After the Salt Lake Stallions lost to the Arizona Hotshots last week, several Stallions said that the mistakes they made — and there were several — were correctible. But as they head home to Utah after their second game of the season, it appears a lot of work still needs to be done.
Various missed opportunities on offense left the Salt Lake winless after it lost 12-9 to the Birmingham Iron on Saturday afternoon in Birmingham.
The Stallions missed three field goals and fumbled the snap on another field goal attempt. Salt Lake committed two turnovers, one of which started a run of 12 answered points for Birmingham.
Trailing by just three points with less than a minute remaining, a final drive for the Stallions ended with kicker Taylor Bertolet missing a 48-yard field goal to tie the game, dropping Salt Lake to 0-2 on the season.
The Stallions held a 9-0 lead for much of the game. Running back Joel Bouagnon scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown with 1:56 remaining in the first half, and Bertolet made a 53-yard field goal early in the third quarter.
But the game turned when Iron defensive back Jamar Summers stripped the ball from Stallions wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El as he received a punt. Summers picked up, dropped it and chased it down all the way to the end zone. He ended up with the ball after a scramble and scored a touchdown for a 9-6 lead.
Later, Iron running back Trent Richardson ended a drive of almost six minutes with a touchdown for a 12-9 lead with less than five minutes left in the game.
The Stallions then had two opportunities to come back, the first ending in what looked like a turnover on fourth-and-4. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Iron gave Salt Lake one last try.
Bertolet’s subsequent field goal attempt missed wide left with 54 seconds left.
Austin Allen started at quarterback for the Stallions. Last week, after starting QB Josh Woodrum injured his hamstring and did not return in the second half against Arizona, it was Matt Linehan that finished the game. Woodrum was on the active roster Saturday but did not play. Allen went 15 of 31 for 114 passing yards.
There were some positives that could be taken from Saturday’s loss. Defensively, Karter Schult was a force up front. He had two sacks and six tackles, while tallying four quarterback hits and forcing a fumble.
In addition, Salt Lake’s run game finally seemed to have found its legs. After coming away with only 88 rushing yards against Arizona, the Stallions put up nearly 160 against the Iron. Bouagnon rushed for 70 yards, while Branden Oliver tallied 59 yards of his own.
The Stallions play their home opener next Saturday, hosting Arizona at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Kickoff is 2 p.m.