Salt Lake Stallions Lose Inaugural Season Opener To Arizona 38-22
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Salt Lake Stallions couldn’t pick up the victory on the road in their inaugural season opener, falling to the Arizona Hotshots 38-22.
Stallions quarterback Josh Woodrum threw one touchdown pass in the first half before missing the second half with an injury. Former Ute running back Matt Asiata scored the first touchdown in Salt Lake’s history, while former BYU wide receiver Jordan Leslie caught the first touchdown pass in the teams’ history.
The Hotshots pulled away from the Stallions in the third quarter, scoring 16 unanswered points on their way to victory.
Tightly Contested First Half
The first drive for the Stallions was stalled after gaining just two yards and were forced to punt.
Salt Lake’s defense held the hotshots to just one first down and forced them to punt on their first possession.
Former BYU wide receiver Jordan Leslie caught a pass from quarterback Josh Woodrum for the Stallions and gave them a first down. They couldn’t gain another yard after that play and were forced to punt for the second straight drive.
Arizona had two big chunk plays that set them up for a touchdown as quarterback John Wolford connected with tight end Gerald Christian for a five yard score to give the Hotshots an 8-0 lead after picking up the two point conversion.
One of the rules in the Alliance of American Football is that there are no extra points. Every team that scores a touchdown must go for the two-point conversion.
That touchdown was scored in the final minute of the opening quarter.
The Stallions had a strong running attack on their drive that set up a touchdown by former Utah running back Matt Asiata from one yard out. Woodrum ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 8 with 10:28 left in the first half.
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) February 11, 2019
Salt Lake forced Arizona to punt the ball but wide receiver DeMornay Pierson-El muffed the punt and the Hotshots recovered the ball.
On the next play, Wolford hit wide receiver Rashad Ross for a 34 yard touchdown. Running back Jhurell Pressley ran the ball up the middle to convert the two-point conversion. Arizona had a 16-8 lead with 9:30 left in the second quarter.
The Stallions had the ball on third and four when Woodrum threw a deep ball that was intercepted by defensive back Robert Nelson.
Arizona kicker Nick Folk made a 53-yard field goal to bump the Hotshots lead to 19-8 with 2:46 left in the first half.
Woodrum connected on three passes but Arizona didn’t do themselves any favors as they committed two unsportsmanlike penalties. Woodrum found Leslie for a two yard touchdown.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) February 11, 2019
Running back Branden Oliver run to the right side to get the two-point conversion. Arizona had a 19-16 lead with 13 seconds left. The Hotshots took a knee, sending the game to halftime.
Hotshots Pull Away
Woodrum would not return for the second half after suffering an injury. Matt Linehan took over as the quarterback.
Arizona had the ball first, coming out of the halftime break and drove down the field but Folk missed a 46-yard field goal.
Late in the third quarter, Wolford connected with Ross for the second time on a four-yard touchdown. The Hotshots picked up the two-point conversion to take a 27-16 lead with 3 minutes left in the third.
Salt Lake’s first play, Linehan’s pass was picked off by linebacker Steven Johnson.
The first play after the interception, Wolford found Pressley for a 30-yard touchdown, which was followed by a two point conversion.
After three plays, the Stallions gave up 16 points and trailed 35-16 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Stallions found the end zone as Linehan connected with tight end Nick Truesdell from seven yards away. Linehan couldn’t complete the pass to Asiata, failing the two-point conversion. Arizona held a 35-22 lead with 11:37 left in the game.
Arizona countered on their next drive with a 32-yard field goal by Folk to put their lead to 16, 38-22 with 6 minutes left in the game.
We fall short of the win in tonight’s battle of the West.
— Salt Lake Stallions (@aafstallions) February 11, 2019
The Stallions fall to 0-1 in their first season. They will finish their two-game road trip against the Birmingham Iron on Saturday at 12 p.m. on TNT.
The Iron won their Week One matchup against the Memphis Express 26-0.