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Generals Use Timely Defense, Pittsburgh Turnovers to Put Away Maulers 20-3

It was a cold, blustery afternoon in Canton, Ohio as the New Jersey Generals and Pittsburgh Maulers faced off in a "Canton Cup" of sorts. Both teams will call the "Canton Hub" home this season in the USFL, squaring off in the first regular season match-up at Tom Benson Stadium. With weather reminiscent of a Steelers - Jets game in mid-November, the Generals and Maulers battled through the elements that included rain, graupel and sleet. For much the game, it was a defensive struggle. At the half, the only scoring came as a result of 2 field goals, one for each squad and a 3-3 deadlock. The second half, however, was a much different story as the Generals flexed their defensive muscle and capitalized on a few Mauler mistakes to pull away in this one.

New Jersey (1-1) got the scoring started with a 34 yard field goal off the foot of kicker Nick Sciba. The field goal capped off a 7 play, 36 yard drive that took 3:53 off the clock. Pittsburgh (0-2) answered late in the 2nd quarter with a Nathan Hierlihy 47-yard field goal that capped off a 12 play, 35 yard drive. It was the Maulers best offensive possession on the day.

The Generals defense began to flex their muscle in the 2nd quarter. With the ball down near the goal line, the Maulers failed on 3rd and 4th downs, opting to go with a QB sneak on both attempts, stopping Maulers QB James Morgan before he could fall forward past the goal line.

After the game, Maulers Head Coach Ray Horton stated he didn't regret not taking the points and attempting a field goal which (at the time) would have given his team a 6-3 lead. "3 points in any league, unless you are playing baseball or soccer, isn't enough to win".

Ray Horton answers a question following the loss.

Pittsburgh started the second half with possession and were making their way down the field. The drive stalled and Horton sent out the field goal unit to break the 3-3 tie. This time, Hierlihy's attempt from 47 yards was unsuccessful, giving the Generals good field possession at their own 37. The Generals turned a 7 play 24 yard drive into 3 off the foot of Nick Sciba, breaking the tie with 6:25 left in the 3rd quarter.

Pittsburgh had an opportunity in the latter stages of the 3rd quarter. On a punt attempt to give New Jersey the ball, the Generals were flagged for 12 men on the field, giving the Maulers a fresh set of downs from the New Jersey 45 yard line with 3:37 left in the quarter. They were able to march deeper into General territory and lined up for a field goal to tie the game at 6, however, a high snap led to a fumble and loss of 22 yards, giving New Jersey possession at their own 42 yard line with 35 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.

Any momentum the Maulers hoped to gain was lost with the fumble. The Generals took the ensuing possession 58 yards over 8 plays, capped off by a Dakota Prukop swing pass to receiver Cam Echols-Luper for 10 yards to pay dirt. Sciba nailed the point after and the Generals extended the lead to 13-3.

On the Maulers following possession, QB James Morgan attempted a swing pass of his own deep in their own territory. The pass was broken up by Generals defender Hercules Mata'afa and initially called an incomplete pass on the field. A replay review overturned that call, resulting in a turnover, with New Jersey taking possession on the 1 yard line as Mata'afa had corralled the attempt as the whistle blew the play dead.

The next play saw Generals running back Darius Victor break the plane and put the Generals up 20-3 following the extra point off the boot of Sciba.

In desperation time, attempting to kick-start a stagnant offense that after 2 games has yet to score a touchdown, James Morgan sailed a pass attempt that was brought down by Generals safety Paris Ford with 8:34 left in the game. Sadly, that was not the end of the Maulers turnovers for the day, as in the following offensive possession, Morgan was strip sacked by Tyshun Render with Mata'afa coming away with it. The Generals prevailed 20-3 for their first win of the season.

The Maulers will face off with the Philadelphia Stars while the Generals will square off with the Michigan Panthers. Both games are next Sunday and will be played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

Game Stats



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