Undermanned Stallions remain undefeated

Published 1:59 pm Monday, May 9, 2022

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With a number of players out with an illness, the Birmingham Stallions (4-0) still managed to overcome the Tampa Bay Bandits (2-2) on Saturday to remain undefeated.

Going into the game, 10 Stallion players were “questionable” due to missing practices with an illness and six of those players ended up missing the game. Starting quarterback J’Mar Smith was one of the players that missed practice time, which resulted in Alex McGough – who started week one – to take the reigns of the offense against Tampa.

While the Birmingham offense struggled for much of the game, the Stallion defense once again proved dominant. The Stallions gave up just 158 yards of total offense in the win. Tampa held a 3-0 lead deep into the second quarter. With just over three minutes remaining in the half, Birmingham converted a fourth-and-short and eventually McGough would punch in a 1-yard touchdown run to put Birmingham up 7-3 with 1:25 left in the first half.

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Former Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu threw a 9-yard touchdown pass for Tampa Bay to retake the lead 10-7 with just 48 seconds remaining in the half, however.

Early in the third quarter, Birmingham tied the score on a 39-yard field goal from Brandon Aubrey and the Stallions would never trail again. Aubrey booted a 49-yard field goal with 3:40 left in the third quarter to put Birmingham up 13-10 and then converted 26-yard field goal with just 1:04 left in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 16-10. Tampa attempted to convert a fourth-and-long with seven seconds left but the Stallion defense once again stood tall to preserve the win.

McGough completed 14-of-26 passes for 126 yards and rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown. CJ Marable carried the ball 17 times for 55 yards and Victor Bolden Jr. caught five passes for 61 yards in the win. On defense, Scooby Wright III totaled six tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack.

Birmingham will look to remain undefeated against the Philadelphia Stars this Sunday in a game that will be nationally televised by NBC at 11 a.m.