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Pittsburgh Maulers Lose to Philadelphia 30-23; Fall to 0-2



The Pittsburgh Maulers squared off against the Philadelphia Stars Saturday afternoon in week two of the USFL season. 

In an exciting back-and-forth affair, the Maulers (0-2) fell 30-23 to the Stars (1-1) after coming up short on their final possession.

On the first drive of the day, Philadelphia quarterback Bryan Scott was intercepted by Jaylon McClain-Sapp, foreshadowing the productive day the Maulers cornerback would display. 

A few drives later and following a forced fumble by Terrell Bonds, the Maulers capped a 12-play, 44-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal by Ramiz Ahmed and the game’s first points. 

The Stars responded with a 75-yard drive to put the first touchdown on the board when quarterback Bryan Scott found wide receiver Diondre Overton from three yards out. 

Maulers quarterback Josh Love, still playing in place of first-rounder Kyle Lauletta, was intercepted on the very next offensive play by Ahmad Dixon inside the Maulers’ 25-yard line. 

It only took six plays for Philadelphia to take advantage when Scott took it in himself from the one, added the extra point, and made the score 14-3.

On the Stars next possession, Scott was sacked as Carlo Kemp made a great play to strip the football away. McClain-Sapp recovered the fumble and took it back for the Maulers’ first touchdown in the USFL’s revival to cut the Philadelphia lead to 14-10. 

Pittsburgh tacked on when it got the ball next, finished off by a five-yard touchdown from Love to tight end Hunter Thedford. The extra point was missed to keep the score 16-10 with the Maulers now in front.

It was certainly not the last time the lead changed hands. 

Philadelphia responded less than two minutes later as the Stars offense picked up steam. Maurice Alexander scored on a 20-yard receiving touchdown from Scott to put Philadelphia ahead 21-16 going into halftime. 

Kirby Wilson’s Maulers – the team’s head man and former Steelers running backs coach – scored the first and only points of the third quarter on an 11-play, 85-yard drive completed by an impressive throw and route. Love connected with receiver Bailey Gaither from 37-yards away as the Maulers took the lead again 23-21. 

That would be the last time the Maulers changed the scoreboard.

Trailing by two going into the middle of the fourth, Scott and Alexander connected again for the game-sealing touchdown. It was followed up by the first-ever three-point conversion attempt and conversion. The try is one play from the 10-yard line with teams having the option to kick the extra point, go for two, or try for three, one of only a few alternatives to NFL rules.

The Maulers had to punt after a three-and-out but made a stop defensively to receive the ball back. 

Love was inaccurate on numerous throws and overthrew a pass that was intercepted by Channing Stribling in the game’s final minutes. 

Scott completed 26-of-36 passes for 272 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception for Philadelphia in a game with five different lead changes. 

Love was 21/39 for 236 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Garrett Groshek rushed for 77 yards on 18 carries and Gaither led the Maulers with seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. 

The Maulers return to action next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. facing the 0-2 Michigan Panthers.