Birmingham Stallions USFL Conference Championship, Recap, Notes, Photos and Postgame Press Conference

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 8, 2024) – The Birmingham Stallions scored 28 unanswered points and shut out the Michigan Panthers in the second half en route to a 31-18 victory in the USFL Conference Championship Game Saturday in front of 10,287 fans at Protective Stadium.

Michigan (7-4) was in control early, scoring on each of its first five possessions. But the Panthers settled for field goals on four of those possessions, building an 18-3 lead late in the second quarter that could have been larger.

The fourth of those Jake Bates field goals for Michigan was followed by a kickoff that went out of bounds, giving Birmingham possession at the 50-yard line. On the next play, Stallions quarterback Adrian Martinez found tight end Jordan Thomas streaking down the seam for a 50-yard scoring strike to make it 18-9. Birmingham (10-1) added a field goal with 12 seconds remaining in the first half to pull within six, 18-12.

The third quarter featured six turnovers, with each team giving the ball away three times. However, the last of those six turnovers was a momentum-shifting play. Birmingham’s Daniel Isom picked off Michigan quarterback Danny Etling and returned it 48 yards for a score, tying the contest at 18-18.

Matt Corral, who took over in relief of Martinez in the third quarter, tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Amari Rodgers with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter to put Birmingham in front for the first time, 24-18. That score was set up by Corral’s 43-yard completion to Gary Jennings on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Michigan was forced to settle for another field goal opportunity on its ensuing possession. But Bates’ 44-yard attempt was blocked by Armani Taylor-Prioleau. Corral then went back to work, passing for 51 yards on a 64-yard scoring drive that was capped by a Corral-to-Ricky Person 15-yard touchdown pass. A 1-point conversion pass from Corral to Thomas accounted for the final score of 31-18.

Birmingham outgained Michigan 365-253. Corral was 9-of-11 for 120 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Martinez finished 10-of-19 for 164 yards, one touchdown and one interception. C.J. Marable led the way for the Stallions on the ground, rushing for 77 yards on eight carries. Kyahva Tezino paced the Stallions’ defense with seven total tackles, while Ike Brown grabbed two interceptions to go along with Isom’s interception for a touchdown.

Etling was 18-of-29 for 182 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for Michigan. Nate McCrary rushed 11 times for 62 yards for the Panthers. Siaosi Mariner caught four passes for 60 yards, including a 35-yard score on the first possession of the game for Michigan. Noah Dawkins led the Panthers defense with 8 total tackles, all of the solo variety, one sack and a forced fumble.

With the victory, Birmingham advances to the United Football League Championship Game, slated for June 16 at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis. The Stallions will face either the St. Louis Battlehawks or San Antonio Brahmas, who play the XFL Conference Championship Game Sunday in St. Louis.


  • The USFL Conference Championship was the first postseason game in United Football League history, as the Birmingham Stallions hosted the Michigan Panthers at Protective Stadium.
  • The game featured eight combined takeaways between the two teams (BHAM: 4; MICH: 4), which is the most in a UFL game this season and tied for the most in legacy USFL/XFL history.
  • Six of the aforementioned turnovers came in the third quarter. The first three possessions of the third quarter resulted in turnovers, followed by two punts and three more consecutive turnovers.
  • The Birmingham Stallions and head coach Skip Holtz have now won their respective division/conference championship game for three straight seasons (USFL South Division Champions in 2022-23; USFL Conference Champions in 2024). They will make their third straight league championship game appearance, coming off back-to-back USFL Championships in 2022-23. Holtz and Birmingham are undefeated (5-0) in the postseason in modern USFL/UFL history.
  • Birmingham cornerback Ike Brown became the first player in the UFL to have multiple interceptions in a game this season, as he picked off quarterback Danny Etling in the third and fourth quarter.
  • Michigan placekicker Jake Bates attempted six field goals (making 4), which is the most field goal attempts by one player in a game this season. The previous high was 5, held by Bates as well.
  • The Panthers scored on each of their first five possessions (1 TD, 4 FGs).
  • Birmingham scored 28 unanswered points over the final 30 minutes, 53 seconds of the game.
  • Michigan converted a fake field goal in the third quarter when Kai Nacua completed an 18-yard pass to Kedrick Whitehead.
  • Birmingham won its 10th game of the season, marking three straight seasons the Stallions have reached double-digit victories.



— With files provided by the Birmingham Stallions

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