Game Preview: Birmingham Stallions at San Antonio Brahmas, Saturday 25 May, 2024

  • Birmingham Stallions (8-0) at San Antonio Brahmas (6-2)
  • Saturday May 25, 2024 2:00 PM CT (3:00 PM ET)
  • The Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster and Stubhub
  • Network: ABC (Streaming)
  • Announcers: Lowell Galindo (Play-by-play), Tom Luginbill (Analyst), Eric Mac Lain (Sideline Analyst), Kayla Burton (Sideline Reporter)
  • Odds: Birmingham -8.5, O/U 44 (DraftKings)

This will be the first ever matchup between the two franchises, both of which are currently leading their respective conferences with two games remaining in the 2024 UFL season. The Stallions are currently 8-0 and have not lost a game since the 2023 USFL season, while the Brahmas are 6-2 and tied with the Battlehawks for the top spot in the XFL Conference.

A win for the Stallions will lock up first place in the USFL Conference, and a win for the Brahmas will put them in first place in the XFL Conference, depending on how the St. Louis Battlehawks did in their game, which will be held just prior to this matchup.

For the Brahmas, this game is billed as their “Hats Off to Heroes” game, which is meant to show appreciation for all military and first responders. The Brahmas will wear their road Alamo Yellow Jerseys which will help pay homage to yellow ribbons which have been displayed and worn to signify support for military troops and their safe and sound return home.

What do we know?

Following a 39-21 victory in week six against the Memphis Showboats, the Stallions clinched a playoff berth for the third consecutive season. By securing a spot in the postseason in just six games, they became the fastest team to clinch a playoff spot in modern USFL/XFL history.

In Week 8 of the UFL season, the Birmingham Stallions secured a thrilling 35-28 victory over the Houston Roughnecks, keeping their winning streak intact. Houston attempted a comeback at the end, but the Stallions defense thwarted Reid Sinnet’s final scoring attempt to end the game.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez threw for 173 yards, completing 19 of 31 passes for a 61.3% completion rate. He recorded three touchdowns and one interception.

For Week 9, the Stallions will be starting Martinez; however, it is not clear how long Skip Holtz will keep Martinez in the game. Holtz may decide to give Matt Corral playing time in order to keep him ready for the playoff run and keep Martinez healthy for the playoffs.

In Week 8, the Stallions rushed for a total of 149 yards. Ricky Person Jr. led the effort with 63 yards. Adrian Martinez followed with 44 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Larry Rountree III rounded out the top three rushers with 32 yards. The receiving corps made a significant impact. Jace Sternberger finished the game with 30 receiving yards on two receptions. Deon Cain added 29 yards on four receptions, including one touchdown. Marlon Williams closed out the top three with 27 receiving yards on three receptions.

The Stallions lead the league in rushing, amassing 1166 yards on the year. This total surpasses the next closest team, the Michigan Panthers, who have 997 rushing yards on the season, by 169 yards. Birmingham averages 145.8 rushing yards per game, with no other team in the UFL averaging more than 124.6 rushing yards per game (Panthers).

In the league’s rushing yards rankings, QB Adrian Martinez holds the #1 spot for the season with 431 yards. The Stallions also boast two running backs in the top 10: Ricky Person Jr. at #6 with 298 yards and C.J. Marable at #10 with 220 yards. In terms of rushing yards, Birmingham is the only team with three players in the top 10.

Against the Roughnecks, the Stallions defense remained formidable, with 67 total tackles, one interception, and seven passes defended. DeMarquis Gates led with eight tackles, including five solo tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss. Damon Lloyd followed with seven tackles, three of which were solo. Kyahva Tezino also contributed seven tackles, including two solos.

The Stallions’ defense has been dominant this season, ranking first in rushing yards allowed with 511 and second in sacks with 25. Eight of those sacks came against the Memphis Showboats on April 13th, marking the highest sack count in a game for any UFL team this season. Additionally, Birmingham recorded seven sacks as a unit against the Panthers in Week 2.

In Week 8, the San Antonio Brahmas knocked off the Arlington Renegades 20-15 at the Alamodome. San Antonio Brahmas’ running back, Anthony McFarland Jr., made the most of his return to play after missing the last five weeks of the regular season. McFarland had two first-half catch-and-run touchdowns for 52 and 37 yards, set individual game highs for touchdown receptions (2), receiving yards (118), all-purpose yards (136), and tallied 113 receiving yards after the catch.

Quarterback Quinten Dormady came out hot with a strong first half, completing 10-of-13 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Dormady completed 17-of-25 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. In his previous game, Dormady was not as hot, which made people wonder if he was the best choice to lead the Brahmas. This week, with former starting quarterback Chase Garbers back on the roster, head coach Wade Phillips seems to be leaning toward playing Dormady for another week as Garbers becomes re-accustomed to the offensive scheme.

San Antonio’s passing attack through the first four weeks of the UFL season had taken center stage, helping the Brahmas to a 3-1 start. In the last two games, it’s been the running game, as San Antonio has rushed for 451 yards in the past three games. Running back John Lovett ran for a UFL record of 153 yards on 23 carries against the D.C. Defenders. Against Arlington, Lovett and Morgan Ellison combined for 179 of San Antonio’s 190 rushing yards as the Brahmas defeated the Arlington Renegades, 25-15, at Choctaw Stadium.

Offensively, Birmingham is averaging 371.8 yards per game (1st), while San Antonio is at 295.6 (3rd). The Stallions are leading the UFL with 29.5 points per game, while San Antonio is further behind with 20.4 (5th).

Defensively, Birmingham is allowing just 242.8 yards per game (1st), while San Antonio is at 261.3 (3rd). Meanwhile, San Antonio is giving up only 16.4 points per game (1st), while Birmingham is at 17.9 (2nd). San Antonio leads the league with 26 sacks (1st), while Birmingham is just behind with 25 (2nd).

What should we expect?

Both teams are the class of the league on offense and defense, so it is hard to predict who will do better when they meet at the Alamodome. Of course, San Antonio fans will be a factor, as they are a rambunctious bunch and will be vocal about the on-field goings-on. We should expect the Brahmas to get a boost from their fans.

San Antonio is playing for the number one spot in the XFL Conference and home field advantage against the St. Louis Battlehawks in the upcoming playoff game. Meanwhile, the Stallions already secured home field advantage in the upcoming USFL Conference game against the Michigan Panthers, negating the need for victory in this game. However, it would not be like the Stallions to leave anything on the field, even though they could slack off in this game and look at saving themselves for the playoffs.

In this game, oddsmakers give the Stallions an edge of 8.5 points. A good bet might be to take the Brahmas and the spread.

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