Stallions rebound with win over Panthers
Published 11:21 am Tuesday, May 23, 2023
After losing their second game in three weeks on May 13, The Birmingham Stallions (4-2) rebounded with a 27-13 win over the Michigan Panthers (2-4) on May 20 on the road.
Since starting the season 2-0, the Stallions have struggled – especially with injuries – and have lost as many games as the defending USFL Champions have won since, falling all the way to third place in the South Division. With just four weeks left in the regular season, every game becomes important as Birmingham looks to secure a playoff birth. The Stallions played with that sense of urgency against the Panthers.
The two sides exchanged field goals in the first quarter and the Stallions capped off a 14-play drive to open the second quarter with another Brandon Aubrey field goal to go up 6-3 with 10:16 left in the first half. After Michigan missed a 48-yard field goal attempt, Birmingham marched on a 10-play drive that quarterback Alex McGough finished off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Zaquandre White to give the Stallions a 13-3 lead at halftime.
The only score in the third quarter came on a Michigan 11-yard touchdown pass from Josh Love to Cole Hikutini with 4:09 to play in the period, cutting Birmingham’s lead to 13-10.
The Stallions capped off an 11-play drive to open the fourth quarter with a 4-yard scoring pass from McGough to CJ Marable to extend the Birmingham lead to 20-10.
After the Birmingham defense forced a three-and-out, White lost a fumble on Birmingham’s first play of the next drive. A 31-yard Michigan field goal cut the Stallion lead to 20-13 with 8:46 left. Birmingham answered with an 8-play scoring drive that saw McGough cash in a 10-yard touchdown run to secure the 27-13 for the defending champs.
Birmingham rolled up 312 yards of offense, while the Panthers managed 295 yards. The Stallions tallied 190 yards on the ground, by far the best rushing performance of the season for Birmingham. Marable led the Stallion ground game with 100 yards on 18 carries, while also grabbing three catches for 16 yards and a score. McGough finished the game 19-of-24 passing for 133 yards and two touchdowns along with 11 carries for 82 yards and one touchdown. Adrian Hardy caught four passes for 37 yards.
Quentin Poling led the Stallion defense with seven tackles and one tackle-for-loss, while Nick Holley added six tackles and a pass breakup. Christian McFarland and Elijah Sullivan earned six tackles each.
Birmingham is back at home this weekend, May 27, for a rematch with the New Orleans Breakers at 3 p.m. on FOX. The Breakers, Houston Gamblers and Stallions are all tied with 4-2 records but New Orleans holds victories over both Birmingham and Houston this season, while Houston also defeated the Stallions. Birmingham will also rematch the Gamblers on the road on June 11.
1) New Orleans Breakers (4-2)
2) Houston Gamblers (4-2)
3) Birmingham Stallions (4-2)
4) Memphis Showboats (3-3)
1) Philadelphia Stars (3-3)
2) New Jersey Generals (2-4)
3) Pittsburgh Maulers (2-4)
4) Michigan Panthers (2-4)