Saturday kicked off with the Philadelphia Stars taking on the Pittsburgh Maulers. In week one, the Stars and Maulers fell to their opponents. With both squads at 0-1, it was important to pick up a win to get on the right track.
Philadelphia lost to New Orleans last week, but played a decent game all around. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh was nearly shut out by Tampa Bay, looking lifeless on the offensive side of things. In week two, both teams made major strides forward across the board.
The first “Battle Of The Keystone State” turned out to be quite entertaining, coming down to the wire. Let’s take a look at what happened in Saturday afternoon’s showdown.
Darnell Holland opened things up with a bang, returning the kick 64 yards which put the Stars in excellent field position. However, Bryan Scott was picked off immediately by Jaylon McClain-Sapp, who made an incredibly athletic play on the ball.
Pittsburgh’s offense could not get anything going on their opening drive, which led to a quick punt. Philadelphia really got off to a sloppy start, though, as Holland fumbled the football, giving Pittsburgh the ball right back.
This time, the Maulers took advantage. A solid drive put them deep in Stars’ territory, leading to a successful field goal. Because of Pittsburgh’s impressive defensive efforts, the team went into the second period with a 3-0 lead.
Philadelphia put together a fantastic drive after their rocky start, getting on the board. Bryan Scott made several excellent throws, and then a sensational catch by Diondre Overton in the end zone put the Stars on top, 7-3.
Scott continued to play fantastic football. After scrambling near the end zone, Scott got the team set immediately, before taking a QB sneak into the end zone. Just like that, Philadelphia led 14-3 in the early second period.
Pittsburgh was forced to punt again, but their defense continued to make plays. Philadelphia marched deep into Maulers territory – but Scott fumbled, and McClain-Sapp picked it up for the 79 yard fumble six. Just like that, it was a 14-10 ball game.
The Maulers did their job once again defensively, as the Stars had to punt. Madre London began to find a rhythm on the ground, as Pittsburgh marched down the field. Josh Love also put in solid work, connecting on a 36 yard deep ball with Delvon Hardaway – before finding Hunter Thedford for the score.
A missed XP left points off the board, but Pittsburgh recaptured the lead, up 16-14.
Bryan Scott was clearly hungry for a win. Even though he turned the ball over a couple of times, Scott came out firing on the next drive. After finding Bug Howard for a big gain, Scott found a wide open Maurice Alexander in the end zone, and Philadelphia went up 21-16.
To open up the second half, Pittsburgh received the kickoff. Disappointingly for the Maulers, the team had to punt quickly, giving Philadelphia the ball. After what looked to be a promising drive, the Stars stalled out, punting the ball back to their opponent.
This time, Pittsburgh put together a phenomenal possession, as Josh Love seamlessly pushed the ball down field. A 37 yard dime to Bailey Gaither put the Maulers back on top, 23-21.
Once again, Philadelphia had a solid opportunity, but could not capitalize. Maurice Alexander took the kick inside Pittsburgh’s 40 yard line, but a big sack on Bryan Scott forced the Stars to punt. Pittsburgh led 23-21 heading into the final quarter.
While the Maulers had a good drive going, Philadelphia’s defense came up with a massive stop, giving their offense the football back.
Bryan Scott rediscovered a rhythm in the fourth quarter, putting the team on his back when they needed him to most. An excellent drive resulted in Scott finding Alexander in the end zone again, as Philadelphia took a four point lead.
They keep calling his number, he keeps coming through for the Stars.@_hardtime3 is cookin' today!
For the first time this season, a team attempted to go for three. Philadelphia made the most of it, converting on a screen pass to Paul Terry, who dove past the pylon. This gave the Stars a 30-23 lead with several minutes left in the game.
THE FIRST 3-POINT CONVERSION OF THE INAUGURAL SEASON 🔥
Pittsburgh’s offense stalled out quickly, giving the Stars an opportunity to pull away. However, the Maulers defense stepped it up down the stretch, getting their offense the football back.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, things didn’t go as planned. On 4th and 5, Love terribly missed an open receiver, which gave Philadelphia the football inside their own 40. Once again, the Maulers were able to get the stop they needed, giving themselves another opportunity.
After an incredible conversion on a long 4th and 10, Love threw a pass that got tipped into the air. Usually, those don’t end well. In this case, Channing Stribling dove and intercepted the pass, sealing the deal for Philly.
After a sloppy game last night, the USFL really needed this. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh both played some excellent football, and showed massive improvements compared to week one.
While the Stars need to clean up their turnovers, the team showed how dominant they can be, especially offensively. Bryan Scott was absolutely sensational, throwing for over 270 yards and combining for four touchdowns. After Holland went down with an injury, Scott carried the team to the finish line.
Pittsburgh should not be discouraged, despite the loss. They looked completely inept last week, but turned things around in week two. Josh Love played much better, and Kirby Wilson’s play calling was very much improved.
At the end of the day, Philadelphia hung on to defeat Pittsburgh in the first epic battle of the Keystone State.
Did you enjoy watching Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh? Which players performed the best in your eyes? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!