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USFL South Division champion Birmingham made its fifth and final fourth-down stop with less than a minute remaining to secure a 21-18 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon at Legion Field.
The inaugural USFL regular season ended this weekend in Birmingham. A four-team playoff begins next week, with all games being played in Canton, Ohio, in the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
On Saturday, June 25, Playoff Game 1 has the New Jersey Generals battling the Philadelphia Stars (2 PM CT on FOX), while Game 2 has the Birmingham Stallions facing the New Orleans Breakers (7 PM CT on NBC). The winners will play each other in the inaugural USFL Championship Game Sunday, July 3 (6:30 PMCT on FOX).
In the Stallions' final regular season game, Birmingham backup quarterback Alex McGough threw for a team-high 183 yards, a touchdown and an interception after entering the game on the final snap of the first quarter. McGough also contributed on the ground, carrying the ball 11 times for 30 yards and a touchdown. Stallions’ running back CJ Marable paced all rushers with 47 yards rushing, averaging 5.9 yards per carry on eight attempts.
Despite allowing three scores in the second half, the Stallions limited Tampa Bay to just 68 yards rushing and held the Bandits to just 2-for-7 on fourth-down attempts. Birmingham cornerback Tae Hayes led the Stallions with six tackles, three pass breakups and an interception.
Tampa Bay starting quarterback Jordan Ta’amu paced the Bandits’ offense, completing 17-of-33 passes for 225 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Five receivers recorded multiple catches, highlighted by wide receiver Derrick Dillion’s four catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Birmingham (9-1) will face New Orleans (6-3) on Saturday, June 25, in the South Division Championship game. The Stallions and Breakers will play next week’s game at 7 p.m. CST at Thom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
In other games, the New Jersey Generals (9-1) beat the Philadelphia Stars (6-4) 26-23; Michigan beat Pittsburgh, 33-21; Houston (3-7) ended the season with a 20-3 victory over New Orleans (6-4).
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