United States Football League

Around the USFL

by Fran Stuchbury
June 23, 2022 - United States Football League (USFL)

Having already decided its playoff pairings over the first nine weeks, The United States Football League completed its 10-week regular season last week with two 1-8 teams, the Pittsburgh Maulers and Michigan Panthers, facing off against each other.

Typically an undesirable matchup, the USFL added extra incentive to win the game. Executive Vice President of USFL Football Operations Daryl Johnston decided the winner of that game would get the first pick in every round of the 2023 USFL Draft. That decision prevented either team from tanking to get the first pick.

Paxton Lynch completed 22 of 30 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and added 19 yards rushing in the Michigan Panthers' 33-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Maulers, earning Michigan the first picks.

Here are highlights from Lynch's performance:

Top 10 Plays from Week 10:


Saturday's noon est. on USA - Philadelphia Stars vs. New Jersey Generals - 239,000 viewers

Saturday's 4 pm est. on FOX -Birmingham Stallions vs. Tampa Bay Bandits - 639,000 viewers

Sunday's noon est. on USA - Michigan Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Maulers - 282,000 viewers

Sunday's 8:30 pm est. on FS1 - New Orleans Breakers vs. Houston Gamblers - 181,000 viewers

Now on to the USFL Postseason

Playoff semifinal - Saturday at Canton, Ohio 3 pm est. on FOX - 9-1 New Jersey Generals vs. 6-4 Philadelphia Stars

Previous two meetings:

Week 3 - May 1st. - New Jersey Generals 24 - Philadelphia Stars 16

Week 10 - June 18th - New Jersey Generals 26 - Philadelphia Stars 23

After a week one loss to the Birmingham Stallions, the New Jersey Generals were on fire the rest of the USFL season, winning nine straight games.

They racked up several USFL post season awards. Generals wide receiver and returner KaVontae Turpin was named the inaugural USFL Most Valuable Player, while teammate and star Running Back Darius Victor was honored as Offensive Player of the Year. Mike Riley was selected as Coach of the Year.

Seven Generals players made the All-USFL team.

The Generals led the USFL in rushing, averaging 160.6 yards per game. To begin the season, the Generals employed a quarterback rotation with Luis Perez and De'Andre Johnson. Once Johnson went down with an injury, Perez took more playing time as a starter. In six starts Perez completed 71.7% of his passes for 1,200 yards and 10 total touchdowns.

The Generals may use Johnson in some running plays but with more playing experience and the hot hand, Luis Perez may play most of the game.

On defense for the Generals' Shalom Luani finished second in the league in interceptions with five.

As for Philadelphia, the team faced uncertainty when quarterback Bryan Scott went down with a season-ending knee injury in week three, but his replacement Case Cookus filled in admirably, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,340 yards and 12 touchdowns. Running back Matt Colburn helped the Stars go on a four-game winning streak from, leading the Stars with 452 rushing yards.

On defense Channing Stribling intercepted seven passes to lead the USFL.

The Generals have firepower on offense, and the Stars may struggle to keep up with them. The Stars are going have to run the ball successfully to set up play action passing.

Predicted score: New Jersey Generals 31 - Philadelphia Stars 27

Playoff semifinal - Saturday at Canton, Ohio 8 pm est. on NBC - 9-1 Birmingham Stallions vs. 6-4 New Orleans Breakers

Previous two meetings:

Week 3 - April 30 - Birmingham Stallions 22 - New Orleans Breakers 13

Week 8 - June 4th - Birmingham Stallions 10 - New Orleans Breakers 9

The host city in the USFL this season the Birmingham Stallions had a solid 9-1 record with home crowds cheering them on every week.

J'Mar Smith passed for 1,572 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Victor Bolden proved the best wide receiver with the Stallions with 42 receptions for 422 yards and one touchdown.

CJ Marable led the Stallions with 400 yards rushing, while mid-season pickup Bo Scarborough proved a solid addition with 353 yards on the ground.

On defense the Stallions have several playmakers with linebacker DeMarquis Gates who led the team with 6.5 sacks and linebacker Scooby Wright.

Meanwhile, New Orleans' Kyle Sloter passed for 1,799 yards and nine touchdowns but also threw 11 interceptions. Sloter effectively spread the ball around the field to different targets. WRs Johnnie Dixon and Jonathan Adams combined for 764 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Sal Cannela was the best tight end in the USFL with 368 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Ellis topped the USFL with 596 rushing yards.

Defensive end David Bellamy spearheaded a solid defense with five sacks.

Judging by the teams' second matchup, this could be a lower scoring game compared to the Generals-Stars game.

Birmingham will look to run the football and set the tone early. New Orleans must cut back on turnovers. If Sloter struggles and gives up the ball early in the game, the Breakers may insert Zach Smith into the game. He has been effective off the bench.

The same goes for the Stallions: if J'Mar Smith struggles, Alex McGough, the starter to open the season, is now healthy.

This game may come down to miscues and turnovers. Over the course of the season, the Birmingham Stallions have proven more adept at winning those battles.

Predicted score: Birmingham Stallions 17 New Orleans Breakers 13

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United States Football League Stories from June 23, 2022

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