Jake Bates Strikes Again As Michigan Panthers Top Arlington Renegades

Jake Bates Strikes Again As Michigan Panthers Top Arlington

Week six of the UFL continued today, with the Michigan Panthers hosting the Arlington Renegades. With just two more games at Ford Field including this one, Michigan was looking to get another victory in front of their home crowd.

For the Michigan Panthers, this team is 3-2 – riding some momentum in the USFL Conference. Danny Etling has been playing excellent football since taking over for an injured E.J. Perry. Additionally, Wes Hills has come alive as of late. This was on full display as Michigan scored five rushing touchdowns against Memphis.

On the other hand, the Arlington Renegades are still winless. Week in and week out they continue to make the same offensive and defensive mistakes, despite the efforts of Luis Perez.

Heading into this affair, Michigan felt like the favorite – but Arlington is a better team than their record reflects. Let’s take a look at what happened this afternoon.

First Quarter

The Michigan Panthers received the football first, and got right to work offensively. Danny Etling found Marcus Simms on a deep ball, which set the team up in the red zone early.

Siaosi Mariner has emerged as a legitimate target in this Panthers offense the last few weeks. Etling found Siaosi for a score, and Michigan took a quick 7-0 lead.

Arlington put together a rather fluid drive to start their offense off on the right foot. Luis Perez pushed the ball down the field, and they settled for a 37 yard field goal from Jonathan Garibay.

Michigan put themselves back in scoring position, and responded. Jake Bates hit from 43 yards out, and the Panthers went into the next period with a 10-3 lead.

Second Quarter

Both teams opened up the second quarter by trading punts. Arlington took advantage on their next possession, as Perez put together a solid sequence for this team. After getting into the red zone, Dae Dae Hunter ran it in for his first score of the year. A successful two point conversation gave the Renegades a 11-10 lead.

Michigan had to punt again, falling into a slumber during this period. Their defense also struggled in the first half, as Perez was picking apart the secondary throughout. Right before the quarter came to an end, Luis found Sal Cannella for a touchdown, putting Arlington up 17-10.

Luckily for the Panthers, they roster a guy by the name of Jake Bates. Michigan was able to get into field goal range for Jake, who knocked through the 60 yarder to end the half.

Third Quarter

To open up the second half, Arlington had to punt. Michigan marched down the field, and with the help of some defensive penalties by the Renegades, were able to add three more points on the board. A couple of pass interference calls – and a roughing the kicker penalty – allowed for a 29 yarder from Jake Bates.

The majority of the third quarter was taken up by this long Michigan drive, paired with a possession from Arlington. As we headed into the final fifteen minutes of action, the Renegades were knocking on the door of another score.

Fourth Quarter

With momentum in their favor, Arlington stretched out their lead to eight points early in the fourth. Javonta Payton took an end around to the house, and the Renegades led 24-16.

Michigan would find a way to fight back, as they always do. It wasn’t the prettiest offensive showing of the year, but they pushed through the struggles and kept things close. Despite a tough holding call on OT Ryan Pope, the Panthers stayed in field goal range, and Bates hit it from 49 yards out.

Truthfully, this wasn’t an ideal performance for the Panthers defensively. They allowed Arlington to do almost whatever they wanted for large chunks of this game. That said, they got a big-time stop when it was needed – as Walter Palmore stuffed De’Veon Smith on 4th and 1.

It was an interesting choice by Bob Stoops to go for it on 4th down while up five points, and it didn’t pay off. The next play, Danny Etling scrambled for a massive gain, setting up the team inside the ten yard line. Wes Hills ran it in from a couple of yards out, and the Panthers reclaimed a 25-24 lead.

The final few minutes would prove to be quite intense. Arlington chipped away as they always do, and got into field goal range. Jonathan Garibay hit a 48 yarder, and the Renegades led 27-25 with less than a minute to go.

Marcus Simms has consistently shown up in big moments, and did so yet again. He ripped off a massive return, which immediately set Michigan up with excellent field position.

Jake Bates, the Michigan Panthers savior so far this year, showed up in crunch time – to no one’s surprise. Bates knocked through the game winner as time expired, and the Panthers came away with a thrilling 28-27 victory at home.

It was by no means a perfect outing for Michigan, but a win is a win, and the team found a way to get it done.

Standout Playmakers

QB Danny Etling: Etling played another solid game for Michigan, ultimately leading the team to victory. He threw for 202 yards and a touchdown, while adding 55 rushing yards, which included a clutch scramble late in the fourth quarter. He’s been composed as a starter this year.

WR Marcus Simms: Big play Simms continues to impress week in and week out. He recorded four catches for 67 yards today, and had the major kick return to set up the game winning field goal.

LB Noah Dawkins: Dawkins made an impact today in more ways than one. He had five tackles and a PBU on defense, but also showed up on special teams with a couple of impressive tackles throughout the day.

K Jake Bates: What is left to even say about this superstar in the making? Jake Bates was the backbone of the Michigan Panthers today, hitting all five field goal attempts, including two as time expired. Not to mention, he had a couple of kicks that didn’t count, either. Simply ridiculous.

Arlington Renegades

RB Dae Dae Hunter: Before he got injured in the first half, Dae Dae Hunter was on a tear. He finished with 32 yards on four carries, including a score.

DB Jamal Carter: Carter was back in action for the first time in a few weeks, which was great news for Arlington’s secondary. He ended up leading the team with nine tackles today.

Post-Game Comments

Michigan Panthers HC Mike Nolan spoke on this crucial win at home, and what had to happen in order for them to make that comeback:

“We’re fortunate to get a win out of that. It was a hard fought game on both sides of the ball. Arlington is a well coached team, and I’m shocked that they are 0-6. That’s a good football team. We had some big plays, obviously Jake did a great job for us today. Our offense did a great job of getting the field position for those field goals. Defensively, we just had to keep making them earn everything they could get. Arlington was taking it down there and doing a really good job with it. We’re fortunate we won.”

Kicker Jake Bates commented on the luxury of having such elite specialists on this team in general, with Brock Miller and Jordan Ober rostered:

“They make my job as easy as any kicker has it in the world. Jordan is absolute nails, and Brock is just as good. When you have so much faith that the ball is always going to get to Brock, and Brock’s always going to put it down right where I want it, I don’t have to worry about it. That doesn’t even go to my head – some kickers have to worry about if the snap is going to get there, or if the hold is going to be good. I don’t have to worry about it, which is a luxury.”

Arlington Renegades HC Bob Stoops made some comments on their sixth loss in a row:

“Compliments to Coach Mike Nolan and the group over there. Michigan did a heck of a job, and it was a heck of a game. We end up with another game where we’re a play short. Lost on the last play on a field goal. What threw us for a loop on our last drive, we thought they were in the neutral zone and we had a free play, but they didn’t throw the flag and it ended up being a free time out for Michigan. That was unfortunate.”

Final Thoughts

For the first time in over a year, the Michigan Panthers have won two straight games. This was, no doubt, a massive win. Now, the Panthers are three games ahead of the Houston Roughnecks and Memphis Showboats, with victories over both already.

Head Coach Mike Nolan has done an excellent job of keeping this team prepared for adversity. It hasn’t been easy by any means this year, but they find a way to get the job done when it matters most. With a 4-2 record, Michigan has matched their amount of wins from last year in just six games.

The Arlington Renegades are a mess. Truthfully, their issues deserve an entire article. This is a good football team, don’t get me wrong. They are certainly better than their 0-6 record reflects. That said, the coaching, execution, and playmaking simply hasn’t been there this year, which has resulted in disappointment week in and week out.

Week six of the UFL concluded today, finishing with the DC Defenders hosting the San Antonio Brahmas.

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