The Birmingham Stallions will be back in the USFL playoffs as they are set to defend their league title during the second season of the league's return. Birmingham took down Houston, 38-15, Sunday afternoon in Memphis behind a pair of touchdown passes from Alex McGough and some key defensive plays in the fourth quarter.
The Stallions (7-2) have now won four consecutive games, its longest winning streak of the season. Birmingham can clinch the top seed in the division and a home playoff game with a win or a New Orleans loss next week during the final week of the regular season.
Houston played well in the first half but failed to capitalize on its trips into the Stallions territory, only walking away with three field goals. The Gamblers still held a six-point lead late in the half but Birmingham pushed into the lead when McGough threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jace Sternberger with 13 seconds to go in the second quarter.
McGough started the second half in similar fashion, leading a touchdown drive capped off with a 38-yard pass to Deon Cain. Houston responded well though, adding two more field goals to its tally and cutting Birmingham's lead to just two points heading into the fourth quarter.
But the final frame belonged to the Stallions.
CJ Marable scored on a 2-yard run less than a minute into the fourth quarter. After the two teams exchanged punts, Birmingham added to its lead with a defensive score. Matt Hankins picked up a loose ball and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown.
McGough got to put the final cherry on top with a 16-yard touchdown run with just over four minutes to go in the game. McGough finished with 208 yards and two scores through the air while rushing for 34 yards and the touchdown.
Birmingham will play in Memphis again next weekend where it can clinch the top seed in the South Division for the second straight season. A loss would open the door for the New Orleans Breakers to win the division with a win its regular season finale.
Because both of the teams that could win the division play home games in Birmingham, the South Division Championship Game will be played at Protective Stadium on June 25.