On Sunday the Stars had the opportunity to secure a playoff birth in the 2023 USFL season. Entering play on Sunday the Stars 4-4 held on to first place in the weak North Division. The New Jersey Generals entered play 2-6 a down year for one of last season’s USFL powerhouses. The Stars were looking for their 5th consecutive playoff berth, they are the only team in USFL history to make the playoffs in every year of the league’s existence. They will have to wait at least one more week.
Here We Go
The Generals were off and running in this from the opening kick. Cam Echols-Luper took back the opening kick 85 yards to give the Generals the early lead. On the Star’s first drive of the game, a pass interference on safety Paris Ford put the ball in the Generals’ territory for the Stars.
Later in the drive, quarterback Case Cookus moved the sticks on third down with his legs, getting Philadelphia into the red zone. Then on third-and-goal, Cookus hit Corey Coleman, who was coming across the field, for the 6-yard score. New Jersey got a field goal on its next possession and led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.
After the Stars reached midfield on their next possession, Cookus took off for 28 yards, as shown below. The big pickup on the ground eventually led to a 27-yard field goal from kicker Luis Aguilar.
Generals quarterback De’Andre Johnson threw a deep ball to wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr., who came down with the contested 43-yard completion. Later in the drive, New Jersey pulled off a trick-play touchdown. On third-and-1, Johnson pitched the ball to running back Darius Victor, who threw a goal-line touchdown pass to tight end Braedon Bowman. Hugs abounded following the go-ahead score.
Coming Up Short
De’Andre Johnson began to stamp his imprint on the game in the third quarter, as he linked up with Darrell Stewart Jr. for a massive 56-yard connection. Victor notched his second TD of the game. of the day – this time on the ground – to put a bow on the drive and put N.J. up 23-13. The Generals were pulling out all the stops Sunday, dicing up Philly’s defense with a crafty trick play, before Victor found pay dirt for his third score of the day.
Terry Wright would answer for the Stars. Wright flexed his muscle as he romped into the end zone to cut New Jersey’s lead to 14. Philly began to make Jersey fans nervous as the fourth quarter wound down, as it went 69 yards in nine plays for another quick score.
The Stars tacked on another score as an FG to draw within four, but after the squad got the ball back on an onside attempt, New Jersey forced a game-saving fumble to stave off Philly’s comeback effort. The Generals won 37-33.
With the loss the Stars fell to 4-5 but still control first place in the North Division. There are two games remaining on the schedule and with New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and Michigan all sporting 3-6 records. The battle of the North is on. The Stars will face the Michigan Panthers on Sunday, June 18th at 7 PM on Fox.
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.