Two teams entered week 8 having already secured a playoff berth; the Birmingham Stallions and the Michigan Panthers will play each other in the USFL Conference Championship game on Saturday, June 8 at 3 pm ET on ABC. On Saturday, both teams demonstrated why they are amongst the league’s best as they emerged victorious after winning their respective games.

Panthers Win Their Last Home Game Of The Season

By defeating the Memphis Showboats 24-18 on Saturday, the 6-2 Michigan Panthers relied on the depth of their bench with a number of their key starters out injured. Throughout the season, the Panthers have established themselves as one of the most complete teams in the league, strong on defense, efficient in passing, and confounding defenses with a terrific ground game. But with two of their best defensive players, Frank Ginda and Kai Nacua out injured, would the Panthers’ defense still be up to the task of containing the struggling Showboats?

Strong Defense

Without missing a beat, the Panthers’ defense proved more than capable, keeping the pressure on the Showboats offense throughout the afternoon, forcing a costly interception, batting away balls, and delivering punishing sacks on quarterbacks Case Cookus and Josh Love. Garret Marino, (2 tackles, 1 sack) Breeland Speak,(4 tackles) Nate Brooks (interception), and Sean Mahone (6 tackles, 1 sack) led a strong defensive attack with (S) Bryce Torneden and (S) Kedrick Whitehead filling in for the injured Nacua.

Quarterback Shuffle

With their number one and two quarterbacks still recovering from injuries, Head Coach Mike Nolan relied on the successful two-quarterback tandem he employed last week to defeat the D.C. Defenders. Nolan kept the Showboats defense on their heels by rotating Brian Lewerke with Bryce Perkins after every series. Lewerke was 6/11 for 82 yards and one touchdown while Perkins was 7/9 for 106 yards and one touchdown. Perkins is the more mobile quarterback and added 3 carries for 55 yards. Lewerke had three carries for 13 yards.

Running back Matthew Colburn (93 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns plus one catch for 7 yards) and wide receiver Devin Gray (6 receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown) both stepped up their game to fill in for RB Wes Hills who suffered a leg injury early in the game and WR Siaosi Mariner who was out with a concussion.

Saturday’s victory was a sign that this team is going from strength to strength and developing confidence ahead of their upcoming two-game series against the Birmingham Stallions. In an odd twist of scheduling, the Panthers play the Stallions in the final game of the regular season only to meet them again the next week in the Conference Championship game. Speaking of the unbeaten Stallions, once again, the 8-0 Stallions defeated their opponent, handing the Houston Roughnecks a 35-28 loss. Quarterback Adrian Martinez gave another MVP-caliber performance and was superb, passing 19/31 for 176 yards with three touchdowns to Deon Cain, Binjamen Victor, and Amari Rodgers. furthering his reputation as the league’s leading rusher, Martinez added another 6 carries for 44 yards with two more touchdowns. Yes, you read that correctly, in his quest for a Stallions three-peat and to make the NFL Teams take notice, Adrian Martinez scored five touchdowns in total. Martinez had one interception to Donald Rutledge Jr. but that was perhaps his only mistake of the day.

The upcoming showdown between these two teams promises to be a huge series. Can the Panthers stop the seemingly unbeatable Stallions? Or will the Stallions short-circuit the Panthers surge to victory?

Check your local listing for details.

author avatar
Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

Leave a comment

Sign Up Now

Become a member of our online community and get tickets to upcoming matches or sports events faster!
UFL News Hub