Houston Gamblers Top New Jersey For Fourth Straight Win

Houston Gamblers Top New Jersey For Fourth Straight Win

Week six of the USFL concluded tonight, with a matchup between the Houston Gamblers and New Jersey Generals.

Both of these teams headed into this game trending in opposite directions. The Houston Gamblers were riding hot, with a three game winning streak – dominating opponents.

Meanwhile, Mike Riley’s New Jersey Generals were in a slump. They had lost two in a row, falling under the .500 mark for the first time since week one.

Let’s take a look at what happened in today’s game, as it was entertaining from start to finish.

First Quarter

It was a slow start to this affair for both teams. Large chunks of the first quarter featured excellent defense, including a 4th and 2 stop by the Gamblers defensive unit.

Towards the end of the period, RB Mark Thompson made his mark, smashing his way into the end zone to put the team in front.

Heading into the next quarter, it was a 7-0 lead for the Houston Gamblers.

Second Quarter

New Jersey’s offense struggled to start this game, with Kyle Lauletta at the helm. Multiple times it appeared as if Kyle and his receivers were simply not on the same page, which led to another punt.

It was a bit of a “punt-fest” to begin this quarter, as Houston sent it right back. On 3rd and 17, Lauletta used his legs, miraculously picking up the first down. However, the team would still have to punt, and Houston took over once again.

An excellent return from Justin Hall set up the team with solid field position. They took advantage, as Nick Vogel knocked through a short field goal to take a 10-0 lead.

It wouldn’t get any better for New Jersey. Lauletta threw a pass right to Jeremiah Johnson, who returned it to midfield for the Gamblers.

A successful field goal from Vogel handed Houston a 13-0 lead heading into halftime.

Third Quarter

A long drive from Houston to begin the second half resulted in points, but New Jersey’s defense held up just long enough to keep them out of the end zone. Another field goal from Vogel extended the team’s lead to 16.

Both of the drives were ridiculously long in this quarter. In fact, New Jersey’s possession wasn’t even completed as we headed into the final fifteen minutes.

Fourth Quarter

New Jersey opted for a field goal to start the fourth quarter, to at least get some points on the board. Nic Sciba’s kick was successful, which made it 16-3.

The defense was able to force a stop, giving their offense another possession. As was the story the entire second half, this drive took up a ton of time. However, it would pay off in dividends. After one score was called back due to a penalty, Kyle Lauletta found Alonzo Moore streaking across the middle, and just like that it was a 16-10 game.

The New Jersey Generals opted to go with the 4th and 12 attempt, to try and regain possession. They failed, as Houston’s defense made an excellent play on the ball to close things down.

Ultimately, the Houston Gamblers would be able to run out the rest of the clock. Mark Thompson continues to pound away, dismantling New Jersey’s defense one by one. As time expired, the Gamblers went home with the victory, 16-10 over the Generals.

Standout Playmakers

RB Mark Thompson: What a season it’s been for Mark Thompson, who has been sensational since returning from injury in week three. In just four weeks, he’s run for nine touchdowns. To put it in perspective, Darius Victor led the league last year with nine touchdowns…in ten games. Mark ran for 82 yards and a score today, leading Houston to victory.

LB Khalan Tolson: Tolson continues to be a pillar for this Gamblers defense. He led the way today with seven tackles, making an impact throughout the entire game.

CB Jeremiah Johnson: It was an outstanding effort today from Jeremiah Johnson, who racked up six tackles, 2 PD, and an interception against New Jersey. His play has been vital to Houston’s defensive success over the last few weeks of action.

CB Trae Elston: Despite the loss, Elston left it all out on the field. He was involved in several important plays defensively, and compiled seven tackles on the day. His efforts were certainly noticed, stepping up for multiple players who went down with an injury.

Post-Game Comments

We asked QB Kyle Lauletta about making his first start this season:

Q: “Kyle, this was your first start in the USFL since last season when you were with the Pittsburgh Maulers. What was the preparation process like for you, starting for a team that you weren’t active for previously in the year?”

A: “My preparation is the same. Every week, regardless of whether I’m the first guy, second guy, or third guy. I try to pride myself in being the same guy every day, preparing like I’m going to play no matter what. You know, it happened last week where I was the #2 and ended up going into the game, so you always gotta be ready, and the preparation is always the same. You know, it was my first start, so no excuses for some missed throws and errant throws in the first half. Wish I had those back. But just move forward, push on, and we have four more games left. Our goal is to be playing our best football down the stretch. All our focus is on that.”

Houston Gamblers

We asked Head Coach Curtis Johnson about the impact Jeremiah Johnson is having on the defensive end:

Q: “Coach, incredible effort all around from your defense today, shutting down New Jersey in the pass & run game. Someone I want to highlight is Jeremiah Johnson, who had six tackles, a couple of passes defensed, and an interception – he’s been playing excellent football for your defense all season long. What can you say about his leadership on the defensive end of the football?”

A: “The one thing about him (Jeremiah Johnson), man, the first day of camp I knew he was a top rated corner. I mean, he could do it all. He can run, he can tackle, he can hit. He also has great ball skills, as you can see. He’s one of those players who is rare to find, and he’s a pleasure to coach.”

Final Thoughts

Overall, it was another successful day in the USFL for the Houston Gamblers. Curtis Johnson has this team absolutely rolling, with four straight wins to maintain a playoff berth in the South Division.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Generals have a lot to figure out on their end. For the first time in the modern USFL, they’ve lost three games in a row. Mike Riley will have to come up with some sort of scheme to get this offense back on track.

What are your thoughts on this USFL matchup between the Houston Gamblers and New Jersey Generals? Which USFL players impressed the most? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!