USFL Week 8: Recap & Review

USFL Week 8 Recap, Review, and Ranking

Written and edited by Seth Brown

June 4th, 2023

Houston Runningback Mark Thompson, who is experiencing a record season as he continues to crush the 10-game season rushing record for the USFL. Thompson stands with Alex McGough at the top of MVP odds.

Gamblers Mount Massive Comeback Over Maulers, 20-19

The Maulers season has been field with offensive woes and field goals, while Houston has had its fair share of thrillers. Both of these trends continued in this thrilling matchup. The Maulers opened with a 76 yard drive, including Troy Williams going 5-for-5 passing, to score off a 2-yard QB Rushing TD for the early 7-0 lead. Both teams would exchange a pair of field goals each, giving the Maulers a 13-6 halftime lead. After the break and a pair of punts, the Maulers would extend their lead to 16-6 on a field goal. Houston wasn't out of the game yet, however, as Keke Chism caught a score from Kenji Bahar to bring the Gamblers within a field goal, 16-13. Despite Houston's gaining momentum, Pittsburgh worked to grow its lead with yet another field goal, 19-13. Late into the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, none other than MVP candidate Mark Thompson iced the game for Houston with a 33 yard rushing score, completing the comeback and landing Houston its 5th win of the year, keeping it in the race for the USFL South regular season title. Pittsburgh now faces elimination from the playoffs next year at home against the Michigan Panthers, while Houston looks to take the division lead from Birmingham.

Stallions Quarterback Alex McGough, who took over for the injured J'Mar Smith in week 1. McGough has led the stallions to a 6-2 record since and stands alongside Mark Thompson for the USFL's MVP favorite.

Stallions Manage Last Second Win Over Stars, 27-24

In a rematch of last years titles game that came down to the wire in a primetime thriller, both sqauds delivered yet another exciting game. Philadeplhia, continuing its midseason turnaround, opened the game early on a Cookus to Izzo score to take the early 7-0 lead. However, Alex McGough and the Stallions, also fighting for a division crown, refused to let the score go unanswered, punching in a passing score of his own to Davion Davis to tie the game at 7. However, McGough fumbled a handoff, resulting in a turnover and a Philadelphia possession. at midfield. Cookus would seize the opportunity, throwing a 24 yard score to Corey Coleman to take a 14-7 lead into the half. As the Stallions looked to potentially tie the game, CJ Marable would fumble the ball away to the Stars just 4 yards shy from what would have been a stallions score. However, after a field goal and a touchdown from the Stallions, McGough and the Birmingham squad would take their first lead of the night, 17-14. A field goal from Philly would tie the game, 17-17. Birmingham would take the lead right back with a field goal of its own, but the Stars had time to drain the clock and seal the win. Cookus worked down the field and hit Devon Williams for a go ahead score to take a 24-20 lead late in the fourth quarter. However, a Stars revenge win for the title game was spoiled by McGough driving the field to find La'Michael Pettway for a score with less than 30 seconds left to steal the win, 27-24. Birmingham looks to defend its division lead against rival Houston, who is also in the running for the crown, while Philadelphia can deal a potential killing blow to the rival Generals season early. 

Showboats Quarterback Cole Kelley, who's hot streak has been a major part in the Boats midseason turnaround. After a 0-3 start and Kelley struggling early, his turnaround has helped the Boats to a 5-0 record since.

Showboats Hold Off Generals to Earn Fifth Straight Win, 25-16

In an odd up and down season in Memphis, the Boats continued to sail early on Sunday. New Jersey took the initiative early, forcing a fumble near midfield on the opening drive, and took the lead with a Sciba 56 yard field goal. The showboats would tie the game at 3, and afterwards force a Generals fumble in opposing territory. Another Memphis field goal ended the first quarter with a 6-3 score. Memphis took the lead in the turnover department as well, as Greg Reaves picked off Kyle Lauletta. Memphis Halfback Kerrith White would run it up the gut of the defense for a score, extending the Showboats lead to 13-3. After the half, the Generals would bring it within 1 score, as they answered a Memphis field goal with a touchdown, bringing the score to 16-10. Another two Memphis field goals brought the game to 22-10, and pressure began to mount on New Jersey. The Generals would again bring it within 1 on a passing score to Darius Victor to push the score to       22-16. The Boats would put up yet another field goal, icing the game with a score of 25-16. The Memphis turnaround continues as their 0-3 start is overshadowed by a   5-0 run, while New Jersey, who finished North Champs at 9-1, are on the verge of elimination from both the Division Crown and the Playoffs entirely. Memphis looks to stay in the playoff race as they host the Breakers, while New Jersey attempts to keep the season alive against the Stars.

Panthers runningback Reggie Corbin, who left the game vs the Breakers early with a potential season ending injury. Corbin earned 2022 All-USFL Offense honors and was the 2023 USFL all-purpose yards leader. 

Breakers Luck Out and Stall Out Panthers Comeback, 24-20

Both of these teams entered this game on very odd seasons. New Orleans began 4-0 before entering an 0-3 skid, while the Panthers entered having just ended their own 0-4 skid, however, Michigan had been 3-0 on the road with all their losses coming at home in Detroit. The first quarter would see no action as, aside from a Breakers redzone fumble, neither team came close to scoring. The second half was all fireworks though, as the two squads combined for 31 points in the quarter. The Breakers would shoot out to a massive 21-0 lead in the second half, as Wes Hills ran in a score, followed by McLeoud Bethel-Thompson hitting Johnnie Dixon twice for the three scores. However, with just 42 seconds left in the half, Michigan would score as Josh Love hit Marcus Baugh on a monster 51-yard score, before Warren Saba would pick off Bethel-Thompson and give the Panthers a field goal opportunity to end the half, cutting the 21-0 lead to 11 with a halftime score of    21-10. Yet another Bethel-Thompson pick would lead to Josh Love hitting Trey Quinn on the first play of the drive for a score, allowing the Panthers to score 17 unanswered points and cutting the once 21-0 deficit to 4. What began as a Breakers blowout turned a highly competitive game. both teams would exchange a field goal, as the Panthers, down 24-20, stared at a possible comeback win scenario. However, throughout the second half, all three Michigan timeouts were spent in odd ways. After Josh Love faced 3 sacks and lost 23 yards, and even got sacked out of field goal range, Michigan was forced to punt with around 4 minutes left. New Orleans failed to run out all of the clock, leaving Michigan with 42 seconds left. However, with their timeouts already burned and a Breakers pass rush flattening their offensive line, Michigan fell just short of a massive comeback win, 24-20. New Orleans heads to Memphis to attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive, as Michigan takes on Pittsburgh with the potential to knock their division rival out of the playoffs. 

Clinching Scenarios

With Playoffs on the Horizon, here is every potential Playoff Clinching Scenario

Philadelphia: Stars win, Michigan loss

Michigan: Michigan win, Stars win

*No South Division team can clinch the playoffs, due to how close all four teams are to eachother

Elimination Scenarios

Should both Michigan and Philadelphia win in week 9, both the Generals and Maulers will be eliminated from playoff contention

*No South Division team can be eliminated yet, due to how close all teams are

Week 8 Power Rankings

With Week 14 drawing to a close, here are our rankings of all 8 USFL squads at this point in the season. There has been 0 changes.