BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Birmingham Iron made history Sunday.
The defense shined, holding the Memphis Express off the scoreboard in a 26-0 win, posting the first shutout in Alliance of American Football league history.
The Iron held Memphis (0-1) to 212 total yards, including former Penn State and NFL quarterback Christian Hackenberg throwing for only 87 yards on 10 of 23 passing. Iron defenders also recovered two fumbles and intercepted two passes.
“They say defense wins championships, right? A shutout, that’s unbelievable," said Iron quarterback Luis Perez. "The way they fired the ball, rushed the passer, tipped balls, I am very fortunate to have a defense like that. That did have something to do with the approach to the game, knowing we had a defense like that. We were running the ball, and we pounding it at the end, and that was the game plan.”
Birmingham (1-0) racked up more than 300 total yards of offense, including Perez throwing for 252 yards on 19 of 33 passing. Trent Richardson added 58 yards on the ground and had two touchdowns.
“Luis, I thought he did a great job," said Iron head coach Tim Lewis. "He was really on point. He threw the ball very well. He hit the guys that were open and picked the right people. When we did have him calling the game on his own, he did a fantastic job of directing the team. His composure was really good. His poise was good. He’s a very positive leader and a very accurate passer.”
Scoring didn’t initially come all too easy for the Iron. Birmingham, playing in front of 17,039 fans at home, benefited from three first-half field goals by Nick Novak on stalled drives.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Iron found the end zone, but points came in bunches.
Richardson scored on a 4-yard rush early in the final quarter. Richardson added the 2-point conversion on a pass from Luis Perez to give Birmingham a double-digit lead. Novak added his fourth field goal to give Birmingham a 20-0 in the final minutes, and Richardson scored a second touchdown several minutes later.
Iron 3, Express 0 - Novak 29-yard field goal (9:44 left)
Iron 6, Express 0 - Novak 28-yard field goal (10:36 left)
Iron 9, Express 0 - Novak 47-yard field goal (3:21 left)
Iron 17, Express 0 - Richardson run, 4 yards (2-pt. good) (13:36 left)
Iron 20, Express 0 - Novak 31-yard field goal (4:17 left)
Iron 26, Express 0 - Richardson run, 6 yards (1:55 left)