Birmingham Stallions open 2024 season with win over reigning XFL Champs

Published 9:11 am Monday, April 1, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The two-time reigning USFL Champion Birmingham Stallions (1-0) opened the 2024 United Football League (UFL) season with a 27-14 win over the reigning XFL Champion Arlington Renegades (0-1) on the road Saturday.

It was the debut game for the new USFL-XFL merged UFL and it looked as if the Stallions picked up right where they left off last season, but there were plenty of new faces getting the job done for Birmingham, as well.

Former Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral got the start for Birmingham and finished the game 12-of-21 passing for 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 25 yards. While things ended up going well for Corral, they didn’t start that way.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Corral struggled early in the game and threw an interception in the first quarter. Arlington’s Taylor Russolino scored the first points of the season, putting the Renegades up 3-0 with 12:30 left in the first quarter. Birmingham answered with a 27-yard field goal form Chris Blewitt to tie the score with 3:08 remaining in the opening quarter.

Arlington got back on top with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Luis Perez to Isaiah Winstead with 9:01 left in the first half. The two-point conversion was good to put Arlington up 11-3.

Then, the Stallions got going. Corral heaved a 39-yard touchdown pass to Deon Cain with just three seconds remaining in the first half. Birmingham converted the two-point try and tied the score 11-11 going into halftime.

Birmingham took the lead on a 2-yard touchdown run from Ricky Person Jr. and converted the two-point try to go up 19-11 with 4:59 remaining in the third quarter. Arlington converted a 45-yard field goal as time expired in the third quarter to cut the lead to 19-14 going into the fourth.

The Stallions marched right down the field to open the fourth quarter on a 7-play drive that CJ Marable finished off with a 7-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion extended the lead to 27-14 with 11:25 remaining. The Birmingham defense dominated Arlington in the fourth quarter and All-USFL cornerback Mark Gilbert wrapped things up with a late interception to seal the Stallion win.

Birmingham rolled up 409 yards of offense – with 183 yards on the ground – and held Arlington to just 262 total yards and 59 yards rushing. Cain led the Birmingham receivers with three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown, while Marable rushed for 67 yards and a score on 18 carries. Backup quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 2-of-6 passes for 26 yards and an interception along with 52 yards on three carries. He left the game due to a leg injury in the first half.

Khahva Tezino led the Stallion defense with six tackles, while Carlos Davis earned five tackles, one tackle-for-loss, one sack and a forced fumble.

Birmingham remains on the road on April 7 at the Michigan Panthers in a game that will air nationally on ESPN at 11 a.m.