For the USFL’s Michigan Panthers, the playoffs start now.
While 3-6 and in a three-way tie for last place (also second place) in the North Division, the Panthers are looking at a “win and get in” matchup against the division-leading Philadelphia Stars at 7 p.m. Sunday on their home turf at Ford Field.
This game will certainly have a playoff feel, as the 4-5 Stars must also win to make the playoffs. The other game in the North Division this week features the New Jersey Generals and the Pittsburgh Maulers, also both 3-6 and also both facing playoff elimination with a loss.
Panthers prevailed in first matchup
In Week 2, the Panthers topped the Stars 24-10 in a game in Canton, Ohio. But the Stars have been running hot of late after a rough 1-3 start, with their offense led by quarterback Case Cookus finding its groove.
The Panthers’ offense is dead last in the USFL in scoring, with a paltry 16.4 points per game while allowing the third-most at 21.6. But quarterback Josh Love has started all nine games for the Panthers, something only three other teams can claim. On the season, he’s tossed 13 touchdown passes (tied for second with Cookus) and thrown for 1,556 yards, good for fourth in the league.
The rushing game is more of a two-headed affair, with Reggie Corbin and Stevie Scott splitting the workload, and the receiving corps is led by Joe Walker and Trey Quinn, who have combined for nearly 57% of the team’s receiving yardage.
Tickets for the game start at $10. Additionally, the USFL fully expects to use Ford Field again next year, according to a Detroit News report.
“We definitely wanted to press to get into a Michigan hub to give the Panthers that home-game feel,” USFL President Daryl Johnston said this month during a call with reporters. “They have not disappointed. Our partners up there have been absolutely fantastic, the way they’ve engaged the fan base and created a good game-day environment. We have loved our first season in Michigan, and we can’t wait for our second season in Michigan.”
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