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Birmingham 7 at Baltimore 3

1985 Week 5 - Sunday, March 24, 1985
Attendance: 14,529


Reprinted from Frederick,MD Post

COLLEGE PARK - The Baltimore Stars found out again on Sunday how much running back Kelvin Bryant means to their team.

With Bryant on the bench, for most of the game with a pulled hamstring, the Stars could only score three points and fell to the Birmingham Stallions, 7-3, before 14,529 fans in the rain at Byrd Stadium.

The loss dropped the defending USFL champions to 1-3-1 on the year.

The only time this year Bryant has run well for the Stars was in their 29-9 win over the New Jersey Generals. He gained 136 yards in the game.

In the other four games Bryant, who rushed for 2,848 yards his first two years in the league, was held to just 182 yards.

"Without Kelvin our offense just isn't as good," Stars' Coach Jim Mora said after the game ''We do not have anyone else as good as him. When you lose a guy like him it takes something out of your team."

Bryant started the game and carried the ball twice for 14 yards and caught a pass for 26 more yards. But, with 4:58 left in the half, he went out for good.

"Kelvin has had a hamstring pull all week and it tightened up on him," Mora said. "That hurt us, but it is not the main reason we lost. When we don't have him we have to figure out a way to win."

But, the Stars couldn't do that Sunday even though they had their chances. Thanks to the short passing of Chuck Fusina and a 47-yard run by Allen Harvin, the Stars got inside the Stallions' 32-yard line four times including twice inside the 10. But fumbles killed two drives, they got a field goal out of one, but missed a field goal on a fourth drive.

"We had an opportunity to get points, but could not get it done," Mora said. "Those turnovers hurt us when we got in scoring position. It is hard to win when you score only three points."

The Stars' first opportunity to score came early in the second period when they drove from their own 28 to the Stallions' 23, But on first and 10, Brian Thomas fumbled the ball and Birmingham recovered.

Thomas, Bryant's backup, has an injured ankle and only carried the ball three times in limited action.

In the third period, the Stars drove to the Birmingham 4. On fourth and one, David Trout kicked a 21-yard field goal to give Baltimore a 3-0 lead.

But it didn't stand up long. The Stallions took the ball at their own 31 and went in for a score. Former Buffalo Bills' star Joe Cribbs scored from 10 yards out. The extra point gave the Stallions a 7-3 lead with 6-27 left in the period.

Early in the fourth period, the Stars got to the Stallion 31, but seldon-used fullback Jeff Rodenberger fumbled the ball away.

Then.with nine minutes to go in the game, the Stars took the ball at their own 23. On second and two from the 31, Allen Harvin broke up the middle and raced 47 yards to the Birmingham 22.

"It was just a straight handoff and he went a long way," Mora said.

"After the run I felt we were all fired up," said Harvin.

They were fired up enough to drive to the Birmingham 4-yard line with a little more than four minutes left. But on second and goal from the four, Fusina's pass for Scott Fitzkee was incomplete.

On third and goal, a blitz caught the Stars by surprise and Fusina was sacked at his own 14.

"We didn't execute and the middle linebacker came though," Mora said. "No one picked him up."

There was still 3:46 to go and the Stars went for the field goal, but a 31-yard attempt by Trout was wide. The Stallions then ran out the clock.

Harvin finished the game with 76 yards on 12 carries. Fusina was 17 of 22 for 163 yards, but mostly stayed with the short passing game.

"It is difficult to go deep under these kind of conditions," said Mora referring to the wet field. "We tried it a couple of times, but it didn't work."

The Stars managed only 254 yards to 278 for Birmingham. Cribbs had 85 yards on 23 carries for Birmingham while Stoudt was 15 of 22 for 173 yards.

The crowd was far less than the 31,027 that saw Baltimore beat New Jersey last week, but the weather obviously kept it down.


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