USFL Week 1 highlights: Michigan Panthers pull away late to beat Houston Gamblers
The Michigan Panthers pulled away late to beat the Houston Gamblers, 29-13, in Week 1 of the USFL.
Week 1 of the 2023 USFL season is in full swing, and we've got you covered with all the action Sunday!
The second day of the season kicked off with the Michigan Panthers facing the Houston Gamblers in Memphis, with Josh Love passing for 216 yards and three touchdowns — completing a USFL-record 90% of his passes along the way — to lead a 29-13 victory.
Later, the Pittsburgh Maulers will go up against the New Orleans Breakers in Birmingham (6:30 p.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app).
See the full regular-season week-by-week matchups here.
Here are the top plays!
Michigan Panthers 29, Houston Gamblers 13
Thread the needle
The Panthers pounced first, going on a seven-play, 80-yard drive to open the game. They found paydirt on this strike from Josh Love to Marcus Baugh, who pounded the rock into the end zone.
Pledge of allegiance
T.J. Pledger IV has allegiance to the Gamblers, and he showed his loyalty to the squad by helping it tie the game at 6 with a powerful plunge up the gut. The rush capped a 12-play, 61-yard drive full of big plays for Houston. Things remained knotted at six following the first quarter.
The Gamblers kept the momentum up by recovering a misplayed punt in the second.
Two for uno!
He calls himself "Uno", but Pledger gave the Gamblers a double-dose of his scoring ability with another TD to extend their lead.
And Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson was loving it. He was in attendance in support of his son Josh.
Houston was in control to open the second half and was putting together a nice drive, aided by a penalty for a late hit.
The tables are turned
But things changed quickly when Warren Saba picked off a pass and darted down the field, coming up just short of the end zone.
Panthers take the lead
A short while later, Stevie Scott pushed it into the end zone for a 16-13 lead.
Michigan takes control
Houston started to respond by putting a drive together, but a fumble recovery by Paddy Fisher ended that, and the Panther extended their lead with a nice drive.
Run out the clock? Nah!
The Panthers could have run the ball on third down late in this contest, instead, they went for the jugular, making it 29-13 with a pretty touchdown pass from Love. He finished with 216 yards and three touchdowns, completing 19 of his 21 pass attempts.
The Gamblers arrived in style, ready to roll.
Meanwhile, the Panthers came off the bus all business, particularly quarterback Josh Love and running back Reggie Corbin.
Both teams took to the field early to take a look at the conditions.
Stay tuned for updates!
More on the USFL:
- USFL 2023: How to watch, team previews, best players
- The full week-by-week 2023 USFL schedule
- Five potential USFL MVP candidates to keep an eye on ahead of 2023 season
- Michigan Panthers preview: Rising defense under Mike Nolan
- Pittsburgh Maulers preview: Fresh faces and a fresh start?
- Birmingham Stallions preview: Champs look to run it back
- New Jersey Generals preview: Building on a 9-1 season
- Memphis Showboats preview: QB Brady White to steer the ship
- Houston Gamblers preview: A focus on team speed
- Philadelphia Stars preview: Championship or bust
- New Orleans Breakers preview: Back to the postseason?