The Birmingham Stallions’ winning streak in the United States Football League’s inaugural season came to an end Saturday night with a 17-15 loss to the Houston Gamblers.
The Gamblers, who boast some of the top defensive players in the USFL, forced a safety and intercepted a J’Mar Smith pass with about 1:22 remaining in the game.
Houston’s scoring mostly came on field goals and the safety, but the team took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a Kenji Bahar touchdown pass to Isaiah Zuber to make it 17-15.
Houston needed to play lockdown defense to keep Birmingham from scoring.
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Bahar finished 16-for-24 with 164 passing yards and the touchdown. Tyler Palka led the Gamblers in receiving with six catches for 83 yards. Zuber added three catches for 31 yards and the score.
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Gamblers’ defensive end Ahmad Gooden and defensive tackle Joey Ivie each sacked Smith. Donald Payne, one of the league leaders in tackles, had 12 tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass defended.
For the Stallions, Smith was 28-for-41 with 260 passing yards, a touchdown pass and an interception. Victor Bolden Jr. had eight catches for 74 yards, and Adrian Hardy had the lone touchdown catch from Smith.
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Birmingham already has clinched a playoff spot. The team won the South Division. Houston improved to 2-7 with the victory.