The Birmingham Stallions Gallop Over the Generals
The 2023 USFL season is underway and the Birmingham Stallions continue their dominance from last season. In front of their home fans, the Stallions beat their rival, the New Jersey Generals, by a score of 27-10 on Saturday night.
Before the game, the defending USFL Champions unveiled their brand-new championship banner that stands above Protective Stadium to commemorate the outstanding 2022 season the Stallions had.
The Stallions were in control, from the beginning to the end of the game by keeping the General's defense on their toes and not turning the ball over. The first big play of the day came during New Jersey's first possession when the Generals fumbled the ball and gave the Stallions prime field position. One play later, Birmingham quarterback J'Mar Smith, threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Austin Watkins.
New Jersey then responded by relying on the run game. Early on the Stallions could not stop the QB runs by Dakota Prukop and De'Andre Johnson. The run game of the Generals helped them tie the game at seven with a Prukop touchdown run. Unfortunately for New Jersey, this would be its only touchdown of the day. The Generals ended the game 1-4 in the Red Zone while also turning the ball over twice.
Even after allowing a touchdown, Birmingham never flinched as the Stallions responded with the play of the game. After Birmingham got a field goal on their next offensive drive, New Jersey was gashing the defense again with the run. After getting all the way down to the Stallion's one-yard line, Generals head coach Mike Riley decided to go for it. On 4th and Goal, at the Stallion's one-yard line, De'Andre Johnson ran to the right pylon in a wishbone formation but got stuffed at the goal line by Christian McFarland.
The Stallions backed, up on its own 1-yard line, could do nothing with it, and punted the ball back to the Generals. New Jersey responded with a field goal but the Nick Sciba 25-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the first half were the last points of the game for the Generals.
Birmingham responded to giving up a field goal with a clutch two-minute drill. With 1:32 on the clock, Smith led a six-play, 52-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass by Alex McGough to former Texas A&M tight end, Jace Sternberger. Sadly for Smith, during this drive he injured his finger and never returned to the game.
The second half was all Birmingham Stallions. Even though the offense did not score on their opening drive, the defense shut out the General's offense in the second half. Just like in the first half, Birmingham got the first big play of the second half. After Prukop kept it on a read option, he was stripped by the Stallions, and the ball was picked up by Darrien Daniels. Two plays after this, McGough did a QB scramble that resulted in a 29-yard touchdown run.
Finally, Birmingham extended its lead one more as Brandon Aubrey completes a 12-play 54-yard drive, with a 49-yard field goal, to get to the final score of 27-10. With this win, the Stallions start the season at 1-0 and will look to continue their win streak as they face Memphis Showboats, on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CST on FOX. As for the Generals, they start the year 0-1 and look to rebound as they take on the New Orleans Breakers on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. CST on USA Network.