Birmingham Stallions defeat Philadelphia Stars in USFL championship game

By Barry Werner, Touchdown Wire

The Philadelphia Stars had the Birmingham Stallions on the ropes in the fourth quarter of the USFL championship game at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday. Stallions coach Skip Holtz was unfazed, telling backup quarterback Alex McGough they were going to win.

And they did, 33-30, capturing the title in the first USFL championship game in this incarnation of the league with two touchdowns in 16 seconds.

McGough had thrown an interception after replacing an injured J’Mar Smith and got into a heated discussion with his coach before getting the wisdom.

“Don’t get frustrated, we’re gonna win this game.”

McGough regained his composure and threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Victor Bolden that gave Birmingham a 26-23 lead.

After the kickoff, the Stars’ K.J. Costello, replacing Case Cookus who had been carted off after being injured at the end of Philadelphia’s previous drive, threw a pass that was turned into a pick-six by Scooby Wright, who returned it 46 yards. It would wind up as the game-winning score.

Cookus suffered a broken fibula on the hit that knocked him out of the game.

Costello was able to rally after the pick-six, throwing a 12-yard TD pass to Chris Rowland with 1:43 left.

That marked 20 points in a span of 3:09 of the final quarter. Overall there were 28 points scored in the game’s final quarter.

Birmingham Stallions RB Bo Scarbrough runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown Photo: Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports

The Stars opted for the make it/take it onside option and had a fourth-and-12 to try and keep the football after the TD.

The pass was incomplete and Birmingham had the ball and a chance to burn the rest of the clock but was unable to get a first down. The Stallions punted to Philadelphia and the ball went into the end zone for a touchback.

On the second play, Costello could not find an open receiver and threw an interception to Christian McFarland and 16 seconds later the Stallions were USFL champions.

Wright spoke about what it meant to be on a championship team after being part of two failed spring leagues.

Link to original story in USA Today.