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Baltimore 20 at New Jersey 17 Playoff
1985 Quarterfinals - Monday, July 1, 1985
Baltimore Stars(10-7-1)(-1) at New Jersey Generals(11-7)
E. RUTHERFORD, NJ (AP) - Garcia Lane scored on a league-record 91-yard punt return and set up another touchdown with another punt return as the defending champion Baltimore Stars edged the New Jersey Generals 20-17 in the opening round of the United States Football League playoffs Monday night.
The victory advanced the Stars, 11-7-1, in a semifinal round playoff game next Sunday in Birmingham against the 14-5 Stallions, and it ended New Jersey's season at 11-8.
The Generals played the game without Doug Flutie after Coach Walt Michaels made a gutsy decision Saturday not to risk bringing the rookie quarterback back too soon from a broken collarbone suffered on June 1.
Ron Reeves, his replacement, almost rallied New Jersey to victory, but the Generals never recovered from a 13-0 first quarter deficit handed them by Lane. Lane fielded a Rick Partridge punt at the Baltimore nine, eluded one tackle and then criss-crossed the field on his 91-yard score with 8:30 remaining in the opening quarter.
Two series later, Lane returned a Partridge punt 35 yards to the New Jersey 20. Stars quarterback Chuck Fusina scored on a four yard quarterback draw four plays later, but David Trout missed the extra point, making it 13-0.
New Jersey closed the gap to 13-7 on a 1-yard dive by Herschel Walker with 2:26 left in the half. Walker, who set a professional football single season rushing record this past season with 2,411 yards, was limited to 56 yards on 25 carries by the Stars defense.
However, Fusina hit Scott Frtzkee on a five-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds to play in the half to make it 20-7.
The Generals special teams kept the Stars drive alive by going offsides on fourth down. Interceptions by Kerry Justin and Kyle Borland set a 40-yard field goal by Roger Ruzek late in the third quarter and a three yard touchdown run by Maurice Carthon early in the fourth quarter to close the margin to 20-17. But that was as close as the Generals were to get.
QUARTERFINAL PLAYOFF: July 1, 1985 Baltimore Stars - 20 New Jersey Generals - 17 at Giants Stadium 26,962 Baltimore 13 7 0 0 -- 20 New Jersey 0 7 3 7 -- 17 1st Qtr ---- BALT - Lane 91 punt return (Trout kick) BALT - Fusina 4 run (kick failed) 2nd Qtr ---- NJ - Walker 1 run (Ruzek kick) BALT - Fitzkee 5 pass from Fusina (Trout kick) 3rd Qtr ---- NJ - FG Ruzek 40 4th Qtr ---- NJ - Carthon 3 run (Ruzek kick) INDIVIDUAL STATS RUSHING = Baltimore: Bryant 18-54, Harvin 6-22, Fusina 5-9. New Jersey: Walker 25-66, Carthon 13-35, Reeves 1-4. PASSING = Baltimore: Fusina 10-20-3-98. New Jersey: Reeves 16-32-2-172. RECEIVING = Baltimore: Bryant 3-24, Caver 2-19, Fitzkee 2-13, Riley 1-33, Dunek 1-5, Harvin 1-4. New Jersey: Bowers 5-64, Walker 4-44, Collins 4-34, Carthon 5-64, Spek 1-20. MISSED FIELD GOALS = Baltimore: Trout 42. New Jersey: Ruzek 48.
Archived news report
Supplemental information courtesy of Chris Blackburn