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The New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions played a thriller in Game 1 of the United States Football League on Saturday night.
Stallions quarterback J’Mar Smith needed to dig deep to help Birmingham secure victory. After being kicked into the game by injured Alex McDough, Smith helped the Stallions big on the final drive.
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He led the team on a nine-play, 50-yard drive for a touchdown with 23 seconds left. Smith scored on a 2-yard run and celebrated with his teammates in the end zone. The Generals’ last-second uprising didn’t get them into the end zone.
Birmingham won the match 28-24.
Generals kicker Nick Rose netted a 47-yard field goal to take the lead with 1:54 left in the game. Rose missed two field goals before the clutch kick. But it was Smith who had the last word in the match.
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He was 11 for 21 with 156 passing yards and a touchdown. He added 13 rushing yards on three carries. McGough started the game at quarterback but got injured. He was 5 for 10 with 55 passing yards.
Stallions running back CJ Marable had 22 yards on seven carries. Tony Brooks-James led the team with 27 rushing yards on eight carries. Osiris Mitchell scored the first touchdown in Stallions history. He hit a one-handed hitch in the first quarter to get on the board. He had five catches for 96 yards.
Generals quarterback Luis Perez teamed up with Randy Satterfield for the first touchdown pass in USFL history. It came on the game’s first disc.
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Perez found Satterfield in the back of the end zone and the wide receiver was hit by Stallions defensive back Tae Hayes. Perez had two touchdown passes in the game. The other went to Braedon Bowan.
Perez was 13 for 18 with 143 passing yards and both scores. De’Andre Johnson also played in the game as a rushing quarterback. He led the way with 98 rushing yards. At one point, the Generals had run 25 consecutive run players.
Satterfield finished with five catches for 100 yards.
On the defensive end, Shalom Luani made the first interception in USFL history. He also had eight tackles and impressed USFL fans with huge success.
The Generals and Stallions played the first game in USFL history.
Three matches will take place on Sunday.
The Houston Gamblers take on the Michigan Panthers at Noon ET on NBC and Peacock. The Philadelphia Stars will face the New Orleans Breakers at 4 p.m. ET in the United States. And the Tampa Bay Bandits and Pittsburgh Maulers will end Week 1 with a game on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET.
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Each game will take place at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.