The Birmingham Stallions are poised to return to the USFL Championship this season as only the New Orleans Breakers stand in their way to a second straight division title.
Birmingham finished the regular season with eight wins and is currently riding a five-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s South Division Championship. Birmingham have a 91+ point differential and have not lost a game while away from home. Much of the success has to do with perennial MVP candidate and first-team All-USFL quarterback Alex McGough.
McGough began the season backing up J’Mar Smith, who led the Stallions to the championship during the 2022 season. However, Smith was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a finger injury sustained in April, and has been the McGough’s team the rest of the way. Ironically, McGough started last season as QB1 before going down with an injury and Smith came on to help lead the Stallions to the title.
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The 27-year-old former FIU standout emerged as the favorite to win USFL MVP as he leads the league with 20 touchdown passes along with 2,104 passing yards.
«It was kind of a roller coaster at first, not knowing how much time I was going to have to play and splitting time. I think I prepared myself all offseason to play, and I prepared myself mentally and physically. I think it’s starting to program.» McGough told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.
«I couldn’t have done any of this by myself. I couldn’t have been first team or player of the weeks or anything if it wasn’t for the offensive line, receivers and running backs that are helping me.» Everyone has to do with every compliment I’ve received. It is the team that should receive the award. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get that championship trophy at the end of the year. «
McGough was one of four players to earn All-USFL honors. Tight end Jace Sternberger, punter Cody Wadman and long snapper Ryan Langan joined him.
The team aspect is part of the reason the Stallions are on the brink of a second appearance in the USFL Championship.
«I feel good,» McGough said ahead of the division championship. «I think we’ve been playing pretty good on offense. I think we need to stop turning the ball over so much. I think we’ve lost the ball and I’ve had interceptions that we need to stop hurting ourselves, but I feel confident going into the game.»
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The Stallions also had to beat the Breakers last season to get to the championship game. Birmingham managed to win 31-17 and then edged out the Philadelphia Stars to win the title. This season, their series was tied 1-1 as New Orleans won the first game 45-31, but Birmingham won the second, 24-20.
«I think we have to play our game on both sides of the ball. I’m confident enough to say if we play our game then I don’t think anybody can beat us,» he told Fox News Digital. «So we just have to try to go out there and execute our players and execute the game plan and just play a really physical game and hopefully go out there and get the win.»
McGough represents the growing number of players who have been given another shot at professional football after failing to join a 53-man NFL roster. He was selected in the seventh round of the draft by the Seattle Seahawks in 2018. He then jumped between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans before finding a home with the Stallions in the USFL.
Now, he is two wins away from a second title.
«I think the main thing is to play again and that’s what this opportunity and this league is about,» he said. «And I think everyone should try it.»
The Stallions and Breakers will battle for the USFL Championship at Birmingham’s Protective Stadium on Sunday. It is the first time in 38 years that the city of Birmingham will host a playoff game. The winner will play the North Division champion, either the Michigan Panthers or the Pittsburgh Maulers.
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The game can be seen on FOX at 7 pm ET.