USFL Championship: Studs keep stars in thriller for the 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 take the USFL championship Sunday night 33-30 against the Philadelphia to seal stars.

McGough was pushed into the game after J’Mar Smith struggled with cramps. He threw an interception early in the fourth quarter and was visibly frustrated on the touchline. Birmingham coach Skip Holtz assured McGough they would win the game.

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Victor Bolden Jr. #7 of the Birmingham Stallions runs with the ball during a third quarter kickoff return against the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL Championship game at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium on July 3, 2022 in Canton, Ohio.

Victor Bolden Jr. #7 of the Birmingham Stallions runs with the ball during a third quarter kickoff return against the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL Championship game at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium on July 3, 2022 in Canton, Ohio.
(Patrick Smith/USFL/Getty Images)

On the next drive, McGough had the touchdown pass for Bolden.

McGough finished the game 7-on-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 ran for 135 yards on 13 carries with one 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.

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 3, 2022 in Canton, Ohio .

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 3, 2022 in Canton, Ohio .
(Patrick Smith/USFL/Getty Images)

Bolden, an All-USFL selection on wide receiver and special teams, was named Championship Game MVP.

USFL STARS ACT ‘GRATEFUL’ FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY IN THE LEAGUE IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Philadelphia Stars quarterback Case Cookus, left, is pressured by Birmingham Stallions in linebacker Scooby Wright during the first half of a USFL league championship soccer game Sunday, July.  3, 2022, in Canton, Ohio.

Philadelphia Stars quarterback Case Cookus, left, is pressured by Birmingham Stallions in linebacker Scooby Wright during the first half of a USFL league championship soccer game 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 20-9 down at halftime, but Case Cookus led a furious comeback.

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

However, Cookus would fall to the ground with a broken fibula and be carted off the field. Backup KJ Costello came in and led the team to a result late in the game but couldn’t do enough to lead Philadelphia to the championship.

Birmingham Stallions quarterback J'Mar Smith throws a pass for the league championship during the first half of a USFL football game against the Philadelphia Stars on Sunday, July.  3, 2022, in Canton, Ohio.

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

In the end it was Birmingham’s night.

The championship caps the USFL’s inaugural season.

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The Stallions were the best team in the USFL all season, 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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