Major Takeaways & Highlights From The Inaugural USFL Championship

Major Takeaways & Highlights From The USFL’s Inaugural Championship

The USFL officially concluded their season this past weekend, and it was a smashing success. The Birmingham Stallions outlasted the Philadelphia Stars in an exciting Championship showdown, 33-30.

Throughout the game’s entirety, there was no shortage of incredible plays, and thrilling moments. It was everything you could have asked for: excellent football played on both sides, and a match that came down to the wire.

Let’s take a look at the key takeaways from Sunday, as the USFL finished their inaugural season in dazzling fashion.

Bo Scarbrough’s First Half Domination

This weekend told a much different story for Bo Scarbrough. After being contained by New Orleans quite well in round one, Scarbrough was absolutely unstoppable on Sunday. His massive first half is what gave Birmingham a solid advantage, ultimately propelling them to victory.

Because Bo was so successful early on, it allowed J’Mar Smith and Alex McGough to more easily find a rhythm during the game. Obviously, it’s hard to throw the football at a high level if there isn’t a threat in the backfield. Scarbrough provided the Stallions with just that, which was a key factor in their Championship win.

Both Smith & McGough Were Solid

J’Mar Smith started the game for Birmingham, and played great football. Boosted by Scarbrough’s impressive performance, Smith was putting on a show of his own. He found his stride in the second quarter especially, making multiple bigtime plays to help the Stallions take a double digit lead into halftime.

However, when Smith went down with an injury, Alex McGough was spectacular. Even though he came into the game after Philadelphia took the lead – and threw an interception quickly, McGough was confident throughout it all. His consistency to stick with it was certainly noticed by everyone watching, as McGough took the team down the field for the go ahead touchdown.

What these two quarterbacks have accomplished is quite impressive. Despite the obstacles faced all season long, they simply got the job done. It isn’t always pretty – and it wasn’t perfect by any means. However, McGough and Smith brought a Championship to Skip Holtz’ Stallions; and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.

Did Cookus’ Injury Cost Philadelphia A Championship?

There is no doubt about it: Case Cookus was playing incredible football up until his injury. The signal caller had thrown for 222 yards, and three touchdowns, with plenty of game time left. Cookus was clearly the Stars’ main source of offense, connecting with Jordan Suell for a pair of touchdowns. As good as Birmingham’s defense is, they did not have many answers for Case.

Once he went down, that unit just wasn’t the same. KJ Costello certainly has talent, but wasn’t ready for the big stage at that moment. Not to mention, the Stars were missing their two starting running backs – and no one tallied more than 29 yards on the ground.

If Cookus stayed healthy, who knows how this game would have ended. Philadelphia was up against it – but remember, they had a three point lead and possession as he got hurt. Could he have led them to the Championship trophy? Probably. But, at the end of the day, the Stars couldn’t get the job done without their leader on the gridiron.

Sharkdawg Comes Up Clutch

The deciding play of the game was certainly Scooby Wright’s pick six. With only a few minutes left, Wright made a play on a poor throw from Castello, putting the Stallions on top by ten.

It turned out to be too much for Philadelphia to overcome, and Birmingham held on to win. Wright has consistently made an impact since day one, and it was fitting for the season to finish with his imprints all over the conclusion.

Victor Bolden Jr: Championship MVP

Another non-surprising factor was Victor Bolden having a fantastic outing. Bolden racked up over 150 total yards of offense on the day, including the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Just like Wright, Bolden has been a leader for the Stallions all year long. His Championship MVP was well deserved, as he brings an unmatched intensity to the field every single minute.

After his outstanding USFL season, Bolden should be well on his way to an NFL franchise.

Bart Andrus: Out-manned, Not Out-coached

To be fair, we have to give Bart Andrus a bit of slack for only coming up short by three points. His already battered team lost Cookus in the fourth quarter, at such a pivotal moment. After Jordan Moore’s interception, it seemed like the game was in their hands.

That wasn’t the case, no pun intended. The trophy slipped through their fingers due to injuries, offensive miscues, and the slightest of margins. Andrus led this team through thick and thin, bringing them just minutes away from a Championship. Book it now: Andrus and his squad will be back. The spring league coaching legend will find a way.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the USFL’s inaugural championship was exceptional. You couldn’t have asked for a better night, when all was said and done. The weather was perfect, the gameplay proved to be sensational, and we were finally rewarded with a spring league champion.

As each team hits the offseason, it will be interesting to see what happens in every organization. Make sure to stay tuned into our website, to stay up to date with everything you need to know about the USFL!

What did you think of the USFL’s Championship game? Do you think the league is in good hands moving forward? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!