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USFL WEEK 3 RECAP: Pittsburgh Maulers (0-2) V.S. Michigan Panthers (0-2)

Week Three kicks off with the Pittsburgh Maulers and Michigan Panthers both looking for their first win of the season. Paxton Lynch for the Panthers is expected to start while the Maulers finally saw some chemistry in the passing game by Josh Love and Bailey Gaither. With Gaither and a solid 1 2 punch of rushing done by the Garrett Groshek and Madre London the Panthers bend but don’t break defense may be in for a challenge.

Paxton Lynch (12) Warms up before his first start.

1st Quarter

Paxton Lynch begins the game as the starter his first extended look at playing time since week one. Lynch and Stevie Scott combine for 47 yards of rushing including a 20-yard rush by Paxton Lynch on a read option. Stevie Scott finishes the drive by rushing for a 6-yard Touchdown on first and goal, 6-0. Panthers. Paxton Lynch takes in the 2-pt conversion for an 8-0, lead on the opening drive.

8-0 Michigan Panthers 11:36 remaining

Josh Love starts his drive from the Maulers 35. After a combination of short passes, and Garrett Groshek rushes lead to a first down, however the drive stalls and the Maulers are forced to punt back to the Panthers.

The Panthers seemingly go three and out, however on the ensuing punt Maulers return man Joe Thomas muffs the punt and the Panthers recover. the Panthers take over at the Mauler 5 and are able to punch it in with a Read Option on 3rd down. Panthers convert the 2-point conversion and lead 16-0.

16-0 Michigan Panthers 5:29 remaining

The Maulers come out with Madre London exploding for a 32-yard gain. However, a series of negative plays and penalties lead to a 3rd and 27 in which they cannot convert. Maulers attempt a 57-yard field goal however, it’s no good.

The Panthers continue their momentum with Paxton Lynch completing a pass to Devin Ross for a first down however, Lynch is shaken up on the next play and is sacked by Maulers Defensive Tackle Darrius Moragne. Lynch’s next pass is incomplete as the Quarter comes to an end with the Panthers leading 16-0.

2nd quarter

Lauletta replaces Josh Love after a scoreless first quarter. The Panthers Defense harbors a bend don’t break mentality as they continue to let the Maulers drive down the field. Two mis snaps by the Maulers center allowed Lauletta to have to make some quick throws but the Maulers could not find their way for a first down. With 8:23 left Maulers kicker Riz Ahmed misses his second kick of the game after Panthers player tipped the kick. Panthers lead 16-0.

Patterson takes his second drive of the game. He continues to drive down the field with a heavy helping of rushes by Corbin, Scott and Scarlett. Patterson goes 1 of 3 passing on the drive, a 9 play 35 yard drive, the Panthers turn it over on downs. At this time Paxton Lynch is remaining inside the locker-room.

Josh Love returns to the game. After a short completion to Madre London, the Maulers go three and out and punt to Panthers return man Joe Walker. Panthers take over at the Maulers 32.

Panthers continue to run the ball with Reggie Corbin out the gate. A Shea Patterson incompletion leads to a Cameron Scarlett 10-yard rush on 3rd and 3 for a Panthers 1st down. Coming out of the Two-minute warning Patterson is able to use his legs on a play action pass to find Lance Lenior for a first down. Panthers on a 2 and 5 go back to the air and Patterson barely misses Lance Lenior for a touchdown strike which leads to a 3rd down. Patterson on 3rd down finds Devin Ross for a first down and is to move the Panthers inside the 20. With around 30 seconds left the Panthers get extremely conservative and run back-to-back rushes. Panthers attempt to spike the ball, but the Panthers fail to manage the clock effectively and miss out on a field goal opportunity. Panthers lead going into the half 16-0, However, leave a couple points on the field.

Halftime Panthers lead 16-0

3rd Quarter

Lauletta comes out to start the 2nd half. The Maulers are able to run play action on second down and through a little scrambling, Lauletta finds running back Garrett Groshek for a 12-yard reception and a 1st down. A 2nd down pick 7-yard rush leads to t 3rd and 3 incompletion that’s thrown behind WR Jeff Thomas. Maulers punt to the Panthers 11 where Joe Walker fair catches it.

Panthers come out and are unable to get anything going. Panthers Punter Michael Carrisoza helps a bit by flipping the field for the Panthers despite being pinned inside the 10. Maulers start at their 48.

Josh Love returns into the game and starts the drive with false start penalty. Madre London is able to negate the penalty with a 16-yard rush. The Maulers continue to use London until 3rd down where Love is unable to connect on a screen. Riz Ahmed comes in to attempt a 59-yard FG, that had a bad snap bad hold and hooked left. No Good.

Patterson brings out the Panthers on their own 48. Patterson is able to complete a screen to La’Michael Pettaway to connect for 3 yards. A yard rush to Reggie Corbin leads to a 3rd down in which a scrambling Patterson cannot connect to Lance Lenior. Panthers attempt to punt but Carlo Kemp blocks the kick. The Maulers get the ball at the Panthers 27.

Josh Love connects with his roommate Hunter Thedford for 8 yards. A 3rd and 1 by the Maulers is stopped by the Panthers by Safety Keiron Williams. Another attempted rush by Garrett Groshek is thwarted by the Panthers as they stop the Maulers on fourth down. Panthers get the ball back.

Panthers cannot get anything going after two rushes and a Shea Patterson scramble led to a 4th down. The Maulers defense is rebounds in a much-needed manner. The Panthers are forced to punt and the Maulers take over at the 28.

Josh Love on second down finds Tre Walker for 12 yards. Love goes back to Walker for 24 yards and the Maulers continue to utilize the San Jose State connection. On 3rd and 6 Love is unable to connect with Madre London and the Panthers force 4th down. Walker and Love are able to complete a contested 4th down pass for 10 yards. On the final play of the quarter Love and Walker connect for 6 yards. Panthers go into the final quarter leading 16-0.

4th Quarter

Two incomplete passes lead to a Maulers 4th and 3. A bad snap is recovered by Love as he rolls out to his right, he fires a pass to his TE Hunter Thedford but the ball is deflected for an incomplete pass. Panthers ball.

Panthers start off with a pair of Reggie Corbin rushes that lead to a first down. On 2nd down Patterson delivers a strike to Joe Walker that is dropped. On 3rd and down Patterson cannot connect with Devin Ross as he drops the pass as well. Carrisoza comes out to put and pins the Maulers inside the 10 for a 65-yard punt.

Jameson Houston (1) and Joseph Putu (14) are all smiles during the game.

The Maulers begin at their own 8, with Josh Love under center. Offensive Tackle Justin Evans holds Cavon Walker as the Maulers now start at the 4. Madre London does his best to make it a 3rd and manageable for the Maulers. Maulers throws a screen pass complete for four yards and Wilson sends out the punt team. The Maulers are hit for a delay of game penalty which leads to Punter Matt Duffy punting to Joe Walker. The Panthers are hit for a 10-yard penalty as Tino Ellis is called for holding. The Panthers begin at the Michigan 37.

Stevie Scott begins the drive with a 7-yard rush. Corbin picks up the first down with his own 9-yard rush. A 3rd and short is set up by an RPO from Patterson to Devin Ross and on 3rd down Reggie Corbin picks up his second 1st down on the drive. Another RPO is good for a 5 yard pick up by Joe Walker as the Panthers are set up with a 3rd and 3. Cam Scarlett comes in and picks up the 1st down with a 6-yard rush. On a new set of downs Lance Lenior catches a bubble screen for a 7-yard pick up. On 2nd and 3 Cam Scarlett zigs and zags his way for a 9-yard rush and the 4th first down on the drive. The Panthers have set 1st and goal from the 8. On 2nd and short inside the 4, Reggie Corbin rushes untouched for a 4 yd score. Panthers Touchdown, 22-0. The Panthers convert the 2-pt conversion on a Shea Patterson read option and the Panthers are up 24-0.

24-0 Michigan Panthers 4:08 Remaining

Kyle Lauletta comes in to attempt to score and avoid the shut-out. Lauletta throws 3 passes and completes all 3 however, for 3 yards total. The Two Minute Warning hits as the Panthers force the punt. Panthers take the final drive at the Michigan 10.

Panthers come out with two rushes to close the game out. Reggie Corbin explodes for 63 yards to close the game out. Panthers win 24-0

Game Over: Michigan Panthers (1-2) defeat the Pittsburgh Maulers (0-3)24-0

Overview

From start to finish the Panthers have continued to dominate the Maulers front seven. The Maulers defense which was viewed as Top 4 unit in the league looked overworked and tired throughout the game. The anemic passing attack from both teams forced both sides to focus on the running game. The Panthers outrushed the Maulers 244-103 and were extremely fresh due to the combination of Stevie Scott, Cameron Scarlett, and Reggie Corbin who were able to score two touchdowns on the ground as well. Moving forward the Panthers need to solidify a more consistent passing game. Patterson as he has been the whole season has played better than his state line. The Panthers receivers continued to drop passes that led to the Panthers Offense figuratively shooting themselves in the foot. Overall, Michigan dominated on all three phases of the ball and will have plenty to be proud about while looking at the film. However, with a Philadelphia Stars team that is beginning to find their grove, they will have to get their passing attack in order, so they can effectively keep up with the rest of the league.

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