Stallions seek second straight USFL title against unlikely opponent

Birmingham led by former FIU star, USFL MVP Alex McGough
Birmingham Stallions QB Alex McGough throws in 2022 USFL game
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-01 17:17:12-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — When the Birmingham Stallions take the field Saturday night, they'll try to become the first team in the history of the United States Football League to win consecutive championships.

The Stallions will face the Pittsburgh Maulers at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, in the sophomore outing of the USFL Championship Game. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. on WPTV.

How Pittsburgh found its way to the title game is somewhat of a surprise considering how the Maulers performed this season.

The Maulers finished the regular season with a 4-6 record – good enough for first place in the USFL North Division but would have resulted in a last-place finish in the South Division.

USFL logo on pylon in end zone, April 16, 2022
The USFL logo is seen on a pylon in the end zone during the first half of a game Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Birmingham, Ala.

Pittsburgh advanced to the title game by beating the Michigan Panthers 31-27 in overtime of the playoffs last weekend.

Birmingham, on the other hand, is playing for its second straight USFL championship after finishing with a league-best 8-2 regular-season record.

The Stallions are led by former Florida International quarterback Alex McGough, who was named the 2023 USFL MVP.

McGough directed the USFL's top offense with 3,326 total yards and 287 points. The 27-year-old Tampa native threw for 2,105 yards and set a modern USFL record with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

A backup most of last season, McGough came off the bench after an injury to starter J'Mar Smith in the championship game and completed 7 of 10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown to help the Stallions claim the USFL title.

Birmingham Stallions receiver Victor Bolden Jr. celebrates with QB Alex McGough after TD in second half of 2022 USFL Championship
Birmingham Stallions wide receiver Victor Bolden Jr. celebrates with quarterback Alex McGough after a touchdown reception during the second half of the USFL Championship game against the Philadelphia Stars, Sunday, July 3, 2022, in Canton, Ohio. The Birmingham Stallions won 33-30.

McGough began the 2022 season as the starter but was hurt in the opening game. The roles were reversed in 2023. After Smith's injury in a 27-10 win against the New Jersey Generals in April, McGough came off the bench and never returned.

The Stallions stomped the New Orleans Breakers 47-22 in the playoffs for their sixth straight victory.

Birmingham beat Pittsburgh 24-20 earlier this season and will be heavily favored to take home the crown again Saturday night.