Birmingham Dominates USFL and Repeats As Champs

July 1, 2023 by Staff

Birmingham Stallions' head coach, Skip Holtz, was the USFL Coach of the Year. His quarterback, Alex McGough, was the USLF's Most Valuable Player. The Stallions were 9-2 on the season while their opponent, the Pittsburgh Maulers, were 5-6. So, it was no surprise that Birmingham beat Pittsburgh 28-12 in the USFL Championship game on Saturday night in Canton, Ohio. The Stallions are now 21-3 in the USFL's two seasons, with two championships.

It's surprising that Holtz has found this success in the USFL. As a college coach, he was 152-121 while never leading a Power 5 team. His first HC gig came at came at UConn when that school was in the FCS. Stops at FBS members East Carolina, USF, and Louisiana Tech followed. In his 3 seasons at USF, his teams got worse every year as the Bulls went 8-5 in his first season, followed by campaigns of 5-7 and 3-9. In 16 seasons as a Group of Five head coach, his teams lost at least 5 games in 14 of those seasons.

It's also surprising that this game wasn't a bigger blowout, and that the spread was only 7.5.

Pittsburgh was kept out of the endzone, scoring all 12 points off the foot of Chris Blewitt who went 4-5 on field goals. His miss from 48 began with a bad snap. He had converted kicks from 38, 36, 55 and 51.

Meanwhile, McGough was 18-of-25 for 243 yards and 4 touchdowns for victors. He added 64 yards on 9 rushes, despite losing 26 yards and fumbling the football on a play that looked to have helped Pittsburgh close the gap. The score was 21-12 and Birmingham was driving to put the game out of reach, but McGough kept scrambling backwards on a Mauler's blitz. The fumble was returned for a touchdown, but an illegal forward handoff during the return negated that score and brought the ball back to the Birmingham 34. After 5 plays netted just 3 yards, Blewitt missed the field goal.

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