Winless no longer, the Salt Lake Stallions claimed their first Alliance of American Football victory Saturday afternoon.
A reversal of fortune on a one-yard fourth-down plunge by running back Joel Bouagnon led to the victory. The Northern Illinois product who was most recently on the Jets' practice squad saw a replay fall in his favor, going from a stop to a score on a 15-play drive to seal the Stallions' 23-15 win over the previously undefeated Arizona Hotshots in their first home game at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Former Chargers running back Branden Oliver culminated the game's biggest swing, though, as his one-yard rushing score for Salt Lake (1-2) bestowed his squad with a 15-9 lead. The drive -- which was three Oliver runs for a combined seven yards -- came on the heels of a Greer Martini interception of John Wolford on the first play of the second half. Wolford was injured on the play and lost for the game for Arizona (2-1). Wolford's seven touchdown passes lead the league.
Bouaganon's one-yard touchdown run gave the Stallions a 23-12 lead late in the fourth quarter and the Stallions' defense was able to hold on.
Arizona's Nick Rose, another former Charger, connected on a 45-yard field goal with 24 seconds left, but the Hotshots' ensuing onside-conversion attempt was stopped to bring about a celebration for the Stallions.
De'Mornay Pierson-El had eight catches for 90 yards to lead the Stallions. Pierson-El also hauled in a 25-yard score from Josh Woodrum to open up a 9-0 lead for the Stallions in the second quarter. Woodrum, who was injured in the first week against the Hotshots and returned for the first time on Saturday, finished the day with 178 yards and the score on 21 completions in 31 attempts. Bouagnon had 45 yards on 12 carries and Oliver added 40 yards in 15 carries.
A Wolford one-yard scoring toss to Rashad Ross in the second quarter stood as the Hotshots' only TD of the afternoon. Wolford completed 14 of 22 passes for 127 yards prior to his exodus, with back-up Trevor Knight struggling mightily, connecting on eight of 17 passes for 95 yards.
Aside from that, it was Rose, who was signed by the Chargers in the postseason for kickoffs, who provided the Stallions' points. Showcasing his strong leg, Rose rebounded from a missed 45-yard attempt to finish with three makes (48 yards, 35, 45).
Just the third week of AAF action, the game was a rematch from the first week in which the Hotshots prevailed, 38-22.