A Look Back At The Generals Fifth Straight Conquest
Thanks to the heroics of veteran quarterback Luis Perez and a little nudge from his teammate, Darius Victor, at the goal line in the game’s final play. The Generals edged out the hard-luck 1-5 Gamblers on Sunday.
Luis Perez and Darius Victor have continued their run of good play together from the XFL in 2020, where they helped lead the New York Guardians to first place. They have been great leaders in both Spring Pro Football leagues. All season long, Head coach Mike Riley has singled both of them out for their leadership traits.
In their Week 6 triumph over Houston. Despite losing emerging star quarterback De’Andre Johnson to a leg injury in the first half, New Jersey showed a lot of character coming from behind early and late. Something that New Jersey hasn’t displayed much of this season because they have played a front-running style of play primarily.
However, the successful formula that the Generals have implemented all season long was the catalyst in them snatching victory from the jaws of defeat on Sunday.
New Jersey controlled the football for a staggering 40 minutes in the blazing hot Birmingham sun at Protective Stadium. The Generals rushed for 164 yards in the game. And in one bizarre sequence, they possessed the football for the entire third quarter. Thanks to the Gamblers fumbling away a blocked Austin Jones field goal and giving New Jersey a mulligan to finish their scoring drive in Houston territory.
It wasn’t all the ground game, though, for New Jersey. The two players who deserve a ton of credit for Sunday’s outcome were WR KaVontae Turpin and QB Luis Perez.
Turpin has emerged as one of the USFL’s brightest stars. Against Houston, he had 13 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and it was Turpin’s second straight week going over the century mark in receiving.
With De’Andre Johnson’s status unclear at the moment for Week 7 and beyond. The Generals could lose some of their edge in their RPO-based rushing attack because opposing teams can sell out and ignore the quarterback on run plays.
However, Luis Perez (18/24 159 yards and two touchdowns) showed his value to the entire league in Week 6. He made several clutch and unlikely plays yesterday in New Jersey’s game-winning drive.
It’s hard to believe that Perez went undrafted in the USFL draft three months ago.
Perez’s performance with New Jersey on and off the field is not surprising for those who have followed his recent exploits closely in spring pro football.
Luis Perez showed his growth as a player and a leader in his XFL stint. And it’s on full display now in the USFL. Perez has matured as a quality decision-maker in the pocket after he struggled as a first-time pro starter in the AAF in 2019, ironically enough playing games in Birmingham with the Iron.
No matter what happens with De’Andre Johnson moving forward. The Generals are in good hands, with Luis Perez leading the troops.
New Jersey Generals Week 7 Playoff Scenario
Only four weeks remain in the 2022 USFL regular season. The New Jersey Generals sit atop the Northern Division with a commanding 5-1 record. Because they sport a 3-0 division record and a head-to-head victory over second-place Philadelphia (3-3). The Generals effectively have a three-game lead over the Stars in the North with four weeks to go.
As chronicled here last week at USFLNewshub, the exact scenario needed for the Generals to get closer to punching their ticket to the USFL playoffs in Canton, Ohio, played itself out in New Jersey’s favor in week 6. The Pittsburgh Maulers and Michigan Panthers lost over the weekend; both teams have fallen to 1-5 in the standings.
Barring a scenario where New Jersey drops their last four games to slide to 5-5. And either Michigan or Pittsburgh runs the table to get to five wins. (Only one of the two teams can accomplish that because they play one another in week ten). The Generals are practically in the playoffs already unless a tie-breaker edges them out.
This coming Saturday afternoon, New Jersey is marching into their Week 7 game against the 3-3 Tampa Bay Bandits facing a win, and they are in the playoffs scenario. However, the Generals could also qualify for the postseason, even if their five-game win streak is snapped, provided that the Panthers and Maulers lose both their games this weekend. Michigan is facing the 4-2 New Orleans Breakers on Saturday night. Pittsburgh will have the unenviable task of trying to unseat the undefeated 6-0 Birmingham Stallions on Sunday.
This is the final week of cross-divisional regular-season games between USFL teams until the championship game on July 3rd. The last three weeks of the regular season will be divisional matchups, and New Jersey’s spot in the playoffs could be decided before then.