With the New Orleans Breakers and Houston Gamblers winning on Saturday, it was up to the Philadelphia Stars and Michigan Panthers to defend their “home turf”. The great games Saturday caused a bit of a buzz on Twitter, and fans in Detroit didn’t let the moment pass them by! Let’s break down the Sunday slate.
Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Philadelphia Stars
The Pittsburgh Maulers have not scored an offensive touchdown this season. Their struggles offensively lasted through another almost three quarters. Troy Williams connected with Bailey Gaither for an 8-yard score with 1:12 remaining in the third. Remember the old adage “Slow and steady wins the race”? That’s precisely how the Maulers tackled the Stars. New signee Chris Blewitt went 5/5 on field goal attempts, slowly chipping away at the Stars’ early lead, before overtaking the Stars just before the half. Williams went 10/18 for 96 yards and a TD but added 65 yards on the ground.
Case Cookus started out strong for Philadelphia, finishing the game with 238 yards and a TD. He did have two critical interceptions, one to Ambush Sports Player of the Week Rueben Foster, and the other to Eli Walker. The Stars struggled on the ground, accounting for only 18 rushing yards. Corey Coleman and Diondre Overton were shining spots in the passing game. Coleman went 8/86/1 while Overton finished with 6/77.
Philly has been a surprise losing team this season. The Maulers have been a defensive juggernaut thus far. If the Stars can establish a bit of a rushing attack to take the pressure off of Cookus, watch out USFL teams. And keep an eye on those Maulers, they have a taste for winning and they look hungry!
New Jersey Generals vs. Michigan Panthers
Welcome home, Panthers! The homecoming for the Michigan Panthers was about 40 years overdue, but the fans did not disappoint. Thousands of fans showed up to see the surprisingly undefeated Panthers take on the rushing machine Generals.
Michigan’s Josh Love had 101 yards and an interception, while Carson Strong added 62 and a TD. It will be interesting to see what Coach Mike Nolan’s plan is moving forward in the QB department. Love has looked very good through two weeks, but seemed to struggle against the Generals. To his credit, a few drops on third down ended drives that killed momentum. Trey Quinn hauled in the 28-yard TD from strong, finishing with 61 yards. Stevie Scott III rushed for 63 yards, adding 9 through the air.
New Jersey walked into hostile territory and did what they do best, pound the rock. De’Andre Johnson was an absolute menace on Sunday, passing for 180 yards and 2 TDs and adding 98 yards and a TD on the ground. Darius Victor (68 yards and a TD) and Trey Williams (25 yards) contributed to a rushing attack that churned out 198 rushing yards. Victor added a one-hitter 51-yard TD in the receiving game. Alonzo Moore, not to be outdone by his running back, also added a one-catch 72-yard TD.
Michigan needs to figure out its QB situation before it gets too muddy and messy. They have a solid team but need a field general. New Jersey needs to keep doing what they are doing. The rushing attack plays really well in opening up reads for Johnson, and his legs get him out of trouble and adds another layer for defenders to read.