1. CARMEL (8-2)

2. FISHERS (12-1)


4. CHESTERTON (10-0)

5. PENN (7-0)


7. WESTFIELD (7-2)







3. LEO (7-1)

4. NORTHWOOD (11-1)

5. JOHN GLENN (9-0)



8. SULLIVAN (9-1)

9. PERU (9-0)






4. CARROLL (FLORA) (8-0)


6. EASTSIDE (10-0)


8. SOUTHMONT (7-0)





2. EDINBURGH (10-0)


4. LOOGOOTEE (10-3)

5. GARY 21ST CENTURY (6-2)

6. BARR-REEVE (7-4)


8. TRITON (6-1)

9. JAC-CEN-DEL (5-2)

10. ORLEANS (8-2)





3. FRANKLIN (17-1)

4. HOMESTEAD (13-1)

5. CROWN POINT (13-2)

6. WESTFIELD (13-3)

7. FISHERS (12-3)






2. SILVER CREEK (15-1)

3. GARRETT (15-1)



6. NORWELL (12-4)


8. TWIN LAKES (14-3)

9. JAY COUNTY (12-2)

10. WASHINGTON (14-3)



2. WINCHESTER (14-1)

3. TIPTON (13-1)

4. EASTBROOK (12-1)

5. FAIRFIELD (13-2)


7. FOREST PARK (13-2)


9. CASCADE (11-2)

10. UNIVERSITY (11-2)


1. LANESVILLE (16-1)

2. WALDRON (14-1)


4. JAC-CEN-DEL (13-3)

5. NORTH WHITE (12-4)


7. TECUMSEH (9-6)









































(pacers release)

Lance Stephenson danced his way back into Pacers fans’ hearts on Wednesday night, making an improbable addition to his Gainbridge Fieldhouse career highlight reel with an epic performance.

In his third stint with the franchise that drafted him with the 40th overall pick in 2010, the 31-year-old erupted for 20 points in the first quarter on his way to a Pacers career-high 30 points, helping undermanned Indiana build an improbable 19-point lead over a Brooklyn Nets squad playing with its Big Three for the first time all season.

In the end, however, the trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving was too much for the Blue & Gold, as Brooklyn (24-12) rallied in the second half and pulled away late for a 129-121 victory over Indiana (14-25).

Domantas Sabonis was exceptional in the loss, as the All-Star forward carried a heavy load and tallied a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

But the story of the night for Pacers fans was Stephenson, who had not played for the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse since Game 6 of a first-round playoff series against Cleveland on April 27, 2018. He had been out of the league since the 2018-19 season, spending a year in China prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and began this season with the G League’s Grand Rapids Gold before joining first Atlanta and then Indiana on 10-day hardship contracts over the past few weeks.

But Stephenson found the fountain of youth on Wednesday in the building where he has experienced many of the highs in his rollercoaster career, providing a sorely-needed spark for a team mired in a five-game losing streak and missing 10 players due to a combination of injuries and the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

It wasn’t enough to ultimately pull off the upset, but it created at least one last memory in an Indiana uniform for one of the most beloved Pacers of all time.

“I couldn’t even sleep last night,” Stephenson said of his return to his favorite arena. “I was definitely excited for this game. I just knew the fans were going to come out and make me feel welcome. If you’re playing in front of a crowd that’s welcoming, it’s amazing. I just had to go out there and show out.”

Durant got off to a hot start, scoring nine of the Nets’ first 15 points, but the shorthanded Pacers hung tough with Brooklyn early. The two teams were tied at 15 when Stephenson checked in for the first time with 6:23 remaining in the first quarter.

As the artist also known as Born Ready ran to the scorer’s table, the fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse began to rise to their feet and greeted their prodigal son with a standing ovation as he checked into his first home game as a Pacer since 2018. Myles Turner and Sabonis, his only remaining teammates from his last stint with the Blue & Gold, even joined in the applause.

A short while later, the crowd erupted once again as Stephenson brought the ball up the floor for the first time. Perhaps inspired by the applause, Stephenson pulled up and drilled a 3-pointer with 5:11 remaining in the first quarter. As he ran back down the court, Stephenson turned to the west sideline and strummed the air guitar, one of his signature celebrations.

Stephenson was far from done. He scored on the next three possessions, hitting jumpers at 4:27 and 4:02, then driving to the rim for a layup at 3:36. He finally missed a 3-pointer at 3:01, but bounced back by burying his next trey 45 seconds later.

“The first couple of games I haven’t been as aggressive as I wanted to be, I’ve just been trying to find people,” Stephenson said. “I told myself today I’m going to be just a little more aggressive, try to find my shot and make something happen.”

He then added another layup over two Nets defenders at 1:16 and — after the Nets were called for an inbounds violation — drilled his third three seven seconds later. After Durant’s dunk cut the Pacers’ lead to 34-32 with 17 seconds remaining, Stephenson brought the ball up one final time to close the quarter. With James Johnson guarding him on the left wing, Stephenson dribbled the clock down, then pulled up and drilled yet another three as the buzzer sounded, sending the entire crowd and the Pacers’ bench into hysterics as he gyrated his way to midcourt.

It was a surreal sequence, as Stephenson, who joined the team just four days earlier on a 10-day hardship contract, erupted for 20 straight Indiana points in the final 5:11 of the first quarter, going 8-for-9 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Despite playing just half the quarter, he set the franchise record for most points ever scored in the opening frame, surpassing the previous record of 19, set by T.J. Warren in his 53-point outburst in the NBA bubble on Aug. 1, 2020.

“The adrenaline and energy in the building, it all manifested in that wild run that he went on when he got in, which was amazing,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Just amazing.”

Buoyed by Stephenson’s outburst, the Pacers dominated the second quarter, pushing their lead as high as 14 points and taking a 73-60 advantage into halftime. Stephenson added four more points and four assists in the frame and danced his way into the locker room after a halftime interview with Bally Sports Indiana’s Jeremiah Johnson.

“I don’t know, man,” Stephenson said. “It’s just the feeling. As soon as I put that jersey one, I just feel like I get my powers. I don’t know what it is. Every time I put that jersey on I just feel comfortable.”

Indiana stretched its lead to 81-62 following a pair of Turner free throws less than two minutes into the second half. Brooklyn mounted a charge, twice cutting the deficit to 12 later in the frame, but a pair of technical fouls on Durant and De’Andre Bembry halted some of that momentum.

Stephenson added another jumper and Sabonis had two nice dishes to set up a Keifer Sykes layup and Duane Washington Jr. 3-pointer during a 10-5 Indiana run to push the lead back to 98-81 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Nets once again charged back with a Patty Mills three and Durant jumper before Stephenson connected with Sabonis in the pick-and-roll for a three-point play. That was the last positive play for Indiana in the period, as Brooklyn reeled off eight straight points over the final 1:14, capped by Irving’s buzzer-beating jumper to make it a 101-94 game entering the fourth quarter.

The Nets continued their charge in the final frame, cutting the deficit to 105-102 on Nic Claxton’s dunk with 9:01 to play, then getting within two on Bembry’s layup 44 seconds later. Brooklyn finally took the lead when Durant drove baseline and kicked to Mills for an open three in the corner with 7:22 remaining.

Back-to-back Irving jumpers pushed the Nets’ lead to 111-106, capping a 25-5 run and forcing a timeout from Carlisle with 6:11 remaining. Out of the timeout, Stephenson got a dunk off a dish from Sabonis, but was whistled for delay of game, his second admonishment of the night, resulting in a technical foul.

The Nets wound up scoring three points on that possession and maintained a multi-possession lead until Sabonis’ three-point play at 3:54 made it 116-113. But Durant scored over Oshae Brissett on the other end, then stripped Sabonis leading to a fastbreak layup for Irving to push the lead back to seven. The Pacers never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

“As the game went on, the fact that we played last night in another emotional game I think caught up with us,” Carlisle said. “I think fatigue became a factor. It was tough.”

Stephenson finished the night with 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting (4-of-8 from 3-point range), three rebounds, and five assists in 31 minutes off the bench.

Sabonis went 10-for-14 from the field and 11-for-13 from the free throw line.

Durant tallied a game-high 39 points on 15-of-24 shooting, eight rebounds, and seven assists to lead Brooklyn to victory. Irving, who was recently cleared by the Nets to play with the team in road games (he is unable to play in home games due to a New York City vaccine mandate), added 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting and four assists in 32 minutes in his season debut.

Harden added 18 points, five rebounds, and six assists for the Nets.

Keifer Sykes finished with 18 points and five assists for Indiana in just his fifth NBA game. Turner added 14 points and five blocks, while Duane Washington Jr. scored 10.

The Pacers continue a two-game homestand on Saturday against Utah and could get reinforcements against the Jazz. Three players have cleared protocols over the past two days — Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, and Chris Duarte — and could be cleared to take the floor on Saturday.

Inside the Numbers

Sabonis recorded his franchise-leading 15th triple-double of his career and his second this season.

Stephenson’s 30 points were his most ever in a Pacer uniform. His previous best was 28 in a win over New York on Jan. 16, 2014. His overall career high is 33 points for Memphis in a win over New Orleans on March 11, 2016.

The Pacers outscored the Nets by 24 points from beyond the arc. Indiana went 13-for-39 (33.3 percent from 3-point range), while Brooklyn was just 5-for-21 (23.8 percent).

The Nets outscored Indiana 60-46 in points in the paint.

Durant’s 39 points matched his second-highest scoring game of the season. He also scored 39 against Phoenix on Nov. 27 and had a season-best 51 in a victory in Detroit on Dec. 12.

Brooklyn shot 56.3 percent from the field in the win, narrowly missing out on the best field goal percentage by a Pacers opponent this season. Chicago posted a .566 percentage in a win over Indiana on Dec. 26, the start of what is now a six-game losing streak for the Blue & Gold.

You Can Quote Me On That

“This is home. I’ve still got my house here. I never left here. It’s amazing to play here. This is like playing in front of my family.” -Stephenson on Indiana

“I’ll play anywhere. I love this game. I just wanted to get back. Just wanted to play basketball…playing basketball makes me really happy. Going to the G League, putting all my pride aside, I don’t care, man. Just playing basketball makes me feel great.” -Stephenson on fighting to get back in the NBA

“It was amazing. He’s been through a lot. To come back home and have this kind of game, it means a lot. I wish we could have got the win for him.” -Sabonis on Stephenson’s performance

“You think about it, it’s three games in four days. He had one session to walk though everything on Saturday night and that’s been it. He’s playing the game just on feel and recognition and things like that.” -Carlisle on Stephenson

“Just trying to be more aggressive, get in the paint, find open guys. Get the ball moving and just (making sure) everybody (touches) the ball.” -Sabonis on his triple-double

Stat of the Night

Stephenson was the first player to score 20 straight points for his team since Stephen Curry did it for Golden State on April 10 of last season. He also became the first player ever to score 20 points off the bench in the first quarter (data available dating back to the 1996-97 season).


The Nets have won six in a row over the Pacers and five straight games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Pacers two-way guard Terry Taylor and 10-day signee Ahmad Caver made their NBA debuts in the final minute of the game. Caver scored his first career points on a layup in the closing seconds.

Torrey Craig was out on Wednesday after straining his groin in Tuesday night’s loss in New York.

Up Next

The Pacers welcome Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

NOTES: Indiana Hosts No. 13/12 Ohio State on Thursday


Indiana University is in its 122nd season of competition in men’s basketball and will host Big Ten rival Ohio State on Thursday. The Hoosiers are coming off a 61-58 loss at Penn State on Sunday, while the Buckeyes are on a five-game winning streak after rallying for an 87-79 win at Nebraska in overtime.


Indiana (10-3, 1-2 B1G) vs No. 13/12 Ohio State (9-2, 3-0 B1G)

Thursday, January 6 • 7 p.m. ET

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (17,222) • Bloomington, Ind.

TV: FS1 (Aaron Goldsmith and Bill Raftery)

Radio: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, Joe Smith) | TuneIn App

Series History: Indiana leads 108-87

Last Meeting: OSU 78, IU 59 (Feb. 13, 2021 in Columbus)

Rankings: KenPom (31st), NET (48th)


IU Hall of Famer, All-American, Big Ten MVP and Indiana native Mike Woodson is the first Hoosier graduate to lead the program at the start of the season since Lou Watson in 1965. Woodson brings nine years of NBA head coaching experience (Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks) back to his alma mater and worked for seven franchises as an assistant coach and won an NBA title in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons. He played 11 seasons in the NBA as a player and is the fifth all-time leading scorer in program history with 2,061 points.

OSU Coach Chris Holtmann is in his fifth year with the Buckeyes. IU won the last meeting in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, 66-54, on January 11, 2020.


Mike Woodson scored 21 points to lead the Hoosiers to a 76-73 overtime win over OSU at home to win the Big Ten Championship on March 2, 1980.  He would later be named Big Ten MVP after playing only six conference games due to injury. The game included Isiah Thomas, Butch Carter and Ray Tolbert for IU and Clark Kellogg, Kelvin Ransey and Granville Waiters for OSU, all of whom later played in the NBA.


IU is first in the Big Ten and third nationally in field goal percentage defense (35.4%). IU also leads the league in scoring defense (61.6) and is second in Big Ten in blocked shots (5.7), third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (48.3%) and rebound margin (+8.46), and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (29.6%).


Junior/sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is living up to his preseason accolades, averaging 19.3 points (5th in B1G), 8.2 rebounds (5th), shooting 59.9% from the floor (5th) and contributing 3.1 blocked shots per game (1st).

He set a Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall record by scoring 43 points against Marshall, breaking the previous mark (42) set by Steve Alford against Michigan State. The leading returning scorer in the Big Ten has been named a first-team 2021-22 Preseason All-American by the Associated Press, and selected to the watch list for the Karl Malone Watch, the NABC Player of the Year, Wooden Award and Naismith Award. He has had four double-doubles this season and 26 in his career with IU posting a 20-6 record in those games.

Jackson-Davis now has scored 1,200 points as a Hoosier, rating 39th all-time in IU lore. He had 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots at PSU.


IU’s starting lineup of Jackson-Davis (72), Sr./Jr’s. Xavier Johnson (94), Miller Kopp (87), Parker Stewart (86) and Race Thompson (40) have combined for 374 career Division I starts. Off the bench, Sr./Jr’s. Michael Durr (85) and Rob Phinisee (69) have started 154 games.

Stewart’s 47.5% effort from long range is the highest among B1G starters.

Thompson is eighth in the league in rebounding at 8.0 per game and has six games of 10 rebounds or more this season.

In the last three games, Johnson (9.3) and Phinisee (8.3) are averaging 17.6 points per game combined. Phinisee is shooting a team-best 59% from deep during that time. Johnson is sixth in Big Ten in assists at 4.2 per game.

In the last five games, So./Fr. Jordan Geronimo has made 11-of-19 field goal attempts and is averaging 5.8 rebounds in just 11.8 minutes of action per game.

IU is 9-0 at home and 10-0 in games played in the state of Indiana.

No. 6 Hoosiers Improves To 4-0 In Big Ten Play With Win At Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – Graduate student guard Ali Patberg led the way with 18 points as No. 6 Indiana improved to 4-0 in the Big Ten with a 76-53 win at Wisconsin on Wednesday night.


Indiana (12-2, 4-0 B1G) had to chip away at an early deficit but used a 12-2 run to close out the first quarter including a go-ahead 3-pointer by Patberg, who had seven in the first frame.

Keeping its foot on the gas, junior forward Mackenzie Holmes got on the board early in the second to give her team a 23-14 lead. The Badgers would cut the deficit back down to four but Patberg drained a corner triple on a pass from senior guard Grace Berger.

IU would go on to shoot 57.1 percent in the second and took a 36-21 lead into halftime.

In the third, the Hoosiers would push to its lead to 23 with 6:09 remaining as Gulbe went to the line for a pair, 48-25. Wisconsin chipped away slowly at the lead towards the end of the third on a 7-0 run and came within 13.

Holmes and Patberg helped pad the lead back up in the fourth with back-to-back buckets as the Hoosiers led by as many as 27.


Indiana improves to 4-0 in Big Time play for the second time ever. It started the 2019-20 season at 4-0.

The win gives IU its 11th-straight road victory and secures the nation’s second longest active win streak away from home.

The Hoosiers have now won eight in a row against the Badgers and 10 of the last 11 matchups.

Patberg led the way with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting including a 4-for-5 clip from the 3-point line. She finished one point shy of a season-high.

Three others added double figures including 16 points from Holmes and tied a team-high eight rebounds. Senior forward Aleksa Gulbe had 13 points and seven boards along with a team-high two steals. Graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary added 11 points.

Senior guard Grace Berger also put up a solid stat line as she tied a season-high 11 assists to go along with nine points and eight rebounds.

The Hoosiers shot 48.2 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from the 3-point line. They knocked in eight triples, tying a season-high from beyond-the-arc.

In the battle of the boards, IU outrebounded Wisconsin, 36-25.


Indiana head coach Teri Moren

“These are always difficult games on the road, not much of a crowd for a Wednesday night, which we anticipated. It was pretty quiet gym unlike the other day in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall agiant Maryland. We certainly had to bring our energy and I thought we got off to a sluggish, slow start and then we picked up the pace and then it got back in to a lull. I really liked some of the things that we did, we just kind of had to keep chipping away. I thought Ali Patberg was tremendous. I thought Aleksa Gulbe did a lot of good things and Mack(enzie Holmes) was steady on the inside but this is a great win. Any time you can win on the road like I said, in a very quiet atmosphere where we had to bring our own energy, that’s a good day for us. It was nice to see how we responded from such an emotional win with Maryland and how we responded today was really good.”


The Hoosiers will return to action at home on Thursday, January 13 against Nebraska. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.

Jackson-Davis Named to Wooden Midseason Top-25 List

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced the John R. Wooden Award® presented by Wendy’s® Midseason Top 25 Watch List today on ESPNU. Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the 2021-22 season thus far, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor.

Junior/sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who also made the list a year ago, is living up to his preseason accolades, averaging 19.3 points (5th in B1G), 8.2 rebounds (5th), shooting 59.9% from the floor (5th) and contributing 3.1 blocked shots per game (1st). He set a Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall record by scoring 43 points against Marshall, breaking the previous mark (42) set by Steve Alford against Michigan State. The leading returning scorer in the Big Ten has been named a first-team 2021-22 Preseason All-American by the Associated Press, and selected to the watch list for the Karl Malone Watch, the NABC Player of the Year, Wooden Award and Naismith Award. He has had four double-doubles this season and 26 in his career with IU posting a 20-6 record in those games. Jackson-Davis now has scored 1,200 points as a Hoosier, rating 39th all-time in IU lore.

On the 2022 Wooden Award™ Midseason Top 25, nine players make their debut on the Wooden Watch™: James Akinjo (Baylor), Izaiah Brockington (Iowa State), Johnny Davis (Wisconsin), Zach Edey (Purdue), Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona), Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke), Keegan Murray (Iowa), David Roddy (Colorado State), and Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky). Four schools have multiple players on the list, led by Purdue (Edey, Jaden Ivey, and Trevion Williams), and followed by Duke (Paolo Banchero and Moore Jr.), Gonzaga (Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme), and UCLA (Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang).

The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine selections on the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, followed by the Pac-12 with four, the Big 12 with three, the ACC, SEC and WCC with two selections each, and the Big East, Mountain West and Summit League with one selection apiece.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason or midseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award™ National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.

The winner of the 2022 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.

Boilermaker Trio Named to Wooden Award Midseason Watch List

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced that Zach Edey, Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams have been named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 Watch List, for their roles in Purdue’s start.

Ivey and Williams were on the initial top-50 list released at the start of the season, while Edey was one of nine players added to the midseason list. The Big Ten leads the way with nine candidates, followed by the Pac-12 with four.

Purdue is the lone school with three representatives on the watch list, while. Duke, Gonzaga and UCLA each have two representatives.

A 6-foot, 4-inch sophomore guard from South Bend, Indiana, Ivey leads the Boilermakers in scoring at 16.5 points per game, while contributing 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He is the only player in the Big Ten to average 16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game and is shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from 3-point range.

He has already made 30 trifectas in 14 games after shooting just 25.8 percent (25-of-97) from long distance last year. He has scored in double-figures in 11 straight games and was selected to the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic All-Tournament Team after leading Purdue to wins over Villanova and North Carolina in mid-November.

Williams, a 6-foot, 10-inch forward from Chicago, is averaging 13.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 59.5 percent from the field in just 20.5 minutes per game. He is the only player nationally in at least the 15 years to average 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in under 25 minutes per game and is averaging a whopping 25.4 points, 17.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists per 40 minutes played.

Williams has won a pair of Big Ten Player of the Week award honors, giving him four for his career, the fifth most in school history.

The 7-foot, 4-inch Toronto native, Zach Edey has had a dominant start to his sophomore season. The sophomore center is averaging 15.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 70.8 percent from the field, good for second nationally, in just 17.7 minutes per game. Per 40 minutes, he is averaging 35.2 points and 16.9 rebounds and he has had five games this season of 20 or more points in 20 or fewer minutes, the most nationally for a player since the 2010-11 season (next closest is three games).

Edey is the only player since 1992-93 to average at least 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in under 20 minutes per game.

No. 3 Purdue will travel to Penn State on Saturday for a noon tip on the Big Ten Network.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — One of the most decorated defensive players in the history of college football, Ross Browner, passed away at the age of 67 on Tuesday. Browner was a two-time national champion with the Irish and a College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Browner was a four-year starter under Ara Parseghian during his time at Notre Dame and was a member of the national championship Irish teams in 1973 and 1977. He totaled 340 tackles, 77.0 tackles-for-loss, 12 fumble recoveries, 10 deflected passes and two blocked kicks  in his career. He is the school record holder for career tackles by a defensive lineman, tackles-for-loss in a single season (28.0, 1976), career fumbles recovered (12) and career tackles-for-loss (77.0).

In his junior season of 1976, Browner was a unanimous All-American and was named the Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s best defensive lineman. He was also named the United Press International Lineman of the Year in 1976.

During his senior campaign, he was a unanimous All-American and was named UPI Lineman of the Year again, the only player to ever win the award twice. He was also named the Maxwell Award winner as the nation’s best player and the Lombardi Award as the nation’s best lineman. He was the only lineman to win the Maxwell during the 70’s and he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting in his last season with the Irish.

Browner was selected with the eighth overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1978 NFL Draft. He was named the team MVP during his rookie season in 1978 and at the time, set the Super Bowl record for tackles by a defensive lineman (10) in Super Bowl XVI against the 49ers. He played nine seasons with the Bengals (1978-86), started in 121 games and is ranked fifth on the Bengals all-time sack list with 58.

Ross is survived by his wife Shayla and his two sons, Max Starks and Rylan Browner.


The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team (8-5, 2-1) rode the hot shooting of senior Nate Laszewski to a 78-73 victory over North Carolina (10-4, 2-1) for the first home Atlantic Coast Conference win of the year and the fourth straight overall victory.

Laszewski shot seven-for-11 in the game and six-for-seven from behind the three point arc to lead the Irish with 20 points. His back-to-back clutch three pointers with under three minutes proved to be the key shots in the victory.

Senior Dane Goodwin scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half while Blake Wesley ended the contest with 18 points and four steals. North Carolina was led by Armando Bacot’s 21 points and 17 rebounds, but the Irish defense did hold the Tar Heel big man to five points in the second half.

After both teams worked through a slow shooting start to the game, the shots started to fall after the first media timeout. Wesley propelled a 12-2 run for the Irish with a steal and break away dunk to put his team up 29-19 with 9:21 remaining.

Laszewski keyed Notre Dame’s first half offense as well. The Jupiter, Florida, native connected on three of four three point field goals and pulled down five rebounds in the game’s first 20 minutes.

North Carolina kept pace with the Irish by feeding the 6-10, 240-pound Bacot. The Tar Heel forward finished the first half seven-of-nine from the field with 16 points while adding 11 rebounds.

The Irish had three good looks at the basket late in the first half from behind the arc that rimmed out, but were still able to enter halftime with a 39-35 lead. Goodwin kept the Irish ahead 48-40 at the first media timeout of the second half, connecting on two of his three early attempts.

The Irish defense was challenged, however, when Paul Atkinson Jr. picked up his third foul attempting to defend Bacot with 15:55 left. The team responded with another run, 8-0 this time, to put the Irish up 56-43 with 13:54 left.

Cormac Ryan hit a corner three pointer in run, Laszewski dunked off a baseline out of bounds play and Wesley connected on a three – at just about the same spot where Ryan hit his just minutes before to force a North Carolina timeout.

The Tar Heels quickly responded with their own 8-0 run, getting two three point field goals and a lay up in transition. A big step back three pointer in front of the Irish bench by senior Prentiss Hubb with 10:46 ended the run.

It wasn’t the last run that either team would have in the final 11 minutes. The visitors were able to put together an 8-0 run to erase the Irish lead and go up 67-66 with three minutes remaining. 

Laszewski quickly answered the run with a three pointer, then connected on another contested three to suddenly put the Irish up five. North Carolina wasn’t done yet, as RJ Davis hit a three at the top of the key to cut the lead back to 72-70 with 1:43 left.

A long Notre Dame possession ended in the hands of senior point guard Prentiss Hubb, who ran the pick and roll, forced Bacot to switch out on him then attempted a fall back three pointer that only hit the rim – but drew a three-shot foul as he was tackled after attempting the shot.

Hubb connected on the first two free throws to put the Irish up two possessions. North Carolina then hit a three pointer with seven seconds remaining to make the score 76-73 in favor of the Irish.

Notre Dame calmly executed their out of bounds play and put the ball in the hands of their best free throw shooter – Dane Goodwin – who converted both to finish off the game’s scoring.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame baseball left-handed pitcher John Michael Bertrand was named a third team preseason All-American Wednesday morning by Perfect Game. Bertrand returns for his second season with the Irish after transferring from Furman prior to the 2021 season.

In his first season with the Irish, he was the workhorse for the Irish pitching staff as the top starter throughout the season. He finished the season with 92.2 innings pitched, 8-2 record with a 3.21 ERA, 68 strikeouts and three complete games. Bertrand led the Irish in innings pitched, wins, strikeouts and complete games in 2021. The three complete games was the top mark in the ACC and he ranked second in the conference in wins and third in innings pitched.

After the regular season, he earned first team All-ACC honors. In the South Bend Regional, he tossed his first complete game shutout to give the Irish the win over Central Michigan. It was the first postseason complete game shutout for an Irish pitcher since Danny Tamayo in a 7-0 win against Mississippi State back in 2000. The performance against Central Michigan landed Bertrand on the South Bend Regional All-Tournament Team.

Bertrand and the Irish return to the diamond for the 2022 season opener against Manhattan on Feb. 18. The season opener will be held in DeLand, Florida and is set for a 7 p.m. ET first pitch.



Notre Dame returns to Big Ten play with a weekend road series at Penn State on Friday, Jan. 7 (7 p.m. ET) and Saturday, Jan. 8 (5 p.m. ET).

It will mark the first road games for the Fighting Irish since a pair of overtime wins at Michigan on Nov. 19-20.

Notre Dame is coming off a series split with Niagara, including a 5-0 game two win on Sunday, Jan. 2, while Penn State most recently posted a 5-3 win at Army on Jan. 1.

Ryan Bischel stopped all 19 shots he faced to earn his first career shutout in that win over Niagara, while Trevor Janicke and Cam Burke each had a pair of goals.

The Fighting Irish head into the weekend fourth in the Big Ten standings with 17 points (6-4-0-2-1-0), while Penn State is seventh with eight points (3-7-0-1-0-0).

Notre Dame is in the midst of playing seven games in the first 19 games of January, including Big Ten series at Penn State (Jan. 7-8) and at Ohio State (Jan. 14-15).

Senior captain Jake Pivonka returned from injury to play a limited role in the Michigan State series after missing the first 15 games of the season, while last weekend’s series versus Niagara marked the first time this season the full Irish roster was available.

Max Ellis leads the Irish with a career-best 21 points on a team-high 11 goals and 10 assists.

Ellis’ 11 goals rank 16th in the country (tied for second in the Big Ten).

Ellis is also tied for the NCAA lead with two shorthanded goals this season.

Sophomore Ryder Rolston is second on the team with a career-best 17 points on six goals and a team-best 11 assists.

With three game-winning goals, Rolston is tied for the team lead with Cam Burke (they are tied for seventh in the country and third in the Big Ten).

All told, 15 Notre Dame players have scored so far this season, while nine players have at least 10 points on the season.

The Irish are 9-1-0 when scoring first this season.

Notre Dame’s penalty kill is 69-for-74 on the season (.9324), which ranks first in the NCAA.

The Irish also have four shorthanded goals this season (Ellis 2, Cam Burke, Spencer Stastney), which is tied for the fourth-most in the country (first in the Big Ten).

Notre Dame has made each of the last five NCAA Tournaments, the longest streak in program history, and eight of the last 11 NCAA Tournaments overall.


Notre Dame has a 13-7-3 all-time record/series lead against Penn State in games played while both teams were at the NCAA DI level (ND leads 16-7-4 including games against Penn State from 1983-85).

The teams met five times last season, with Penn State knocking the Irish out of the Big Ten Tournament with a 6-3 win on March 14 in the teams’ third-straight meeting.

Colin Theisen and Jesse Lansdell gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead in that game, but the Nittany Lions scored the game’s next five goals before Ryder Rolston netted his first career goal midway through the third.

To close out the 2020-21 regular season, the Irish swept the Nittany Lions by scores of 5-2 and 7-1 (March 5-6).

In game one, five different players scored and Lansdell had a pair of assists.

In game two, Max Ellis had a goal and two assists, while Alex Steeves and Jake Pivonka each had a goal and an assist.

Earlier in the 2020-21 season, the teams each won an overtime game at the Pegula Ice Arena (Jan. 28-29), with Penn State taking game one 2-1 and the Irish winning game two 3-2.

Spencer Stasney had the overtime winner in game two for Notre Dame.

During the 2019-20 season, the Fighting Irish went 3-1-0 against Penn State as the teams split a series at the Compton Family Ice Arena as Penn State won game one 4-2 (Dec. 13) and a 4-2 Notre Dame win on Dec. 13.

Then at Penn State, the teams skated to a 3-3 tie in game one (Jan. 31), with Cam Burke’s shootout winner securing the extra point, and Notre Dame posted a 4-2 win in game two (Feb. 1).

In 2018-19, the teams met five times, culminating in Notre Dame’s 3-2 win in the Big Ten Championship game on March 24, 2019.

Spencer Stastney, Cal Burke and Cam Morrison (game winner) scored for the Irish in the championship game, while Cale Morris made 46 saves en route to earning Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors for the second consecutive season.

That championship game win over Penn State marked the 500th career victory for head coach Jeff Jackson.

In 2017-18, Notre Dame was undefeated in five contests against Penn State (4-0-1) including a Big Ten Tournament semifinal victory.

In that 2018 semifinal win at Compton Family Ice Arena, Jack Jenkins netted the game winner with 31 seconds left in regulation for a 3-2 win, propelling the Irish to the championship and sparking their “cardiac kids” run where they won five straight games by scoring the game-winner in the final minute of regulation or in overtime.

Notre Dame’s career offensive leaders against Penn State include Max Ellis (6 GP; 3-3-6), Graham Slaggert (14 GP; 3-3-6), Jake Pivonka (14 GP; 1-5-6), Jesse Lansdell (9 GP; 2-3-5) and Spencer Stastney (14 GP; 2-3-5).


Fighting Irish goaltenders Ryan Bischel and Matthew Galajda are one of the top tandems in college hockey, with two of the nation’s top-10 save percentages.

Galajda, who is 8-3-0, ranks eighth in the NCAA with a .930 mark, while Bischel, who is 5-3-0, ranks ninth with a .928 save percentage.

In goals against average, the duo also ranks eighth and ninth, with Galajda at 1.74 and Bischel at 1.83.

Galajda (2) and Bischel (1) have also combined for three shutouts.


Sophomore forward Landon Slaggert was named to the U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced on Dec. 16.

The South Bend, Indiana native was named an alternate captain for Team USA and scored the game winner in Team USA’s tournament-opening 3-2 win over Slovakia (Dec. 26).

The International Ice Hockey Federation then canceled the 2022 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta due to COVID-19 protocols.

Slaggert was one of six players from the 2021 U.S. National Junior Team that won a gold medal in Edmonton.

Slaggert became the seventh Notre Dame player to take part in two World Junior Championships.

At last season’s World Junior Tournament, Slaggert skated in all seven games for Team USA and became the first Fighting Irish player to medal at the event since 2018 – when current Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke helped the U.S. secure the bronze in Buffalo.

Slaggert’s gold marked the eighth medal by a Notre Dame player at the event as he also joined Anders Bjork (bronze in 2016), Mario Lucia (gold in 2013), Kyle Palmieri (gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011), Kyle Lawson (bronze in 2007) and Ben Simon (silver in 1997).

Slaggert was the 23rd Notre Dame player to take part in the World Junior Championship and joined Palmieri (2010/11), Ian Cole (2008/09), Rob Globke (2001/02), Connor Dunlop (2000/01), Simon (1997/98) and Jack Brownschidle (1977/79) as two-time Irish participants.


Former Irish forward Alex Steeves (2018-21) made his NHL debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 7 against Columbus (and former Notre Dame teammate Andrew Peeke) in a 5-4 Toronto win.

Steeves, who earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors in 2020-21, became the 25th former Irish player under head coach Jeff Jackson to reach the NHL and the Notre Dame program’s 39th NHL player overall.

Prior to Steeves, the most recent Notre Dame players to make their NHL debuts were Jordan Gross, Peeke, Jake Evans and Thomas DiPauli during the 2019-20 season.


Former Fighting Irish All-American goaltender Cale Morris (Chicago) and former captain Cal Burke (Colorado) recently inked NHL deals and were recalled to their teams’ respective taxi squads.

Morris, who played from 2016-20 and led the Irish to the 2018 NCAA Championship game, signed a one-year entry-level deal on Dec. 31.

Burke, who also played from 2016-20 with the Irish, signed a one-year contract with Colorado on Dec. 16 and later was recalled to the taxi squad.


Forward Graham Slaggert and defenseman Spencer Stastney have been named two of the 20 candidates for the 2021-22 Senior CLASS Award®.

The Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete, who must have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The Notre Dame hockey program consistently produces finalists for the national award, including past winners David Brown (2007) and Jake Evans (2018).

The 20 candidates will be narrowed to ten finalists later in the season. Those ten names will then be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character, and competition.

The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four® in April.


This season, teams are awarded three points in the conference standings for a win in regulation.

If the game is tied following regulation, both teams will receive one point, with a second point being awarded to the team that wins in either the 3-on-3 overtime period or the shootout.

The conference standings now match a national standard: W-L-T-OTW-OTL-SOW.


INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI women’s basketball team hosts back-to-back conference contests at the Jungle when they face Horizon League foes Green Bay on Thursday (Jan. 6) and Milwaukee on Saturday (Jan. 8). The Jags tip off against the Green Bay Phoenix at 7:00 p.m. and take on the Milwaukee Panthers at 2:00 p.m.

The Jaguars enter the game after defeating conference opponent Wright State on Sunday (Jan. 2), 77-62. Redshirt senior Rachel McLimore led the Jags with a season-high 26 points, 21 of those coming in the first half. Macee Williams followed with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while sophomore Rachel Kent added 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Madison Wise had nine points and six rebounds.

Head coach Austin Parkinson’s team was voted atop the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Preseason Polls and has started the season 3-3 in conference play after having to forfeit two games due to Covid-19 issues. IUPUI currently sits at No. 13 in this week’s College Insider Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

The Jags will face Green Bay on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Green Bay enters the game 7-4 and 3-2 in conference play after having their last game canceled due to Covid-19 issues. The Phoenix last played on Dec. 20 when they defeated Central Michigan, 71-67. They are led by junior Hailey Oskey who averages 11.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Redshirt senior Meghan Pingel leads the team in assists per game with 4.0.

Milwaukee is 5-8 and 4-2 in the Horizon League. The Panthers are coming off a forfeit win due to Covid issues within the opposing team. They last played on Dec. 30 when they lost to Oakland, 66-53. Redshirt sophomore Megan Walstad leads the team with 13.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Graduate student McKaela Schmelzer leads the team in assists per game with 2.7.

Thursday’s game against Green Bay will be aired on ESPN+ with tip off at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s game vs. Milwaukee will also be aired on ESPN+ at 2 p.m.

Women’s Basketball Outlasts Northern Illinois In Overtime

DEKALB, Ill. – With three seconds left in overtime, redshirt junior Anna Clephane corralled a rebound of a missed free throw and deposited the ball into the net to lift the Ball State women’s basketball team to an 83-82 overtime victory over Northern Illinois Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.

It was the only lead the Cardinals (8-4; 1-1 Mid-American Conference) would have in the extra frame and would cap a 9-2 scoring spree in which BSU rallied from down six over the final 2:20 to top the Huskies (3-7; 0-2 MAC).

The bucket gave Clephane a team-best 22 points and marked the fourth time this season, and eighth time in her career, she has scored at least 20 points in a game.

After the game, Ball State head women’s basketball head coach Brady Sallee said he knew the team needed to get the offensive rebound and Clephane delivered it, along with the winning tally. Sallee went on to say it was a gutsy win for the Cardinals,especially on the road. He gave his team credit for playing well throughout the contest because it was a heck of a ball game.

If you watched the game, you would have thought the Cardinals had this one in the bag, especially after the first three quarters. Ball State had the lead for 39:14 of the first 45 minutes of the contest. BSU’s biggest lead was a 13-point cushion (25-12) at the 1:14 mark in the first quarter following a fast break jumper from Ivet Subirats.

The Huskies managed to fight their way back little by little, taking their first lead of the game (74-72) with 34 seconds remaining in regulation. BSU junior Jazmyn Turner would come in clutch with a layup as time winded down, sending the game into OT.

Clephane opened tonight’s contest with a quick layup, sparking an 11-2 scoring spree for the Cardinals with just 7:52 shaved off the game clock. Clephane would then hit another jumper with 5:05 left in the first frame of action to give the Cardinals an 18-7 edge.

Ball State continued its strong offense, especially from behind arc, in the second quarter to pull ahead 40-32 over the Huskies at intermission.

For the game, Ball State connected on 11 three-pointers, with five different Cardinals having at least one make from behind the arc. Northern Illinois, the top rebounding team in the league, was out rebounded by Ball State, 45-42.

Four Cardinals finished the night in double figures, including two topping the 20-point mark.  Along with Clephane’s 22-point performance, junior Sydney Freeman finished the night with 20 points. Turner had a season best 11 points and six rebounds while freshman Ally Becki rounded out the double-digit scoring with 10.

The Ball State women’s basketball team returns home Saturday when it hosts Mid-American Conference rival Miami at 1 p.m. ET in Worthen Arena. The Cardinals game day sponsor against the RedHawks is LifeStream Services.

Purdue Fort Wayne MBB Falls at First Place Cleveland State

CLEVELAND – A second consecutive close game at Cleveland State finished in the wrong column for the Purdue Fort Wayne men’s basketball program. The Mastodons fell to the Vikings 65-58 on Wednesday (Jan. 5) in Horizon League action. 

Cleveland State took a quick 12-4 lead in the contest and forced the ‘Dons to chip at the deficit the rest of the half. But that is what they did. Three first-half 3-pointers by Deonte Billups helped the Mastodons keep pace. An 8-1 run capped by a Bobby Planutis 3-pointer gave the lead to the ‘Dons at 26-24 at 3:20 on the clock. It was their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The 8-1 run was part of a five-minute stretch where the ‘Dons kept Cleveland State without a field goal. The ‘Dons would go to the break down 29-26 after three Mastodons earned two fouls in the first half.

Jarred Godfrey, one of the Mastodons with a pair of first-half fouls, made a quick impact in the second half. He scored all eight points in an 8-2 scoring run that tied the game at 36 and forced a CSU timeout with under 15 left in the game.

The ‘Dons went up 41-38 with a five-point trip up the floor. JoJo Peterson hit a 3-pointer and a foul under the basket kept the ball with the ‘Dons with 12:46 remaining. Jalon Pipkins was then fouled and made both free throws.

However, Peterson’s 3-pointer would be the Mastodons’ last field goal for nearly eight minutes. The ‘Dons did some work at the free-throw line at the same time but Cleveland State built a six-point lead during this stretch.

The Mastodons cut the deficit to two points with 5:08 left and 4:02 remaining, but it would be as close as Purdue Fort Wayne would get the rest of the way.

Godfrey finished with a team-high 18 points. Planutis added 11 points.

The contest featured nine lead changes and three ties.

The Mastodons limited Cleveland State to 43.4 percent shooting (23-of-53). Purdue Fort Wayne shot 18-of-46 for a 39.1 percent clip. The ‘Dons connected on 13-of-15 from the free-throw line.

Tre Gomillion led the Vikings with 21 points.

Purdue Fort Wayne falls to 5-7 (1-3 Horizon League). Cleveland State improves to 8-3 and stays undefeated in the Horizon League at 4-0. The ‘Dons will continue their three-game road trip on Friday (Jan. 7) in a 7 p.m. tip at Youngstown State.

Valpo Falls at UNI

The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team incurred a 92-65 setback on Wednesday night at the McLeod Center in Cedar Fall, Iowa. Valpo was led by Kevion Taylor (Milwaukee, Wis. / Whitnall [Winona State]) with 17 points on a night where the Panthers shot at a 59.7 percent clip behind a game-high 20 points from Noah Carter and 17 from Trae Berhow.

How It Happened

The Panthers scored the game’s first eight points including a pair of early triples by Berhow. By the time the game was three minutes old, UNI was up 11-2 after Tywhon Pickford had knocked in the team’s third 3 of the game.

Valpo trailed 17-10 midway through the half, then UNI went on a 12-0 run while holding the guests without a point for five minutes to build up a 29-10 advantage.

By the time the first half ended, UNI held a 43-22 lead and owned a 22-2 advantage in the paint and a 20-2 edge on points off turnovers.

Valpo shot 50 percent in the second half but the Panthers continued their offensive success and hit at a 61.3 percent clip after halftime. UNI outscored Valpo 49-43 over the game’s final 20 minutes.

Inside the Game

Taylor’s 17 points were one shy of his season-high 18, which occurred on Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan. He has scored 15 points or more in three of his last four games.

Taylor extended his streak of consecutive games with a made 3 to 78 by going 3-for-4 from distance as part of a 5-for-8 shooting day. He has hit multiple 3s in six consecutive contests.

Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) hauled in a career-high nine rebounds to pace the team on the boards. That topped his previous personal best of seven vs. Eastern Michigan on Dec. 20 of this season. He also scored 14 points, the fifth time in his six Valpo games that he’s scored a dozen or more.

Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy} swiped three steals, his second straight game with three and his third time this season reaching that number.

Valpo shot 81 percent at the free-throw line, making 17 of its 21 attempts. The 17 made free throws were the team’s second-highest total of the season (18 on Nov. 22 vs. Jacksonville State).

The Beacons uncharacteristically made 18 turnovers, one shy of a season-high 19 on Nov. 17 at Stanford. This snapped a streak of eight straight games where Valpo won the turnover battle, the program’s longest such streak in the last 28 seasons.

Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) had a season-high four assists, tying a career high with his fourth career four-helper performance.

Up Next

Valpo (8-7, 1-2) will host Southern Illinois on Saturday night at 6 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center. To purchase tickets, visit The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and the Valpo Sports Network.

Men’s Basketball Schedule Changes

INDIANAPOLIS – The University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team has announced the following schedule changes to their remaining games this week.

Following the cancellation of the women’s game, Thursday’s road game at Missouri S&T has a new tip off time of 7 pm ET.  It will be broadcast on the GLVC Sports Network.

Due to health concerns among Lindenwood, Saturday’s home contest has been canceled.  According to conference policy, the game will not be made up and will be considered a “no contest” for league standing purposes per the GLVC Resocialization of Competition document.


INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian women’s basketball team returned to action after a two week lay-off Wednesday night, comfortably earning their 13th win of the season as they downed Goshen College 80-53 on John Grimes Court. In the game Imani Guy scored her 1000th career point at Marian, helping the Knights improve to 5-0 in Crossroads League play.

The Knights got off to a quick start in the first three minutes of play, opening the game on a 7-2 run after Allison Bosse canned an open three on the first possession. Goshen answered the run with a pair of Kyla Foster three’s, but three unanswered points from Imani Guy helped Marian gain a grasp on the quarter lead. The Maple Leafs would claw back within two points, but a basket from Guy and three-point play from Ella Collier vaulted the lead to seven, as Marian led 17-10 after the first quarter.

Guy continued to be the focal point for the Knights offense after recording her 1000th career point as a Knight in the first quarter, scoring the first seven points in the second quarter for Marian to grab a double-digit lead. After obtaining the double-digit lead, Marian continued to control the pace on both ends pushing their lead to 20 points by the end of the half. Collier, Guy, and Abby Downard carried the scoring run in the final five minutes, as Marian entered halftime shooting 53 percent with a 41-21 lead.

Goshen found an offensive flow to start the second half, holding a 7-4 lead in the quarter’s first four minutes. The Maple Leafs press continued to fluster Marian for much of the stretch as Goshen as able to get within 13 points, but Collier and Downard helped dig Marian out of their funk, growing the lead to 24 points. Downard did her part to keep the Knights in front by 20-points or more in the final three minutes, scoring all six of her team’s points to hold a 61-39 advantage after three.

In the final quarter the Knights grew their lead to as many as 30 points, putting any chance of a Goshen comeback out of play. Collier and Downard did their part to help reach their large lead, with both players surpassing 20 points on the night in the final quarter. Brooklyn Langkabel and Kinnidy Garrard helped swell the Marian lead in the final quarter before ending the game with their 27-point margin, as a free throw from Alexa McKinley put the final touches on the 80-53 victory.

Downard scored a season-high 22 points in the win, while Collier scored 20 on nine made field goals. Guy ended the game with 16 points and nine rebounds, becoming the 22nd player in program history to eclipse 1000 career points. Guy is also one of the fastest players to hit the milestone, doing so in 67 career games, ending the night with 1012 career points to tie with Kaylee Walters ’15 on the all-time leaderboard. Garrard had eight points to go with eight rebounds and a season-high five blocked shots.

Marian will host their first doubleheader of the basketball season on Saturday, with the women opening the afternoon at 1 p.m. against Huntington.


MARION, Ind. – No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan women’s basketball resumed conference play with a 65-59 road victory against Grace College.

Slow start saw the Wildcats never gaining a lead in the first half of play. Wildcats got on the board after four minutes by a three by Kelli Damman.

The story of poor shooting continued for the Wildcats going ice cold from the arc and finishing the half shooting 30.8% from the floor and 10% from the arc.

The script started to change as Wildcats scored more in 10 minutes of play than the first 20 minutes recording 25 points. With 5:02 remaining in the quarter, Baylie Van Dyke hit a free throw to take the lead 36-35. Lancers went down and converted on 1 of 2 from the line before a huge and-one play by Jordan Reid put the Wildcats back in the lead for the rest of the game.

Fourth quarter saw many runs from the Lancers as the Wildcats fought their way to a 65-59 victory.

14 minutes – time Wildcats had the lead

15 – IWU bench points to Grace’s two bench points

5 – Lancers advantage on the boards

Lilli Frasure – 18 points, 6 rebounds

Kelli Damman – 11 points

Jordan Reid – 11 points, 5 rebounds

Jade Nutley – 7 rebounds

Wildcats return to Luckey Arena for a 1pm matchup with Bethel University this Saturday, January 8.

Wabash Announces 2022 Football Schedule

Six home games highlight the 2022 football schedule, as Wabash College will renew the Gentlemen’s Classic rivalry and play the NCAA Division III national runner-up next season.
The Little Giants open the 2022 campaign against Hampden-Sydney College on Saturday, September 3 at Little Giant Stadium. The two teams last played in 2015 with Wabash claiming a 35-3 victory.  The Little Giants won 34-21 when Hampden-Sydney traveled to Crawfordsville in 2014 for a 2-0 overall record versus the Tigers.
Wabash will face North Central College at home on September 10. The Cardinals’ 2021 season ended with a 57-24 loss to Mary Hardin-Baylor in the NCAA DIII National Championship game. Wabash and North Central played in the first round of the 2019 NCAA DIII Football Playoffs with the host Cardinals winning 51-15. Wabash defeated North Central 29-28 in the 2011 NCAA playoffs in the Cardinals’ last visit to Crawfordsville. The Little Giants own a 3-1 overall record versus North Central.
Wabash will finish out the home portion of the 2022 schedule with four North Coast Athletic Conference games. The Little Giants welcome Denison University to Little Giant Stadium for Homecoming on September 24. Wabash will play Ohio Wesleyan at home on October 15 followed by home games against Hiram on October 29 and Kenyon on November 5.
The Little Giants will travel for four NCAC games in 2022, beginning with a trip to the College of Wooster on September 17. Wabash will play at Wittenberg on October 1 and will head to Oberlin on October 22. The Little Giants close out the 2022 regular season at DePauw on November 12 in the 128th Monon Bell Classic.
Start times for all games and ticket information for the home portion of the schedule will be announced at a later date.  

Moore Selected to Team of the Week

Anderson University women’s basketball standout Payton Moore (Spiceland, Ind. / Tri) was selected to the national Team of the Week, which was announced on Tuesday.

The Ravens received the program’s fourth-ever national team-of-the-week selection. DeAnn Edge ’99 collected the award twice during the 1997-98 season while Rachel Miller ’02 earned the award during the 1998-99 season. Stats for the selection were based on games that occurred between Dec. 13-Jan. 2.

The Ravens (5-6, 2-2) went 1-1 in two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) games during the stretch. Anderson fell to Hanover College (5-4, 2-2) by a score of 82-74 on Dec. 18 in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium. The Ravens blocked 12 shots, setting a new single-game record, during the game against Hanover. Anderson then dominated Bluffton University (6-5, 1-3) with an 81-52 victory on Sunday in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

Moore racked up averages of 19.5 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks during the stretch. The senior forward from Spiceland also converted 18-of-34 (52.9 percent) shots from the field. Moore notched 18 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks against Hanover. She then posted 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against Bluffton.

Women’s Basketball: Ravens Fall to Spartans

The Anderson University women’s basketball team (5-7, 2-3) fell to Manchester University (6-5, 3-1) by a score of 71-56 during Wednesday’s Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) matchup in North Manchester.


Manchester went to the free-throw line 34 times in comparison to Anderson’s 12 free-throw attempts. The Spartans hit 27-of-34 (79.4 percent) shots from the charity stripe while the Ravens made 9-of-12 (75 percent) attempts from the free-throw line.

Anderson held a 17-8 advantage in fast-break points.

The Spartans outscored the Ravens 29-19 off turnovers.

Anderson converted 22-of-59 (37.3 percent) shots from the field while Manchester made 19-of-50 (38 percent) attempts from the floor.

Manchester hit 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) shots from 3-point range while Anderson made 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) attempts from the perimeter.


Lexi Dellinger – 20 points, 4 steals

Payton Moore – 11 points, 11 rebounds

Allison Shaffer – 6 points

Brynn Beard – 6 points

Makynlee Taylor – 4 points


Anderson takes on Franklin College (4-7, 2-2) in HCAC action on Saturday at 1 p.m. in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

Men’s Basketball: Anderson Drops Nail-Biter to Manchester

The Anderson University men’s basketball team (8-4, 3-2) fell in a nail-biter on Wednesday night in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) foe Manchester University Spartans (4-8, 3-2) by a final score of 87-84.


Anderson came out strong out of the tip-off as Fred Shropshire opened the game with a three, followed by a Maurice Knight three, to get off to a 6-0 start.

Manchester would then spend the next three minutes to come back and tie the game at 6-6 before taking a 9-6 lead after Quentez Columbus made a bucket.

From there on out for the remainder of the game, the Ravens and Spartans would battle till the end, going back and forth for a total of 15 lead changes.

With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Ravens went on a 9-0 run starting at 9:34 with two Maurice Knight free throws, to 7:44 with a Francis Uzorh layup. At this point, the Ravens came from behind to take a 25-21 lead.

Every time the Ravens seemed to make progress offensively and take the lead, the Spartans would immediately answer to tie it back up. This would go on into the final minute of the half.

With 52 seconds remaining in the half, the Spartans Brandon Christlieb drained a three to tie the game 37-37. After a Raven timeout, a steal by Maurice Knight gave the Ravens the ball, after an initial missed layup, Camden Smith would tip the ball in to give the Ravens a 39-37 lead with 19 seconds left. Then, with just 5 seconds remaining in the half, Christlieb hit another three to give the Spartans the lead. Manchester led Anderson 40-39 at halftime.

The second half was no different from the first as the teams continued to battle for the lead.

Manchester started the second half building upon their lead before Anderson was able to tie it up 43 a piece with 17:08 left after Fred Shropshire made a jump shot. Francis Uzorh then gave the Ravens the lead with a layup.

With 8:47 remaining in the game, the Spartans took the lead for the final time, although the Ravens continued to put up a tough fight up until the final buzzer.

In the final 37 seconds of the game, the Spartans recorded seven points while the Ravens recorded six to come within three.

The final 10 seconds saw the Spartans secure the 87-84 victory, but not without the Ravens effort as Anderson fired off two three-point chances that fell just short.


Anderson finished the game 34-of-67 (50.7 percent) from the field, while Manchester went 29-of-62 (46.8 percent) from the floor. Both teams ended the game shooting 33.3 percent from the three with Anderson going 7-of-21 and Manchester going 8-of-24.

Off the bench, the Ravens picked up 21 points.

Maurice Knight recorded a double-double to end the night, recording a team high of 34 points and 10 rebounds. Knight also contributed one assist, two steals, and one block.

Camden Smith came off the bench and fell just shy of a double-double with 18 points, nine rebounds. Smith picked up three assists and one steal as well.

Fred Shropshire also provided double-digit scoring, coming up with 13 points, three rebounds, and one steal.


This is a really disappointing loss. We have been a tough defensive team this year and we permitted a conference opponent to come in to our home gym and score 87 points. There really isn’t much more to say about it than that.


Anderson returns back to O.C. Lewis Gymnasium on Saturday to welcome the Franklin College Grizzlies (7-5, 3-2). Tip-off between the Ravens and Grizzlies is set for 3 p.m. following the women’s game.

RHIT Women’s Basketball – Rose-Hulman 69, Franklin 31

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women’s basketball improved to 6-4 on the season and 4-1 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with a win over Franklin College 69-31.  Franklin fell to 5-7 and 2-2 in the HCAC.

Jordan Barlow led the offensive attack for the Fightin’ Engineers with her second double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor.  Jamie Baum chipped in 17 points of her own, shooting 6-for-13, including a 3-for-5 clip from behind the arc.

Rowan Hein added a personal balanced effort with eight points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.  Rose Burnham finished with seven points and seven rebounds, Mira Randolph added six points, and Kahlan Jester chipped in five rebounds.

Rose-Hulman’s offense got off to a hot start, using a massive 23-0 run over a 13-minute span to build their lead to 33-6.  The team shot 69% from the floor, followed by a 44% effort in the second quarter to lead at the halftime buzzer 40-14.  That ties for the team’s largest lead after the first half in the season (Earlham, December 8).  

For the game, RHIT finished shooting 46.3% from fhe field and 33.3% from three-point range.  The Rose-Hulman defense held Franklin to their lowest shooting percentage of the season, 10.8% from the field, to key the victory.

The Fightin’ Engineers return to the court for more HCAC action on Saturday, January 8 at Bluffton University with a 1 pm tip off.

RHIT Men’s Basketball – Rose-Hulman 71, Franklin 64

FRANKLIN, Ind. — The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men’s basketball team rallied from a 10-point second half deficit to pick up a 71-64 road victory at Franklin College on Wednesday night.

Max Chaplin and Miles McGowen led the Fightin’ Engineers with 16 points each.  Chaplin added 5 assists, and McGowen contributed 9 rebounds to go along with his career-high scoring performance.

Dillon Duff also reached double figures with 12 points and pitched in with 7 rebounds.  Samvit Ram also reached double figures with 10 points in the victory.

Other key contributors included Jackson Kabrick with a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with 4 points; Trey Wurtz with 8 rebounds and 4 points; and Isaac Farnsworth with 4 points and 4 rebounds.

Franklin had 3 players in double figures, led by Matt Krause and Ty Wright with 15 points each.

Franklin held a 52-42 lead with 9:36 remaining after a score by Ryan Wiggins.  The Fightin’ Engineers answered with a 12-2 run to tie the game at 54-54 in a spurt capped by four points each from Chaplin and McGowen.

The Grizzlies built a 3-point lead at 61-58, before Trey Wurtz scored on a layup and Samvit Ram scored four straight points to put the Engineers up 64-61 with 58 seconds left.

Two free throws each by Chaplin and McGoven, a free throw from Ram, and a dunk by McGowen to put the exclamation point on the victory capped the Rose-Hulman scoring.

Rose-Hulman improved to 4-1 in HCAC play and remains tied for first place in the league standings.  Franklin dropped to 7-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play.  The Fightin’ Engineers return to action on Saturday at 3 pm at Bluffton University.

TAYLOR ATHLETICS | Trojans Fall at Bethel in Return to Crossroads League Play

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – A short-handed Taylor squad battled throughout Wednesday’s contest at Bethel but did not have enough to overcome the hosts, falling by a 75-66 count.

Despite having only eight players available for the contest, the Trojans held a share of the lead for the game’s first 17 minutes, before Bethel (10-7, 3-2 CL) closed the first half on a 7-0 run and netted the first hoop of the second to turn the game in its favor at 42-35.

BU protected that lead, never letting the gap dip below five points throughout the remainder of the second stanza and pushing the margin as high as 15 deep into the affair.

Taylor shot 48.1 percent for the contest but Bethel countered by shooting at least 50.0 percent in each half to edge past the Trojans.

Jason Hubbard did it all for TU, ending the contest with game-highs of 24 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block, while also leading all players with 37 minutes of work.

Gavin Yoon and Kaden Fuhrmann also cracked double figures to combine for 23 points, with Jeff Clayton posting six rebounds and two steals.

Taylor (6-10, 2-3 CL) will play at No. 7 Grace (15-2, 4-1 CL) on Saturday in a 3:00 pm start.

TAYLOR ATHLETICS | An Ariel Dale Career Night and a Fourth Quarter Surge Fuel Trojan Win on the Road

Mishawaka, Ind. – In Taylor’s first game of 2022, the Trojans defeated the Bethel Pilots (7-10, 2-3 CL) on the road by a score of 100-85. Junior Ariel Dale scored a career-best 24 points, while sophomore Taylor Westgate hauled in 21 rebounds, a career-high and the most by a Trojan in over two decades.

Taylor has now won nine of its last 10 matchups against Bethel, including six in a row, a stretch in which the Trojans have won by an average of 37.5 points-per-game.

A strong fourth-quarter effort sealed the deal for Taylor, as the Trojans outscored Bethel 35-21 in the game’s final ten minutes. The 35-point fourth quarter helped nudge the Trojans into triple digits for the second time this season, a much needed boost after averaging just 61.1 points in their last seven games.

Dale led all scorers with her career-best 24 points, 16 of which came in the second half. The North Manchester, Indiana, native shot 8-12 from the field, while knocking down four of her seven three-point shots taken.

Senior Lauren James was masterful down the stretch, scoring 12 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter on 4-4 shooting from three. Fellow senior, Merideth Deckard, contributed 15 more, all of which came from three-point land.

Westgate’s monster night on the boards boosted her league-leading average to 12.2 rebounds-per-game. Meanwhile, the sophomore scored 11 points and collected her eight double-double of the year.

The Trojan offense was slow-going at first, shooting just 22.2 percent in the first quarter on 18 shots taken from the floor. The charity stripe lived up to its name, however, as Taylor benefited on 9-11 trips to the free-throw line and led by a score of 19-16 at the end of the first.

Both offenses picked up the pace in the second frame, especially for Taylor, though, as the Trojans posted a 52.6-percent clip from the field. Deckard, Dale, and senior, Kayla Kirtley, led the charge, while Kirtley capped the quarter with a ridiculous buzzer-beating shot from 50 feet out.

Taylor owned a five-point edge heading into the half, but Bethel soon chipped away in the third while the Trojans shot just 3-16 from three. Dale’s eight-point third quarter helped Taylor maintain its lead, albeit by a single point.

An incredible 35-point fourth-quarter effort sent the Trojans home happy, however, as the team shot 63.2 percent from the field and buried seven of 10 shots from three down the stretch.

Taylor (8-9, 2-3 CL) will return to the court on Saturday, January 8th, when the Trojans travel to Winona Lake to take on Grace (10-5, 1-3 CL) at 1:00 pm.

Warriors Drop to 11th in NAIA Poll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Indiana Tech women’s wrestling team was ranked 11th in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 20 Poll, the national office announced recently.

The Warriors received 85 points in the third regular season edition of the rankings and fell four spots in the poll to move into a tie with Missouri Baptist University. Tech has now been ranked for nine straight polls.

The Warriors had nine wrestlers ranked in the top-20 of their respective weight classes, led by Taylor Wilson’s position as the number two wrestler at 101-lbs. She was joined in the national rankings by Sydney Kutzke (seventh at 101), Tehani Soares (fourth at 109), Alyssa Schuller (19th at 116), Emma Jones (20th at 116), Charmayne DeLong (15th at 130), Elly Kuzma (11th at 136), Sam Snow (eighth at 143) and Perla Ramirez (18th at 191).

The fourth regular season edition of the NAIA Coaches’ Top 20 Poll is set to be released on January 27.

Warriors Move Up to Third in NAIA Rankings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. The Indiana Tech men’s wrestling team was ranked third in the latest version of the NAIA Coaches’ Top 20 Poll, the national office announced recently.

Tech received 104 points in the third regular season edition of the rankings and rose one spot in the poll. The Warriors have now been ranked for 71 straight polls.

The Warriors had seven wrestlers ranked in the top-20 of their respective weight classes, led by Conner Gimson’s top spot at 133-lbs. Matthew Gimson was fourth at 133 while Kyle Kantola (eighth at 141), Nick Gates (14th at 149), Scott Fitts (16th at 149), Nate Wheeler (second at 157), Eric Vermillion (second at 184) and Vernon Willis, Jr. (17th at 285) were also ranked.

The fourth regular season edition of the NAIA Coaches’ Top 20 Poll will be released on January 20.

Haley Polston Signs with SMWC Women’s Basketball

SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS, Ind. – Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) head women’s basketball coach Scot MacAllister announced the addition of Haley Polston to the 2022-’23 team. Haley will come to SMWC from Martinsville High School along with teammate Ryan Owens. Haley signed her National Letter-of-Intent to play for SMWC.

Bio | Haley Polston

Sport | Women’s Basketball

Hometown | Martinsville, Indiana

Prep | Martinsville High School

Position | Forward/Center

Height | 6-foot-2

Quote | Haley Polston

On why she signed with SMWC…

“I chose Saint Mary-of-the-Woods because it felt like the perfect fit. It is a small school, has great academics, is close to home, and has the family atmosphere that I was really looking for. A great addition is the beautiful campus. Also, I could tell the coaches really cared about me in the recruiting process. Coach Fox pointed this out to me when my mom and I were talking to him and Coach Mac. It really opened my eyes because it is true. I’m so excited to call Saint Mary-of-the-Woods my home for the next 4 years.”

Quote | Head Coach Scot MacAllister

On the addition of Haley…

“Haley continues to expand and refine her game. She’s able to post up but is seeing success facing the basket and even out on the perimeter thus making her a true stretch 4. Her length and tenacity make her a great defender and rebounder. We’re excited to see her continue to improve and believe her best basketball is still ahead of her. We’re looking forward to being a part of her improvement and having Haley and her family join us here at The Woods!”


Conference Champions | 2021

Most Valuable Player Award | 2020


Daughter of Jeremy Polston, Rhea Castro, and Humberto Castro

Sister to Kyla and Sophia Castro



PLAYOFF PUSH: All 16 games are divisional contests in Week 18 and there are still 18 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LVI. There hasn’t been more teams still alive for postseason berths entering the league’s final week since 2006 (20 teams).

Six division titles have been secured, three of which feature a team that did not win their division in 2020 – the AFC North  (CINCINNATI BENGALS), NFC East (DALLAS COWBOYS) and NFC South (TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS).

The NFC West, coming down to the ARIZONA CARDINALS or LOS ANGELES RAMS, is also guaranteed to have a new winner in 2021, while the AFC East could have a new winner if the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS clinch the division this weekend.

This would be the second-consecutive season in which there are five new division winners.

Additionally, both Cincinnati and Dallas won their division after missing the postseason in 2020, while both the AFC East (New England) and NFC West (Arizona) can also have a division winner that missed the postseason last year. At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 18 of the past 19 years.

Cincinnati clinched the AFC North after finishing in last place in the division in 2020. In 17 of the past 19 seasons, at least one team finished in first place the season after finishing in last or tied for last.

The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES also clinched a postseason berth this year after finishing in last place in their division last season.

Since 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before.

For the Week 18 playoff scenarios, click here.

— NFL —

PASSING THROUGH THE RECORD BOOKS: Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY enters the final week of the season leading the league in completions (456), passing yards (4,990) and touchdown passes (40). This would be his fourth season leading the league in passing yards (2017, 2007, 2005) and his fifth season leading the league in touchdown passes (2015, 2010, 2007, 2002). 2007 was the only other season in which he led in both categories.

Brady is also within striking distance of the all-time single-season records for both passing yards and completions.

The players with the most passing yards in a season in NFL history:

Peyton ManningHOFDenver20135,477
Drew BreesNew Orleans20115,476
Tom BradyNew England20115,235
Tom BradyTampa Bay20214,990*
*Entering Week 18

The players with the most completions in a season in NFL history:

Drew BreesNew Orleans2016471
Drew BreesNew Orleans2011468
Tom BradyTampa Bay2021456*
Drew BreesNew Orleans2014456
*Entering Week 18

Brady, who had a career-high 5,235 passing yards in 2011, can join DREW BREES (five seasons) as the only players in league history with at least 5,000 passing yards in multiple seasons.

Second-year quarterbacks JOE BURROW – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft – and JUSTIN HERBERT – the No. 6 overall selection last year – can also reach the 5,000-yard milestone on Sunday.

In Week 18, they can join PATRICK MAHOMES (5,097 in 2018) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (5,084 in 1984) as the only players ever to record at least 5,000 passing yards in one of their first two seasons.

The players with at least 5,000 passing yards in one of their first two seasons in NFL history:

Patrick MahomesKansas City20185,097
Dan MarinoHOFMiami19845,084
Justin HerbertL.A. Chargers20214,631*
Joe BurrowCincinnati20214,611*
*Entering Week 18

A sampling of other notable quarterback milestones that can be accomplished in Week 18:

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS enters this week with 3,977 passing yards this season. With 23 passing yards at Detroit on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Rodgerswill become the sixth quarterback ever to record at least 4,000 passing yards in 10 different seasons.

  • Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON has 2,875 passing yards in 2021. With 125 passing yards at Arizona on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Wilson will become the second quarterback ever to record at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first 10 seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING.

  • Indianapolis quarterback CARSON WENTZ has 10 touchdown passes against zero interceptions in seven road starts this season. With no interceptions at Jacksonville on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Wentz will become the first quarterback ever to start eight road games in a season without throwing an interception.  

— NFL —

CATCHING HISTORY: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP leads the NFL in receptions (138), receiving yards (1,829) and touchdown receptions (15) this season and is within striking distance of the all-time single season record for most receptions and receiving yards.

The players with the most receptions in a season in NFL history:

Michael ThomasNew Orleans2019149
Marvin HarrisonHOFIndianapolis2002143
Cooper KuppL.A. Rams2021138*
*Entering Week 18

The players with the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

Calvin JohnsonHOFDetroit20121,964
Julio JonesAtlanta20151,871
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco19951,848
Antonio BrownPittsburgh20151,834
Cooper KuppL.A. Rams20211,829*
*Entering Week 18

A sampling of other notable wide receiver records that can be accomplished in Week 18:

  • Green Bay wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS ranks second in the league with 117 receptions, third with 1,498 receiving yards and fifth with 11 touchdown receptions. With a touchdown reception at Detroit on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Adams will become the sixth player ever with at least 12 touchdown receptions in four of his first eight seasons. 

  • Tampa Bay wide receiver MIKE EVANS enters this week with 946 receiving yards this season. With 54 receiving yards against Carolina on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Evans will become the first player ever with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first eight seasons.

  • Minnesota wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON ranks second in the league with 1,509 receiving yards and fourth with 103 receptions. His 2,909 career receiving yards are the most-ever by a player in his first two seasons, while his 191 career receptions are the third-most. With 91 receiving yards against Chicago on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Jefferson will become the third-fastest player ever (33 games) to reach 3,000 receiving yards. Only ODELL BECKHAM JR. (30) and CHARLIE HENNIGAN (31) reached the mark in fewer games.

    With nine receptions, Jefferson can also tie JARVIS LANDRY (33 games) as the third-fastest player to reach 200 receptions. Only Beckham Jr. (30) and MICHAEL THOMAS (32) reached the mark the fewer games.

— NFL —

RECORD-BREAKING BACKS: Indianapolis running back JONATHAN TAYLOR leads the league with 2,076 scrimmage yards, 1,734 rushing yards, 20 scrimmage touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns. He is the first player in league history to record 2,000 scrimmage yards and 20 scrimmage touchdowns in a season prior to turning 23.

Last week marked Taylor’s ninth game this season with at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, the most in the league. If he accomplishes the feat again at Jacksonville on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Taylor will become the fourth player ever to record at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in 10 games within a single season.

The players with the most games with at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a single season in NFL history:

Shaun AlexanderSeattle200511
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas199511
Jamal AndersonAtlanta199810
Jonathan TaylorIndianapolis20219*
*Entering Week 18

Los Angeles Chargers running back AUSTIN EKELER ranks second in the league with a career-high 18 touchdowns (11 rushing, seven receiving) this season.

With a touchdown at Las Vegas on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Ekeler – who went undrafted out of Western State in 2017 – can surpass LEGARRETTE BLOUNT (18 touchdowns in 2016) and ARIAN FOSTER (18 in 2010) for the third-most touchdowns in a single season by an undrafted player in the common-draft era. Only PRIEST HOLMES (27 in 2003 and 24 in 2002) has more.

The undrafted players with the most touchdowns in a single season in the common-draft era:

Priest HolmesKansas City200327
Priest HolmesKansas City200224
Austin EkelerL.A. Chargers202118*
LeGarrette BlountNew England201618
Arian FosterHouston201018
*Entering Week 18

Ekeler also enters the season’s final week ranking fourth among running backs with 1,459 scrimmage yards (847 rushing, 612 receiving). With 41 scrimmage yards on Sunday night, Ekeler – who had a career-high 1,550 scrimmage yards in 2019 – can become the third undrafted player in the common-draft era with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards in multiple seasons, joining Foster (four seasons) and Holmes (three).

— NFL —

ROOKIE TAKEOVER: Last week, Cincinnati wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE recorded 266 receiving yards, the most in a single game by a rookie in NFL history. He now has 1,429 receiving yards on the season, surpassing JUSTIN JEFFERSON (1,400 in 2020) for the most by a rookie in the Super Bowl era.

With 45 receiving yards at Cleveland on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Chase will surpass BILL GROMAN (1,473 in 1960) for the most receiving yards by a rookie all-time.

The rookies with the most receiving yards in a single season all-time:

Bill GromanHouston Oilers19601,473
Ja’Marr ChaseCincinnati20211,429*
Justin JeffersonMinnesota20201,400
*Entering Week 18

Four rookies – Miami wide receiver JAYLEN WADDLE (99 receptions), Detroit wide receiver AMON-RA ST. BROWN (82), Cincinnati wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE (79) and Pittsburgh running back NAJEE HARRIS (70) – each have at least 70 receptions this season. The 2021 season is the first with four-or-more rookies reaching 70 receptions, surpassing the 2014 season (three players).

Waddle’s 99 receptions are the second-most receptions by a rookie in league annals. With three receptions against New England on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), he would surpass ANQUAN BOLDIN (101 receptions in 2003) for the most receptions by a rookie all-time.
The rookies with the most receptions in NFL history:

Anquan BoldinArizona2003101
Jaylen WaddleMiami202199*
Michael ThomasNew Orleans201692
*Entering Week 18   

Harris leads all rookies with 1,612 scrimmage yards (1,172 rushing, 440 receiving) this season and can become the fifth rookie in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards.

The rookies with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in NFL history:

Saquon BarkleyN.Y. Giants20181,307721
Marshall FaulkHOFIndianapolis19941,282522
Edgerrin JamesHOFIndianapolis19991,553586
Billy SimsDetroit19801,303621
Najee HarrisPittsburgh20211,172*440*
*Entering Week 18

Atlanta rookie tight end KYLE PITTS ranks third among all tight ends with 1,018 receiving yards this season and with at least 59 receiving yards against New Orleans on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (1,076 receiving yards in 1961) for the most receiving yards by a rookie tight end in NFL history.

Pitts has 66 receptions in 2021 and with four receptions, can become the third rookie tight end all-time with at least 70 receptions, joining KEITH JACKSON (81 receptions in 1988) and JEREMY SHOCKEY (74 in 2002).

— NFL —

SACK ATTACK: Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. WATT leads the league with 21.5 sacks in 2021, followed by Chicago’s ROBERT QUINN (18 sacks), San Francisco’s NICK BOSA (15) and Cleveland’s MYLES GARRETT (15). Cincinnati’s TREY HENDRICKSON (14) and Dallas rookie MICAH PARSONS (13) also have at least 13 sacks with one week to play.

The 2021 season has a chance to become the seventh season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, and first since 1998 to feature five-or-more players with at least 15 sacks. 

The seasons with the most players with at least 15 sacks since 1982:

*Entering Week 18

With a sack at Baltimore on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Watt will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (22.5 sacks in 2001) for the most sacks by a player in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks in a season since 1982:

Michael StrahanHOFN.Y. Giants20011622.5
Jared AllenMinnesota20111622
Mark GastineauN.Y. Jets19841622
Justin HoustonKansas City20141622
T.J. WattPittsburgh20211421.5*
*Entering Week 18 

Both Quinn and Hendrickson enter this week having recorded a sack in 12 games this season. If either player records a sack in Week 18, they will join DEMARCUS WARE (14 games in 2008), JUSTIN HOUSTON (13 in 2014) and CHANDLER JONES (13 in 2017) as the only players since 1982 to record a sack in 13 games within a single season.

The players with the most games with a sack in a single season since 1982:

DeMarcus WareDallas200814
Justin HoustonKansas City201413
Chandler JonesArizona201713
Trey HendricksonCincinnati202112*
Robert QuinnChicago202112*
*Entering Week 18

With two sacks at Philadelphia on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, ESPN/FOX), Parsons can surpass JEVON KEARSE (14.5 sacks in 1999) for the most sacks by a rookie since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The rookies with the most sacks since 1982:

Jevon KearseTennessee199914.5
Aldon SmithSan Francisco201114
Dwight FreeneyIndianapolis200213
Micah ParsonsDallas202113*
*Entering Week 18

In addition to Parsons, two other rookies have at least eight sacks this season – Miami linebacker JAELAN PHILLIPS (8.5 sacks) and New York Giants linebacker AZEEZ OJULARI (eight). This season can become the first season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, in which three rookies recorded 10-or-more sacks.



Wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE of the Cincinnati Bengals, linebacker T.J. WATT of the Pittsburgh Steelers and kicker DANIEL CARLSON of the Las Vegas Raiders are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 17 (January 2-3).


  • Chase had 11 receptions for an NFL rookie-record 266 yards and three touchdowns in Cincinnati’s 34-31 win over Kansas City. In addition to setting a rookie record, Chase’s 266 receiving yards are the most by any player this season. He is the first rookie ever and the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to record multiple games with at least 200 receiving yards in a single season.

  • Chase has 1,429 receiving yards this season, the most by a rookie in NFL history.

  • This is Chase’s second career Offensive Player of the Week award (Week 7) and he is the first Bengals wide receiver to ever win the award twice in one season. He joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998) as the only rookie wide receivers to earn the honor twice.  

  • With quarterback Joe Burrow winning in Week 16, Chase and Burrow are the first pair of teammates to win Offensive Player of the Week in consecutive weeks since Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen (Week 15, 2020) and wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Week 16, 2020)


  • Watt recorded five tackles, a career-high four sacks, three tackles for loss and two passes defended in Pittsburgh’s 26-14 win over Cleveland. Watt has three games with at least three sacks this season, the most in the league.

  • This is the sixth Defensive Player of the Week award for Watt and third this season:
    • 2018: Weeks 1, 5
    • 2020: Week 2
    • 2021: Weeks 6, 13, 17
  • Watt’s three Defensive Player of the Week awards are the most in NFL this season. He becomes the first Steeler to ever win three Player of the Week awards in one season.


  • Carlson converted all three field goal attempts – from 47, 44 and 33 yards – as well as making both point after attempts. His 33-yard kick was a game-winner with no time remaining, securing a 23-20 win.

  • This is the fifth Special Teams Player of the Week award for Carlson and third this season:
    • 2018: Week 11
    • 2020: Week 1
    • 2021: Week 2, 12, 17

  • Carlson’s five Player of the Week awards are the second-most by a Raiders kicker, trailing only Sebastian Janikowski (seven). He joins Janikowski (2011) as the only Raider kickers to earn the honor three times in one season.


Running back RASHAAD PENNY of the Seattle Seahawks, defensive end CAMERON JORDAN of the New Orleans Saints and kicker MATT PRATER of the Arizona Cardinals are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in Week 17 (Jan 2-3).


  • Penny had a career-high 185 scrimmage yards (career-high 170 rushing, 15 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Seahawks’ Week 17 victory. It marked the most rushing yards by an NFC player in Week 17. 

  • This is the first Offensive Player of the Week award for Penny and he joins Shaun Alexander (seven-time winner) and Chris Warren (two-time) as the only Seahawks running backs to win Offensive Player of the Week.

  • Penny joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (eight-time winner) and Ronnie Hillman (Week 17, 2015) as the only former San Diego State running backs to earn the award.


  • Jordan had eight tackles with a season-high 3.5 sacks in the Saints’ Week 17 win over Carolina, the most sacks by an NFC player in Week 17. He ranks third among active players with 106 sacks.

  • This is Jordan’s fourth-career Defensive Player of the Week award and second this season (Week 15). He joins Arizona’s Chandler Jones (Weeks 1 & 11) and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt (Weeks 6, 13 & 17) as the only players to earn the award multiple times this season.
    • 2017: Week 6
    • 2019: Week 13
    • 2021: Weeks 15,17

  • Jordan is the only former California Golden Bear to win Defensive Player of the Week at least four times.


  • In Week 11, Prater converted all four of his field goals – from 24, 53, 26 and 38 yards – and his lone point after attempt for a total of 13 points in the Cardinals’ 25-22 victory over the Cowboys.

  • This is Prater’s 14th-career Special Teams Player of the Week award and second this season (Week 6):
    • 2008 (with Denver): Week 5
    • 2009 (with Denver): Week 12
    • 2011 (with Denver): Week 14
    • 2012 (with Denver): Week 4
    • 2013 (with Denver): Week 14
    • 2016 (with Detroit): Weeks 9, 12-13
    • 2017 (with Detroit): Week 1
    • 2018 (with Detroit): Week 17
    • 2020 (with Detroit): Weeks 3, 10
    • 2021 (with Arizona): Weeks 6, 17

  • Prater joins Adam Vinatieri (19-time winner) as the only kickers with at least 14 Player of the Week awards.


Welcome to Week 18, the NFL’s Season Finale.

The music stops playing this weekend and there are only three remaining chairs – three final postseason berths. With one week to play, 18 teams are in Super Bowl contention. The last time there were more entering the final week of the regular season was 15 years ago (20 in 2006).

The 2021 regular season concludes with 14 of 16 games featuring at least one team either in the playoffs or in playoff contention.

In the AFC, five teams are fighting for the final two playoff invitations. In the NFC, two clubs have a shot at the final playoff reservation. Only the GREEN BAY PACKERS have secured their playoff seeding, clinching the NFC’s No. 1 seed and only first-round bye.

The Season Finale kicks off on Saturday with a doubleheader on ESPN and ABC: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-5) visit the DENVER BRONCOS (7-9) at 4:30 PM ET and the DALLAS COWBOYS (11-5) travel to meet the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-7) at 8:15 PM ET.

For the 12th consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for the final week are division contests. The last matchup on the 2021 regular-season schedule features the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (9-7) at the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (9-7) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC). The winner will earn the final spot in the NFL Playoffs.

FOUR TEAMS FIGHTING FOR NO. 1 SEED IN AFC: Only one team in each conference gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

In the AFC, four teams enter the final weekend with an opportunity to earn that right, which includes homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The TENNESSEE TITANS (11-5) have the most direct path to that coveted No. 1 seed, win at HOUSTON (4-12) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). But don’t sleep on the Texans, who have won two of their past three and defeated Tennessee in Week 11.

The Chiefs can secure the AFC’s No. 1 seed for a second straight season, but they need to first win at Denver on Saturday and hope for a Titans loss the next day. And if Houston defeats Tennessee in the early window on Sunday, and the Broncos defeat the Chiefs, the door opens for both the CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-6) and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-6).

For the full Week 18 playoff scenarios, click here.

BRADY CAN ADD TO HISTORIC RESUME: When the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (12-4) host the CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-11) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), quarterback TOM BRADY has an opportunity to accomplish something only two players have done in 31 years.

Brady leads the NFL in passing attempts (682), completions (456), passing yards (4,990) and touchdown passes (40). Only DREW BREES (2008) and Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (2013) have led the league in all four categories since 1991.

  • In last week’s win, Brady passed for 410 yards and three touchdowns while tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI recorded 115 receiving yards.
  • Brady has 13 career games with at least 400 passing yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (13) for the third-most such games all-time. Only DREW BREES (16 games) and Manning(14) have more.
  • Brady, who had 40 touchdown passes in 2020 and 50 touchdown passes in 2007, has reached 40 touchdown passes for the third time in his career, joining AARON RODGERS as the only quarterback ever with three career seasons with at least 40 touchdown passes. Brady also joined DREW BREES (2011-12) as the only quarterbacks all-time with at least 40 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons.
  • Gronkowski registered his 31st career game with at least 100 receiving yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ (31) for the most such games by a tight end in league annals.

ANOTHER WORST-TO-FIRST TURNAROUND: In last week’s win, the CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-6) overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat Kansas City and earn the AFC North division title for the first time since 2015.

Cincinnati completed a worst-to-first turnaround, winning its division the year after finishing in last place. In 17 of the past 19 seasons (2003-21), at least one NFL team has finished in first place the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

This week, quarterback JOE BURROW leads the Bengals on the road at the CLEVELAND BROWNS (7-9), the latest installment in the Battle of Ohio series (1:00 PM ET, FOX).

  • In the Week 17 win, Burrow passed for 446 yards and four touchdowns while rookie wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE had 11 receptions for 266 yards and three touchdowns in the Bengals’ Week 17 win over Kansas City.
  • Burrow, who had 525 passing yards and four touchdown passes in Week 16, is the second quarterback all-time with at least 450 passing yards and four touchdown passes in consecutive games, joining JAMEIS WINSTON (Weeks 14-15, 2019).
  • Burrow has 971 passing yards in his past two games, surpassing PHIL SIMMS (945 in Weeks 5-6, 1985) for the second-most passing yards by a quarterback in a two-game span ever. Only DAK PRESCOTT (974 in Weeks 3-4, 2020) had more.
  • With 266 receiving yards last week, Chase broke the NFL’s single-game rookie record, previously held by JERRY BUTLER (255 on Sept. 23, 1979).
  • Chase also established the league’s single-season rookie record last week. With 1,429 receiving yards this season, he surpassed JUSTIN JEFFERSON (1,400 in 2020).
  • Chase, who also had 201 receiving yards in Week 7, is also the first rookie ever and the fifth overall player in the Super Bowl era to record multiple games with at least 200 receiving yards in a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers CALVIN JOHNSON (2011 and 2012) and DON MAYNARD (1968) as well as JOSH GORDON (2013) and ALSHON JEFFERY (2013).
  • Chase leads all qualifying NFL players with 18.1 yards per reception and can become the first rookie to lead the league in that category since KENNY STILLS (20.0 yards per reception) in 2013.

PATRIOTS CAN JOIN BOUNCE-BACK DIVISION WINNERS: Both Cincinnati and Dallas have clinched division titles after missing the postseason in 2020. At least two NFL teams have now won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 18 of the past 19 years.

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-6), who visit the MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-8) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), can join that group this week. The Patriots would win the AFC East with a win and a Buffalo loss.

  • Last week, New England’s BILL BELICHICK became the second head coach all-time with 20 seasons of 10-or-more wins, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA (20 seasons).
  • The Patriots, who scored 54 points in Week 7 and 50 last week, are the first team since the 2014 GREEN BAY PACKERS to score at least 50 points twice in season.
  • Also in last week’s win, New England rookie quarterback MAC JONES completed 22 of 30 attempts (73.3 percent) for 227 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 128.1 rating. Meanwhile, defensive back J.C. JACKSON recorded his eighth interception of the season.
  • Jones has nine games with a completion percentage of 70-or-higher, tied with DAK PRESCOTT (nine games in 2016) for the most such games by a rookie quarterback all-time.
  • Jackson has 25 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2018 and is the fourth player in the Super Bowl era with at least 25 interceptions in his first four seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer LEM BARNEY (32), LESTER HAYES (25) and EVERSON WALLS (25). 

CARDINALS ONE OF FIVE TEAMS TO REBOUND INTO POSTSEASON: So far this season, five teams have clinched playoff berths after missing the postseason in 2020 – Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, New England and Philadelphia. Since 1990 – a streak of 32 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The Cardinals finish their regular season at home against the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-10) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX). Arizona can also join the group of new division winners that missed the playoffs last season with a win and a Los Angeles Rams loss.

  • Last week, Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON passed for four touchdowns with no interceptions and a 133.0 rating in the Seahawks’ win. Including the postseason, Wilson now has 112 career wins, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (112) for the most wins, including the postseason, by a quarterback in his first 10 seasons in league annals.
  • Wilson has 17 career games with at least four touchdown passes, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers PEYTON MANNING (17) and DAN MARINO (17) for the most such games by a player in his first 10 seasons in NFL history.

ST. BROWN BROTHERS MEET IN DETROIT: Brother wide receivers EQUANIMEOUS and AMON-RA ST. BROWN will square off when the GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-3) close the regular season at the DETROIT LIONS (2-13-1) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX).

  • AMON-RA ST. BROWN, the league’s December Offensive Rookie of the Month, is the first rookie in NFL history to string together five games of eight-or-more receptions, a streak he brings into the season finale.
  • Packers quarterback AARON RODGERS leads the NFL with a 111.1 passer rating this season. Rodgers, who also led the league with a 121.5 rating in 2020, can become the first player to lead the NFL in that category in consecutive seasons since Rodgers did it from 2011-12.
  • Last week, Green Bay’s MATT LAFLEUR became the first individual ever to win 39 regular-season games in his first three seasons as an NFL head coach, surpassing GEORGE SEIFERT, who had 38 from 1989-91.

TAYLOR GUIDES COLTS INTO JACKSONVILLE: The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-7) look to keep their playoff hopes alive on the road against the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-14) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

  • Last week, Indianapolis running back JONATHAN TAYLOR totaled 114 scrimmage yards (108 rushing, six receiving) and one rushing touchdown. He now has 2,076 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns (18 rushing, two receiving) this season.
  • Taylor last week, at 22 years and 348 days old, became the youngest player with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns in a season all-time.
  • Taylor, who was selected in the second round (41st overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (1983) and DAVID JOHNSON (2016) as the only players with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns in one of their first two career seasons in NFL history.

CLUTCH CARLSON KEEPS RAIDERS IN CONTENTION: On 32 occasions this year, more than any season in NFL history, a game-winning score on the final play has decided a game. Last week, Cincinnati rookie EVAN MCPHERSON and the Raiders’ DANIEL CARLSON each kicked game-winning field goals with no time remaining in the fourth quarter.

This week, Carlson and the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (9-7) host the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (9-7) in a win-or-go-home 2021 NFL regular-season finale on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC).

RAMS EYE NFC WEST TITLE, NEED WIN OVER RIVAL 49ERS: So far this season, 46 games have been decided with a winning score in the final minute of regulation or in overtime, the fifth-most in a season all-time. Only 2013 (49), 2015 (49), 2003 (48) and 2002 (47) had more. In addition to Cincinnati and Las Vegas, the LOS ANGELES RAMS and TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS each scored go-ahead game-winning touchdowns in the final minute of regulation in Week 17.

  • This week, those Rams (12-4) can capture the NFC West division title with a victory over the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (9-7) at SoFi Stadium (4:25 PM ET, FOX). The 49ers with a win would return to the playoffs.
  • Last week, Los Angeles wide receiver COOPER KUPP registered six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown while defensive lineman AARON DONALD recorded half a sack in the team’s road win.
  • Kupp has 138 receptions this season and surpassed ANTONIO BROWN (136 receptions in 2015) and JULIO JONES (136 in 2015) for the third-most receptions in a season in NFL history. Only MICHAEL THOMAS (149 in 2019) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (143 in 2002) had more.
  • Kupp has 1,829 receiving yards in 2021 and became the fifth player with at least 1,800 in a season in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers CALVIN JOHNSON (1,964 in 2012) and JERRY RICE (1,848 in 1995), as well as ANTONIO BROWN (1,834 in 2015) and JULIO JONES (1,871 in 2015).
  • With at least five receptions in 20 consecutive games, Kupp has tied with JARVIS LANDRY (20 games from 2017-18) and MICHAEL THOMAS (20 from 2018-19) for the third-longest such streak in NFL history. Only ANTONIO BROWN (36 from 2013-15) and DEANDRE HOPKINS (23 from 2018-20) have longer streaks.
  • Donald has 98 career sacks since entering the NFL in 2014, tied with teammate VON MILLER (98) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DERRICK THOMAS (98) for the fourth-most sacks by a player in his first eight NFL seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (124 sacks), DEMARCUS WARE (111) and JARED ALLEN (105) have more.

PITTS FINISHING SEASON IN REMARKABLE FASHION: Atlanta rookie tight end KYLE PITTS has 1,018 receiving yards this season. Last week, he joined Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (1,076 in 1961) as the only rookie tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

  • Pitts, whose ATLANTA FALCONS (7-9) host the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (8-8) on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), also has 66 receptions in 2021. He is the third rookie tight end all-time with at least 65 receptions, joining KEITH JACKSON (81 in 1988) and JEREMY SHOCKEY (74 in 2002).
  • New Orleans can clinch a playoff berth for the fifth consecutive season with a win over Atlanta in combination with a San Francisco loss.

BUFFALO HEADING TO PLAYOFFS ON ARM, LEGS OF ALLEN: Quarterback JOSH ALLEN rushed for two touchdowns last week to help the BUFFALO BILLS (10-6) clinch a playoff berth for the third consecutive season.

  • Allen, whose club hosts the NEW YORK JETS on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), has five games with at least two rushing touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2018, tied with JALEN HURTS (five) for the most such games by a quarterback in his first four seasons in the Super Bowl era.
  • Allen also has six rushing touchdowns this season and joined CAM NEWTON as the only quarterbacks ever with at least five rushing touchdowns in each of their first four seasons.
  • With 101 touchdown passes and 31 rushing touchdowns, Allen is the first player in NFL history with at least 100 touchdown passes and 30 rushing touchdowns in his first four seasons.

Antonio Brown says he was forced to play injured by Bucs

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Antonio Brown says he didn’t quit on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the middle of a game, but rather he was cut after refusing to play through an ankle injury that sidelined him for several weeks this season.

The oft-troubled wide receiver, who took off his jersey, shoulder pads and undershirt before walking off the sideline during a game Sunday against the New York Jets, said in a statement released by his attorney that he was pressured to play and coach Bruce Arians fired him when the player told the coach he was not able to re-enter the game because of his ankle.

While not specifying which ankle was hurt, Brown – through a statement released by his attorney Wednesday – said an MRI performed Monday showed broken bone fragments, a ligament tear and cartilage loss “which are beyond painful. You can see the bone bulging from the outside.”

Arians said the day after the game that Brown did not claim he was injured when he refused to continue playing against the Jets. The coach declined to discuss specifics of the conversation on the sideline and said he had “no clue” why the receiver reacted by storming off the field, tossing some of his gear into the stands and waving to fans at MetLife Stadium.

Brown told a different story in his statement.

“Because of my commitment to the game, I relented to pressure directly from my coach to play injured,” he said. “Despite the pain, I suited up, the staff injected me with what I now know was a powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the NFLPA has warned against using, and I gave it my all for the team. I played until it was clear that I could not use my ankle to safely perform my playing responsibilities.

“On top of that, the pain was extreme. I took a seat on the sideline and my coach came up to me, very upset, and shouted, `What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you?’ I told him, `It’s my ankle.’ But he knew that. It was well documented and we had discussed it.

“He then ordered me to get on the field. I said, `Coach, I can’t.’ He didn’t call for medical attention. Instead, he shouted at me, `YOU’RE DONE!’ while he ran his finger across his throat. Coach was telling me that if I didn’t play hurt, then I was done with the Bucs.”

Although Arians said after the game that Brown was no longer a part of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the 33-year-old receiver who’s caught a pass in his last 144 games remained on the roster Wednesday.

Wednesday’s injury report noted Brown’s absence from practice was “not injury related – personal.”

Asked about the team not making an official transaction in regard to Brown, who did not accompany the team back to Tampa following Sunday’s game, Arians replied: “It’s a management decision on what is happening right now.”

On whether it was simply a matter of how Brown will be removed the team, not if, Arians said: “Right.”

The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Brown’s statement Wednesday night.

The receiver alleged a coverup.

“I didn’t quit. I was cut. I didn’t walk away from my brothers. I was thrown out,” Brown’s statement read.

“Being fired on the sideline for having a painful injury was bad enough. Then came their “spin.” Coach denied on national television that he knew about my ankle. That’s 100% inaccurate,” the receiver added. “Not only did he know I missed several games with the injury, he and I exchanged texts days before the game where he clearly acknowledged my injury.”

Brown injured his ankle during a victory at Philadelphia in mid-October. He returned to the lineup against Carolina on Dec. 26, after serving a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccination status.

The former Steelers, Raiders and Patriots receiver had 10 catches for 101 yards against the Panthers. He three receptions for 26 yards against the Jets after missing two practices last week due to the ankle injury.

49ers QB Garoppolo tests sore thumb that still ‘hurts’

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jimmy Garoppolo has resumed throwing for the San Francisco 49ers and took part in practice in a limited role Wednesday but that doesn’t mean his sprained right thumb is close to fully recovered.

Garoppolo tore a ligament in the thumb at Tennessee on Dec. 23 and was held out of practice last week. But he was able to throw on Tuesday and participate in practice on Wednesday as the Niners (9-7) prepare for a season-ending showdown against the Los Angeles Rams.

“It hurts,” Garoppolo said before practicing Wednesday. “I don’t know how else to describe it. It feels like the web in your hand is kind of tearing a little bit. That’s probably the best way I could describe it, but yeah it’s all good.”

The quarterback question hangs over the Niners headed into this crucial game. San Francisco will make the playoffs either with a win at Los Angeles or if New Orleans loses at Atlanta.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said rookie Trey Lance would get the bulk of the work at Wednesday’s light practice and he will see how Garoppolo responds as the week goes on.

“I think we have to be careful,” Shanahan said. “I think waiting until where we did definitely helped getting him to this point, but I think each day is a new experience with it. So it’s going to be mainly at Jimmy’s pace and just talking to him and making sure he doesn’t push it too hard to give him a chance for Sunday.”

Garoppolo said the injury is truly day to day as he felt good Tuesday but the thumb was bothering him more Wednesday.

Garoppolo played more than half the game in Week 16 after getting hurt, adjusting his motion to compensate for the injury.

He’s hoping to get back to his usual form as quickly as he can and knows he has to weigh his desire to play with what is best for the team.

“I’m going to do everything I can to be out there with the guys,” he said. “It’s a big one and so whatever I can do to be out there, I’m going to be out there. But, at the same time you’ve got to be smart and think about what’s going to be best for the team to win. And so you’ve just got to be smart with all the decisions you make.”

Shanahan said he doesn’t know yet whether Garoppolo will be healthy enough to play this week but added that he might not make any announcement at all about who will start to force the Rams to prepare for both Garoppolo and Lance.

Lance fared well in his second career start last week, throwing two TD passes in the second half of San Francisco’s 23-7 win at home over Houston. But he would get a much tougher test this week if he has to start against the playoff-bound Rams, who can clinch the NFC West with a win.

“Trey, I thought, did really well,” Garoppolo said. “He was calm out there, did well on the sideline, tried to help him out as much as I could, but he did well.”

NOTES: LT Trent Williams (elbow) and RB Elijah Mitchell (knee) missed practice but are expected to play Sunday. … CBs Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir were placed on the COVID-19 list, joining S Jimmie Ward, CB K’Waun Williams and CB Dontae Johnson. They all have a chance to be cleared in time to play this week. … DT Maurice Hurst (calf), LB Dre Greenlaw (groin) and S Talanoa Hufanga (knee) were all limited. … LB Azeez Al-Shaair (knee) will be out this week. … The Niners opened the IR practice windows for CB Emmanuel Moseley (ankle), WR Mohamed Sanu (knee) and S Tavon Wilson (foot).

AFC North champ Bengals will rest Burrow in season finale

CINCINNATI (AP) The AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals won’t play quarterback Joe Burrow in the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday to make sure he is healthy for the first round of the playoffs.

Burrow is nursing aches and pains, including his right knee and pinky finger on his throwing hand, but said he could have played this week had it been necessary. Coach Zac Taylor told the quarterback earlier in the week that he would sit Sunday.

“I think any time you can get a little break at this point in the season,” Burrow said Wednesday. “You know, we played a lot of games, bodies are starting to wear down a little bit. You can rest me this week and get my body back to where it needs to be so I can be full strength, running around the way I need to be for Week 1 of the playoffs.”

Running back Joe Mixon and other Cincinnati starters will be sidelined because of reserve/COVID-19 protocols, but should be back for the playoffs. They also include defensive end and sacks leader Trey Hendrickson, defensive lineman B.J. Hill, center Trey Hopkins, guard Quinton Spain and safety Vonn Bell.

If the players don’t have symptoms, they are eligible to come off the list after five days.

Taylor said it’s possible that star rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase also will be rested Sunday.

“I can’t make a prediction on the amount of starters (who will be held out),” Taylor said. “I can certainly say for Joe (Burrow), we’ll rest him this week and make sure he’s 100% ready to go. I know he’s felt good and could play if needed but I just made the decision that we’re going to rest him this week.”

The third-seeded Bengals can improve their position with a win over the Browns (7-9) on Sunday and some help from other teams. Burrow’s backup, Brandon Allen, will have a chance to get his first significant playing time of the season.

The starting quarterbacks for both teams will be watching from the sidelines. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has already been ruled out of the game so he can prepare for surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Cleveland has been eliminated from the playoffs.

“We’re trying to win this game,” Taylor said. “We need to beat Cleveland. And the guys who are going to take the field, that’s what we expect from their performance and from our performance as a coaching staff.

Burrow limped off the field late in the wild 34-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday that clinched the first division title and playoff appearance for the Bengals (10-6) since the 2015 season. He’s been sacked 51 times this season.

“I’m still planning on getting all the throws I need to get in practice,” Burrow said. “I think practice is the reason we’ve been on such a roll, because we’re such a good practice team and we continued to get these reps banked throughout that week that allows us to go out there and execute on Sunday. So I’m going to keep getting those reps in practice.”

NFL looks at contingency sites for Super Bowl amid COVID-19

NEW YORK (AP) The NFL, not surprisingly in the midst of a rise in COVID-19 cases, has looked into other potential sites for next month’s Super Bowl.

That’s not unusual because the league does so every year. But with Los Angeles the site for this year’s title game, and restrictions increasing for attendance at indoor events, it has become more noteworthy.

“We plan on playing Super Bowl 56 as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday. “As part of our standard contingency planning process that we conduct for all regular and postseason games, we have contacted several clubs to inquire about stadium availability in the event we cannot play the Super Bowl as scheduled due to weather-related issues or unforeseen circumstances.

“Our planning process for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is ahead of schedule and we look forward to hosting the Super Bowl there to culminate another fantastic NFL season for our fans and clubs.”

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, reportedly is one of the facilities contacted. The stadium hosted the Rose Bowl in 2021 when it was switched from Pasadena because of COVID-19 restrictions in California.

Earlier Wednesday, the Grammy Awards were postponed indefinitely. They were scheduled for Arena in Los Angeles on Jan. 31. Organizers cited health and safety concerns.

The Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium is scheduled for Feb. 13.

Titans star running back Derrick Henry cleared to practice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans have moved a step closer to having the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year back, opening the 21-day window Wednesday for Derrick Henry to start practicing.

Coach Mike Vrabel said Monday a decision was expected by mid-week on Henry’s status, and the team announced Wednesday morning before practice that Henry had been activated. The next decision will be when – and if – to put Henry on the active roster.

“See how he responds and ask him to start doing some of those things he’s going to need to do in the football game,” Vrabel said Wednesday. “No different than we’ve done with any other guy who’s come back from injured reserve and as they start the return to play.”

Henry, who turned 28 on Tuesday, broke his right foot Oct. 31 and had surgery Nov. 2 to repair his fifth metatarsal. Henry was the NFL’s leading rusher with 937 yards when he was put on injured reserve, and he still ranks sixth in the league despite missing eight games.

The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry has been out nine weeks with the Titans having their bye Dec. 5. He is averaging 117.1 yards a game and 4.3 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns rushing.

The Titans (11-5) still will have to decide whether to add Henry to the 53-man roster before Sunday’s game in Houston or hold him out for the playoffs. They clinched their second straight AFC South championship last week with a 34-3 rout of Miami, and they can clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a win in Houston.

That would give Tennessee two more weeks for Henry to work any rust off from his injury. The Titans last earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed in 2008 and also in 2000.

Henry has 461 yards rushing with five TDs combined in his past two games in Houston. The Texans play on an artificial surface, similar to Indianapolis where Henry played his last game. Using more of the 21-day window would allow Henry to return on natural grass in Nashville for the wild-card round at worst and divisional round with the bye as the No. 1 seed.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into decisions that we make,” Vrabel said.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said the Titans would like to have him back as soon as possible.

“It’s exciting to get him back out there,” Tannehill said. “Obviously, he’s put in a lot of work to get to this point and it’s been a while. No doubt it’s exciting to get him back out there, and we’ll see what he can do.”

Tennessee has used a committee approach to replace Henry, who became the eighth man to run for at least 2,000 yards last season with 2,027 yards. The Titans currently rank third in the NFL in averaging 142.5 yards a game.

Adrian Peterson was waived after three games. D’Onta Foreman, who played six games with Tennessee last season, was signed and has 497 yards with three 100-yard games since being signed off the street Nov. 2. Dontrell Hilliard is averaging 6.2 yards per carry with 293 yards rushing and also has 18 catches for 86 yards.

The Titans also signed tight end Ryan Izzo to the active roster to help replace MyCole Pruitt, who was placed on injured reserve after a gruesome ankle injury Sunday. They signed defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand to the practice squad.

Roadies: Bogdanovic scores 36, Jazz beat Nuggets 115-109

DENVER (AP) Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 36 points and the Utah Jazz stretched their road winning streak to 10 games by beating the Denver Nuggets 115-109 on Wednesday night.

Rudy Gay had 18 points and Donovan Mitchell added 17 for the Jazz, who have not lost on the road since a 107-100 setback at Orlando on Nov. 7.

Nuggets star Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 21 rebounds and 11 assists for his 64th career triple-double. Monte Morris and Will Barton added 20 points apiece.

Up by one at halftime, the Jazz led by 13 in the third quarter and took an 88-78 lead into the fourth.

Denver fought back to within 94-91 on a 3-pointer by Morris off a feed from Jokic, but Bogdanovic had a layup and Royce O’Neale and Jordan Clarkson hit 3-pointers around a pair of free throws by Barton as Utah built a nine-point lead with just over six minutes remaining.

Denver again pulled within striking distance on a dunk by Jokic that narrowed the deficit to 113-109 with 44.3 seconds to play, but Bogdanovic made a pair of free throws in the final moments and the Nuggets failed to score again.

The Jazz led 57-56 at halftime, fueled by Bogdanovic, who had 19 points in the first two quarters.


Jazz: Bogdanovic’s previous season high was 27 points against Philadelphia on Nov. 16. . F Joe Ingles was ruled out after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols. . C Hassan Whiteside missed a third consecutive game because of a concussion. . C Rudy Gobert was held out with left shoulder inflammation. . F Eric Paschall rejoined the team after missing the previous four games to tend to personal matters.

Nuggets: C Vlatko Cancar is out indefinitely after breaking his right foot during Monday’s loss at Dallas. . Denver coach Michael Malone remains sidelined because of health and safety protocols, along with F Jeff Green and F Zeke Nnaji.


Jazz: Continue their five-game road trip at Toronto on Friday night.

Nuggets: Host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Blazers’ Lillard out next 3 games with abdominal injury

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Portland guard Damian Lillard will miss the next three games because of lower abdominal tendinopathy.

The Trail Blazers announced Wednesday that Lillard will undergo further evaluation and consultation concerning the injury, which has bothered him since the Tokyo Olympics.

Lillard was expected to miss Wednesday night’s game against visiting Miami, as well as home games Friday against Cleveland and Sunday against Sacramento.

Lillard has averaged 24 points and 7.3 assists in 29 games this season. He has missed seven games this season because of the injury, including Monday night’s 136-131 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Novak Djokovic in guarded room after landing in Australia

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Novak Djokovic is being held in a room with police out front after landing in Melbourne for the Australian Open, his father said Wednesday amid reports that a visa mix-up could jeopardize the top-ranked Serb’s entry into the country.

Djokovic received a medical exemption to play at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the season, where he is a nine-time winner and the defending champion. The exemption allows him to play regardless of his vaccination status for COVID-19, something he has not disclosed, but he also needs to meet strict border regulations to enter the country.

“Novak is currently in a room which no one can enter,” Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, told the B92 internet portal. “In front of the room are two policemen.”

The Age newspaper in Melbourne reported that Djokovic had landed Wednesday before midnight local time at Tullamarine Airport, but his entry was delayed because of a mistake with his visa application.

Speculation of a possible issue with the visa emerged while Djokovic was in transit and escalated with mixed messages from federal and state lawmakers.

Djokovic’s revelation on social media that he was heading to Australia seeking a record 21st major title sparked some debate and plenty of headlines on Wednesday, with critics questioning what grounds he could have for the exemption and backers arguing he has a right to privacy and freedom of choice.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley defended the “completely legitimate application and process” and insisted there was no special treatment for Djokovic.

The Victoria state government-mandated that only fully vaccinated players, staff, fans and officials could enter Melbourne Park when the tournament starts on Jan. 17.

Only 26 people connected with the tournament applied for a medical exemption and, Tiley said, only a “handful” were granted.

The names, ages and nationalities of applicants were redacted for privacy reasons before each application for a vaccine exemption was assessed by two independent panels of experts, and Tiley noted Djokovic is under no obligation to reveal his reason for seeking one.

But, he suggested, it would be “helpful” if Djokovic chose to explain it to a Melbourne public still getting over months of lockdowns and severe travel restrictions imposed at the height of the pandemic.

“I would encourage him to talk to the community about it,” Tiley said. “We have been through a very tough period over the last two years.”

Among the reasons allowed for those applying for a vaccination exemption can include acute major medical conditions, serious adverse reaction to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or evidence of a COVID-19 infection within the previous six months.

Jaala Pulford, Victoria state’s acting minister for sports, acknowledged in the Djokovic case that lots of people in the community “will find this to be a disappointing outcome,” but added: “Nobody has had special treatment. The process is incredibly robust.”

Concerns about Djokovic’s visa status took a while to circulate.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison initially said the medical exemption decision was a matter for the government of Victoria, where Melbourne is the state capital.

“They have provided (Djokovic) with an exemption to come to Australia, and so we then act in accordance with that,” Morrison said. “States provide exemptions for people to enter on those basis, and that’s been happening for the last two years.”

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews then clarified in a statement that the Australian Border Force would make the final determination.

“While the Victorian government and Tennis Australia may permit a non-vaccinated player to compete in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian border,” Andrews said. “If an arriving individual is not vaccinated, they must provide acceptable proof that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons to be able to access the same travel arrangement as fully vaccinated travelers.”

When asked again about Djokovic’s case, Morrison added: “If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home.”

“And so if medical exemptions had been provided by medical professionals and that’s been furnished to him as a proviso for him to get on that plane, well, that will have to stack up when he arrives in Australia,” the prime minister said.

Later still, Pulford, the Victoria state politician, posted on Twitter to say “the federal government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s application to enter Australia.”

She said the state government would not be providing individual application support, adding in a second post: “We’ve always been clear on two points: visa approvals are a matter for the Federal Government, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors.”

Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus in 2020 after he played in a series of exhibition matches that he organized in Serbia and Croatia without social distancing amid the pandemic.

It’s possible that the 34-year-old Djokovic, who finished one win short of a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2021 when he lost the U.S. Open final to Daniil Medvedev, could have been infected again.


1914       To help the players pick up the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand, baseball owners decrees all big-league parks must have a center-field wall that is green and blank. The safety measure that will evolve to be various colors, including blue, black, and red, will become known as the batter’s eye.

1937       The Giants purchase the services of Tommy Thevenow from the Reds. The shortstop will never see action for New York when the team trades the 33 year-old to the Bees (Braves) for infielder Billy Urbanski, who will also never play a game for the club.

1942       Indians right-hander Bob Feller, who will serve for 44 months and compile eight battle stars, reports to Norfolk to begin his World War II enlistment in the Navy. The 23-year-old Rapid Robert, a 20-game winner for the Tribe for the last three seasons, enlisted in the United States Navy two days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

1950       Charlie Grimm, uncomfortable with front office duties, leaves the Cubs as a vice president to manage the Dallas Eagles. ‘Jolly Cholly’, had who led the team to National League pennants in 1932, 1935, and 1945, signs for a record salary of $90,000 to be the skipper of the Texas League team

1964       Charlie Finley stuns Kansas City when he announces signing a two-year deal to move the team to Louisville to play at the city’s Fairgrounds Stadium, having the state of Kentucky’s promise to spend a half-a-million dollars on enlarging the 20,628-seat facility by another 10,000 seats. The American League will veto the A’s owner’s attempt to shift the franchise, planned for this upcoming season, and the team stays put in the City of Fountains until after the 1967 campaign when permitted to move to Oakland.

1981       By a vote of 6-2, the city council approves changing the name of San Diego Stadium to San Diego – Jack Murphy Stadium. The Padres ballpark’s new moniker is in honor of the late sports editor of the San Diego Union, who is credited with getting the facility built in the late 1960s and with bringing major league baseball and football to the Southern California city.

1984       The Padres, outbidding a dozen teams, come to terms with Yankee free-agent Goose Gossage, agreeing to a five-year deal with the right-handed reliever reportedly worth more than $5.5 million. During his four seasons in San Diego as the team’s closer, the 32 year-old will average close to 21 saves per season while winning 25 games, helping the Friars reach their first-ever World Series this year.

1997       Knuckleballer Phil Niekro, who compiled a 318-274 record during his 24 major league career, becomes 227th player elected to the Hall of Fame. ‘Knucksie,’ who spent two-plus decades with the Braves, also had short stints with the Indians, Yankees, and Blue Jays.

1997       The Dodgers are for sale, according to Peter O’Malley, who, with his sister, Terry Seidler, owns virtually 100 percent of the club. The franchise will be purchased by the Fox Entertainment Group, giving media mogul Rupert Murdoch control of the last family-owned major league team.

2006       With the largest signing bonus in a minor-league contract for a drafted player, who is not a free agent, the Diamondbacks come to terms with Justin Upton, the number one pick in the 2005 major league amateur draft. The 18-year-old Great Bridge HS (Chesapeake, VA) shortstop, selected as the best five-tool player in the nation by Baseball America, will get $6.1 million over the next five years just for agreeing to play with Arizona.

2006       The Yankees, according to final figures released by the commissioner’s office, finished the year with a record payroll of $207.2 million, $90 million more than the Red Sox, who spent the second-largest amount on playing personnel. The World Champion White Sox, by comparison, spent only $73.2 million, with the lowly Devil Rays writing checks for a mere $26.6 million, not much more than Alex Rodriguez makes as an individual playing third base for the Bronx Bombers.

2006       Corey Koskie, who became expendable when the Blue Jays acquired Troy Glaus from the Diamondbacks, is traded to the Brewers for minor league pitching prospect Brian Wolfe. The 32 year-old third baseman brings experience to a young Milwaukee infield, which includes first baseman Prince Fielder (21), second baseman Rickie Weeks (23), and shortstop J.J. Hardy (23).

2006       The commissioner’s office informs the press of a letter faxed from the International Baseball Federation informing Major League Baseball of their intent to withdraw the World Baseball Classic’s sanction unless Cuba participates in the tournament. In mid-December, the Treasury Department had denied the necessary license for Castro’s countrymen to compete on American soil due to the U.S. law, which restricts the financial gain of the communist nation in the United States.

2009       The Cubs acquire right-handed reliever Luis Vizcaino from the Rockies for starting pitcher Jason Marquis and cash. The deal, which frees up $9 million from Chicago’s payroll in 2009, gives the club more financial flexibility to sign free-agent outfielder Milton Bradley.

2009       The Indians sign the injury-plagued right-hander Carl Pavano to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. The 32-year-old free agent from Southington (CT) made only 26 starts posting a 9-8 record over three seasons for the Yankees after signing a four-year contract in 2005 worth nearly $40 million.

2010       In his ninth year on the BBWAA’s ballot, Andre Dawson is the only player to receive 75% or more of the writers’ votes (77.9) necessary for election to the Hall of Fame. The former National League Rookie of the Year (1977 – Montreal) and MVP (1987 – Chicago), an outfielder for the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and the Marlins is one of three players, along with Willie Mays and Barry Bonds, to exceed 400 homers and 300 stolen bases during his 21-year major league career.

2015       Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, and John Smoltz are elected into the Hall of Fame, marking the first time since 1955 that the selection of four players has occurred in the same year. Martinez (91.1%) and Johnson (97.3%) received the mandatory seventy-five percent of the writers’ votes to qualify for induction in their first year on the ballot.

2016       Alex Gordon agrees to a $72 million four-year deal to continue patrolling the outfield for the World Champion Royals. The contract is the richest in franchise history, surpassing the five-year, $55 million similar pacts signed by Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney.

2016       In his first year of eligibility, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America name Ken Griffey, Jr. on 437 of 440 (99.32 percent) of their Hall of Fame ballots, surpassing the Hall of Fame record of 98.84 percent, set by Tom Seaver in 1992. Junior, a 13-time All-Star and the recipient of the AL MVP Award in 1997, finished his 22 years in the major leagues with 630 home runs and a .284 batting average playing for mostly the Mariners and Reds.

2018       Trenton Thunder GM/COO Jeff Hurley announces team bat dog Derby, twenty days shy of his tenth birthday, has died after losing a battle with cancer. In addition to retrieving bats, the fan-favorite brought water to umpires on the hot days and made regular Meet & Greet appearances with the patrons at Arm & Hammer Park and various school and community events during the year.




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