Week 9 of the USFL season came to a close Sunday on FS1 with a down-to-the-wire matchup between South Division rivals Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The Stars narrowly came out on top, 17-16, bringing their record to 6-3 on the season and 2-0 against the Maulers, who drop to 1-8.
Earlier Sunday, the New Orleans Breakers took down the Tampa Bay Bandits, 17-6, to clinch the final spot in the inaugural USFL playoffs in Canton, Ohio.
Here are the top plays from the late game.
Philadelphia Stars 17, Pittsburgh Maulers 16
The Stars got off to a hot start, picking off Maulers QB Vad Lee near the red zone to take over. Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead after nailing a 47-yard field goal midway through the first frame after the turnover.
Lee redeemed himself on the following drive, connecting with tight end Hunter Thedford for a 23-yard gain. Then, the Maulers knotted things up with a monster 59-yard field goal to keep things close.
Reeling it in
On the Stars’ following drive, QB Case Cookus found TE Bug Howard for a 29-yard pickup to move Philly downfield.
Misfortune struck the Stars early in the second quarter, however, when Matt Colburn fumbled near midfield.
Tricks up their sleeves
The Maulers came out strong once they got the ball back. First, they picked up a huge first down on a fake punt on fourth-and-3.
Maulers snag six
Then, with momentum on its side, Pittsburgh found the end zone on a fake field goal to take a 10-3 lead.
How’d he catch that?
The Stars’ defense showed up in a big way, intercepting Lee’s pass to keep the Maulers in check.
The Maulers quickly returned the favor, picking off Cookus to close out the first half.
Evening things up
After a wild 32-yard catch by Maurice Alexander put the Stars on Pittsburgh’s 5-yard line, Philadelphia tied things up in the third quarter with a short TD run from Paul Terry.
Regaining the lead
The Maulers opened up the fourth-quarter scoring with a smooth TD from Lee to wideout Tre Walker to put Pittsburgh ahead, 16-10.
Maulers’ Vad Lee finds Tre Walker for a 28-yard TD
Pittsburgh Maulers QB Vad Lee finds WR Tre Walker for a go-ahead 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
To the house!
A fumble by the Maulers turned into six points when Colburn scampered 51 yards to give Philadelphia a one-point edge, 17-16, late in the frame.
Matt Colburn breaks off a 51-yard TD
The Philadelphia Stars took a fourth-quarter lead behind a 51-yard rush by RB Matt Colburn.
The Stars’ defense continued to show out, as the Maulers fumbled the ball once again on the following drive.
The Maulers had one last chance to come away with the win, but they couldn’t connect on a 49-yard field goal.
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USFL – Stars vs. Maulers – 6/12/2022