Stars’ defense comes up big in low-scoring win over Breakers

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The Philadelphia Stars cruised past the New Orleans Breakers on Sunday in a back-and-forth game that ended with a 16-10 victory for the Stars’ second straight victory.

Philadelphia’s defense earned a “gold star” for the day. He forced two punts to start the game before taking matters into his own hands when cornerback Amani Dennis jumped a route for an interception by New Orleans quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Dennis then proceeded to run the ball into the Stars’ end zone for Philadelphia’s first touchdown of the game. He put the Stars ahead 13-0 in the second quarter.

The defense also totaled two sacks on Bethel-Thompson, including one in the third quarter on third-and-16 that forced the Breakers into a field goal after getting as close as Philadelphia’s 11.

The offense showed flashes of its potential as both quarterback Case Cookus and running back Matthew Colburn contributed multiple explosive plays throughout the afternoon. Colburn finished as the team’s leading rusher with 62 yards on 13 carries, including a 25-yard run that took his team into New Orleans territory in the fourth quarter.

The Stars’ biggest flaw came after a fairly clean game. Quarterback Case Cookus hit an unsuspecting New Orleans defender with the ball while Cookus was being tackled out of bounds. The shovel pass came before Cookus came out and was therefore an interception by cornerback Nevelle Clarke, as he stood watching the tackle unfold.

Things went from bad to worse as wide receiver Terry Wright was ejected for fighting on the New Orleans sideline immediately after the play. Wright had a big 30-yard catch early in the game and was one of eight receivers to catch a Cookus ball all afternoon.

Cookus finished 17 of 27 for 238 passing yards and two interceptions.

But because of Philadelphia’s defense, the Breakers couldn’t convert the drive into points, after the Stars’ defense stepped up and forced a field goal. Kicker Matt Coghlin missed the 42-yarder and the Stars clung to their 13-10 lead with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

New Orleans had gotten on the board for the first time with 2:35 left in the first half on a hit by Bethel-Thompson on wide receiver Johnnie Dixon. After the ensuing punt, the Stars took a 13-7 lead just before halftime.

Penalties would be a constant problem for the Stars all afternoon. Just before the end of the first half, the Stars failed to convert a third-and-6 after another penalty and sent the team on a punt with 31 seconds left in halftime. Another promising game stalled, and instead of answering New Orleans’ first score, they couldn’t add to their 13-7 halftime lead.

Just as they were gaining momentum early in the fourth quarter, penalties again set the Stars back where, instead of a complete pass to Devin Gray to put Philadelphia at the Breakers’ 11-yard line, the wide receiver Pro Wells. offensive pass interference and Cookus threw an interception at the goal line on second-and-17, giving the Breakers the ball back.

Another OPI call negated a score in the fourth quarter with the Stars clinging to a three-point lead. He made it third and goal from the 11 before Cookus ran the ball over to score. Except the touchdown was negated by a holding call and the Stars faced third-and-goal from the 21-yard line. Even after a great catch-and-run by running back Colburn, Philadelphia was forced to settle for a field goal, going up 16-10 with 3:15 left.

The Stars moved down the field with ease on their first possession, going for first-and-goal from the 8-yard line. The offense lined up with two receivers stacked on either side of the formation, sending New Orleans into man coverage to account for each of them, and it was Cookus who ended up tucking the ball in and in- the.

But a holding call on wide receiver Diondre Overton negated the score, backing the Stars up to the 13-yard line. Philadelphia couldn’t hit it and settled for a field goal as the game’s first points, taking a 3-0 lead over the South-leading Breakers with 6:12 left in the first quarter. It was kicker Luis Aguilar’s ninth straight field goal after coming off a USFL-record eight field goal game in Week 5 for the Stars.

In fact, Aguilar was once again one of the main sources of points for the Stars, with a total of three field goals, which brought his total to 11 in a row.

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had previous stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, including 2020, adding the title of Super Bowl champion (and boat parade participant) to her resume. You can follow Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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