Cornerback Jeff George recovered a fumble to set up John Reaves' touchdown pass and ran 22 yards with an interception for another score as the unbeaten Tampa Bay Bandits handed the Philadelphia Stars their first loss, 27-22, yesterday.
An announced crowd of 18,718, less than half the 38,205 who came to see the Stars' home opener two weeks ago, attended the game in a steady rain. Philadelphia is 3-1.
Reaves, who played in Philadelphia with the NFL Eagles in 1972-75, passed for 269 yards, all but 21 coming in the first half when the Bandits built a 27-10 lead.
"It was great to win here," said Reaves, who returned to football after overcoming drug and alcohol problems. "I was 0-8 as a starter for the Eagles.
"The adrenaline was really pumping today. It was something special. I was really looking forward all week to coming back here."
He passed 33 yards to Eric Truvillion for a touchdown moments after George had recovered a fumble by the Stars' starting quarterback, Chuck Fusina.
Philadelphia tied it on a 35-yard run by Kelvin Bryant, the USFL's leading ground gainer who finished with 112 yards rushing, but the Bandits went in front, 14-7, with six minutes left in the first period when George picked off a Fusina pass and ran it back 22 yards.
In the second quarter, Tampa Bay got a touchdown on Sam Platt's one-yard run, between field goals by Zenon Andrusyshyn of 43 and 38 yards.
Philadelphia's David Trout kicked field goals of 35 and 37 yards in the second quarter and 27 yards in the third and the Stars pulled within five points with 10:19 to play on a 38-yard pass from reserve quarterback Jim Krohn to Bryant, but the two-point conversion failed.