Doug Williams threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, as the Arizona Wranglers held on for a 33-24 victory over New Jersey in the USFL's Monday Night Football season-opener.
Williams-- who joined Arizona after the demise of the Outlaws franchise-- completed 23-of-41 passes with an interception for the Wranglers (1-0).
Tight end Ron Wheeler caught six of the tosses for 70 yards and Alvin Williams added two scores, while Otis Brown ran for 45 yards on eight carries in the victory.
Doug Flutie made his pro debut, but completed just 8-of-26 passes for 117 yards with four interceptions for the Generals (0-1). Herschel Walker led all rushers with 131 yards on 29 carries and two scores.
Arizona got out to a quick start, scoring on its first drive when Luis Zendejas nailed a 50-yard field goal and then Williams tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Williams at the 10:55 mark of the first frame.
The Generals then responded with three straight scores, two from Herschel Walker and a third from James Lockette via a 38-yard fumble return pushing New Jersey out toa 21-10 lead with just over two minutes left in the half.
A late field goal from Luis Zendejas made it a 21-13 game at the intermission.
New Jersey kicker Roger Ruzek opened the second-half scoring, but the Generals would then be stymied for the remainder of the contest.
Kevin Shea kicked a 26-yard field goal with just seconds remaining, as the Oakland Invaders (1-0) won at home over the Michigan Panthers for a 29-28 win on Sunday.
Michigan pivot Bobby Hebert pushed the Panthers out to a 28-20 lead with 1:51 remaining, but Fred Besana led the Invaders on two drives with the game-winning drive that spanned just four plays and covered 44 yards.
Besana completed 21-of-34 passes for 302 yards with three touchdowns, and Albert Bentley added 78 rushing yards on 15 carries and a touchdown of his own.
Wesley Howell tallied six receptions for 123 yards and a score in the victory.
Bobby Hebert ended 16-of-29 for 291 yards with a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions for Michigan (0-1). Derek Holloway finished with six receptions for 102 yards, and Anthony Carter added 86 yards on three receptions with one touchdown.
Besana made a connection to Gene Banks on the right sideline for a 27-yard gain to put Shea in position for the go-ahead kick.
"We made a big play by stopping John Williams near the end of the game," Oakland coach Charlie Sumner said. "The defense made some big plays at the end of the game and we just fed off of that."
"Anytime you lose like that at the end, it's tough," Michigan coach Jim Stanley said. "We were in a pretty good position, but they made some plays and got into good field goal position. Unfortunately, that's how it ended."
Michigan finished with 397 net yards compared to 382 for Oakland...the teams combined for nine sacks and four fumbles...newcomer George Works led the Panthers on the ground with 55 yards on fourteen carries.
Todd Fowler scored twice to help lead the Houston Gamblers to a 45-28 win over Jacksonville, meanwhile Birmingham outlasted Orlando 24-10, Denver dumped Pittsburgh 24-16 and the Showboats stopped the Breakers by a score of 31-20 at the Superdome.
Marcus Anderson caught four passes for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Larry Canada had 115 rushing yards and added a five-yard touchdown run for the Blitz (1-0).
"It is nice to start the season with a win, especially here at home, hopefully this will set the stage for us to start building some fan support." said Chicago head coach Marv Levy. "The big guys really stepped it up tonight."
Jimmy Jordan, filling in for an injured John Reaves, completed 33-of-60 passes for 362 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions for the Bandits (0-1). Gary Anderson had seven catches for 57 yards in the setback.
"We have to be more consistent in our game," said head coach Steve Spurrier. "We can't have all those turnovers. That's the bottom line."
Chicago trailed 24-12 at the 5:48 mark of the third frame, but scored the final 25 points of the game.
Late in the third, Evans found Anderson for a 67-yard touchdown strike pulling the Blitz to within five at 24-19.
Chicago opened the fourth quarter scoring with another Evans to Anderson pitch and catch, this time from eleven yards out pushing Chicago out to a 27-24 lead.
Larry Canada’s five yard run put the Blitz in the drivers' seat with a 34-24 lead and Corral added a 36-yard field goal to cap the scoring.
Tampa Bay took an early 14-0 lead after Jordan found Eric Truvillion in the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown toss and Ricky Williams scored on a four-yard run at the end of the opening stanza.
Jim Stone broke the ice for Chicago in the second quarter with a two-yard touchdown run, which was followed by a Frank Corral 48-yard field goal and then a safety from Malcolm Taylor.
The Bandits went up 17-12 at the end of the half when veteran Zenon Andrusyshyn nailed a 44-yard field goal with just eleven seconds on the clock.
Larry Brodsky hauled in five catches for 55 yards, while Danny Buggs finished with five grabs for 72 yards for the Bandits...... Chicago defensive back Doug Plank left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and did not return...the Bandits outgained Chicago 427-320, but also committed five turnovers.
Philadelphia accumulated 329 total yards while Los Angeles finished with 239...The Express committed seven penalties for 50 yards....Scott Fitzkee caught four passes for 60 yards for the Stars. more to come......
Key players: QB Walter Lewis, RB Tim Spencer, WR Derrick Crawford, TE Gary Shirk, OL Tyrone McGriff, T Russ Bolinger, DE Reggie White, LB Rod Shoate, DB Mossy Cade*, DB Mike Fox, P Jim Miller.
1985 Prediction: 11-7 1st place
Tampa Bay Bandits
1984 Record: 14-4
Avg. Attendance: 46,158
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Key players: QB John Reaves, RB Gary Anderson, WR Eric Truvillion, TE Marvin Harvey, C-G Chuck Pitcock, G Nate Newton, DT Ron Simmons, DE Mike Butler, LB Alonzo Johnson, DB Doug Beaudoin, K-P Zenon Andrusyshyn.
1985 Prediction: 10-8 2nd place
1984 Record: 6-12
Stadium: Gator Bowl
Avg. Attendance: 46,730
Head Coach: Lindy Infante
Key players: QB Brian Sipe, QB Ed Luther, RB Mike Rozier, RB Archie Griffin, WR Gary Clark, TE Mark Keel, OT J.T. Turner, DE Keith Millard*, LB Vaughn Johnson, DB Don Bessillieu, K Brian Franco.
1985 Prediction: 8-10 3rd place
1984 Record: 3-15
Stadium: Citrus Bowl
Avg. Attendance: TBD
Head Coach: Lee Corso
Key players: QB Reggie Collier, RB Curtis Bledsoe, WR Joey Walters, WR Jackie Flowers, G-T Ron Mikolajczyk, DT Joe Ehrmann, LB Fred McAllister, DB Lupe Sanchez, P Greg Cater.
Key players: QB Cliff Stoudt, RB Joe Cribbs, WR Jim Smith, C Joe Bock, T Pat Phenix, DT Dave Pureifory, DB Chuck Clanton, P Bob Parsons.
1985 Prediction: 12-6
1984 Record: 13-5
Avg. Attendance: 28,152
Head Coach: Jack Pardee
Key players: QB Jim Kelly, RB Sam Harrell, WR Richard Johnson, WR Ricky Sanders, WR Clarence Verdin, WR-KR Gerald McNeil, OL Billy Kidd, T Russ Bolinger, DE Ross Browner, LB Kiki DeAyala, DB Luther Bradley, DB Tommy Myers, K Toni Fritsch.
1985 Prediction: 12-6 2nd place
New Orleans Breakers
1984 Record: 8-10
Avg. Attendance: 30,557
Head Coach: Dick Coury
Key players: QB Alan Risher, RB Marcus Dupree, RB Buford Jordan, WR Charlie Smith, WR Frank Lockett, TE Dan Ross, T Bill Winters, DT Alan Hughes, DE Jerald Baylis, LB Marcus Marek, LB Ben Needham, K Tim Mazzetti.
1985 Prediction: 9-9 3rd place
1984 Record: 5-13
Stadium: Soldier Field
Avg. Attendance: 7,455
Head Coach: Marv Levy
Key players: QB Vince Evans, QB Greg Landry, RB Larry Canada, WR Marcus Anderson, TE Gary Lewis, OL Tom Thayer, DE Ruben Vaughan, LB Rich D’Amico, DB Virgil Livers, S Doug Plank, K-P Frank Corral.
Key players: QB Doug Williams, RB Kevin Long, WR Trumaine Johnson, OG Alvin Powell, T Donnie Hickman, DT Kit Lathrop, DB Bruce Laird, DB Selwyn Drain, K Luis Zendejas*.
1985 Prediction: 11-7 First place
Los Angeles Express
1984 Record: 10-8
Avg. Attendance: 15,361
Head Coach: John Hadl
Key players: QB Steve Young, RB Kevin Nelson, RB Mel Gray, WR Jo Jo Townsell, TE-HB Gordon Hudson, C Mike Ruether, OL Gary Zimmerman, T Jeff Hart, T Mark Adickes, DE Eddie Weaver, LB Howard Carson, DB Troy West, S Dwight Drane, K Tony Zendejas.
1985 Prediction: 9-9 2nd place
1984 Record: 7-11
Stadium: Oakland Coliseum
Avg. Attendance: 23,644
Head Coach: Charlie Sumner
Key players: QB Fred Besana, QB Rick Neuheisel, RB Albert Bentley, WR Gordon Banks, C-G Jim Leonard, OL Reggie Irving, DE Dave Browning, LB Gary Plummer, LB Rich Dixon, P Stan Talley.
1985 Prediction: 8-10 3rd place
1984 Record: 9-9
Stadium: Mile High
Avg. Attendance: 33,953
Head Coach: Mouse Davis
Key players: QB Bob Gagliano, RB Bill Johnson, SB Leonard Harris, WR Marc Lewis, OC John Yarno, G George Yarno, DE Calvin Turner, LB Stan Blinka, DB Nate Miller, K-P Jim Asmus.
Event Date: February 18th, 1985 Event Description: Week #2 Pre-Season Source: The Albany Herald
In other Week #2 action:
The Orlando Renegades topped Philadelphia 16-10, Pittsburgh dumped Jacksonville 17-13, the Birmingham Stallions won at Arizona 14-12, the Denver Gold held on to defeat Houston 20-11, meanwhile New Orleans out did Oakland 33-22 and the Chicago Blitz and L.A. Express played to 26-26 tie.
Bobby Hebert was sharp and Reggie Collier struggled as the United States Football League opened its exhibition season on Saturday night.
Hebert threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns in less than a half, leading the Michigan Panthers to a 21-10 win over Orlando at the Citrus Bowl before a small but enthusiastic crowd.
The Panthers and their offense were clearly fired up for their first exhibition game against the leagues’ newest entry the Orlando Renegades.
Hebert and Michigan's defensive front were impressive in the first of two preseason games, one that both teams treated like a real game for much of the first half.
The Panthers (1-0) know they can't get too excited about exhibition results, especially against a team like Orlando which is still trying to implement their offense under new head coach Lee Corso.
Hebert was 12 of 14 with one incomplete pass that was dropped by Derek Holloway in the end zone and another that was broken up by a defender.
Hebert threaded a pass into the end zone to Anthony Carter for a 9-yard touchdown to put Michigan ahead 7-0 on its second drive. He made another perfect pass to tght end Mike Cobb for a 12-yard score that made it 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
Orlando pivot Reggie Collier was 12 of 22, skipping passes off the turf to open teammates near the sideline and throwing short and low on another attempt over the deep middle to a wide open Jackie Flowers on what could've been a touchdown. Collier also hung up a pass intended for Bob Niziolek that was intercepted by defensive back Oliver Davis.
Both teams added touchdowns in the second-half as Michigan held on for the victory.
In other scores from Orlando, the Pittsburgh Maulers beat Memphis 14-10, Jacksonville defeated New Jersey 28-17 as Doug Flutie watched from the sidelines, and Philadelphia downed Tampa 14-9.
Out in Arizona, the Chicago Blitz downed Arizona 37-24, behind a pair of touchdowns from Vince Evans, the Los Angeles Express defeated New Orleans 36-23, the Houston Gamblers outlasted Oakland 31-24 and Birmingham and Denver scrimmaged to a 10-10 tie.
United States Football League commissioner Chet Simmons has had his contract extended through the 1986 season.
The league says a resolution was approved at a December owners meeting to negotiate an extension with Simmons, after the league voted to remain a spring time entity. His original three-year contract was set to expire at the end of the 1985 season.
The 56-year-old Simmons has overseen a series contentious owners’ meeting as the league attempts to right itself financially as it returns to its original business model. Pro Football Weekly first reported the extension.
The 1985 United States Football League training camps will be held at the Arizona Wranglers facilities and the Orlando Renegades facilities.
The following teams will train in Arizona; Chicago, New Orleans, Houston, Birmingham, Arizona, Denver, Los Angeles and Oakland.
The following teams will train in Orlando; Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Orlando, Memphis, New Jersey, Michigan, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Week #1 (Saturday, February 9th)
Chicago vs. Arizona
New Orleans vs. Los Angeles (Mesa, Arizona)
Houston vs. Oakland
Birmingham vs. Denver
Michigan vs. Orlando (Deland, Florida)
Pittsburgh vs. Memphis
New Jersey vs. Jacksonville
Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay
Week #2 (Saturday, February 16th)
Michigan at Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
Philadelphia at Orlando
Birmingham at Arizona
New Jersey vs. Memphis at Charlotte, North Carolina
Houston at Denver at Dallas, Texas
Chicago vs. Los Angeles at Fresno, California
New Orleans vs. Oakland at Shreveport, Louisiana
About the United States Football League
The U.S. Football League is a professional football league which will play its season from late February through July.
The league will follow the David Dixon Model and will present quality professional football in the spring and summer months.