MEMPHIS (USFL) – The Philadelphia Stars defeated the Memphis Showboats 27-23 on Saturday in the first USFL game at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium since 1985. Memphis drove to the Philadelphia 39-yard line in the final minute before turning the ball over on downs.

Showboats quarterback Brady White, a former Memphis Tigers standout, completed 16 of his 29 passes for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns with an interception. Running back Alex Collins had a game-high 63 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.

“In terms of the support from the city, that was super awesome to see,” White said. “You gotta make plays. I put this 100% on me. It’s a team game, and everyone can say that, but as a quarterback, I feel the weight of the plays I did not make. I turned the ball over early, (and) that hurts us. That takes 3 points off the board. And just down the stretch, there’s a couple of plays, not that we turned it over, but just didn’t complete the football. I told the guys after the game that I’m gonna be better.”

Stars defensive back Channing Stribling picked up where he left off last season on the game’s opening drive with an interception at the Philadelphia 10-yard line. Stribling’s seven interceptions in 2022 led the USFL.

Following the turnover, Philadelphia quarterback Case Cookus led a 9-play, 71-yard touchdown drive. Cookus’ five completions accounted for all 71 yards on the drive, which was capped with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chris Rowland. 

The Showboats answered with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Brady White to Rashard Davis, finishing an 8-play, 72-yard drive to tie the game heading into the second quarter.

Another Cookus touchdown pass and a 12-yard touchdown run by Dexter Williams gave Philadelphia touchdowns on its first three possessions as the Stars took a 20-7 lead. 

Cole Kelley briefly replaced White at quarterback for a second-quarter scoring drive that ended in a 28-yard field goal by Alex Kessman as the Showboats narrowed the score to 20-10 at halftime.

The Memphis defense put together consecutive stops to end the first half and start the third quarter. With White back in at quarterback, the offense drove 80 yards in seven plays and brought the Showboats within three points after a 29-yard touchdown pass from White to Ryan McDaniel. Cookus, who threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns, extended the lead back to 10 with another touchdown pass, a 14-yard connection to Devin Gray. 

A 1-yard Collins touchdown run brought Memphis back within one score at 27-23 with 7:24 remaining. The Showboats regained possession twice in the final five minutes with an opportunity to take the lead, but were forced to punt and turned the ball over on downs with 28 seconds remaining.

“Obviously, not the result we wanted, especially being our first game back here in Memphis,” said Showboats head coach Todd Haley. “I thought it was great fan support, great energy, great atmosphere. All those things lived up to the billing that we kind of expected and were looking forward to. Give credit to Philadelphia. They’re a good team.”

The Showboats will play their first road game of the season next Saturday against the Birmingham Stallions. Kickoff for the FOX broadcast is set for 6 p.m. from Protective Stadium.
Memphis returns to Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium on April 29 for a 6 p.m. game against the Houston Gamblers. Visit for ticket information.