BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (ABC4 Sports) – The Birmingham Iron scored two second-half touchdowns, the final one on a Trent Richardson 2-yard run with 4:40 remaining in the game, as the Iron overcame a 9-0 deficit and defeated the Salt Lake Stallions, 12-9, at Legion Field in Birmingham.
The Iron remain undefeated at 2-0 while Salt Lake fell to 0-2.
The Stallions scored their first touchdown of the season to take a 6-0 lead on a Joel Bouagnon 3-yard run with 1:56 to play in the first half. They extended the lead to 9-0 1:24 later on a 53-yard field goal by Taylor Bertolet.
Salt Lake had taken over after the touchdown on the Birmingham 34-yard line when upback Jacob Hagen came up short on a fourth-and-1 fake punt. Hagen suffered a leg injury on the play and was carted off the field.
Birmingham, which gained only 214 yards in the game, was continually turned away by the Salt Lake defense, which was led by defensive end Karter Schult, who had two sacks for 13 yards in losses, six tackles with three for loss, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
However, the game turned late in the third quarter when Stallions punt returner De’Mornay Pierson-El was stripped of the ball by Iron cornerback Jamar Summers at his own 22-yard line.
Several Iron players attempted to recover the ball as it bounced backward toward the end zone. Finally, linebacker Shaheed Salmon gained possession in the end zone for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 9-6.
Stallions head coach Dennis Erickson challenged the fumble ruling, believing the ball came loose after Pierson-El’s knee touched the ground. However, replays were inconclusive and the call stood.
After Richardson’s touchdown, Salt Lake moved into position for a field goal but Bertolet missed from 48 yards. He also missed from 50 and 55 yards, while an earlier 27-yard attempt was never attempted because of a low snap.
Richardson totaled 91 yards from scrimmage with 19 attempts for 41 yards rushing and six receptions for 50 yards. Iron quarterback Luis Perez completed 24 of 38 passes for 184 yards.
For Salt Lake, Bouagnon rushed for 70 yards on 11 carries and Branden Oliver had 14 rushes for 59 yards. Austin Allen got the start at quarterback for the Stallions with Josh Woodrum active but not playing because of a hamstring injury suffered in Week 1 against Arizona.
Allen completed 15 of 31 passes for 114 yards.