Panthers Hand Stars First Loss Of Season

On a cold and rainy night in Canton OH the Philadelphia Stars battled the Michigan Panthers. The result is not good if you’re a Stars fan. The game was mired with Stars miscues. Dropped passes, missed interceptions, and poor quarterback play from Case Cookus after the first quarter. The result was the Philadelphia Stars’ first loss of the 2023 season.

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The Game

The Stars and Panthers were the last game of week 2 in the USFL.  Both teams entered week two 1-0. Things were looking good early for the Stars.  On just the game’s second play from scrimmage. Cookus launched one deep to Jordan Suell, who hauled in the grab for a 50-yard gain. The big reception set up the Stars for a field goal on their opening drive to go up 3-0. Cookus was throwing completions all over the place as he had 100 passing yards in the first quarter. That would be the bright spot of the game for the Stars. The Stars would take a 3-0 lead into the second quarter.

The Panthers were finally able to get the ball moving early in the second quarter. Reggie Corbin took off for a 29-yard run but the Star’s defense stiffened and did not give up any points. Later in the 2nd quarter Panthers quarterback, Josh Love found Cole Hikutini over the middle. The tight end ran the rest of the way for a 36-yard score and the game’s first touchdown. 7-3 Michigan.

The Star’s ensuing drive Cookus would be picked off by Michigan’s Frank Ginda. This gave them another prime chance to score and extend their lead. But this time the Star’s defense would rise to the challenge. Amani Dennis got an interception right back for the Stars. As the first half was winding down and the Stars were driving Cookus again would be victimized by the interception. Corrin Ballard came up with the pick in the final minute of the first half for the Panthers. Giving them a strong field position before they kicked a field goal to take a 10-3 lead into the break.

Second Half

In the second half, the Panthers got the ball and were on the move again, but Dennis countered with yet another pick of his own, snatching the ball from the air and running it back for a good gain, setting the Stars up for a chance to score and tie the game up. A few plays later Matt Colburn ran the ball in from the 1-yard line. The ensuing extra point would tie things up 10-10.

On the Panther’s next possession, they went right up the field and were rewarded by a 10-yard touchdown run by Reggie Corbin to give the Panthers a 17-10 lead. A lead they would not surrender.  Later in the half Corbin would break free for the Panthers and take the ball 52 yards to pay dirt. 24-10 Panthers. On the night Corbin would rush for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 attempts. That is how the scoring would end as the Panthers plagued Cookus all night. The Stars committed 4 turnovers (2 Cookus interceptions) and Cookus was sacked 4 times. The Panthers move to 2-0 (they only won 2 games all of 2022) The Stars fall to 1-1. Next up for the Stars are the Pittsburgh Maulers as the Battle of Pennsylvania part 1 is set for Sunday at noon on NBC.  

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Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.