The Alex McGough-led Stallions have been a force to be reckoned with, going 8-2 in the regular season and dominating the New Orleans Breakers in the South Division Championship Game to earn a chance to defend their title. Crowned the USFL's MVP on Friday, McGough led the league in touchdown passes (20).
He turned it up again on Saturday, tossing four touchdowns to lead the Stallions to a 28-12 victory. Deon Cain, who caught four passes for 70 yards and three of those touchdowns, was named MVP of the game.
The Stallions defense held Pittsburgh to just 202 yards of total offense.
It all went down at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Here are the top moments!
Faced with a third-and-2 on the opening possession of the game, Maulers quarterback Troy Williams got the ball out to fullback Mason Stokke, who ran through a pair of tackle attempts for the first down.
On the board
Pittsburgh got to the Birmingham 2-yard line, but an illegal shift penalty stalled the drive. The Maulers later settled for a 37-yard field goal from kicker Chris Blewitt.
Birmingham got the ball into Pittsburgh territory before being faced with a fourth-and-1. Quarterback Alex McGough got the call on the run and was stopped short of the line to gain. The Maulers led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Bow and arrow
One play after McGough took off for a first down on the ground, the Birmingham quarterback unloaded on a downfield pass to wide receiver Davion Davis, who reached out for the 42-yard touchdown grab.
Blewitt connected on a 36-yard field goal for the Maulers with 3:01 remaining in the second quarter.
After Pittsburgh got its second field goal, Birmingham thundered down the field with the passing game.
McGough flicked a pass to tight end Jace Sternberger, who ran through multiple tackle attempts for a 34-yard pickup, which was followed by fellow tight end La'Michael Pettway reeling in a 12-yard completion. Two plays later, wide receiver Deon Cain pulled off a toe-tap grab. Cain then caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from McGough.
A taunting penalty on Stallions cornerback Nate Brooks gave the Maulers a first down in Birmingham territory right before halftime. Two plays later, Blewitt drilled a 55-yard field goal for the Maulers, who trailed 14-9 at halftime.
Picking up where they left off
The Stallions thundered down the field with the running game on the opening possession of the second half. Then McGough hit Cain for a 20-yard touchdown near the pylon, their second scoring connection of the game.
Pittsburgh’s ensuing drive stalled, but Blewitt was able to salvage it with a 51-yard field goal.
On third-and-goal, McGough continued to buy time but continually ran backwards, and Maulers linebacker Reuben Foster ultimately knocked the ball out of the quarterback's possession. Defensive lineman Olive Sagapolu picked up and ran the loose ball into Birmingham territory. After replay review, Sagapolu was penalized for an illegal forward handoff. The Maulers took over at the Stallions' 33-yard line and trailed 21-12 at the end of the third quarter.
Unable to take advantage
The Maulers struggled to move the ball after the turnover, and Blewitt later missed a 48-yard field goal with 13:01 remaining in the fourth quarter.
It was caught somehow
Birmingham went three-and-out after the missed field goal, but then Pittsburgh turned it over on downs in its own territory. Two plays later, the Stallions went up two scores.
Going to his right, McGough threw a deep ball to the end zone, and Cain reeled in the contested 40-yard touchdown reception, his third of the game.
Setting the stage
Both teams were dressed for success ahead of Saturday's title game, which is set to kick off at 8 p.m. ET.