UFL Week 5

UFL Week 5: What to Watch For This Weekend

The UFL season is at the halfway point and a pattern is starting to emerge. Three of the eight teams are pulling away from the rest of the pack to make their case for the playoffs.

UFL Week 5: What to Watch For This Weekend


Stallions Unbeaten Heading Into Week 5

The unbeaten Birmingham Stallions topped the D.C. Defenders 20-18 on a last-second field goal by Ramiz Ahmed. Quarterback Matt Corral was 19/29 for 240 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. The Stallions with the league’s first-ranked offense, looked unstoppable last weekend when Corral lobbed a pass to wide receiver

Amari Rodgers, who broke a tackle, and dashed into the end zone for a huge 50-yard score. Aided by the superior play of their stifling defense, the Stallions appear to have a lock on the number-one spot for the USFL division.  The (3-1) St.Louis Battlehawks, and (3-1) San Antonio Brahmas appear to be headed for the XFL division playoffs.  

McCarron Playing At The Top Of His Game 

The Battlehawks have the UFL’s top-rated quarterback in A. J. McCarron, who has a 70.3% completion rate, passing for 795 yards (97/138) and 8 TDs on the season. Last weekend, McCarron looked sensational as the Battlehawks pounded the Memphis Showboats 32-17. McCarron had an outstanding performance, passing 35/45 for 222 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He added another 23 yards rushing and had plenty of support from a strong offensive line that provided more than ample protection.

At times, McCarron appeared to have all day to find an open receiver. Jahcour Pearson (10 receptions for 70 yards with a touchdown) and Hakeem Butler (eight receptions for 60 yards) were his favorite targets.  The Battlehawks’ ground game exploded last week with Jacob Saylors racking up more than 100 yards, half of which came from an outstanding 57-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run.

Don’t Write Off The Brahmas 

A week ago, the San Antonio Brahmas playoff chances were in doubt when they lost quarterback Chase Garbers for the remainder of the season with a wrist injury. But in a crucial game against the Michigan Panthers, the Brahmas stepped up to win 19-9.  Quarterback Quinten Dormady playing in his first UFL game, looked terrific, passing 23/37 for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  His favorite targets were wide receivers Jontre’ Kirklin, who is having a great season with five receptions for 105 yards, and Justin Smith, who led the team with seven receptions for 107 yards.  

The Brahmas’ smothering defense kept constant pressure on the Panthers for much of the game, limiting the team to a 49-yard Jake Bates field goal in the closing seconds of the first half.  The Panthers’ only touchdown to Marcus Simms came late in the game on a pass from quarterback Danny Etling.

Other Teams Who Still Have A Shot

While the 2-2 Michigan Panthers are only two games behind the Stallions, their playoff hopes took a hit last weekend when quarterback E.J. Perry suffered a serious hamstring injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Perry was off to a great start for the Panthers and had his best game the previous week against the Houston Roughnecks when he was 16/19 for 208 yards including a 66-yard touchdown to Marcus Simms. Later in the game, Perry added another 60 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

The loss of Perry is a tough blow for the Panthers.  If the team intends to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need a superior performance this weekend from Etling who was 11/14 for 105 yards with a touchdown to wide receiver Marcus Simms and one interception, in relief of Perry last weekend against the Brahmas.  

One of the strongholds for the Panthers this season has been an impressive defensive effort led by Frank Ginda and Kai Nacua. Ginda has 30 tackles on the season and Nacua, who is credited with 26 tackles, currently leads the league with two interceptions in back-to-back games.  

The Showboats and QB Case Cookus have been a study in two very different teams this season.  In the very first game against the Houston Roughnecks, Cookus looked terrific, passing for over 200 yards and finding open receivers Vinny Papale, Daewood Davis, and tight end Sage Surratt. But when Cookus is repeatedly sacked and forced to throw under pressure as he was over the last three weeks, those games told a different tale. When he’s afforded the time and protection, Cookus has great chemistry with his receivers and can make things happen. He’s also an extremely mobile quarterback who currently leads the team in rushing yards. 

If the Showboats vs. Panthers game remains close, it could come down to a game-winning field goal.  Both of these teams have outstanding kickers with the Panthers’ distance superstar, Jake Bates, and the Showboats’ very reliable Matt Coghlin who is 9/10 thus far on the season. Whichever team comes up victorious on Sunday night will have a definite edge heading towards the playoffs.  

On Saturday night, FOX will be showing two regional games at 7:00 pm EST.  Viewers will see either the Birmingham Stallions v. Houston Roughnecks or the Arlington Renegades v. San Antonio Brahmas.  Check your local listings for details.  

Sunday afternoon, the two remaining games will be televised on ESPN. Watch the St. Louis Battlehawks v. D.C. Defenders at noon EST.

The final game will be at 3:00 pm EST when the Memphis Showboats host the Michigan Panthers in a game with playoff implications that will determine which team will take second place in the USFL division.  

Main Image:  Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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