USFL Championship: Stallions top stars in thriller

The Birmingham Stallions are your introductory ones American Football League champions, holding on Philadelphia Stars in a wild race at Hall of Famer Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

It seemed fitting as the Stallions were the best team throughout the regular season. But the Stars didn’t go down without a fight, battling to the end before falling 33-30.

Here are the best moments from Sunday’s action.

Birmingham Stallions 33, Philadelphia Stars 30

Setting the scene

A new era in pro football was born when the USFL began in April, and after 10 weeks of regular season action and one round of the playoffs, things ended with the title game.

FIRST QUARTER

The Stars went three-and-out on their opening drive as the Stallions used their first possession to take a three-point lead after a big gain by Bobby Holley set them up for an early field goal.

Philadelphia quickly struck back with a field goal of himself, leveling the score at 3-3.

Things didn’t stay tied for long, however, as Birmingham found the end zone late in the first quarter thanks to a fantastic play by Stallions running back Bo Scarbrough.

Stallions’ Bo Scarbrough breaks off 36-yard TD run

Stallions' Bo Scarbrough breaks off 36-yard TD run

Bo Scarbrough’s 36-yard touchdown run helped the Birmingham Stallions score the first touchdown in Sunday’s USFL championship game against Philadelphia.

The score gave the Stallions a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.

SECOND TREMVRICH

Stars QB Case Cookus dropped a dime off Jordan Suell’s back shoulder to bring Philly within one point early in the second frame, 10-9.

Stars’ Case Cookus throws beautiful TD in USFL Championship game

Stars' Case Cookus throws beautiful TD in USFL Championship game

Cookus helped Philadelphia get its first touchdown in the USFL Championship game thanks to Jordan Suell’s impressive throw in the second quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Stallions QB J’Mar Smith got in on the action, connecting with Marlon Williams on a 41-yard bomb to give Birmingham a commanding lead once again, 17-9.

J’Mar Smith connects with Marlon Williams on a 41-yard TD pass

J'Mar Smith connects with Marlon Williams on a 41-yard TD pass

Birmingham QB J’Mar Smith found wide receiver Marlon Williams for a 41-yard score to give the Stallions a 17-9 lead in the second quarter.

The Stallions added another field goal before the break to extend their lead, 20-9, after a monster kick from Scarbrough put Birmingham deep in enemy territory.

THIRD QUARTER

The Stars faltered in the second half. They made the most of their only drive in the third quarter as Cooks made a truly acrobatic throw on a crucial third down to pull Philly to within five points, 20-15.

Case Cookus throws an acrobatic touchdown pass to Jordan Suell

Case Cookus throws an acrobatic touchdown pass to Jordan Suell

Case Cookus continues to be electric against Birmingham as his score on a pass to Jordan Swell helps keep things close in the USFL Championship game.

He then broke up the play on the sideline.

FOURTH TERM

The Stallions had a chance to extend their lead early in the final frame, but a missed field goal left the game at one.

The Stars then marched down the field to take the lead, their drive aided by a personal foul on Cookus. The QB then found Devin Gray for a TD as Philly took a 23-20 lead.

It was another misstep for Birmingham as Stallions QB Alex McGough was taken down near the red zone, giving the Stars the ball midway through the frame. Philly was unable to capitalize on the turnover, however, and put it away after going three-and-out quickly.

McGough redeemed himself with a short touchdown pass to Victor Bolden that restored the Stallions’ lead, 26-23, with just over three minutes left.

The Stallions then got into great shape, scoring quickly when Scooby Wright returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown to make it 33-23.

The Stars pulled within 33-30 on a KJ Costello touchdown pass.

And then Philly had to try the alternative of an onside kick allowed in the USFL. Instead of kicking it, the Stars could have tried to convert a fourth-and-12. However, the Stallions held on and went on to take the crown.


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