USFL Week 7: New Orleans Breakers outlast Michigan Panthers in OT

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Week 7 of the USFL season continued Saturday with a gripping overtime matchup between the New Orleans Breakers and the Michigan Panthers.

New Orleans improved to 5-2 on the season with a 31-27 victory over Michigan, which dropped to 1-6 overall.

Elsewhere, the New Jersey Generals (6-1) became the first USFL team to clinch a postseason spot with a dramatic victory over the Tampa Bay Bandits (3-4) in the early window.

Here are the top plays from Saturday’s late game.

New Orleans Breakers 31, Michigan Panthers 27

All You Need Is Love

Josh Love made his first start as a Panther on Saturday after Michigan released quarterback Shea Patterson — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 USFL Draft — who was scooped up by New Orleans off the waiver wire.

Not how NOLA drew it up

The Breakers fumbled the ball on their first drive of the game when a trick play went wrong.

Love to see it

On the ensuing drive, Love moved the Panthers downfield with ease on this 32-yard bomb to Devin Ross.

Michigan settles for three

The big gain led to a short field goal to get the Panthers on the board first after the Breakers’ defense denied them on third-and-goal.

Sacked!

The Breakers’ defense continued to pour it on the Panthers as the first quarter came to a close.

Zack Attack

Backup QB Zach Smith entered the game for Kyle Sloter in the second frame and immediately made an impact.

Breakers on the board!

New Orleans took a 7-3 lead when tight end Sal Cannella found the end zone on a quick pass from Smith.

Zach Smith finds Sal Cannella for the wide open Breakers TD

New Orleans quarterback Zach Smith finds tight end Sal Cannella for a wide-open Breakers touchdown and the early lead in the second quarter.

Razzle Dazzle

Panthers TE La’Michael Pettway came up with a wild catch from Love as the Panthers moved down the field.

With momentum on its side, Michigan closed the gap with another field goal late in the second quarter to make it a one-point game.

Another one!

It didn’t stay a one-point game for long, however, as the Breakers marched down the field to extend their lead, 14-6, courtesy of WR Jonathan Adams.

Jonathan Adams secures TD to give Breakers the lead

Jonathan Adams secures a touchdown from Kyle Sloter to put the New Orleans Breakers ahead of the Michigan Panthers.

It’s good!

The Panthers got the ball back with one minute to spare, and they certainly made the most of it. 

First, Cameron Scarlett turned on the jets and broke off for a big 36-yard gain, which set up a lengthy field goal attempt for Michigan. 

Luckily for the Panthers, Cole Murphy is on their roster. Murphy added another field goal ahead of the break, this time a whopping 60-yarder to make it a five-point game at the break, 14-9. 

The monster kick comes on the heels of him nailing a 56-yarder — the longest field goal of the season at that time — in Week 6 that earned him Special-Teams Player of the Week.

Michigan Panthers’ Cole Murphy drills a 60-YARD field goal

Cole Murphy drills a 60-yarder to give Michigan a boost heading into halftime.

Back-and-forth battle

The Breakers opened the second-half scoring with a field goal of their own, although not quite as flashy. Murphy answered with his fourth field goal of the night to account for all 12 of the Panthers’ points.

The Breakers held a 17-14 edge heading into the final frame, which the Panthers took control over early after New Orleans fumbled the punt return near its own red zone.

Michigan’s first TD!

The Panthers took their first lead since early in the first quarter on a short scamper from Stevie Scott, and a successful two-point conversion made it a three-point game, 20-17.

Panthers score go-ahead TD on Stevie Scott one-yard rush

Michigan scores a TD early in the fourth quarter to take the lead. The Panthers then added a two-point conversion on the short pass to Lance Lenoir.

Making waves

The Breakers fired back on the following drive, capping off a 60-yard, four-play drive with six points.

TD frenzy

Michigan answered with another score on the ensuing drive to keep things close. Reggie Corbin popped off for 29 yards to get the Panthers near the goal line, and Scarlett did the rest to regain the lead, 27-24.

Tricks up their sleeve

The Panthers pulled out all the stops in the final few minutes, like this trick play for the first down.

Michigan got the ball back late in the frame after New Orleans went three-and-out on the previous drive, but they missed a field goal to leave the door open for the Breakers — and they took advantage.

Knotted up

With less than two minutes to spare, the Breakers kicked it into high gear on their final drive in regulation. And with one second (!) left on the clock, they tied the game with a field goal to send things to overtime.

Walk-off win in OT

In overtime, each team alternated a one-play possession from the 2-yard line with each score being worth two points. Each team gets up to three plays, but it only took New Orleans two to seal the deal.

The Panthers’ first attempt came up short on a bad snap, while the Breakers found the end zone with ease.

Michigan came up short again on its second attempt, which allowed New Orleans to come from behind and win the first overtime game of the inaugural season.


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