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Stallions defense sets tone in 33-28 win over Gamblers

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The Birmingham Stallions took advantage of a number of critical turnovers on Saturday night to defeat the Houston Gamblers 33-28 in the USFL match with the best score of the season.

Quarterback J’Mar Smith, who reunited with the former Louisiana Technology head coach Skip Hltz led the Stallions to their second win of the season, completing 20 of 30 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns, but it was the Stallions defense that stole the show.

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Cornerback Brian Allen, former 5th rounder NFL Draft pick, had a pick of six on the third game of the game to give Birmingham the early lead.

Brian Allen #29 of the Birmingham Stallions intercepts a pass then heads the ball for a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Houston Gamblers at Protective Stadium on April 23, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama.
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/USFL/Getty Images)

Houston would respond with a 49-yard field goal on a day the kickers appeared to be struggling with the USFL’s new ball and cornerback Will Likely had his own pick of six minutes later to give the Gamblers a 10 lead. -9.

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The Stallions began to pull ahead early in the second half but, despite struggling in their passing game, Houston rallied to 26-21 in the fourth quarter.

Mark Thompson #7 of the Houston Gamblers runs with the ball in the fourth quarter of the game against the Birmingham Stallions at Protective Stadium on April 23, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama.
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/USFL/Getty Images)

Quarterback Clayton Thorson managed to put the Gamblers within five points of the Stallions. With less than two minutes on the clock, he got a first down on fourth-and-10 with an 11-yard run, but Lorenzo Burns would intercept the ball with 1:13 left to end Houston’s scoring chances.

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Smith’s strong performance improved his chances of winning back-to-back Player of the Week honors. He replaced injured quarterback Alex McGough to lead the Stallions to a 28-4 win over the New Jersey Generals in Week 1.

Brian Allen #29 of the Birmingham Stallions celebrates with teammates after getting an interception and running it in for a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Houston Gamblers at Protective Stadium on April 23, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Brian Allen #29 of the Birmingham Stallions celebrates with teammates after getting an interception and running it in for a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Houston Gamblers at Protective Stadium on April 23, 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama.
(Photo by Jamie Squire/USFL/Getty Images)

Week 2 of the USFL’s inaugural season will conclude with a game between the Tampa Bay Bandits and the New Orleans Breakers on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

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