Michigan quarterback Bobby Hebert passed for one touchdown and ran for another today to lead the Panthers to a 37-21 victory over the Oakland Invaders and into the U.S. Football League's first championship game.
Hebert said the key to his success was the Panthers' offensive line.
"If you don't have good people up front, you're not going to get anywhere," Hebert said.
The Panthers, who won the Central Division title with a 12-6 record and have won 12 of their past 14 games, will play the Philadelphia Stars in Denver's Mile High Stadium next Sunday night for the title.
With 25 seconds to play, after Oakland scored its final touchdown, thousands of fans swarmed onto the field and tore down both goalposts. Players, coaches and the officiating crew headed for the safety of locker rooms and minutes later USFL officials ruled the game was complete at 14:35.
Hebert, who completed 18 of 27 passes for 295 yards, hit Anthony Carter with a three-yard scoring pass with 11 seconds remaining in the first half to give Michigan a 17-7 halftime advantage.
Hebert scored on a one-yard plunge after an 80-yard, 11-play drive in the third period.
The Invaders, who won the Pacific Division with a 9-9 record, took an early 7-0 lead on a one-yard sneak by quarterback Fred Besana.
Michigan tied it when John Williams ran five yards for a touchdown 1:47 into the second period.
Oakland linebacker David Shaw intercepted a pass Hebert threw on the third play of the second half and ran 19 yards into the end zone to cut the Michigan lead to 17-14.
But Hebert's sneak widened the edge to 24-14 with 9:55 remaining in the third period. Then Panthers linebacker Ray Bentley forced a fumble by Invaders running back Ted Torosian with 2:50 to go in the third. Defensive end Allen Hughes recovered the ball on the Michigan 17. Five plays later, Ken Lacy slanted off left tackle on a quick opener for an 18-yard touchdown and a 34-14 lead.
Cleo Miller scored for Michigan 1:54 from the end of the game and Oakland's last touchdown came on a five-yard pass from Besana to Marc Lewis.