Birmingham scores late to beat New Jersey in USFL debut

USFL Week One - New Jersey Generals at Birmingham Stallions
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Thirty-nine years after the original USFL debuted, the new USFL returned on Saturday night. The Birmingham Stallions won the first of 40 regular-season games with a late touchdown, beating the New Jersey Generals, 28-24 in a game televised by both NBC and Fox.

After the Generals took a 24-21 lead with 1:49 to play, the possibility of overtime — and the USFL’s two-point shootout for resolving it — loomed. But the Stallions quickly found themselves not only in field-goal range but in position to win the game in regulation, thanks to a facemask foul that gave Birmingham the ball on the New Jersey 20, with 48 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Five plays later, quarterback J’Mar Smith, who split time with Alex McGough, ran two yards for the decisive score. New Jersey started the next drive on its own 35, but it got no farther before time expired.

Smith completed 11 of 21 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. He added 13 rushing yards on three attempts.

Birmingham receiver Osirus Mitchell caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.

For the Generals, quarterback D’Andre Johnson (who split time with starter Luis Perez), ran for 98 yards and a touchdown. He threw for 59 yards. Perez had 143 passing yards and two touchdown passes.

Generals receiver Randy Satterfield scored the first points of the new USFL, with an opening-drive touchdown reception. For the game, he caught five passes for 100 yards.

The USFL continues on Sunday with three more games to cap Week One. It gets started on NBC and Peacock at 12:00 p.m. ET, as the Michigan Panthers host the Houston Gamblers. All regular-season games will be played in Birmingham.

25 responses to “Birmingham scores late to beat New Jersey in USFL debut

  1. There’s plenty of room and demand in this country for more pro football. It gives players another chance to play ball after their college eligibility runs out

  2. The quarterbacking for both teams was abysmal.
    The Generals rotated 2 QB’s because they realized neither one by themselves is good enough to play the entire game.

  3. I really tried to give it the old college try, but it was sloppier than just about any old college game you can think of. Pro Football being a QB-centric game, when your QBs play at a low level it becomes almost unwatchable. Sometime during the 2nd quarter I switched to UFC prelims which were much more entertaining.

  4. I was pleasantly surprised. Good football, few penalties and not as much gimmickry as I was afraid they might try to put into it. Especially for the 1st game. QBing was a little shaky at times, yes, but good QBs are at a premium in the NFL too so nothing unexpected there. Both teams looked a lot more capable and competent than my Bears did last year, that’s for sure.

  5. I thought it was good football! Nice to see something other than the watered down NFL with its soft rules!

  6. I enjoyed it and didn’t think it was all that bad but I thought the broadcast was a little sub par. Looking forward to my original Boston Breakers game today!

  7. I watched a bit of this game…it just didn’t have the quality of football the NFL provides. It had a “pre-season game” feel with guys that would eventually get cut. But,it was spring football in this vast wasteland of spring/summer sports til September.

  8. Looked a bit more like College ball from the 70’s and 80’s. Mostly QB Option plays. They might as well install a triple wing offense too.
    It was entertaining to an extent,… and I’m sure it will get better with practice and repetition. I’ll tune in again.

  9. justsaying says:
    Baker Mayfield would make it better.
    Mayfield would be the league MVP from what I witnessed.

  10. Great football game. The USFL is off to a great start. If you like pro football, check this out. It is action packed quality football! If enough people watch, the league will succeed. Please tune in everybody!!!

  11. No exaggeration, saw about 100 fans in the stands for the Philadelphia/New Orleans game.

  12. I’d rather have the world football league back. Played overseas with mix of loaned players and new ones. The fans were fun there too.

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