USFL Week 2: Stallions remain undefeated, take down Gamblers

USFL Week 2: Stallions remain undefeated, take down Gamblers

Apr 23

Week 2 of the inaugural United States Football League season continued Saturday with an instant classic between the Birmingham Stallions and the Houston Gamblers.

After a wild back-and-forth battle, the Stallions took down the Gamblers, 33-28.

Here are the top moments from Saturday's matchup.

Birmingham Stallions 33, Houston Gamblers 28

Setting the stage

The game ball was hand-delivered by NASCAR's Tyler Reddick, who is in Birmingham for the highly anticipated race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.

Off to the races!

The Stallions wasted absolutely no time getting on the board in this one.

On the opening drive, Gamblers QB Clayton Thorson was picked off near midfield by Stallions CB Brian Allen, who took it 48 yards to the house to give Birmingham an early 7-0 edge.

Need for speed

Gamblers running back Mark Thompson gave Houston a much-needed boost, exploding up the middle for 41 yards.

It's good!

The big gain put Houston in enemy territory, and Nick Vogel helped close the gap with this monster kick.

Returning the favor

The Stallions got a taste of their own medicine when Smith's pass was intercepted by Gamblers CB Will Likely and returned 63 yards for a touchdown, giving Houston a 9-7 advantage.

One-point game

A short field goal from the Stallions kept the Gamblers within arm's reach headed into the second quarter, but things didn't stay that close for long.

Dime!

On Houston's first drive of the second quarter, emerging star receiver Isaiah Zuber caught a 25-yard TD pass from Thorson to give the Gamblers the lead, 15-10.

Not so fast

Houston came up short on the 2-point conversion attempt, however, as Stallions linebacker DeMarquis Gates was all over Thorson.

Déjà vu

Thorson was once again picked off near midfield which set up a short field goal for the Stallions.

Just like that, it was a two-point game, 15-13.

Miscue

Misfortune struck on the Stallions' following drive, as RB Victor Bolden fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Houston's Jamar Summers at Birmingham's 15-yard line. 

Another one!

The Stallions were able to keep the Gamblers out of the end zone, thanks to yet another clutch stop by Gates:

Anyone's game

The Gamblers settled for three on the drive and took an 18-13 lead heading into halftime.

Double trouble

The Stallions cashed in on their first two possessions of the second half with back-to-back scores.

First, Smith connected with wideout Osirus Mitchell for a 34-yard TD to give Birmingham a 19-18 lead.

On the Stallions' following drive, RB CJ Marable scampered into the end zone to extend their lead, 26-18.

What can't Zuber do?

In case you were wondering, Zuber can do it all. 

Check out this dazzling 41-yard kick return that immediately put the Gamblers back in Stallions territory.

The big gain helped put the Gamblers in good field position. Vogel drilled a 24-yard field goal, making it 26-21, headed into the final frame.

Bombs away!

The Stallions started the fourth quarter the same way they started the third — with a big-time touchdown. First, Smith scrambled under pressure and picked up 16 yards for a crucial first down.

Then, Smith found WR Marlon Williams for a massive 65-yard TD pass to put the Stallions up 33-21.

No quit

It only took Houston two plays and 42 seconds to answer the Stallions' score. 

Thorson launched one to WR Tyler Simmons, good for a 44-yard score to keep the Gamblers in it, 33-28.

Instant classic

Oh, what could have been!

Watch out!

Meanwhile, Gamblers RB Dalyn Dawkins took down the Stallions' defense on this angry run.

Not over yet

Thorson converted on a huge fourth down for the Gamblers, picking up 12 yards on fourth-and-10.

That's a wrap

Houston's luck ran out there, however, as Thorson was picked off for the third time.

Stallions linebacker Lorenzo Burns secured the interception to close out the game.