USFL Championship: Stallions hold off Stars in thriller for title

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Birmingham Stallions quarterback Alex McGough threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Victor Bolden Jr. late in the game and linebacker Scooby Wright III had a Pick Six to seal the USFL Championship on Sunday night over the Philadelphia Stars, 33-30.

McGough was thrust into the game after J’Mar Smith was dealing with cramps. He threw an interception early in the fourth quarter and was clearly frustrated on the sidelines. Birmingham coach Skip Holtz assured McGough they were going to win the game.

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USFL Championship: Stallions hold off Stars in thriller for title

Victor Bolden Jr. #7 of the Birmingham Stallions runs with the ball on a kickoff return during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL Championship game at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium on July 03, 2022 in Canton, Ohio.
(Patrick Smith/USFL/Getty Images)

USFL Championship: Stallions hold off Stars in thriller for title

On the next drive, McGough had the go-ahead touchdown pass to Bolden.

McGough finished the game 7-for-10 with 77 passing yards, a touchdown pass and an interception. Smith was 10-for-18 with 131 passing yards and a touchdown. 

Bo Scarborough rushed for 135 yards on 13 carries with a score. He broke a 70-yarder during the game. Marlon Williams led Birmingham with seven catches for 105 yards and a score. Bolden had six catches for 64 yards and the score.

USFL Championship: Stallions hold off Stars in thriller for title

Bo Scarbrough #25 of the Birmingham Stallions poses with the Birmingham Stallions mascot after defeating the Philadelphia Stars 33-30 to win the USFL Championship game at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium on July 03, 2022 in Canton, Ohio.
(Patrick Smith/USFL/Getty Images)

Bolden, an All-USFL selection at wide receiver and special teams, was named the MVP of the championship game.

USFL STARS SQUARING OFF IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ‘GRATEFUL’ FOR OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY IN LEAGUE

USFL Championship: Stallions hold off Stars in thriller for title

Philadelphia Stars quarterback Case Cookus, left, is pressured by Birmingham Stallions inside linebacker Scooby Wright during the first half of a USFL football game for the league championship, Sunday, July. 3, 2022, in Canton, Ohio. 
(AP Photo/David Dermer)

Wright had three tackles in the win. DeMarquis Gates led the team with nine tackles and two passes defended.

Philadelphia was down 20-9 at the half but Case Cookus was able to lead a furious comeback.

In the third quarter, he threw a second touchdown pass to Jordan Suell to bring the game to within five points. On their first drive of the fourth quarter, Cookus had a touchdown pass to Devin Gray. Suell would score two-point conversion and the Stars would go up 26-23.

However, Cookus would go down with a broken fibula and get carted off the field. Backup K.J. Costello would come in and lead the team to a score late in the game but couldn’t do enough to get Philadelphia to the championship.

USFL Championship: Stallions hold off Stars in thriller for title

Birmingham Stallions quarterback J’Mar Smith throws a pass during the first half of a USFL football game against the Philadelphia Stars for the league championship, Sunday, July. 3, 2022, in Canton, Ohio. 
(AP Photo/David Dermer)

In the end, it was Birmingham’s night.

The championship puts a cap on the USFL’s inaugural season.

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The Stallions were the best team in the USFL all season long, finishing the year 9-1, and winning the South Division. The team had to beat the New Orleans Breakers to get into the championship game.

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