The Pittsburgh Maulers are officially the USFL’s underdog after three weeks into the league’s reboot and it’s definitely not a box head coach Kirby Wilson was interested in checking.
The Maulers are the only team in the USFL without a win, dropping their third contest 24-0 against the Michigan Panthers, the only other winless team in the league. The shutout for the Maulers is the first for any USFL team this season.
Michigan took control from the very beginning of the game and made Pittsburgh chase the game the entire way.
In a drive lead by former NFL first-rounder and Steelers backup Paxton Lynch, Stevie Scott III rushed into the end zone from six yards out and a Lynch scramble capped the drive with an additional two points.
Michigan followed a stalled drive by recovering a muffed punt by Jeffrey Thomas at the Pittsburgh five-yard line.
Three plays later Lynch rushed for six from the one-yard line and was once again capped by a two-point conversion.
The Maulers were unsuccessful on every drive with Kyle Lauletta in command including a blocked field goal from 46-yards away halfway through the second quarter.
Michigan carried a 16-0 lead into halftime and never slowed down defensively.
The Maulers failed to convert on two tries from one yard out inside the Michigan 20-yard line in one of the game’s defining drives.
Maulers defensive lineman Darrius Moragne suffered an injury on a Panthers third-down play with 3:41 left in the 3rd quarter. He could not continue and the team carted him off the field, a tough loss for one of the Maulers’ biggest team strengths defensively.
Josh Love had a lane to run from the Michigan 15-yard line on 4th down and 3 but decided to throw a jump ball in the end zone intended for tight end Hunter Thedford.
Reggie Corbin scored the Panthers’ final touchdown with the team’s other quarterback Shea Patterson completing the two-point conversion on the ground.
The Maulers couldn’t stop the Panthers’ rushing attack, allowing 244 yards on the ground including a game-high 133 yards from Reggie Corbin.
Lauletta and Love split time at QB but either could provide a spark for the Pittsburgh offense. Madre London was one of the one positive contributors offensively with 68 yards rushing on 10 carries.
The Maulers face the New Jersey Generals on Saturday, May 7 at 2:30. Peacock is the streaming platform for the game.