Generals find rhythm and win with De’Andre Johnson on QB

Generals find rhythm and win with De’Andre Johnson on QB

In RJ Young
FOX sports writer

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – On the podium in the media conference room at Protective Stadium, New Jersey generals Coach Mike Riley marveled at the stat sheet next to the quarterback De’Andre Johnson and receiver KaVontae Turpin.

“Look at this,” I told them. “Run, pass, that’s a good balance.”

Yes, Thanos would be proud of Riley and his team.

From the get-go, Riley and the team saw the style of coverage that New Orleans Breakers defensive coordinator John Tetula liked to run — mostly male coverage — and saw that they had something for it.

He chose to start Johnson at quarterback and, for the first time this season, did not put him in favor of the more pass-oriented Luis Perez in what had been a two-quarterback offense.

Johnson led the generals to a 27-17 victory – the first victory by a Northern Division team over a Southern Division opponent this season. He finished with 255 total yards, completing 14 of 21 pass attempts for 213 yards.

When the game was over and Perez didn’t play a snap, Riley admitted that he didn’t think that would be the case when the game started.

“I didn’t plan on doing it like it happened today,” he said. “But I thought early on that it was important not to sit there in the pocket against your pass rushers. And then we would have to provide some movement on the edges before we could go back to being able to throw some balls in the pockets, and that was that.”

The generals racked up 401 total yards in what Riley believed to be his team’s best performance all season.

“I think so,” Riley said. “I think when you look at that, and then you evaluate the opponent, which is hard to do in this league because all our games have been close, New Orleans has been impressive. And our guys prepared well, studied well and respected him. and to them.”

Johnson scored the first touchdown of the game in a planned run. His score was created by former North Dakota State forward Darrius Shepherd’s two 39-yard catches, including one he caught in the back.

Defense of the generals impresses with two conclusions

Defense of the generals impresses with two conclusions

The New Jersey Generals defense had two interceptions and forced a turnover in downs against the Breakers. Shalom Luani was responsible for both intercepts.

Three of the top six USFL runners are generals and averaged nearly 178 yards in their first four games of the season. They showed that strength in the second quarter with slashing 17- and 28-yard runs en route to a double-digit lead when Johnson threw his second touchdown on a fourth-down play from the Breakers’ two-yard line.

The generals ran with the ball eight times in that nine-play scoring attempt. When the game ended nearly four hours after kickoff, the generals rushed for 181 yards on 38 carries.

TURPIN BACK UP

Turpin, a former all-rounder at Texas Christian, became Johnson’s favorite target — and offensive coordinator Steve Smith’s favorite weapon — against an aggressive Breakers front. He finished the game with five receptions for 106 yards, two carries for 10 more, plus a 39-yard punt return.

Turpin likes to be involved in all three phases.

“Since I started playing football,” he said, “I try to do everything I can to help the team.”

NO PACE FOR SLOTER

With Breakers offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone missing the game to attend his daughter’s wedding, head coach Larry Fedora called the plays for the first time since 2020. He would certainly like a better result for his team and quarterback.

“I’m not going to make excuses for anything,” Fedora said. “It’s just what it is. We have to respond better to these situations.”

Breakers quarterback Kyle Sloter had just 155 yards on 15 of 36 passes, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He had gone over 400 in the Breakers’ win last Sunday and over 1,000 in his previous four games. Six of his last seven passes against the generals were incomplete.

Jordan Ellis, the Breakers’ best runner, had just 42 yards on 12 carries.

Kyle Sloter’s Journey from the NFL to the USFL

Kyle Sloter's Journey from the NFL to the USFL

Kyle Sloter has tried out for 26 different NFL teams and talks about what it’s really like on NFL fields. He takes that knowledge with him to the USFL and the New Orleans Breakers.

The Breakers’ offense is best when moving at breakneck speed, but injury stoppages, a weather delay, and a total of 15 penalties committed by both teams led to an offensive performance that more closely resembled a road car with no gears than that the race car he has has been in the last few weeks.

Sloter continued to struggle when a pass he threw was deflected and intercepted by New Jersey safety Shalom Luani in the red zone. It was the Generals’ first takeaway since Week 1. For Sloter, the interception was his fifth turnover in the Breakers’ last six quarters.

The Breakers scored their first goal in the closing minutes of the first half. Sloter found wideout Jay Adams in a third to 15 of the New Jersey 20 for a touchdown with 1:08 to go, a TD that Sloter desperately needed. Prior to that, Sloter had completed just seven of 14 pass attempts for 47 yards with an interception.

Inside their own 10-yard line, the Breakers’ defense stiffened in the final minute of the second quarter, but New Orleans were lucky to lose 17-10 at halftime.

Kyle Sloter meets Jonathan Adams for a 20-yard TD

Kyle Sloter meets Jonathan Adams for a 20-yard TD

New Orleans Breakers QB Kyle Sloter meets WR Jonathan Adams for TD to bring the New Jersey Generals team closer as halftime approaches in the USFL.

Johnson hit eight of 11 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

After a pass interference penalty on Generals cornerback DeJuan Neal in the Breakers’ second-half possession, Sloter came alive, finding former Ohio State wide receiver Johnnie Dixon 10 yards away to make the score 17-17 with 10. :13 remaining. the period.

As the rain began to fall, the generals responded with a TD drive, scored by Darius “Vito” Victor and his 30-inch thighs (yes, really) rolling into the end zone for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

Victor led the generals in rushes with 85 yards on 16 carries.

LIGHTNING AND LUANI

Shortly thereafter, the game was stopped due to lightning in the area for a total of 45 minutes.

On the second play, defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao hit Sloter with a nice hit to the chest, letting Sloter down long enough to bring athletic coaches onto the field. He left the field on his own.

Although the Generals lost three starters on defense through injury in the next drive, the Breakers failed to establish the kind of pace that allowed them to become the league’s No. 1 offense. Sloter then made his second pick of the afternoon, for Luani again.

Luani had missed the previous two games due to injury and announced his return with two takeaways. He added two passes defended and six tackles to what was an exciting return to the backfield for defensive coordinator Cris Dishman.

The Generals had a chance to put up two touchdowns again, but the Breakers defense came up with a turnover at their own seven-yard line, defeating Johnson with 7:41 remaining. But the generals managed to extend their lead back to 10 points with a field goal by former Alabama player Austin Jones to maintain a 27-17 lead with 4:15 left.

The Breakers turned the ball down with their next possession, leaving the generals the privilege of running out of time with just 3:01 left in the game.

FALSE END FLASH

In the first quarter, a Breakers fake kick went for 43 yards when linebacker Jerod Fernandez took the snap from his personal guard position and ran straight into the middle of the New Jersey punt return team, which broke apart as if Moses had open hands in midfield. .

New Orleans’ Jerod Fernandez converts fake punt

New Orleans' Jerod Fernandez converts fake punt

The New Orleans Breakers landed a false punt conversion with a 43-yard rush from Jerod Fernandez.

New Orleans kicker Taylor Bertolet hit the ball 42 yards through the posts to give the Breakers a 3-0 lead. That was the last time New Orleans would retain the lead.

Fernandez, a linebacker, finished the game as the Breakers’ top runner.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and host of the podcast “The Show No. 1 Ranked with RJ Young.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Youngand sign “The RJ Jovem Show” on YouTube. He’s not on a StepMill.


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USFL - Breakers vs.  Generals - 05/14/2022 USFL – Breakers vs. Generals – 05/14/2022

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