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 Michigan Panthers

Perry Nearly Perfect for Panthers in 34-20 Victory Over Roughnecks

April 14, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)
Michigan Panthers News Release

DETROIT, Michigan - The Michigan Panthers got back in the win column with a 34-20 win over the Houston Roughnecks on Sunday, April 14 at Ford Field. It was all hands on deck for the Panthers, led by quarterback E.J. Perry with a superlative performance: completing 16-of-19 passes for 208 yards, a passing touchdown and two rushing scores.

The Roughnecks wasted no time, opening the game with a Reid Sinnett one-yard touchdown run after a four-minute drive. Sinnett found Emmanuel Butler in the back of the endzone for the two-point conversion and an early 8-0 lead.

Hit with a third-and-long on the Panthers first possession, E.J. Perry connected with receiver Trey Quinn down the sideline for 23 yards to break into Houston territory. The Roughnecks were able to hold Michigan to a 48-yard Jake Bates field goal to end the drive.

Defensive tackle Garrett Marino made the first big play of the day on defense for the Panthers, tackling T.J. Pledger IV for a loss of five on Houston's first play of their ensuing possession. After two consecutive false start penalties, the Roughnecks were forced to punt.

In the closing moments of the first quarter, Perry connected with Devin Gray for 25 yards to kickstart their drive. Early in the second frame, Perry took a keeper for two yards to convert a fourth down near the redzone. Marcus Simms then got into the action with a bobbling catch towards the sideline for nine yards, stealing a potential interception away.

Three plays later, Perry finished the drive himself with an 11-yard touchdown run to take a 9-8 lead. Michigan was turned away on the two-point conversion, as Wes Hills was stopped at the one by Gabriel Sewell Jr..

Houston swiftly marched into Michigan territory, but safety Kai Nacua hauled in an interception after a Sinnett pass was batted into the air. That made it back to back games with a takeaway on defense for the Panthers.

Danny Etling took the reins under center for the Panthers on their next drive, as Michigan looked to get him involved. After two scrambles for seven yards, an Etling incompletion led to Michigan giving the ball back to Houston.

Despite a Walter Palmore sack, the Roughnecks were able to get points before half, capping a 11-play, 65-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal. This put Houston back in front 11-9 with under a minute left.

Perry and Co. were able to drive to Houston's 37-yard line, which gave Bates another field goal opportunity. Houston tried to ice him, but Bates still knocked through a 55-yard field goal to take a 12-11 lead into the break.

It only took the Panthers 37 seconds to get back in the end zone, as Perry dotted one to Simms, who quickly turned upfield for a catch-and-run 66-yard touchdown on the first play of the half. The Panthers converted the two-point conversion with a pass to newcomer Siaosi Mariner to extend their lead 20-11.

The Roughnecks created a chunk play of their own on the following kickoff, with Isiah Hennie returning one 75 yards to Michigan's 20-yard line. The Panthers stood firm, later forcing Houston to a 25-yard field goal.

Perry wasted no time getting the offense in rhythm, linking up with Mariner again, this time for 25 yards. Perry later found the end zone once again with a nine-yard rushing touchdown, his second of the game and his fourth rushing touchdown of the season. Matthew Colburn II rushed for the two-point conversion to widen the gap near the end of the third quarter.

Michigan's Breeland Speaks wanted in on the fun, sacking Sinnett for a loss of seven. Two plays later, Speaks forced heavy pressure on Sinnett, who was forced to throw the ball away on third down. On fourth down, corner Kendrick Whitehead Jr. blocked the Roughnecks punt, and the Panthers recovered on the plus 26-yard line.

Four plays later, Colburn II found paydirt to break a score of 30 for Michigan for the first time this season. Michigan led by 20 heading into the final quarter.

The Roughnecks opened the fourth quarter with a touchdown drive to muster some semblance of a comeback. Sinnett threw a quick pass to Justin Hall who broke the plane for the score. It was too little too late for Houston, however, who remain winless on the season.

Perry was 16-of-19 on the day for 208 yards and one touchdown. Sinnett of Houston completed 19-of-28 passes for 197 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Perry was also the team's leading rusher with 60 yards on nine attempts. Pledger IV was the leading rusher for the Roughnecks with 34 yards on 14 attempts.

The leading receiver for Michigan was Quinn with 5 receptions for 48 yards. Simms led the team in receiving yards for the second straight week, this time with 84. Cyril Grayson caught 5 balls for 40 yards for Houston.

The Panthers (2-1) will hit the road for the first time this season and be the visitors against the San Antonio Brahmas (2-1) next Sunday at The Alamodome. Kick off is set for 7 PM ET on FOX. The Roughnecks (0-3) will face the Arlington Renegades (0-3) on the road, kickoff scheduled for 2 PM ET.


- E.J. Perry finished 60 yards rushing on nine carries in the game. He is tops amongst quarterbacks in the league with 102 rushing yards this season and leads all players with four rushing touchdowns.

- Perry finished the game with a completion percentage of 84.2 percent (16-of-19). It's the best completion percentage by a quarterback with at least 15 pass attempts in the UFL this season.

- Jake Bates was perfect again, going 2-for-2 on field goal attempts from distances of 46 yards and 55 yards. He joins DC's Matt McCrane and Houston's J.J. Molson to remain perfect on the season. As a league amongst eight kickers, only four field goals have been missed in 52 attempts.

- Kedrick Whitehead Jr. blocked the first punt for the Panthers this season. It is also the first blocked punt in the UFL this season.

- Kai Nacua recorded his first interception of the season. That was the only turnover in the game and is the first game this season where the Panthers didn't turn the ball over.

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United Football League Stories from April 14, 2024

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