New Jersey Generals Squeeze Out Narrow Victory Over Houston Gamblers

New Jersey Generals Squeeze Out Narrow Victory Over Houston Gamblers

Rounding out the action for the USFL this week is the Houston Gamblers and the New Jersey Generals.

The Generals have been red-hot since losing in the first week. Houston has the opposite problem, failing to grab another win since week 1.

Starting out the season, Coach Riley was set on using a dual-quarterback system in New Jersey. Last week was the first time we saw a single QB play the full game. After a solid win, it would seem as DeAndre Johnson has secured the starting role for the Generals.

Last week Houston lost on the final play of the game, continuing a trend of losing games in the second half. They have a tall task in front of them if they want to come out on top of this one.

1st Quarter

Clayton Thorson and the Houston Gamblers would tart the game with possession. Mark Thompson wasted no time, securing a nice reception and grabbing a ton of extra-yards in the process. Thorson didn’t let up, going long again, this time to Teo Redding who found the end-zone for the early Gamblers touchdown.

Nick Vogel continued to shine, good on the extra-point attempt to give them 7-0 lead over the Generals.

DeAndre Johnson now had his first chance on the field, hoping to get the New Jersey Generals on the board as well.

Johnson came in and moved the offense well. On their first drive, he was able to bring the ball in the red-zone giving them a chance to even things out. It didn’t take him long to find KaVontae Turpin open to grab their first score of the afternoon.

The Gamblers came out hot, but so did New Jersey. They would now have a chance to reclaim the lead with their next drive.

It looked as if they were going to continue their momentum, but the Generals defense came out strong. With the punt, DeAndre Johnson would get the ball back and another New Jersey drive.

He came in hot again, but  buckled his knee going to the sidelines which saw him shook up and carried off the field.

Coach Riley would have no choice but to go back to dual-QB system, bringing Luis Perez out on 3rd and 3. KaVantae Turpin came up with a big reception from Perez to continue the drive.

The drive ended with Perez taking a big sack from Donald Payne, forcing them to punt it back to Houston.

With Clayton Thorson back in control, he handed it off to Dawkins for a huge run resulting in the chains moving.

The broadcast showed DeAndre Johnson back on the sidelines for New Jersey, and it looks like he may come back into the game. With time running out in the first quarter, Clayton Thorson ran it himself on third down to continue the drive going into the second.

2nd Quarter

Going into the second quarter neither team had a turnover, so we were seeing clean action on the field so far.

On 2nd and 18, Thorson attempted to go long and ended up giving up the interception. Although we didn’t have any turnovers to start the game, the Gamblers wasted no time putting the stat on the board.

With New Jersey back in control, Coach Riley opted to keep Luis Perez behind the ball. The team was heavily relying on their running core, with Tre Williams securing a few first downs with his legs. Still, the tea couldn’t find the same rhythm they had with Perez in the game. Near mid-field they were forced to punt it away.

Houston was pinned near their own end-zone, resulting in a quick series from the Gamblers. After a quick three and out, they punted it back to New Jersey.

Perez would start at the 50-yard line, giving the Generals great field possession to kick off the drive. Houston’s defense started out stron,g but PErez went deep to Darius Shepherd to continue the drive. KaVontae Turpin didn’t matter who was throwing the ball, as long as he was the one receiving it. Perez went long, with Turpin grabbing another New Jersey score.

For the first time this afternoon Houston was trailing in the game. There was still a lot of time left to go, but they wouldn’t want to get too far behind.

Unfortunately for Coach Sumlin, Thorson was unable to get any meaningful yards putting them in a position to give it back once again.

New Jersey also had struggles getting the ball moving. After a strong showing from the Gamblers defense they punted it away with under 5-minutes left in the half.

They started near mid-field, and it looked like they were going to have a quick set of downs again. JoJo Tillery made sure they they stayed on the field, grabbing a big pass from Thorson to bring them into New Jersey territory.

Teo Redding also came up with a solid reception, which now had them within 25-yards of the end-zone.

Thorson then focused in on Mark Thompson for his second touchdown of the afternoon. Nick Vogel, who’s been consistent, missed the extra-point, but they were now within one of the Generals.

Luis Perez would get the ball back with 1:07 left to play in the first half. It didn’t work out as planned, Houston forced a turnover, recovering the ball with 53-seconds left to execute. Thorson would start this drive with only 18-yards between him and reclaiming the lead.

Mark Thompson wasn’t done with his performance. Thorson has noted what has been working, targeting him again and getting another touchdown out of it. Coach Sumlin opted for a two-point conversion, in hopes of evening their missed extra-point. The Generals defense was too much, but the Gamblers now had the lead again going into the half.

3rd Quarter

For the fourth straight week the Houston Gamblers held the lead going into the second half. They would hope that history doesn’t repeat itself and they are able to continue the momentum and pull it out.

Luis Perez and the Generals would start out with possession, looking to get back in the lead.

We hadn’t seen a lot from Darius Victor, after coming off a hot week 5 matchup. But, this drive saw him finally get some movement, grabbing a first down to continue the drive. The team almost gave it away on a high pitch to Perez, but he was able to wrangle it in to keep control.

On third and eight, Perez targeted Turpin again to pull it in and continue the drive. They were near the end-zone but had to settle for a field goal attempt. Houston’s defense came up with a big block, with Donald Payne recovering the ball. But, Payne lost the ball near mid-field giving New Jersey possession and a fresh set of downs.

Coach Riley brought Darius Victor into the rotation more often this time around, and it was working well. He had the ball moving better for the team than they had all afternoon so far.

New Jersey was stuck on 4th and 1, with Coach Riley keeping the offense on the field. Darius Victor again took it into his own hands, moving the chains and almost grabbing a touchdown. This would lead us to the end of the third, without Houston seeing any action during the entire quarter.

4th Quarter

The Generals had a great shot to reclaim the lead to start out the final quarter. Houston has been known to blow their leads going into the second half, and it looks like it may happen again.

Perez wasted no time, handing it off to Trey Williams on the first play for another Generals touchdown.

Coach Riley opted to go for two, but the offense couldn’t get it done. Donald Payne stripped the ball again, giving the Gamblers a shot to run it back, but could only make it halfway down the field. New Jersey now had a slim 20-19 lead, with a lot of time left in the matchup.

Clayton Thorson and the Gamblers would now get possession for the first time this half, and would want to get moving quick. They were able to move the ball, but not enough to get six. Coach Sumlin brought Nick Vogel out, but he was wide from 47-yards out keeping the score the same.

New Jersey held possession for the entire third quarter, so it’s possible they could close out the game if they continued on that path. The team relied on Darius Victor a lot to start things out, both grabbing yards and running down the clock.

KaVontae Turpin grabbed a big reception, which looked to be a first down. The officials said it wasn’t enough, but thanks to the USFL chip technology we had a quick answer and a new set of downs.

Things looked to be going great for New Jersey, but the Houston defense had other ideas. They forced a fumble, which resulted in a huge return for another Gamblers touchdown. Coach Sumlin went for two again, but still couldn’t get it done. Regardless, they now led New Jersey 25-20 with 5:50 left to play.

Luis Perez would come back on the field for potentially the final New Jersey drive of the afternoon. Coach Riley kept relying on his running unit to run some time, in hops that they could walk out of this game with a touchdown and a win.

At the two-minute warning New Jersey was near mid-field stuck on 4th and 2. On a last second pass, Perez found Woody Brandom to move the chains.

New Jersey kept creeping closer to the end-zone, but the clock was also chasing behind them. Trey Williams continued to shine, bringing them to first and goal with 41-seconds left in the matchup. They were forced to take a timeout with 8-seconds left, at 3rd and short right on the goal line.

Perez took one shot at the end-zone but couldn’t find his man giving them one last show with two-seconds remaining. Luis Perez had no choice but to go for it himself, narrowly sneaking it in for the touchdown and the lead. This is now the third week in a row that the Houston Gamblers have lost on the final play of the game.

New Jersey continues their winning ways, moving to 5-1, solidifying themselves as the team to beat in the north. It’ll take a miracle for Houston to make the playoffs at this point, but the door is still open… somehow.

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