into a touchdown catch by Jordan Suell.
A missed extra point, a common USFL blunder, kept Birmingham on top. Marlon Williams then hauled in a touchdown pass of 41 yards from J’Mar Smith to extend the lead to eight. A 70-yard run by Scarbrough on the final possession of the half had extra yards tacked on due to a penalty. After a series of flags on both teams and a near interception, Birmingham took a 20-9 lead into the break.
The Stars brought the game to within a possession with Suell’s second touchdown grab, but they failed on a two-point conversion attempt. With over half the third quarter gone by this point, the Stallions ran the rest of it out but finished the frame inside the opposing 30-yard line.
That drive led to a missed 38-yard field goal. Philadelphia wasted little time taking the ball down the field and after quarterback Case Cookus had his clock cleaned while sliding, they moved into the red zone. He then threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Devin Gray to give the Stars their first lead of the title game.
This time they got the two with Suell on the receiving end to stretch it to three at 23-20. The Stars’ Jordan Moore nabbed an interception off Stallions backup Alex McGough on the next drive for the game’s first takeaway. Cookus sustained a serious leg injury while being sacked on third down.
Birmingham took to the task of the late-game drive by methodically moving the chains and making it inside the 10. McGough then threw a touchdown pass to Victor Bolden Jr to regain the lead, setting up the defense with a 26-23 score in a must-hold situation.
They did more than hold serve. Scooby Wright took an interception to the house.
The Stars put up a fight in the game’s final moments, scoring a late touchdown, but the Stallions’ 33-30 victory capped off the inaugural USFL season with a fantastic 11-1 record for the champs. Bolden was named MVP and head coach Skip Holtz earned the winningest season of his career.
This season was truly special for Birmingham's coaches, players and fans. Whether the USFL travels next season or not, this season of spring ball will be one fans of the Magic City won’t soon forget.
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