USFL Inside the Drive: How Maulers edged Panthers in OT playoff thriller

USFL Inside the Drive: How Maulers edged Panthers in OT playoff thriller

Jun 28

It took an epic battle for the Pittsburgh Maulers to get past the Michigan Panthers, 31-27, in overtime this past weekend, earning a bid to this weekend's USFL Championship Game in the process.

In a contest that was a defensive struggle into the third quarter, the teams eventually opened things up late, combining to score 17 total points in the final 2:30 of regulation. Michigan quarterback E.J. Perry kicked off the scoring flurry with a pretty floating pass to Trey Quinn for a 55-yard score.

Down four points with less than two minutes to play, Pittsburgh responded with a tough TD of its own.

Troy Williams fired a precise pass to Garrett Groshek over the middle, who made a number of defenders miss en route to a 25-yard gain. Williams then spread the wealth to two other receivers, Ishmael Hyman and Isiah Hennie, for good gains. Williams capped the drive by hooking up with Hyman on a laser in the back of the end zone to put Pittsburgh up 27-24.

Was Michigan finished, though? Not by a long shot.

Perry flashed his clutch gene, completing a pair of quick passes before hooking up with Kaden Davis on the right side of the field for a 16-yard gain. The play brought Michigan into field goal range, and Cole Murphy tied things up with a 47-yard field goal with four seconds left.

In overtime, the Maulers pulled off a nifty play-fake to come up successful on their first two-point attempt, before the team's defense made what could be the play of the year at the goal line to force a Michigan fumble.

On the Maulers' second two-point attempt, Williams took matters into his own hands, willing his way into the end zone on a QB keep, before a batted ball at the line of scrimmage sealed the deal for Pittsburgh in the victory.

So how did it all go down behind the scenes? Here's our latest edition of "Inside the Drive."