USFL Week 2: What to expect in Birmingham Stallions vs. Memphis Showboats
With J'Mar Smith done for the season, Stallions hand reins to Alex McGough for matchup vs. Memphis.
By Greg Auman
FOX Sports Writer
The Birmingham Stallions needed two quarterbacks last year on the way to a USFL championship, and they'll now lean on Alex McGough after losing starter J'Mar Smith to a season-ending broken finger in the first half of last week's opening win.
Smith threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to receiver Austin Watkins on Birmingham's first play, but left the game in the second quarter. McGough came in and added touchdowns by passing and rushing in a 27-10 rout of the New Jersey Generals. Birmingham put Smith on injured reserve Thursday, and the new backup is Jalen Morton, 25, who played briefly with the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats last year. (They also signed Kyle Sloter, who started nine games for the New Orleans Breakers last season. Sloter is on the inactive list).
McGough, 27, played at Florida International and was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round in 2018, with offseason stops with the Jaguars and Texans before joining the Stallions last year. Coach Skip Holtz took two other key injury losses in the opener, as top receiver Marlon Williams was lost to a torn Achilles tendon, and fullback Bobby Holly was also placed on injured reserve.
Memphis, making its USFL return last week, lost 27-23 to the Philadelphia Stars but made a solid debut, getting 182 yards and two touchdowns from former Memphis Tigers quarterback Brady White — his scores were 43 yards to receiver Rashard Davis and 29 yards to receiver Ryan McDaniel. Davis was a top receiver with the Tampa Bay Bandits last season, catching 22 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns before the team moved to Memphis.
Birmingham went 9-1 last season on the way to a USFL title, but the Showboats and coach Todd Haley played them close in two meetings as the Bandits, losing 21-18 and 16-10 but holding the Stallions to two of their lowest scoring totals of the season. Memphis got two sacks each last week from defensive ends Greg Reaves and Jordan Williams.
USeFuL notes ...
Memphis has one of the USFL's most accomplished former NFL players in running back Alex Collins, who rushed for 1,997 yards and 18 touchdowns with the Seahawks and Ravens from 2016-21. He ranks second in the USFL in rushing after getting 63 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in last week's opener. ... Could there be a Randy Moss sighting in Birmingham? His son Thaddeus, a tight end who played at LSU and had looks in the NFL with Washington and Cincinnati, is on the Stallions' roster. He joined the team on April 11, with Jace Sternberger (five catches, 62 yards, TD) getting most of the spotlight at tight end last week. ...
More on the USFL from FOX Sports:
- USFL 2023: How to watch, team previews, best players
- The full week-by-week 2023 USFL schedule
- USFL Week 1 power rankings
- Takeaways from the Breakers win over the Maulers
- Takeaways from the Panthers win over the Gamblers
- Takeaways from the Stallions win over the Generals
- Takeaways from the Stars win over the Showboats