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Michigan Panthers knocked out of UFL playoffs with loss to Birmingham Stallions

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Michigan Panthers knocked out of UFL playoffs with loss to Birmingham Stallions


It felt like déjà vu, but stung worse in every way.

Just like last week’s regular-season finale, the Michigan Panthers let another first-half lead slip away and fell to the Birmingham Stallions, 31-18, in Saturday’s USFL Conference Championship game at Protective Stadium in Alabama.

The Panthers (7-4) scored on each of their first five offensive possessions, with kicker Jake Bates going 4-for-4 on field goals to build an 18-3 lead in the first half. But the Panthers never scored again, allowing 28 unanswered points to the Stallions.

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Danny Etling made his third straight start at quarterback and on the first drive, which was set up by a 37-yard opening kickoff return from Devin Ross, connected with Siaosi Mariner on a short pass for a 35-yard touchdown as the Panthers took an early 6-0 lead.

On Birmingham’s ensuing possession, Ricky Pearson Jr. got stopped short of the first-down marker by linebacker Noah Dawkins on fourth-and-1, as the Panthers took over on the Stallions’ 42-yard line. The Panthers didn’t get a first down, but they got close enough for Bates to boot a 53-yard field goal to make it 9-0.

It seemed the Stallions came out the gates undisciplined, as they amassed four penalties for 45 yards in the first quarter alone, with just one first down on their first two drives. Another Birmingham punt would lead to another field goal from Bates, as the Panthers extended their lead to 12-0 by the end of the first quarter.

Birmingham’s Adrian Martinez got a big 38-yard reception from the star tight end Jake Sternberger that put the defending USFL champions at the Panthers’ 2. Keith Gibson Jr. made a terrific stop on third-and-goal that forced the Stallions to settle for a field goal.

After another field goal from Bates, Dawkins forced a fumble when sacking Martinez, with the ball recovered by the Panthers for the game’s first turnover. Still, the Panthers could only muster another field goal for an 18-3 lead.

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After the kickoff from the Panthers went out of bounds and put the Stallions at the 50, Martinez found Jordan Thomas deep down the middle on the first play for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 18-9.

The Panthers got into Bates’ range again late in the first half, but he missed a 51-yard attempt to the left. The Stallions took advantage of the field position and Chris Blewitt made a 43-yard field goal to trim the Panthers’ lead to 18-12 at halftime.

The Stallions received the ball to start the second half but after a big 39-yard return from Deon Cain into Panthers territory, Martinez was picked off by Panthers cornerback Adonis Alexander at the 1-yard line.

The Panthers faked a fourth-down punt when Kai Nacua threw it to Kedrick Whitehead Jr. for the first down, but Etling fumbled while getting sacked on the next play and the Stallions recovered.

It was a turnover-prone quarter, as Martinez fumbled the ball back to the Panthers. After both teams traded punts, Etling threw an interception on his first play of the drive to Ike Brown.

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Matt Corral replaced Martinez at quarterback for the Stallions, but the turnovers kept coming as Corral overthrew his target and the ball found its way into Javin White’s hands. But the sixth turnover of the quarter would be the biggest, as Etling threw it right to Daniel Isom, who took it 48 yards for a pick-six.

With the game tied at 18 and one quarter remaining, Corral remained under center and led a five-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 7-yard touchdown pass to Amani Rodgers and gave the Stallions their first lead of the day.

After being unable to convert on third down, Bates came out for a 44-yard attempt that was blocked by two Stallions. Down 24-18 with 9:43 remaining, the Panthers needed a stop from their defense.

But they couldn’t get it, as Corral led another touchdown drive to make it 31-18, putting the exclamation mark on another comeback from the Stallions and an end to the Panthers’ season.

Kameron Goodwill is a freelance writer.

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Michigan

Storms possible amid excessive heat in Metro Detroit: What to expect

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Storms possible amid excessive heat in Metro Detroit: What to expect


4Warn Weather – Heat and humidity will affect the area through the week.

An excessive heat warning remains in effect for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties through 8 p.m. on Friday. The remaining outlying areas are under a heat advisory for the same time frame.

We will be back into the 90s on this Tuesday with heat indices near or above 100 degrees.

There will be periodic chances for thunderstorms each day this week. The heat and humidity could bubble up a few showers and storms in the heat of the afternoons, so keep an umbrella nearby.

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Scattered thunderstorms are possible each day this week, mainly in the afternoon and evening. Any thunderstorm that does develop will be capable of producing heavy rain, frequent lightning, and wind gusts up to 60 mph.

Tonight’s sunset is at 9:13 p.m.

A prolonged period of heat and humidity will continue through the week into Saturday.

High temperatures will be in the low 90s each day this week. Peak heat indices of 95 to 100 degrees are possible each afternoon. We expect little to no overnight relief, with lows staying above 70 degrees all week.

This will will be a long-duration of extreme heat that will affect people without proper cooling or hydration. Those working outdoors are urged to drink a cool glass of water every 20 minutes to stay hydrated, and to find shade whenever possible.

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Remember to download the free 4Warn weather app — it’s easily one of the best in the nation. Just search your app store under WDIV and it’s right there available for both iPhones and Androids! Or click the appropriate link below.

Copyright 2024 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.



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WR Tyler Morris’ path to Michigan, outlook for 2024

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WR Tyler Morris’ path to Michigan, outlook for 2024


Wideout Tyler Morris has 16 career receptions and is now in his third year at Michigan. With departures in the receiver room, Morris will be one of the players rising up the depth chart.

Outlook moving forward

Morris was a four-star prospect in the class of 2022 and was ranked as the No. 18 WR and No. 104 overall prospect in his class. Morris received offers from the likes of Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame, among others.

Morris was a high school teammate of former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy at Nazareth Academy in Illinois. During Morris’ sophomore season at Nazareth with McCarthy as QB, Morris and McCarthy hooked up for 68 receptions, 1,237 yards, and 17 touchdowns.

Morris had three grabs for 25 yards during his freshman campaign at Michigan. His sophomore season in 2023 featured 13 receptions for 197 yards and one touchdown, the first of his career. The touchdown couldn’t have come at a better time — with Michigan tied 7-7 against Alabama in the Rose Bowl Morris caught a 38-yard touchdown pass where he showcased that he can be dangerous in traffic and pick up yards after the catch.

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Outlook moving forward

With Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson now in the NFL players such as Morris, Semaj Morgan, and Fredrick Moore will be relied upon and receive the bulk of snaps at receiver. Morris should easily set career highs in snaps and in every receiving category this fall. Morris has a bit of former Michigan wideout Ronnie Bell in his game. Morris is elusive and shifty at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds and it would be no surprise to see him have explosive plays as a junior. Morris is one of the next men up for Michigan. He waited his turn and 2024 will be his time to shine.



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Federal appellate panel sends Michigan pipeline challenge to state court

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Federal appellate panel sends Michigan pipeline challenge to state court


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s lawsuit seeking to shut down part of a petroleum pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac belongs in state court, a federal appellate panel ruled Monday.

The pipeline’s operator, Enbridge Inc., moved the case from state court to federal court more than two years past the deadline for changing jurisdictions. A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Enbridge clearly missed the deadline and ordered the case remanded to state court.

Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Nessel filed the lawsuit in June 2019 seeking to void a 1953 easement that enables Enbridge to operate a 4.5-mile (6.4-kilometer) section of Line 5 beneath the straits, which link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

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Concerns over the section rupturing and causing a catastrophic spill have been growing since 2017, when Enbridge engineers revealed they had known about gaps in the section’s protective coating since 2014. A boat anchor damaged the section in 2018, intensifying fears of a spill.

Nessel won a restraining order from a state judge in June 2020, although Enbridge was allowed to restart operations after complying with safety requirements. The energy company moved the lawsuit into federal court in December 2021.

Nessel argued to the 6th U.S. Circuit panel that the lawsuit belongs in state court. During oral arguments before the panel in Cincinnati in March, her attorneys insisted the case invokes the public trust doctrine, a legal concept in state law in which natural resources belong to the public, as well as the Michigan Environmental Protection Act.

Enbridge attorneys countered the case should stay in federal court because it affects trade between the U.S. and Canada. Line 5 moves petroleum products from northwestern Wisconsin through Michigan into Ontario.

The judges — Richard Griffin, Amul Thapor and John Nalbandian — did not address the merits of the case.

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Enbridge filed a separate federal lawsuit in 2020 arguing that the state’s attempt to shut down the pipeline interferes with the federal regulation of pipeline safety and could encourage copycat actions that would impede interstate and international petroleum trading. That case is pending.

Enbridge also has been working to secure permits to encase the section of pipeline beneath the straits in a protective tunnel.

The pipeline is at the center of a legal dispute in Wisconsin as well. A federal judge in Madison last summer gave Enbridge three years to shut down part of Line 5 that runs across the Bad River Band of Lake Superior’s reservation. The company has proposed rerouting the pipeline around the reservation and has appealed the shutdown order to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That case is pending.



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