Trey Williams, Generals hold off Stars' late charge
The ground game of New Jersey, led by Trey Williams, proved too much for Philadelphia in Week 10, Eric D. Williams writes.
By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports Writer
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — New Jersey Generals running back Trey Williams knows what he can do.
And while Darius Victor rightly has received the lion’s share of the notoriety, leading the USFL with 10 total touchdowns, the shifty Williams has been a steady wingman throughout the season.
Well, Williams got to step into the spotlight in his team’s 26-23 victory over the Philadelphia Stars in the teams' final game of the regular season at historic Legion Field on Saturday.
Trey Williams torches Stars with 114 rushing yards
Williams led New Jersey with 114 rushing yards, including an electric, 61-yard run for a score on the opening drive of the game.
It’s the second time Williams has surpassed 100 yards on the ground against the Stars. In a Week 3 24-16 win over Philadelphia, Williams totaled 110 rushing yards.
"It’s just consistency," Williams said about his effort. "Every week we go to work and we practice our butts off. It pays off and it shows up on the field."
The victory was the ninth in a row for the Generals, who finish the season at 9-1 overall, while the Stars dropped to 6-4.
New Jersey left tackle Terry Poole doused head coach Mike Riley with a Gatorade tub filled with water afterward.
"It’s shocking immediately," Riley said about the shower. "But then, since it’s 95 degrees outside, pretty soon after that it feels pretty good. It was fun. I appreciated it."
The top two teams in the North Division, the General and Stars will meet again next Saturday in the opening round of the USFL playoffs, June 25 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.
Both Riley and Stars head coach Bart Andrus rested a couple of defensive players in anticipation of next week but otherwise played to win the game.
However, Andrus said he didn’t show everything, knowing he would see Riley’s Generals again so soon.
"Did we open up the whole playbook? No," Andrus said. "So, we have some things that we’ll run next week, and we’ll look a little different."
The Generals jumped out to a 14-3 lead on the strength of Williams’ touchdown run and a pretty, 16-yard throw by Luis Perez on a back-shoulder delivery to Alonzo Moore for a touchdown.
Perez was efficient, finishing 14-of-18 for 138 passing yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.
His favorite target was Moore, who totaled seven catches for 84 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Alonzo Moore goes for 84 yards and two touchdowns
Sandwiched in between those two New Jersey touchdowns was a Luis Aguilar 38-yard field goal for Philadelphia.
The Stars added a Case Cookus touchdown throw to Jordan Suell for a 3-yard score just before the half, then took a 17-14 lead on the opening drive of the second half on a 19-yard screen pass from Cookus to receiver Chris Rowland.
However, on the ensuing possession, New Jersey grabbed the lead back for good, driving 75 yards on six plays, with Perez finding Victor in the flat for a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Perez added another touchdown pass to Moore in the fourth quarter, this one a 25-yard touch throw on a corner route for a 26-17 lead.
But the Stars made one final push. After a league-record 85-yard punt from his own end zone by New Jersey’s Brock Miller, the Stars marched 90 yards for a score, capped by running back Matthew Colburn II scooting 15 yards untouched for a touchdown.
The Stars went for a three-point conversion to tie the game from the 10-yard line, but New Jersey cornerback Paris Ford intercepted the ball in the end zone.
However, the Stars converted the alternate kickoff from their own 33-yard line due to a penalty for illegal use of hands call on New Jersey’s defensive back David Rivers.
But Cookus was intercepted on a deep throw by New Jersey safety Shalom Luani three players later, sealing the victory for the Generals.
Cookus completed 19-of-33 passes for 243 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Tight end Bug Howard finished with five receptions for 100 yards for Philadelphia.
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.