INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SECTIONAL SCHEDULE
PORTAGE (0-9) AT LAKE CENTRAL (4-5)
LAFAYETTE JEFF (5-4) AT CROWN POINT (9-0)
CARROLL (FORT WAYNE) (7-2) AT WARSAW (8-1)
ELKHART (3-6) AT PENN (8-1)
FISHERS (6-3) AT HOMESTEAD (5-4)
HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN (7-2) AT FORT WAYNE NORTHROP (1-8)
WESTFIELD (8-1) AT CARMEL (5-4)
NOBLESVILLE (3-6) AT ZIONSVILLE (3-6)
BROWNSBURG (9-0) AT BEN DAVIS (8-1)
AVON (2-7) AT PIKE (2-7)
NORTH CENTRAL (INDIANAPOLIS) (0-9) AT INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL (6-3)
LAWRENCE CENTRAL (4-5) AT LAWRENCE NORTH (6-3)
PERRY MERIDIAN (2-7) AT WARREN CENTRAL (3-6)
SOUTHPORT (1-8) AT INDIANAPOLIS TECH (0-9)
FRANKLIN CENTRAL (4-5) AT CENTER GROVE (8-1)
JEFFERSONVILLE (0-9) AT COLUMBUS NORTH (4-5)
MUNSTER (3-6) AT MERRILLVILLE (7-2)
HAMMOND MORTON (4-4) AT HAMMOND CENTRAL (5-4)
MICHIGAN CITY (5-4) AT LAPORTE (2-7)
VALPARAISO (7-2) AT CHESTERTON (2-7)
MISHAWAKA (7-2) AT GOSHEN (1-8)
CONCORD (5-4) AT SOUTH BEND ADAMS (1-8)
ANDERSON (2-7) AT FORT WAYNE SNIDER (8-1)
PLAINFIELD (6-3) AT HARRISON (WEST LAFAYETTE) (8-1)
DECATUR CENTRAL (7-2) AT MCCUTCHEON (6-3)
WHITELAND (5-4) AT TERRE HAUTE NORTH (0-9)
FRANKLIN (5-4) AT TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (4-5)
BLOOMINGTON SOUTH (8-1) AT BLOOMINGTON NORTH (9-0)
SEYMOUR (5-4) AT COLUMBUS EAST (3-6)
EVANSVILLE NORTH (6-3) AT FLOYD CENTRAL (8-1)
CASTLE (6-3) AT NEW ALBANY (2-7)
NEW PRAIRIE (8-2) AT KANKAKEE VALLEY (5-5)
HIGHLAND (4-6) AT CULVER ACADEMY (4-6)
SOUTH BEND WASHINGTON (3-7) AT NORTHWOOD (8-2)
WAWASEE (2-8) AT NORTHRIDGE (8-2)
FORT WAYNE DWENGER (5-5) AT DEKALB (6-4)
EAST NOBLE (8-2) AT LEO (8-2)
MISSISSINEWA (10-0) AT COLUMBIA CITY (6-4)
MARION (3-7) AT KOKOMO (8-2)
LEBANON (5-5) AT BREBEUF JESUIT (5-4)
INDIANAPOLIS RONCALLI (4-6) AT MOORESVILLE (5-5)
GREENFIELD-CENTRAL (9-1) AT NEW PALESTINE (8-2)
BEECH GROVE (5-5) AT MOUNT VERNON (FORTVILLE) (6-4)
JENNINGS COUNTY (5-5) AT GREENWOOD (5-5)
EAST CENTRAL (10-0) AT MARTINSVILLE (7-3)
EVANSVILLE REITZ (10-0) AT BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE (7-3)
EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL (7-3) AT JASPER (7-3)
BOONE GROVE (8-2) AT HANOVER CENTRAL (10-0)
WEST LAFAYETTE (7-3) AT RENSSELAER CENTRAL (6-4)
FAIRFIELD (6-4) AT JOHN GLENN (6-4)
WEST NOBLE (10-0) AT KNOX (10-0)
YORKTOWN (5-5) AT DELTA (6-4)
GARRETT (5-5) AT HERITAGE (9-1)
INDIANAPOLIS CHATARD (10-0) AT GUERIN CATHOLIC (8-2)
MACONAQUAH (7-3) AT HAMILTON HEIGHTS (10-0)
TRI-WEST (9-1) AT NORTH MONTGOMERY (6-4)
MONROVIA (8-2) AT SPEEDWAY (3-7)
PIKE CENTRAL (2-8) AT VINCENNES LINCOLN (7-3)
GIBSON SOUTHERN (8-2) AT WASHINGTON (3-7)
LAWRENCEBURG (8-2) AT BATESVILLE (9-1)
INDIAN CREEK (7-3) AT FRANKLIN COUNTY (4-6)
SCOTTSBURG (6-4) AT SALEM (3-7)
HERITAGE HILLS (9-1) AT SOUTHRIDGE (7-3)
WHEELER (6-3) AT BREMEN (5-5)
LAVILLE (9-1) AT WHITING (4-6)
ROCHESTER (7-2) AT LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC (7-3)
SEEGER (7-3) AT LEWIS CASS (6-4)
EASTSIDE (7-3) AT FORT WAYNE LUERS (7-3)
CENTRAL NOBLE (4-6) AT MANCHESTER (4-6)
TIPTON (2-8) AT EASTERN (GREENTOWN) (8-2)
EASTBROOK (7-3) AT BLUFFTON (8-2)
GREENCASTLE (8-2) AT LINTON-STOCKTON (9-1)
CASCADE (6-4) AT SOUTHMONT (5-5)
EASTERN HANCOCK (6-4) AT INDIANAPOLIS RITTER (4-6)
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN (7-3) AT WINCHESTER (7-2)
BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (9-1) AT TRITON CENTRAL (9-1)
SWITZERLAND COUNTY (6-4) AT EASTERN (PEKIN) (4-6)
NORTH POSEY (9-1) AT EVANSVILLE MATER DEI (3-7)
FOREST PARK (6-4) AT PAOLI (9-1)
SOUTH NEWTON (4-6) AT NORTH JUDSON (6-4)
TRITON (7-3) AT CULVER (1-9)
CLINTON CENTRAL (1-7) AT PARK TUDOR (10-0)
CLINTON PRAIRIE (6-4) AT NORTH VERMILLION (7-3)
CASTON (2-8) AT CARROLL (FLORA) (10-0)
WEST CENTRAL (8-2) AT TRI-CENTRAL (4-6)
MADISON-GRANT (7-3) AT NORTH MIAMI (2-8)
ADAMS CENTRAL (10-0) AT SOUTHWOOD (5-5)
WES-DEL (4-5) AT MONROE CENTRAL (5-5)
INDIANAPOLIS TINDLEY (4-5) AT SHERIDAN (7-3)
EDINBURGH (1-8) AT NORTH DECATUR (7-3)
TRI (7-3) AT MILAN (7-3)
INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN (8-0) AT SOUTH PUTNAM (9-1)
COVENANT CHRISTIAN (6-3) AT RIVERTON PARKE (5-5)
WEST WASHINGTON (5-4) AT SPRINGS VALLEY (9-1)
PROVIDENCE (10-0) AT NORTH DAVIESS (5-5)
INDIANA BOYS AND GIRLS STATE SOCCER FINALS
FRIDAY, OCT. 27
6 PM ET | CLASS 2A GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
LEO (15-2-3) VS. GUERIN CATHOLIC (15-4-1)
8:30 PM ET | CLASS 1A GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
FORT WAYNE CANTERBURY (12-8) VS. PARK TUDOR (15-4-1)
SATURDAY, OCT. 28
11 AM ET | CLASS 1A BOYS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
BETHANY CHRISTIAN (15-4-2) VS. FOREST PARK (15-7)
1:30 PM ET | CLASS 2A BOYS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
MISHAWAKA MARIAN (19-2) VS. EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL (13-7-1)
4 PM ET | CLASS 3A BOYS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
NOBLESVILLE (17-0-5) VS. INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL (17-4-2)
6:30 PM ET | CLASS 3A GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
NOBLESVILLE (16-1-3) VS. BLOOMINGTON SOUTH (18-2-1)
INDIANA VOLLEYBALL SEMI-STATE MATCH-UPS
1. HUNTINGTON NORTH
CLASS 1A | FORT WAYNE BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (28-8) VS. SOUTHWOOD (30-4) | 1 PM ET
CLASS 3A | NORTHWOOD (32-4) VS. BELLMONT (33-2) | APPROX. 2:30 PM ET
CLASS 2A | PIONEER (24-13) VS. MUNCIE BURRIS (29-4) | 4 PM ET
CLASS 4A | LAPORTE (32-4) VS. HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN (31-0) | APPROX. 5:30 PM ET / 4:30 CT
3. COLUMBUS EAST
CLASS 2A | INDIANAPOLIS SCECINA (25-11) VS. BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (24-13) | 1 PM ET
CLASS 3A | TRI-WEST HENDRICKS (25-9) VS. PROVIDENCE (29-5) | APPROX. 2:30 PM ET
CLASS 1A | GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN (24-13) VS. TECUMSEH (31-4) | 4 PM ET
CLASS 4A | RONCALLI (30-3) VS. CASTLE (33-3) | APPROX. 5:30 PM ET
INDIANA CROSS COUNTRY STATE FINALS-SATURDAY
SITE: LAVERN GIBSON CHAMPIONSHIP CROSS COUNTRY COURSE, WABASH VALLEY SPORTS CENTER, 599 S. TABORTOWN ROAD, TERRE HAUTE, IN 47803.
TIMES: BOYS AT 12 PM ET FOLLOWED BY THEIR AWARDS CEREMONY; GIRLS AT 2:30 PM ET FOLLOWED BY THEIR AWARDS CEREMONY.
GATES OPEN: 9:30 AM ET / 8:30 AM CT
INDIANA CROSS COUNTRY: HTTPS://IN.MILESPLIT.COM/
COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
TUESDAY, OCT. 24
NEW MEXICO STATE AT LOUISIANA TECH | 7 P.M. | CBSSN
LIBERTY AT WESTERN KENTUCKY | 7:30 P.M. | ESPNU
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 25
JACKSONVILLE STATE AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL | 7 P.M. | CBSSN
UTEP AT SAM HOUSTON | 8 P.M. | ESPN2
THURSDAY, OCT. 26
SYRACUSE AT VIRGINIA TECH | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN
GEORGIA STATE AT GEORGIA SOUTHERN | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN2
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AT NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL | 7:30 P.M. | ESPNU
FRIDAY, OCT. 27
BROWN AT PENN | 7 P.M. | ESPNU
FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT CHARLOTTE | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN2
SATURDAY, OCT. 28
OKLAHOMA AT KANSAS | 12 P.M. | FOX
INDIANA AT PENN STATE | 12 P.M. | CBS
UMASS AT ARMY | 12 P.M. | CBSSN
UCONN AT BOSTON COLLEGE | 12 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
MARYLAND AT NORTHWESTERN | 12 P.M. | BIG TEN NETWORK
SOUTH CAROLINA AT TEXAS A&M | 12 P.M. | ESPN
HOUSTON AT KANSAS STATE | 12 P.M. | ESPN2
WEST VIRGINIA AT UCF | 12 P.M. | FS1
TULSA AT SMU | 12 P.M. | ESPNU
HOWARD AT DELAWARE STATE | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
DUQUESNE AT SACRED HEART | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
TENNESSEE TECH AT ROBERT MORRIS | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
COLUMBIA AT YALE | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
LAFAYETTE AT GEORGETOWN | 12:30 P.M. | ESPN+
WESTERN MICHIGAN AT EASTERN MICHIGAN | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
BUCKNELL AT COLGATE | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
HOLY CROSS AT FORDHAM | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
UNI AT ILLINOIS STATE | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
PRINCETON AT CORNELL | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
STETSON AT DRAKE | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
UT MARTIN AT GARDNER-WEBB | 1:30 P.M. | ESPN+
CHATTANOOGA AT VMI | 1:30 P.M. | ESPN+
MORGAN STATE AT NORFOLK STATE | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
INDIANA STATE AT NORTH DAKOTA | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
MISSOURI STATE AT YOUNGSTOWN STATE | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE AT SOUTH DAKOTA | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
EAST TENNESSEE STATE AT FURMAN | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
MERCER AT WESTERN CAROLINA | 2:30 P.M. | ESPN+
JACKSON STATE AT ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
ABILENE CHRISTIAN AT SOUTHERN UTAH | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
NORTHERN COLORADO AT MONTANA | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE AT HOUSTON CHRISTIAN | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
LINDENWOOD AT TENNESSEE STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE AT NICHOLLS | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
LINCOLN (CA) AT KENNESAW STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
THE CITADEL AT SAMFORD | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
MEMPHIS AT NORTH TEXAS | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
GEORGIA VS. FLORIDA (IN JACKSONVILLE, FLA.) | 3:30 P.M. | CBS
BYU AT TEXAS | 3:30 P.M.
OREGON AT UTAH | 3:30 P.M. | FOX
PITT AT NOTRE DAME | 3:30 P.M. | NBC
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT AUBURN | 3:30 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
MICHIGAN STATE AT MINNESOTA | 3:30 P.M. | BIG TEN NETWORK
PURDUE AT NEBRASKA | 3:30 P.M. | FS1
IOWA STATE AT BAYLOR | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
EAST CAROLINA AT UTSA | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTHERN MISS AT APPALACHIAN STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
MIAMI (OHIO) AT OHIO | 3:30 P.M. | CBSSN
ALABAMA A&M VS. ALABAMA STATE (IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.) | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
MURRAY STATE AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
USC AT CAL | 4 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
TULANE AT RICE | 4 P.M. | ESPN2
PRAIRIE VIEW A&M AT FLORIDA A&M | 4 P.M. | ESPNU
NORTH ALABAMA AT AUSTIN PEAY | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
EASTERN WASHINGTON AT PORTLAND STATE | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
MONTANA STATE AT IDAHO | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
UC DAVIS AT NORTHERN ARIZONA | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
DARTMOUTH AT HARVARD | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
UIW AT LAMAR | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
BRYANT AT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT WESTERN ILLINOIS | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
ARKANSAS STATE AT UL MONROE | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
LOUISIANA AT SOUTH ALABAMA | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
TARLETON STATE AT CENTRAL ARKANSAS | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
MOREHEAD STATE AT SAN DIEGO | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
WYOMING AT BOISE STATE | 5:30 P.M. | FS2
MARSHALL AT COASTAL CAROLINA | 6 P.M. | NFL NETWORK
WASHINGTON AT STANFORD | 7 P.M. | FS1
TENNESSEE AT KENTUCKY | 7 P.M. | ESPN
AIR FORCE AT COLORADO STATE | 7 P.M. | CBSSN
TROY AT TEXAS STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
OHIO STATE AT WISCONSIN | 7:30 P.M. | NBC
VANDERBILT AT OLE MISS | 7:30 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
COLORADO AT UCLA | 7:30 P.M. | ABC
WASHINGTON STATE AT ARIZONA STATE | 8 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
CINCINNATI AT OKLAHOMA STATE | 8 P.M. | ESPN2
OLD DOMINION AT JAMES MADISON | 8 P.M. | ESPNU
EASTERN KENTUCKY AT UTAH TECH | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
NORTHWESTERN STATE AT MCNEESE | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
IDAHO STATE AT SACRAMENTO STATE | 9 P.M. | ESPN+
OREGON STATE AT ARIZONA | 10:30 P.M. | ESPN
NEW MEXICO AT NEVADA | 10:30 P.M. | CBSSN
UNLV AT FRESNO STATE | 10:30 P.M. | FS1
SAN JOSE STATE AT HAWAI’I | 12 A.M. SUNDAY | SPECTRUM SPORTS PPV
FLORIDA STATE AT WAKE FOREST
NORTH CAROLINA AT GEORGIA TECH
DUKE AT LOUISVILLE
CLEMSON AT NC STATE
VIRGINIA AT MIAMI (FLA.)
MINNESOTA 22 SAN FRANCISCO 17
NFL WEEK 8 SCHEDULE
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT BUFFALO BILLS (THU) 8:15P (ET) 8:15P PRIME VIDEO
HOUSTON TEXANS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT DALLAS COWBOYS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P FOX
MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P FOX
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
NEW YORK JETS AT NEW YORK GIANTS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
ATLANTA FALCONS AT TENNESSEE TITANS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P CBS
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT WASHINGTON COMMANDERS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 1:05P (PT) 4:05P FOX
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS 1:25P (MST) 4:25P CBS
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT DENVER BRONCOS 2:25P (MT) 4:25P CBS
CINCINNATI BENGALS AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 1:25P (PT) 4:25P CBS
CHICAGO BEARS AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS 5:20P (PT) 8:20P NBC*
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS AT DETROIT LIONS (MON) 8:15P (ET) 8:15P ESPN
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
TEXAS 11 HOUSTON 4 (TEXAS WINS SERIES 4-3)
ARIZONA 5 PHILADELPHIA 1 (SERIES TIED 3-3)
TUESDAY, OCT. 24
AZ @ PHI, GAME 7, TBS
PRESENTED BY CAPITAL ONE
FRIDAY, OCT. 27
GAME 1 (AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
SATURDAY, OCT. 28
GAME 2 (AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
MONDAY, OCT. 30
GAME 3, FOX
TUESDAY, OCT. 31
GAME 4, FOX
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1
GAME 5 (IF NECESSARY), FOX
FRIDAY, NOV. 3
GAME 6 (IF NECESSARY, AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
SATURDAY, NOV. 4
GAME 7 (IF NECESSARY, AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
NO GAMES SCHEDULED
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
NO GAMES SCHEDULED
TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS/NEWS
GARCÍA POWERS RANGERS TO FIRST WORLD SERIES SINCE 2011 WITH 11-4 ROUT OF ASTROS IN GAME 7 OF ALCS
HOUSTON (AP) Adolis García and these road-happy Rangers are not only tops in Texas, they’re best in the American League.
García homered twice and drove in five runs as the Texas Rangers reached their first World Series in 12 years with an 11-4 blowout of the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series on Monday night.
Corey Seager got the Rangers started with a long homer in a three-run first inning. Nathaniel Lowe also went deep to give Texas – one of six major league teams without a World Series title – its first berth in the Fall Classic since consecutive trips in 2010 and 2011.
García homered for the fourth straight game and set a record for RBIs in a postseason series with 15. He had four hits, scored three times and was the obvious choice for ALCS MVP in a series that saw the road team win every game.
“He’s a bad man, isn’t he?” Seager said. “To be able to come into this atmosphere and get booed every at-bat and do what he did was really special. It was really fun to watch.”
After winning their Lone Star State showdown with rival Houston, the resilient Rangers open an all-wild card World Series at home Friday night against Arizona or Philadelphia, who play the decisive Game 7 of their NLCS on Tuesday night.
Bruce Bochy, who came out of retirement this season to manage the Rangers, became the first skipper to win a League Championship Series with three different teams, after leading San Diego and San Francisco to NL pennants.
He and general manager Chris Young have spearheaded a swift turnaround with Texas, making its first playoff appearance since 2016 after losing 102 games in 2021 and going 68-94 last year.
“I didn’t know if I’d get back in it. And here I am. I know how blessed I am,” Bochy said. “We’ve had our streaks. We’ve had our injuries. They keep getting up. To come in here and beat such a great team like Houston – and congrats on their year. But it’s great to be wearing the horns in Texas.”
Meanwhile, the defending World Series champion Astros were finally dethroned.
Fittingly, it came at home, where they went 40-47 this year and 0-4 in this series. They won all three games at Texas and returned to Minute Maid Park a win shy of their third straight pennant, but Houston’s pitching staff got pounded for 20 runs in the final two games of the team’s seventh consecutive ALCS.
“That finished our season – not being able to win at home,” said outfielder Chas McCormick, who sat stone-faced in the dugout long after the last out. “That came and bit us.”
No club has repeated as World Series champion since the New York Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000.
“I don’t like tipping my cap to anybody,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “But when someone beats the hell out of you, what are you going to do?
“We have been spoiled around here as far as winning and winning and winning. And heck, I’ve been here four years, and we’ve been to two World Series and two Championship Series. We have nothing to be ashamed of or nothing to hold our head down about. We’re down, but we’re not out. And every team in baseball would trade to have had the last four years that we’ve had.”
Texas led the AL West for most of the year, only to squander the division crown to Houston with a loss at Seattle on the final day of the regular season that sent the streaky Rangers on the road to begin the playoffs.
Turns out, that was no problem.
They have gone 8-0 away from home in these playoffs, joining the 1996 Yankees as the only teams to win their first eight road games in one postseason.
García, part of those clubs that lost nearly 200 games over the past two seasons, is savoring October success.
“More than anything, it’s not even about beating the Astros or that particular opponent,” he said through a translator. “It’s how proud I feel about the journey we’ve been on and how we’ve been able to improve to get to this point right now where we’re celebrating this victory.”
Jordan Montgomery, normally a starter, came out of the bullpen on two days’ rest and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. The big left-hander, acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline, improved to 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA this postseason.
Texas starter Max Scherzer, acquired from the Mets in July, allowed four hits and two runs with two walks in 2 2/3 innings. But the Rangers took advantage of an early flop by Cristian Javier.
Texas jumped on Javier immediately and tagged him for three runs, highlighted by Seager’s second-deck shot, before he was lifted with just one out in the first. The right-hander entered 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA in four career postseason starts.
Seager, in his second season with Texas after signing a $325 million, 10-year contract, had three hits after starting the series 5 for 26.
García slugged his sixth home run this postseason to make it 4-1 in the third before the Astros cut it to two on a solo homer by Alex Bregman in the bottom of the inning.
Texas broke things open with a four-run fourth that featured a two-run double by rookie Evan Carter and a two-run single by García.
After hitting a grand slam to punctuate a 9-2 win in Game 6, García led the charge Monday. He had 15 RBIs in the series to break the record set by Nelson Cruz with 13 for Texas in the 2011 ALCS.
The slugger was booed throughout the game for a second straight night after being at the center of a bench-clearing scuffle in Game 5 after being hit by a pitch from Astros reliever Bryan Abreu.
García seemed to delight in playing the road villain. When he opened the third inning with his shot to right field, he watched as the ball sailed over the fence before slowly taking a few steps toward first base. He then dropped his bat, turned around and skipped backward for a few feet while smiling broadly at his cheering dugout before trotting around the bases.
“When there’s a lot of emotions, the fans out there, they are rallying for their team, it fuels me,” García said. “It’s motivation that helps me out when I’m playing.”
The Cuban outfielder added a solo shot in the eighth to give him seven homers and 20 RBIs this postseason, passing Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez (six) for the most home runs in the playoffs this year.
García’s home run streak is tied for fourth-longest in postseason history.
It was only the second time the road team won every game in a best-of-seven postseason series. The Astros were also on the wrong end of the other one, dropping four home games in a loss to Washington in the 2019 World Series, when Scherzer also pitched Game 7 in Houston for the Nationals.
Texas and Houston had identical regular-season records (90-72), with the AL West title going to the Astros on a head-to-head tiebreaker. Tied once again entering this game, the Rangers came out on top when it mattered most.
Texas’ win guaranteed a third all-wild card World Series, the first since Bochy’s Giants beat Kansas City in 2014.
Jose Altuve hit his 27th career postseason homer in the ninth for Houston, two behind Manny Ramirez for most all-time.
PHAM, GURRIEL HOMER, DIAMONDBACKS POWER PAST PHILLIES 5-1 TO FORCE NLCS GAME 7
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Merrill Kelly retired Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper in order in the fifth inning, striking out Schwarber and Harper – October’s biggest home run threats.
When the pitcher reached the dugout, manager Torey Lovullo offered a handshake to signal the start was over after 90 pitches. Kelly appeared agitated and gestured with his glove as if to point out he struck out Schwarber and Harper and had much more in the tank.
“It kind of just, I think, took me by shock more than anything,” Kelly said.
Here might be the real shock – especially in Philly. After losing the first two games of the NL Championship Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks are one win from their first World Series since 2001.
Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit back-to-back homers and Kelly struck out eight before his early hook to help Arizona force Game 7 with a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.
The winner of Tuesday night’s game advances to the World Series against Texas, which beat Houston on Monday night for the AL pennant.
Kelly and four relievers combined to shut down the Phillies and stifle their rousing run of success at Citizens Bank Park. Arizona’s bullpen didn’t allow a runner to reach second.
“I’m expecting some fun,” Kelly said. “Game 7, obviously, they talk about, it’s the best words in sports. I think the fact that we’re here, I don’t think anybody thought we were going to take them to Game 6. I don’t think anybody thought we were even going to make it to Game 1. I don’t think anybody thought we were going to make it past Milwaukee, to be honest with you.”
Arizona backed up the bold pregame words from Lovullo and tamed Phillies bats and the hostile home crowd of 45.473.
“Getting there is really important, so we have that all-in mentality,” Lovullo said ahead of Game 6. “We didn’t come cross-country to get our asses kicked. We came here to play our best baseball game, and our guys will be ready to go.”
Kelly allowed one run and three hits and three walks.
“He was making statements to me that told me that he was capable of going back out there,” Lovullo said. “But I’ve got to be the parent in the room and make a tough decision and hand it over to the bullpen that’s been very, very efficient.”
Sure enough, Arizona’s bullpen allowed three hits over four scoreless innings.
Schwarber, Turner and Harper, the top three hitters in Philadelphia’s batting order, went 0 for 9 with four strikeouts. Nick Castellanos was 0 for 4, dropping to 1 for 20 in the series.
Philadelphia lost at home for the first time in seven home postseason games. The Phillies dropped Games 4 and 5 to Houston in the World Series but had won 11 straight postseason home games against NL opposition.
Pham said Arizona gave notice the team is as resilient as any that played this postseason.
“We always felt like if we got some good pitching, played great defense, and we played our game, that we could win this,” he said.
The Phillies sent Aaron Nola to the mound — a year to the day after they beat San Diego to win the NL pennant — in hopes of making it two straight trips to the World Series.
Nola was lights out in every postseason start, pitching against the backdrop that the pending free agent could be down to his final games with the Phillies. He was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in October.
Make it 3-1.
Nola allowed homers to Pham and Gurriel in almost the same spots in the left field seats, the first ones the longest-tenured Phillies player allowed all postseason.
A sign this wouldn’t be Nola’s night? Pham was benched for Game 5 because of a 1-for-13 effort in the NLCS.
Nola walked light-hitting Alek Thomas, who hit a tying, two-run homer in Game 4, and Evan Longoria doubled for a 3-0 lead. Longoria, who played for Tampa Bay against the Phillies in the 2008 World Series, had been 1 for 12 in the series.
“They didn’t miss too many balls over the plate,” Nola said.
Philadelphia had never trailed by more than two runs in the postseason until the second.
Kelly, who allowed three solo homers in a Game 2 loss, pitched his way out of trouble in this one.
He put two runners on in the first inning before striking out slumping Alec Bohm and retiring Bryson Stott on a shallow flyout. Kelly gave up an RBI single to Brandon Marsh in the second and put two on with two outs. Kelly then got Turner to swing at three pitches out of the zone to end the threat.
Ketel Marte stretched his postseason hitting streak to 15 games with a run-scoring triple in the fifth that built a 4-1 lead and chased Nola. He added an RBI single in the seventh off Orion Kerkering.
“We deserve this moment,” Lovullo said.
RHP Brandon Pfaadt starts for Arizona and LHP Ranger Suárez for Philadelphia. Pfaadt has a 2.13 ERA in three postseason outings, striking out 15 and walking one in 12 2/3 innings. Suárez is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA, striking out 13 and walking two in 14 innings.
D-BACKS TAKE UNDERDOG MENTALITY INTO GAME 7 VS. PHILLIES
PHILADELPHIA — Merrill Kelly understands the David vs. Goliath storyline permeating the National League Championship Series.
But after knocking off two division champions earlier this month, Kelly and the 84-win Arizona Diamondbacks — two years removed from a 110-loss season and with one player making more than $10 million this year — will have their slingshot ready to go in their biggest game yet on Tuesday night.
The Diamondbacks will look to continue their unlikely October run and the Phillies will look to return to the World Series when Arizona visits Philadelphia for Game 7 of the NLCS.
Rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt (0-0, 2.13 ERA this postseason) is slated to start for the Diamondbacks against left-hander Ranger Suarez (1-0, 0.64).
The Diamondbacks forced the winner-take-all finale Monday night, when Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit back-to-back homers to open the second inning and Kelly gave up one run over five frames in a 5-1 victory.
Tuesday’s winner will begin the World Series on Friday against the Texas Rangers, who clinched the American League pennant by rolling to an 11-4 win over the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series on Monday night. The Rangers will have home-field advantage in the Fall Classic regardless of who they play.
“I don’t think anybody thought we were going to take them to Game 6,” Kelly said on TBS following Monday’s win. “I don’t think anybody even thought we were going to make it to Game 1. I don’t think anybody thought we were going to make it past Milwaukee, to be honest with you.”
After sweeps of the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Diamondbacks dropped the first two games of the NLCS by a combined score of 15-3 to the defending NL champion Phillies, who have five players on deals of at least $100 million. None of those players are Kyle Schwarber, one of the most prolific home run hitters in postseason history, or Aaron Nola, who is one of only three pitchers in franchise history to earn at least five postseason wins.
The Diamondbacks mounted comeback wins in Games 3 and 4 in Phoenix before losing 6-1 in Game 5. But the Phillies could never mount a sustained rally on Monday, when they were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
“We earned the right to play in that game and I’m proud of the guys for that,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
The Diamondbacks’ comeback has endangered the Phillies’ bid to win a second straight pennant — a feat that seemed to be their destiny after opening the playoffs with seven wins in eight games, a stretch in which Philadelphia outscored the Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves and Diamondbacks by a combined score of 46-13.
The Game 7 will be the first in the 141-season history of the Phillies, who faced elimination only once last season, when they lost Game 6 of the World Series to the Astros.
“It’s going to be fight, scratch, claw, do whatever you can to score a run, find a way to get outs, find a way to move up an extra 90 feet — anything that you can,” Schwarber said. “It’s going to be good anxious nerves coming onto the field (Tuesday). This is what you live for, going into the backyard (as a kid), Game 7. It’s going to be fun.”
Pfaadt and Suarez matched zeroes in Game 3 last Thursday, when neither pitcher factored into the decision in the Diamondbacks’ 2-1 win. Pfaadt gave up two hits and struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings while Suarez allowed three hits and whiffed seven in 5 1/3 innings.
Pfaadt has made all three of his postseason starts this month. He has never faced the Phillies in the regular season.
Suarez is 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA and one save in eight career playoff games (six starts). He is 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA in nine regular-season games (six starts) against the Diamondbacks.
VIKINGS OUTLAST 49ERS 22-17 WITH 2 COUSINS-ADDISON TDS AND 2 LATE INTERCEPTIONS BY BYNUM
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kirk Cousins let the ball fly for Jordan Addison earlier than he wanted to in the face of an all-out San Francisco blitz in the closing seconds of the second quarter for Minnesota, bracing for the worst after realizing the pass was underthrown.
Addison won the tug-of-war battle this time with 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward and spun away for a 60-yard touchdown, and the Vikings finally pulled out a victory after three straight late lapses at home.
“I thought it was getting picked,” Cousins said. “I still don’t know how Jordan came away with it.”
Cousins connected with Addison for two first-half scores, Camryn Bynum intercepted Brock Purdy twice in the fourth quarter, and the Vikings held on to beat the 49ers 22-17 on Monday night.
“One play here, one play there. We’ve had some tough losses,” said Cousins, who went 35 for 45 for 378 yards and no sacks. “Last year we were fortunate enough to pull them out. We found a way tonight.”
Christian McCaffrey scored twice for the 49ers (5-2), who have a two-game losing streak for just the second time in two years.
“We came in with the right mindset,” said Purdy, who went 21 for 30 for 272 yards. “We’ve just got to execute better.”
Addison, stepping up in a big way with superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson sidelined by a hamstring injury, had seven catches for 123 yards in his breakout performance on a prime-time stage.
The play of the game came with on third-and-6 with 16 seconds left before halftime when the 49ers sent three extra rushers. The fight for the ball with Ward was eerily similar to the opening drive of the game, when Cousins threw to Addison over the middle where it was wrestled away by Ward to hang the Vikings with their fourth opening-drive turnover in seven games.
“I needed that one,” Addison said. “I couldn’t let him get it twice.”
The first-round draft pick from USC, who left the game briefly with leg cramps, also had a 14-yard reception on third-and-4 on a drive that could have sealed the game for Minnesota (3-4).
But Greg Joseph, who also missed an earlier extra point, pulled a 50-yard field goal wide right.
With no timeouts and 1:11 left, the 49ers took possession at their 40. Purdy, who was picked off with 5:30 remaining at the Minnesota 30 after an off-target pass intended for Jajuan Jennings, completed two short throws to reach the Minnesota 40. But Bynum zeroed in on a pass over the middle for Ray-Ray McCloud III and leaped in front of him for the interception.
“Obviously, our season isn’t going as well as we would like it to, but nothing’s better than bouncing back from adversity and stacking wins up,” Bynum said.
The 49ers, who were still the favorite to win the Super Bowl after a 19-17 defeat last week at Cleveland, played without wide receiver Deebo Samuel and left tackle Trent Williams, both of whom were hurt in that ugly game. Purdy bounced back from the worst game of his young NFL career and his first regular season loss as a starter, but those late interceptions will sting.
Minnesota’s defense also avenged that mistake. McCaffrey lost the ball at the Minnesota 11 on the ensuing possession when Bynum and Harrison Smith converged on the NFL’s leading rusher. Smith was credited for the forced fumble, his third of the season to tie a career high, and Dean Lowry recovered.
“I made a bad mistake today that I believe cost us the game,” McCaffrey said.
That was the first time in seven games this season the 49ers failed to score on their first drive to portend their mistake-filled game. Addison’s first touchdown, a perfectly placed 20-yard pass into the hole in the zone coverage after Cousins audibled, was the first allowed by the 49ers in the first quarter this season.
“Against that team, that’s big-time quarterback play in my mind,” coach Kevin O’Connell said.
Jake Moody, who missed a 41-yard field goal try in the closing seconds that would’ve won it at Cleveland, pulled a 40-yard attempt wide right in the second quarter. He later converted from 55 yards.
MONDAY NIGHT MILESTONES
McCaffrey, the only player in the league with a touchdown in every game this season, has a scoring streak of 16 straight games including the 2022-23 playoffs. He’s one game short of Lenny Moore’s all-time record from 1963-64.
Cousins hit the 300-yard mark for the 50th time in his 12-year career. Only four others have done that by their 12th season: Drew Brees (67), Matt Ryan (64), Peyton Manning (56) and Kurt Warner (52).
49ers: LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles departed after an ankle injury that occurred while covering the third-quarter kickoff. … LB Dre Greenlaw (hamstring) returned from a one-game absence.
Vikings: LB Brian Asamoah limped off after colliding on the kickoff with Flannigan-Fowles. … LG Ezra Cleveland (foot) didn’t play, replaced by Dalton Risner.
49ers: Host Cincinnati on Sunday.
Vikings: Visit Green Bay on Sunday.
CHIEFS WR JUSTYN ROSE ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF CRIMINAL DAMAGE
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justyn Ross was arrested Monday in Shawnee, Kan., on suspicion of criminal damage exceeding $25,000, a felony.
He was in the custody of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office late Monday afternoon, according to multiple media reports. Ross was due for a court appearance Tuesday afternoon.
KCTU5 TV reported that the arrest was classified by the sheriff’s office as occurring in connection with a domestic violence allegation.
The Chiefs acknowledged awareness of the arrest but issued no further comment, according to ESPN.
Ross, 23, was signed by Kansas City as an undrafted free agent out of Clemson in May 2022. He missed all of last season due to a foot injury.
He made his NFL debut this year, and he has appeared off the bench in all seven of the Chiefs’ games. Ross has three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown, though he hasn’t been targeted with a pass in either of the past two games.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said earlier Monday of Ross, “We’re trying to bring him along here. I know he didn’t have the catches, but he was in on quite a few plays. I just think the more of that, the better for him. He’s got a lot of talent, and we want to keep bringing him along.”
Ross had a 1,000-yard receiving season for Clemson as a freshman in 2018, but he missed all of the 2020 season following spinal surgery.
NFL SUSPENDS BRONCOS SAFETY KAREEM JACKSON FOR FOUR GAMES AFTER LATEST ILLEGAL HIT
DENVER (AP) The NFL on Monday suspended Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson for four games without pay following his latest illegal hit to the head that resulted in his second ejection of the season.
Jackson, who faces about $589,000 in lost wages, was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for a high hit to Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 19-17 victory Sunday.
That came just 24 hours after the league announced Jackson had been fined $43,709 for an unflagged hit on Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco in Denver’s Week 6 loss at Kansas City.
That brought his season total to $89,670 in fines and he’s facing yet another one for his hit on Musgrave.
Jackson was fined in each of the first three games of the season for unnecessary roughness for a total of $45,961.
Jon Runyan, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, issued the suspension Monday for violations of the league’s unnecessary roughness rules.
In a letter to Jackson, Runyan wrote, “you delivered a forceful blow to the head/neck area of a defenseless receiver, when you had the time and space to avoid such contact. You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.”
Runyan noted Jackson’s multiple offenses for personal fouls this season for violating player safety-related rules.
Jackson also was ejected from Denver’s 35-33 loss to Washington in Week 2 after he was flagged for an illegal hit on Commanders tight end Logan Thomas, which came a week after Jackson’s illegal hit on Raiders receiver Jakobi Meyers. Both Meyers and Thomas were concussed on the plays.
Jackson, who signed a one-year, $2.515 million contract with the Broncos last spring to return for a 14th NFL season, lost his starting job to Caden Sterns in training camp. But Sterns suffered a knee injury on his second snap in the opener, and Jackson returned to the starting lineup.
PJ Locke, who replaced Jackson following the safety’s disqualification, secured Denver’s win over the Packers with a late interception, the first of his career.
Jackson will miss games against Kansas City, Buffalo, Minnesota and Cleveland before he’s allowed to return to the team on Nov. 27 ahead of the Broncos’ Week 13 game at Houston.
Before the suspension was announced, Broncos coach Sean Payton reiterated that he didn’t believe Jackson was playing dirty or trying to hurt opponents.
He said he’s sat on the NFL’s competition committee for a number of years and “we’re constantly trying to work with and educate the players. There are times when pad levels drop. I know Kareem, I know his heart and I know the way he’s played. I think it’s an easy narrative to say, ‘Well he’s just an old-timer playing in a new-timer’s game.’
“When you see the play, his head is removed from the forceable contact. Defenseless is a little bit more of an issue relative to the position the receiver’s in,” Payton added.
“I just know where he’s at as a player. We’ll keep working on that. I know he’ll keep working on it. He’s someone that’s smart and really wants to do the right thing.”
The Broncos (2-5) host the Chiefs (6-1) Sunday.
TITANS TRADE 2-TIME ALL-PRO SAFETY KEVIN BYARD TO EAGLES FOR TERRELL EDMUNDS, PICKS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles traded for two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard to help a banged-up secondary hours after beating the NFL’s best offense.
The Eagles are sending safety Terrell Edmunds and fifth and sixth-round draft picks in 2024 to the Tennessee Titans, pending both players passing physicals. The Eagles and Titans confirmed the trade of Tennessee’s five-time defensive captain to Philadelphia on Monday night.
Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk thanked Byard and his wife, Clarke, for their work on and off the field as a model of leadership.
“His phenomenal play and tireless charitable efforts have earned him a special and lasting place in our hearts,” Strunk said in a statement. “Kevin will always be a Titan, and we wish him well this year and in the years to come.”
Philadelphia improved to 6-1 and tied Super Bowl champion Kansas City for the NFL’s best record after beating Miami 31-17 on Sunday night. The Eagles limited Miami’s offense to season lows in points scored, total yards (244), passing yards (199), rushing yards (45) and time of possession (23:17).
Reports of the trade emerged Monday while Eagles coach Nick Sirianni talked to reporters and he said he couldn’t talk about those.
“I obviously want to get with everybody and talk before I say anything here,” Sirianni said.
Byard posted his heartfelt thanks on social media to everyone in the Titans organization, both head coaches during his tenure, his teammates and especially the Tennessee fans. He concluded that it was a “dream come true” to be a Titan.
“With that being said… (at)Eagles it’s up!!,” Byard wrote. He also added a couple of eagle emojis and the hashtag “FlyEaglesFly.”
Byard has 27 interceptions since becoming a starter in 2017, the most among all NFL safeties through 2022.
Edmunds, a first-round pick in 2018, has five interceptions. Edmunds has started two of seven games for Philadelphia after spending his first five seasons with Pittsburgh.
This deal fills a big need for the Eagles, who lost safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson to Detroit in free agency and are dealing with injuries in their secondary.
Philadelphia cornerback Darius Slay liked the trade, writing on social media: “Just got better let’s work (at) Kevin Byard yes sir!!!”
This trade reunites Byard with a former Tennessee teammate in wide receiver A.J. Brown, traded by the Titans to the Eagles during the 2022 draft. Brown shared the NFL’s social media post reporting the trade along with a photo of himself with his finger to his lips.
Byard was the first pick overall in the third round of 2016 and had been Tennessee’s longest-tenured defensive player. Born in Philadelphia, Byard has started 111 of his 120 regular-season games and has not missed a game because of injury. He also has started seven playoff games.
This marks a big step toward rebuilding for the Titans (2-4), who have lost 11 of their past 13 games going back to last season.
New general manager Ran Carthon confirmed in April that he asked Byard, who turned 30 in August, to take a pay cut this offseason despite having led the Titans in both tackles and interceptions each of the past two seasons.
Byard and Tennessee restructured his contract in July just before training camp. The trade leaves the Titans with a dead cap hit of $8.82 million for this season and $13.36 million for 2024, according to Spotrac.
Carthon called Byard the “definition of a pro’s pro.” Coach Mike Vrabel thanked Byard for helping carry his message in the locker room when he was hired in 2018 and helping establish the approach he wanted for the Titans.
“His play on the field speaks for itself,” Vrabel said. “An intelligent and athletic player, he has led the secondary and helped us win a lot of games.”
BROWNS QB DESHAUN WATSON’S PLAYING STATUS UNKNOWN AFTER LEAVING SUNDAY’S GAME IN FIRST QUARTER
CLEVELAND (AP) Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s playing status remains unclear after he left Sunday’s game at Indianapolis in the first quarter in his return from a two-game absence with a right shoulder injury.
Coach Kevin Stefanski offered few details Monday on Watson, who strained the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder on Sept. 24 against Tennessee. He sat out the following week against Baltimore and again on Oct. 15 against San Francisco.
Stefanski did not address a specific question about whether Watson underwent more medical tests, saying the team was awaiting results “on a bunch of guys.”
Stefanski was also vague on whether the team would consider putting Watson on injured reserve, giving him four weeks to heal.
“Listen, he’s getting better,” Stefanski said. “He’s a competitive kid. He is working hard.”
Stefanski reiterated Watson’s injury is being treated “day to day,” the team’s standard line after some mixed messages over the past few weeks.
Watson returned to practice last week and started against the Colts after being listed as questionable.
But he was on the field for only 12 plays, leaving after being knocked down while throwing an incompletion and hitting his head on the turf.
Watson passed NFL concussion protocol testing and was cleared to play, but Stefanski chose to keep him on the sideline and go with backup P.J. Walker, who helped lead the Browns to a 39-38 win.
After the game, Stefanski said he made the decision to “protect our franchise quarterback” and said Watson will start this Sunday at Seattle.
During a Zoom call with reporters on Monday, Stefanski reiterated that he felt it was too risky for Watson to go back into the game.
“I thought that was a big hit,” he said. “I saw it up on the big screen when they showed the replay of it. So I just felt like the right thing for the team was to protect him. … I’m always going to be protective of our players, especially at the quarterback position.
“Just felt like the right thing in that moment was to hold him out of that game.”
Watson has made only nine starts for Cleveland in two seasons since signing a $230 million contract with the Browns. He was suspended 11 games last season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
ANALYSIS: 3 OF THE NFL’S MOST-HYPED TEAMS HAD A ROUGH, HUMBLING DAY AS DOLPHINS, LIONS, BILLS LOST
Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins’ high-octane offense were shut down by a gang of kelly green Eagles.
Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills gave Bill Belichick a week off from job speculation.
Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions failed their biggest test against a stingy defense.
Three of the NFL’s most-hyped teams had a rough Sunday.
The Dolphins (5-2) had a chance to showcase the league’s most prolific offense in a prime-time matchup in Philadelphia. Instead, they got knocked around by a defense wearing throwback uniforms who looked and played like Buddy Ryan’s ferocious group led by Reggie White and Jerome Brown.
“It’s an important building block along your progression for the season. If you’re going to lose games, you want it to be against a really good team and you want it to hurt,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said.
This one stings.
Miami came in leading the NFL in several offensive categories, including 498.7 yards and 37.2 points per game. The Eagles held them to 244 yards and 10 offensive points in a 31-17 victory.
Tagovailoa had his least productive game. He was sacked three times and threw an interception when the Dolphins were driving down 24-17.
“It’s tough when you come on the road against a really good team and you’re not able to execute the way you expected to execute,” Tagovailoa said.
Even the dynamic Hill dropped what would’ve been a 21-yard TD pass over the middle in the third quarter and then Tagovailoa threw incomplete to Cedrick Wilson on fourth-and-3.
The Dolphins’ five wins are against five losing teams with a combined record of 8-25. They lost at Buffalo 48-20 in their only other game against a team with a winning record. Until they beat a winning team, they can’t be in the conversation with the Chiefs (6-1), Eagles (6-1) and 49ers (5-1).
The Lions (5-2) had their four-game winning streak snapped in a lopsided 38-6 loss at Baltimore. Facing a defense that started the day ranked No. 2 in the league, Goff looked more like the guy the Rams gave away than the Pro Bowl quarterback he has become in Detroit.
He threw one interception, fumbled twice and was sacked five times.
“Clearly we were not ready to play, which falls on my shoulders, and there’s no way around that, I know that,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said.
Detroit opened the season with a 21-20 win at Kansas City on the night the Chiefs celebrated their Super Bowl championship. All-Pros Travis Kelce and Chris Jones didn’t play in that game but it still was an impressive victory.
The Lions lost to Seattle in Week 2 before winning four straight against so-so teams. After getting hammered by the Ravens, there will be questions about whether Detroit is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
“I just think that you don’t want these to happen, but when it does, it re-centered you, it refocuses you and that’s all I know. I don’t want it to happen. Nobody wants it to happen,” Campbell said.
The Bills (4-3) should’ve lost last week but barely escaped with a 14-9 win over the Giants because of New York’s ineptitude. The Giants couldn’t score from the 1 on the final play in both halves.
Buffalo came out flat against lowly New England, fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter and didn’t get going until the fourth. The Bills trailed 22-10 with 7:40 remaining before Allen led a rally only to watch the defense allow Mac Jones to drive the Patriots 75 yards for the winning score.
“We’re not playing complementary football,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “We’re beating ourselves at times, and we’re not linking up in all three phases to control a game.”
The Bills were flying high after a convincing win against Miami in Week 4. But they lost to the Jaguars in London, slipped past the Giants and lost to the Patriots (2-5).
“I wish I knew the exact answer because we’d have it fixed by now,” Allen said about the team’s slow starts. “We’re going to watch this film and find a way to get there, whatever it is. Our season is not over. It’s a long season. Feels pretty bleak right now, but we’re going to figure it out.”
Championships aren’t won in October and the best teams have to overcome adversity during the season.
How the Dolphins, Lions and Bills rebound will determine whether they have a shot to play deep into January and possibly February.
COACH STANDS BY QB DESHAUN WATSON AS BROWNS’ LEADER
Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski asserted Monday that quarterback Deshaun Watson remains “the leader” of the Browns.
Watson did not return to Sunday’s 39-38 win over the Indianapolis Colts despite being cleared after a concussion check in the first quarter.
Stefanski insisted after the game that he was protecting Watson, who had missed the two previous games with a shoulder injury.
Stefanski repeated that sentiment on Monday.
“I’m always going to be protective of my players, especially at the quarterback position,” Stefanski said. “Just felt like the right thing in that moment was to hold him out of that game.”
Watson completed just 1 of 5 passes for 5 yards with an interception before leaving. He was replaced by P.J. Walker, who guided the Browns (4-2) to a victory for the second straight week.
Stefanski declared after the game that Watson would be back for Sunday’s road game against the Seattle Seahawks (4-2).
“He’s our starter moving forward,” Stefanski said. “He’s our starter in Seattle. I just — it’s always going to be my decision to protect our players.”
Watson said after the game that he accepted Stefanski’s decision to keep him on the bench.
“I want to compete. I’m a competitor,” Watson said. “I want to go out there and try to help the team as much as possible, and go out there and play and perform and compete. But the decision was best for the team and they felt that was the best, and P.J. did a great job of finishing the game.”
Walker was 15-of-32 passing for 178 yards and one interception against the Colts.
Watson, 28, has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 683 yards, four touchdowns and three picks in four starts this season.
SAINTS WR CHRIS OLAVE ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF RECKLESS DRIVING
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave was arrested on suspicion of reckless operation of a motor vehicle in Kenner, La., on Monday night.
In a statement, police in Kenner, located about 15 miles west of New Orleans, allege that Olave was driving 35 mph above the posted 35 mph speed limit. He did not resist arrest and was cooperative with law enforcement, according to multiple media outlets.
Olave reportedly was expected to be processed and released from jail Monday night.
Olave, 23, is in his second season with the Saints. Drafted 11th overall out of Ohio State in 2022, Olave posted 72 receptions for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie before grabbing 39 balls for 471 yards and a score through seven games this season.
He caught seven passes for 57 yards in his most recent game, a 31-24 Saints loss to the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.
REPORT: CHIEFS LB NICK BOLTON (WRIST) NEEDS SURGERY
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton needs surgery to repair his dislocated left wrist and will be sidelined about two months, NFL Network reported Monday.
Head coach Andy Reid confirmed the injury to Bolton following the Chiefs’ 31-17 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Bolton led Kansas City (6-1) with nine tackles despite his early exit. He apparently got hurt when tackling Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen in the fourth quarter, as Allen’s body rolled up on his arm.
Bolton, 23, started all 17 regular-season games and three playoff games last season for Kansas City, but he missed three games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain. Drue Tranquill filled in for Bolton during that absence.
Including Sunday’s effort, Bolton has 28 tackles and one interception in four games this season. The 2021 second-round pick has 320 tackles and three picks in 37 career games (33 starts).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS
MARYLAND CO-OC KEVIN SUMLIN ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH DUI
Kevin Sumlin, currently the co-offensive coordinator at Maryland, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence over the weekend in Tampa, Fla.
Amid Maryland’s bye week, Sumlin was arrested early Saturday morning, per a Hillsborough County (Fla.) police report. He refused a breathalyzer test, pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment.
Maryland athletics has
Maryland athletics has yet to comment. The Maryland student newspaper, The Diamondback, was first to report the news.
Per the report, there was no crash or property damage leading to Sumlin’s arrest.
Sumlin, 59, has served as the head coach of Houston (2008-11), Texas A&M (2012-17) and Arizona (2018-20). He is in his first season at Maryland as the co-OC, the tight ends coach and the associate head coach.
As a head coach, Sumlin had a career 95-63 record, including 4-3 in bowl games.
Maryland (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) plays at Northwestern this Saturday.
TEXAS QB EWERS IS WEEK TO WEEK WITH A SHOULDER INJURY. MURPHY IS LIKELY TO START AGAINST BYU
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers is week to week with an injury to his throwing shoulder, coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday, with Maalik Murphy likely stepping into the starting role for the No. 7 Longhorns this week against BYU.
Murphy and top recruit Arch Manning will get plenty of snaps in practice to prepare for the game, Sarkisian said.
“If the game was being playing today, Maalik would start,” Sarkisian said. “Arch will be ready to go.”
Murphy finished Texas’ 31-24 victory over Houston after Ewers left the game in the third quarter Saturday. Ewers had his right arm in a sling by the time he left the stadium.
Sarkisian gave no specifics on the injury or a timeline of when Ewers might return.
“These injuries, some guys come back sooner than others,” Sarkisian said.
Ewers appeared to get hurt on a third-quarter drive when was he first sacked and then later took a hard hit on his left shoulder and landed on his right side.
Video of the second hit shows Ewers using his right arm to get up from the ground. He still threw two more pass attempts before leaving the game.
“He tried to play,” Sarkisian said. “That last drive he was not healthy. To his credit, he knew, ‘I don’t think I can do it.’”
Ewers has passed for 1,915 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. He also has become a running threat with five touchdowns, including two from 29 and 30 yards.
The injury is the second to send Ewers to the sideline in the past two seasons. A sprained clavicle joint sustained against Alabama knocked him out of that Sept. 9 game and the next three.
Last season, Texas had experienced backup and former starter Hudson Card to step in, but he transferred to Purdue.
Murphy completed 1 of 2 passes for 7 yards against Houston, and he directed the Longhorns on what ended up being the game-winning touchdown drive.
Murphy redshirted as a freshman in 2022, then held off Manning, an early enrollee, in the spring and summer to hold on to the No. 2 job. Murphy has appeared in four games in mop-up duty but is just 4 of 8 passing overall. Manning has not played yet.
Sarkisian called both “elite competitors.”
“Maalik a natural passer. He throws a very beautiful ball,” Sarkisian said. “There’s not a throw he can’t make.”
TICKET BUYS TO MULTIPLE BIG TEN GAMES FOUND IN NAME OF SUSPENDED MICHIGAN STAFFER, AP SOURCES SAY
(AP) — Ticket purchases to football games in the name of a suspended Michigan football staffer who is the focus of an NCAA investigation into an alleged sign-stealing scheme have been found by multiple Big Ten teams.
Eleven schools in the Big Ten said they had found evidence that Connor Stalions, an analyst at Michigan, purchased tickets to at least one of their games over the past three seasons, ESPN reported Monday, citing unidentified sources.
The Associated Press confirmed through officials at three Big Ten schools that they had found electronic purchases of game tickets in Stalions’ name. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no one was authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.
One school found ticket purchases under Stalions’ name to at least four of its home games over the past two years, one of the people said.
Another school found ticket purchases under Stalions’ name to five home games over the last three seasons and that some of the tickets were electronically transferred to other individuals’ names, another person said. A third school found a purchase under Stalions’ name to a game two weeks before its team played Michigan last season, another person said.
Michigan announced Friday that Stalions had been suspended with pay, pending the conclusion of the investigation. Michigan spokesman Dave Ablauf said Monday the school could not comment on the ongoing investigation.
At least one school has found video surveillance footage from inside its stadium that showed an individual appearing to use a cell phone to record what was happening on the field, ESPN reported. The network also said he purchased tickets for Ohio State’s home game with Penn State on Saturday, though the tickets were not used; Michigan plays both teams later this season.
Michigan and the Big Ten acknowledged the NCAA was investigating allegations of sign stealing last week. The conference informed all of Michigan’s upcoming opponents of the allegations.
The second-ranked Wolverines (8-0) defeated Michigan State 49-0 on Saturday night. Michigan, which has won the last two Big Ten championships and is a favorite to play for the national title, is off this week.
NCAA rules do not directly ban the stealing of signs, but there are rules against using electronic equipment to record an opponent’s signals. One NCAA bylaw also bans “off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season).” There are also rules against unsportsmanlike or unethical activities by coaches, and head coaches are generally considered to be responsible for violations that occur under their watch.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh served a three-game, university-imposed suspension earlier this season for an unrelated and still unresolved NCAA violations case tied to recruiting.
Stalions is a retired captain in the Marine Corps and a graduate of the Naval Academy. He was hired as an off-field analyst at Michigan in May 2022, according to a LinkedIn profile that has been de-activated.
AP TOP 25 REALITY CHECK: NO. 1 GEORGIA’S MARGIN ON NO. 2 MICHIGAN SHRINKS, BUT ‘DAWGS SET FOR BOUNCE
The margin between No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Michigan in The Associated Press college football poll is the smallest it has been all season.
Can the Wolverines break the Southeastern Conference’s three-year stranglehold on No. 1 — all Georgia and Alabama — and become the first team from outside the Deep South to hold the top spot in the rankings since Ohio State in 2015?
Sure, if Georgia loses and Michigan keeps rolling along — obviously — but the window of opportunity for the Wolverines to snatch No. 1 away from the Bulldogs while they are winning has probably closed.
Georgia ran its streak of appearances at No. 1 to 19 straight polls Sunday, third-longest in the history of the AP poll, which dates back to 1936.
A nice milestone for a week off, though while out of sight the Bulldogs’ lead over Michigan shrank to a season-low 32 points.
Neither of the teams that have held the top two spots in the AP Top 25 since the preseason have faced daunting schedules so far.
Georgia’s only opponent with a winning record has been Kentucky (5-2). Michigan’s eight opponents include four winning teams in Rutgers (6-2), UNLV (6-1), Minnesota (4-3) and Nebraska (4-3), but none that have spent any time ranked.
The competition picks up for both down the stretch, starting next week for Georgia when it faces Florida (5-2). Then comes No. 16 Missouri, No. 12 Mississippi and No. 21 Tennessee.
After Michigan takes next weekend off, the Wolverines’ closing stretch includes No. 10 Penn State, Maryland (5-2) and No. 3 Ohio State.
When the competition is good, voters tend to throw style points out the window.
If Georgia stays unbeaten, it is more likely to build its dwindling lead — or at least stabilize it — than relinquish the top spot.
The Bulldogs need three more weeks at No. 1 to have the second-longest streak of all-time, passing Miami’s streak of 21 weeks from 2001-02. Southern California’s 33 in a row from 2003-05 is safe this season.
Reality Check realizes that finishing No. 1 is what matters most and there is still a chance Georgia and Michigan will settle it on the field.
No. 1 Georgia (7-0)
Next: vs. Florida, Saturday.
Reality check: With star tight end Brock Bowers out for a while, Oscar Delp, a four-star recruit from the 2022 class who has 13 catches and two touchdowns, should get increased opportunities. Also, look out for freshman Luckie Lawson, whose development was slowed by preseason ankle injury.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 2 Michigan (8-0)
Next: vs. Purdue, Nov. 4.
Reality check: The Wolverines believe the world is against them. The way they are playing they’d probably be favored by two touchdowns against the world.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 3 Ohio State (7-0)
Next: at Rutgers, Saturday.
Reality check: When Alabama’s DeVonta Smith won the Heisman in 2020, he had 65 catches for 903 yards and 10 touchdowns after seven games. Marvin Harrison Jr. (42 for 766 and six) is behind that pace, but his last three games have been his best.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 4 Florida State (7-0)
Next: at Wake Forest, Saturday.
Reality check: Run defense is an underlying issue. Take away the sack yardage that gets counted toward running stats and the Seminoles are allowing 5.1 yards per carry.
Ranked: Could there be a three-way tie for fourth?
No. 5 Washington (7-0)
Next: at Stanford, Saturday.
Reality check: The Huskies’ potent offense threw out a dud against Arizona State and maybe raised some questions about how well QB Michael Penix Jr. and company will react going forward to teams committed to taking away the deep shots.
Ranked: About right.
No. 6 Oklahoma (7-0)
Next: at Kansas, Saturday.
Reality check: The Sooners’ defense has been taking on water lately, allowing 6.0 yards per play the last three weeks.
Ranked: About right.
No. 7 Texas (6-1)
Next: vs. BYU, Saturday.
Reality check: QB Quinn Ewers was knocked out of the game against Houston with an apparent right shoulder injury. Maalik Murphy is talented, but unproven if the Longhorns need him.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 8 Oregon (6-1)
Next: at No. 13 Utah, Saturday.
Reality check: The combo of Bucky Irving and Jordan James is one of the best in the country and you’d be hard-pressed to find two sub 210-pound running backs who run tougher.
Ranked: Maybe a touch high.
No. 9 Alabama (7-1)
Next: vs. No. 15 LSU, Nov. 3.
Reality check: Crimson Tide head into the last month of the season as a playoff contender again, which seemed like a long shot after a shaky September.
Ranked: Maybe a touch low.
No. 10 Penn State (6-1)
Next: vs. Indiana, Saturday.
Reality check: Concerns about the lack of top-tier receivers have been hanging over this team since the summer and they finally undid the Nittany Lions against Ohio State.
Ranked: Little high.
No. 11 Oregon State (6-1)
Next: at Arizona, Saturday.
Reality check: With tackle Taliese Fuaga on the first team and guard Tanner Miller on the second team, Oregon State was the only team in the country to have two offensive linemen earn AP midseason All-America honors.
Ranked: Little low.
No. 12 Mississippi (6-1)
Next: at Vanderbilt, Saturday.
Reality check: Rebels are the sneaky SEC West contender having already split with Alabama and LSU, though drawing Georgia on the schedule for the first time since 2016 is either bad luck or a great opportunity.
Ranked: Little high.
No. 13 Utah (6-1)
Next: vs. No. 8 Oregon, Saturday.
Reality check: With the will-he-or-won’t-he-play drama around QB Cam Rising (ankle) now resolved — he won’t this season — the Utes appear to have found some answers on offense with QB Bryson Barnes.
Ranked: Little low.
No. 14 Notre Dame (6-2)
Next: vs. Pittsburgh, Saturday.
Reality check: Remaining opponents for the Fighting Irish, most notably Clemson, are a combined 12-16.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 15 LSU (6-2)
Next: at No. 9 Alabama, Saturday.
Reality check: Even after allowing 42 yards passing on 15 attempts while blanking Army, the Tigers’ pass defense ranks 88th in the country in yards per attempt (7.6) and efficiency rating against (137.09).
Ranked: Even with the defensive issues, this feels low.
No. 16 Missouri (7-1)
Next: at No. 1 Georgia,
Reality check: Tigers are second in the SEC at turning red-zone trips into touchdowns, converting on almost 69%.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 17 North Carolina (6-1)
Next: at Georgia Tech, Saturday.
Reality check: The Tar Heels’ run defense has collapsed the last three weeks and it finally caught up to them — surprisingly — against Virginia.
Ranked: Too high.
No. 18 Louisville (6-1)
Next: vs. No. 20 Duke, Saturday.
Reality check: That loss at Pitt doesn’t look so bad compared to what happened to North Carolina. Saturday’s game is a monster for the Cardinals.
Ranked: Little high.
No. 19 Air Force (7-0)
Next: vs. Colorado State, Saturday.
Reality check: Before Navy’s final drive of 15 plays and 78 yards with the game in hand, the Falcons had allowed 46 yards on 36 plays.
Ranked: Little high.
No. 20 Duke (5-2)
Next: at No. 18 Louisville, Saturday.
Reality check: The Blue Devils again acquitted themselves well against a historical powerhouse, this time Florida State, but yet again the health of QB Riley Leonard is the biggest concern coming out of the game.
Ranked: Little low.
No. 21 Tennessee (5-2)
Next: at Kentucky, Saturday.
Reality check: Georgia and Missouri still to come, slipping back to 8-4 is very real possibility after last season’s 11-win breakthrough. This team still feels like a tough out.
Ranked: About right.
No. 22 Tulane (6-1)
Next: at Rice, Saturday.
Reality check: Opponents have almost given up on trying to run on the Green Wave. Only one has broken 90 yards on the ground this season.
Ranked: Touch high.
No. 23 UCLA (5-2)
Next: vs. Colorado, Saturday.
Reality check: Bruins switched back to Ethan Garbers as the starting QB and he played well against Stanford, which might not mean the position is settled.
Ranked: Touch low.
No. 24 Southern California (5-2)
Next: at California, Saturday.
Reality check: The Trojans have allowed 48 plays of at least 20 yards, most among Power Five teams, and seven more than the next worse, Vanderbilt with 41.
Ranked: Too high.
No. 25 James Madison (7-0)
Next: vs. Old Dominion, Saturday.
Reality check: The
Reality check: The Dukes leads the nation in sacks at 4.86 per game, led by DL Jalen Green with 13.
Ranked: Just right.
BIG 10 FOOTBALL
MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, OHIO STATE AND WISCONSIN EARN WEEKLY FOOTBALL HONORS
Co-Offensive Players of the Week
J.J. McCarthy, Michigan
QB – Jr. – La Grange Park, Ill. – Nazareth Academy/IMG Academy
- Completed 21 of 27 passes for 287 yards and added a career-high four touchdown passes in Michigan’s 49-0 victory against Michigan State
- Moved into sixth all-time in touchdown passes (45) and No. 10 all-time with 5,034 career passing yards
- Led the Wolverines to 7-of-11 on third down with 28 first downs in the game
- The Academic All-Big Ten honoree earns his second career Offensive Player of the Week award
- Last Michigan Offensive Player of the Week: J.J. McCarthy (Oct. 16, 2023)
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
WR – Jr. – Philadelphia, Pa. – St. Joseph’s Prep
- Led Ohio State to a 20-12 victory over previously unbeaten and No. 7 Penn State Saturday with a career-high 11 receptions, including the game-winning touchdown with 4:07 left to play
- Had 162 receiving yards – his fifth time over 100 yards this season – against the No. 1 total defense and No. 1 passing defense in the nation, and his game-winning score was a catch-and-run from 18 yards out
- Nine of his receptions went for an Ohio State first down, giving him 19 first down receptions the past two seasons against the Nittany Lions
- Earns his second career Offensive Player of the Week award
- Last Ohio State Offensive Player of the Week: Marvin Harrison Jr. (Oct. 9, 2023)
Defensive Players of the Week
Tyler Nubin, Minnesota
DB – Sr. – Saint Charles, Ill. – Saint Charles North
- Made four tackles in Minnesota’s 12-10 win at Iowa, defeating the Hawkeyes for the first time since 1999
- Had one sack, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup in Minnesota’s upset win
- Led a Gopher defense that limited Iowa to 127 total yards of offense (116 passing, 11 rushing) for the game and held Iowa to 12 yards on seven offensive drives in the second half
- The three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree earns the second Defensive Player of the Week accolade of his career
- Last Minnesota Defensive Player of the Week: Tyler Nubin (Sept. 5, 2023)
Special Teams Player of the Week
Dragan Kesich, Minnesota
K – Sr. – Oak Creek, Wis. – Oak Creek
- Kicked four field goals and scored all 12 of Minnesota’s points in 12-10 win at Iowa
- Made field goals from 43, 44, 28 and 31 yards, marking the first game that Minnesota has won without scoring a touchdown since 12-10 win at Iowa in 1981 when Jim Gallery kicked four field goals
- Became the first Gopher to make four or more field goals in a win since Dan Nystrom made five against Arkansas in the 2002 Music City Bowl
- The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree garners the second Special Teams Player of the Week honor of his career
- Last Minnesota Special Teams Player of the Week: Dragan Kesich (Sept. 5, 2023)
Freshman of the Week
Braedyn Locke, Wisconsin
QB – Rockwall, Texas – Rockwall
- Locke led a 14-point fourth quarter comeback against Illinois in his first collegiate start, propelling Wisconsin to a 25-21 win
- Threw for a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner to OL Nolan Rucci with 0:27 remaining, and finished with 240 passing yards and two touchdowns on 21-for-41 passing
- Locke’s 240 yards were the third-most in the Big Ten this week, trailing Michigan’s JJ McCarthy and OSU’s Kyle McCord
- Earns the first Freshman of the Week honor of his career
- Last Wisconsin Freshman of the Week: Braelon Allen (Nov. 8, 2021)
MAC ANNOUNCES WEEK 8 FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
MAC Football East Division Offensive Player of the Week
Terion Stewart, Bowling Green, Running Back
Sophomore, Memphis, Tenn. (Sandusky HS Ohio)
Bowling Green’s Terion Stewart delivered a standout performance in a 41-14 win over Akron. Stewart led the way for the Falcons with 131 rushing yards, averaging 6.9 per carry and found the end zone three times on the afternoon. An impressive 74.8 percent of his rushing yards came on post-contact efforts. On the day, Stewart broke nine tackles, and he had four rushes of 15 or more yards.
MAC Football East Division Defensive Player of the Week
Darren Anders, Bowling Green, Inside Linebacker
Senior, North Olmsted, Ohio (North Olmsted)
Anders delivered in the Falcons 41-14 win over Akron. Anders achieved career highs with an impressive 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks, making a significant impact on the game. After BGSU had taken a 20-7 lead in the third quarter, Anders executed a strip-sack on Akron’s first play from scrimmage, resulting in a substantial loss of 16 yards. This turnover set the stage for the Falcons’ second touchdown, contributing to a 21-0 scoring run in the third quarter that ultimately secured the win. Anders also recorded a forced fumble in the win.
MAC Football East Division Special Teams Player of the Week
Jack Wilson, Ohio, Punter
R-Jr., Lancefield, Victoria, Australia (Gisborne Secondary College (ProKick Australia)
Wilson recorded three punts for the Bobcats last Saturday (Oct. 21) against Western Michigan. The redshirt junior recorded 144 total yards, averaging 48 per punt. His longest of the day clocked in at 55 yards.
MAC Football West Division Offensive Player of the Week
Marquez Cooper, Ball State, Running Back
Redshirt Junior, Gaithersburg, Md. (Quince Orchard)
Cooper’s 162 rushing yards led a 243-yard Ball State rushing attack that helped the Cardinals take a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter. Cooper’s 39-yard run in the second quarter led to Ball State’s field goal and a 10-3 advantage. His 15-yard TD scamper in the third put the Cardinals ahead 17-3.
MAC Football West Division Defensive Player of the Week
Sidney Houston Jr., Ball State , Defensive Line
Senior Cahokia, Ill. (East St. Louis)
Houston contributed both Ball State sacks in a 24-17 win over the Chippewas, and three of the Cardinals seven TFL. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter and CMU driving past midfield in the final minute, Houston’s sack stifled Central Michigan’s drive to secure Ball State’s first conference win.
MAC Football West Division Special Teams Player of the Week
Tom Foley, NIU, Punter
Junior, Peoria, Illinois (Peoria Notre Dame)
Huskie punter Tom Foley averaged a career high 53.2 yards on four punts Saturday versus Eastern Michigan. Foley’s 79 yard punt early in the second quarter is the longest punt in the FBS this season and is the longest punt at NIU since 1941. The 79-yard punt ranks as the third-longest in school history. Just as importantly, EMU did not have any punt return yards on the day with one punt forcing the Eagles to start inside their 20 yard- line.
NBA SEASON SET TO BEGIN WITH RING NIGHT IN DENVER, AND A SLEW OF CHALLENGERS FOR TITLE
Damian Lillard went to Milwaukee, Bradley Beal went to Phoenix, Jrue Holiday ended up in Boston and Chris Paul ended up with Golden State. Victor Wembanyama arrived in San Antonio, Nick Nurse took over in Philadelphia and LeBron James is now the oldest player in the league.
As always, the NBA is opening a new season with new looks.
The Denver Nuggets are hoping this season doesn’t end with another new champion.
The NBA’s 78th season starts Tuesday, with a ring ceremony in Denver — the traditional celebration of the reigning champions — highlighting the opening-night celebration. The Nuggets beat Miami last June to become the league’s fifth different champion in the last five years, a run of parity the likes of which the league hasn’t seen in more than 40 years.
“We’ve gone from being a team that’s hunting the teams in front of us to now we’re going to be the hunted,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “And hopefully our guys understand the responsibility that comes with being a defending champion. There can be no off nights, because we’re getting everybody’s best 82 times this year.”
The last five winners: Toronto, the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee, Golden State and Denver. The last time there was a five-season stretch with no duplicate champion was 1977 through 1981, and it was a very different NBA back then.
For context on what the league was like in those five years: Seattle had a team, Washington was the Bullets, the 3-point line didn’t exist when that run started, the league had 22 or 23 teams instead of its current 30, the Nets played in New Jersey, the Jazz were wrapping up their New Orleans run, the Kings played in Kansas City, the Clippers played in San Diego and four players were the top earners at exactly $1 million a year each.
During this regular season, the NBA has at least 56 players who’ll make $1 million a week.
“There’s still the elite teams: Denver, Milwaukee, Boston,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. “But there’s a lot of really, really good teams that if they evolve the right way, they can get there too.”
The offseason included several major transactions. Lillard’s quest to get traded to Miami wound up with him getting traded to Milwaukee and instantly forming a championship-caliber duo with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Beal got traded to the Suns, forming the newest Big 3 alongside Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. The Lillard and Beal moves led to others — Holiday eventually joining Boston, Paul eventually joining Golden State.
Everybody is chasing the ring. Which means, for now, everybody is chasing the Nuggets.
“I just know when you have a team that can be one of those teams that’s going to compete for a title,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And we have one of those teams.”
For the first time, there are two titles for teams to go after this season.
The In-Season Tournament — something Commissioner Adam Silver wanted for years — is now a reality. It starts on Nov. 3 with group play, and ends with a Final Four in Las Vegas on Dec. 7 and 9. The winner gets the NBA Cup and around $18 million in prize money will be awarded, with $500,000 going to each player on the winning team.
“Anything that’s going to create higher quality basketball, better competition, more intensity and more fan engagement is a great growth opportunity for us,” said Evan Wasch, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball strategy.
CJ McCollum, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, knows there are skeptics. He points out that there also were skeptics when the NBA added the play-in tournament – which has turned out to be a massive success and ratings bonanza.
“It makes November and December not so gloomy,” McCollum said of the in-season event. “And it gives people a chance to go to Vegas and compete at a high level on television for a chance to make more money. So, you have all these incentives in place, along with the fact that the season is so long, you have to figure out ways to continue to make it entertaining. This is a way to accomplish that.”
So, there are more things to win.
There’s also, the NBA hopes, more reasons for players to play.
The league has been stressing to teams in recent weeks that, unless a player is injured or absolutely cannot play, they want them on the floor for games. Players now have to appear in a certain number of games — typically 65 — to be eligible for postseason awards, and the league even wants a more competitive All-Star Game after some relatively lackluster ones in recent years.
“I think Adam Silver is trying to change the mentality and get players to play,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “Our guys, last year, we led the league in games missed. We had some long-term injuries. But it’s hard when guys can’t play. And so, I’m glad that that that Adam Silver and the NBA, along with the Players Association, are trying to address this thing.”
Boston and Milwaukee enter the season as co-favorites for the NBA title, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, which lists Denver’s Nikola Jokic — who won MVP in 2021 and 2022 — as the favorite for that award this year. Reigning MVP Joel Embiid has a new coach in Nurse with the 76ers, and an unhappy teammate in James Harden, whose future in Philadelphia is most unclear. And James, who turns 39 in December, is convinced the Lakers can make another title run.
There are many questions heading into the season and endless possibilities with so many talented teams.
But Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is clear about this: “If we can get another championship, I think we’ll be on the right track.”
REPORT: HARDEN MISSES MONDAY’S PRACTICE, STATUS FOR OPENER UNCLEAR
James Harden missed the Philadelphia 76ers’ practice session Monday, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
It’s increasingly unclear if he’ll play in the Sixers’ opener Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The 10-time All-Star hasn’t been with the club since Oct. 15. He was a no-show during Wednesday’s practice. The Sixers were reportedly planning to allow Harden to explain his absence before handing down any possible discipline.
Head coach Nick Nurse said he recently contacted Harden, adding that the exchange focused on ensuring the star is OK instead of his possible return.
“I did reach out to him the other day … just via text like I would with anybody. See how he’s doing. See if he’s alright. He did text me back,” Nurse told reporters Monday, including the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.
Harden also missed Thursday’s session due to an apparent personal matter. He was absent from Philadelphia’s preseason finale Friday as well.
The former MVP exercised his $35.6-million player option in August in hopes of a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s reportedly frustrated with a lack of progress in negotiations as the two teams apparently remain far apart.
The star guard said last week that his relationship with team president Daryl Morey can’t be repaired due to a lack of trust. He also previously said he’d never play for a franchise run by Morey.
Harden averaged 21 points and a league-leading 10.7 assists over 58 appearances last season.
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO INDICATES ON SOCIAL MEDIA THAT HE’S AGREED TO CONTRACT EXTENSION WITH BUCKS
(AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo has indicated on social media that he has agreed to a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Antetokounmpo issued a social media post on Monday that said, “MILWAUKEEEEEEEEE!! Let’s get it!!!! #BucksInSix #Extended.” The post came as ESPN reported that the two-time MVP had agreed on a three-year extension worth $186 million, with a player option for the 2027-28 season.
The Bucks didn’t make an official announcement, but they reposted Antetokounmpo’s post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. The Bucks’ repost was accompanied by the message, “The best possible cure for the Mondays.”
Antetokounmpo’s announcement came as Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels, Washington’s Deni Avdija and Orlando’s Cole Anthony led the first wave of fourth-year players to reach agreements on contract extensions ahead of the NBA’s deadline.
Antetokounmpo had said this summer that he didn’t plan to sign an extension this year because it would make more financial sense for him to wait until the summer. The two-time MVP also had indicated that he wanted to wait to see how committed the Bucks were toward winning another title before he decided on whether to sign an extension on his contract, which at the time ran through 2024-25 with a player option for 2025-26.
Since then, the Bucks made a blockbuster trade to acquire seven-time all-NBA guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers. Even after that trade, Antetokounmpo had indicated he didn’t expect to sign an extension this year.
“I said that it did not make sense to sign the contract right now because money’s not important – a lot of money is important. So I’m going to sign it next year,” Antetokounmpo said with a laugh during the Bucks’ Media Day event on Oct. 2. “But, no, at the end of the day, again, it doesn’t make sense. It does not make sense for me to sign it right now. I’ve got to always look at what’s best for me and my family, for my situation.
“But at the end of the day, I want to be a Milwaukee Buck for the rest of my career, as long as we are winning. It’s as simple as that.”
The extension starts with the 2025-26 season, meaning Antetokounmpo is under contract for at least four more years – and a fifth if he’s so inclined. He will earn about $94.4 million over the next two seasons, then about $120 million more for the 2025-26 and 2026-27 seasons.
The last year is at his option, meaning he could make roughly $66 million more in 2027-28.
And if Antetokounmpo had waited until next summer to agree to an extension, he possibly may have secured earned even more money. A max-extension scenario had he waited until 2024 could have been a four-year agreement at a figure exceeding $250 million.
As far as the extensions involving fourth-year players, agent Bill Duffy confirmed that McDaniels and the Timberwolves agreed on a five-year, $136 million extension. The 28th overall pick in 2020, who came to Minnesota in the same draft as star Anthony Edwards, had a breakout third season with an average of 12.1 points per game on 51.7% shooting.
With three maximum contract players on the roster in Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, the Timberwolves have committed themselves to the luxury tax range with their salary cap. But the 6-foot-9 McDaniels is the team’s best defender and one of the league’s best shutdown wings, and the Timberwolves believe he has untapped offensive potential to pair with his defensive ability.
“I feel like, shoot, I can go out and score 25 points every night if I wanted to,” McDaniels said at the beginning of training camp.
The Timberwolves open their season at Toronto on Wednesday. McDaniels currently has a calf injury, putting his status for the game in doubt.
Avdija agreed to a four-year, $55 million extension with the Wizards, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced the agreement. The 22-year-old Avdija started a career-high 40 games last season and averaged 9.2 points and 6.4 rebounds. Washington drafted him in the first round in 2020.
Avdija is somewhat remarkably the longest-tenured player on the Wizards. They traded Bradley Beal to Phoenix in the offseason and enter 2023-24 with a significantly different roster. Avdija, a 6-foot-9 forward from Israel, has averaged 8.1 points in 212 career games since the Wizards made him the ninth overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Anthony and the Magic agreed to a three-year, $39 million extension, which the team announced Monday. The son of 11-year NBA veteran Greg Anthony, he was the 15th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
The point guard missed more than a month last season with an oblique muscle injury and saw his scoring average drop by more than three points per game. After starting all 65 games he played in during the 2021-22 season with Markelle Fultz sidelined by injury, Anthony returned to a role off the bench once Fultz was back in the starting lineup.
But Anthony shot a career-best 45.4% from the field, including 36.4% from 3-point range, and reduced his turnovers by an average of more than one per game.
Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs announced a multiyear extension for center Zach Collins. The 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft averaged a career-high 11.6 points per game last season.
Also, the Atlanta Hawks signed forward-center Onyeka Okongwu to a four-year, $62 million rookie contract extension.
Okongwu has started in 28 of 178 career games, averaging 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds. He could play a larger role this season, following the trade of power forward John Collins to Utah.
The deal with Okongwu came after the team exercised the fourth-year contract option on forward Jalen Johnson and the third-year option on guard AJ Griffin.
The Dallas Mavericks and Josh Green agreed on a $41 million, three-year contract extension coming off the most productive of the guard’s three seasons.
News of the deal comes two days before the Mavericks open the regular season in San Antonio, with Green set to see how he fits with a retooled roster around stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
A first-round draft pick in 2020, Green has provided energy and athleticism off the bench, with more of an impact in 2022-23 than the Australian’s first two seasons.
Green, who turns 23 next month, missed 20 games with a right elbow sprain last season but still started a career-high 21 games while averaging 9.1 points and 3.0 rebounds.
NBA POWER RANKINGS
1. Denver Nuggets
Title odds: +550
The defending-champion Nuggets
The defending-champion Nuggets are ready for a repeat but will be without a key contributor. Bruce Brown left for the Pacers, meaning more opportunity and shots for second-year wing Christian Braun.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
Title odds: +400
The addition of Damian Lillard will lift Milwaukee’s offense to another level. The seven-time All-Star should form a dynamic pick-and-roll tandem with Giannis Antetokounmpo and provide the Greek Freak with ample space to operate.
3. Boston Celtics
Title odds: +400
No one would blame the Celtics for running it back after falling one game short of the NBA Finals, but upgrading from Marcus Smart and Robert Williams to Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis makes them even more dangerous than last season.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
Title odds: +1200
Building on an unexpected WCF run, the Lakers rewarded Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell with long-term deals. Signing Taurean Prince and Gabe Vincent also provides valuable depth for a team with championship goals.
5. Phoenix Suns
Title odds: +600
The Suns made the bold decision to move on from Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton, instead opting for Bradley Beal, Jusuf Nurkic, and more depth. Led by Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, a title could be reaching Phoenix soon.
6. Golden State Warriors
Title odds: +1200
A pivotal season awaits the Warriors. Steve Kerr and Klay Thompson are both entering the final year of their respective deals. Meanwhile, a breakout campaign from Jonathan Kuminga would go a long way in boosting the team’s title hopes.
7. Memphis Grizzlies
Title odds: +2500
It’s slated to be a weird campaign for the Grizzlies, who seemingly got better in the offseason but will also be without star Ja Morant for 25 games. So long as they make the playoffs, though, they’ll be dangerous.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
Title odds: +1600
The James Harden saga seems like a lose-lose situation for the 76ers. Daryl Morey is unlikely to get much in return for Harden, and don’t expect The Beard to play his best basketball if he stays put.
9. Los Angeles Clippers
Title odds: +1800
The Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era has yielded only three playoff-series victories. The star duo has struggled to stay healthy throughout their tenure and needs to be available for the Clippers to have any chance at winning a championship.
10. Miami Heat
Title odds: +3000
Miami watched Lillard
Miami watched Lillard join one of its top rivals and lost Gabe Vincent and Max Strus in free agency. The team needs a big year from Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. to keep pace in the retooled East.
11. Sacramento Kings
Title odds: +6000
The future is bright in Sacramento after last season’s surprising playoff berth. The Kings set an NBA single-campaign record for offensive efficiency and return all five starters from that squad.
12. Cleveland Cavaliers
Title odds: +2500
The Cavaliers surrounded their trio of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley with sharpshooters. That should be enough to jolt them up the list of East contenders.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Title odds: +6600
Another year with the Big 3 of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert will hopefully lead Minnesota to contention. Adding wing depth in Shake Milton and Troy Brown should strengthen the rotation.
14. New York Knicks
Title odds: +4000
New York brought back virtually the same group of players. Anticipate a leap from third-year guard Quentin Grimes, who averaged 21.9 points and shot 47.8% from deep over his last nine regular season contests.
15. New Orleans Pelicans
Title odds: +5000
Without having seen a full season of Zion Williamson with this current Pelicans core, it’s hard to project just how high the ceiling is. But if all goes to plan, there may not be many better teams in the West.
16. Dallas Mavericks
Title odds: +2500
The Luka Doncic-Kyrie Irving pairing was a giant disappointment as Dallas failed to even qualify for last season’s play-in tournament. Expect the duo to right the ship after a full training camp together.
17. Atlanta Hawks
Title odds: +6600
John Collins was finally traded away to the Jazz after being the subject of trade rumors for the last few seasons. Other forwards with a better shooting touch will now have the chance to start.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder
Title odds: +7500
After a year in which he was sidelined with a Lisfranc injury, center Chet Holmgren will make his debut with the Thunder. They came close to making the playoffs last season, and Holmgren might be the final piece for an OKC postseason return.
19. Indiana Pacers
Title odds: +20000
Rookie Jarace Walker providing versatile defense alongside burgeoning offensive talents Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin is an enticing core for the Pacers, but it may be another year until they’re truly competitive.
20. Brooklyn Nets
Title odds: +6600
If Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Nic Claxton continue to blossom with increased responsibility, and if Ben Simmons shows signs of his old self, the Nets could be a top-six team in the East. That’s a fair amount of “ifs,” though.
21. Utah Jazz
Title odds: +15000
The Jazz nearly snagged a play-in tourney spot despite shipping Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert prior to the campaign. Lauri Markkanen won Most Improved Player honors and Walker Kessler established himself as a premier rim protector in his rookie year.
22. Toronto Raptors
Title odds: +10000
It’s hard to gauge exactly what to expect from the Raptors when it feels like the organization itself doesn’t know which direction to go in. Once it’s determined whether Toronto is competing or rebuilding, the prognosis becomes clearer.
23. Orlando Magic
Title odds: +15000
The Magic feel more like a collection of good basketball players than a good team. For a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since the days of Dwight Howard, baby steps should count as success.
24. Chicago Bulls
Title odds: +20000
The Bulls look a step behind the rest of the league. Chicago went 1-4 over the preseason, winning its only game against the Nuggets. The team could be dismantled if those results carry over into the regular season.
25. Houston Rockets
Title odds: +10000
After a 22-60 record last campaign, the Rockets made bold swings to improve this season. Hiring Ime Udoka as coach, drafting Amen Thompson, and signing Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks should make the team better.
26. San Antonio Spurs
Title odds: +20000
It’s Victor Wembanyama time in San Antonio. The Spurs landed the French phenom with the top pick in June’s draft, and he’s now tasked with helping the franchise compete for a sixth title.
27. Portland Trail Blazers
Title odds: +20000
What a luxury for the Blazers to trade away a franchise icon in Damian Lillard and immediately roster three potential replacements in the backcourt. Anfernee Simons, Scoot Henderson, and Shaedon Sharpe will be fun to watch during this rebuild.
28. Detroit Pistons
Title odds: +40000
First and foremost, the Pistons are hoping for a healthy, productive campaign from 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham. Wins will come eventually if the oversized point guard continues to grow his game.
29. Charlotte Hornets
Title odds: +40000
Charlotte should improve upon its 27-win campaign. LaMelo Ball is healthy again, Brandon Miller will inject some life into the offense, and Mark Williams showed promise as a starter down the stretch last season.
30. Washington Wizards
Title odds: +40000
Although many seasons too late, the Wizards are doing the right thing in rebuilding. Washington traded away Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis and got back Jordan Poole and Tyus Jones to help start fresh.
NBA AWARDS ODDS: ANTHONY DAVIS AN MVP BARGAIN?
As the Denver Nuggets proved last June, the formula for a championship relies on teamwork.
When considering individual awards, the formula involves volume.
And the Coach of the Year? Well, that winner usually has a head start with talent and possibly momentum from the prior season.
We’ll try to find value among a few awards futures betting markets and a compelling case and make our selections.
–NBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
There is a built-in advantage when evaluating the DPOY landscape: Bettors can usually eliminate guards from the equation.
Only Marcus Smart, the winner in 2022, was a guard among POY winners since 1996 (Seattle SuperSonics guard Gary Payton won that year).
The DPOY generally loads his resume with rebounds and rim protection; last season’s winner, Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., blocked three shots per game.
The 2023-24 contenders include centers Rudy Gobert, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Evan Mobley. All are fine candidates, but the chalk is the choice here.
The defending champ, Jackson, is +500, with Mobley (+700), Anthony Davis and Antetokounmpo (+850) and Bam Adebayo (+1200) rounding out the top five.
Find a bank that will offer +500 on your money. Can’t do it? Jackson is your guy.
Mobley, the Cleveland Cavaliers third-year star and the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, is a little too soft; Davis and Giannis don’t always summon the necessary defensive energy, and Bam doesn’t have the requisite elite tools to challenge Jackson.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jaren Jackson Jr. (+500).
–COACH OF THE YEAR
The Oklahoma City Thunder are so young, so talented and so ready to make a leap in the West.
They have a legitimate top-10 star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and enough established depth to reach the trade deadline with enough success to become a buyer.
That means more regular-season victories.
All this is complemented by coach Mark Daigneault, who quietly inspires and leads his team without ego or bombast.
The Thunder, with center Chet Holmgren finally ready to make his debut after a lost season due to injury, will see its parts quickly translate into winning streaks.
A Thunder team with 46+ victories and a playoff – or play-in – finish would be quite enough to launch Daigneault firmly into the discussion.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mark Daigneault (+750).
No more betting the preseason favorites: The value in the Most Valuable Player market lies in backing a 30-year-old with injury problems.
We’ll wait for you to roll your eyes at the prospect of Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis playing 70 games or more.
If Davis does stay healthy, however, his odds of +3000 will seem like a gift.
The usual suspects, Nikola Jokic, Giannis, Luka and defending NBA MVP winner Joel Embiid, all are worthy candidates. It’s just that their odds are not enticing enough.
The belief here is that the Lakers can be a formidable Western Conference contender – and that would mean a great amount of attention would fall on LeBron James and Davis.
The Lakers were swept by the Nuggets in the Western finals last season, but Davis and his improved health left no doubt that he’s a viable MVP contender.
Davis scored 107 points and grabbed 56 rebounds in those four games (about 27 points and exactly 14 rebounds per game).
A 50-win season in LA, coupled with another stellar AD season at both ends of the court (Davis is the third favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year) would put the Lakers center directly in the mix.
NBA MVP: Anthony Davis (+3000)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson (+500) over Chet Holmgren (+380) and the anointed one, Victor Wembanyama (-145).
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR: Boston Celtics newcomer Jrue Holiday (+1900).
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (+1100) just behind favorite Mikal Bridges (+1000) and ahead of Jordan Poole (+1200).
COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS
ZACH EDEY NAMED UNANIMOUS AP PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN, JOINED BY KOLEK, DICKINSON, FILIPOWSKI, BACOT
(AP) — Zach Edey waited until nearly the last second to decide whether he should leave for the NBA or return to Purdue for another season.
Not completely sure what he wanted to do, the reigning national player of the year picked up the phone to talk with his mother and agent. Their response: do what’s going to make you the happiest.
“It was a no-brainer that I’d come back to Purdue at that point,” Edey said. ”I get to come back to great teammates, a university that loves me, to compete for every championship that’s out there. That’s something you don’t get very often and something I didn’t want to pass up.”
Edey’s decision made it easy for Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll voters who picked the preseason All-America team.
The Boilermakers’ towering center was the lone unanimous pick by a 60-person media panel on the team released Monday. Edey was joined by Marquette guard Tyler Kolek, Kansas center Hunter Dickinson, Duke big man Kyle Filipowski and North Carolina forward Armando Bacot.
Edey had a dominating 2022-23 season to sweep all the major national player of the year awards, including AP. The 7-foot-4, 300-pound center averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 60.7 percent from the field.
Edey’s return was a big reason Purdue is ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll. The extra year gives him more time to improve his NBA draft stock, but also perhaps get a bit of redemption after the Boilermakers became just the second No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 in the NCAA Tournament with last spring’s loss to Fairleigh Dickinson.
Edey is the second straight AP player of the year to return for another season, following Kentucky’s Oscar Tschiebwe in 2021-22.
“He is an NBA player, but he has to prove that. He has to knock down that threshold,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “It’s no different than buying a house. There’s just not a lot of comps out there for him. Normally when you buy a house, you find the five comps and get to your price. That’s how they kind of gauge that. Well, he doesn’t have that.”
Kolek had a dynamic second season at Marquette after transferring from George Mason. The 6-3 guard was the Big East player of the year after averaging 12.9 points, 7.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds while shooting nearly 40% from 3-point range.
A third-team AP All-American after last season, Kolek was limited in the NCAA Tournament due to a thumb injury suffered in the first round, but his return helped the Golden Eagles earn a No. 5 ranking in the AP preseason poll.
“I feel like I’m always evolving, I can always get better,” Kolek said. “It’s just taking the next steps, seeing the game the way I want to see it, having the game slow down for me.”
Few transfers have made a bigger splash in recent years than Dickinson.
He was an honorable mention AP All-American last season after averaging 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds at Michigan. The agile 7-footer immediately added to already-lofty expectations at Kansas, which earned the preseason No. 1 ranking with Dickinson anchoring the middle.
“From a shooting, aggressiveness, passing, playing out of doubles, he probably is as advanced as anybody I’ve ever been around, and he is without question the most equipped to have a big year for a first-year player,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
A highly touted recruit, Filipowski lived up to expectations his first season at Duke, becoming the fourth ACC player to earn rookie of the year and conference tournament MVP honors in the same season.
The 7-footer led all freshmen with 16 doubles last season and topped the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds. His return and another stellar recruiting class landed Duke at No. 2 in the preseason poll.
Just down the road in Chapel Hill, Bacot has been one of the nation’s most consistent players, averaging double figures scoring and rebounding each of the past two seasons.
The 6-10 forward was the first player in college basketball history with six double-doubles in one NCAA Tournament while leading the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game. He averaged 13.7 points and 10.1 rebounds while shooting 56% from the floor last season to earn third-team AP All-America honors.
BIG 10 COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW: MINNESOTA
|2022-23:||9-22, 2-17 (14th, Big Ten)|
|Coach:||BEN JOHNSON (3rd Season)|
|Homecourt:||WILLIAMS ARENA (14,625)|
|Key Departures:||TA’LON COOPER (9.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.3 apg)|
|JAMISON BATTLE (12.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.7 apg)|
|JADEN HENLEY (5.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)|
|TAURUS SAMUELS (2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||ELIJAH HAWKINS (transfer, Howard)|
|MIKE MITCHELL (transfer, Pepperdine)|
|CAM CHRISTIE (freshman, Rolling Meadows HS)|
|JACK WILSON (transfer, Washington St.)|
|KRIS KEINYS (freshman, Lithuania)|
|2||Mike Mitchell Jr.*||G||6-2||Jr.||33.6||11.4||4.1||5.0||1.1||0.1||43.3||44.0|
FROM THE COACH
“We’ll finally be able to play with the pace I want on both ends. We can push the tempo offensively now, and we can also be more aggressive on defense now that we’ve got depth.”
The second season of the Ben Johnson Era at Minnesota wasn’t all that different than the first one: chock-full of injuries and plenty of losses. The final results weren’t pretty with just nine total wins and only a pair in Big Ten play.
Jamison Battle transferred to Ohio State, and point guard Ta’lon Cooper left for South Carolina in the offseason. But Johnson has optimism, largely because his best player, Dawson Garcia, is back along with talented big man Pharrel Payne.
No one — including Johnson — is expecting Minnesota to go from last to first, or even last to the NCAA Tournament. But what the Gophers need to show in his third season at the helm is improvement. This was a team that finished last in the Big Ten in scoring, last in defense, last in turnover margin, 13th in rebounding and, most importantly, last in the standings.
Garcia is back, but he won’t be able to do it alone.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
It’ll obviously start with Garcia, who will finally have the same head coach in successive seasons for the first time in his college career. Garcia began his career at Marquette, transferred to North Carolina, and then went back home to Minnesota a year ago.
He averaged 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 2022-23, but Johnson will need even more from his 6-11, 240-pound forward than what he got last season.
“He’s a lot more comfortable now, especially from being in the system for a year,” Johnson said. “The biggest thing for him is consistency. He has to be that dude every single game for us, a warrior who always brings energy and effort.”
Dawson will be joined up front by Payne, a 6-9, 255-pound sophomore who responded well after being thrown into the fire last season. Payne (8.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is athletic and physical, and has a chance to be one of the best post players in the league — but that could depend whether he can step out and knock down mid-range jumpers.
Garcia and Payne should be the strength of this year’s Gophers team, but the key to their success will almost certainly come on the perimeter. That’s where the major questions reside after losing Battle and Cooper.
Two transfers will likely determine whether Minnesota can take a step towards respectability this season: former Howard point guard Elijah Hawkins and ex-Pepperdine guard Mike Mitchell Jr.
Hawkins is a tough, hard-nosed former DeMatha Catholic floor leader who earned All-MEAC first-team honors after leading the league in assists per game (6.0). He also shot 44% from 3, and Johnson really wants the 5-11, 160-pound junior to use his quickness and push the ball to get easy buckets in transition.
While Hawkins helped lead his team to an NCAA tourney appearance, Mitchell came from a Pepperdine team that struggled in the WCC a year ago. The 6-2 junior will also provide shooting, as he also made 44% of his 3s, and he showed last season that he could both score (11.4 ppg) and distribute (5.0 apg). Look for Mitchell to play more off the ball, but the hope is that he and Hawkins can share the responsibilities.
One other option could be talented 6-5 freshman guard Cam Christie, the younger brother of NBA player and former Michigan State wing Max Christie. He’s got the maturity to be able to come along quickly as a first-year guy, and he can also play both guard spots.
“I’m going to have to find minutes for Cam,” Johnson said. “He’s gritty, has an edge to him, can shoot it and can also play the point.”
We’ll start with health, move on to the all-important guard play, and then hit on overall talent.
Johnson has a pair of players on his team that have been in the program for two years who he’s never seen play 5-on-5 due to injuries: Isaiah Ihnen is a 6-10 forward from Germany who was brought in for his versatility but has missed the past two seasons with a pair of knee injuries, and Parker Fox, a former Division II All-American. Fox was a high-level athlete when he arrived from Northern State, where he averaged 22.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks — but he’s also been out for two years due to major knee issues.
But Johnson isn’t counting on them as much as he’s crossing his fingers with overall health. As for the Gophers’ guard play, the hope is that Hawkins and Mitchell can hold their own in the backcourt in the Big Ten. Both have been extremely productive, but at the mid- and low-major levels. Most players who go up a level see their production cut in half.
If they struggle, it’s difficult to imagine Minnesota being more than a 12-win team this season. Sure, Braeden Carrington is a solid wing who can make shots, and Joshua Ola-Joseph gave Johnson a nice lift as an athletic combo forward in his freshman season, but Garcia desperately needs help — especially in the backcourt.
He’ll also need Payne to become one of the top bigs in the Big Ten. While Payne over-delivered a year ago as a freshman with virtually no expectations, opposing teams will now have him high on the scouting report.
This group also just doesn’t have the overall talent level to stack up against most Big Ten teams. Garcia does, and maybe Payne, but typically you don’t want to build around a pair of big men these days. Meanwhile, the only player on the team that has experienced winning at the college level is Hawkins. This is a group that doesn’t know how to win yet, and there’s a concern it could be another long season.
Garcia has to become not just a first-team all-league-caliber player, but also an All-American candidate. He needs to make a similar kind of jump that Trayce Jackson-Davis did at Indiana from his junior to senior campaign.
Being a 15-and-7 guy won’t be enough anymore. He needs to be averaging 20 and 10, put up a double-double on most nights, and become the type of player that opposing defenses plan around. If he can do those things, it would take some of the pressure off newcomers like Hawkins, Mitchell and Christie.
Garcia added a passing dimension to his game last season, and he’ll have to further expand that this season — especially with a couple of proven shooters on the perimeter. Hawkins and Mitchell both shot 44% from 3 last year; if Garcia gives them open looks, this Gophers team could put some points on the board, especially with Payne able to get on the offensive glass.
But if Garcia is just another solid player, he becomes the best player on a bad team again — which is what he was a year ago. He needs to exert his dominance and also make sure he consistently makes his teammates better. That’s what Jackson-Davis did in Bloomington, and it translated into winning for Indiana.
Lastly, Minnesota can’t afford to get hit with the injury bug again. In order for them to move up in the league standings, they need to be healthy — especially the core of Garcia, Payne, Hawkins and Mitchell.
It’s difficult to imagine Minnesota doing much more than getting in contention for an NIT bid this year — but make no mistake, that would be a heck of a season for Johnson. He just needs to get some positive momentum, keep his players healthy, and hope that there’s enough retention to make a legit run at an NCAA Tournament bid in Year 4.
Let’s not forget that Richard Pitino made the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and 2019, and was fired two years later. Johnson must show progress this year, or he risks a similar fate.
For that to happen, Garcia has to become an first-team all-league guy, Payne needs to make that jump in his sophomore year that coaches desperately yearn for, and Hawkins has to show that he’s a high-major point guard after transferring in from the MEAC.
The likely scenario has one or maybe two of those things happening, with Minnesota taking a small step forward as a result.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW: WESTERN MICHIGAN
|2022-23:||8-23, 4-14 (12th, MAC)|
|Coach:||DWAYNE STEPHENS (2nd Season)|
|Homecourt:||UNIVERSITY ARENA (5,400)|
|Key Departures:||LAMAR NORMAN (17.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.1 apg)|
|TRAY MADDOX (12.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.2 apg)|
|MARKEESE HASTINGS (8.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.8 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||ANTHONY CRUMP (transfer, Northern Illinois)|
|JAVONTE BROWN (transfer, Texas A&M)|
|BRANDON MUNTU (transfer, Triton)|
|MARKHI STRICKLAND (transfer, Victoria College)|
|3||B. Artis White**||G||5-10||R-Jr.||23.7||7.7||2.1||2.0||1.3||0.0||34.0||30.4|
FROM THE COACH
“The mission this offseason was to get older and longer and more athletic, and I think we accomplished that.”
It was tough ride for Dwayne Stephens in his first head coaching rodeo. The Broncos did not qualify for the MAC Tournament, finishing 4-14 in the MAC and 8-23 overall.
But the former Tom Izzo assistant isn’t overly concerned with the wins and losses — not yet, anyway. Taking shortcuts was never in Izzo’s how-to manual on coaching.
“The biggest thing I took away from last year is that you have to fight for your culture,” revealed Stephens. “That may be something I took for granted at Michigan State, where it was so ingrained over time. But we feel that we laid the groundwork late in the year, and so far, this summer.”
There’s a respected adage amongst coaches, “get old, stay old,” which hints at how critical age and experience are in today’s game. Stephens laid multiple bricks last season with a young nucleus and has now surrounded that group with seasoned adults.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
Stephens wasted no time installing a Michigan State pillar into WMU’s program: rebounding.
The Broncos, constrained by a thin frontline rotation, competed admirably on the glass last season. Western Michigan held claim to the league’s third-best offensive rebounding unit and fifth-best defensive rebounding unit, per KenPom. No matter who takes the floor this year for WMU, rebounds will be a given.
Anchoring the paint is Titus Wright, who Stephens says had an unbelievable summer. Wright was of Western’s top two glass-gobblers last season (Markeese Hastings was the other), alongside Owen Lobsinger,another dependable big.
The difference this year is depth. Stephens added JUCO product Markhi Strickland and Texas A&M transfer Javonte Brown to fortify the interior.
Strickland began his career at Saint Louis, where the 6-6, 210-pounder played sparingly over two seasons, before scoring nearly 15 points a night for Victoria College last year. Brown is a 7-foot, 255-pound leviathan who started 11 games for Texas A&M two years ago and instantly becomes a big problem for the rest of the MAC — if he’s cleared. The big man started at UConn before transferring to College Station, so he’d need a waiver to be set free on opening night.
“Markhi is a force on the boards, he’s athletic and physical,” raved Stephens. “When his motor is running, he can really change the game. Javonte, he’s a game changer with the size he possesses in this league.”
Max Burton, off a medical redshirt, could figure into the frontline equation as well. Burton clocked mid-teens minutes off the pine to start the year, proving to be a factor on the offensive glass.
The straw that stirs the drink, however, is the dynamo some may have forgotten about.
B. Artis White is a name Western fans are quite zealous about, though, and for good reason. The slippery dynamo showed Stephens and the rest of the roster why he’s poised to take the league by storm, barring another injury setback. White only practiced last season, as the coaching staff opted to proceed with caution and reduce any risk of reinjuring his knee.
The 5-10 guard already has 66 starts under his belt during his time with the Broncos and was an All-MAC honorable mention in 2021 after averaging 14.3 points during the COVID-shortened year. Then, White regressed in his third season and saw his scoring output cut nearly in half — before missing all of last year.
He’s back now, though. If he’s right, everything else will fall into place on the perimeter.
White’s presumed backup, Jefferson Monegro, was thrown to the wolves with White on the mend last year. After a shell-shocked rookie year, Stephens believes Monegro found his footing late. His shoddy outside shot must be addressed imminently, though.
Two bright spots glimmer in Seth Hubbard and JaVaughn Hannah. Both members of the sophomore duo are ahead of schedule in their development, each holding a full year of starting experience under their belt. Hubbard could be that primary or secondary scorer the Broncos need; his forte is torching the nets from distance. Hannah is a big guard with impressive physical tools, but his scoring package must catch up with his athleticism.
Another long-range sniper comes by way of the JUCO wire: Brandon Muntu, who shot 103-of-253 (41%) from bonus land last season at Triton. With White slithering through defenses, Muntu may find himself on an island for open threes this year. Stephens calls him a tireless worker: “If we could have 10 of him, we’d take it in a heartbeat.”
The glaring eyesore on WMU’s report card last year lies on defense. The Broncos were gashed from all over the floor, owning the league’s worst defense. Western Michigan’s defensive unit which graded out in the bottom five nationally, per KenPom.
As highlighted earlier, WMU did a decent job of limiting teams to one-and-done possessions. Unfortunately, too many of those first shots were easy ones. Opposing offenses weren’t bothered up front, nor in the backcourt, and it was a byproduct of weak rim protection and limited ball pressure.
Part of the issue was communication, Stephens says, a resounding point of emphasis this offseason.
“Defensive teams that communicate well are connected and trust one another,” the coach explained. “That’s the area we must improve in, and we have.”
Stephens did far more than preach defense. He sought outside help to reinforce it on the floor, which is where matrix-man Anthony Crump comes in. Crump is a grizzled MAC veteran and a truly one-of-a-kind player. Shooting shortcomings notwithstanding, Crump’s inverted perimeter game at 6-8 is a mismatch waiting to happen. Above all, the defensive end of the floor is where he shines.
“Anthony Crump is a monster defender who also excels in the open floor,” Stephens said. “He’s working hard to improve his jump shot, too.”
Two more rookies could offer immediate defensive assistance. Stephens called 6-6 rookie Josh Thomas the team’s best all-around athlete, which could translate immediately on defense. Offensively, he’s still raw, but he could blossom into a multi-skilled scorer in time. Another freshman vying for time is 6-9 Mike Sulaka. Stephens adores his toughness and intelligence.
It is shortsighted to gloss over the offensive firepower walking out the door. Western Michigan waives goodbye to two talented scorers in Lamar Norman and Tray Maddox. Norman was last year’s engine, earning the double duty of facilitating and scoring, which became a heavy burden for the former Duquesne transfer.
White’s presence would have made life much easier for Norman. Alas, White’s new supporting cast will reap the benefits of his gravitational pull on the defense. He may be little, but he’s unpredictable and hard to corral in space. White labored through his injury in 2022 but proved to be a reliable outside shooter before then, making 41% from 3-point range in each of his two full seasons prior.
Stephens is one of a select few who witnessed White’s impact behind the curtains last year.
“B. Artis White did not start practicing until late December,” the coach explained, “but he was our best player by the time he was firing on all cylinders in January.”
White could also open up Western Michigan’s transition attack. Stephens takes after Izzo’s offensive philosophy in this regard, another potential canvas upon which White can flourish.
“We want to be good in transition and we have some guys who can do some things in the open court,” Stephens revealed. “B. Artis will be a huge part of that.”
Stephens is staying the course, refusing to deviate from the blueprint he brought with him to Kalamazoo:
“It’s simple. Our recruiting philosophy is to get talented kids and get good people.”
Stephens loves the concoction brewing with this group. That bond was only strengthened by the Broncos’ foreign trip to Spain in August. That could be the fast track this refreshed roster needs to hit the ground running and be firing on all cylinders by conference play.
If B. Artis White finds his true form, the Broncos will be a tough out in the league in 2024.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW: TOP 25…#23 USC TROJANS
|2022-23:||22-11, 14-6 (T-2nd, Pac-12)|
|NCAA Tournament – First Round|
|Location:||LOS ANGELES, CA|
|Coach:||ANDY ENFIELD (11th Season)|
|Homecourt:||GALEN CENTER (10,258)|
|Key Departures:||DREW PETERSON (13.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.3 apg)|
|REESE DIXON-WATERS (9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 apg)|
|TRE WHITE (9.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.0 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||ISAIAH COLLIER (freshman, Wheeler HS)|
|DJ RODMAN (transfer, Washington St.)|
|BRONNY JAMES (freshman, Sierra Canyon)|
|ARRIENTEN PAGE (freshman, Wheeler HS)|
FROM THE COACH
“We’re going to play a little different, faster, and we’re going to really run. We’re more athletic this season — especially with the speed that Isaiah Collier gives us.”
Andy Enfield and the Trojans are looking for their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. When Enfield took over, there was a complete mess left behind by Kevin O’Neill. He went through some growing pains in his first couple of years in LA, but USC has won at least 20 games in seven of the past eight seasons.
Enfield’s had pros like Evan Mobley, Onyeka Okongwu, Chimezie Metu, Kevin Porter Jr., and De’Anthony Melton — and he’ll bring in arguably the most talented guard he’s had since arriving at USC in freshman Isaiah Collier.
USC will have to deal with the departure of veteran guard Drew Peterson and a couple of transfers in Reese Dixon-Waters (9.8 ppg) and Tre White (9.0 ppg), but Enfield brought in a strong freshman class and a key transfer that could make this team a Pac-12 title contender.
But health will play a major part in USC’s success.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
USC could boast one of the top backcourts on the west coast, and even the entire country. Veteran guard Boogie Ellis is back for a fifth season, and after a rocky start to his college career, he’s matured and become a potent scorer. The 6-3 Ellis averaged 17.7 points per game and shot 39% from 3 last year, and Enfield is expecting even more from him this season.
“He just keeps getting better,” Enfield said. “He’s come a long way, and we need him to be even more efficient than he was last year.”
Ellis’ experience should help a couple of highly touted freshmen guards in Isaiah Collier and Bronny James. The 6-5, 210-pound Collier is ranked as the No. 1 freshman in the country by some because he’s an ultra-talented point guard with the combination of quickness, strength and athleticism. Collier has terrific court vision and passing ability, but will need to make shots from the perimeter and also prove he can be a reliable off-ball defender. James is the eldest son of LeBron James, and there’s still uncertainty as to if and when he’ll play this season after he collapsed during a summer workout due to a congenital heart defect. The family put out a statement in August optimistic he’ll play at some point this season.
“Bronny was playing great,” Enfield said. “He’s a good shooter, is smart, unselfish and makes the right play at the right time. He’s a good athlete, a good defender. He’s just good at a lot of things.”
Kobe Johnson, a 6-6 junior who started 29 games last season, is arguably the best defender in the Pac-12. Despite being defensive-minded, he still averaged 9.7 points in league games and shot 39% from deep.
Joshua Morgan started 28 games last season and is a veteran big man who can protect the rim and defend, but isn’t much of a scoring threat from the perimeter and even on the block. Look for 6-6 Washington State transfer DJ Rodman to compete for starts. He’s played four years in the Pac-12, has a maturity and feel for the game and can do a little bit of everything. Sophomore forward Vincent Iwuchukwu has a ton of upside at 7-1, but he missed half of last season while sitting out with a heart issue and has missed most of the offseason due to back surgery. Another sophomore, Kijani Wright, gives USC a strong, athletic forward who will need to get used to the speed of the game. Junior Aussie Harrison Hornery is a 6-10 forward who can really shoot it, and a couple of freshmen will fight for minutes off the bench: 6-11 fluid forward Arrinten Page and 6-8 athletic forward Brandon Gardner.
The backcourt was believed to be a major strength, but with James’ future uncertain, Enfield doesn’t have much depth in terms of true guards. Ellis and Collier will play a ton, and Johnson is a versatile wing – but the fourth guard (if James isn’t available) is 6-5 sophomore Oziyah Sellers – who played about five minutes per game last season as a freshman.
Enfield didn’t need James to be a starter or a double-figure scorer, but he needed him for depth and versatility. James is a well-rounded, high IQ player who doesn’t play like a freshman – which is no surprise considering who taught him to play.
Obviously, the health of both James and Iwuchukwu is important – but so is the play of Collier. There will be lofty expectations since he came in as one of the top freshmen in the country, but it may take time – especially since he’s not a proven perimeter shooter.
The other concern is on the frontline and whether the Trojans will get enough scoring. Morgan isn’t much of a scoring threat. Even if Iwuchukwu is healthy, like Morgan, his strength is on the defensive end of the floor. And now he’s just so far behind that it’s difficult to see him being much of a scoring option.
“Those guys can play together if we want to go big,” Enfield said. “Both give us rim protection and are elite shot-blockers.”
Wright is still raw and developing, so he won’t be counted on for scoring, either. Page is talented, athletic, and can make plays – but his shortcoming right now is his perimeter shot. USC is going to have to find a way to get some production from its bigs, and the easiest way will be in transition. However, if it’s forced to play in the halfcourt, this is a team that could struggle to put points on the board. There will be a ton of pressure on Ellis to be the go-to guy, and the question is whether he’ll have enough help by his side this season.
There’s a reason why Iwuchukwu was a top 30 prospect nationally coming out of Southern California Academy a year ago. He’s a legit 7-1, a prolific shot-blocker, high-level athlete, he runs the court extremely well, and plays with an edge and toughness.
He could be a complete difference-maker if he can get on the court and remain healthy. But that’s obviously a major question following two offseasons of health concerns.
Iwuchukwu collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest in June of the preseason prior to his freshman year. He missed the entire summer and didn’t get cleared to start practicing until December. After missing the first 16 games of the season, he made his debut on Jan. 12 and went on to play a role the remainder of the year, averaging 5.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and one block in about 14 minutes of action per game. Then after the season, he had back surgery.
“He’s so talented,” Enfield said. “He was starting to play really well, then he hurt his back. He’s a guy who is important to us because of his ability, but also because he really allows us to play big.”
Enfield said the hope is that Iwuchukwu will be back for the start of the season, but even if that’s the case he’ll be brought along slowly. There’s no telling what level of impact he’ll be able to make this season, but if he’s close to healthy and can play catch-up after missing extended time, he can completely change the complexion of this team.
While there is a ton of talent up and down the roster, there are also some major concerns – largely with health. Iwuchukwu just hasn’t had an offseason to develop, and now he’s dealing with recovering from back surgery. James was set to have a ton of pressure on him before the heart issue, and now he’ll likely be fighting from behind after missing time in the preseason as well.
Collier is talented, but he’s just a freshman and doesn’t shoot it all that well. But Enfield has Ellis as his go-to scorer, has one of the best defenders in the league in Johnson, one of the better rim protectors in the country in Morgan and added a solid transfer piece in Rodman.
This could be a tourney team even without Iwuchukwu and James, but it could be a tourney team that makes some noise if it can get both of those guys on the court and at full strength by Pac-12 play.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS
GEORGETOWN COACH TASHA BUTTS DIES AFTER 2-YEAR BATTLE WITH BREAST CANCER
(AP) — Georgetown women’s basketball coach Tasha Butts died Monday after a two-year battle with breast cancer, the school’s athletic director said.
The 41-year-old coach was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer in 2021. She stepped away from coaching Georgetown last month. Her diagnosis inspired the Tasha Tough campaign which has brought awareness and raised money to bring quality care to women who can’t afford it through the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
“I am heartbroken for Tasha’s family, friends, players, teammates and colleagues,” said Georgetown athletic director Lee Reed. “When I met Tasha, I knew she was a winner on the court, and an incredible person whose drive, passion and determination was second to none. She exhibited these qualities both as a leader and in her fight against breast cancer. This is a difficult time for the entire Georgetown community, and we will come together to honor her memory.”
She came to Georgetown from Georgia Tech this past April after a long coaching and professional WNBA career. She joined the Georgia Tech women’s basketball staff as an assistant coach in April 2019, and was promoted to associate head coach two years later.
“The news of Tasha’s passing is incredibly sad,” Georgia Tech coach Nell Fortner said. “Tasha was so instrumental to the success of this program. What she did as a member of this coaching staff cannot be undervalued. She was tough – tough on her kids, tough in her expectations, but yet she was soft underneath when players needed her to be there for them, and she was always there for them.”
While at Georgia Tech in 2021, Butts announced she had been diagnosed with advanced stage metastatic breast cancer.
“Tasha’s passing is a devastating loss. She was extraordinary,” Georgetown president John J. DeGioia said. “Tasha was a person of character, determination, vision, and kindness. She will be deeply missed by our community and by so many people around the country who have been inspired by her life.”
When Butts stepped away last month, Georgetown named assistant Darnell Haney as the interim head coach. He said last week that he had been in constant contact with Butts while she was undergoing treatment.
“We kept her up to date with what’s going on with the program. Shoot her a text on how practice went, how things are going in the conference,” he said. “Do stuff to make her smile and keep her mind off what was she was going through. We’d send her film from practice.”
Teams across the country would post videos on social media every Tuesday during October to try and lift Butts’ spirits and remind her she wasn’t alone in the fight against cancer.
Before coaching at Georgia Tech, Butts was an assistant first at Duquesne, UCLA and LSU. She spent eight seasons with the Tigers.
“Tasha was a great player and went on to have a successful career as a coach too,” said LSU coach Kim Mulkey. “More importantly, she had an impact on so many lives throughout her lifetime. We are sad to lose her at such a young age.”
Butts starred at Tennessee from 2000-04, playing for Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt. The Lady Vols went 124-17 with her playing and advanced to the NCAA championship game in 2003 and 04. She was part of four SEC regular-season championship teams at the school.
“Our program is heartbroken to lose a member of our Lady Vol sisterhood much, much too soon,” Tennessee coach Kellie Harper. “Tasha was the type of person who connected with people everywhere she went. She had such a positive impact not only on our Tennessee family but on women’s basketball as a whole.”
She had a brief career in the WNBA after getting chosen 20th by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2004 draft. She played for Minnesota, Charlotte and Houston.
Butts is survived by her parents Spencer, Sr. and Evelyn, her brother Spencer, Jr. and her nephew Marquis.
WINNIPEG COACH RICK BOWNESS TAKES A LEAVE OF ABSENCE AFTER HIS WIFE’S SEIZURE
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness is taking a leave of absence after his wife had a seizure, the Jets said Monday.
Judy Bowness remains in a hospital for testing after having a seizure on Sunday night, the team said.
Associate coach Scott Arniel will serve as interim head coach in his absence. The Jets are off to a 2-3-0 start to the season and play Tuesday against the visiting St. Louis Blues.
Bowness is entering his second season with the Jets. He led them to a 46-33-3 record and a playoff berth last season when Winnipeg was eliminated in five games in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.
He coached the Dallas Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup final, where they lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
WITH ONLY 1 RACE LEFT BEFORE NASCAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP 4 IS SET, DRAMA AWAITS IN MARTINSVILLE
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — There will surely be elaborate permutations to show all the possibilities of what awaits this coming weekend at Martinsville, when six drivers will battle for the final two spots in NASCAR’s Championship 4.
If this guy does this, and this guy does this, or this guy doesn’t do this … the scenarios are endless.
So, perhaps a simpler mindset, like the one Denny Hamlin has right now, is the way to go.
“Try to win it,” Hamlin said.
That would work, too.
NASCAR’s season has entered its next-to-last week, and good luck figuring out what might happen over the 500 laps around Martinsville’s tight oval this coming weekend. Only two of these six drivers — Hamlin, William Byron, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr. and Chris Buescher — will emerge with a chance to battle Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell in Phoenix on Nov. 5 to win the Cup Series title.
If any of those six win at Martinsville, they’ll have a shot at the title. Any other result, break out the calculators.
“It’s nice coming in here as far out as we did and leaving where we’re at,” Blaney said after finishing second at Homestead-Miami on Sunday — moving from seventh in the eight-driver playoff standings to fourth. “Just proud of that effort and we’ve got to go and perform well. Hopefully we can go do it again in Martinsville.”
Larson got his berth in the final by winning at Las Vegas, Bell got his by winning at Homestead. Byron by far is in the best position of the six remaining contenders; he’s 30 points clear of the top-four cutoff going into Martinsville. Blaney is 10 points ahead of fifth.
Everyone else either needs to win — which would be an automatic clinch for Phoenix — or get help. Reddick is fifth, 10 points back of Blaney. Truex and Hamlin are both 17 points back and Buescher is 43 points off the pace.
“I think it’s hard to get in the Final Four. I’ll tell you that,” said Joe Gibbs, the owner of three of the playoff cars — Bell, Truex and Hamlin. “I don’t think anything’s a given … but we do have a chance.”
Bell knows exactly what the six hopefuls will be thinking this week. He won at Martinsville last year to earn his title shot in Phoenix. He got his walk-off win a week earlier this year.
“Your outlook for the race is completely different. … Those guys have a lot more to race for than what I do now going into Martinsville, so the mentality is completely different for them than it is for me and you just have to be aware of that,” Bell said.
Homestead showed, once again, that nobody ever has any idea what’ll happen.
Bell was about to go a lap down and thought his car was one of the slowest in the race at one point Sunday. He was not thinking about winning until the final 10 laps. He was 13th in qualifying, ninth in the first stage, 22nd in the second stage and on top of all that, Homestead is not a track he’s fond of.
And he won. A caution flag in the third stage gave him a chance, and he took full advantage.
“A whirlwind,” Bell said, “for sure.”
Larson’s day at Homestead ended when he tried to evade Blaney entering pit road and instead crashed into the 11 barrels of sand that protect drivers from directly smashing into the wall separating that alley from the track itself. A few tons of dirt went everywhere, and Larson was literally out in a cloud of dust.
“I’m sorry,” Larson — who took the blame for what happened — said into his radio. “I did not expect him to slow down that much.”
Not long afterward, two of the JGR cars experienced their own misfortune. Hamlin’s steering failed and he wound up in the wall, and moments later, something happened to Truex’s engine and smoke came out the back of his car.
Truex started Homestead from the pole, and the day went downhill quickly in what almost seemed to serve as a microcosm of his season. He made little effort to hide his frustration while talking on his radio and wound up finishing 30th. He won three times earlier in 2023, but has one top-10 finish in his last nine starts.
“It shows you how hard our sport is because those were the two cars that for a while for us were up front.” Gibbs said. “And it also shows you that in sports, and particularly in our sport, the 20 (Bell) was an example of just never giving up and just keep fighting.”
Hamlin has had success at Martinsville before. Now under the top-four cut line, he’s going to need some more success there this weekend.
“I try to win every week,” Hamlin said. “Not going to approach it any different. Just going to try to win.”
INDIANA RELEASES/TOP HEADLINES
PACERS, AARON NESMITH AGREE TO 3-YEAR EXTENSION
The Indiana Pacers and guard/forward Aaron Nesmith agreed to a three-year, $33 million extension ahead of the season, his agents told ESPN on Monday.
Nesmith, 24, is entering his fourth season in the league and coming off a career-best scoring output from last season. He averaged 10.1 points in 73 games (60 starts) for the Pacers in 2022-23.
The Pacers acquired Nesmith in the trade that sent Malcolm Brogdon to Boston in July 2022.
Nesmith has averaged 6.7 points in 171 career games (64 starts) for the Celtics and Pacers. The Celtics selected him No. 14 overall in the 2020 draft.
The Pacers open their season at home against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
GAME PREVIEW: PACERS VS WIZARDS
New season, same opener.
At long last, the 2023-2024 regular season tips off Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers when they host the Washington Wizards at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the two teams also played each other in the Circle City in last year’s season opener.
While Washington came out on top 114-107 on Oct. 19 last season, the Pacers and Wizards went on to split the season series 2-2. In the final weeks of their 2022-2023 campaigns, the teams battled for a final postseason spot, but in the end each franchise finished with records of 35-47 – five games back of the final play-in position claimed by the Chicago Bulls.
OPENING NIGHT PRESENTED BY KROGER: Find Tickets >>
But it’s a new season, and like Indiana adding power forward Obi Toppin and NBA champ Bruce Brown, Washington’s roster has also undergone a makeover.
In June, the Wizards made major headlines when they completed a trade sending three-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a treasure trove of draft picks and 12-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Indiana was actually involved in the exchange, with the Pacers sending their No. 7 overall draft pick, France’s Bilal Coulibaly, to the Wizards for their No. 8 pick – University of Houston forward Jarace Walker, who is on the current active roster.
But the Wizards didn’t stop there.
Washington traded Paul to the Golden State Wizards for Jordan Poole, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins and draft picks weeks after in July. Then, in a separate deal, the Wizards sent their starting center in 2022-2023, Kristaps Porzingis, to the Boston Celtics as part of a three-team trade that dealt 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies.
In their final preseason game, the Wizards trotted out the starting five of Poole, Coulibaly, Tyus Jones, Daniel Gafford and Kyle Kuzma. The Wizards went 3-1 in the preseason, starting 3-0 before falling to the Toronto Raptors 134-98 on Friday.
Indiana completed its preseason last week with wins over the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers. In those games, the starters were All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin, Brown, Toppin, and veteran center Myles Turner. Indiana rested its starters in the fourth quarters of both games.
Sharpshooter Buddy Hield enters the game against Washington coming off a 20-point (six made 3-pointers) performance against the Cavs on Friday. Toppin had a preseason-best 17 points and nine rebounds in that game, and Haliburton accounted for 14 points, nine assists and four rebounds in three quarters of action. Hield was a regular starter last season, but has come off the bench in the preseason. Regardless, he has continued playing significant minutes.
Against the Wizards last season, Haliburton averaged 23.8 points and 9.3 assists; Mathurin averaged 16 points, 5.0 rebounds; and Turner averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 rebounds but played in three games.
Indiana will be thankful Porzingis is now in Boston, as he gave the team fits last season. Across four games, the 7-footer averaged 20.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks against the Pacers.
Kuzma and Poole will seemingly carry the offensive load for the Wizards this season.
In a career-best season, Kuzma averaged 22.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and four assists against the Pacers last season. By the season’s end, he averaged 21.2 points per game, eclipsing 20 or more points 39 times, including in 33 of the last 49 games he played.
Poole, who averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds last season for the Warriors, recently made headlines when he scored 41 points through three quarters against the New York Knicks on Oct. 18. However, he followed up that performance with a 1-for-15 shooting performance against the Raptors.
Another name to watch on the Wizards is Coulibaly. While many knew him due to his relationship with former teammate and 2023 No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama, the 19-year-old has impressed with his strong defense and his slashing and cutting skills on the offensive end.
Unlike last season, the Pacers entire 2022-2023 with no significant injury news. All players on the active roster should be available on Wednesday for Indiana.
Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Bruce Brown, F – Bennedict Mathurin, F – Obi Toppin, C – Myles Turner
Wizards: G – Tyus Jones, G – Jordan Poole, F – Bilal Coulibaly, F – Kyle Kuzma, C – Daniel Gafford
Feb. 11, 2023: In the fourth and final matchup between the two teams, the Wizards used a strong shooting performance to top the Pacers 127-113 at Capital One Arena in the nation’s capital.
Washington shot an incredible 73 percent in the first half, dropping 43 points in the second quarter, and led by 23 points at the break.
From there, the Wizards never looked back.
Seven different players scored in double figures for the Wizards, led by 32 points by Bradley Beal, 17 each from Kristaps Porzingis and Monte Morris and 16 from Deni Avdija.
Tyrese Haliburton scored 21 points to lead the Pacers, to go along with seven assists and six rebounds, center Myles Turner registered 20 points and guards Buddy Hield and Bennedict Mathurin each chipped in 16 points for the Blue & Gold.
Indiana shot 45.3 percent overall as a team and were outrebounded 40-33. However, the Pacers had just eight turnovers to the Wizards 18 giveaways.
- Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle enters this season 10 wins short of passing Frank Vogel (250) for the second-most wins by an Indiana head coach. Slick Leonard owns the franchise record with 429 wins. Overall, Carlisle has 896 career wins, which is good for 14th in NBA history.
- Myles Turner is four 3-pointers away from passing George Hill (487) for fifth-most 3-pointers made in Pacers franchise history.
- Washington has won seven of the last 11 meetings against the Pacers.
- Indiana last won a season opener at home in 2020 against the New York Knicks.
Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)
TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
The Pacers tip off the 2023-24 regular season on Opening Night presented by Kroger against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7:00 PM ET. Secure your seats today. Find Tickets >>
TOM ALLEN MONDAY PRESSER
TOM ALLEN: Good morning. Appreciate you guys being here. Just want to recognize some of our guys from last week. Just appreciate their continued effort. It’s critical for our team.
Defensive scouts of the week, Jeff Utzinger and Ta’Derius Collins. Offensive scout of the week is Eli Jochem, and special teams scout of the week was Mitch Evans. Appreciate those guys and all that they do.
Just good news with our guys yesterday. Obviously just talking through their mindset, where we are, and obviously we’ve got to be able to continue to come together and fight, and just appreciate the guys and the way they’ve responded.
But obviously got to have a great week of preparation. It’s very critical without a doubt, playing a very good football team on the road that has a lot of talent at all positions, all three phases, and a tough environment to play in. Great opportunity for our program to continue to grow and develop as a team. A lot of football ahead of us, so excited about the opportunity this week to come back and keep working.
Q. Tom, sorry to hit the quarterback question every week, but how did you evaluate the way Brendan played, and do you feel comfortable standing on the idea that he stays there at No. 1 as he gets to move forward, maybe make some mistakes but stay in that role and grow into it?
TOM ALLEN: I do, and I think that he — I thought he played tough. I thought he played gritty. I thought he competed. Just continue to grow and develop. I think he’s got to continue to speed up some of his reads, but that’s part of the process of growing and developing as a player.
I thought he did some really good things in terms of helping us move the football. Obviously got to continue to grow and develop as a decision maker in both throwing and running, but the throw game, as well, we’ve got to do a better job of making some of those contested catches. I think that will be a huge plus for him.
But also just kind of speeding up those reads. I think he’ll get the ball out a little quicker as he continues to grow and develop.
Felt like after watching the film and meeting as a staff, feel good about moving forward with him.
Q. Wins is obviously an important measuring stick for a program, but there’s other things. I was curious, are there areas you can point to that you see as signs of progress or year-to-year growth from last year despite the similar results?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, there’s no doubt that’s a challenge. You play a lot of really good football teams. The margin for error is really small.
We ran the ball better against a good defense, Top 5 defense in the country in total defense, 5.3 yards a carry. It’s definitely progress for that group. I thought Trent Howland did a good job running the football and some others, as well. Just got to continue that. And I think even just protecting the quarterback, as well. Did some better things up front on the offensive line play. Definitely seeing progress there.
Then as an overall team, obviously a lot of new faces when you have a new group of guys, so you’re just trying to continue to grow and develop them, and at the end of the day, we’ve got to win, and we’re not winning enough football games, so that’s what you do on game day and that’s how you’re judged and that’s how it has to be.
The reality is we’ve got to continue to eliminate mistakes. The blocked punt was just a devastating huge mistake, costly, very, very costly, and then the muffed punt, gives up 10 points that you can’t afford to give up.
So you just continue to grow and build and develop, and to me just offensively continue to build who we want to be, and it starts up front, so we’re definitely seeing progress there without question.
But playing against another great defense this week. So it’s just continued working towards trying to find ways to move the football, get that ball in the end zone.
Q. Where do you sit in terms of the safety positions? Right now obviously it didn’t look good for Noah Pierre, and Phillip Dunnam came off the field, as well. What’s the status of those guys?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, so Noah will be out for an extended period of time. He’s been such a great player for us, great leader for us. Phillip, hopefully we’ll get him back.
But other guys got to step up. We’ve got Louis will be back. He was obviously with the targeting call, so he’ll be back for the first quarter next week, so that will be a plus for sure, and then Jordan Grier will be having to step up as well as Bryson Bonds will now have an opportunity to be able to play.
I feel like we have some depth at that spot, but obviously losing a guy like Noah for an extended period of time is tough, a tough blow without question, but he’s going to continue to be a great leader for us and continue to get himself back as soon as possible.
Q. You mentioned you felt like there’s been progress within the program. I know you’ve talked about tweaks and adjustments you’ve made with the strength and conditioning program. Do you still feel like there’s room to improve there, and what kind of things would you like to see to improve that part of the program?
TOM ALLEN: Well, we’ve made a huge emphasis on the nutritional part of our program, and that’s an investment piece that we have to do, and there’s no question, just ways to continue to develop our guys’ bodies and continue to allow them to physically grow and mature while they’re here and gaining good weight and just continue to get them as big and as fast and as strong as you can possibly be.
I think our strength staff works their tails off with these guys and does a lot of work with them even mentally and getting our guys back each week and helping us in that regard. Coach Wellman does a phenomenal job.
But you’re always working hard to find ways to get better and improve in to me just everything we do to be able to help our guys because those are the things as a developmental program we have to do really well. Guys get here, they come here, their bodies can be grown and developed, and that’s what you want to do when you have older guys that are playing for you. That’s really the goal at the end of the day, and that’s how you win in this conference.
I just think that’s something that we’re always looking at every possible way we can do to improve that area and keep investing in that part of our program.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Howland and Ferrell, Amare Ferrell, what you saw from them on Saturday and what you hope to get from them the rest of the way here?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, first off, with Amare, as a true freshman, he’s a guy that even when you asked the older players once we started practicing, since he’s been here, it’s been, like, hey, this guy has got something different about him. He’s a physical player. He kind of understands the game. He’s a kid that’s played a lot of football being from Florida where you have spring football, so he kind of brought that edge and confidence to him, so he had a chance to play an extended period of time on Saturday, which he was ready when called upon, and he’s going to have to continue to grow in that role.
Really excited for his future. He’s a guy that we made a decision even several weeks ago that we were not going to redshirt him because he was too valuable to us and playing on defense, as well, special teams. So really excited for his future.
Then Trent so me is a guy that’s just really challenged about using his size and running with that kind of authority. Even though he’s a big guy, he’s always viewed himself a little bit more of a finesse type runner. That is not who you need to be. He’s got great ball skills. He’s a really good athlete. You should see him on the basketball court. He’s an impressive athlete.
Just thought he had a chance to really be a good player, and he came here, had the knee injury right out of high school, actually heard that he was a really good basketball player in high school and he hurt that playing basketball, so he came here that way, so he’s just kind of taking some time. But big, physical guy that just needs to take that ball and get downhill, and he’s doing that now. You can see the benefits of that for him and for us, so excited for him and his development and the way he’s responded.
Q. After you’ve had a little more time to watch the Rutgers game and the struggles that you had in terms of stopping the run, what did you see as some of those causes, and do you think some of those things are fixable?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, there’s no question that I studied it thoroughly. Just especially from the fact of just doing certain things that — there’s a physical toughness piece to stopping the run, and just felt like that we got mismatched at times with some of our perimeter guys. Just got — physically was harder, just you’ve got to be able to step up and tackle big physical backs and take on those blockers if you’re a safety or a corner.
But they do a good job of creating those situations formationally where those guys have to step up and make those plays.
But just disappointed that we weren’t able to get some critical — we had the 4th and 4 was a really critical play I thought. We had a 3rd and 7, as well, that we didn’t get off the field, which would have forced a punt. Then we had the horse collar on the 3rd down play, 3rd and 8 that kept that drive alive.
Those things, they add up, and you think — if you look at the sequence of plays, we had 41 snaps of defense in the first half, which is too many, but the problem was the horse collar caused six more snaps, and that was self-inflicted by the defense.
Then the muffed punt cost five more snaps. Now you take away 11 snaps you’re at 30 snaps which is where you want to be. So it’s like, wow, those things are — obviously they’re not small, but you don’t necessarily talk about them, and yet they add up.
Then that gets you to now you’re in the second half and you’re playing too many snaps, and really it was because of some self-inflicted wounds.
We scored with four minutes to go in the second quarter, and we didn’t get the ball until eight minutes to go in the third quarter, and now we’re down by 10 by the time we get the ball back again.
Those are things that — then within that sequence was the 4th and 4 that we didn’t get off the field in that opening drive of the third quarter.
So that to me are the things that I focus on because they kind of snowball on you a little bit. Then you get and they wear you down when you’re on the field too much. So everybody just points to that, sees that stat and says, oh, it’s just all the offense. Well, it’s special teams and defense, as well.
I just feel like we don’t have a lot of margin for error in any of these areas. We’ve got to get off the field with that 4th and 4. We’ve got to get off the field in that 3rd and 7, that 3rd and 8 situation as well. I focus on that and just being able to continue to find ways to take away what they do well.
We did some good things. I thought guys played hard. I thought our D-line actually played well. I didn’t think our linebackers played well at all, and e talked about that as a team. That’s players, coaches, that’s nothing — they didn’t play well. That’s where those guys have to in my opinion.
That hasn’t been the case each week, but just calling it like it is. So the bottom line is that we’ve got to be able to — yes, we can fix those things without question, but at the same time, there’s a lot of little things that go into the sequencing of a game and how things play out in the end.
Q. You touched on it a little bit in that answer, but you guys went 2 for 11 on 3rd downs on Saturday and that obviously led to some of the difficulties you had moving the ball later in the game. What do you need to do to be better in those situations?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, I think you look at that, and there’s no question, the execution on the throw game, contested catches, ball out faster, protected pretty well. They obviously pressured at times and you’re trying to eliminate some of those opportunities for them to get those pressure units on the field for your offense.
I even think, too, in the first half when we had the offensive pass interference call, which was a bust in assignment, wasn’t even supposed to be — that person wasn’t supposed to be there. They were supposed to be running a vertical route. That kind of just killed that drive.
Can’t make those kind of mistakes.
But at the same time, it’s the finishing our execution, both receivers on finishing their routes, finishing the plays, quarterbacks in his reads and finishing — the running backs, protection, their blocking. Just got to keep working. You don’t get the product you want, you make adjustments, which we continue to do in the way we do things, and at the end of the day, we’ve got to make plays and we’ve got to execute and we’ve got to find a way to stay on the field on offense on those critical 3rd downs.
It’s going to be no different this week. We’ve got to find a way to get off the field defensively on those 3rd downs. Those critical downs, 3rd and 4th downs, really define outcomes of games, because it’s possessions, opportunities for the offense to be able to stay on the field. So just keep working.
Q. You’ve kind of talked about it with some of the self-inflicted mistakes, but specifically on special teams, is there something that you can do or something that film is showing as to why there’s been some mistakes in crucial times on special teams?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, and this one with the protection, which hasn’t been an issue, but was obviously in this game. Making some adjustments on that, how we can help our guys out, be able to be effective in that regard because you can’t get a punt blocked.
Then just work so hard on catching punts and continue to do that, and just got to secure the football. There was less than a minute to go in the half, I think 28 seconds exactly, and just can’t put our team in that position.
But to me, it’s just continued reps and obviously if you’ve got to make adjustments personnel-wise, you make adjustments, which we — in our punt unit we’re going to do that.
Just got to make sure the right guys are out there that can get the job done at the critical times.
Q. You mentioned meeting with the team yesterday. I recall Saturday you said you kind of had to really — I believe the words were “address it head on.” What were the main topics of conversation in that meeting yesterday, and how did you see your team respond?
TOM ALLEN: Well, you come in there and it’s a Sunday after they’ve already lifted, and they’re obviously down, which they should be. I get that. Everybody is down and you’re frustrated, you’re disappointed.
So you just talk to them just open and honest about where we are, how we’re here, how we got here, how we get out of here and how you handle adversities in life. I talked to them for about 20 minutes. It was a little bit of football sprinkled in there, talked about the game as we go through, but it was really more about your mind and how you approach challenges, how you approach hard things. How do you just persevere through the difficulties. Sometimes they’re self-inflicted like they were on game day for us, sometimes they’re not.
But how you respond to those things and try to say it different ways and using different methods. I just pray for a lot of wisdom to do that because it’s hard, there’s no doubt about it.
We all want to win, and they’re frustrated and they want to win, and you’re close to it but then you don’t finish it out and you make mistakes that really make it hard.
How do you continue to — instead of just saying the same things over and over again, you try and say it in a different fresh way and also just bring up examples of things throughout the game and things that we can talk about, maybe some things that led up to it that you see that you need to address or things you need to encourage and say, we’re right here if we just keep doing this.
We talked about the sequencing of the game and how those critical mistakes have a way of mounting and creating more negative opportunities for your team just because you have one little things that didn’t quite — wasn’t executed in this particular way, offensively, defensively or special teams, and then obviously you break off and you get into the nuts and bolts of the scheme, issues or things that you had in all three phases.
But it’s just the psychology of coaching is what you’re doing.
Q. You touched on this in terms of against the run game, but they had 11 situations where they needed three yards or less for a 1st down, short-yardage situations. Is there a limit to what scheme can do in those spots, it’s more individual — like defensive line, linebackers, bow up, you mentioned physical and toughness. Is it those are the determining factors, especially when they’re running interior runs —
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, there’s a toughness piece in there, kind of mashing you schematically. The answer is stay out of them. When you talk about winning the early downs, they were having too much success on 1st downs, which created the 3rd and mediums and 3rd and shorts.
Statistically speaking, I don’t care what level you coach at, 3rd and shorts are obviously harder to stop for the defense and they’re a way higher percent for the offense, and then it flips completely when you go to 3rd and 7 plus.
That’s what we’re trying to stay out of those. You get in a lot of 3rd and 1s, 4th and 1s, it’s tough. You can create a negative play every now and then and get those knocked back, and statistically we’ve done well in those situations during the season, but you don’t want to put yourself in that spot, especially if that’s where they hang their hat, that’s what they do really well.
Trying to stay out of those is really the best answer, and then when you get in them, boy, you’ve got to fight, claw and scratch, try a find a way to create a negative play or get a stalemate.
That’s hard to do with big strong Big Ten opponents, without question.
Q. Out of left field, asking about targeting more generally, I think it’s about 10 years it’s been a rule now and there’s been a lot of debate basically about the merits of it, is it too punitive in some ways, should there be levels of targeting, especially if you’re going to go to review with it. As a coach, have you seen positive impacts from at least the concept behind it, the motivation behind it, and do you think there are ways that maybe you could tweak it where you somehow make it less punitive in certain situations, even if it’s still a penalty?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, great question. We’ve had many discussions about this as a staff and even as Big Ten head coaches. First of all, I do think the targeting rule has been very good for football. I think it’s reduced a lot of those shots that we don’t really want to be a part of our game where guys are getting injured. I think it’s made our game safer, and I think it’s a good thing for everybody. Player safety is at the top of the list. I think that’s good.
Where the discussions come, after we’ve had this for many years, is should there be a targeting one, targeting two, in regards to — this is my personal opinion, and I’ve voiced this with our coaches, Big Ten coaches, and that is that from my perspective, hey, if a guy just launches at a player and leads with the crown of his helmet and you can see that on the review, that’s a targeting call, and I think that’s an ejection because that’s not how we want to play the game. You can control that.
But when you’re as a defensive player, when you’re tackling a guy and he just lowers his head, sometimes it’s hard to avoid the helmet-to-helmet because by definition it is a helmet-to-helmet collision. It is kind of what happened with Louis Moore. I get it, by the letter of the law, so it wasn’t some big argument or anything; I understand that. But bigger picture-wise, does that really deserve an ejection.
So if you want to give a 15-yard penalty, that’s fine, but I think most coaches would agree those kind of collisions are hard to prevent if you’re a defensive guy and you’re not trying to be malicious, you’re not trying to cold cock a guy that’s not looking and he’s running the ball right at you or at an angle and you go to tackle him and there’s going to be helmet-to-helmet contact at times.
I just would personally like to see a distinction between the flagrant launching at a guy with the crown of your helmet. I think that should always be an ejection. Then if it’s just a collision that happens because of the nature of playing football, they need to be able to review that. I think we can. We’ve got the technology to do it. Still, if it needs to be a penalty, that’s fine, but don’t kick him out of the game.
That’s how I feel about it. We’ve had a lot of talks about it, but that’s my opinion.
Q. So many of your scoring drives have featured a lack of big chunk plays. That hasn’t been a big part of this offense. What can you do schematically to try to create more of those opportunities because you’ve taken some shots but they haven’t —
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, I think that’s a great point and it’s definitely been trying to create those with some of those shots. We feel like we got some receivers that can do that. It’s ball placement on the throws. It’s coming down with them. It’s being able to continue to work on those in practice, without question, because there’s no doubt, the more chances we have to create a chunk play, the higher percent you have of scoring points.
That’s why explosive plays are a big stat in winning football games.
To me it’s got to be a continued point of emphasis to be able to allow ourselves both schematically and execution to be able to have more of those opportunities. I think we have some guys that can do that, and I want to see us do more of that. So that to me is going to be a continued emphasis, to be able to take some pressure off your offense so you don’t have to drive the ball 13, 14 drives and 80-something yards. That’s definitely what we want to be able to do.
INDIANA MEN’S BASKETBALL
SEVEN HOOSIERS OPEN NBA SEASON
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Seven former Indiana Hoosiers are on active rosters as the NBA begins its 78th regular season on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
NBA Draft: Selected 23rd overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2017 NBA Draft
NBA Teams: Seventh season (Toronto: 2017-pres.)
Career Averages: 11.6ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2spg, 0.5bpg on .471/.375/.744 shooting splits
2022-23 Averages: 16.8ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.9spg, 0.7bpg on .476/.387/.838 shooting splits
Accolades and accomplishments: 2022-23 NBA All-Defensive Second Team, 2022-23 NBA steals leader, 2019 NBA Champion
Thomas Bryant, Miami Heat
NBA Draft: Selected 42nd overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2017 NBA Draft – rights traded to the Lakers
NBA Teams: Seventh season (Los Angeles (L): 2017-18, ’22-23; Washington: 2018-22; Denver: 2022-23; Miami: 2023-pres.)
Career Averages: 10.1ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.1apg, 0.3spg, 0.8bpg on .598/.366/.757 shooting splits
2022-23 Averages: 9.8ppg, 5.7rpg, 0.5apg, 0.3spg, 0.5bpg on .623/.441/.738 shooting splits
Accolades and accomplishments: 2023 NBA Champion, All-Big Ten Third Team, Big Ten All-Freshman Team
Eric Gordon, Phoenix Suns
NBA Draft: Selected 7th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2008 NBA Draft
NBA Teams: 16th season (Los Angeles (C): 2008-11, ’22-23; New Orleans: 2011-16; Houston: 2016-23; Phoenix: 2023-pres.)
Career Averages: 16.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.8apg, 0.8spg, 0.3bpg on .429/.371/.811 shooting splits
2022-23 Averages: 12.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.7apg, 0.6spg, 0.4bpg on .446/.371/.821 shooting splits
Accolades and accomplishments: 2008-09 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, 2016-17 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, 13,119 career NBA points ranks fourth all time by an IU alum (Walt Bellamy – 20,941; Isiah Thomas – 18,822; Tom Van Arsdale – 14,232), Freshman All-American, Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten First Team, Big Ten All-Freshman Team
Jalen Hood-Schifino, Los Angeles Lakers
NBA Draft: Selected 17th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023 NBA Draft
NBA Teams: First season (Los Angeles (L): 2023-pres.)
Career Averages: n/a
2022-23 Averages: n/a
Accolades and accomplishments: Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten Second Team, Big Ten All-Freshman Team
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors
NBA Draft: Selected 57th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2023 NBA Draft – rights traded to the Warriors
NBA Teams: First season (Golden State: 2023-pres.)
Career Averages: n/a
2022-23 Averages: n/a
Accolades and accomplishments: Consensus All-American, Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year, All-Big Ten First Team, Big Ten All-Freshman Team, two-time All-Big Ten Defensive Team
Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets
NBA Draft: Selected 2nd overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2013 NBA Draft
NBA Teams: 11th season (Orlando: 2013-16; Oklahoma City: 2016-17; Indiana: 2017-21; Houston: 2020-21, ’23-pres.; Miami: 2021-23)
Career Averages: 16.9ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.9apg, 1.6spg, 0.5bpg on .436/.347/.788 shooting splits
2022-23 Averages: 10.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.4spg, 0.3bpg on .397/.330/.747 shooting splits
Accolades and accomplishments: 2017-18 All-NBA Third Team, 2017-18 NBA All-Defensive First Team, 2017-18 NBA Most Improved Player, 2017-18 NBA steals leader, two-time NBA All-Star, 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team, 2023 NBA runner-up, Consensus All-American, NABC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, All-Big Ten First Team, All-Big Ten Defensive Team
Cody Zeller, New Orleans Pelicans
NBA Draft: Selected 4th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2013 NBA Draft
NBA Teams: 11th season (Charlotte: 2013-21; Portland: 2021-22; Miami: 2022-23; New Orleans: 2023-pres.)
Career Averages: 8.4ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.4apg, 0.6spg, 0.6bpg on .522/.218/.730 shooting splits
2022-23 Averages: 6.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 0.7apg, 0.2spg, 0.3bpg on .627/–/.686 shooting splits
Accolades and accomplishments: 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, 2023 NBA runner-up, All-America Second Team, Co-Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten First Team, Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
INDIANA MEN’S SOCCER
MEN’S SOCCER ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE, GAMEDAY UPDATES FOR SUNDAY MATCH
Indiana men’s soccer announced important gameday updates for Sunday’s (Oct. 29) match against Rutgers, originally scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. Kickoff for IU’s regular season finale has been updated to 12:30 p.m. ET, matching time changes around the conference.
Due the 1 p.m. start time for the IU men’s basketball exhibition game against Indianapolis, the normal parking opportunities for home IU men’s soccer matches will not be available Sunday. If you are attending the men’s soccer match, gameday parking will be available at:
Parking lot across from St. Paul’s Church off 17th Street;
Fee Lane Garage (also referred to as the Kelley School of Business garage) – 709 N Fee Lane
Additionally, Sunday’s match will not be ticketed, and fans may attend the match for free.
RYAN WALTERS MONDAY PRESSER
Q. Obviously it’s been a while now since you played. Just how valuable was the bye week to reassess where this team is and get healthy?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, hugely important. Much needed physically and mentally just to sort of get some time. From the players’ perspective, we — I’ll just take you through the week. We had Monday off; Tuesday, Wednesday was straight rehab, recovery, rejuvenation from a physical standpoint for the guys that have done most of the playing.
We practiced the non-travel, guys that are in backup roles that travel but haven’t played a whole lot. Got a scrimmage at the end of those practices and seen the guys, which was good, exciting.
By that time of the schedule in practice we had the older guys out at practice to cheer them on. Energy was awesome. Had a more of a walk-through tempo, jog-through tempo practice on Thursday for the older guys to get some early down, Nebraska intro.
Then as a staff, we were on the road recruiting. Gave the players Friday and Saturday off, again, just to relax, watch some football, and come back rejuvenated, excited for the next five games.
So Sunday had really, really good practice. The energy was awesome. The buy-in is exactly what you want it to be. The guys that were dinged up are starting to look like themselves. The guys that are done for the year, are done for the year. That’s not changing. But guys that were dealing with nicknack injuries and were sort of on the day-to-day plan, you know, were able to practice and practice at a high level.
Q. Looks like it was a valuable week recruiting-wise, too. You talk about the buy-in of this team, but it’s also the buy-in of the guys you’re selling the future of this program to.
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, we’re really excited about the class we put together and getting into the ’25 class. Excited about the guys that we targeted and that we got committed to us.
What’s exciting for me is to see those guys playing well. All the guys that are currently committed are playing at a high level in their senior season, and so definitely looking forward to the future.
But really looking forward to the last five games with this current roster.
Q. You know about the environment at Nebraska. What are these guys in store for on Saturday?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, you know, 91,000 plus that are a sea of red. My history with Nebraska started at a very young age. Obviously grew up a fan at Colorado, my dad playing there, and that was the hated rivalry, right? And so you remove yourself from that as a coach, and the first time I got to play against Nebraska again was in 2021. My first season at Illinois. I just remember them running out of the tunnel in Champagne and the feelings just come back, right?
It’s like, man, I really can’t stand that color. Don’t like that N on the helmet. And so definitely this has been a big week. We’ve explained to the guys how crazy it gets out there. They are die-hard fans, win, lose, or draw, so we’re looking forward to a great venue to play a competitive and tough football game.
Q. Last thing from me. Ben Farrell is a guy that came from a small college, and obviously a different level of competition. How has he progressed and adapted to what he’s faced this year versus where he came from?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, thank God we got him, right? He’s obviously big and athletic and bought into the culture, and like you said, has progressed throughout the course of the season.
I think Coach Johnson has done a good job mentoring him and getting him to play at a high level. So we’re definitely glad we got him. He’s actually been playing well for us in the times he’s been in there.
Q. You talked a little bit about the young guys getting a chance to do some scrimmage work. Any names for guys that may have stood out during those sessions?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, Ryan Brown did really well. We made him live, which typically you don’t do with quarterbacks, right? But he’s a big, physical guy, and I knew he would be open to that and accept that challenge.
George Burhenn also got some scrimmage reps. As a result, I think we’ll get more playing time just to see what he can do in live situations with his frame and speed, athleticism.
You know, defensively, Drake Carlson stood out. He played well. Some of those younger guys in the secondary, Zion Steptoe, who we moved from receiver to corner is improving. Really looking forward his progress and his future at that position. I think it fits him, his style, his personality, and what we do schematically I feel like he can accomplish.
So definitely beneficial to see the young guys go work and the guys we are counting on to make plays for us, to get them back healthy and excited both physically and mentally.
Q. Just some of the issues Nebraska’s quarterback poses, big guy, likes to run it. Just, again, you had some issues dealing with those types of running quarterbacks. Talk about him and what he brings to the table.
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, you just hit it on the head. He’s big, physical. Nebraska, they make you play with all 11, right? So we’ll definitely have to adjust the way we play, adjust our game plan a little bit.
They run a ton of different run schemes, both zone and gap schemes. Their window dressing is for a purpose usually, and you got to be able to account for all 11. Definitely excited that we had a week to prepare as a staff, and excited for the two bonus practices really. I think those will be beneficial for our guys, especially in the run fits.
But it’s going to be a tough and physical game, and I think we’ll be as healthy as we can be at this point of the seen going into Saturday, which makes me feel good.
Q. Talk a little bit about the kicking situation a little bit, maybe how you’ll handle that this week.
RYAN WALTERS: Freehill is healthy, and so if he’s healthy and ready to go, he’ll be our kicker.
Q. And Hudson Card, obviously the time off helped him. Do you think he’s been as healthy as he has been all season coming into Saturday?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, Hud looked like himself yesterday for the first time since that second or third series after Illinois, so he’s back with a bounce in his step. Ball is coming out of his hands with some velocity. It’s pretty when it’s in the air.
Saw him run around a little bit, which was exciting. Just feels like he’s back to himself, so that will hopefully bode well for us.
Q. Do you feel any urgency, five games left?
RYAN WALTERS: Absolutely. Absolutely. We are in playoff mode right now. Definitely set the tone and the temperament in our team meeting on Sunday, and as a result guys went to work.
That was as energetic, as fast a practice as we’ve had since I’ve been here, so I think our mindset is in the right place. I’ve been honest and open about what needs to happen the last five games and what we’re capable of doing.
So because of that, everybody is holding each other accountable to those standards. I’m excited to see what that looks like down the stretch of the last five weeks.
Q. What have you seen with Matt Rhule taking over Nebraska and the new identity he’s trying to make?
RYAN WALTERS: My history with Coach Rhule goes back to his Temple days. When I was at Memphis we were able to play them. You just see his teams, they are tough, physical, they’re smart. They don’t beat themselves. That’s exactly what you see on tape.
Like I said, they make you play with all 11 on offense. They’re really physical and try to dominate you up front on defense. They get creative with exchange in gaps with their front seven, and do a good job of disguising and mixing up coverages in the back end.
So it’s a tough, smart football team. That’s pretty much his M.O. and has been since I’ve got know him as a coach.
Q. Mershawn Rice appeared on the field I think for the first time maybe against Ohio State. What all went into that? Was he making a move in practice? You trying to extend your rotation? Him getting healthy?
RYAN WALTERS: You know, I don’t know if that was the first time he’s been in the game. First time he got extended snaps. That’s a result of practice habits, of the need to rotate at that position, and just also like he’s a bigger guy, and I think that is sort of what we needed out on the outside with what we’re trying to do.
Like I said, his attitude and his practice habits and the production he had in practice led to more playing time. I’m hoping that is a continued trend as the season goes.
Q. Just one personnel one, Ryan. Mahamane Moussa, was helped off the field against Ohio State. Is it a long-term thing? Day-to-day? He’s on the depth chart still. Just wanted to ask about him.
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, that is accurate. He’s still day-to-day, but we’re confident he’ll be available and be ready to go by Saturday.
PURDUE MEN’S BASKETBALL
EDEY TABBED TO AP PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Associated Press has announced that Purdue senior Zach Edey has been named to its preseason All-America Team, the organization released Monday.
Edey was joined on the team by North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson and Marquette’s Tyler Kolek.
A year ago, Edey was the most-dominant player in college basketball, winning all six National Player of the Year awards, winning the Wooden Award, the Naismith Trophy, The Oscar Robertson Trophy (USBWA), Associated Press (AP) National Player of the Year, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Player of the Year and The Sporting News National Player of the Year. In addition, he has won the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s top center.
Edey is looking to become the first consensus, back-to-back NPOY since UCLA’s Bill Walton in 1971-72 and 1972-73. Ralph Sampson was named in three years from 1981 to 1983, but was only consensus in 1982.
He was named a 2023 first-team All-American by every outlet and in June was named a finalist for the top Male College Athlete ESPY award by ESPN.
Edey became the first Boilermaker since Glenn Robinson in 1994 to win National Player of the Year accolades. He is also the fifth Big Ten Player in the last 14 years to be named National Player of the Year joining Evan Turner (2010), Trey Burke (2013), Frank Kaminsky (2015) and Luka Garza (2021) as National Players of the Year.
Edey earned Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year after a remarkable junior season at Purdue. He was named a consensus first-team All-American, the second straight season that Purdue has had a consensus All-American (Jaden Ivey, 2022), after averaging 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists per game.
He became the first player in NCAA history (since blocks became an official NCAA stat) to record at least 750 points, 400 rebounds, 70 blocks and 50 assists in a season, ranking sixth nationally in scoring, second in rebounds, 19th in blocked shots and 21st in field goal percentage (.607), the only player in the NCAA database to rank in the top 25 of all four categories in the same season.
He finished the season ranking sixth on Purdue’s single-season chart for points (757), first in rebounds (438), fifth in field goals made (290), 14th in field goal percentage (.607), first in dunks (76) and second in double-doubles (27).
He has scored in double-figures in 51 straight games, the longest streak in the country, and fourth-longest streak in school history.
For his career, Edey has scored 1,533 points with 847 rebounds, 148 blocks and 106 assists, shooting almost 62 percent from the field.
The No. 3-ranked Boilermakers will face No. 14-ranked Arkansas next Saturday in Fayetteville, Arkansas, beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on SEC+.
The Boilermakers then begin the regular-season Nov. 6, in Mackey Arena against Samford, following an exhibition game with Grace College on Nov. 1, in Mackey Arena.
Purdue returns six of its top seven scorers from last year’s team that went 29-6 and won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles.
The 2023-24 Purdue men’s basketball season is presented by Purdue Global, Purdue University’s online educational solution for working adults.
IUPUI WOMEN’S SOCCER
JUNK NAMED #HLWSOC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
INDIANAPOLIS – IUPUI sophomore goalkeeper Cailynn Junk has been named the #HLWSOC Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Jaguars to a key road win at Robert Morris over the weekend. With the win, the Jaguars clinched a spot in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament.
It marks Junk’s first career weekly award and the second time this season an IUPUI player has been honored as Ashton Kudlo was awarded on Oct. 9.
Junk recorded a shutout in the win against the league’s second-leading scoring team, Robert Morris, on Saturday (Oct. 21). She recorded four saves in the clean sheet effort.
For Junk, it was just her second start of the season and the second shutout of her collegiate career.
NOTRE DAME MEN’S TENNIS
IRISH WRAP UP ITA REGIONALS; THOMPSON STRONG SHOWING
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team competed at the ITA Regionals in Ann Arbor this past weekend hosted by the University of Michigan. Ten Irish players saw action throughout the event.
Evan Lee kicked off play in the qualifying draw with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Eastern Illinois on Thursday. But later that afternoon he fell in his second match to his opponent from Northern Illinois.
On Friday, the Fighting Irish would have five teams competing in the doubles main draw. A lot of competitive tennis was played by those wearing the ND monogram, highlighted by Chase Thompson and Yu Zhang who won two rounds to start. They would beat their first opponents from Eastern Illinois before staging a comeback from 1-4 down to win seven-straight games and defeat #17 seeded Northwestern team 8-4. But their run would end at the hands of the top seeded Illinois team in a very tight set that would need a tiebreaker before the Illini would come out on top 8-7(5).
Jean-Marc Malkowski and Evan Lee also picked up a first round win over a different Panther pair from Eastern Illinois. Then they would drop a close 8-6 match to #4 seed Illinois 8-6. Jamie Corsillo and Kyran Magimay would stage a comeback from 2-5 down before falling in a tiebreak in their opener while Noah Becker and played a close set with a Northwestern duo. Nil Giraldez and Jayanth Devaiah had a first round bye and played the #5 seeds from Michigan tough but ultimately came up short.
Saturday was the first day of main draw singles play and eight Irish players were in the draw. Thompson, Zhang and Giraldez all picked up first round wins over Toledo, UIC and Wisconsin respectively. In the second round, Thompson would win a war of a second round against top-8 seed from Michigan State. After splitting the first two sets, Thompson would go hold for hold until late in the set where he would break and take the match 7-5 in the third. Giraldez would also play to 7-5 in the third set but would be on the wrong end of the scoreline to Michigan State while Zhang would lose to the #3 seed in the draw.
Sunday morning, Thompson would take on a veteran from Illinois in the round of 16. It would take a tiebreak in the first set and a 6-4 second set but the Irish freshman prevailed to advance to the quarterfinals later in the day. But his run ultimately ended at the hands of the top seed in the tournament from Ohio State with a 6-2, 6-4 loss.
Five players got additional matches on Sunday and all ended up playing against Wisconsin Badgers. Bilsey was first off the court with a 6-2, 6-0 win followed by Malkowski who took his match by a 6-3, 6-4 scoreline. The Irish would pickup two more wins to finish the tournament as both Corsillo and Becker came from a set down to win their matches. Corsillo won 3-6, 7-5, 1-0(7) over a Badger starter and Becker took out a Wisconsin newcomer 5-7, 7-5, 1-0(4) to give Notre Dame a 5-2 record on the final day of play.
The final tournament of the fall for the majority of the Irish squad will take place in two weeks as Notre Dame will host the Fighting Irish Mini Duals November 3rd-5th. That event will see pairs of players team up against another pair for one doubles match and two singles matches with the team winning two of the three competitions advancing. A total of 32 players, in 16 teams, will compete and play four rounds each.
Lee (ND) def. Riera (EIU) 6-2, 6-3
Norlin (NIU) def. Lee (ND) 6-3, 6-2
Doubles Round of 64
(12) Thompson/Zhang (ND) def. Riera/Wallace (EIU) 8-2
(17) Malkowski/Lee (ND) def. Carlin/Slabbert (EIU) 8-5
(17) Schewbel/Bottino (UIC) def. Corsillo/Magimay (ND) 8-7(3)
Goli/Miller (NU) def. Becker/Bilsey (ND) 8-4
Doubles Round of 32
(12) Thompson/Zhang (ND) def. (17) Blekher/Caldwell (NU) 8-4
(4) Horve/Okonkwo (ILL) def. (17) Malkowski/Lee (ND)
(5) Ehrenschneider/Young (MICH) def. Giraldez/Devaiah (ND) 8-4
Doubles Round of 16
(1) Heck/Ozolins (ILL) def. (12) Thompson/Zhang (ND) 8-7(5)
Singles Round of 64
(21) Mroz (ILL) def. Becker (ND) 6-2, 6-1
(19) Thompson (ND) def. Galik (TOL) 6-2, 6-2
(31) Giraldez (ND) def. Zlatohlavek (WISC) 6-4, 6-3
(32) Horve (ILL) def. Malkowski (ND) 6-4, 6-3
(7) Cooksey (MICH) def. Bilsey (ND) 6-3, 6-0
Zhang (ND) def. (28) Bucan (UIC) 6-4, 6-1
(18) Sheldon (MSU) def. Magimay (ND) 6-4, 6-2
(24) Arzhankin (WMU) def. Corsillo (ND) 6-4, 6-3
Singles Round of 32
(19) Thompson (ND) def. (8) Collard (MSU)
Lair (MSU) def. (31) Giraldez (ND) 7-6(12), 1-6, 7-5
(3) Tracy (OSU) def. Zhang (ND) 6-3, 6-2
Singles Round of 16
(19) Thompson (ND) def. (16) Okonkwo (ILL) 7-6(2), 6-4
(1) Bernard (OSU) def. (19) Thompson (ND) 6-2, 6-4
Becker (ND) def. Zlatohlavek (WISC) 5-7, 7-5, 1-0(4)
Bilsey (ND) def. Fullerton (WISC) 6-2, 6-0
Corsillo (ND) def. (6) Popovic (WISC) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0(7)
Malkowski (ND) def. Olsson (WISC) 6-3, 6-4
Minyasan (WISC) def. Magimay (ND) 6-2, 6-0
BALL STATE FOOTBALL
COOPER AND HOUSTON EARN MAC WEST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
MUNCIE, Ind. – Running back Marquez Cooper and linebacker Sidney Houston Jr., both have been honored by the Mid-American Conference with player of the week accolades following Ball State’s 24-17 homecoming win over Central Michigan.
Cooper was named the MAC’s West Division Offensive Player of the Week as a result of his162 rushing yards that led a 243-yard Ball State rushing attack that helped the Cardinals take a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter. Cooper’s 39-yard run in the second quarter led to Ball State’s field goal and a 10-3 advantage. His 15-yard TD scamper in the third put the Cardinals ahead 17-3.
Houston, meanwhile, was named the MAC’s West Division Defensive Player of the Week while contributing both Ball State sacks in the win over the Chippewas. He also had three of the Cardinals’ seven tackles for loss. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter and CMU driving past midfield in the final minute, Houston’s second-down sack stifled Central Michigan’s drive and secured Ball State’s first conference win.
Ball State opens #MAC-tion midweek play on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Bowling Green.
SOUTHERN INDIANA VOLLEYBALL
SOBIERALSKI’S STELLAR PERFORMANCE LEADS TO OVC WEEKLY HONOR
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Junior setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana) was named Ohio Valley Conference Setter of the Week for the second time this season after her historic performance last weekend for University of Southern Indiana Volleyball.
The Screaming Eagles went 1-1 in their weekend slate after defeating Western Illinois, 3-1, on Friday then falling to the Leathernecks, 3-2, on Saturday. The Eagles racked up 144 kills with a stellar 0.285 hitting percentage to pair with 13 aces, 21 blocks, and 178 digs. USI goes into the week in a tie for fifth in the OVC standings with a 6-6 conference record.
Friday’s contest resulted in a career-high 65 assists for the Indianapolis native to pair with 11 digs, four blocks, and three aces. On Saturday, Sobieralski put up 62 assists and 22 digs which marks the first time since Stephanie Wilson in 2005 that a USI setter has earned at least 60 assists and 20 digs in a match. She also was the first player in the OVC to secure 60+ assists in a single conference match and did it in back-to-back games. In the last two matches, Sobieralski totaled a league-leading 127 assists with over 14 assists per set and led the conference setters in digs and aces with 33 and four, respectively.
The Eagles, who are 10-13 overall, are on their bye week and will return to action next weekend when USI hosts Tennessee Tech University in a crucial homestand. There will be free postgame poster signings after Friday’s match while Saturday’s match will be Senior Day where USI will honor their four seniors. Both matches will have a heavy impact on seeding for the conference tournament in late November.
For more information, go to our website at USIScreamingEagles.com or find us on social media at USIAthletics.
SCHULTE NABS SECOND GLVC WEEKLY AWARD OF THE SEASON
INDIANAPOLIS – University of Indianapolis junior linebacker Clay Schulte was named the GLVC Defensive Player of the Week, good for his second weekly award of the season.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Clay Schulte, #11 Indianapolis
Jr. | LB | Oak Harbor, Ohio
Major: Business Administration & Management
Team Result: 24-14 W at Quincy (10/21)
Collected career-high 13 tackles, including 11 solo stops
Added two tackles for a loss and one pass break-up
Assisted in slowing down Quincy offense that was averaging 46 points per game
Helped UIndy remain unbeaten, joining 10 other Division II programs in that category
Earns second career Defensive Player of the Week Award (10/23/23, 9/18/23)
Last Greyhounds’ Defensive Player of the Week: Michael Brown (10/2/23)
MARIAN MEN’S SOCCER
JUAN TORRES TABBED CROSSROADS LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JACKSON, Mich. – Juan Torres was voted the Crossroads League Defensive Player of the Week as announced by the league office earlier this afternoon. The honor marks the first time in her career and the first for the men’s soccer team this season.
Juan Torres was a monster in goal for Marian this week, guiding the Knights to a pair of wins. The junior keeper did not allow a running-time goal in two wins for Marian, piling up 13 saves and stopping a pair of penalty kicks in his 180 minutes of work. Torres has played in every game this season, notching 62 saves with a 1.17 goals against average, helping Marian towards a 10-3-2 record.
Marian will wrap up the regular season this week, hosting Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday and traveling to Huntington on Saturday.
SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETICS
INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/
EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/
WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/
FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/
ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/
ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index
TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index
BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/
DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/
HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/
MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/
HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/
OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx
ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index
IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/
IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/
IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/
PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/
INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx
GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/
ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/
GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/
HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php
TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/
VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index
|American Football Conference|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Miami Dolphins||5||2||0||.714||0.0||240||187||3-0-0||2-2-0||3-1-0||1-1-0||1 L|
|Buffalo Bills||4||3||0||.571||1.0||198||118||3-1-0||1-2-0||2-3-0||1-2-0||1 L|
|New York Jets||3||3||0||.500||1.5||113||119||2-2-0||1-1-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||2 W|
|New England Patriots||2||5||0||.286||3.0||101||177||1-3-0||1-2-0||2-2-0||2-1-0||1 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6||1||0||.857||0.0||178||105||3-1-0||3-0-0||4-0-0||2-0-0||6 W|
|Las Vegas Raiders||3||4||0||.429||3.0||112||161||2-1-0||1-3-0||2-3-0||1-1-0||1 L|
|Los Angeles Chargers||2||4||0||.333||3.5||144||155||1-2-0||1-2-0||1-3-0||1-1-0||2 L|
|Denver Broncos||2||5||0||.286||4.0||148||217||1-3-0||1-2-0||0-4-0||0-2-0||1 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Baltimore Ravens||5||2||0||.714||0.0||171||97||2-1-0||3-1-0||4-2-0||2-1-0||2 W|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||4||2||0||.667||0.5||103||127||2-1-0||2-1-0||3-1-0||2-0-0||2 W|
|Cleveland Browns||4||2||0||.667||0.5||134||115||3-1-0||1-1-0||3-2-0||1-2-0||2 W|
|Cincinnati Bengals||3||3||0||.500||1.5||100||127||2-1-0||1-2-0||0-3-0||0-2-0||2 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||5||2||0||.714||0.0||173||146||2-2-0||3-0-0||3-2-0||2-1-0||4 W|
|Houston Texans||3||3||0||.500||1.5||135||113||2-1-0||1-2-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||1 W|
|Indianapolis Colts||3||4||0||.429||2.0||178||191||1-3-0||2-1-0||3-3-0||2-2-0||2 L|
|Tennessee Titans||2||4||0||.333||2.5||104||117||2-1-0||0-3-0||2-3-0||0-1-0||2 L|
|National Football Conference|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Philadelphia Eagles||6||1||0||.857||0.0||186||141||3-0-0||3-1-0||4-0-0||1-0-0||1 W|
|Dallas Cowboys||4||2||0||.667||1.5||154||100||2-0-0||2-2-0||1-2-0||1-0-0||1 W|
|Washington Commanders||3||4||0||.429||3.0||140||190||1-2-0||2-2-0||2-3-0||0-2-0||1 L|
|New York Giants||2||5||0||.286||4.0||85||174||1-2-0||1-3-0||2-3-0||1-1-0||1 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|San Francisco 49ers||5||2||0||.714||0.0||201||109||3-0-0||2-2-0||4-1-0||2-0-0||2 L|
|Seattle Seahawks||4||2||0||.667||0.5||144||118||2-1-0||2-1-0||4-1-0||1-1-0||1 W|
|Los Angeles Rams||3||4||0||.429||2.0||155||141||1-3-0||2-1-0||2-2-0||2-1-0||1 L|
|Arizona Cardinals||1||6||0||.143||4.0||127||182||1-2-0||0-4-0||1-5-0||0-3-0||4 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Detroit Lions||5||2||0||.714||0.0||174||151||2-1-0||3-1-0||4-1-0||1-0-0||1 L|
|Minnesota Vikings||3||4||0||.429||2.0||151||152||1-3-0||2-1-0||3-2-0||1-0-0||2 W|
|Green Bay Packers||2||4||0||.333||2.5||130||132||1-1-0||1-3-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||3 L|
|Chicago Bears||2||5||0||.286||3.0||158||188||1-3-0||1-2-0||1-3-0||0-2-0||1 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Atlanta Falcons||4||3||0||.571||0.0||115||133||3-1-0||1-2-0||3-2-0||2-0-0||1 W|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3||3||0||.500||0.5||103||104||1-3-0||2-0-0||3-3-0||1-1-0||2 L|
|New Orleans Saints||3||4||0||.429||1.0||133||127||1-2-0||2-2-0||1-2-0||1-1-0||2 L|
|Carolina Panthers||0||6||0||.000||3.5||112||186||0-2-0||0-4-0||0-5-0||0-2-0||6 L|
|Detroit Red Wings||6||5||1||0||10||5||30||15||3-0-0||2-1-0||5-1-0|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||5||3||2||0||6||2||19||19||2-1-0||1-1-0||3-2-0|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||6||2||2||2||6||2||20||24||2-0-1||0-2-1||2-2-2|
|New York Rangers||5||3||2||0||6||3||15||12||1-1-0||2-1-0||3-2-0|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||5||3||2||0||6||3||15||16||2-2-0||1-0-0||3-2-0|
|New York Islanders||4||2||1||1||5||2||9||10||2-0-1||0-1-0||2-1-1|
|New Jersey Devils||4||2||1||1||5||2||15||15||1-1-1||1-0-0||2-1-1|
|St. Louis Blues||4||2||1||1||5||1||9||11||2-1-0||0-0-1||2-1-1|
|Vegas Golden Knights||6||6||0||0||12||5||25||11||3-0-0||3-0-0||6-0-0|
|Los Angeles Kings||5||2||2||1||5||2||21||19||0-2-1||2-0-0||2-2-1|
|San Jose Sharks||5||0||4||1||1||0||7||20||0-3-1||0-1-0||0-4-1|
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1908 “Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd; Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I never get back.”
– JACK NORWORTH’S original lyrics. Bill Murray introduces Take Me Out to the Ballgame, the immortal tune inspired by an NYC subway sign that read “Baseball Today – Polo Grounds.” The songwriting team of Albert Von Tilzer (music) and Jack Norworth (words), who created Baseball’s anthem, has never seen a game.
1911 After six days of rain, the World Series resumes with A’s right-hander Chief Bender, beating the Giants and Christy Mathewson, 4-2, at Shibe Park. The victory, fueled by three consecutive two-baggers in the three-run fourth frame, gives Philadelphia a 3-1 game lead in the Fall Classic.
1951 Larry MacPhail, the former owner of the Reds and Dodgers, suggests the concept of four new major leagues, including one on the West Coast. The innovative baseball executive, responsible for introducing night baseball and commercial air travel, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
1972 Jackie Robinson, weakened by heart disease complications and diabetes, dies of a heart attack in his North Stamford (CT) home. The 53-year-old nearly blind baseball pioneer and social activist’s death comes nine days after his appearance at the World Series, where he threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 at
1985 In the bottom of the seventh in Game 5, Royals’ starter Danny Jackson becomes the first pitcher to throw an immaculate inning in World Series history. The 23-year-old southpaw needs only nine pitches to strike out Terry Pendleton (swinging), Tom Nieto (looking), and Brian Harper (swinging) en route to going the distance in the team’s 6-1 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
1987 The Twins, amidst the deafening crowd noise of the hanky-waving fans in the Metrodome, stave off elimination when the team scores eight runs in the fifth and sixth frames of Game 6 to beat the Cardinals, 11-5. Minnesota’s southpaw-swinging Kent Hrbek hits a sixth-inning grand slam off left-handed Ken Dayley to put the contest out of reach for the Redbirds.
1992 In Game 6, Canada wins its first-ever World Series when the Blue Jays beat the Braves at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, 4-3. Toronto’s 41-year-old right fielder Dave Winfield’s 11th-inning double is the key hit in Toronto’s victory.
2000 Orlando Hernandez (8-0, 1.90) loses his first postseason game when the Mets defeat the Yankees on Benny Agbayani’s tiebreaking eighth-inning double, 4-2. New York native John Franco gets the win, ending the Yankees’ record 14-game World Series winning streak.
2000 Roger Clemens is fined a reported $50,000 for throwing the jagged barrel of a shattered bat in the direction of Met catcher Mike Piazza in the first inning of Game 2 of the World Series. Yankee manager Joe Torre and the right-hander both deny the incident was intentional.
2002 The Giants take the lead in the Fall Classic when they demolish the Angels 16-4 in Game 5 played at Pac Bell. Jeff Kent leads the attack with two home runs and four RBIs and ties a World Series record by scoring four times.
2006 After seven months of negotiations, the Players’ Association and MLB officials agree on a five-year collective bargaining agreement. The longest accord in baseball history, ending in 2011, ensures the game will span 16 years without a work stoppage.
2007 In a 13-1 rout of the Rockies, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia becomes the second player and the first rookie to hit a leadoff home run in a World Series opener. The 24-year-old freshman, the 31st major leaguer to homer in his first Fall Classic appearance, joins Orioles’ outfielder Don Buford, who went yard in 1969 as a leadoff batter in Game 1 off Tom Seaver of the Mets.
2011 With the help of a mismanaged Cardinal bullpen, Mike Napoli gives his team a 3-2 Series lead when he hits a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Rangers’ 4-2 victory in Game 5 in Arlington. The Texas catcher, who bats eighth in the order, becomes only the second player to have four multi-RBI games in a World Series, joining Yankee legend Mickey Mantle, who accomplished the feat against Pittsburgh in 1960.
2012 In the Giants’ 8-3 victory over the Tigers at AT&T Park, Pablo Sandoval becomes the fourth major leaguer to hit three home runs in a World Series game. The San Francisco third baseman, with his first, third, and fifth-inning round-trippers in the opening contest of the Fall Classic, joins Yankees outfielders Babe Ruth (1926, 28) and Reggie Jackson (1977) and Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (2011) in accomplishing the feat.
2014 Paul Konerko and Jimmy Rollins are co-recipients of the Roberto Clemente Award, an honor bestowed on major leaguers for their commitment to the community. The former White Sox first baseman and Phillies shortstop have been heavily involved in improving children’s lives by raising money, obtaining school supplies and back-to-school clothes, supporting juvenile diabetes and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis research, and funding the fight against child abuse, among many other charitable efforts.
2020 Randy Arozarena sets the record for most playoff home runs in a single postseason after going deep for the ninth time, belting a fourth-inning round-tripper in the Rays’ 8-7 victory in Game 4 of the World Series against the Dodgers at Globe Life Field. The Tampa Bay DH surpasses the eight compiled by Barry Bonds (Giants, 2002), Carlos Beltran (Astros, 2004), Nelson Cruz (Rangers, 2011), and Corey Seager (Dodgers, 2020).
WORLD SERIES HISTORY
As the “Roaring Twenties” reached their midpoint, the Washington Senators returned for their second consecutive Fall Classic against one of the Series’ original pioneers, the Pittsburgh Pirates. After defeating the perennial Giants in a seven game thriller the previous year, the Senators showed no signs of slowing down and quickly set the pace by winning Game 1 with little resistance. The next day the Pirates evened the score with a 3-2 victory on the arm of Vic Aldridge (who had gone the distance) and the swing of Kiki Cuyler who knocked a two run homer in the eighth. Both teams continued to trade W’s as the Senators netted a 4-3 win thanks to spectacular fielding by Sam Rice and the Pirates’ Vic Aldridge returned for a 6-3 triumph over Stan Covelski.
The Pirates maintained their momentum for a crucial 3-2 victory in Game 5 due to the efforts of rookie second baseman Eddie Moore and second year pitcher Ray Kremer. Moore had broken a tie in the eighth with a monster blast and Kremer held the Senators to just six hits. With the Series tied at three games apiece, it would all come down to the final outing at historic Forbes Field. Veteran ace, Walter Johnson (who had won Game 7 the year before) drew the start against the Pirates’ Vic Aldridge in what promised to be a fantastic finish. In 1925, The Big Train had reached 20+ wins for the twelfth season and was within four wins of the four-hundred mark (and he had done it entirely in a Washington uniform). Old Reliable was coming off of a 15-7 season with the Pirates and was the only pitcher in Pittsburgh’s rotation that was a billed in the New York papers as a “worthy opponent of the mighty Johnson”.
The press couldn’t have been more wrong about Aldridge as the Senators tagged him for four runs in the first before being pulled and lasting only 1/3 of an inning. Washington maintained control with a 6-3 lead going into the fourth, but Johnson broke down as well on the way to surrendering fifteen hits in eight innings. They managed to hold onto a 6-4 lead thanks to several fielding errors on the Pirates’ part but paid back the favor with several follies of their own including the seventh error by Roger Peckinpaugh who was having an awful postseason. Capitalizing on the Senator’s backslide, Pie Traynor stepped up and laced a timely game-tying triple (but was tagged out himself as he tried to reach home). Pirates’ reliever Ray Kremer took the mound against a desperate Washington team who must have cringed at the site of “Series goat” Peckinpaugh stepping up to the batter’s box. The thirty-four year old veteran had experienced every ballplayer’s nightmare with one error in Game 1, two in Game 2, one in Game 3, another in Game 5, one in Game 6 and, to this point, one in Game 7. Even worse, he had gone 5-23 at the plate. However, all that was momentarily forgotten as the struggling workhorse launched a rocket into the left-field seats, giving his team the 7-6 lead. Things appeared to be going in the Senator’s favor as Johnson sat down the first two Pirates in the bottom of the eighth. Once again, “goat-turned-hero-turned-goat” Peckinpaugh made a poor throw while attempting to record a force out at second allowing Eddie Moore and Max Carey to reach base. Game 2 hero, Kiki Cuyler, sealed the victory with a two-run ground-rule double (the Pirates eighth base hit of the day). The defending champions had fallen hard to the underdog Pirates whose comeback marked the first time a team had rallied from a 3-1 deficit in games to win a best-of-seven Series.
While Max Carey batted a Series-leading .458 for Pittsburgh and Aldridge and Kremer each won two games, the focus fell mainly on Washington’s players. Goose Goslin had hit three Series home runs for the second straight year; Joe Harris hit .440 (with three home runs) and Sam Rice, batted .364 and played exceptional defense. One particular play involving Rice sparked a controversy that would last for over fifty years: In the eighth inning of Game 3 (with the Senators leading by one run), the fielder tumbled into the right-field stands while reaching for a line drive. After several seconds he reemerged holding the ball signaling the out. Understandably, the Pirates contested umpire Cy Rigler stating that a Washington fan may have stuffed the ball into Rice’s glove. Questions about that moment followed Rice for the rest of his life resulting in a letter being sent to the Hall of Fame Officials (to be opened after his death in 1974) that stated simply, “At no time did I lose possession of the ball.”
The Demon Deacons Comeback Upset
October 24, 1970 -Wake Forest edged preseason ACC favorite North Carolina 14-13 at Groves Stadium to improve to 4-3 on the season. Wake trailed 13-0 entering the fourth quarter before Larry Russell scored on a quarterback sneak to cut the deficit to 13-7. The Deacons won the game by marching 94 yards in the closing minutes as Larry Hopkins scored on a 3-yard run with just 12 seconds left to tie the game. Tracy Lounsbury added the extra point for the win.
The Gamecocks Blindside the Tarheels
October 24, 1981 – Chapel Hill, NC – In this “Battle of the Carolinas” edition the number 3 in the nation, 6-0 North Carolina Tarheels hosted the unranked South Carolina Gamecocks whose record stood at 4-3 on the season. The Gamecocks were a year removed from Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers playing for them and were a team in flux that had lost its identity when their great runner had moved on from the team. The Tarheels on the other hand were riding high with a stingy defense that thus far into the season was giving up a mere 14 points per game. The Gamecocks jumped out early as they took the opening kick off and in three minutes drove the ball into the end zone for an yearly 7-0 lead. They then collected multiple turnovers from their hosts and extended their lead even further but the North Carolina squad fought back just before half with a backup quarterback to keep it a one score game at 14-7. The second half was all Gamecocks as the University of South Carolina upset the 3rd ranked University of North Carolina by the final score of 31-13.
Music Man Saves Stampeders
October 24, 1991 – Music industry Executive Larry Ryckman purchases CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. The Stampeders franchise was struggling financially and Ryckman’s guidance was just what the Doctor ordered. The new owner made a string of positive decisions that turned the finances of the team around including the signing of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia and Even Dwayne “ The Rock” Johnson as players on the team. He also started a great marketing campaign that won fans over and set the team into winning ways as they participated in 5 Grey Cup games and even one the coveted cup in 1992.
Irish Defeat Eagles
October 24, 2009 – South Bend, Indiana – 19th annual College Football Holy War saw Notre Dame defeating Boston College 20-16. Surprisingly it was Notre Dame’s first win in the series in nine seasons!
October 24, 2021 – Tom Brady throws his record 600th touchdown pass as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teams throttles the Chicago Bears in the Sombrero 38-3! Brady had four TD tosses in the first half alone notching his 601st and 602nd as well in his 20th season in the League.
HALL OF FAME BIRTHDAYS FOR OCTOBER 24
Happy Birthday Mr. Tittle
October 24, 1926 – Marshall, Texas – Quarterback great, Yelbertron Abraham Tittle was born. Y. A. Tittle played collegiately at Louisiana State University. He joined the Colts in the AAFC and was that league’s Rookie of the Year in 1950. When the Colts disbanded before the start of the 1951 season, Tittle joined the San Francisco 49ers and enjoyed 10 seasons of individual success with the team but had never got close to a championship. In 1961 he was traded to the New York Giants and Y.A. platooned at the QB position with veteran Charley Conerly. By 1963 he had taken over the Giants QB position outright and earned NFL Most Valuable Player honors. Because of his wisdom on the field and receding hairline, some called Tittle, “the Bald Eagle.” Y.A. led the Giants to the divisional titles in 1961, 1962, and 1963 but though they failed to win the overall NFL crown, these were considered great years to remember by Giants fans. Tittle enjoyed 17 seasons in his NFL career according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website bio on the player. He was All-NFL 4 times, played in 7 Pro-Bowls and tossed over 28,000 yards and 212 touchdowns in his illustrious career. Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined Y A Tittle in 1971.
J.D. Roberts anniversary of birth
October 24, 1932 – J.D. Roberts the stellar guard from the University of Oklahoma was born. He was one of the most decorated players of his era. According to the NFF website in 1953 he made seven All-America teams and was the first to sweep all the awards given a lineman – the Outland Trophy and Lineman of the Year with Associated Press, United Press, Fox Movietone News, and Williamson Syndicate. The National Football Foundation selected J.D. Roberts, to join their exclusive club at the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Johnny Lattner of ND
October 24, 1932 – Chicago, Illinois – Notre Dame’s famed halfback, Johnny Lattner came into this world. Per the footballfoundation.org bio on him as sophomore halfback, Lattner led the team in minutes played. In 1953, Lattner carried the ball 24 times for a 4.1 rushing average, caught 2 passes for 42 yards and intercepted a pass in a 28-21 victory against Oklahoma. He also punted nine times that afternoon, compiling a 38-yard average. He saved the Irish from defeat in 1951 against Iowa. It was fourth-and-ten on Notre Dame’s 22-yard line with the Irish down 20-13, but instead of punting, Lattner threw his first college pass, a 23-yard completion for an Irish first down. Then with 45 ticks of the clock remaining, Lattner ran 55 yards to the goal line, scoring the touchdown that helped Notre Dame to a 20-20 tie. Lattner won the Maxwell Award & Heisman Trophy in 1953 and was a two-time All- America selection. Selectors voted Johnny Lattner into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Jay Novacek, a QB’s best friend
October 24, 1962 – Martin, South Dakota – Wyoming tight end Jay Novacek was born. Per the NFF. Jay Novacek with the Wyoming Cowboys was consensus First Team All-America selection as the tight end caught 83 receptions for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns in his three-year collegiate career. The National Football Foundation selected Jay Novacek to proceed straight to the dwelling of legends, the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. The St. Louis Cardinals picked Jay in the 6th round of the 1985 NFL Draft and played for the franchise in both St. Louis and Phoenix for five seasons before joining the Dallas Cowboys. He helped the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins in four years and made it to five Pro Bowl appearances in his eleven year career.
NUMBERS IN SPORTS
5 – 3 – 32 – 18 – 22 – 10 -12
October 24, 1857 – The Sheffield FC franchise is recognized by FIFA as oldest existing club still playing football (soccer) in the world. The club was founded originaly in Yorkshire, England on this date but now it is based in Dronfield, Derbyshire
October 24, 1885 – A game called the “World Championship” Baseball Series, was played at the Cincinnati Base Ball Grounds. In the contest the St. Louis Browns beat Chicago White Stockings, 13–4 in Game 7 however it goes down in history as disputed series as it was tied at 3-3-1.
October 24, 1939 – Joe DiMaggio, Number 5 of the Yankees won the American League’s MVP as Number 3, Jimmie Foxx of the Red Sox was the runner-up in the voting
October 24, 1963 – Sandy Koufax, Number 32 pitcher of the LA Dodgers, was the unanimous winner of the season’s Cy Young Award
October 24, 1986 – MLB Los Angeles Dodgers’ infielder Number 18, Bill Russell at 38 years young announced his retirement
October 24, 1988 – New York Islander’s & NHL high scorer, Mike Bossy, Number 22 retired
October 24, 1992 – At the World Series the Toronto Blue Jays beat Atlanta Braves, 4-3 in Game 6 at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium to win their first-ever title; MVP: Toronto catcher Number 10, Pat Borders
October 24, 2021 – Number 12, Tom Brady became first quarterback in NFL history to record 600 touchdown passes when he hits Mike Evans in 1st quarter of the Buccaneers 38-3 rout of the Chicago Bears in Tampa Bay
|COLLEGE FOOTBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|New Mexico State at Louisiana Tech||7:00pm||CBSSN|
|Liberty at WKU||7:30pm||ESPNU|
|MLB PLAYOFFS||TIME ET||TV|
|NLCS Game 7: Arizona at Philadelphia||8:07pm||TBS|
|NBA REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|LA Lakers at Denver||7:30pm||TNT|
|Phoenix at Golden State||10:00pm||TNT|
|NHL REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|Toronto at Washington||6:00pm||ESPN|
|Anaheim at Columbus||6:30pm||Bally Sports|
|Buffalo at Ottawa||6:45pm||MSG-BUF|
|Carolina at Tampa Bay||7:00pm||Bally Sports|
|New Jersey at Montréal||7:15pm||MSGSN|
|Dallas at Pittsburgh||7:30pm||ATTSN-PIT|
|San Jose at Florida||7:45pm||NBCS-CA|
|Seattle at Detroit||8:15pm||Root Sports|
|Boston at Chicago||8:30pm||ESPN|
|St. Louis at Winnipeg||8:45pm||Bally Sports|
|Edmonton at Minnesota||9:00pm||Bally Sports|
|Vancouver at Nashville||9:15pm||Bally Sports|
|NY Rangers at Calgary||9:45pm||MSG|
|Arizona at Los Angeles||10:30pm||Bally Sports|
|Philadelphia at Vegas||11:00pm||ESPN|
|UEFA Champions League: Internazionale vs Salzburg||12:45pm||Paramount+|
|UEFA Champions League: Galatasaray vs Bayern München||12:45pm||Paramount+|
|UEFA Champions League: Sporting Braga vs Real Madrid||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|UEFA Champions League: Sevilla vs Arsenal||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|UEFA Champions League: Lens vs PSV||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|UEFA Champions League: Union Berlin vs Napoli||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|UEFA Champions League: Benfica vs Real Sociedad||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|Argentina Primera División: Unión Santa Fe vs Defensa y Justicia||4:00pm||Paramount+|
|Argentina Primera División: Racing Club vs Boca Juniors||6:00pm||Paramount+|
|Argentina Primera División: Argentinos Juniors vs Huracán||8:30pm||Paramount+|
|Argentina Primera División: Instituto vs Rosario Central||8:30pm||Paramount+|
|Liga MX: Guadalajara vs Mazatlán||11:00pm||Universo|