USFL Week 2: Recap & Review

USFL Week 2 Recap: Stallions, Panthers, and Breakers Remain Unbeaten

Written and Edited by Seth Brown, April 24th, 2023

Breakers QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson celebrating a score in the win over Houston.

Breakers and Gamblers find themselves in Offensive Shootout, Breakers prevail 38-31

The Breakers and Gamblers faced off Saturday afternoon in Birmingham Alabama for the opening game of the USFL's second week of play. The game started off as expected, with the two defensive teams going toe to toe with defensive stops, big hits, and punts. New Orleans got on the board first when Wes Hills punched in a 19 yard TD run to give the Breakers a 7-0 lead. After the teams trade field goals, Kenji Bahar hit Justin Hall for a 25-yard TD pass to tie the game 10-10 before halftime. After an expected defensively-heavy first half, the second half threw the two defensively-minded teams into an offensive shootout. Houston WR Ratliff-Williams kicked off the second half action with a 38-yard catch that ended in the endzone. The Breakers would answer right back when Sage Surratt caught a TD of his own to tie the game at 17. Kenji Bahar would throw an interception deep in his own territory, and right after Johnnie Dixon would punch in the Breakers TD to go up 24-17. Gamblers RB T.J. Pledger wouldn't let the Breakers lead last, however, as he scored his third rushing TD of the season to tie the game up again. After the squads exchanged yet another set of touchdowns to tie the game at 31 with just a few minutes to go, Wes Hill would cash in his third score of the day to give the Breakers a 38-31 lead within a minute of the games end. Kenji Bahar, with a chance to march down the field and send the game to OT, would throw his third interception of the game, letting the Breakers walk out with a win and a 2-0 record, while Houston still looks for its first at 0-2. The Gamblers look to get their first win against the also winless Showboats, while the Breakers look to prove their worth against the unbeaten, and current title favorites, Stallions. 

Stallions RB Zaquandre White hurdles defenders on a carry in the dominant victory over Memphis.

Stallions Dominate Showboats in Brutal Blowout, 42-2

After the showboats kept pace with the USFL North favorite Stars, many believed that the Showboats had a chance to compete with the Stallions. This was furthered after Birmingham announced many starters on the offense, including Quarterback J'Mar Smith and Runningback Bo Scarborough, would be on IR. These hopes of the Boats being able to upset the Stallions did not last long into the game. After Memphis went 3-and-out on the first possession, Birmingham wasted no time as QB Alex McGough hit Davion Davis for a TD to give the Stallions a quick 7-0 lead. The Stallions pressure would not let up, as the defense kept forcing the Memphis offense off the field and the Stallions kept scoring, as RB Zaquandre White punched in a TD to put the Stallions up 14-0. After the Showboats had a chance at points, they came away disappointed as K Kessman missed a 48-yard Field Goal, which quickly led to a McGough to Sternberger Stallions TD and a 21-0 lead for the home Stallions before halftime. Right out of the half, Birmingham got right back to it as White ran in the Stallions fourth score of the day for a 28-0 lead. After Memphis switched Quarterbacks, the Stallions strip-sacked new QB Ryan Willis to get the ball right back before letting TE Thaddeus Moss punch in the fifth TD of the day. near the end of the third quarter, Memphis would get its first and only points on a safety on Stallions QB Alex McGough to cut the lead to 33. The Stallions weren't done yet, as they went 95 yards on the next drive, which ended in McGough's 4th passing TD of the day as the Stallions ended the beatdown, 42-2. Memphis looks to right the ship against the winless Gamblers, while Birmingham gets the opportunity to knock off the only unbeaten team besides themselves left in the USFL South.

Maulers QB James Morgan gets hit as he attempts a pass. 

Generals and Maulers Face Off in Defensive Slugfest, Generals Pull Away Late, 20-3

For the second straight year, the Generals and Maulers started the season on a loss. And for the second straight year, the Generals got back to .500 the week after while Pitt remained winless. Some things never change. Both squads squared off in Canton in a defensive slugfest that showed off the flaws in both squads. Early in the game, the teams would exchange field goals to tie the game at 3. Rain during the game kept the offenses from getting down field, and the 3-3 score would last into halftime. After a fumble, Pittsburgh had the ball at the 1 yard line twice with a chance to score, and both times a stout Generals defense kept them out of the endzone, forcing a turnover on downs. Into the third quarter, the Generals would first put up a field goal before Cam Echols-Luper cashed in a 10-yard TD to get the Generals up to a 10 point lead, 13-3. After Hercules Mata'afa punched the ball out and recovered at the 1 yard line, former OPOY Darius Victor cashed in a Generals TD to extend the lead to 20-3. Mata'afa wasn't done yet, as he recovered another fumble on the Maulers final drive to put the game away. The Maulers still look to get their first win- and first offensive touchdown - as they head to Detroit to take on the 1-1 Stars in week 3, while the Generals look to knock off the USFL Norths lone unbeaten team, the Michigan Panthers, in Detroit. 

Panthers RB Reggie Corbin on a carry in his dominant performance in the win over the stars, with 130 yards and 2 TDs. 

Panthers Down Stars in Defensive Game and Bad Weather, 24-10

Two of the USFL's best Quarterbacks looked to duel it out in Canton on Sunday. The local weather, however, had other plans, as rain in the area and wet conditions led to both QBs throwing 2 interceptions each and what would have been an offensive shootout turned into a defensive slugfest as a relentless Panthers defense sacked Stars QB Case Cookus 4 times, eventually sending him out of the game injured. The Stars kicked off the game with a 3-0 lead, but it didn't last long as Panthers QB Josh Love hit TE Hihutini for a 36 yard score to give the Panthers a 7-3 lead. After Panthers LB Frank Ginda picked off Cookus, the Stars would Pick off Love right after to get the ball back. After both offenses struggled, Panthers CB Ballard would come up with a pick of his own to put the panthers in positon to kick a Field Goal and take a 10-3 lead. Yet again, the Stars answered with an interception of their own, allowing Stars RB Matt Colburn to punch in a TD and tie the game at 10 heading into the half. After Panthers RB Reggie Corbin called his offensive coaching staff with a sideline phone to ask for the ball more, the coaching staff delivered. Focusing on feeding Corbin in the wet conditions would pay off, too, as Corbin would punch in two TDs in the second half to run way with the 24-10 victory, totaling 132 yards on 11 carries throughout the outing as well. The Stars look to get back over .500 as they take on the winless Maulers next week, while Michigan looks to remain the Norths lone unbeaten team as they host the Generals in their first home game in Detroit since 1984. 

Week Two Power Rankings

Week Two has shaken up the rankings yet again, as the Stallions proved that their injuries mean nothing, the Panthers knocked off #2 Philadelphia, and the Breakers and Generals took home wins of their own.