2023 USFL season opener: Michigan Panthers (2-8 in 2022) vs. Houston Gamblers (3-7 in 2022)
When: Noon Sunday.
Where: Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee.
Line: Gamblers by 1.
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Game notes: The Panthers won just two games last season, but really didn’t shake up the roster much in the offseason. New coach Mike Nolan — whose attempt to bring back the suit on NFL sidelines so many years ago was better-intentioned than ex-coach Jeff Fisher’s attempt to bring back ripped jeans last season — has a couple options at quarterback: Incumbent starter Josh Love from San Jose State, who sounds like a reality show contestant but passed for 247 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions with the Panthers last season, or Carson Strong from Nevada, who ALSO sounds like a reality show contestant, but passed for 4,175 yards, 36 TDs and eight interceptions as a senior in 2021. (Ironically, Strong skipped his first chance to play at Ford Field, sitting out the 2021 Quick Lane Bowl to work on his NFL potential; the Panthers play their first game at Ford Field on April 30.) Nolan hasn’t said yet who’ll get the start today in Memphis.
We’re pretty sure, though, that Reggie Corbin will get the nod at running back after popping up on billboards for the team all winter long; the former Illinois standout rushed 94 times for 516 yards and two touchdowns last season, one of the few effective pieces of the Panthers offense outside of the two-minute drill (which, for half the season, appeared to be, “I dunno, let’s see what Shea Patterson can do?”).
The Gamblers, meanwhile feature a trio of Mitten State products in S Stefan Claiborne (WMU, though he’s already listed as “out” on the injury report), OL Tyler Higby (Michigan State) and WR Tyler Palka (SVSU). Houston finished last in the South Division last season at 3-7 after being outscored 208-196 and turning the ball over 15 times.
After today’s opener, the Panthers play their “hub-mate,” the Philadelphia Stars in a neutral-site game under the lights at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, next Sunday night. The Gamblers, meanwhile, hit the road to face the New Orleans Breakers in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday afternoon.
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Contact Ryan Ford at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @theford.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan Panthers game score vs. Houston Gamblers: Live updates