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Oakland 21 at Michigan 37 Playoff

1983 Divisional Playoffs - Sunday, July 10, 1983
Attendance: 60,237, TV: ABC

Hebert to Carter on fourth down right before the half.

PONTIAC,M I (AP) - Michigan quarterback Bobby Hebert passed for one touchdown and ran for another Sunday to lead the Panthers to a 37-21 victory over the Oakland Invaders and into the United States Football League's first championship game.

The Panthers, who won the Central Division title with a 12-6 record and have now won 12 of the 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 got its final touchdown, thousands of fans swarmed onto the field and tore down both goalposts. Players and coaches from both teams and the officiating crew headed for the safety of the tunnels to the 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 3-yard scoring pass with 11 seconds remaining in the first half to lift Michigan to a 17-7 halftime advantage.

Hebert also scored on a 1-yard plunge that capped an 80-yard, 11-play drive in the third period.

The Panthers, who had averaged 22,251 during the season, drew a USFL-record 60,237 into the Silverdome -- a crowd built in part on reduced ticket prices and free parking.

The Invaders, who won the Pacific Division with a 9-9 regular-season record, grabbed an early 7-0 lead on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Fred Besana.

Michigan tied it on its next possession when John Williams ran 5 yards for a TD 1:47 into the second period. Oakland linebacker David Shaw intercepted an Hebert swing pass on the third play of the second half and burst 19 yards into the end zone for a TD 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 Invader running back Ted Torosian with 2:50 to go in the third quarter. The ball was recovered by defensive end Allen Hughes on the Michigan 17.

Five plays later, Ken Lacy slanted off left tackle on a quick opener for an 18-yard TD and a 31-14 lead. Cleo Miller closed out Michigan's scoring on a 3-yard TD run 1:54 from the final gun and Oakland's final touchdown came on a 5-yard pass from Besana to Marc Lewis.

Place-kicker Novo Bojovic booted a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Panthers. The Michigan defense, led by Bentley, recovered two fumbles and also picked off a pass of Besana passes. Bentley was credited with forcing two of the fumbles and recovering one.

One of Hebert's favorite targets was Carter, who finished with three catches for 78 yards. Carter's biggest catch was a 56-yard play on the series leading to Lacy's touchdown.

The Panthers displayed a flair for the unexpected just as they did in the final-season game against Arizona, a 33-7 rout of the Wranglers. Their play selection consisted of several laterals and reverses which caught Oakland's defense off-balance.

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