Brahmas Hold Off Michigan Panthers In San Antonio Clash

Brahmas Hold Off Michigan Panthers In San Antonio Clash

Today, two 2-1 teams went at it in the UFL. The San Antonio Brahmas were back at home, hosting the Michigan Panthers. It was the first time these two franchises were playing each other, having been in separate leagues last year.

The Michigan Panthers are coming off an impressive win at home, toppling Houston 34-20 in a game that they dominated. Their offense finally seemed to click, which would be a challenge for San Antonio’s vaunted defense.

Meanwhile, the Brahmas were figuring things out after losing their first game of the season – and losing starting QB Chase Garbers for the year as well.

Let’s take a look at what went down at the AlamoDome today, as it was mostly a defensive affair.

First Quarter

Quinten Dormady came out firing for the San Antonio Brahmas. Just a few plays into their first drive, he found Justin Smith on a deep ball, and the team was set up in great field position.

Moments later, John Lovett, who has stepped up for San Antonio lately, ran it into the end zone. The Brahmas took a 7-0 lead, as the one point conversion was successful courtesy of Marquez Stevenson.

Michigan wouldn’t get off to a hot start. San Antonio’s defense forced a punt, and the Brahmas marched down the field quickly once again. This time, they settled for a field goal, and Ryan Santoso knocked it through to make it a 10-0 ball game.

Second Quarter

Defensively, the Brahmas played an outstanding game from start to finish. The pressure they applied early on rattled E.J. Perry, and he couldn’t get into much of a rhythm.

San Antonio stalled out for the first time, sending it back to Michigan. After getting deep into Brahmas territory, Tim Ward forced a fumble on Perry, and it was picked up by Jordan Williams.

Dormady, who played a pretty clean game overall, would make a mistake on the next drive. With momentum, he took a deep shot, and Kai Nacua snagged the interception, which gave possession back to the Panthers.

Michigan’s offensive line was a disaster today, reminiscent of their struggles in week two against Birmingham. Wyatt Ray got home to Perry, and they had to punt it away again.

With excellent field position thanks to a great return from Marquez Stevenson, the Brahmas scored quickly. Dormady found Stevenson in the end zone, and it was a 16-0 lead for San Antonio.

Right before halftime, Michigan got into field goal range for Jake Bates, and he hit a 49 yarder to make it a 16-3 ball game with two quarters to play.

Third Quarter

The struggles would continue in the third quarter for Michigan. They could not move the ball at all – and E.J. Perry went down with an injury in the period, which led to Danny Etling finishing out the game.

The majority of this quarter was a defensive affair. Both teams traded punts on every drive, and San Antonio in particular seemed frustrated as the deep shots they took earlier in the game that worked originally, weren’t seeing the same results in the second half.

Fourth Quarter

Danny Etling has had a fumbling problem this season when utilized. After Michigan forced another punt to get the ball back, Etling coughed it up on a scramble, and San Antonio took over.

Michigan’s defense held strong, and Ryan Santoso hit a 36 yard field goal to make it 19-3. It was still a two score game, and the Panthers had some time to try and make something happen.

Etling made the Brahmas pay, as DB Bopete Keyes basically fell asleep in coverage. It looked more like a miscommunication than anything, but Marcus Simms was wide open down the sidelines, waltzing in for a 41 yard score.

The two point conversion failed, but Michigan went for the 4th and 12 conversion, and Etling found Siaosi Mariner to keep possession.

In the long run, it wouldn’t matter. Etling had zero time in the pocket with San Antonio’s bull rush of a defensive line, and eventually threw an interception to Jordan Mosley which effectively ended the game.

The San Antonio Brahmas would hang on to win, 19-9 at home, improving to 3-1 on the UFL season.

Standout Playmakers

QB Quinten Dormady: Not surprisingly, Dormady finds his way onto this list after an efficient 269 yards in his UFL debut. He was solid throughout the night, but did get away with a couple of dropped interceptions. With more time in A.J. Smith’s offense, expect more production from Quinten moving forward.

WR Jontre Kirklin: Kirklin was on fire today, after what was an off week against St. Louis. He recorded five catches for 105 yards, which included a dazzling grab down the sidelines in the first quarter:

WR Justin Smith: In what he saw as a “coming out party”, Smith posted seven receptions for 107 yards. He clearly has chemistry with new QB Dormady, and proved to be a key playmaker in this win.

S Jordan Mosley: Mosley was everywhere today, with five tackles, an interception, and a PBU. He’s been tremendous for this defense so far, and could be putting himself in a position to make the All-UFL team at the end of the year.

WR Marcus Simms: Every week, Simms has been making plays for this Panthers unit. Today, he posted four catches for 63 yards and a score. Marcus gave Michigan life down the stretch, and his speed is unmatched in this league.

DB Kai Nacua: Nacua is playing himself into an NFL contract. He had four tackles, an interception, and two PBU’s today. Every week he’s been locked down as a corner, and looks like one of the top safeties in the UFL now that he’s fully healthy.

Post-Game Comments

Brahmas Head Coach Wade Phillips was pleased with the overall production today from his team:

“I think we played the way we felt like we could play. Obviously Dormady played a heck of a game, all along he was vying to be the starting quarterback, and you can see why. He threw the ball tremendously well. I can’t say enough good things about our whole team. I thought in all phases we played well. Defense got six sacks, and offense moved the ball. I’m pleased with the game, and that’s a step forward for this football team. And, we’re 3-1, so that keeps us right in it in this [XFL] conference.”

Brahmas QB Quinten Dormady commented on what it meant for him to get a win in his first start this season, especially after all the drama he dealt with in 2023:

“It’s awesome. Super grateful for the opportunity from this staff. We got a great team, it’s fun to be in the locker room. Excited to build off of this moving forward as we go on a road trip here. We knew it was going to be a battle of one-on-ones in this game, but we got a lot of speed and playmakers out there, so that was the game plan out there to push the issue when we can.”

Panthers QB Danny Etling spoke on how important Marcus Simms has been to the offense in 2024:

“His presence out there really gives you a vertical threat. Really gets the offense going, and hopefully we can get him going earlier in our next game and feed off of that.”

Final Thoughts

The San Antonio Brahmas got back on track in a big way today. After losing against the Battlehawks last week, they defended their home turf – controlling the tempo of the game from start to finish. They took the ball away from Michigan three times, and the six sacks was simply too much for the Panthers to overcome.

With a 3-1 record, the Brahmas sit at the #2 spot in the XFL conference after this win. St. Louis holds #1 with their head to head win, but San Antonio will certainly be eyeing that rematch later this season.

For Michigan, something needs to give when it comes to their inconsistency. Week two, it was ugly. Last week, they looked like a brand new football team. This time, the Panthers were outmanned and outcoached across the board. They were just 2-11 on third downs, and struggled to find any positive momentum all night. Mike Nolan will have to go back to the drawing board ahead of their matchup vs. Memphis next week.

Week four of the UFL concludes tomorrow, with the Arlington Renegades hitting the road to take on the Houston Roughnecks at 2pm ET.

What are your thoughts on this game between the San Antonio Brahmas and Michigan Panthers? Which UFL players impressed you? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!