The UFL Week 10-What You Missed

The final week of the UFL’s regular season came down to two nail-biting finishes for the playoff-bound teams with each decided by a single point and a missed field goal. With only four teams advancing to the division playoffs, the two games played on Saturday featured a “preview” of next week’s games with the teams competing against the same opponent they will play next week in the divisional championship.

The UFL Week 10-What You Missed

What’s At Stake?

In addition to offering an opportunity to check out the competition ahead of the playoff games, one of the games would determine home-field advantage for next week.  

Birmingham Stallions v. Michigan Panthers

Last weekend’s game proved that the Panthers are every bit as good and gutsy as they showed last week in overcoming a 22-12 deficit from the Houston Roughnecks to win by a score of 26-22.  

This week the Panthers played a solid game, taking on MVP Candidate Adrian Martinez and the team with the best record in the UFL. The defense held Martinez to only 163 yards and one touchdown in the win.  Although Martinez is typically the lead rusher for the team, the Panthers defense held him to only 41 yards on 5 carries.  But the Stallions running back C. J. Marable proved to be the difference, scoring two touchdowns on 56 yards in 10 carries. 

Coming Up Just Short 

Panthers quarterback Danny Etling had a strong game throwing 16/31 for 195 yards and two touchdowns (1 passing, 1 rushing) in the loss. But after leading for most of the game, the Michigan Panthers couldn’t stop a late-game surge by the Birmingham Stallions with less than a minute to go. Although the Panthers had an opportunity to win with three seconds left on the clock, their talented kicker Jake Bates missed wide to the right on a 39-yard kick and the Stallions won 20-19.

St. Louis Battlehawks v. San Antonio Brahmas

A few hours later, another missed last-second field goal and a single point were the difference in the game as the St. Louis Battlehawks held off the San Antonio Brahmas by a score of 13-12. The Brahmas entered their final game of the season, riding high on a wave of emotion after last week’s triumphant win over the Birmingham Stallions. They were the only team in the league to defeat the Stallions, and with a one-game lead over the St, Louis Battlehawks, they were confident in their chances for a victory. The win would guarantee the Brahmas home-field advantage for the Division Championship round next week.

The Brahmas, who boast the best defense in the league, had their starting quarterback, Chase Garbers healthy once again. But the Battlehawks also had their ace quarterback A. J. McCarron back. Despite missing the last two games, McCarron remains one of the league leaders, passing 154/231 for 1467 yards with 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Having McCarron back might have been the difference in the game. Even though it wasn’t his best game, he was just good enough,  passing 10/24 for 115 yards with one 22-yard touchdown to Steven Mitchell and one interception. Running back Jacob Saylors had 12 rushes for 50 yards plus two receptions for seven yards.  

But the Battlehawks had the added advantage of 34,000 “Kaw-crazy” fans cheering them on to victory. Securing home-field advantage next week is a huge win for both the Battlehawks and their deserving fans who show up faithfully for every game, far outpacing the attendance at every other venue in the league. Their support next week could be the difference in the Battlehawks advancing to the UFL League championship.  

For the Brahmas, it was a disappointing loss as they struggled on offense with starting quarterback Chase Garbers going down with an injury and Quinten Dormady stepping in once again.  Garbers was 5/11 for 40 yards with one interception.  Dormady passed 15/27 for 188 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.  

Another Thrilling Finish

The Brahmas were down 13-6 late in the game when Dormady found wide receiver Jontre’ Kirklin open for a 51-yard touchdown. The Brahmas were back in the game 13-12 as the clock ticked down to the two-minute warning.  On the Brahmas two-point conversion attempt, the Battlehawks committed a neutral zone infraction and the Brahmas were awarded another shot from the two-yard line.  The catch by Kirklin was good, however, St. Louis head coach Anthony Becht used his Super Challenge flag to say there was an ineligible downfield receiver, and he won the challenge, negating the extra points.  With only seconds remaining the Brahmas got the ball back.  Dormady advanced the team to the Battlehawks 34-yard line and with 12 seconds to go, Ryan Santosa attempted a 51-yard field goal.  The kick was no good and the Brahmas came up short 13-12.

Sunday’s Games -What’s In Store 

On Sunday, the bottom four teams will play but in another ironic scheduling twist, the final game of the regular season is between the Houston Roughnecks and the Memphis Showboats, the two teams in the league with the worst record at 1-8.

It’s a rough way to end the season with dismal losing records and there wasn’t much to play for other than pride. Until the league came up with a brilliant incentive. The UFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Daryl Johnston, announced last week that the winner would be awarded the first-round pick in every round of the upcoming draft. Suddenly this meaningless game took on a whole new appeal. With the first-round draft picks at stake, these teams have a reason to show up and play their hearts out. It’s the ultimate consolation prize; one that incentivizes not only the team performance but also reignites fan engagement.  

The Memphis Showboats host the Houston Roughnecks in the regular season finale at 7:00 pm EDT on FOX.

Check your local listings for details.

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