The following was originally published on BigTimeSportsOhio.com.
Maurice Alexander returned a punt 87 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the Philadelphia Stars’ 19-14 victory over the New Jersey Generals in Saturday’s USFL semifinal at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Stars snapped the Generals’ 9-game winning streak and will advance to play Saturday night’s winner of the New Orleans Breakers (6-4) and the Birmingham Stallions (9-1) in the USFL Championship next Sunday, Jul. 3.
When asked if the kick return was the biggest moment of his pro football career, Alexander responded: “By far. On this stage, with these guys, on national television and to be able to help my team. Huge moment.”
Philadelphia took the early lead and kept it for most of the game. Leading 10-0 at halftime (on a field goal followed by a rushing touchdown by quarterback Case Cookus), the Stars suffered a few key turnovers to allow New Jersey a 3rd quarter touchdown to cut down the lead. Later in the final period, USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin – before Alexander’s score – ran 78 yards on a punt return to give New Jersey a 14-13 lead with 10:30 remaining.
Alexander, who was fourth among all USFL players in punt return yardage (164) during the regular season, raced back to avenge Turpin’s touchdown and reclaim the lead for the Stars. Cookus – who was 10-of-20 for 133 passing yards to match a team-high 39 rushing yards – called the return the “easiest two-minute drive I’ve ever been a part of.”
New Jersey would attempt a final comeback on their last drive before QB Luis Perez (19-25, 191 pass yards, 2 interceptions) threw a pick to seal the game.