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Stallions defeat Generals, 28-24 in an instant classic

The Birmingham Stallions came from behind to defeat the New Jersey Generals 28-24 in an instant classic Saturday.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The USFL got off to a see-saw start, with the league's host team, the Birmingham Stallions, escaping their first game with a 28-24 victory over the New Jersey Generals on Saturday night.

After explosive starts by both sides that featured opening-drive touchdowns, the offenses were stymied until late in the second half.

Neither side scored more than seven consecutive points throughout the game as they struggled to establish and maintain momentum on offense. They both reinvented themselves at halftime, however, as weather became a factor.

The Stallions came out of the halftime locker room without quarterback Alex McGough, who suffered an injury in the first half. J'Mar Smith came in and, despite some early jitters, finished 11 of 21 passing for 156 yards and produced a pair of touchdowns (one rushing, one passing). The rushing touchdown gave Birmingham the lead with 23 seconds left.

New Jersey quarterback De'Andre Smith got most of the reps in the second half after a good start by Luis Perez. Johnson headed a running game that dominated for much of the second half, but the offense came up just short. The Generals will now look to reload and figure out their dual-QB system.

The Sporting News provided live updates of the Generals and Stallions opening the new USFL's first season.