Case Cookus, Stars pass by Panthers, win a place in the playoffs

By Eric D. Williams
FOX sports writer

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Case of Kukus he needed some air after a 79-yard gallop for a touchdown.

“In college or professional football, this is my farthest run,” Kukus said.

His meandering passage through the weary defense of the Michigan Panthers with 5:19 to the left left an imprint on the Philadelphia Stars’ 46-24 victory victory over Legion Field on Sunday.

Case Cookus explodes for a 79-yard fast TD

Case Cookus explodes for a 79-yard fast TD

Case Kukus turned on the engines as he could not be stopped in his 79-yard fast TD for the Philadelphia Stars.

The win secured a place after the season and a trip to Canton, Ohio for the Stars, which improved to 5-3 this year. The loss brought the Panthers down to 1-7 and eliminated them from consideration after the season.

“These kind of moments, that’s why these guys are playing this game,” Stars head coach Bart Andrus said of his team’s celebration in the locker room after the game. “You have to stick to that type of memory.”

Cookus completed 20-for-26 passes for 247 yards and four touchdowns. He also scored 118 yards and a score. Better yet, Kukus didn’t turn the ball.

Philadelphia’s 46 points were the most scored in the USFL this season.

How hot was Kukus? Early in the fourth quarter, Cookus shook off a potential pass from Michigan, stepped into his pocket and hit Pro Wales in the narrow end for a beautiful, 51-yard shot between two Panthers for a touchdown.

Case Cookus has five TDs like the Stars roll

Case Cookus has five TDs like the Stars roll

Case Kukus went 247 yards and four touchdowns in the Philadelphia Stars’ 46-24 victory over the Michigan Panthers. Cookus did the same with his feet, rushing 118 yards and a touchdown.

In seven games this season, Kukus has completed 65.4% of his passes for 1,028 yards and 10 touchdowns. Kukus also has only three grips. The way he plays lately, Kukus may claim to be the top quarterback in the USFL at the moment.

And he will have the chance to end the season as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, with Stars putting former starter Brian Scott in the injured reserve at the end of the season with a knee problem.

“He came in and learned in a professional way what we were doing,” Andrus told Kukus. “And if you play at that level, you’ll be able to lead a team.”

Defender Matt Colburn II also had a great day in the offensive for the Stars, scoring a total of 97 yards per fight and two results.

For the Panthers, the healthy Paxton Lynch is back in the starting lineup. The University of Memphis product finished 27-for-40 in 251 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Lynch also lost a football on the goal line.

Stars’ Matt Colburn II shines in victory over the Panthers

Stars' Matt Colburn II shines in victory over the Panthers

Matt Colburn II scored two touchdowns and scored 97 universal yards in the Philadelphia Stars victory.

Another Channing Stribling INT

Stribling received another statement in the second half, on a route destined for Michigan successor Lance Lenoir Jr.

Stribling said his league-leading sixth interception was set up by a film survey during the week as he lured Lynch to think the route was open.

“While watching a movie, I noticed that they like to run a lot of routes,” Stribling said. “I told our players that you have to let them catch a pair and feel comfortable. So, I kind of let them catch a couple and get a little bit in rhythm. And once I saw three steps and opening up, I’m up there. ”

Andrus added: “He has one of the fastest first steps from the back pedal I’ve seen in football.”

The stars ended with two interceptions during the day, and the violation of Philadelphia turned both mistakes into touchdowns.

Jeff Fisher encouraged Tre Williams’ status reports

At the beginning of the third quarter, the Michigan Panthers striker Tre Williams lay motionless on the field for a few minutes. He was to be taken off the field on a tray and stretcher and transported to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center.

Panthers head coach Jeff Fisher said Williams has movement and is encouraged by reporters who have heard of his condition.

“No matter who you are or where you’ve been – no matter how old you are or at what level – the reality of this happening before your eyes is hard to deal with,” Fisher said. “Nobody wants to see that. But our boys, and especially the defensive line, they were going to take the game into their own hands on his behalf. So we’re praying for Tre and we hope to keep hearing the good news.”

Other news about injuries, Michigan safety, Kieron Williams had a shoulder problem early in the second quarter and had to leave the game, but later returned. Panthers center Sean Pollard suffered a right ankle injury and had to leave the game. He did not return.

And Michigan defender Reggie Corbyn suffered an elbow injury in the first half and did not return.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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