The Second Northern Duel takes place with two teams in two very different positions. The Panthers enter week nine with not much to play for other than their careers. The Generals go into week nine, with a clinched playoff spot and the number one seed of the Northern Division.
Both teams enter week nine with a stable of quarterbacks. The Panthers who started Paxton Lynch in Week 8, have Josh Love and Eric Barriere on the active roster for week 9. Love has played admirable in his one start with the Panthers but the real unknown is Eric Barriere who was an UDFA in the 2022 NFL draft and now finds himself on the Panthers awaiting to make his professional debut.
The Generals will most likely be sending out Luis Perez for week 9. Deandre Johnson is active however, with the playoffs around the corner Perez will be taking the majority of the snaps for the Generals. Perez has thrown for 970 yards, 5 TDs and 1 Int in relief of Johnson. Kyle Lauletta remains on the team however, was transferred to the inactive roster.
Both teams sport a running backs who are top-5 in the USFL. Darius Victor has established himself as the premier back while Reggie Corbin took a step back with a week 8 performance of -2 yards. Darius Victor leads the USFL in rushing yards (524) and has added 9 touchdowns on the ground, and Trey Williams has added 403 rushing yards which is fifth overall. The Panthers’ Reggie Corbin is third in the USFL with 514 yards. What sets the Generals apart is the adding the rushing element of Johnson it enhances the three headed monster rushing attack that the Generals show out.
The Generals and Panthers have the top two receivers of the USFL in KaVontae Turpin and Lance Lenior. Turpin has been the USFL’s version of Deebo Samuel. He’s been a weapon on three facets of the Generals Offensive production, in the Receiving, Rushing and Special Teams. The Panthers’ receiving corps has been plagued by drops however, Lenoir has managed to put together a solid season and has been aided by Devin Ross who is the 11th leading receiver in the league.
In the previous matchup, the Generals and Panthers only scored a total of 16 points with the Generals winning 10-6. This week the Panthers come into the league as the 4th ranked defense while the Generals are 2nd in the USFL. The Generals and Panthers both rank in the bottom of the USFL for sacks and with each team improving their passing offense, both defenses will be put to the test. Either way whether the Generals and Panthers decide to go heavy on the rushing attack or through the air both defenses will be put for the test for the second Northern Duel of the season.
I’m curious to see what Mike Riley’s approach is to the final two weeks. With the playoffs and a championship on the forefront the Generals main goal this week needs to be coming out of the game healthy. The Panthers are a team in flux and seeking to build for week 2. I’d like to believe Coach Fisher gives Eric Barriere some reps at QB, but with this coaching staff a lot is up to question. Overall, the I foresee the Panthers losing this once again, to a score of 24-14 to the Generals.