Week 8 of the USFL season is nearly in the books. So far, the status quo has held firm with the league’s elite teams coming out on top. That said, the Birmingham Stallions did have their biggest test of the season, needing a late field goal to ensure that they remained perfect and moved to 8-0. Meanwhile, the Generals and Stars made quick work of both the Maulers and Panthers as they each fell to 1-7 and are completely out of the playoff picture.
As we wait for the Houston Gamblers and Tampa Bay Bandits to put a bow on Week 8, here’s a more in-depth rundown of how the other games throughout the league unfolded.
Generals take down Maulers in Week 8 opener
The New Jersey Generals made it seven straight wins for them on the season with a convincing win over the Pittsburgh Maulers. Running back Darius Victor was the key reason why the Generals are now sitting at 7-1 and in full command of the North Division as the Towson product rushed for 87 yards and a season-high three touchdowns. This marks the third time this season that Victor has rushed into the end zone multiple times.
While Victor was the clear beast in the running game, the entire Generals backfield was able to eat as they totaled 159 yards on the ground as a team on a 4.5 yards per carry clip. Quarterback Luis Perez was also extremely efficient passing the ball, completing 75% of his throws for 220 yards and a touchdown.
The Generals took control of this game pretty early, scoring a touchdown on the opening possession of the game. While Pittsburgh was able to match that first score, the second quarter was where New Jersey started to leave them in the dust, rolling on a 16-0 run heading into halftime. From there, it was smooth sailing for the Generals.
With the loss, the Maulers were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Given that they had just one win entering Week 8, this official ousting from any sort of playoff run was an inevitability.
One thing Pittsburgh can hang its hat on from the weekend, however, is kicker Ramiz Ahmed, who made a USFL-record 61-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Stallions stay perfect thanks to a late field goal
The Birmingham Stallions’ perfect season is intact, but it was put to arguably its biggest test of the season against the New Orleans Breakers. Defense was the key storyline in this head-to-head of South Division rivals as they were both held to single digits for the bulk of the contest. Birmingham build up a touchdown lead by the end of the first quarter, but the Breakers chipped away at that lead over the following two quarters and were up 9-7 heading into the fourth.
At that point, an interception by J’Mar Smith on the opening possession of the quarter had upset alerts ringing through the league. However, a missed field goal by the Breakers following the pick kept Birmingham within striking distance and after a back-and-forth of three-and-outs by both clubs, the Stallions would go on an eight-play drive that resulted in what would prove to be the go-ahead field goal by Brandon Aubrey that just squeaked by with less than two minutes to play.
After going up 10-9, the Stallions defense slammed the door shut of any possible comeback by the Breakers with defensive back Josh Shaw picking off Kyle Sloter — who became the first player in the USFL to pass for over 1,500 yards this season — with seconds remaining in the game.
With this win, the Stallions not only remained perfect but clinched the top spot in the South Division.
Stars clinch playoff spot in blowout win
The Philadelphia Stars officially punched their ticket to the playoffs as they blew the doors off of the Michigan Panthers, 46-24. While this win sends Philly to the playoffs, the 1-7 Panthers are now officially eliminated from postseason contention.
The Stars offense exploded for 46 points in the win and continued to pour it on from wire to wire. In the first quarter, quarterback Case Cookus was able to lead the offense on touchdown drives on their first two possessions of the game to build up a quick 14-0 lead. Those two scoring drives were complemented nicely by their defense that forced Panthers quarterback Paxton Lynch into an interception on his second passing attempt of the game.
To Michigan’s credit, they did absorb that initial blow well in the second quarter and went into the locker room at halftime trailing by just a field goal. However, the Stars offense continued to hum over the final two quarters, while their defense forced two more turnovers, resulting in a 25-6 scoring run to end the game.
Case Cookus finished with a monster day through the air, completing 76.9% of his throws for 247 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 118 yards, headlined by a 79-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
While Cookus was dominating on the offensive side of the ball, Philly cornerback Channing Stribling recorded his league-leaguing sixth interception of the year in the third quarter, making this an all-around blowout for the Stars.