Birmingham remains undefeated with 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The following is a press release from the USFL:
The Birmingham Stallions kept their undefeated record intact on Saturday night at Protective Stadium, holding off the Tampa Bay Bandits, 16-10, thanks to a relentless effort on the defensive side of the ball.
With defending USFL Defensive Player of the Week DeMarquis Gates inactive for the contest, the Stallions’ defense filled the gap admirably, giving up just 158 yards of total offense, the fewest of any Birmingham opponent this season. Tampa Bay (2-2) gained just 53 rush yards and 105 pass yards on the night.
“When I look at our defensive staff, you look at (defensive coordinator) John Chavis,” said Birmingham head coach Skip Holtz. “He was known as the best defensive coordinator in college football for a long time and think he does a great job. On our staff, I think we have three really good defensive minds. We have defensive players that play their tails off and I can’t say enough about how they compete and fly around out there.”
Scooby Wright, III paced the Stallion defense with six tackles and a sack, while Brian Allen also contributed six tackles, with five coming solo.
Birmingham quarterback Alex McGough threw for 126 yards and added an additional 39 and a touchdown on the ground. C.J. Marable piloted the Stallions’ rushing attack, contributing 55 yards, while Victor Bolden, Jr. led all receivers with 61 yards.
On the opening drive of the night, Tampa Bay drove to the Birmingham 19-yard line, but settled for a 37-yard Tyler Rausa field goal to draw first blood and take a 3-0 lead.
After converting a fourth-and-one at the Bandits’ 32-yard line to keep the drive alive, the Stallions took the lead on the 16th play of the drive. From a yard out, McGough found the end zone on a quarterback sneak and the point after by Brandon Aubrey made the score 7-3 with 1:21 to play until intermission.
Tampa Bay answered right back with a five-play, 69-yard drive of its own, capped by a diving nine-yard touchdown catch by Rashard Davis from a pass by Jordan Ta’amu to flip the score back in favor of the Bandits, 10-7, entering halftime.
Aubrey knotted the score at 10-10 on Birmingham’s first drive of the second half, sending a 39-yard field goal attempt through the uprights. The Birmingham kicker then gave the Stallions a three-point advantage with 3:36 to go in the third quarter as his 49-yard attempt, the USFL’s fourth-longest of the season and Aubrey’s longest of the year, sailed through the goalposts to make the score 13-10.
Following a Tampa Bay punt from the seven-yard line thanks to two consecutive sacks by Birmingham defenders Brody Buck and Wright, the Stallions started the game-icing drive at the Bandit 35-yard line and ended it with Aubrey’s third field goal of the night, this time a 26-yarder with 59 seconds left to give Birmingham a 16-10 lead.
The Stallions’ next game is slated for Sunday, May 15, at 11 a.m. against the Philadelphia Stars (2-2), while Tampa Bay looks ahead to Friday’s 7 p.m. kick time against the Michigan Panthers (1-3).
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