INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SECTIONAL TITLE GAMES NOV. 3
LAKE CENTRAL (5-5) AT CROWN POINT (10-0)
WARSAW (9-1) AT PENN (9-1)
FISHERS (7-3) AT HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN (8-2)
WESTFIELD (9-1) AT NOBLESVILLE (4-6)
BEN DAVIS (9-1) AT PIKE (3-7)
INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL (7-3) AT LAWRENCE NORTH (7-3)
WARREN CENTRAL (4-6) AT SOUTHPORT (2-8)
CENTER GROVE (9-1) AT COLUMBUS NORTH (5-5)
MERRILLVILLE (8-2) AT HAMMOND MORTON (5-4)
MICHIGAN CITY (6-4) AT VALPARAISO (8-2)
MISHAWAKA (8-2) AT CONCORD (6-4)
FORT WAYNE NORTH (3-6) AT FORT WAYNE SNIDER (9-1)
HARRISON (WEST LAFAYETTE) (9-1) AT DECATUR CENTRAL (8-2)
TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (5-5) AT WHITELAND (6-4)
BLOOMINGTON SOUTH (9-1) AT SEYMOUR (6-4)
EVANSVILLE NORTH (7-3) AT CASTLE (7-3)
NEW PRAIRIE (9-2) AT CULVER ACADEMY (5-6)
NORTHWOOD (9-2) AT NORTHRIDGE (9-2)
FORT WAYNE DWENGER (6-5) AT LEO (9-2)
KOKOMO (9-2) AT MISSISSINEWA (11-0)
MOORESVILLE (6-5) AT BREBEUF JESUIT (6-4)
NEW PALESTINE (9-2) AT MOUNT VERNON (FORTVILLE) (7-4)
GREENWOOD (6-5) AT EAST CENTRAL (11-0)
EVANSVILLE REITZ (11-0) AT EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL (8-3)
HANOVER CENTRAL (11-0) AT WEST LAFAYETTE (8-3)
JOHN GLENN (7-4) AT KNOX (11-0)
DELTA (7-4) AT GARRETT (6-5)
INDIANAPOLIS CHATARD (11-0) AT HAMILTON HEIGHTS (11-0)
TRI-WEST (10-1) AT MONROVIA (9-2)
VINCENNES LINCOLN (8-3) AT GIBSON SOUTHERN (9-2)
BATESVILLE (10-1) AT INDIAN CREEK (8-3)
HERITAGE HILLS (10-1) AT SCOTTSBURG (7-4)
BREMEN (6-5) AT LAVILLE (10-1)
LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC (8-3) AT SEEGER (8-3)
FORT WAYNE LUERS (8-3) AT MANCHESTER (5-6)
EASTERN (GREENTOWN) (9-2) AT BLUFFTON (9-2)
SOUTHMONT (6-5) AT LINTON-STOCKTON (10-1)
WINCHESTER (8-2) AT EASTERN HANCOCK (7-4)
TRITON CENTRAL (10-1) AT EASTERN (PEKIN) (5-6)
PAOLI (10-1) AT NORTH POSEY (10-1)
NORTH JUDSON (7-4) AT TRITON (8-3)
PARK TUDOR (11-0) AT NORTH VERMILLION (8-3)
CARROLL (FLORA) (11-0) AT TRI-CENTRAL (5-6)
ADAMS CENTRAL (11-0) AT MADISON-GRANT (8-3)
SHERIDAN (8-3) AT MONROE CENTRAL (6-5)
NORTH DECATUR (8-3) AT MILAN (8-3)
INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN (9-0) AT COVENANT CHRISTIAN (7-3)
SPRINGS VALLEY (10-1) AT PROVIDENCE (11-0)
INDIANA VOLLEYBALL STATE FINALS
CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
11 AM ET | SOUTHWOOD (31-4) VS. TECUMSEH (32-4)
CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
1:30 PM ET | MUNCIE BURRIS (30-4) VS. BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (24-13)
CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
4:30 PM ET | BELLMONT (34-2) VS. PROVIDENCE (30-5)
CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
7 PM ET | HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN (32-0) VS. CASTLE (34-3)
GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
BEECH GROVE 46 MORRISTOWN 23
ZIONSVILLE 59 CRISPUS ATTUCKS 22
GRANGER CHRISTIAN 41 SOUTH BEND CAREER 25
|CARROLL (FLORA)||AT||FRANKFORT||7:30 PM|
|CULVER ACADEMY||AT||WASHINGTON TWP.||7:30 PM|
|EASTERN (GREENTOWN)||AT||ELWOOD||6:00 PM|
|EVANSVILLE HARRISON||AT||FLOYD CENTRAL||7:30 PM|
|FORT WAYNE NORTH||AT||WARSAW||7:45 PM|
|HAMMOND MORTON||AT||HANOVER CENTRAL||8:00 PM|
|HOBART||AT||CROWN POINT||8:00 PM|
|INDIANAPOLIS RITTER||AT||EDINBURGH||7:30 PM|
|INDIANAPOLIS RIVERSIDE||AT||GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN||6:00 PM|
|INDIANAPOLIS ROOTED||AT||CHRISTEL HOUSE MANUAL||6:00 PM|
|INDIANAPOLIS TECH||AT||INDIANAPOLIS ATTUCKS||6:30 PM|
|NEW CASTLE||AT||RICHMOND||7:30 PM|
|NORTH CENTRAL (INDIANAPOLIS)||AT||WESTFIELD||7:30 PM|
|NORTH HARRISON||AT||SOUTH CENTRAL (ELIZABETH)||7:30 PM|
|OREGON-DAVIS||AT||MORGAN TWP.||7:00 PM|
|PORTAGE||AT||BOWMAN ACADEMY||8:00 PM|
|SOUTH DEARBORN||AT||EAST CENTRAL||7:30 PM|
|TRITON||AT||JOHN GLENN||7:30 PM|
|UNION (MODOC)||AT||UNION CITY||7:30 PM|
Tuesday, Oct. 31
NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN | 7 P.M. | ESPNU
BUFFALO AT TOLEDO | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN2
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1
BALL STATE AT BOWLING GREEN | 7 P.M. | ESPN2
KENT STATE AT AKRON | 7:30 P.M. | ESPNU
THURSDAY, NOV. 2
TCU AT TEXAS TECH | 7 P.M. | FS1
WAKE FOREST AT DUKE | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN
SOUTH ALABAMA AT TROY | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN2
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE AT BETHUNE-COOKMAN | 7:30 P.M. | ESPNU
FRIDAY, NOV. 3
PRINCETON AT DARTMOUTH | 7 P.M. | ESPNU
BOSTON COLLEGE AT SYRACUSE | 7:30 P.M. | ESPN2
COLORADO STATE AT WYOMING | 8 P.M. | CBSSN
SATURDAY, NOV. 4
OHIO STATE AT RUTGERS | 12 P.M. | CBS
KANSAS STATE AT TEXAS | 12 P.M. | FOX
TEXAS A&M AT OLE MISS | 12 P.M. | ESPN
NOTRE DAME AT CLEMSON | 12 P.M. | ABC
CAMPBELL AT NORTH CAROLINA | 12 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
UCONN AT TENNESSEE | 12 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
ARKANSAS AT FLORIDA | 12 P.M. | ESPN2
NEBRASKA AT MICHIGAN STATE | 12 P.M. | FS1
WISCONSIN AT INDIANA | 12 P.M. | BIG TEN NETWORK
JACKSONVILLE STATE AT SOUTH CAROLINA | 12 P.M. | ESPNU
HOLY CROSS AT LEHIGH | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
YALE AT BROWN | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
DRAKE AT MARIST | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
SAN DIEGO AT PRESBYTERIAN | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
HARVARD AT COLUMBIA | 12:30 P.M. | ESPN+
KENNESAW STATE AT SAM HOUSTON | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
DELAWARE STATE AT MORGAN STATE | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
BUCKNELL AT FORDHAM | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT INDIANA STATE | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
CORNELL AT PENN | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
GARDNER-WEBB AT BRYANT | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
VMI AT EAST TENNESSEE STATE | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
FURMAN AT CHATTANOOGA | 1:30 P.M. | ESPN+
NAVY AT TEMPLE | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
ARMY AT AIR FORCE | 2 P.M. | CBSSN
ARIZONA STATE AT UTAH | 2 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORKS
GEORGIA TECH AT VIRGINIA | 2 P.M. | CW
FLORIDA A&M AT ALABAMA A&M | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
NORTH DAKOTA AT MURRAY STATE | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTH DAKOTA AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
DAYTON AT VALPARAISO | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
ROBERT MORRIS AT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
BUTLER AT MOREHEAD STATE | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
MERCER AT THE CITADEL | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
WESTERN ILLINOIS AT UNI | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
UT MARTIN AT TENNESSEE TECH | 2:30 P.M. | ESPN+
FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT UAB | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
UTSA AT NORTH TEXAS | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTH FLORIDA AT MEMPHIS | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
LOUISIANA AT ARKANSAS STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
ILLINOIS STATE AT MISSOURI STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTHERN AT ALCORN STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
TEXAS SOUTHERN AT JACKSON STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
LINCOLN (CA) AT SOUTHERN UTAH | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
UTAH TECH AT ABILENE CHRISTIAN | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
IDAHO AT NORTHERN COLORADO | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
NORTH DAKOTA STATE AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
EASTERN ILLINOIS AT LINDENWOOD | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
WESTERN CAROLINA AT WOFFORD | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
NORTH ARIZONA AT MONTANA STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
MISSOURI AT GEORGIA | 3:30 P.M. | CBS SPORTS
FLORIDA STATE AT PITT | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN
OKLAHOMA AT OKLAHOMA STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ABC
PENN STATE AT MARYLAND | 3:30 P.M. | FOX
VIRGINIA TECH AT LOUISVILLE | 3:30 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
TULANE AT EAST CAROLINA | 3:30 P.M. | ESPNU
IOWA AT NORTHWESTERN | 3:30 P.M. | PEACOCK
JAMES MADISON AT GEORGIA STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN2
MERRIMACK AT UMASS | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
ILLINOIS AT MINNESOTA | 3:30 P.M. | BIG TEN NETWORK
UCF AT CINCINNATI | 3:30 P.M. | FS1
HOUSTON AT BAYLOR | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
COASTAL CAROLINA AT OLD DOMINION | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
HOWARD AT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
NORFOLK STATE AT NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
AUBURN AT VANDERBILT | 4 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
CHARLOTTE AT TULSA | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
UL MONROE AT SOUTHERN MISS | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
CAL POLY AT EASTERN WASHINGTON | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE AT LAMAR | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
MCNEESE AT SE LOUISIANA | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
TENNESSEE STATE AT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
NICHOLLS AT UIW | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
AUSTIN PEAY AT EASTERN KENTUCKY | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
CENTRAL ARKANSAS AT NORTH ALABAMA | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
CAL AT OREGON | 5:30 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORK
LOUISIANA TECH AT LIBERTY | 6 P.M. | CBSSN
MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT NEW MEXICO STATE | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
MARSHALL AT APPALACHIAN STATE | 6 P.M. | NFL NETWORK
WEBER STATE AT IDAHO STATE | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
KANSAS AT IOWA STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN
BYU AT WEST VIRGINIA | 7 P.M. | FS1
UTAH STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE | 7 P.M. | FOX
GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT TEXAS STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN AT TARLETON STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
PORTLAND STATE AT UC DAVIS | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
PURDUE AT MICHIGAN | 7:30 P.M. | NBC
WASHINGTON AT USC | 7:30 P.M. | ABC
KENTUCKY AT MISSISSIPPI STATE | 7:30 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
SMU AT RICE | 7:30 P.M. | ESPNU
LSU AT ALABAMA | 7:45 P.M. | CBS
MIAMI (FLA.) AT NC STATE | 8 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
SACRAMENTO STATE AT MONTANA | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
STANFORD AT WASHINGTON STATE | 9 P.M. | PAC-12 NETWORKS
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT UTEP | 9 P.M. | ESPN+
OREGON STATE AT COLORADO | 10 P.M. | ESPN
BOISE STATE AT FRESNO STATE | 10 P.M. | CBSSN
UCLA AT ARIZONA | 10:30 P.M. | FS1
DETROIT 26 LAS VEGAS 14
NFL WEEK 9
TENNESSEE TITANS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (THU) 8:15P (ET) 8:15P PRIME VIDEO
MIAMI DOLPHINS VS KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (FRANKFURT) 3:30P (CET) 9:30A NFLN
MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT ATLANTA FALCONS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
ARIZONA CARDINALS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P FOX
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT HOUSTON TEXANS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P CBS
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
CHICAGO BEARS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P CBS
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS 4:05P (ET) 4:05P CBS
NEW YORK GIANTS AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS 1:25P (PT) 4:25P FOX
DALLAS COWBOYS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 4:25P (ET) 4:25P FOX
BUFFALO BILLS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS 8:20P (ET) 8:20P NBC*
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT NEW YORK JETS (MON) 8:15P (ET) 8:15P ESPN
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
TEXAS 3 ARIZONA 1 (TEXAS LEADS SERIES 2-1)
TUESDAY, OCT. 31
TEX @ AZ, GAME 4, 8 P.M. (FOX)
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1
TEX @ AZ, GAME 5, 8 P.M. (FOX)
FRIDAY, NOV. 3
AZ @ TEX, GAME 6 (IF NECESSARY), 8 P.M. (FOX)
SATURDAY, NOV. 4
AZ @ TEX, GAME 7 (IF NECESSARY), 8 P.M. (FOX)
CHICAGO 112 INDIANA 105
BOSTON 126 WASHINGTON 107
BROOKLYN 133 CHARLOTTE 121
ATLANTA 127 MINNESOTA 113
PORTLAND 99 TORONTO 91
GOLDEN STATE 130 NEW ORLEANS 102
MILWAUKEE 122 MIAMI 114
OKLAHOMA CITY 124 DETROIT 112
DALLAS 125 MEMPHIS 110
DENVER 110 UTAH 102
LA LAKERS 106 CHARLOTTE 103
BOSTON 3 FLORIDA 2 OT
CAROLINA 3 PHILADELPHIA 2
ANAHEIM 4 PITTSBURGH 3
SEATTLE 4 TAMPA BAY 3 OT
DETROIT 4 NY ISLANDERS 3 OT
NY RANGERS 3 WINNIPEG 2 OT
DALLAS 5 COLUMBUS 3
ARIZONA 8 CHICAGO 1
VEGAS 3 MONTRÉAL 2
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
NO GAMES SCHEDULED
TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES
SEAGER STARS WITH 2-RUN HR, STELLAR DEFENSE TO LEAD RANGERS OVER D-BACKS 3-1 IN WORLD SERIES GAME 3
PHOENIX (AP) Corey Seager smashed a homer that rocketed off his bat at a speed few other mortals can match. Then he made a sliding stop and started a double play in the eighth inning that might have saved the game.
The star shortstop is once again playing at a different level in October.
That’s good for the Texas Rangers, who may need more of those individual heroics after a costly victory put them ahead in this World Series.
Seager clubbed a two-run homer and turned in a terrific defensive play, Max Scherzer combined with four relievers for a gem on the mound and Texas beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Fall Classic.
“This is what you play for. This is where you want to be at this moment,” said Seager, the NLCS and World Series MVP for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. “Fortunately for me, having experience with this, it’s always driven me. I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of some good teams and experience these things.”
Texas overcame injuries to Scherzer and slugger Adolis García in improving to 9-0 on the road this postseason, this time in front of more than 48,000 fans at Chase Field.
The 29-year-old Seager – in the second year of a $325 million contract – once again showed he was worth every penny on the game’s biggest stage.
He smoked a two-run homer into the right-field seats as part of a three-run third after Diamondbacks rookie starter Brandon Pfaadt left a first-pitch changeup high in the zone. The ball left Seager’s bat at 114.5 mph, which made it the hardest-hit World Series homer in the Statcast era, dating back to 2015.
García cut down Christian Walker at the plate with a stellar throw from right field in the second, stifling some early Arizona momentum. García exited in the eighth with tightness on his left side after appearing to get hurt on a swing. He went to a hospital for an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
Scherzer threw three scoreless innings before leaving with back tightness. Jon Gray, Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman and José Leclerc combined to keep Arizona’s offense quiet most of the evening.
Scherzer said he was having back spasms and would know more about his availability for a potential Game 7 over the next 48 hours.
“It’s tough. We’re a deep group. We’ll see what happens with both of those guys,” Texas second baseman Marcus Semien said about the injuries. “Adolis has been the heart and soul of our team. Hopefully it’s nothing too bad. But we’re a deep group. We have some guys that haven’t been playing that are pretty good players, too.”
Gray replaced Scherzer and fired three shutout innings of one-hit ball for the win. Leclerc struck out two in a perfect ninth for his fourth save this postseason.
“Just staying ready … and just waiting on that call. I knew it was going to happen eventually,” said Gray, a veteran starter who recently returned from injury. “To be able to come in now and do a really good job, it feels amazing.”
Game 4 in the best-of-seven Series is Tuesday at Chase Field.
The D-backs rallied in the eighth when pinch-hitter Emmanuel Rivera led off with a double against Chapman. Geraldo Perdomo followed with an RBI single, making it 3-1. But then Chapman worked out of the jam – striking out Corbin Carroll before Seager started a clutch double play, sliding on his knees to field a hot smash from Ketel Marte before flipping to Semien, who relayed to first.
“Just trying to make the play,” Seager said. “I think Marcus did a better job than me with the turn and the transfer. Props to him, props to Chapman for making a good pitch and we got out of the inning.”
After García threw out Walker, the Rangers grabbed the lead in the third. Nathaniel Lowe hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out single by Semien, his first RBI in 10 games. Seager then launched his no-doubt homer deep into the right-field seats to make it 3-0.
Texas is 9-0 this postseason when scoring first, and the Rangers are the first team in major league history to win their first nine road games in one postseason.
It was Seager’s fifth homer this postseason. The four-time All-Star also was one of the heroes in Game 1 of this Fall Classic, belting a tying homer in the ninth that helped rally the Rangers to a 6-5 victory in 11 innings on García’s home run.
The 25-year-old Pfaadt had been a revelation in the postseason with a 2.70 ERA through four October starts, despite a 5.72 ERA during the regular season. He wasn’t quite as good on Monday – giving up three runs on four hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings, striking out four.
The teams combined for no errors over the first two games of the series and the Rangers produced more defensive highlights that helped them take control of Game 3.
Walker led off the second with a double and Tommy Pham followed with a single, but Walker was thrown out at home. Diamondbacks third-base coach Tony Perezchica put up a stop sign, but Walker either didn’t see it or didn’t care, never hesitating as he rounded third.
García – a Gold Glove finalist who has one of the best arms in the big leagues – threw a 94.6 mph rocket to the plate to cut down Walker.
“I feel like that was a huge momentum swing,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “That was a big moment. We got flat there for a couple innings.”
Two batters later, Alek Thomas hit a grounder that deflected off Scherzer’s right elbow toward the third-base line. Josh Jung was there to barehand the ball and fling a strong throw across the diamond to beat the speedy Thomas.
Scherzer gave up two hits and two walks while striking out one.
This is the first World Series in which neither team has made an error through the first three games.
YOUNG AND CLEAN(UP)
Texas rookie Evan Carter became the fourth-youngest player to hit cleanup in a World Series game at 21 years, 62 days. The outfielder batted third in the first two games, but manager Bruce Bochy said he flipped Carter and García in the lineup on Monday to break up the left-handed bats.
The three youngest players to hit cleanup in the World Series were Miguel Cabrera (2003), Ty Cobb (1907) and Juan Soto (2019), who were all 20.
BEEN A WHILE
This was the first World Series game played at Chase Field since Nov. 4, 2001, when the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees 3-2 in Game 7 after Luis Gonzalez’s walk-off hit against Mariano Rivera clinched the series.
The D-backs lost Monday for the first time in the World Series at Chase Field. They were 4-0 at home during the 2001 Series, which is the only other time they’ve been to the sport’s biggest showcase.
There have been 62 previous instances when the World Series was tied 1-1 after Game 2. The Game 3 winner went on to win 41 times.
The Diamondbacks will piece together Game 4 on the mound with multiple relievers, starting with lefty Joe Mantiply. Lovullo showed his Southern California roots by mentioning a former Los Angeles Dodgers ace when asked about his team’s pitching plans.
“Don Drysdale is not going to fall out of the sky,” Lovullo said. “It’s definitely going to be somebody in our bullpen that’s going to start the day tomorrow.”
Drysdale teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax in the pitching rotation to help the Dodgers win the World Series in 1959, 1963 and 1965.
The Rangers will counter with lefty Andrew Heaney. Bochy said before Monday’s game that Gray was an option, but he threw 30 pitches Monday.
CLEVELAND GUARDIANS INTERVIEW BREWERS MANAGER CRAIG COUNSELL FOR MANAGERIAL JOB, AP SOURCE SAYS
CLEVELAND (AP) — Craig Counsell’s place in Cleveland baseball history is as World Series villain.
He could become something more appealing.
Counsell, who has led the Milwaukee Brewers to the playoffs five times in the past six seasons, is meeting with Guardians about their managerial opening, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press on Monday.
The 53-year-old Counsell is at Progressive Field for his interview with the Guardians, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not making any of its search public.
Counsell’s contract with Milwaukee is set to expire this week, but the Brewers are allowing him to look elsewhere while also hoping they can re-sign the coveted manager. The New York Mets are also reportedly interested in Counsell and have far more money to offer him than either the small-market Brewers or Guardians.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio has said on multiple occasions that the team wants Counsell back in 2024.
Counsell has an interesting connection to Cleveland. As a light-hitting infielder with Florida, he hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series as the Marlins rallied to beat Cleveland and win a title.
Counsell also scored the winning run in the 11th inning on Edgar Rentería’s single off Cleveland’s Charles Nagy.
Counsell played 16 seasons in the majors.
Cleveland is searching for a manager for the first time since 2012 after Terry Francona, the winningest manager in club history, stepped down after this season.
The Guardians have interviewed several candidates to replace Francona. Mariners bullpen coach Stephen Vogt was in Cleveland last week for his second interview with the club and is considered one of the leading candidates.
Milwaukee went 92-70 this season and won the NL Central title before getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Wild Card Series.
Counsell took over as Milwaukee’s manager during the 2015 season after Ron Roenicke was fired. The Brewers had made a total of four playoff appearances before Counsell took over.
The longest-tenured manage in the National League, Counsell is 707-625 with the Brewers, giving him the club record for wins and games managed.
YANKEES’ AARON JUDGE RECEIVES ROBERTO CLEMENTE AWARD
New York Yankees star Aaron Judge was named the 2023 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award on Monday.
The award is given to the Major League Baseball player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”
Judge, 31, followed up his 2022 American League MVP campaign by recording 37 home runs and 75 RBIs over 106 games in 2023 as the Yankees missed the playoffs.
Off the field, Judge’s ALL RISE Foundation continued to support underprivileged kids in his native California and New York. The foundation gave grants this year to six organizations: Bridge2College, NYC Autism Charter Schools (NYCACS), Tourette Association of America, Edward C. Merlo Institute of Environmental Technology (SUSD), Resiliency Center of Fresno and Birch Family Services.
The award was established in 1973 in honor of Clemente, the first Caribbean-born player and first Latin American to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Commissioner Rob Manfred, Clemente’s three children, former players and a panel of journalists help select each year’s winner.
SENATORS SLUGGER FRANK HOWARD DIES AT 87
Frank Howard, who starred for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Senators across 16 MLB seasons before coaching for two-plus decades, has died, the Washington Nationals announced Monday. Howard was 87.
Howard hit 382 home runs during his lengthy career. He won National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1960, won a World Series with the Dodgers in 1963 and was named to four straight All-Star Games with Washington (1968-71).
“Growing up a baseball fan in Washington D.C., Frank Howard was my hero,” Nationals managing principal owner Mark D. Lerner said in a statement. “The towering home runs he hit into the stands at RFK Stadium gave him the nickname ‘Capital Punisher,’ but I’ll always remember him as a kind and gentle man. The entire Lerner family would like to offer our thoughts and condolences to Frank’s family during this difficult time. The world of baseball has truly lost a giant.”
The 6-foot-7 Howard hit 237 of his home runs over his seven-year stint with the Senators; only Ryan Zimmerman hit more for a Washington-based team. The Nationals inducted him into their ring of honor in 2016 for contributions made to Washington baseball.
When the Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972, the outfielder/first baseman was among the players to make the move. He was the oldest living member of that expansion team at the time of his death, according to the Rangers.
“Frank Howard was a bigger-than-life personality who was very popular with his teammates and the fans in Washington and Texas,” the Rangers said in a statement. “The Rangers extend their deepest condolences to Mr. Howard’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”
Howard led the American League in home runs twice (44 in 1968 and 1970) and also led the AL in RBIs (126) and walks (132) in 1970.
He was a lifetime .273 hitter with 245 doubles, 35 triples, 1,119 RBIs and 782 walks.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS
AP TOP 25 REALITY CHECK: TEXAS OR OKLAHOMA? WASHINGTON OR OREGON? HOW MUCH TO HONOR HEAD-TO-HEAD?
At this time of the season, those head-to-head results can become challenging for voters in The Associated Press college football poll.
There was no
There was no movement among the top five in the rankings Sunday, with Georgia strengthening its grip on No. 1.
Oklahoma slipped to No. 10 after losing to Kansas, which jumped into the rankings at No. 23.
That put Oklahoma behind Texas, which landed at No. 7. Just a few weeks ago, the Sooners knocked off the Longhorns in a Red River Rivalry thriller. That’s Texas’ only loss of the season.
Reasonable? Maybe. The Sooners didn’t play a Power Five team in the nonconference, though SMU has been one of the better teams out of the Group of Five. Texas won at Alabama out of conference.
Within the Big 12 so far, Texas routed at home the same Kansas team that OU lost to on the road.
Choosing between Washington at No. 5 and Oregon at No. 6 seems a clearer choice. The Huskies won the head-to-head and still have an unbeaten record. But again, the Ducks probably have a better overall resume with a nonconference road victory at Texas Tech and Saturday’s romp at now-No. 18 Utah.
While the Huskies have played close games against bottom-tier Pac-12 teams Arizona State and Stanford the past two weeks, the Ducks have crushed their lesser opponents.
Among Southeastern Conference teams, No. 11 Mississippi beat No. 13 LSU, which beat No. 14 Missouri. All good there.
What about this one? No. 15 Louisville (7-1) had a decisive victory against Notre Dame and has one fewer loss than the Fighting Irish (7-2), who are ranked 12th.
The Cardinals lost to a Pitt team the Irish just beat by 51 and Notre Dame beat No. 24 USC soundly. Then again, Louisville just shut out a Duke team that Notre Dame needed a late touchdown to beat.
It’s tough. The College Football Playoff selection committee gets to weigh in on these matters for the first time this season. The committee’s rankings debut Tuesday.
Reality Check believes the AP poll voters did OK with the head-to-head results this week, but had a few complaints.
No. 1 Georgia (8-0)
Next: vs. No. 14 Missouri, Saturday.
Reality check: With TE Brock Bowers out, WR Ladd McConkey, now healthy after missing the first four games, broke out against Florida with six catches for 135 yards and a score.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 2 Michigan (8-0)
Next: vs. Purdue, Saturday.
Reality check: Sign of success: Michigan’s defense has not faced a goal-to-go situation this season.
Ranked: Straight resume, you could bump the Wolverines down a spot.
No. 3 Ohio State (8-0)
Next: at Rutgers, Saturday.
Reality check: RB TreVeyon Henderson has missed most of the season with injuries, but he’s an important piece of the Buckeyes’ offense. He had 207 yards on 28 touches against Wisconsin.
Ranked: Good chance to be the CFP No. 1.
No. 4 Florida State (8-0)
Next: at Pittsburgh, Saturday.
Reality check: RB Trey Benson is the only player in the country with a run and a reception of at least 80 yards.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 5 Washington (8-0)
Next: at No. 24 Southern California, Saturday.
Reality check: Huskies issues on offense the past few weeks have been fairly simple to diagnose: six turnovers. Defensively, it has been a mish-mosh of ineffectiveness at all three levels.
Ranked: Honor the head-to-head, but do so with some skepticism.
No. 6 Oregon (7-1)
Next: vs. California, Saturday.
Reality check: QB Bo Nix has completed at least 72% of his passes in every game and has been above 84% three times.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 7 Texas (7-1)
Next: vs. No. 25 Kansas State, Saturday.
Reality check: QB Maalik Murphy’s first start was solid against an overmatched opponent, but 6.8 yards per attempt is going to be a difficult way to beat teams the Longhorns’ defense can’t smother.
Ranked: Could make a case for No. 5.
No. 8 Alabama (7-1)
Next: vs. No. 13 LSU, Saturday.
Reality check: Time to find out how far the Crimson Tide have come in their work-in-progress season.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 9 Penn State (7-1)
Next: at Maryland, Saturday.
Reality check: The running games has not averaged more than 4.2 yards per carry against Power Five opponents. Not being able to use the passing game to loosen up defenses impacts the running game.
Ranked: Too high.
No. 10 Oklahoma (7-1)
Next: at Oklahoma State, Saturday.
Reality check: Four straight games in which the Sooners have allowed at least 5.5 yards per play. And here comes the hottest running back in the country in Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II, who joined Barry Sanders as the only Cowboy to have two straight 250-yard rushing games.
Ranked: Little low.
No. 11 Mississippi (7-1)
Next: vs. Texas A&M, Saturday.
Reality check: Rebels have held three straight SEC opponents below 300 yards of offense.
Ranked: Little low.
No. 12 Notre Dame (7-2)
Next: at Clemson, Saturday.
Reality check: Fighting Irish pass defense has been nasty. Not one opponent has reached 7 yards per attempt and safety Xavier Watts has six of Notre Dame’s 13 interceptions.
Ranked: Too high.
No. 13 LSU (6-2)
Next: at No. 8 Alabama, Saturday.
Reality check: Beating Alabama and Georgia is the road to becoming the first two-loss team to make the CFP. That’s the Tigers’ opportunity. Not sure they’re up for it, but it’s there.
Ranked: Little low.
No. 14 Missouri (7-1)
Next: at No. 1 Georgia, Saturday.
Reality check: Welcome to Mizzou’s potential November to remember. It could come crashing down quickly against the Bulldogs, but there is 10-win potential here.
Ranked: About right.
No. 15 Louisville (7-1)
Next: vs Virginia Tech, Saturday.
Reality check: Under-the-radar great job by the Cardinals’ defense, which has held four straight opponents under 300 yards and 5.0 yards per play. Edge rusher Ashton Gillotte leads the charge with 8 1/2 sacks.
Ranked: Probably should still be ahead of Notre Dame.
No. 16 Oregon State (6-2)
Next: at Colorado, Saturday.
Reality check: Even with the loss to Arizona, the Beavers still have a chance to reach the Pac-12 title game, but spoiler might be more realistic with Washington and Oregon still on the schedule.
Ranked: About right.
No. 17 Air Force (8-0)
Next: vs. Army, Saturday.
Reality check: Falcons lead the nation in time of possession at 34 1/2 minutes per game. Not surprising, but impressive nonetheless.
Ranked: Just right.
No. 18 Utah (6-2)
Next: vs. Arizona State, Saturday.
Reality check: Time to recalibrate expectations after a serious reality check against Oregon. A nine-win regular season would still be impressive.
Ranked: Too high.
No. 19 Tennessee (6-2)
Next: vs. UConn, Saturday.
Reality check: Vols have six 200-yard rushing games his season, just one fewer than they had in 13 games last season. More RB Jaylen Wright (6.99 yards per carry) and less committee might not be a bad idea.
Ranked: About right.
No. 20 UCLA (6-2)
Next: at Arizona, Saturday.
Reality check: Bruins pass rush made life miserable for Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders. UCLA is fourth in the country at 3.88 sacks per game.
Ranked: Little high.
No. 21 Tulane (7-1)
Next: at East Carolina, Saturday.
Reality check: Pass defense is the Green Wave’s potential undoing. They rank near the bottom of the America Athletic Conference and it makes it hard to protect leads.
Ranked: Too high.
No. 22 Kansas (6-2)
Next: at Iowa State, Saturday.
Reality check: Will we see QB Jalon Daniels play for Kansas again? As well as Jason Bean has played, Jayhawks could run the table with Daniels.
Ranked: Little high.
No. 23 James Madison (8-0)
Next: at Georgia State, Saturday.
Reality check: Dukes have won five one-possession games.
Ranked: Little high.
No. 24 Southern California (7-2)
Next: vs. No. 5 Washington, Saturday.
Reality check: Trojans have a strange relationship with the running game. They average 5.17 yards per carry, 19th best in the nation. They run it just under 30 times per game, 121st in the nation. It might be a way to keep the defense off the field.
Ranked: Too high.
No. 25 Kansas State (6-2)
Next: at No. 7 Texas, Saturday.
Reality check: Wildcats defense has allowed three points and 508 yards combined in its last two games.
Ranked: Too low.
IOWA AD SAYS OC BRIAN FERENTZ WON’T RETURN IN 2024
Brian Ferentz will finish the season as Iowa’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach but will not return next season, interim athletic director Beth Goetz announced Monday.
Ferentz, the son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, has been with the program since 2012 and has served as offensive coordinator since 2017.
Due to an underperforming offense in recent years, Iowa had Ferentz sign an amended contract for this season with a slight pay cut coupled with performance-based incentives. Specifically, he needed the Hawkeyes to average at least 25 points per game after they posted just 17.7 ppg in 2022.
Through eight games this season, Iowa is 6-2 (3-2 Big Ten), but the Hawkeyes have scored just 19.5 points per contest. That includes 14.2 points per game in conference play — a number boosted by a punt return touchdown against Michigan State and a safety against Wisconsin.
“Anyone who loves Iowa football recognizes both the success and challenges that have brought attention to our program this season,” Goetz said in a statement. “Our struggles on offense coupled with the offensive coordinator’s contract make this a unique situation.
“After conversations with head coach Kirk Ferentz, coach Brian Ferentz and President (Barbara) Wilson, I informed Brian that our intention is for him to be with us through the bowl game, but this is his last season with the program. Making this known today is in the best interest of the program and its loyal fans; it provides clarity during this pivotal time in the schedule.”
Goetz, who came to Iowa in 2022 and rose to interim athletic director this past August, wrote it is “not (her) practice” to get involved with assistant coach personnel decisions.
“Our priority is to put all our student-athletes in the best position to have both short-term and long-term success, on and off the field,” Goetz said. “Our football team has a group of outstanding young men and talented athletes, who at 6-2, have a lot to play for.”
The Hawkeyes brought in quarterback Cade McNamara as a transfer from Big Ten rival Michigan, but McNamara suffered an ACL tear in the fifth game of the season against Michigan State. Deacon Hill has manned the position since then, completing 37.8 percent of his passes for 427 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Kirk Ferentz, 68, has led the Hawkeyes since 1999. After last season, he danced around pointed questions about what made his son a good offensive coordinator, though admitting that the offense in 2022 was “not good enough.”
LIONS LEAN ON JAHMYR GIBBS’ LEGS, JARED GOFF’S ARM IN 26-14 WIN OVER OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED RAIDERS
DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Lions can trace their turnaround to hitting more than missing in the draft.
Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta are the latest examples.
Gibbs ran for a season-high 152 yards and a touchdown, LaPorta had eight receptions for 57 yards with a score, and the rookies helped the Lions beat the Las Vegas Raiders 26-14 on Monday night.
“We wanted to get Gibbs going,” coach Dan Campbell said. “You could tell he was feeling it.”
The NFC North-leading Lions (6-2) stalled on three early drives, turned the ball over three times, missed a field goal and still won by double digits.
“When your defense plays that good, you can overcome that,” Campbell said.
Jared Goff threw an interception that Marcus Peters returned 75 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, allowing Las Vegas (3-5) to pull within two points. Detroit’s next drive ended when Craig Reynolds fumbled at the Raiders 3.
The Lions kept the ball on their third drive of the second half, taking a two-score lead on Gibbs’ 27-yard touchdown run.
Riley Patterson made a 52-yard field goal to give Detroit a 12-point lead early in the fourth.
That was a comfortable cushion against the offensively challenged Raiders.
Las Vegas welcomed the return of Jimmy Garoppolo, but lamented that he threw a league-leading ninth interception one play after the Raiders recovered a fumble in the first quarter. Kerby Joseph picked off Garoppolo’s lofted pass into double coverage toward Davante Adams in the end zone.
“This was definitely a bad day,” Garoppolo said. “I just have to be smart with the ball.”
Sometimes, he didn’t have much of a chance.
Midway through the fourth, trying to rally, the Raiders gave up sacks on three of four snaps and turned it over on downs at their 28.
In all, Las Vegas allowed its beat-up quarterback to get sacked six times.
Garoppolo, who missed six quarters because of a back injury, was 10 of 21 for 126 yards.
Even when Garoppolo had time to throw and an open receiver, he misfired – as he did when Adams was all alone deep down field late in the game. When that series ended, the standout receiver slammed his helmet on the sideline and sat disgustedly on the Raiders’ bench.
Josh Jacobs’ lackluster season continued. The 2022 All-Pro running back finished with 15 carries for 61 yards and a 3-yard touchdown late in the first half that cut the Raiders’ deficit to 9-7. That was their only score on offense.
“I thought we did have some opportunities to make more plays on offense than we did, but we didn’t make them,” embattled coach Josh McDaniels said. “We just couldn’t string together each enough plays in the passing game.”
Goff completed 26 of 37 passes for 272 yards with an 18-yard strike to LaPorta for a touchdown that put Detroit up 16-7 late in the first half. Amon-Ra St. Brown had six catches for 108 yards.
Entering the game, Las Vegas had held an NFL-high five teams to fewer than 200 yards passing.
Detroit also had a dynamic running game to keep the Raiders on their heels.
Gibbs, the No. 12 pick overall, had a season-high 26 carries and five receptions for 37 yards.
“He’s a very talented player with a very dynamic skill set,” McDaniels said.
MAKING A MARK
LaPorta is the first NFL tight end to have at least three catches and 35-plus yards receiving in his first eight games.
Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby donated $1 million to Eastern Michigan’s athletic department, and the school is naming its field at Rynearson Stadium after its former star. The two-time Pro Bowler had a big night with eight tackles, including one for a loss, and he forced and recovered a fumble.
Raiders: LB Luke Masterson and FB Jakob Johnson left the game with concussions. … LB Divine Deablo (ankle) was inactive.
Lions: RB David Montgomery (ribs), C Frank Ragnow (toe, calf), and OG Jonah Jackson (ankle) were inactive.
Raiders: Host the New York Giants on Sunday.
Lions: Have their bye week before playing at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 12.
STRUGGLING GIANTS TRADE DEFENSIVE LINEMAN LEONARD WILLIAMS TO FIRST-PLACE SEAHAWKS
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The struggling New York Giants have traded defensive end Leonard Williams to the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks for a pair of draft picks.
The Giants (2-6) said Monday they will receive a second-round draft choice in 2024 and a fifth-rounder in 2025 for Williams, who had a $32 million salary cap hit this season, the highest on the team.
Seattle (5-2) has two third-round picks next year, which will help soften the blow of giving up a second-rounder.
The deal came a day before the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Adding Williams is the second move Seattle has made in the past week to add to its defensive line. The Seahawks reunited with veteran defensive end Frank Clark last week after Uchenna Nwosu was lost for the regular season with a pectoral injury in Week 7 against Arizona.
Williams will likely step into a rotation with Dre’Mont Jones, Mario Edwards Jr. and Jarran Reed on Seattle’s defensive front. Reed in particular has played a lot of snaps as a shaded nose tackle through the first seven games, and the Seahawks have wanted to get more pressure with the interior of their defensive line.
Ultimately, adding Williams will make that group deeper and give the Seahawks the flexibility to use the veteran in different spots on the defensive line.
The addition of Williams continued Seattle’s remodel of its defensive line from last year after it was a clear focus in the offseason. The Seahawks brought back Reed, signed Jones and Edwards to free agent deals and spent draft picks on nose tackle Cameron Young, edge rusher Derick Hall and big defensive end Mike Morris. The Seahawks took a hit to their depth when Morris was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury after Week 1.
The Giants were expected to challenge for a second straight playoff berth entering the season, but they have been beset by injuries on their offense line and at quarterback this season and the offense is among the worst in the league.
New York’s record made it a seller at the deadline and Williams has been playing well lately, starting seven games. He blocked a field-goal attempt against Washington a week ago Sunday, had 21 tackles and had been steady against the run.
A nine-year veteran, Williams started 53 of 61 regular-season games and two playoff games with the Giants after being acquired from the Jets in October 2019. He was the No. 6 overall draft pick by the Jets in 2015 and played 71 games for them.
Williams was selected a team captain in 2022 and 2023 and was twice the NFC Defensive Player of the Week in the final five weeks of the 2021 season, the first time against Seattle.
With the Giants, he had 230 tackles, 22 1/2 sacks, including a career-high 11 1/2 in 2021. He also had 162 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
VIKINGS CONFIRM COUSINS IS DONE FOR THE SEASON WITH A TORN ACHILLES TENDON IN A DEVASTATING BLOW
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) Kirk Cousins has a torn right Achilles tendon that will end his season, the Minnesota Vikings announced on Monday after his first career injury put a somber tone on their three-game winning streak.
The Vikings announced that the MRI exam on Cousins confirmed their initial fear of a tear after the 12th-year quarterback went down in pain in the fourth quarter at Green Bay on Sunday after planting his foot in the grass to try to avoid a sack. He quickly limped off the field, unable to put weight on his right leg.
Rookie Jaren Hall took over from there, as the Vikings (4-4) held on to beat the Packers 24-10 and climb above the cut for the playoffs after an 0-3 start. Staying there will be far more challenging without Cousins, their ever-ready leader who’s suddenly and stunningly unavailable to play.
Cousins will have surgery on a to-be-determined date, the Vikings said. No recovery timetable was announced, but it’s typically at least a six-month process for returning to full strength. New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers has raised the possibility of returning yet this season from his torn left Achilles tendon, but after getting hurt in the opener he’s nearly two months ahead of Cousins on rehab.
Cousins, who is on track to be a free agent next spring, has never missed a game in the NFL to injury. He has gone to great lengths to keep himself as healthy as possible, realizing the car-crash nature of his position while trying to extend his career as long as he can.
His appearance on the Netflix documentary “Quarterback,” that shadowed him, Patrick Mahomes and Marcus Mariota throughout the 2022 season endeared him to a broader audience with the up-close look at his willingness to take those punishing hits for his team and work arduously each week to prepare his mind and body for the next game.
The beginning of the show started with him at home reading a children’s book about football to his youngest son, Turner. The opening lines of the book that Cousins read to his son included this foreboding passage: “An injury to the quarterback can sink a team’s entire season.”
Now the Vikings are about to find out if it will or not.
The late-blooming overachiever who was an afterthought recruit at Michigan State and a fourth-round draft pick in 2012, Cousins became the full-time starter with Washington in his fourth season and signed an unprecedented fully guaranteed contract with Minnesota in 2018 after he hit the open market.
Cousins has had his well-publicized share of ups and downs, with only one career win in a playoff game, but even at age 35 he’s continued to ascend as a passer in coach Kevin O’Connell’s complicated system. His completion rate (69.5 percent) is the third best of his career and fifth in the league in 2023. He’s tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes (18), second in passing yards (2,331) and third in passer rating (103.8).
Over the three games since superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson was sidelined by a hamstring injury, Cousins went 79 for 107 (73.8%) for 833 yards and five touchdowns with four sacks and two turnovers.
“It breaks my heart. That guy is the leader of the team. He’s the heart and soul of the team,” Hall said.
STEELERS LEAVING DOOR ‘AJAR’ FOR QB KENNY PICKETT TO PLAY AGAINST TITANS. SAFETY FITZPATRICK OUT
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is leaving the door “ajar” for Kenny Pickett to play on Thursday when Tennessee visits Acrisure Stadium.
Pickett left Sunday’s 20-10 loss to Jacksonville late in the second quarter with a rib injury. He warmed up briefly at the end of halftime but did not take the field again. Backup Mitch Trubisky played the entirety of the second half as Pittsburgh fell to 4-3.
Tomlin said Pickett will try to practice at least once before facing the Titans (3-4).
“I need to see physical preparation in order to consider him, certainly,” Tomlin said.
While Pickett could play, All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will not. The three-time Pro Bowler left in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return.
The Steelers defense forced three turnovers and bent but rarely broke against the Jaguars with Fitzpatrick on the sideline, though the one touchdown they gave up — a 56-yard strike from Trevor Lawrence to running back Travis Etienne — came when Lawrence took advantage of an overly aggressive Damontae Kazee, who briefly bit on a shallower route and was out of position when Lawrence’s pass sailed over his head.
Kazee, who also picked off Lawrence in the end zone in the second quarter, will likely start with Fitzpatrick out.
Pittsburgh’s run defense could get a potential boost by the return of veteran defensive lineman Cam Heyward. Heyward hasn’t played since needing groin surgery after getting hurt in a Week 1 loss to San Francisco. The 34-year-old returned to practice last Thursday.
REPORT: TITANS QB WILL LEVIS EXPECTED TO START THURSDAY
Rookie quarterback Will Levis is expected to draw his second pro start when the Tennessee Titans visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night to kick off Week 9, ESPN reported.
Ryan Tannehill is still recovering from a high-ankle sprain and likely won’t be ready on the quick turnaround, per the report.
Levis is 1-0 after firing a “dream come true” four touchdown passes in his NFL debut on Sunday in the 28-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Levis completed 19 of 29 passes for 238 yards. He led the Titans to their highest scoring output of the season.
The Titans drafted Levis 33rd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft with Tannehill, 35, in the final year of his four-year, $118 million contract.
Levis became just the third quarterback ever to fire four touchdown passes in his NFL debut, joining Fran Tarkenton (1961) and Marcus Mariota (2015).
“This is a dream come true for sure,” Levis said. “I dreamed of this moment as a kid, and to get a win is incredible. But we have a few more minutes to celebrate it today, then we’re on to Pittsburgh.”
According to NFL Research, Levis’ three touchdown passes of 30-plus yards are the most in an NFL debut all-time — excluding strike-shortened seasons.
“Not a bad debut,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said postgame. “We hit some shots down the field. The opportunities to move the ball down the field were there, and we hit ’em.”
The Titans improved to 3-4. Thursday’s host Steelers are 4-3.
REPORT: JETS C CONNOR MCGOVERN DISLOCATES KNEECAP
New York Jets starting center Connor McGovern sustained a dislocated kneecap during Sunday’s game and is considered week-to-week, NFL Network reported Monday.
There’s a chance the injury won’t require surgery, per the report. McGovern will get a second opinion.
McGovern left Sunday’s win against the New York Giants in the second quarter. Starting left guard Wes Schweitzer, who slid over to center to replace McGovern, later left the game with a calf injury.
Fourth-string offensive lineman
Fourth-string offensive lineman Xavier Newman, elevated from the practice squad for the game, ended up playing 72 percent of the Jets’ offensive snaps. The Jets entered the game without guard/backup center Joe Tippman.
The Jets signed Newman earlier this month after he was waived by Tennessee.
McGovern, 30, has started every game he’s played in for the Jets, who signed him to a three-year contract worth $27 million in March 2020. He re-signed with the club this past April, coming back on a one-year, $1.9 million deal.
He has played in 102 career games (91 starts) since the Denver Broncos selected him in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.
The Jets also lost defensive tackle Al Woods to a season-ending torn Achilles on Sunday.
REPORTS: PATS WR KENDRICK BOURNE TEARS ACL, DONE FOR ’23
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne suffered a torn right ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins and will miss the rest of the season, ESPN and NFL Network reported Monday.
Per the report, tests performed Monday morning revealed the extent of the injury, which has an estimated recovery time of six to eight months.
Bourne caught three passes for 36 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. He suffered the injury on a tackle in the fourth quarter.
Bourne, 28, leads the Patriots in receptions (37), yards (406) and touchdowns (four). In this third season in New England, Bourne was closing in on last season’s yardage total of 439 and already surpassed his one TD reception from 2022.
He played his first four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2017-20) before joining the Patriots. In 99 career games (25 starts), Bourne has gained 3,409 yards and scored 21 touchdowns.
Bourne is playing in the final season of a three-year, $15 million contract and will become a free agent in 2024.
CARDINALS QB KYLER MURRAY WON’T PLAY IN WEEK 9
Kyler Murray’s season debut with the Arizona Cardinals is on hold for at least one more week.
Coach Jonathan Gannon already has announced that Joshua Dobbs will start at quarterback next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns for the lowly Cardinals (1-7).
Dobbs has started all eight games.
Murray hasn’t played since tearing the ACL in his right knee on Dec. 12, 2022, and, after surgery this year, has been on the PUP list. He was designated to return on Oct. 18, opening the 21-day window until Nov. 8 to add him to the 53-man roster.
Murray was not activated for Sunday’s 31-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
And with Gannon already ruling out Murray for Sunday’s game at Cleveland, the earliest Murray could play is on Nov. 12 at home against the Atlanta Falcons.
Murray, 26, signed a five-year, $230.5 million deal before the 2022 season. He is 25-31-1 as a starter, having thrown for 13,848 yards and 84 touchdowns against 41 interceptions. He also has 2,204 career rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.
REPORTS: FALCONS DT GRADY JARRETT (ACL) DONE FOR SEASON
Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett tore his ACL during Sunday’s game and will miss the rest of the season, ESPN and NFL Network reported.
An MRI revealed the damage Monday, per the reports.
Jarrett was injured on the fourth defensive play of the game during Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Jarrett, 30, had 23 tackles, 1.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits in eight starts this season. Jarrett has started every game he’s played in for the Falcons going back to the 2017 season. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2019 and 2020.
Jarrett has 443 tackles, 34 sacks, five forced fumbles and 68 tackles for loss in 135 career games (120 starts) since the Falcons selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.
He has been remarkably durable, missing only three games in his career — one in 2015 and two in 2018.
PACKERS’ RASHAN GARY AGREES TO 4-YEAR, $107 MILLION CONTRACT EXTENSION
Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Rashan Gary announced Monday that he agreed to a four-year contract extension, bringing a bit of good news to a team that has lost four straight games.
Gary announced the four-year, $107 million extension that included a $34.6 million signing bonus on social media. The Packers announced the extension later Monday without revealing terms.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Gary can earn $107 million through the end of a deal that now runs through 2027 because he’s receiving about $96 million in new money to go along with his 2023 salary of $10.8 million. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t announced the terms.
“Thanks to everyone in the Green Bay Packers organization, my family, business team, NFL, friends, fans & supporters for taking the ride with me,” Gary said in his post. “The grind doesn’t stop. Sacrifices lead to achievable goals.”
This deal gives the slumping Packers (2-5) a long-term commitment from one of their top overall players. Gary was eligible to become a free agent after the season if he hadn’t agreed to an extension.
Gary, who turns 26 on Dec. 3, has a team-high 4½ sacks even though he was playing limited snaps early in the season as he worked his way back from a torn ACL. He only started playing more than half of the Packers’ defensive plays in their past two games, a 19-17 loss at Denver and a 24-10 home defeat against the Minnesota Vikings.
He had 9½ sacks in 2021 and had six more last season despite playing just nine games before his season-ending ACL injury.
“Rashan has been an impact player and person for us since he joined the Packers,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said in a statement. “His work ethic is unmatched and he has developed into a team leader and cornerstone of our team. We are very pleased that he will remain in Green Bay for years to come.”
Gary has spent his entire career with the Packers, who selected him out of Michigan with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft.
ANALYSIS: NFL CAN’T PROTECT QBS FROM FREAK, NON-CONTACT INJURIES LIKE ACHILLES TEAR
The NFL has done everything in its power to protect quarterbacks short of putting a flag on them.
Can’t hit them high. Can’t hit them low. Can’t touch them too late.
But the two most devastating QB injuries this season didn’t involve a violent hit. Kirk Cousins wasn’t even touched before he went down Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers was barely hit on a sack when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon on the fourth play of his first game with the New York Jets in September.
The Minnesota Vikings fear Cousins also has a torn Achilles tendon. Cousins, who has never missed a game because of an injury in his 12-year career, could miss the rest of the season after suffering the non-contact injury on a freak play.
“Three-man rush and he kind of stepped up in the pocket. That is all I saw,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said. “I just know in some of my dialogue with Kirk it seems like maybe his cleat might have gotten stuck in the ground or whatever it was. It probably isn’t right for me to speculate. I just know that it was incredibly, incredibly unfortunate in that moment.”
Rodgers was spun around by Buffalo’s Leonard Floyd on a seemingly innocent play when he got hurt. His injury occurred on a turf field at MetLife Stadium, leading the NFL Players Association to call for all teams to switch to a high-quality natural grass. Half the league’s stadiums have turf. Cousins got hurt on a grass surface at Lambeau Field.
Injuries are piling up for quarterbacks across the league.
Matthew Stafford, Tyrod Taylor, Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder couldn’t finish their games Sunday. Deshaun Watson, Daniel Jones, Anthony Richardson, Justin Fields and Ryan Tannehill were among the other starting QBs who didn’t play in Week 8 because of injuries.
Taylor got hurt when he took a crushing shot and was tackled on turf. He was running to the right sideline when Quinton Jefferson wrapped up his legs and C.J. Mosley hit him from behind, landing on his back and driving Taylor’s chest into the ground.
Taylor was hospitalized with an injury to his rib cage. He was staying overnight for observation.
“You never know what play it is, what time it is, if it’s going to happen, if it’s not going to happen so there’s a tough part about staying ready, being ready for that role, which is what makes that position so difficult,” said Giants third-string QB Tommy DeVito, who replaced Taylor. “So, I thought Tyrod did a good job helping me throughout these last couple months being here, and just when he went down, everybody just looked at me and we were all good and we were going to go through with (what) our game plan was.”
DeVito was an undrafted rookie who played at Illinois last season after transferring from Syracuse. He threw the ball just once in regulation before the game went to overtime. DeVito finished 2 of 7 for minus-1 yard in a 13-10 loss to the Jets.
Except for the Vikings, who were up 24-10 and won by that score when Cousins went out, every team that lost its quarterback on Sunday lost.
Stafford injured his thumb in the first half of the Rams’ 43-20 loss at Dallas. Pickett injured his ribs in Pittsburgh’s 20-10 loss to Jacksonville. Ridder was evaluated for a concussion and cleared to return but didn’t come back into Atlanta’s 28-23 loss at Tennessee.
Several other QBs played through pain.
Jalen Hurts threw four TD passes on a banged-up knee in Philadelphia’s 38-31 win at Washington. Patrick Mahomes struggled with flu-like symptoms and suffered cuts on his non-throwing hand in Kansas City’s 24-9 loss at Denver.
Justin Herbert had the middle finger on his non-throwing hand bandaged up but he wasn’t limited in the Chargers’ 30-13 win over Chicago. Herbert threw for 298 yards and three TDs.
The No. 1 priority for every offensive line in the NFL is to keep its quarterback safe. Sometimes that’s not good enough to prevent serious injury as the Vikings found out.
MATTHEW STAFFORD’S INJURED THUMB COULD BE A MAJOR BLOW TO RAMS’ FAINT HOPES OF CONTENDING THIS YEAR
LOS ANGELES (AP) Matthew Stafford has an injured thumb, and another season appears to be slipping through the Los Angeles Rams’ fingers.
Stafford hurt himself while fighting for extra points on two plays in the Rams’ 40-23 loss at Dallas on Sunday. The Rams didn’t give an official update on his condition early Monday, but a significant absence for their franchise quarterback would seriously imperil any hope of avoiding their second straight losing season under Sean McVay.
That’s because the Rams (3-5) have lost two straight measuring-stick games to the Steelers and the Cowboys, two opponents that appear to belong in the playoff race. That’s where the Rams thought they could be last month before they were brought back to reality by the consequences of their offseason roster gutting.
Instead, the Rams have lost five of their last seven games, beating only the Colts and Cardinals. They were blown out by the Cowboys, falling behind 26-3 before they had even touched the ball four times.
Stafford’s backup is Brett Rypien, who joined the club in May. The Rams don’t have a third quarterback because fourth-round pick Stetson Bennett has been away from the team since the preseason for undisclosed reasons, and McVay decided not to sign another quarterback in the meantime.
Even with Stafford in their lineup, the Rams’ shortcomings on the offensive line and throughout the defense have been made increasingly obvious in the last month when their opponents had more game film to digest. The early-season optimism has given way to the reality that the Rams don’t have enough top-level players and coaching acumen to make up for their talent deficiency across the roster.
Royce Freeman has prevented a bad situation at running back from becoming much worse by performing fairly well in his first two games with LA. He has 110 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.2 yards per carry in place of injured Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
An already unimpressive offensive line played without injured right tackle Rob Havenstein, and Stafford was hit five times and sacked twice. The numbers would have been worse if Stafford hadn’t been focused on getting the ball out quickly – but when speed is the most important metric, it leads to mistakes like Stafford’s pass to Cooper Kupp that was turned into a pick-6 by DaRon Bland. Not much works in the Rams’ current offense without strong offensive line play.
Kicker Lucas Havrisik looked sharp in his NFL debut, making two field goals from 47 and 33 yards.
Los Angeles’ secondary continues to struggle, even with Aaron Donald generating pressure and two sacks. Embattled cornerback Derion Kendrick had yet another rough day in coverage while Dak Prescott racked up 304 yards passing and four touchdowns – numbers that could have been even bigger if the game hadn’t been a blowout.
Havenstein’s late-week calf injury deprived Stafford of his most dependable veteran lineman. Starting CB Cobie Durant also missed time with a shoulder injury.
3 – The career-low reception total for Puka Nacua, who caught just one ball after halftime. Nacua also took a bunch of big hits from the Cowboys’ defense, undoubtedly adding to the minor injuries that have built up during his incredible rookie season.
Another eminently winnable game at Green Bay before the Rams’ bye week provides them with a chance to preserve their playoff dreams into mid-November. But if Rypien is behind center, the offense will be limited.
FOURNETTE SIGNING TO BILLS’ PRACTICE SQUAD
The Buffalo Bills are signing free-agent running back Leonard Fournette to their practice squad, his agents told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Fournette has been linked to Buffalo since running back Damien Harris went down with a neck injury. He originally intended to meet with the Bills earlier this month, but the visit fell through.
The veteran back was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the last three seasons. After playing important roles in his first two years in Tampa Bay, Fournette rushed for just 668 yards last season and averaged 3.5 yards per carry, his lowest average since 2018. He won a Super Bowl with the Bucs in 2020, recording 448 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns during their playoff run.
The Bills’ backfield is led by second-year pro James Cook. Cook leads the team in rushing yards (486). Latavius Murray has also received work, carrying the football 40 times for 143 yards.
Buffalo heads into Week 9 with a 5-3 record, good for second in the AFC East.
ARTHUR SMITH: FALCONS’ QB DECISION TO COME WEDNESDAY
Following the Atlanta Falcons’ 28-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, all eyes are on the quarterback position with a home game against the Minnesota Vikings on deck.
Desmond Ridder was evaluated for a concussion and the team said he was cleared of a head injury, but he did not play in the second half and was replaced in the lineup by Taylor Heinicke.
Head coach Arthur Smith did not give a definitive answer when asked Monday who his starting quarterback would be against Minnesota.
“I gotta see where he (Ridder) is at,” Smith said. “That’s the best I can give you, but I gotta see where he’s at and see if that’s the best thing for this team this week. Obviously, it’s not something I’m concerned with long term. He’s done a lot of good things, but we have to find a way to go win this game. If it’s Taylor, that’s what we’ll do, but my concern is Des.”
Ridder played the first half against the Titans and completed 8 of 12 passes for 71 yards and ran for 26 yards. But he was sacked five times and lost a fumble when he was hit by defensive end Jeffery Simmons midway through the second quarter, which led to a Tennessee touchdown and a 14-3 lead.
After Atlanta totaled just 89 yards in the first half, Heinicke completed 12 of 21 passes for 175 yards and a score and guided the Falcons (4-4) to points on four of his first five possessions in the second half.
Facing continuous questions about the quarterback position, Smith said he would give an answer on who will be the starter by Wednesday.
“We’ll use the next 24 hours to evaluate,” Smith said. “We’ll obviously listen to the medical experts first and evaluate in the short term what’s best thing for Des, what’s best thing for this team. … I’m not going to sit here and play games because whoever is going to play this week to try and beat Minnesota is going to get the reps.”
The Vikings have won three in a row and four of their last five games, but they will arrive in Atlanta without star quarterback Kirk Cousins, who tore his right ACL in Sunday’s 24-10 win over Green Bay and is out for the year.
With Cousins out, Minnesota (4-4) will likely turn to rookie Jaren Hall or veteran Nick Mullens behind center. Hall replaced Cousins and completed 3 of 4 passes for 23 yards against the Packers.
A major bright spot for the Vikings has been the play of rookie receiver Jordan Addison. Through eight games, Addison has 36 receptions for 482 yards and seven touchdowns, which ranks second to only Tyreek Hill (eight) for tops in the league. Addison has been a welcome addition since star wideout Justin Jefferson went on IR early this month with a hamstring injury.
–Atlanta defensive lineman Grady Jarrett tore his ACL in the loss to the Titans and is out for the year. The two-time Pro Bowler has been one of the NFL’s best interior linemen and had 1.5 sacks, eight quarterback hits, two passes defended and 23 combined tackles (two for a loss) in eight starts this season.
“Hate it for Grady,” Smith said.
–Fullback Keith Smith (concussion) and wideout Drake London (groin) left Sunday’s game against the Titans.
“Guys with concussions will have to go through the protocols,” Smith said. “On Drake, don’t have an official timeline, but it wasn’t as bad as we thought so there is some positive news there.”
NFL POWER RANKINGS-SPORTING NEWS
Week 8 was an interesting mix of big upsets and statement games. Some teams kept fading from high perches, while others have revived their season at midseason.
That makes for a very interesting edition of Sporting News’ latest NFL power rankings ahead of Week 9. There’s a new No. 1 team of course, after two previous top occupants went cold. But’s also notable how two other Super Bowl contenders, both from the AFC, flexed when needed most on the road.
1. Philadelphia Eagles 6-1 (previous week: 2)
The Eagles made it another wild game with the Commanders this season but they showed their offense with Jalen Hurts is fine getting it done when it can’t really run. A.J. Brown seems to have become unstoppable downfield.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-2 (5)
The Jaguars are the hottest team in the AFC, having won five consecutive games. They have taken care of the Bills and Steelers far away from Jacksonville along the way. The defense keeps making key plays and the offense gets it done however it feels with Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. Only the bye cools them off.
3. Baltimore Ravens 6-2 (3)
The Ravens don’t get a lot of style points for getting a little sloppy defensively at the end of their game at Arizona, but keep in mind they were riding the high of the Lions rout and had a mini letdown ahead of bigger matchups. Still, Lamar Jackson and the running game kept doing their thing.
4. Kansas City Chiefs 6-2 (1)
It was eventual that Patrick Mahomes would lose to a losing team and also lose to the Broncos. He got it out of his system with a turnover mess in Denver that set up their first loss since Week 1. Perhaps they were also caught looking ahead to the track meet with the team now right behind them in Germany next week.
5. Miami Dolphins 6-2 (6)
The Dolphins took care of their trap game at home against the Patriots by unleashing their usual brand of offense, backed by key improved pressure and coverage defense. It will be fun when Mahomes and Hill are on the same field again in Frankfurt. Watch out, autobahn.
6. San Francisco 49ers 5-3 (4)
The 49ers have hit a low with a three-game losing streak. It’s all tied to Brock Purdy coming down to earlth and making more mistakes than big plays. He is still using his weapons well but they do miss Deebo Samuel. The bigger question is, what happened to the defense domnating?
7. Dallas Cowboys 5-2 (8)
The Cowboys tend to rock after a bye with Dak Prescott and he was the big reason for the massive victory over the Rams. Prescott had his best passing game, confident throwing everywhere downfield. The defense and special teams got back into their complementary mojo, too.
8. Detroit Lions 5-2 (7)
The Lions stumbled for a second time this season against the Ravens after losing earlier to the Seahawks. They should get-well with everything, especially the running game and defense, vs. the Raiders at home on Monday night.
9. Cincinnati Bengals 4-3 (12)
The Bengals have the real Joe Burrow back after their injury-riddled start. Now looking at it, they are right there with the Ravens, Steelers and Browns in the tough AFC North battle. They put it all together at the right time ahead of facing the Bills in a playoff rematch.
10. Buffalo Bills 5-3 (10)
Speaking of the Bills, they went back to letting Josh Allen loose with his running and passing and it got the offense somewhat going again, with major help from a traditional rushing attack. But the defense still is undergoing transitional pains vs. the pass.
11. Seattle Seahawks 5-2 (13)
Geno Smith hasn’t quite lit it up. The running game is up and down. The defense is trying to figure out more answers after a slot start. Yet, the Seahawks, thanks to the 49ers losing, are in first place in the division. They’ll get a good test in Baltimore next week to see just how complete they are this time under Pete Carroll.
12. New York Jets 4-3 (15)
Zach Wilson isn’t playing at an elite level, but he’s playing well enough to win and facilitate game-changing playmakers Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson in big-time situations. The defense keeps making the burden easier on the third-year QB.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers 4-3 (9)
The Steelers’ offense ran into a tough matchup against vs. the Jaguars and the results were predictable after no running game and just flashes of big pass plays while Kenny Pickett (ribs) also got hurt. They can still win plenty with defense, but not against more complete teams.
14. Cleveland Browns 4-3 (11)
The Browns also are working to hide their limited offense and it’s admirable what they’ve done with their running backs and receivers to lift P.J. Walker. But Myles Garrett needs help from wreaking havoc on the other side and the run defense leaks just enough at times.
15. Minnesota Vikings 4-4 (18)
The Vikings have rallied to win three consecutive games to erase an 0-3 start and get right back into the NFC wild-card race. But losing Justin Jefferson is one thing when they have receiving depth. Losing Kirk Cousins with nothing behind him to inspire too much confidence in Nick Mullens and rookie Jaren Hall.
16. New Orleans Saints 4-4 (20)
Taysom Hill remains a hybrid sensation. He was the missing piece, go figure for Derek Carr, to settle down and for the Saints to unlock more versatility and explosiveness in their offense. They needed it in Indianapolis because the defense has a lot more holes than usual for Dennis Allen.
17. Atlanta Falcons 4-4 (14)
The Falcons needed to make a QB change in Tennessee and they got a spark from Taylor Heinicke after their defense was ripped apart by a rookie QB making his debut. Put Arthur Smith on a slightly hotter seat.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-4 (17)
The Buccaneers showed more fight with Baker Mayfield and his weapons in Buffalo, but they just can’t block well enough to get offensively consistency to help a pretty good defense.
19. Los Angeles Chargers 3-4 (24)
The Chargers saw the real Justin Herbert in get-well game for his passing on Sunday night vs. the Bears. That might be a key springboard with tough games vs. the Jets and Lions next.
20. Los Angeles Rams 3-5 (19)
The Rams’ worst fears were realized in Dallas with Matthew Stafford going down again with a thumb injury. The offensive pop in the passing game went dormant and the defense snapped back to reality. The crossroads part of the season may be headed for a scary detour now.
21. Houston Texans 3-4 (16)
The Texans felt confident with C.J. Stroud after the bye, but the offensive line woes caught up to the team a bit against an inspired Panthers defense on the road. There’s some midseason regression to below the mean happening for DeMeco Ryans’ young team.
22. Indianapolis Colts 3-5 (21)
The Colts are exciting to watch offensively with Gardner Minshew, Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs as shootouts with Shane Steichen tend to break out at home. But their defense has totally fallen apart with injuries and ineffectiveness.
23. Washington Commanders 3-5 (23)
The Commanders get some props for staying competitive with the Eagles a second time and even leading them well for a while. But as the defense continues to unravel, it’s not good news ahead for Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio.
24. Denver Broncos 3-5 (29)
The Broncos have life again. Their defense is playing with effort and energy to take advantage of their best talent. Russell Wilson is surviving the pressure to spread the ball around well with a revived running game, to boot.
25. Tennessee Titans 3-4 (28)
The Titans unleashed a new style of aggressive downfield passing offense with rookie QB Will Levis in his debut and it was a great look with DeAndre Hopkins. It also got Derrick Henry and the running game with new lanes. Mike Vrabel rocked it after the bye and the youth movement can pay off sooner rather than later.
26. Las Vegas Raiders 3-4 (22)
The Raiders are in crisis mode are hoping the return of Jimmy Garoppolo can keep them in the AFC wild-card race vs. fading closer to pretending. The run defense is a major problem they can’t overcome.
27. Green Bay Packers 2-5 (24)
The Packers are disappearing offensively early in games and by the time Jordan Love gets it going, they are trying to dig out of a big hole. The defense can do only so much as the the roller-coaster for the first-time QB has had more dips.
28. New England Patriots 2-6 (26)
The Patriots are trying their best to rev up their offense consistently around Mac Jones but don’t have a clear rushing or passing identity. The defense simply is breaking down without key personnel.
29. Chicago Bears 2-6 (30)
The Bears are doing their best to remain competitive with Tyson Bagent sparking the offense, but against the Chargers, there was a big reminder of how much of a problem the defense has been overall.
30. New York Giants 2-6 (27)
The Giants keep losing key offensive players and are now down two quarterbacks with Tyrod Taylor (ribs) being knocked out vs. the Jets. Their season is unraveling fast, the polar opposite of last year’s good vibes for Brian Daboll.
31. Carolina Panthers 1-6 (32)
The Panthers got on the winning board after the bye with much improved overall defense and some clutch play from Bryce Young in a tough spot for the passing game vs. the Texans. They could get on a mini streak at home vs. the Colts.
32. Arizona Cardinals 1-7 (31)
The Cardinals have been feisty with some of their offensive players around Josh Dobbs, but their defense puts them in impossible situations under Jonathan Gannon. They will hope to get a needed spark from Kyler Murray.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS
HARBAUGH SAYS HE’D ‘LOVE TO’ TALK ABOUT MICHIGAN’S SIGN-STEALING INVESTIGATION, BUT CAN’T YET
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Jim Harbaugh usually shares his thoughts freely, and often in unique ways.
Amid an NCAA investigation into a sign-stealing scheme under his watch at Michigan, his approach has changed.
“Stuff we just can’t talk about,” Harbaugh said Monday while the second-ranked Wolverines prepared to play Purdue. “I’d love to.”
Harbaugh, though, did address a report the school rescinded a contract offer for him in the wake of a scandal that has rocked college football’s winningest program.
“I wouldn’t say that’s accurate,” Harbaugh said.
What is true is that contract talks between Michigan and Harbaugh have lingered for many months.
Unresolved NCAA issues from a previous investigation, tied to improper contact with recruits, delayed Michigan finalizing a new deal for Harbaugh, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press last July. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss contract talks.
The latest NCAA inquiry was triggered by an outside firm’s investigation, which turned up videos of and documented plans and budgets for impermissible scouting of opponents. The Washington Post reported the firm obtained computer drives maintained and accessed by multiple Michigan coaches.
Harbaugh has denied any knowledge or involvement in impermissible scouting of opponents and said no one has given him a timetable for the probe.
The firm presented evidence to the NCAA and suggested Connor Stalions, a low-level staffer who has been suspended by Michigan, was not the only person on staff aware of the scheme, according to the report. A second person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to the AP that a firm provided the NCAA with evidence, including photographs, videos and documents, that initiated the association’s investigation.
That person told AP on Thursday the NCAA has not shared any evidence from the scouting case with Michigan officials or school attorneys.
It was unclear who hired the firm to investigate Michigan.
“Cooperate with the investigation and watch how it plays out,” he said. “The speculation part, too much of a one-track mind on coaching the team to be able to engage in every speculation that seems to be any and everywhere.”
The Wolverines (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) have won consecutive conference championships and reached the playoff semifinals each of the last two seasons and host the rebuilding Boilermakers (2-6, 1-4) on Saturday night.
The NCAA does not directly ban the stealing of signs, but there are rules against using electronic equipment to record an opponent’s signals and in-person, advanced scouting of future opponents in 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 them.
PASADENA POLICE INVESTIGATE REPORT OF MISSING ITEMS FROM COLORADO LOCKER ROOM FOLLOWING UCLA GAME
(AP) — The police in Pasadena, California, confirmed an investigation is underway after a report that several items went missing from the Colorado locker room while the Buffaloes played No. 20 UCLA at the Rose Bowl over the weekend.
UCLA is in communication with law enforcement, Rose Bowl Stadium officials and the University of Colorado concerning the matter, Lisa Derderian, the city’s public information officer, said Monday.
The production crew of “ Well Off Media,” which chronicles coach Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes, posted a video on YouTube titled, “Colorado Loses to UCLA: Thieves at Rose Bowl Steal From Colorado’s Locker Room.” In the video, players gathered around the bus after a 28-16 loss to the Bruins on Saturday night and discussed items being taken from inside the locker room, including jewelry.
One person had a chain he recently purchased go missing. He said in the video: “I just got mine, bro. I had the jewelry box and everything. They took it out of my jewelry box.”
On the social platform X, the site formerly known as Twitter, Colorado safety Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig posted in all caps: “In locker room you would think your stuff safe man its crazy.”
Darius Sanders, who also documents the Buffaloes, posted a video Monday from Folsom Field where he said coaches and support staff also discovered items went missing. He said he had money gone from his bag.
The Buffaloes have fallen to 4-4 after starting out with three straight wins in Deion Sanders’ first season in charge. He has instantly raised the profile at Colorado. The game against the Bruins was the fifth on network television, which is the most in Colorado history for a season. The Buffaloes have also played in front of a capacity crowd in all eight games this season.
Sanders reshaped Colorado through the transfer portal after the program went 1-11 last season.
NO. 1 GEORGIA EXPECTS MAJOR TEST FROM NO. 14 MISSOURI
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart wants to make certain his No. 1-ranked Bulldogs respect the tenacious defense of their next opponent, No. 14 Missouri.
“One of the best defenses we’ve played against since we’ve been here,” Smart said. “They were just dominant. Just love the style of play they have. They’re aggressive, get after you.”
“Unique” was the buzzword from Smart on Monday as he discussed the Tigers, who nearly pulled the upset on their home field in Columbia on Oct. 1, 2022, but lost a 19-12 lead in the fourth quarter and fell 26-22. Missouri travels to Athens, Ga., for Saturday’s clash with the Bulldogs.
Missouri (7-1) enters rested off of its bye week. The Tigers’ lone loss this season came against LSU, 49-39, on Oct. 7. Missouri led that game 32-27 at the start of the fourth quarter.
“We thought they were really good last year when we went to play them, and that proved to be true,” Smart said.
Because of the combination of experience and success Missouri has, the Bulldogs are expecting a slim margin for error.
Georgia ranks seventh in the country in points allowed — 14.75 per game — and Missouri (52nd) gives up 23.25 points per game. The Bulldogs are eighth in total defense (272.1 yards per game); Missouri is 37th (338.2 yards per game).
“You do your best to stop the things they do well. You talk about weapons — their quarterback is a weapon. And (they have) a very unique run game that is kind of unmatched in the SEC. When you add all that in, it’s a recipe for being explosive and scoring points,” Smart said of Missouri. “They’re not easy to stop with an accurate quarterback and explosive, athletic skill players.”
Missouri senior quarterback Brady Cook is 11th and one spot ahead of Georgia’s Carson Beck in passing efficiency in the nation this season. Cook has 15 touchdown passes and three interceptions.
“It starts with quarterback. … You’ve got a good quarterback, you’ve got a chance,” Smart said.
Smart is counting on Beck to continue making the right decisions and keeping Georgia out of problem scenarios.
“He’s bright, played a lot of snaps, and more experienced than he’s getting credit for. He’s got all the trades of a guy who can win a game with his arm, and mind and his feet if he has to,” Smart said. “Just continuing to improve is the goal.”
BIG 10 FOOTBALL THIS WEEK
• All 14 schools are in action this week, with seven Big Ten contests highlighted by four divisional matchups. The complete schedule can be found to the right.
• Three Big Ten teams appear in the AP Poll this week. Michigan leads the conference at No. 2, followed by No. 3 Ohio State and No. 9 Penn State, while Rutgers is receiving votes. The Big Ten (three teams) is the only conference with more than two teams ranked in the top-10 of the AP Poll.
• There are just eight undefeated teams remaining in the FBS, including two Big Ten teams: Michigan (8-0) and Ohio State (8-0). The Buckeyes travel to Piscataway, N.J., this weekend to face Rutgers, while the Wolverines welcome Purdue.
• Michigan and Penn State currently rank among the top 10 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Wolverines lead the nation in scoring defense (5.9 points per game), while ranking No. 6 nationally in scoring offense (40.6 points per game). The Nittany Lions rank No. 3 nationally in scoring defense (11.5 points per game), while ranking 10th in scoring offense (38.9 points per game).
• Five additional Big Ten teams rank in the top 25 in terms of scoring defense: Ohio State (2nd, 10.0 points per game), Iowa (6th, 14.5 points per game), Rutgers (13th, 15.8 points per game), Nebraska (21st, 18.6 points per game) and Wisconsin (23rd, 19.0 points per game).
• Ohio State allowed 10 points and 259 total yards against the Badgers, marking the third straight game the Buckeyes allowed fewer than 260 yards. Ohio State has held all eight opponents to 17 points or fewer, tied for their longest streak in the last 15 years. The Buckeyes improve to 36-2 in Big Ten play under Ryan Day and overall and have won an FBS-high 36 straight games against unranked teams.
• Penn State’s Khalil Dinkins (9 yards) and Theo Johnson (16 yards) hauled in touchdown receptions against Indiana last weekend. The two touchdowns give the Penn State tight end room 10 touchdown receptions this season. The Nittany Lions’ 10 receiving touchdowns by tight ends are the most among FBS teams. Tyler Warren paces the group with five touchdowns, good for third among FBS tight ends, while Johnson has three and Dinkins owns two this season. Penn State and Appalachian State are the only FBS teams with two tight ends with three or more touchdown receptions this year.
• Jordan Nubin ran the ball 40 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns, leading Minnesota to a 27-12 win against Michigan State last weekend. His 204 yards were the most by a Minnesota player since Mohamed Ibrahim ran for 263 yards against Iowa on Nov. 19, 2022. His 204 yards are also the 28th most in program history. Nubin is the first Minnesota running back with 40 carries in a game since Ibrahim had 41 rushing attempts at Maryland on Oct. 30, 2020, and his 40 carries are tied for the seventh most in program history. His 204 yards marks the 33rd time that a Gopher has rushed for 200 yards or more in a game.
• With wins over Illinois (20-7), Northwestern (17-9) and Purdue (31-14) in October, Nebraska completed its first unbeaten month of October since 2001. Nebraska’s three-game win streak is its first at any point in a season since an eight-game winning streak including a bowl game in 2015 and the first seven games of the 2016 season. The Cornhuskers held all three opponents to 14 or fewer points in October, the first time Nebraska has held three straight opponents to less than 15 points since 2009.
• Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers have all secured bowl eligibility by reaching six wins this season, while Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin need just one more win to become eligible. The Big Ten will continue to feature the largest bowl lineup in conference history.
• Seven Big Ten Conference programs appear in the top 20 of the latest NCAA attendance rankings, including the nation’s top three schools: No. 1 Michigan (109,787 fans per game), No. 2 Penn State (108,579), No. 3 Ohio State (103,399), No. 12 Nebraska (86,920), No. 18 Wisconsin (75,876), No. 19 Michigan State (71,626) and No. 20 Iowa (69,250). Additionally, Big Ten teams own 13 of the top 15 single-game attendance highs this season, including the top eight spots.
• Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, Michigan’s Zak Zinter and Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu were named finalists for the 2023 William V. Campbell Trophy on Oct. 25. Now in its 34th year, the Campbell Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete. The finalists will travel to the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas on Dec. 5, where one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 34th Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
• The 2023 Big Ten Football Championship Game will be played at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and will be televised nationally on FOX. The winner will earn the Amos Alonzo Stagg Championship Trophy and a chance to play in one of the six bowls that comprise the College Football Playoff.
• This season’s Playoff Semifinals will take place Monday, January 1, 2024, at the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl. Houston will host the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, January 8, 2024, at NRG Stadium. The College Football Playoff matches the No. 1 ranked team vs. No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in semifinal games that rotate annually among six bowl games – the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl Game.
• The 2023 campaign will feature 99 All-Big Ten honorees (first-, second-, third-team or honorable mention) selected by either the coaches or the media last season, with Ohio State leading the way with 16 all-conference returnees. The East Division welcomes back 56 all-conference players, while the West returns 43. Illinois is the only West team with double-digit all-conference returnees with 10, while each team has at least one All-Big Ten performer returning.
|Saturday, November 4, 2023 Football|
|Wisconsin||Indiana||12:00 P.M.||Bloomington, Ind. (Conf.)||TV: BTN Stats Radio: Indiana Sports Radio Network|
|Nebraska||Michigan State||12:00 P.M.||East Lansing, MI (Conf.)||TV: FS1 Radio: Spartan Media Network|
|Ohio State||Rutgers||12:00 P.M.||Piscataway, N.J. (Conf.)||TV: CBS Stats Radio: WFAN 660-AM/101.9-FM, FOX Sports New Jersey 93.5-FM/1450-AM, SiriusXM 99 or 203, SXM app, Audacy app, Scarlet Knights app Video|
|Iowa||Northwestern||3:30 P.M.||Chicago, IL / Wrigley Field (Conf.)||TV: Peacock Radio: WGN Radio 720|
|Illinois||Minnesota||3:30 P.M.||Minneapolis, Minn. (Conf.)||TV: BTN Stats Video|
|Penn State||Maryland||3:30 P.M.||College Park, MD (Conf.)||TV: FOX Stats Radio: Maryland Sports Radio Network Audio Video|
|Purdue||Michigan||7:30 P.M.||Ann Arbor, Mich. (Conf.)||TV: NBC Stats Radio: WAZY (96.5 FM) Video|
MINNESOTA, NEBRASKA, NORTHWESTERN AND PURDUE EARN WEEKLY FOOTBALL HONORS
Offensive Player of the Week
Jordan Nubin, Minnesota
Jordan Nubin, Minnesota
RB – So. – Saint Charles, Ill. – Saint Charles North
- Ran the ball 40 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns, leading Minnesota to a 27-12 win versus Michigan State
- His yardage total was the most for a Minnesota player since Mohamed Ibrahim ran for 263 yards versus Iowa on Nov. 19, 2022 and the 28th highest in program history
- Recorded career-highs with 40 rushes for 204 yards and scored his first two career touchdowns
- The Academic All-Big Ten honoree earns his first career Offensive Player of the Week award
- Last Minnesota Offensive Player of the Week: Mohamed Ibrahim (Nov. 20, 2022)
Defensive Players of the Week
Aidan Hubbard, Northwestern
DL – Jr. – Cleveland, Ohio – St. Ignatius
- Posted 3.0 sacks, 3.0 tackles for loss and five total tackles in Northwestern’s 33-27 win against Maryland
- Hubbard’s 3.0 sacks are tied for the single-game high by a Big Ten player this year, which is tied for seventh-highest overall nationally
- His sacks are the second-most in a single-game in school history, and the most since the school record was set at 4.0 in 2016
- Earns the first Defensive Player of the Week accolade of his career
- Last Northwestern Defensive Player of the Week: Cameron Mitchell (Aug. 29, 2022)
Special Teams Player of the Week
Quinton Newsome, Nebraska
CB – Sr. – Suwanee, Ga. – North Gwinnett
- Scored a touchdown on a 68-yard return of a blocked field goal in the third quarter to give Nebraska a three-touchdown lead, marking the first touchdown of his career
- Recovered a fumble in the first quarter to end a Purdue scoring threat, one of three Nebraska takeaways on the day, and also recovered a Nebraska fumble on a punt return attempt, preserving Nebraska possession on its own 13-yard line in the first quarter
- Recorded five tackles for the third time this season
- Garners the first Special Teams Player of the Week honor of his career
- Last Nebraska Special Teams Player of the Week: Barret Pickering (Nov. 19, 2018)
Freshman of the Week
Dillon Thieneman, Purdue
DB – Westfield, Ind. – Westfield
- Tied a school record with two forced fumbles, last accomplished by a Boilermaker in 2021, at Nebraska
- Led the Boilermakers with 12 tackles, his third game with double-digit tackles and first in a Big Ten game this season
- Made seven solo tackles, including 1.0 TFL, to remain the Big Ten’s leader in solo tackles and rank second nationally
- Earns the third Freshman of the Week honor of his career
- Last Purdue Freshman of the Week: Dillon Thieneman (Oct. 9, 2023)
COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS
CONSENSUS 2024 TOP RECRUIT FLAGG COMMITS TO DUKE
Cooper Flagg, a 6-foot-8 forward, announced his commitment to the Blue Devils on Monday via the cover of SLAM.
Flagg, who hails
Flagg, who hails from Newport, Maine, is currently playing at Montverde Academy in Florida. He’s the early front-runner to go first overall in the 2025 NBA draft.
The 16-year-old had an official visit with UConn in September and canceled a scheduled visit to Kansas shortly afterward. Flagg visited Duke for a second time during the Blue Devils’ Countdown to Craziness event on Oct. 20.
The 16-year-old reclassified to 2024 in August. He was previously ranked the No. 2 prospect in the 2025 class behind Cameron Boozer, the son of former NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer. Flagg’s reclassification makes him eligible for the 2025 draft as he’ll turn 18 in December of his freshman campaign, just before the cutoff date for declaration.
Flagg won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2022 FIBA Under-17 World Cup and was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
Flagg averaged 25.4 points, 13 rebounds, 6.9 blocks, and 5.7 assists with Nike EYBL Peach Jam at the 16U level for Maine United. He recorded a double-double in all seven games, as well as three triple-doubles.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW TOP 25: #13 ARIZONA
|2022-23:||28-7, 14-6 (T-2nd, Pac-12)|
|NCAA Tournament – First Round|
|Coach:||TOMMY LLOYD (3rd Season)|
|Homecourt:||MCKALE MEMORIAL CENTER (14,644)|
|Key Departures:||AZUOLAS TUBELIS (19.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.0 apg)|
|COURTNEY RAMEY (10.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.6 apg)|
|KERR KRIISA (9.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.1 apg)|
|CEDRIC HENDERSON (8.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||CALEB LOVE (transfer, UNC)|
|KESHAD JOHNSON (transfer, San Diego St.)|
|JADEN BRADLEY (transfer, Alabama)|
|KJ LEWIS (freshman, Duncanville HS)|
|PAULIUS MURAUSKAS (freshman, Lithuania)|
|MOTIEJUS KRIVAS (freshman, Lithuania)|
FROM THE COACH
“Last year we were guessing with the freshman, but this year taking the trip overseas gave us a great grasp on the guys, especially the four young guys.”
Tommy Lloyd’s record since taking over at Arizona is a ridiculous 61-11. The Wildcats won the regular season and conference tourney titles in his rookie campaign in Tucson, and despite losing lottery pick Benn Mathurin and two more NBA draft picks in Dalen Terry and Christian Koloko, they still managed to win 28 games last season and go 14-6 in Pac-12 play.
The issue for Arizona fans is the NCAA Tournament success, specifically the lack of it. The ‘Cats went into the 2022 tourney as a 1 seed and were knocked out by Houston in the Sweet 16. There is no shame in that finish. But last year they were upset by 15-seed Princeton in the first round.
Arizona lost three full-time starters from that team: one of the best big men in the country in Azuolas Tubelis (19.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg), along with guards Courtney Ramey (10.5 ppg) and Kerr Kriisa (9.9 ppg).
Lloyd brings back an all-league big man, a veteran wing, and a talented, young point guard, while adding some impact transfers and a four-man freshman class.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
Lloyd has three players back from last year who could all start, and he added three transfers who can also push for starting spots. Add in a handful of talented international guys and a top-100 recruit, and he has a team with far more depth than the one that lost to Princeton a year ago.
Oumar Ballo took a huge jump last season, and the key for the fifth-year big man — who started his career at Gonzaga — will be making sure he doesn’t wear down like he did a year ago. Ballo averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 boards per game, but those numbers dipped to 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds in Pac-12 play.
It looked as though 6-5 junior Pelle Larsson was set to have a breakout season, but instead he was a nice piece who just does everything: scores when necessary, rebounds his position, defends and moves the ball.
Kylan Boswell should take over the primary point guard duties with Kriisa leaving for West Virginia. The 6-2, 195-pound freshman was coming off an offseason injury last season, but played well off the bench, averaging 4.6 points and shooting 39% from 3 in 15 minutes of action per game.
Lloyd and his staff upgraded the team’s athleticism with the trio of transfers. He rolled the dice a bit on Caleb Love, the enigmatic, yet talented scoring guard who helped lead North Carolina to the national title game two years ago. Love is a shot-maker, but he’ll need to be more efficient than he was a year ago on both ends of the court. Jaden Bradley arrives from Alabama, where he started 22 games as a freshman, and gives Arizona a strong, athletic guard who thrives getting downhill, but struggles to shoot it from deep. The third portal addition is Keshad Johnson, a 6-7 forward who averaged 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for a San Diego State team that played in the national championship game last year.
A trio of frontcourt players got their feet wet last season as freshman, and it’ll be interesting to see whether any of them get an expanded role this year: Henri Veesaar is a 7-foot skilled big man who played seven minutes a game last year, Filip Borovicanin is a 6-9 forward whose biggest asset is his passing ability, and Dylan Anderson is a 7-foot, 240-pound in-state kid who will fight for minutes.
Lloyd brought in four freshmen, including top-100 Texan KJ Lewis, a strong, athletic wing who could be an elite defender. Two talented Lithuanians — 7-2, 265-pound Motiejus Krivas and 6-8, 220-pound Paulius Murauskas — both have a chance to play significant roles this season, while tough 6-foot Spanish point guard Conrad Martinez will likely have to wait his turn with guys like Boswell, Love and Bradley all in front of him.
While this group has more overall talent up and down the roster, there are still plenty of questions.
Can Ballo be a dominant big man without Tubelis next to him? He’s shown the ability to rebound at a high level, and came out of the gates strong a year ago, but then he wore down and wasn’t nearly as effective down the stretch.
Can Boswell become a top-tier point guard in the Pac-12? He showed glimpses last year, but he’ll have a lot more on his plate this season because he’ll have to run the team, make shots from deep and keep everyone happy — there are a lot of mouths to feed.
Love didn’t come to Tucson expecting to come off the bench, and he’ll have to buy into the team concept. He’ll need to strike a balance between making plays for himself and trying to set up his teammates — because he attracts plenty of attention from opposing defenses.
Bradley, a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school, started a bunch of games as a freshman at Alabama and will also have to accept a potential role off the bench. Larsson doesn’t need to do much more than he did a year ago, and Johnson will be a guy that doesn’t need plays run for him in order to be effective.
But there just aren’t enough minutes for everyone to be happy, and it’ll be up to Lloyd to figure this jigsaw puzzle out and discover which combinations give Arizona the best opportunity to win games in the regular season and make some noise come March.
Veesar and Borovicanin are both expecting to get more minutes after playing sparingly as freshmen. Krivas and Murauskas come in with experience and expectations, and both could steal minutes. Lewis was a big-time recruit coming out of Duncanville High.
“The biggest thing will be guys staying committed to the cause,” Lloyd said. “If our depth is going to be an advantage, which it should be, guys are going to have to sacrifice and share.”
Caleb Love is always an X-factor because of his incredibly high ceiling and low floor. This is a guy who was critical in North Carolina’s run to the title game two years ago. He went for 30 points and made 6-of-13 shots from 3 in a Sweet 16 win over UCLA, and had 28 points (11-for-20) in the national semifinal victory against Duke.
But he was also a combined 11-for-41 from the field and 3-for-18 from 3 in the Elite Eight win over Saint Peter’s and the loss to Kansas in the title game.
When Love is good, he’s exceptional. But he needs to be more consistent with his shot selection, decision making and effort on the defensive end. He has shot just 36% from the field in his three-year career and 32% from 3. He made just 30% of his shots from deep last season.
“We need him to be a really good all-around player,” Lloyd said. “He’s done it on the biggest stage. Everyone points to his consistency and efficiency, and that’s valid. He just needs to make the right plays.”
Love is fearless, and that can both be a blessing and a curse. He’s a guy who wants the ball in his hands in crunch-time, can make something out of nothing, and if he gives the effort, can be a good defender. While North Carolina leaned heavily on Love, Arizona won’t have to be nearly as reliant on him, which could do wonders for his efficiency.
While fans are frustrated with the first-round loss to Princeton a year ago, Lloyd still ensured that there was no drop-off after Sean Miller was let go in 2021. He retained key players, built momentum and won a ton of games. Arizona has earned a 1 seed and a 2 seed in his two seasons at the helm.
With a combination of experienced players from within, a trio of high-major transfers who have all tasted success in college, and no shortage of young, talented international players, Arizona should once again be a fixture towards the top of the league.
Now with more depth and athleticism, the question becomes whether this team is more suited to make a deep run come March.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW TOP 25: #12 TEXAS
|2022-23:||29-9, 12-6 (2nd Big 12)|
|NCAA Tournament – Elite Eight|
|Coach:||RODNEY TERRY (2nd season)|
|Homecourt:||UNITED SUPERMARKETS ARENA (15,300)|
|Key Departures:||MARCUS CARR (15.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg. 4.1 apg)|
|SIR’JABARI RICE (13.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)|
|TIMMY ALLEN (10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.5 apg)|
|CHRISTIAN BISHOP (6.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg)|
|Key Newcomers:||MAX ABMAS (transfer, Oral Roberts)|
|KADIN SHEDRICK (transfer, Virginia)|
|ITHIEL HORTON (transfer, UCF)|
|CHENDALL WEAVER (transfer, UT Arlington)|
|ZE’RIK ONYEMA (transfer, UTEP)|
|CHRIS JOHNSON (freshman, Montverde)|
FROM THE COACH
“There are always peaks and valleys with younger players. The biggest challenge is the level of consistency, where every night you know what you’re going to get. Dillon [Mitchell] played with an older team that embraced him, but you can have all the accolades in high school; you still gotta understand you’re moving up a level and how you have to bring it every day.”
The 2023-24 season is going to be a big one for Rodney Terry’s tenure at Texas and his legacy as a head coach.
What he did last season was nothing short of terrific. He took a team that lost its coach in stunning fashion in December and kept them focused, engaged and playing basketball at the highest level.
The Longhorns finished 29-9 overall and 12-6 in the Big 12, which was good enough for second in the country’s toughest league. They won the Big 12 Tournament. If Jordan Miller didn’t play the best game of his life in the Elite Eight, Terry would have taken Texas to the Final Four.
With Dylan Disu healthy and the Longhorns playing in what would have effectively been a homecourt environment, Texas would have given UConn as good a test as anyone in Houston.
Rodney Terry earned the job.
But as impressive as he was, he was largely a steward for a program built in Beard’s vision, making it easy for doubters to say that all Terry did was coach Beard’s team. Terry’s first offseason as head coach got off to a rocky start — two freshmen transferred, and two recruits de-committed from the program — but he cleaned up in the portal. Terry brought back a pair of key pieces and now has a team that will, rightfully, show up in some preseason top 10s.
Can he replicate last season’s success?
ROAD TO SUCCESS
On paper, Texas has one of the best backcourts in all of college basketball next season.
It starts with Max Abmas, a fifth-year senior who has spent the past four seasons as one of the most prolific scorers in the sport. He’s already scored 2,562 points in his career, and he’s averaged better than 20 points in each of the past three seasons while shooting 39% from 3 on nine attempts per game.
“If he has airspace across half-court, you gotta be ready to defend it,” Terry said. “Unlimited range.”
Most importantly, Abmas led Oral Roberts to within one possession of the 2021 Elite Eight.
“He’s excelled at a high level with ORU,” Terry said, “but we’re excited to see how he can play with a team full of really good players where he can’t be gameplanned for.”
Abmas will be paired with Tyrese Hunter in the backcourt. Hunter will be asked to move into a bigger role with the departure of Marcus Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice. After a stellar freshman year at Iowa State, Hunter got lost in the shuffle a bit last season. Now, the junior is one of the leaders of this group.
“Tyrese and Max, those are two really tough, really cerebral players,” Terry said.
Expect transfer Ithiel Horton to play valuable minutes along the perimeter as well. He’s a fifth-year senior who has been a productive scorer and floor-spacer at Pitt and UCF.
“He’s an elite-level shooter,” Terry said.
Chendall Weaver, a transfer point guard from UT Arlington and another excellent shooter, will back up Abmas. Don’t be surprised if four-star freshman Chris Johnson gets significant minutes off the bench as well.
Meanwhile, Kadin Shedrick and Dylan Disu look like the favorites to start at the 4 and 5.
Disu was the best player for Texas down the stretch of last season. In his final eight games before getting hurt in the Sweet 16, he averaged 16.5 points and 7.4 boards. One of the most sought-after transfers in the country in 2021, Disu struggled with injury his first season at Texas and didn’t really get healthy until midway through last year.
“When he’s healthy, he’s one of those guys that gives you rim protection and makes 3s,” Terry said. “He really stepped up toward the latter part of last season. We want him to make two or three 3s per game for us, and he really worked hard this offseason to improve that.”
Disu was a 36% 3-point shooter in 2020-21, and Texas will need him to regain that form given the presence of Shedrick, a 6-11 transfer from Virginia. A terrific vertical spacer and one of the league’s best athletes, Shedrick should thrive as a pick-and-roll threat. While his production was limited at UVA, he has quite a bit of potential. Shedrick was a bit banged up this offseason, but he should be healthy for opening night.
Ze’Rik Onyema and Alex Anamekwe will play backup minutes in the frontcourt. Onyema was a solid option off the bench for UTEP last season, while Anamekwe is a sophomore who struggled to find the Texas rotation last year. Brock Cunningham, a super senior, will see some minutes at the 4 as well. A jack of all trades, Cunningham is a versatile defensive piece who can make 3s and provide some connective tissue on offense.
“Every coach in the country wants a Brock Cunningham on their team,” Terry said. “He is our leader.”
Devon Pryor, a 6-7 freshman, will push for playing time. But the most interesting member of the Texas frontcourt is Dillon Mitchell — more on him below.
There are two reasons to be concerned about this Texas team.
The first is the size of Abmas. At the 2021 NBA Draft Combine, he was measured at just under 6-0 in shoes and weighed 161 pounds, with a wingspan just under 6-2. That worked in the defense-optional Summit League, where the kind of length and physicality seen in the Big 12 doesn’t exist.
Abmas is not a fluke — he’s a bucket through and through — but does that mean he’s the second coming of Markquis Nowell? Not necessarily.
The second issue is floor spacing. At ORU, head coach Paul Mills flooded the floor with shooters and put Abmas in a ton of ball screens, daring defenses to try stopping it. In the past three years, ORU has ranked in the top 20 nationally in 3-point attempt rate and never shot worse than 36.6% from 3 as a team.
Does Texas have that kind of spacing?
Shedrick isn’t a shooter. Mitchell didn’t attempt a 3 last year. Hunter shot 33% from deep, while Disu shot 31%. Horton, Weaver and Cunningham are all good shooters — but when they’re on the floor, Texas’ most talented options aren’t.
If Abmas doesn’t have the spacing to play like he did at ORU, can he still be as effective?
This is going to be the most important question for Terry this offseason.
Dillon Mitchell may end up being one of the most influential players in college basketball next season.
There aren’t many athletes in the sport more gifted than Mitchell. At 6-8 and with an offseason of weight room work under his belt, Mitchell is athletic enough to be a lob target, quick enough to defend guards on the perimeter, and tough enough to play some small-ball 5 if needed. He impacts the game as a versatile defender who spends 30 minutes a night playing in transition and using his physical gifts to create havoc.
But he’s not a legitimate offensive threat, so Terry must figure out how Mitchell fits on the court with Shedrick, a rim-running 5 who can’t shoot, and Abmas, a 6-0 point guard who needs space to operate.
Mitchell didn’t attempt a single 3-pointer as a freshman at Texas, but much of that likely had more to do with confidence and aggressiveness than a true inability to make shots. At the NBA Draft Combine in May, he did not look like a player who made just 40.5% of his free throws as a freshman.
Texas doesn’t need Mitchell to shoot 42% from 3 on eight attempts per game. It doesn’t need to be running him off of pin-downs. All it needs is for him to be a good enough shooter that defenses have to respect him. If the threat of Mitchell’s 3-ball can create that space for Abmas and the others, it changes what Texas can be.
“If he plays at an incredible level — at the level we think he’s capable of — with his motor and the guys around him, that’s going to give us a chance to be a special team,” Terry said. “If he’s a double-double guy, a monster defender, he is the X-factor in how far this team goes.”
This is where it gets interesting for Texas.
Terry has managed to put together a pretty impressive roster for this season. To hit its ceiling, Texas needs Disu and Mitchell to become effective shooters. Otherwise, Terry will have to get creative with rotations. Either way, the Longhorns have the talent to compete at the top of the Big 12. Perhaps they won’t be in the same tier as Kansas or Houston, but a fight for third with Baylor seems reasonable.
Texas will be good this year, but there are some concerns about the longevity of the program.
The team lost freshmen Arterio Morris and Rowan Brumbaugh to transfers this spring, and both were expected to be foundational pieces moving forward. AJ Johnson and Ron Holland, two five-star recruits, both ended up going the professional route instead of going to college.
Terry is going to go into next offseason having to, once again, rebuild his roster. That’s not ideal, but it’s also the way of the world in college hoops in 2023.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW TOP 25: #11 GONZAGA
|2022-23:||31-6, 14-2 (T-1st, WCC)|
|NCAA Tournament – Elite 8|
|Coach:||MARK FEW (26th Season)|
|Homecourt:||MCCARTHEY ATHLETIC CENTER (6000)|
|Key Departures:||DREW TIMME (21.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.2 apg)|
|JULIAN STRAWTHER (15.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)|
|RASIR BOLTON (10.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.5 apg)|
|MALACHI SMITH (8.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.4 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||RYAN NEMBHARD (transfer, Creighton)|
|STEELE VENTERS (transfer, Eastern Washington)|
|GRAHAM IKE (transfer, Wyoming)|
|21||Jun Seok Yeo||F||6-8||So.||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
FROM THE COACH
“We’re going to be totally different without Drew. He was such a big personality, a great player and a great entity for Gonzaga. It leaves a huge void, but I still think we can be pretty good this season.”
The Drew Timme Era is over. Gonzaga’s unorthodox big man finished his four seasons in Spokane with 2,307 points and 896 rebounds. The program was 121-13 since he arrived on campus, he played in 13 NCAA Tournament games, and he led the Zags to the national title game as a sophomore.
But Timme wasn’t the only departure from last year’s Gonzaga team that won 31 games, went 14-2 in WCC play, and lost to eventual national champion UConn in the Elite Eight. Fellow starters Julian Strawther (15.2 ppg) and Rasir Bolton (10.1 ppg) are also gone, in addition to sixth-man Malachi Smith (8.7 ppg).
However, Mark Few’s team, which added three key transfers and a pair of freshmen to a group with two returning two starters, should still be the co-favorites along with Saint Mary’s to win the WCC again and be a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
It starts with the three holdovers: Anton Watson, Nolan Hickman and Ben Gregg.
Watson quietly averaged 11.1 points and 6.2 rebounds last year, his fourth in the program. Few and the Zags will need more scoring from him this season, and as important as anything, they will need him to step up on the glass — an area of inconsistency throughout his college career.
Hickman will also need to make a jump. He entered the program two years ago with a ton of promise, but has not yet become more than a solid role player. A year ago, he averaged 7.7 points, shot 35% from 3 and took care of the ball the second half of the season, but he’ll have to play with more confidence this season and become a consistent double-digit scorer.
Gregg logged about 12 minutes per game last season and will give Gonzaga a 6-10 big man who can step out and make shots from the perimeter. He was 23-of-61 (38%) from 3 last year, and he’ll get more reps this season with increased minutes.
The three transfers will all be counted on to make a major impact.
Ryan Nembhard comes from Creighton, where he averaged 12.1 points and 4.8 assists as a key piece on the Elite Eight team. He’s different from his brother, Andrew, who also ran the point at Gonzaga after transferring into the program. They can both run a team, and make their teammates better, but Ryan is smaller, quicker, and can push the pace.
“Ryan’s as good of a point guard as there is in college basketball,” Few said.
Graham Ike averaged 19.5 points and 9.6 boards two years ago for a Wyoming team that won 25 games and made the NCAA tourney. Ike finished second in the Mountain West in both scoring and rebounding that year, but he sat all of last season with a right leg injury. He’ll give the Zags a low-post presence, a tough, physical big man who is different from Timme but also does most of his work in the paint.
Eastern Washington transfer Steele Venters and freshman Dusty Stromer could battle for the starting spot on the wing. The 6-7 Venters was the Big Sky Player of the Year after averaging 15.3 points and shooting 37% from 3, while Stromer is a versatile 6-6 freshman out of California who doesn’t shoot it as well as Venters. Redshirt freshman forward Braden Huff gives the Zags a shooter with size coming off the bench; 6-8 Jun Seok Yeo is a big, strong wing player from South Korea who joined the program last January; and Luka Krajnovic is a 6-5 versatile guard from Serbia who the Zags added late in the summer.
Three big concerns for Gonzaga are the lack of a go-to scoring option, unproven depth and suspect defense.
Without Timme, who becomes the guy to go get a bucket when Few needs one late in the game? There’s no easy answer. Nembhard will have the ball in his hands and the beauty of that is he can shoot it or get into the lane and either find an open teammate or try to score in the paint. He’s not an elite scorer by any means, but he’s capable enough and has enough experienced weapons — although none will attract constant double-teams as was the case with Timme.
Hickman hasn’t shown the ability to be that guy, Venters is more of a spot-up shooter, and Ike is a physical big man who can score down low on the block but doesn’t boast the array of moves Timme did. Nembhard will have to be more of a potent scorer, and also keep everyone happy.
The Zags can ill-afford to have anyone go down with injury, at least not one of their top guys. There are just 10 total players on scholarship, and Huff, Yeo and Krajnovic are complete unknowns right now. There would have been a dozen on the roster, but Kaden Perry retired from basketball in the summer due to a nagging back injury, and Alex Toohey decided to play back in his home country of Australia.
Few has Watson, Ike and Gregg on the frontline, Venters and Stromer on the wing, and Nembhard and Hickman as true guards. That’s a strong seven, but Gonzaga can’t be down more than one of those guys or the lack of quality, proven depth could become a major issue.
Gonzaga will also have to make strides from a year ago defensively. Timme was limited in this area, and the Zags ranked 73rd in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency (KenPom) — an uncharacteristic drop for a program that has consistently ranked in the top 20. This group is fairly new and could be similar in some ways to last year’s squad, which will put more pressure on Gonzaga to score at a high rate.
There’s no need to worry about Nembhard, Watson or Ike — now that he’s healthy again.
The two major questions come with Hickman and the wing — whether it’ll be Venters and Stromer.
Hickman could thrive in a spot playing alongside Nembhard, since that’ll make him the secondary ball-handler and force him to be more assertive as a scorer. But the key for Hickman isn’t ability; it’s more the mental aspect of the game and maturity. He’ll need to be consistent and keep his confidence up during the off-nights.
“He needs to be huge for us this year,” Few said. “Because we really need him.”
Venters has spent the past four years in the Big Sky and Eastern Washington. While he has size and shot 40% from 3 over the course of his college career, this will be a major jump for him in competition — especially from a physical aspect. Maybe not as much in the WCC, but in the non-conference and in the NCAA Tournament when it matters most. Venters can space the floor, has deep range, and moves well; but, will he be able to put it on the floor enough and defend at a competent level?
Stromer does everything well, but nothing elite. He’s a tough, all-around guard who can score in a variety of ways, but isn’t a knock-down shooter like Venters. Those two will need to be able to combine to fill the void left by Strawther and his 15 points per game.
Gonzaga fans will need to get used to not having Timme providing automatic offense down low. He brought a swagger and winning mentality, played with emotion, was tough, and always found a way to score — even if it wasn’t pretty.
This team will do it with far more balance — possibly with five players averaging double-figures — and won’t necessarily have someone who is a true go-to guy. Nembhard will give the Zags a steadying influence and someone who makes life easier for his teammates. Watson brings experience down low, and Ike and Venters have both played a lot of college basketball.
This team has a bunch of new faces, but is far from young. It’s Gonzaga, so the safe bet is that the Zags finish atop the WCC and make it to the second weekend of the Big Dance.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW: BIG 10…RUTGERS
|2022-23:||19-15, 10-10 (T-9th, Big Ten)|
|NIT – First Round|
|Coach:||STEVE PIKIELL (8th Season)|
|Homecourt:||JERSEY MIKE’S ARENA (8,000)|
|Key Departures:||CAM SPENCER (13.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.1 apg)|
|CALEB McCONNELL (9.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 spg)|
|PAUL MULCAHY (8.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.9 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||NOAH FERNANDES (transfer, UMass)|
|AUSTIN WILLIAMS (transfer, FIU / Hartford)|
|GAVIN GRIFFITHS (freshman, Kingswood-Oxford HS)|
|JAMICHAEL DAVIS (freshman, McEachern HS)|
|JEREMIAH WILLIAMS (transfer, Iowa St. / Temple)|
FROM THE COACH
“We’re athletic as hell. This is the most athletic team we’ve had since we’ve been here.”
After two consecutive seasons in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the mid-1970s, Steve Pikiell and the Scarlet Knights just missed making it a trifecta — which would have been insane for a program that didn’t go to the tourney from 1992 to 2021.
Rutgers finished 19-15 overall last season and 10-10 in the Big Ten, but four Quad 3 losses and a lackluster non-conference schedule was the difference between making it three straight and going to the NIT.
Cam Spencer transferred to UConn, Paul Mulcahy went to Washington and Caleb McConnell graduated, so it’s a revamped Scarlet Knight team this season. That’s three starters who averaged 60% of the team’s scoring a year ago.
However, Pikiell still has one of the best big men in the league, he brought in a freshman that he’s raving about, and he has enough other pieces back to be in the hunt again.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
Cliff Omoruyi led Rutgers in scoring (13.2 ppg), rebounding (9.6 rpg) and blocks (2.1 bpg) last season, and gives the Scarlet Knights one of the best defensive big men and rim protectors in the country.
“He’s basically a double-double guy every night,” Pikiell said of Big Cliff. “We’re hoping we can get a little more from him offensively because we’ll need it.”
Sophomore guard Derek Simpson should have an expanded role after averaging 7.1 points in about 20 minutes per game last season. The 6-3, 170-pound Simpson is a tremendous athlete who can put it on the floor and get to the basket. The key for Simpson will be whether he can make perimeter shots and keep defenses honest this year. A year ago, he shot just 13-of-60 (22%) from long range.
UMass transfer Noah Fernandes is a veteran point guard who will likely come in and run the team. He’s a fifth-year guy with a ton of college experience, but he only played 11 games last season due to a knee injury. Fernandes is steady, and he can both shoot it from deep and run the team.
Look for freshman Gavin Griffiths to compete for starts and play a huge role in Rutgers’ success this season. He’s long and bouncy at 6-8, plus he knows how to play and can shoot it. He performed extremely well on the team’s overseas trips to Senegal and Portugal during the summer.
Seniors Aundre Hyatt and Mawot Mag are both back and will give Pikiell experience on the wing. The 6-6 Hyatt started 17 games last year, averaging 8.8 points, and should get more playing time this season. He is a versatile wing who does a little bit of everything. Mag suffered a torn ACL in early February, and the team just wasn’t the same without his presence, especially on the defensive end. Rutgers was 16-7 with Mag in the lineup and 3-8 without him.
“We’re hoping he’ll be back for practice in October,” Pikiell said of Mag. “Once he gets back in shape, he can be one of the best defenders in the country.”
Pikiell also brings back reserve forwards Oskar Palmquist and Antwone Woolfork, along with redshirt freshman Antonio Chol.
The 6-8, 220-pound Palmquist is a fifth-year guy who can step out and make shots, while the 6-9 Woolfork is a former football player who has lost about 30 pounds and gives the Scarlet Knights physicality and athleticism up front. Chol redshirted last season, but he’s a stretch-4 who hails from Sudan and has added 20-plus pounds. He can give Pikiell some instant offense off the bench with his ability to shoot it.
Pikiell’s trademark since he’s been at Rutgers is defense and toughness. The Scarlet Knights only allowed 61 points per game last season — which ranked first in the league and 11th in the country.
Rutgers won’t be able to fill the void left by McConnell, who was arguably the best defender in the nation. But Pikiell needs to make sure that this team, which is anchored down low by Omoruyi, still guards at a high level — especially on the perimeter. Otherwise, it’ll be putting too much pressure on Big Cliff, which will ultimately force him into foul trouble.
Mag needs to get back to 100%, because he’s the one guy who can be a game-changer on the defensive end of the court. There’s obviously been a culture created in which most of the players recruited know that they are going to have to defend in order to stay on the court.
The defense can’t take too much of a dip, but the perimeter shooting also has to improve.
Rutgers shot just 32% from 3 last season, and that was with Spencer and Mulcahy — who combined to make 92 shots from long range at nearly a 42% clip. Spencer was an elite shooter (43%, 72 3PM) who also helped space the court while Mulcahy, not regarded as much of a shooter, made 37% on more than 50 attempts.
Simpson was a non-shooter a year ago, Hyatt only made 31% of his attempts, and while Griffiths comes in with a rep for being able to make shots from distance, he’s still an unproven freshman. Fernandes is the one guy who has established himself, making 39% of his shots from deep throughout his college career.
“We’re definitely more athletic than we were last year, and more versatile offensively, but we’re going to have to shoot it better,” Pikiell said. “I think we’re going to have more overall answers offensively, though.”
This team should collectively have more offensive weapons, largely due to its athleticism. But that also depends on whether Simpson can turn into someone who can make big-time plays, and whether Fernandes can stay healthy and get his teammates uncontested shots.
Mag’s health and ability to come back at 100% early in the season will be crucial to Pikiell — especially with losing McConnell. Mag tore his ACL in February, so the start of this season will mark about nine months after the injury.
Pikiell will be careful not to bring Mag along too quickly, and likely will ease him in minutes-wise early in the season. But Rutgers can ill afford to get off to a slow start and struggle in non-conference play. The norm for the Scarlet Knights has been a soft-ish early slate, so that should help the transition. But they can’t slip up against teams in the 300s of the NET; those are the kinds of setbacks that could keep them out of the NCAA Tournament come Selection Sunday.
But having a healthy Mag on the perimeter and Omoruyi down low would give the Scarlet Knights two cornerstones that will be among the league’s best on the defensive end of the court. Mag is 6-7 and versatile enough to guard multiple positions, and his length also causes issues for opponents. He also started to make open 3s prior to his injury last season, and it would be a welcome sight if Mag can provide Pikiell a little more scoring punch upon his return.
While the added athleticism might give Rutgers a higher scoring ceiling this year, this program still needs to do what it does best: defend. And with a healthy Mag, it’s possible the Scarlet Knights can remain the league’s stingiest defense.
Pikiell is a terrific coach – that’s not exactly breaking news. But he loses a lot on the perimeter with the departure of an elite defender in McConnell, an elite shooter in Spencer, and a versatile veteran who brought no shortage of intangibles to the floor in Mulcahy.
He’s got a stud big man, but the perimeter is still filled with question marks. Can Simpson shoot it well enough to be an all-league guy? Will Griffiths be ready as a freshman to play a major role? Will Mag be healthy enough to pick up where he left off?
Rutgers should be somewhere in the mix once again. The past four years, the Scarlet Knights are a combined 43-37 in Big Ten play. They will likely be somewhere around that .500 mark once again — which could mean a third NCAA Tournament appearance in four seasons for a program that didn’t go dancing for nearly two decades.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW MAC: EASTERN MICHIGAN
|2022-23:||8-23, 5-13 (T-9th, MAC)|
|Coach:||STAN HEATH (3rd Season)|
|Homecourt:||CONVOCATION CENTER (3,000)|
|Key Departures:||EMONI BATES (19.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.4 apg)|
|NOAH FARRAKHAN (12.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.3 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||JOHN MCGRIFF (transfer, Binghamton)|
|CYRIL MARTYNOV (transfer, Georgia Tech)|
|CONNOR SERVEN (transfer, Illinois)|
|ARNE OSOJNI (freshman, Dream City Christian)|
FROM THE COACH
“This team is built on versatility. You can’t just pick out one or two guys. We can beat you from many different spots, inside and out. I like what we’ve done over the summer. These guys really want to win.”
Missing the MAC tournament with a five-star, pro-level talent is a tough pill to swallow. The highly anticipated Emoni Bates era came and went in the blink of an eye, ending in an abruptly sour taste — not even a chance at a MAC Tournament Cinderella run. Thanks to a disappointing 5-13 conference record, the Eagles did not qualify for the league playoffs.
Fingers can be pointed all around for last year’s mishap, but what’s done is done. Stan Heath is hitting the reset button — or is he?
“Every year you have to evaluate your team, your season, and look at the ways you can get better. You want to make the adjustments in your personnel but also in how you want to play,” Heath explained.
Specifically, the coach noted that last year’s group of greenhorns were at a disadvantage, which is something he expects to improve in 2023-24.
“For us, it was important to get older. We had no upperclassmen, we were mostly freshmen and sophomores,” Heath lamented. “This year, we’re still young, but we have guys with experience. That’s the difference.”
ROAD TO SUCCESS
Emoni Bates and Noah Farrakhan are no longer around, so the production from those dynamite isolation scorers will be apportioned to a deep cast of characters. Realistically, none of them are as gifted as Bates, nor do they possess his combination of shot-making and size, but there’s still plenty of bucket-getters in this returning pack. When you add all the parts together, the whole perimeter looks quite nice on paper.
Tyson Acuff is the new ringleader, a large shift upward from his undercard role last year.Though he wasn’t always the main attraction, Acuff put on an alpha mask multiple times and looked the part of a true offensive engine. During one ridiculous four-game stretch, Acuff poured in 29, 18, 35 and 36 points while shooting a combined 20-of-31 (64.5%) from 3-point range.
More importantly, those outbursts may have coincided with EMU’s best stretch of the season. The Eagles went 1-3 overall during that span, but they beat a dangerous Ohio team (a game in which Acuff tied a career-high with six assists) and fell just shy at both Ball State and Buffalo.
The final results weren’t there, but the signs of improvement were demonstrable — and demonstrably sparked by Acuff.
“Acuff’s ready to have an all-conference year,” said Heath. “Look at his back-nine stats. He really came on at the end of the year. I think he’s going to be that guy.”
However, the other side of Acuff’s coin is inconsistency. The next three games after that scorching four-game stretch, Acuff scored just six points total and went 0-of-8 from deep.
Here’s the hard truth: the isolation-centric nature of the Bates-led offense disrupted EMU’s rhythm and the continuity of its supporting cast. As one member of that cast, Acuff’s inability to find a groove contributed to his ups and downs.
From there, this year’s offense could benefit from a makeover. Specifically, a more consistent game-to-game diet between Acuff and his returning cohorts: Kevin-David Rice, Orlando Lovejoy and new arrival John McGriff from Binghamton.
Heath loves Lovejoy at the point of attack. His outside shooting limitations can be schemed against defensively, but he’s a terror on the defensive end of the floor. Last year, Lovejoy was one of the few bright spots in EMU’s defense.
McGriff brings even more speed to the table at the point, and his potential value was probably best exemplified by his 2022 campaign. That year, McGriff led Binghamton to an 8-10 conference record, the program’s high-water mark since 2010. If the former St. John’s commit can stay on the floor, he’s a starting-caliber guard in this league.
“He’s probably my best pure point guard, in terms of handling the ball and making plays for others,” Heath stated. “I feel pretty solid at that position.”
Rice is also capable of putting up points in bunches, as seen when he’s been healthy and available. Overall, he’s a calming presence in the backcourt. Rice has a knack for making timely shots, and Heath reveres his basketball IQ.
Part of Heath’s initiative to get older this summer ties to his secondary objective: get tougher. This is a story about defense, where the Eagles were ravaged by MAC offenses last year.
Heath’s post-mortem of the shortcomings is logical. The lineup construction was a function of the personnel, which sacrificed defensive strength and toughness for skill and shot-making. However, the defense was also hurt directly by the offense itself. For example, long-range misses often sparked easy fast-break opportunities for opponents going the other way.
“Our offense last year was so perimeter-dominated,” Heath noted. “Last year, poor shot selection led to tough transition defense. This year, our offense will be more balanced, which should take pressure off our transition defense.”
Heath still wants to play with great pace. He just hopes his defense will reset more consistently, and reduce the easy ‘gimme’ buckets on the other end.
Also, deploying a leaner forward, such as Legend Geeter, at the 5 position made matters worse. Heath knew he had to do something to bolster the frontline this summer, so he went swimming in the power conference pond for length. There, he caught Connor Serven from Illinois and Cyril Martynov out of Georgia Tech.
“Cyril Martynov, he’s going to help us a lot. He’s got size, but he’s got skill, too. He can pass and score,” Heath said. “Serven, he’s more of a 4-man, but he can guard wings and forwards. Both are exactly what we needed.”
Yusuf Jihad is another core cog in the rotation, as is the towering 6-11 Javantae Randle, who could carve out a larger role this year as well.
Heath is also bullish on his team’s ability to better contain dribble penetration on the perimeter. A bump in minutes for Lovejoy — a defensive demon — is imminent, says Heath:
“Lovejoy’s our ball pest, and we need him to be the head of our snake.”
Along with Rice and Jihad, two of Heath’s sleeper breakout candidates, Jalin Billingsley’s future looks extremely bright.
“Billingsley’s really been a nice bright spot this summer. He’s a high-major athlete, and we see him having a breakout, especially since he’ll get more touches,” said Heath.
However, Billingsley must not lose sight of what’s most important: enabling that physical, tough frontline identity. He’s capable of doing the dirty work, though, so he may be of service in addressing the Eagles’ top priority.
Big picture, EMU won’t take any strides until the defense is fixed, and Bilingsley will be in the eye of the interior storm all year long.
The one position in flux is the wing, where Heath is eyeing two younger prospects as potential solutions.
If Arne Osojnik continues to shoot the rock at a high clip, he’ll be in the mix sooner rather than later. Osojnik shot 50% from downtown for Slovenia in the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup, which featured some stiff competition. Derik Pranger is another perimeter-slanted wing stuck in a forward’s frame. He could be an asset on defense with insane positional size at the 3.
The offseason ink this summer may not match the buzz of last year’s circus, but this rendition of the Eagles may be more deserving of the hype. There’s still numerous questions about consistency at multiple positions, but the potential is undoubtedly there.
The ‘Bates haters’ will surely point to his pro exodus as “addition by subtraction” for Eastern Michigan. However, the prospective upturn in Ypsilanti is less about who walked out the door, and more about who came back through it.
“Our goals were to get older, tougher and play more cohesive,” Heath explained.
If EMU can deliver Heath his wish, the Eagles are capable of leaping into the top-five of a relatively wide-open MAC.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW BIG EAST: CREIGHTON
|2022-23:||24-13, 14-6 (3rd Big East)|
|Lost NCAA Elite Eight|
|Coach:||GREG MCDERMOTT (14th Season)|
|Homecourt:||CHI HEALTH CENTER (18,320)|
|Key Departures:||RYAN NEMBHARD (12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.8 apg)|
|ARTHUR KALUMA (11.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg)|
|SHEREEF MITCHELL (1.8 ppg)|
|Key Newcomers:||STEVEN ASHWORTH (transfer, Utah State|
|ISAAC TRAUDT (transfer, Virginia)|
|JOHNATHAN LAWSON (transfer, Memphis)|
|JOSIAH DOTZLER (freshman, Bellevue West HS, NE)|
|STERLING KNOX (freshman, Red Rock Academy, NV)|
|BROCK VICE (freshman, Houston HS, TN)|
FROM THE COACH
“It’s been motivational for the returning guys because we were so close to the Final Four. We talk all the time about the importance of one possession, and a game like that, everyone remembers the last couple of possessions.”
The last five months have been a bit of a roller coaster for the Creighton basketball program.
It started with the way last season ended: a phantom foul with almost no time left on the clock in a tied game in the Elite Eight. It continued with two of Creighton’s best players entering the transfer portal and ultimately leaving the program. And it ended with the Bluejays unexpectedly getting all three of the players who tested the NBA Draft waters back, while adding two talented pieces from the portal.
“It was really important that we replace [Ryan Nembhard and Arthur Kaluma] with the right guys,” McDermott said, and he believes that they were successful.
This means that the Bluejays, who at one point looked like they were going to have to go through a full rebuild this season, will compete for the Big East title once again.
All things being equal, it’s hard to complain about that.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
The biggest reason that Creighton will enter the season as a team with a chance to win the Big East is the biggest player on their roster.
Ryan Kalkbrenner’s return to Omaha means that, for the third straight season, Creighton will have one of the most impactful defenders in the country. The Bluejays have been the best defensive team in the Big East over the past two seasons. They finished second in the league standings in 2021. Kalkbrenner is why. He’s an elite rim protector that allows Creighton to be able to get out and pressure on the perimeter without the fear of getting beaten to the rim for a layup, and he’s developed into a terrific ball-screen defender as well.
With Kalkbrenner in the middle, there are no easy buckets in Omaha. Trey Alexander is a solid defender as well, and arguably the best perimeter defender McDermott has ever coached. He is the guy on the roster with the highest ceiling, and is a terrific on-ball defender that has length and switchability at 6-4. He developed his 3-point shot quite a bit last season — from 28% to 41% — and is now working on his ability to get the shot off quicker, Alexander’s best skill is 1-on-1 shot creation and execution in the mid-range.
“I’m not a big believer in mid-range shots unless he’s shooting them,” McDermott said.
While there are some defensive concerns elsewhere on the roster, Kalkbrenner and Alexander will ensure that the culture of toughness and defensive intensity remains.
“Both Ryan and Trey went through the draft process,” McDermott said, “and would have stayed in for a guaranteed deal.”
The same can be said for Baylor Scheierman, who was not actually supposed to be back in college this season.
“The plan when recruiting him was to get him for one year and then he’s gone to the league,” McDermott said. “So [his return] was a nice surprise.”
Scheierman’s ability as a long-range shooter and creative passer makes him a really interesting weapon that can be schemed into being a threat offensively. “I thought he had a really good year last year, but he didn’t shoot it as well as I thought he would,” McDermott said. The shooting success will come. His ability to play on the ball, off the ball, and run off of screens is uncommon, and McDermott is excited about the prospect of having him on the floor alongside Alexander and Utah State transfer Steven Ashworth.
Creighton targeted Ashworth early in the process before landing his commitment in April. Just as Scheierman did last year, Ashworth arrives in Omaha on the heels of a season in which he averaged over 16.0 points and 4.0 assists while shooting better than 43% from 3.
“He was the best point guard in the portal for us in terms of how it fits our team,” McDermott said.
Ashworth’s fit comes down to his ability as a shooter, which will allow Alexander to play on or off the ball. The backcourt trio of Ashworth, Alexander and Scheierman is as versatile and as dangerous offensively as any that you’ll find in college basketball this season.
When you consider fit within a system and the way that a coaching staff can take advantage of the talent at their disposal, Creighton’s top four is as good as any top four in America.
That much is inarguable.
Where there are deserved question marks is with Creighton’s depth. Francisco Farabello is likely going to be the first guard off the bench for the Bluejays this season, and while he has four years of experience at the high-major level, he’s never been a guy that’s averaged more than a handful of points.
Behind Farabello, Creighton has a pair of freshmen in Josiah Dotzler and Sterling Knox, both of whom will take some time and some seasoning. They also added Johnathan Lawson (Memphis), a 6-7 wing with a 7-1 wingspan, who has the athleticism to be a defensive stopper. However, he’s coming off of a season where he averaged just 3.4 points in a lesser league than the Big East.
Up front, Kalkbrenner’s backup is Fredrick King, who McDermott feels did a “great job” in Kalkbrenner’s absence last year. He posted back-to-back double-doubles against Arizona State and Marquette, and he is athletic enough to cause real havoc with the pressure he puts on the rim. The big question is whether or not King is going to be good enough to force McDermott to play him 10-12 minutes. If he is, that could help save Kalkbrenner’s legs down the stretch of the season.
Creighton does have some depth at the 4, but part of that is a direct result of not having a clear-cut front-runner for the job — more on that in a minute.
When Kalkbrenner went down with mono last season, Creighton lost six straight games, and a single injury or illness to one of their top four players could do the same this year.
The most important position in college basketball is the point guard.
The second-most important position in college basketball is the 4-man. Finding a player that is skilled enough to score on the perimeter, tough enough to score in the paint and versatile enough to be a switchable defender is not an easy task, especially when the NBA is doling out eight figures in guaranteed cash for those guys.
That is what Arthur Kaluma was, at least on paper, and while it can be debated whether or not he was the right fit for this Creighton program, he filled the role well enough that the Jays won 24 games, finished third in a loaded Big East and came a possession away from their first ever Final Four.
Finding an answer there is going to be the most important part of McDermott’s team-building this season, and it looks like there are going to be three players that will fight for minutes: Mason Miller, Isaac Traudt and Jasen Green.
Traudt, a transfer that redshirted last season with Virginia, is “one of the best shooters we’ve had on our teams,” McDermott said, comparing him favorably to Creighton legend Ethan Wragge. “It’s a matter of getting him accustomed to our system, what we do is much different than UVA.”
Getting Traudt to defend at the level required in this new era of Creighton basketball will be important as well. That’s where redshirt freshman Green enters into the conversation. He’s the best defender of the group, and he spent last season learning the system.
Miller, however, may end up being the best fit. “He’s been the most consistent,” McDermott said. Known as a skinny, athletic shooter, the 6-9 Miller has “made a huge jump defensively and on the backboards.”
It may end up being 4-man-by-committee, but success for whoever ends up on the floor is going to determine Creighton’s ceiling.
There is an argument that last year’s Creighton team was the best Creighton team that Greg McDermott has had in his 13 seasons in Omaha.
It was elite defensively. It was very good offensively. And it was one ill-timed bout of mono away from being a 30-win team and top-three seed in the dance.
And here’s the crazy part: despite losing their starting point guard and their starting power forward, this year’s Creighton team has a chance to be better than last year. The pieces fit together very well, and the level of shooters that are on the roster will create the kind of space that McDermott coached teams thrive on.
The top of the Big East is a beast. Marquette and UConn will show up in preseason top five polls. Villanova looks like they’ll be a top 15 team. Providence and Xavier will show up in preseason top 25s. St. John’s has Rick Pitino. Georgetown has Ed Cooley.
It’s loaded with quality teams. And Creighton is as good as any of them.
TITLE THOUGHTS PROPEL TOM IZZO, NO. 4 MICHIGAN STATE INTO OPENER
Tom Izzo won a national championship when he was 45 years old. He’s accomplished many things since 2000, including his induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, but at 68 the longtime Michigan State coach is still chasing a second national title.
The Spartans begin their season against James Madison at East Lansing on Monday and believe they have enough talent and depth to make the title dream a reality. Izzo doesn’t want to squander another chance.
“I told them in one huddle, ‘This is not last year; it’s not the years before,’” Izzo said. “I mean, I’m sick of finishing before April. So, guys are going to have to play (well) and that’s up to them and not up to me.”
The Spartans, ranked No. 4 in the preseason, are aiming for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament to facilitate their ultimate goal.
“Sometimes it’s just luck of the draw,” he said. “If we keep knocking on the door, maybe one way would be, let’s get to be a higher seed this year. That way we don’t have to have more success (as a lower-seeded team). Let’s be better on the front end and then maybe we can continue on through.”
In an era when transferring has become the norm, the Spartans have virtually all their rotation players back from last season, plus some talented freshmen to provide competition.
Michigan State, which lost to Kansas State in the Final Eight last season, could have arguably the top backcourt in the country. Tyson Walker led the team last season at 14.8 points per game. A.J. Hoggard was the team’s third-leading scorer (12.9) and topped the Spartans in assists (5.9). Jaden Akins (9.8) finished fourth in scoring.
“Everybody could leave, that’s the way it is now,” Izzo said. “These guys stayed and they went through failure. And they’ve been through some success.”
The frontcourt returnees include Mady Sissoko, Malik Hall, Carson Cooper and Jaxon Kohler. They’ll be pushed by highly touted freshman Xavier Booker. Jeremy Fears Jr. will angle for playing time in the backcourt and another freshman, Coen Carr, will fortify the wing.
James Madison finished last season 22-11 and lost in the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament.
The Dukes were picked by the league’s coaches to finish first this season and Terrence Edwards was named to its preseason all-conference first team. He was named the Sun Belt’s Sixth Man of the Year last season while leading them in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and 3-point percentage (.458).
James Madison has 12 upperclassmen on its roster, including five transfers.
“Preseason rankings don’t mean anything to us,” Edwards told the Daily News-Record. “We know what we want, we know what we want to do. We want to finish first, we don’t want to start first. That’s the goal. Keep getting better and better every day and every week, that’s our goal.”
Head coach Mark Byington echoed Edwards’ sentiments.
“Us being picked No. 1, it’s not something we even talk about or think about,” Byington said. “We talk about being the best version of ourselves. Truthfully, if you see where teams are picked preseason, very rarely does it come true or it has very little meaning on the outcome.”
NO. 25 ILLINOIS ENTERTAINS NEIGHBOR EASTERN ILLINOIS IN OPENER
Ordinarily, there are extra butterflies floating around before a season opener. Coaches and players spend a little extra time contemplating how good their teams might look on opening night.
No. 25 Illinois need not bother with this step before hosting Eastern Illinois in Monday’s opener at State Farm Center in Champaign. The Illini already know their potential because they knocked off No. 1 Kansas 82-75 in a nationally televised exhibition Oct. 29 while raising $1 million for Maui wildfire relief.
“I was very pleased with our offensive flow,” said Illinois coach Brad Underwood, a nod to his offseason project to fix a roster that didn’t have enough good passers or shooters last year. “The end of the game, we had a lot of age out there. A lot of experience. Early in the season, you rely on that.”
During the final five-plus minutes against Kansas, Underwood went exclusively with fifth-year seniors Terrance Shannon Jr., Marcus Domask, Quincy Guerrier and Justin Harmon and fourth-year junior Coleman Hawkins — exactly what he hoped when he lured graduate transfers Domask (Southern Illinois), Guerrier (Oregon) and Harmon (Utah Valley) in the spring.
Shannon, who tied for the 11th-most votes for the Associated Press’ preseason All-American team, paced the Illini with 28 points. He and Hawkins (14 points) set a hopeful tone for Illinois’ season by teaming up to hit 9 of 18 3-point attempts.
For a team that ranked dead last in the Big Ten and 340th nationally in 3-point shooting (30.8 percent) last year, it was a welcome sight. And while Illinois’ 8-to-14 assist-to-turnover ratio in the exhibition looked a lot like last year — which ended with a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a first-round loss — the ball moved with much more purpose against Kansas than last year.
“I feel like we’re all on the same page here offensively and it’s been successful so far,” Hawkins said. “It’s only going to get better, too.”
Illinois and Eastern Illinois are meeting in the season opener for the second year in a row. The Illini claimed an 87-57 home win last season. Shannon and Hawkins are the only starters back from that game.
Eastern Illinois coach Marty Simmons, whose team is picked to finish last in the 11-team Ohio Valley Conference after going 9-22 last year, welcomes nine new players to his school located 45 minutes south of Champaign.
Fifth-year guard Caleb Donaldson (8.5 ppg) is the only one of EIU’s top five scorers who returned this season. Junior-college transfers Kyndall Davis and Corey Sawyer Jr. will be among the newcomers asked to push the pace.
“We’ve got a nice mix of returning players and new players,” Simmons said. “The attitude’s been off the charts. Guys have really been competing hard, so we’re just excited to make that next step for our program.
“I like our versatility. We’ve got a lot of guys who can play multiple positions. I don’t think we have just one guy who’s going to get 25 a game. I think we’ve got several guys capable of doing that.”
WADE TAYLOR IV, NO. 15 TEXAS A&M WELCOME EARLY HYPE
Texas A&M last experienced a heightened level of preseason buzz more than a decade ago but head coach Buzz Williams’ fifth season and an experienced roster has the Aggies thinking big.
No. 15 Texas A&M opens the season at home against Texas A&M-Commerce on Monday in College Station.
This is the highest preseason ranking in the Associated Press poll for A&M since it entered the 2006-07 season ranked No. 13 under Billy Gillispie.
The preseason hype isn’t surprising. The Aggies reached the NCAA Tournament last season, and return almost all of their roster including junior point guard Wade Taylor IV. Taylor is coming off a standout sophomore season, and is the SEC preseason player of the year.
Along with Taylor, fellow guard Tyrece Radford is a player with high expectations. The “super senior” is coming off an impressive season in which he started every game and earned second-team All-SEC honors.
“We do have a lot of returning players,” Williams said at the SEC Media Days. “But we’re also arguably playing the toughest non-conference schedule that A&M has ever played. We don’t have much wiggle room to give away possessions at any point. We play eight games in November, five of them are on the road.”
The Aggies do have a notable non-conference slate, including the second game of the season at Ohio State on Nov. 10 and a road game at Virginia in the ACC/SEC Challenge. They also are scheduled to face Houston on Dec. 16 at the Toyota Center, home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
However, the opener against A&M-Commerce is expected to be a tuneup for the Aggies. The Lions are entering just their second season playing at the Division I level. They went 13-20 last season in their inaugural season as members of the Southland Conference.
A&M-Commerce coach Jaret von Rosenberg said he would have graded himself with a “B-minus” in how last season went during an interview on ESPN+ at the Southland Conference Media Day.
“There were some opportunities I think I could’ve done a much better job in, just preparation stuff,” said von Rosenberg, who is entering his seventh season. “Every year has adversity. Hopefully we can stay healthy. We really like the group we have. We return a lot of firepower from last year.”
A couple notable players returning are forward Jerome Brewer Jr., who averaged 8.2 points, and guard Tommie Lewis, who averaged 8.0 points. As a team, the Lions are coming off a season in which they averaged 71.6 points per game and allowed an average of 73.4 points.
A&M, meanwhile, averaged 72.8 points per game while allowing 66.5 points last season.
As far as history is concerned, this will mark just the fifth meeting between the schools on the hardwood. The last time these two teams played was Dec. 12, 1979. The Aggies lead the all-time series 3-1 with every game being played in College Station.
‘TWO CHIPS’ ON THEIR SHOULDER, DAN HURLEY, NO. 6 UCONN NOT COMPLACENT
UConn continues its pursuit of respect knowing the mission of back-to-back national championships will not be accomplished in the opener Monday night against visiting Northern Arizona.
Ranked No. 6 in the preseason AP poll, UConn posted a 31-8 record last season and defeated San Diego State in the national championship game.
A lot has changed for Huskies head coach Dan Hurley, including his roster.
The Huskies were picked third — behind Marquette and Creighton — in the Big East preseason poll of conference coaches. And UConn isn’t represented by any player on the Big East preseason all-conference team, although sophomore center Donovan Clingan was named to the second team.
Hurley used the voting results to remind his team they have something to prove — and a ton of competition to overcome to make the team goals a reality.
“Jordan Hawkins was not picked on an all-conference preseason team last year, and he led us to a dominant run and was (an NBA) lottery pick,” Hurley said. “Some of the stuff … I get it this year more than others. When you look at the all-conference teams, really good players didn’t make one of the first two teams.
“As for the order of finish, we have three teams ranked in the top eight of the AP Poll. We have three, maybe four national championship contenders this year, so that’s what we’re dealing with.”
Clingan, forward Alex Karaban and point guard Tristen Newton were key pieces last season who are back with the Huskies. UConn also added Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer and guard Stephon Castle, the Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year. Spencer, a 6-foot-4 guard, made 43.4 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, when he averaged 13.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the Scarlet Knights.
“Storrs, Connecticut, is the basketball capital of the world,” Hurley said. “We’ll come into a season with a chip on our shoulder — or two chips — and that’s why I think this program is as successful as it’s been. We don’t carry complacency.”
Northern Arizona finished 12-23 overall and 5-13 in the Big Sky last season, but got hot late in the season and advanced to the Big Sky tournament championship game. Montana State won the tournament title by beating the Lumberjacks 85-78.
Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado tied for eighth place in the Big Sky preseason coaches’ poll.
“To lose in the Big Sky championship game, miss the NCAA tournament by seven points and then to play your next regular season game against UConn is exactly the experience that these guys want to elevate their game at NAU basketball,” coach Shane Burcar said. “Playing at schools like Michigan State, Gonzaga, Arizona State and Texas Tech has made us better over the last few years.”
Pepperdine transfer Carson Basham, a 6-foot-10 junior center, is one of five new players on the Northern Arizona roster this season. Basham averaged 7.1 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game for Pepperdine last season.
Northern Arizona will have to make up for the loss of point guard Jalen Cone, who transferred to California. Cone was a third-team All-Big Sky selection last season, when he averaged a team-high 17.6 points per game.
Carson Towt, a 6-foot-8 forward, is the team’s only returning player who scored in double digits last season (10.1).
REPORTS: 76ERS AGREE TO DEAL JAMES HARDEN TO CLIPPERS
After months of acrimony, James Harden finally got the move he requested, as the Philadelphia 76ers dealt him to the Los Angeles Clippers, multiple outlets reported late Monday night.
In terms of players involved, Philadelphia receives Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris Sr., Robert Covington and Kenyon Martin Jr., per the reports. According to ESPN, Los Angeles gets P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusev along with Harden.
Additionally, ESPN reported that the 76ers get an unprotected 2028 first-round pick, a pair of second-round picks and a pick swap. The Clippers will also give the 76ers a future first-round pick from a third team.
The 76ers also will waive guard Danny Green to make salary-cap room for the new players coming in, according to ESPN.
The disgruntled guard had sat out the 76ers’ first three games of the season amid his feud with Philadelphia general manager Daryl Morey. During the summer, Harden called Morey a liar and stated that their differences could not be resolved. Despite the rhetoric, Harden picked up his $35.6 million option for the current season rather than enter free agency.
The Clippers and 76ers are both off to 2-1 starts.
Harden, 34, led the NBA in assists last season at 10.7 per game while contributing 21 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest for the 76ers. The three-time league scoring champion is a 10-time All-Star, and he was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in the 2017-18 season.
The major hole in his resume is the lack of an NBA championship. Harden also is the subject of lots of criticism for forcing his way out of teams — three times now, with the 76ers joining a list that already included the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets.
He began his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder after they selected him with the third overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Arizona State.
The deal to Los Angeles will represent a homecoming for Harden, who went to Artesia High School in Lakewood, Calif., about 21 miles away from the Clippers’ home venue in Inglewood.
Batum, 34, is averaging 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds this season, down from his norms of 10.7 and 5.0, respectively.
Covington, 32, is putting up 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds. His career averages are 11.1 and 5.6, respectively.
Martin, 22, was acquired by the Clippers from the Rockets in July as part of a five-team trade. He managed just 5.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in two games off the bench for Los Angeles after posting career highs of 12.7 and 5.5, respectively, last season.
Morris, 34, has yet to play for the Clippers this season. His averages 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds for his career.
Tucker, 38, has logged 2.0 points and 4.7 boards through three starts for Philadelphia this season. He has career marks of 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. He is also a career 36.6-percent shooter from 3-point range.
Petrusev, 23, is in his first NBA season after the 76ers drafted him in the second round in 2021. He appeared in just one game for Philadelphia, playing three scoreless minutes.
NBA ROUNDUP: STEPHEN CURRY (42) GUIDES WARRIORS PAST PELICANS
Stephen Curry scored 42 points and the visiting Golden State Warriors routed the New Orleans Pelicans 130-102 on Monday night.
Chris Paul, who came off the bench for the first time in his 19-year career a night earlier, added 13 points as a Golden State reserve.Trayce Jackson-Davis had 13 points and nine rebounds, Moses Moody added 13 points and Gary Payton II scored 10 for the Warriors.
CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson scored 19 points apiece, rookie Jordan Hawkins scored 14, Matt Ryan had 12 and Jonas Valanciunas and Kira Lewis Jr. each added 11 for the Pelicans.
Curry made 3 of 5 shots from beyond the arc and scored 16 points in the first quarter. He finished 15 of 22 from the floor, including 7 of 13 on 3-pointers.
Hawks 127, Timberwolves 113
Dejounte Murray matched his career high with 41 points, including 22 in the third quarter, to help Atlanta overcome a 21-point deficit and stun visiting Minnesota.
Murray shot 17-for-24 from the field and made his first 11 field-goal attempts of the second half. Murray was 3-for-5 on 3-point attempts and added seven rebounds and five assists as the Hawks won for the second straight night. Atlanta’s Trae Young added a season-high 24 points with eight assists, De’Andre Hunter scored 16 points and Clint Capela blocked five shots.
Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with a season-high 31 points and seven assists. Minnesota also got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Karl-Anthony Towns, plus 14 points and 13 rebounds from Rudy Gobert.
Lakers 106, Magic 103
D’Angelo Russell scored five of his game-high 28 points in the final 1:43 and Los Angeles pulled off a victory over visiting Orlando.
Anthony Davis scored 26 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for the Lakers. LeBron James added 19 points in 33 minutes after playing 39 minutes on Sunday in an overtime defeat at Sacramento.
Gary Harris scored 17 points off the bench for the Magic, going 6 of 6 from the field and 5 of 5 from 3-point range. Franz Wagner amassed 16 points and eight rebounds, while Jalen Suggs had 15 points and eight rebounds. Wagner and Suggs both missed 3-point attempts to tie the game in the final seconds.
Mavericks 125, Grizzlies 110
Luka Doncic recorded his second triple-double of the season with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, and visiting Dallas sent Memphis to its fourth straight loss to open the campaign.
Doncic led a trio of Mavericks scorers with at least 21 points, as Derrick Jones Jr. shot 7 of 10 from the floor en route to 22 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench to notch 21.
Three Memphis scorers recorded at least 23 points, with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane each netting 30. Marcus Smart added 23 points, shot 5 of 10 from 3-point range and dished out a team-high nine assists.
Bulls 112, Pacers 105
Nikola Vucevic posted a double-double of 24 points and 17 rebounds and Zach LaVine added 23 points as Chicago defeated Indiana in Indianapolis, handing the Pacers their first loss of the season.
Indiana shot 40.9 percent, including 12-for-46 from 3-point range. The Bulls attempted just 17 treys — making six — while finishing at 46 percent from the floor.
Myles Turner (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Tyrese Haliburton (19 points, 13 assists) had double-doubles for the Pacers in a game that saw the teams combine for 21 ties and 14 lead changes.
Celtics 126, Wizards 107
Jaylen Brown tossed in a game-high 36 points and Jayson Tatum finished with 33 to help visiting Boston breeze to a victory over Washington.
Kristaps Porzingis, who played for Washington last season, added 15 points for the Celtics, who led 100-68 with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter. Boston was up 108-75 entering the final period.
Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards with 21 points. Washington trailed by 37 points at one point in the second half but outscored Boston 26-9 at the start of the fourth quarter to slice the deficit to 117-101.
Nets 133, Hornets 121
Cam Thomas scored 19 of his 33 points in the second half and helped carry Brooklyn to its first victory of the season, a win against host Charlotte.
Thomas has scored 30 or more points in all three games this season. Mikal Bridges added 24 points and Lonnie Walker IV and Dorian Finney-Smith each notched 19 points. Brooklyn shot 56.3 percent from the field.
Terry Rozier scored 23 points and rookie Brandon Miller came off the bench for 22 points for the Hornets, who finished a 1-2 season-opening homestand with back-to-back losses.
Trail Blazers 99, Raptors 91
Jerami Grant scored 22 points and visiting Portland defeated Toronto.
Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points and Deandre Ayton had 10 points and a career-best 23 rebounds as Portland won for the first time in four games this season.
Scottie Barnes had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost three straight games. Toronto pulled within four with 1:03 to play, but Brogdon converted a layup and Grant hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Bucks 122, Heat 114
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and Damian Lillard added 25 as Milwaukee bounced back from a 17-point loss to take down visiting Miami.
The Bucks’ bench was also key in this one, particularly in the first half. Bobby Portis scored 16 points (14 in the first half), Cameron Payne added 11 and Milwaukee’s reserves outscored Miami’s 30-6 in the first half before the Heat bench returned the favor in the second half and actually outscored the Bucks’ bench for the game, 45-43.
Tyler Herro shined for the Heat in his home state of Wisconsin, scoring 35 points with eight rebounds to lead the way, while Jimmy Butler, who returned after missing Saturday’s game in Minnesota due to rest, added 13 points.
Thunder 124, Pistons 112
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 32 points a night after his lowest-scoring game in almost four years to lead host Oklahoma City past Detroit.
After being held to just seven points, his lowest total since December 2019, on 2-of-16 shooting against the Denver Nuggets, Gilgeous-Alexander topped that mark in the first quarter, scoring 10 points in the opening frame as the Thunder built a 12-point lead early and never trailed after the opening two minutes.
Josh Giddey scored a season-high 21 points in the win, while Jaden Ivey led the Pistons with 20 points off the bench.
Nuggets 110, Jazz 102
Nikola Jokic logged his second triple-double of the young season as host Denver beat Utah to remain unbeaten.
Jokic amassed 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, helping the reigning champion Nuggets improve to 4-0. Aaron Gordon contributed 21 points and seven rebounds.
Lauri Markkanen had 27 points and 14 rebounds and Walker Kessler scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Utah, which lost for the third time in its first four games.
POLICE INVESTIGATING DEATH OF US ICE HOCKEY PLAYER FROM SKATE BLADE CUT IN ENGLISH GAME
SHEFFIELD, England (AP) Police are investigating the death of American ice hockey player Adam Johnson after his neck was cut by a skate blade in a game in England.
Johnson, 29, was playing for the Nottingham Panthers at the Sheffield Steelers when he suffered the skate cut in a Champions Cup game on Saturday. He died at a hospital. He was a Minnesota native who appeared in 13 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019 and 2020.
“Our officers remain at the scene carrying out inquiries and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing,” South Yorkshire Police said on Monday. “We would encourage the public to avoid speculation regarding the incident while we continue our inquiries.”
The English Ice Hockey Association, which governs the sport below the Elite League, reacted to Johnson’s death by requiring all players in England to wear neck guards from the start of 2024.
Neck guards will be mandatory from Jan. 1 for all on-ice activities. The EIHA gave on Monday its “strong recommendation” that all players start wearing a neck guard, effective immediately. It said neck guards would not be mandatory immediately because of anticipated supply issues.
“It is unacceptable for any player to lose their life while playing sport,” the EIHA said. “Our responsibility is not only to avert the recurrence of such a heartbreaking accident, but also to pre-emptively address other foreseeable incidents in the future.”
Players in the U.K. are allowed to play without neck guards after they turn 18.
Within 12 months, the EIHA said it would conduct a “thorough” review of player safety equipment “including, but not limited to, the use of helmets, mouthguards/gumshields and facial protection.”
All clubs will have to demonstrate they “proactively manage player safety.”
The body said its actions aligned with Ice Hockey UK and Scottish Ice Hockey.
“We are firmly committed to our obligation to exhaust every possible means to ensure that a tragic incident of this nature never befalls our sport again,” the EIHA said.
“Undoubtedly, this moment in time casts a somber shadow upon our global sporting community, serving as a stark reminder of our collective responsibilities as custodians of the sport. As in all sports, the safety of our players must take precedence above all else.”
Johnson’s death and its aftermath reverberated around the hockey community Monday, with moments of silence held around the NHL and the Penguins adding “AJ 47” decals to their helmets.
“It’s an incredible tragedy,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “He was a great kid. It was a privilege to be his coach.”
Hockey manufacturer Bauer called for collaboration around the sport for increased awareness and a mandate on cut-resistant neck protection.
“Along with the larger hockey community, we mourn Adam’s tragic passing,” CEO Ed Kinnaly said in a statement. “We believe now is the time for the hockey community to collectively come together to take meaningful action in an urgent manner.”
Kinnaly said Bauer was committed to educating parents and players on the importance of cut-resistant gear, work with professional athletes to get feedback on product design and collaborate with governing bodies such as USA Hockey and Hockey Canada and youth organizations to mandate and enforce neck protection.
Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie, who co-owns the Warroad Hockey equipment and apparel company named after his hometown in Minnesota, said he received roughly 100 texts from other players inquiring about cut-resistant materials and that the entire inventory sold out Sunday.
“It’s just crazy, sad, and we don’t have anything left,” Oshie said after practice Monday. “We’re thinking about his family first. We’ll try to get as many products out there as we can for people.”
NHL ROUNDUP: RANGERS COMPLETE FIRST 5-0-0 ROAD TRIP
Mika Zibanejad scored with 26 seconds left in overtime as the New York Rangers completed a perfect five-game road trip with a dramatic 3-2 victory over the host Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
The Rangers continued their strong start under new coach Peter Laviolette by winning for the seventh time in nine games. New York went unbeaten on a road trip of at least five games for the first time in team history.
New York’s Artemi Panarin had a goal and added two assists to extend his season-opening point streak to nine games. Chris Kreider scored the tying goal with 6:48 left in the third, and Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves for the win.
David Gustafsson and Nikolaj Ehlers scored for the Jets, who lost their second straight game but also gained a point for the fifth straight contest (3-0-2). Cole Perfetti had two assists, and Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves.
Bruins 3, Panthers 2 (OT)
Pavel Zacha scored at 3:36 of overtime as Boston erased an early two-goal deficit to beat visiting Florida in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy also scored for Boston, which has recorded points in all nine games this season (8-0-1). Linus Ullmark made 35 saves, stopping all 12 shots he faced in the third period.
Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart each had a goal and an assist to lead Florida, which led 2-0 at the first intermission and had a 16-6 shot advantage in the opening frame.
Golden Knights 3, Canadiens 2 (SO)
Adin Hill made 37 saves and Shea Theodore scored the winner in the fourth round of a shootout as Vegas extended its season-opening point streak to 10 games with a shootout victory over Montreal in Las Vegas.
It was the 50th career victory for Hill, who improved to 5-0-1 on the season. Paul Cotter and William Carrier scored goals for the Golden Knights, who improved to 9-0-1 with their third shootout victory of the season.
Sean Monahan scored a short-handed goal and Nick Suzuki also scored for the Canadiens, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Sam Montembeault finished with 23 saves, including one on a penalty shot by Jack Eichel in overtime.
Kraken 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Jared McCann scored a power-play goal in overtime and Seattle recorded its first-ever win over host Tampa Bay.
After the Lightning’s Nicholas Paul went off for hooking Alex Wennberg at 1:59 of the extra session, McCann, who also had an assist, skated in from up high, took a pass from Vince Dunn and put home his fifth goal of the season at 2:53.
The Kraken won for the first time in five meetings (1-4-0) with Tampa Bay. In net for the first time since Oct. 21, Philipp Grubauer stopped 34 shots for his first win of the campaign.
Hurricanes 3, Flyers 2
Teuvo Teravainen scored the go-ahead goal at 16:13 of the third period to lift Carolina past host Philadelphia for its third straight win.
Stefan Noesen and Michael Bunting each added one goal and one assist for Carolina, while Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen made 26 saves.
Owen Tippett and Garnet Hathaway scored one goal apiece for the Flyers, who have lost two straight. Flyers goaltender Carter Hart stopped 30 shots in his 200th career start.
Ducks 4, Penguins 3
Mason McTavish’s second goal and third point of the game came short-handed with 13 seconds left in regulation and gave visiting Anaheim a win over Pittsburgh.
As a Pittsburgh two-man advantage ended, McTavish exited the penalty box, got a breakaway and beat goaltender Tristan Jarry glove side. Jakob Silfverberg and Frank Vatrano also scored and Pavel Mintyukov had two assists for the Ducks, who have won four straight. They played the third without coach Greg Cronin, who received a game misconduct penalty.
Erik Karlsson and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and an assist while Radim Zohorna also scored for the Penguins, who have lost five of their past six games.
Stars 5, Blue Jackets 3
Dallas scored three times in the third period en route to a win against visiting Columbus.
Roope Hintz, Evgenii Dadonov and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and an assist for the Stars. Dallas’ Thomas Harley and Matt Duchene also scored, Jason Robertson and Jamie Benn had two assists apiece, and Jake Oettinger made 22 saves.
Dmitri Voronkov, Damon Severson and Sean Kuraly scored while Elvis Merzlikins made 28 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four straight (0-2-2).
Coyotes 8, Blackhawks 1
Michael Carcone collected his first career hat trick in a four-point game and Jack McBain scored twice and added two assists as Arizona handed Chicago its fourth loss in five games in Tempe, Ariz.
Sean Durzi and Liam O’Brien each produced a goal and an assist while Josh Brown also scored for the Coyotes, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Top overall pick Connor Bedard scored 28 seconds into the game to give Chicago a short-lived lead. It was his third goal in four games and fourth of the season, but the game was all Coyotes thereafter.
Red Wings 4, Islanders 3 (OT)
Lucas Raymond scored 1:25 into overtime for visiting Detroit, which overcame a two-goal, third-period deficit to win in Elmont, N.Y.
Daniel Sprong, Jake Walman and Compher scored within a span of fewer than four minutes around the midway point of the third period for the Red Wings, who snapped a three-game losing streak (0-2-1).
Detroit’s Moritz Seider had two assists, and Walman, Compher and Raymond also finished with two points apiece. Red Wings goalie Ville Husso made 37 saves.
COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL NEWS
WISCONSIN, PURDUE, INDIANA AND NEBRASKA EARN WEEKLY VOLLEYBALL HONORS
Player of the Week
Sarah Franklin, Wisconsin
Sr. – Outside Hitter – Lake Worth, Fla. – Lake Worth Christian – Major: Communication Arts
- Tallied 38 kills (6.33/set) in a pair of wins over Michigan State and Minnesota
- Hit .474 for the week (38-76), and added nine digs, five blocks and three service aces
- Piled up 21 kills in a straight-set win over rival Minnesota broadcast nationally on FOX
- Last Wisconsin Player of the Week: Sarah Franklin (10/16/23)
Defensive Player of the Week
Raven Colvin, Purdue
Jr. – Middle Blocker – Indianapolis, Ind. – Heritage Christian – Major: Accounting
- Posted a Big Ten-leading 2.00 blocks/set in matchups with Minnesota and Illinois, registering 14 total blocks in the contests
- Tied a season-high with 13 kills on Saturday against the Illini
- Now ranks seventh in the nation with a Big Ten best 122 blocks this season
- Last Purdue Defensive Player of the Week: Raven Colvin (10/23/23)
Setter of the Week
Camryn Haworth, Indiana
Jr. – Setter – Fishers, Ind. – Fishers – Major: Human Biology
- Registered back-to-back triple-doubles in road matchups at Illinois and Northwestern, the first Hoosier in history to do so
- Totaled 100 assists, 23 kills and 20 digs in the pair of five-set matches
- Tallied five service aces on Sunday at Northwestern
- Last Indiana Setter of the Week: Camryn Haworth (10/16/23)
Freshman of the Week
Bergen Reilly, Nebraska
Fr. – Setter – Sioux Falls, S.D. – O’Gorman – Major: Business and Law
- Averaged 11.33 assists/set and 2.00 digs/set in home sweeps of Maryland and Rutgers
- Posted her seventh double-double of the year against Maryland with 34 assists and ten digs, along with three kills and two blocks
- Set the Cornhuskers to a .349 hitting percentage against the Terrapins, and .384 against the Scarlet Knights
- Last Nebraska Freshman of the Week: Harper Murray (10/2/23)
INDIANA RELEASES/TOP HEADLINES
INDIANA PACERS BASKETBALL
GAME REWIND: PACERS 105, BULLS 112
Hoping to get off to a 3-0 start, the Pacers took an 83-78 lead into the fourth quarter on Monday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
But the Chicago Bulls (2-2) spoiled the Pacers’ plans, outscoring Indiana 34-22 in the final frame to come away with a 112-105 victory over Indiana (2-1) in a hotly contested Central Division clash.
Myles Turner recorded a double-double for the second straight game and All-Star Tyrese Haliburton tallied his third straight double-double to open the season, but the Bulls’ trio of former All-Stars Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan all topped 20 points to lead Chicago to a narrow win.
Indiana went just 6-for-26 from the field in the decisive final quarter and the Bulls effectively slowed down the Pacers’ potent offensive attack.
“We got seduced a little bit into their pace, their tempo,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s a hard-playing veteran team that really wanted it tonight for a lot of reasons. Our guys played hard, too, we just didn’t play as well.”
Bruce Brown’s corner three gave Indiana a 97-95 lead as the clock ticked under five minutes remaining in Monday’s contest. DeRozan answered with a pair of free throws to tie the game on the other end.
After a Haliburton miss, the Bulls pushed the break, with Alex Caruso cruising down the lane for an uncontested right-hand slam that put the Bulls in front with 4:25 remaining.
After a timeout, Brown tied the game with a layup off a cut at 4:05, only for DeRozan to score on the other end 19 seconds later. After Bennedict Mathurin missed a potential tying layup, LaVine scored to make it a two-possession game. Myles Turner’s third three of the night cut the deficit to 103-102 with 2:54 to play, but a DeRozan layup and Vucevic three-point play on Chicago’s next two possessions stretched the margin to six.
Indiana would not score again until Buddy Hield’s three from in front of the Pacers’ bench made it a 109-105 game with 49.3 seconds to play, which proved to be their final points of the night.
Turner finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks in the loss, while Haliburton added 19 points, five rebounds, and 13 assists.
Vucevic led all scorers with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting and also pulled down 17 rebounds. LaVine added 23 points, while DeRozan chipped in 20.
Brown — who made a career-best six 3-pointers in his Pacers debut last week — picked up where he left off at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, converting to early 3-point attempts in the opening minutes of Monday’s contest.
The Bulls nonetheless jumped out to a 22-16 lead behind eight early points from veteran center Vucevic.
The Pacers answered with a 9-0 run over the next 1:38. Haliburton started the run with a stepback three from the right wing, then Jalen Smith scored the next six points, with Haliburton setting up two of his buckets: a cutting layup off a no-look dish and a two-hand slam off an alley oop.
Indiana took a 30-27 lead into the second quarter. The ensuing frame was tightly contested, with nine ties and two lead changes, but the Pacers ultimately retained a narrow advantage heading into halftime.
Turner carried the scoring load for the Blue & Gold in the second quarter, tallying 11 points in the frame, but it was Haliburton who closed out the half to ensure Indiana was in front.
The Pacers’ All-Star guard converted a floater with 32.6 seconds remaining in the half to put the Blue & Gold in front 53-51. DeRozan tied the game with a pair of free throws on the other end, but Haliburton then dribbled down the clock before exploding to the rim for the go-ahead bucket just ahead of the halftime buzzer.
The Bulls tied the game three more times in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Pacers never relinquished the lead in the third quarter.
They led by as many as eight after a 7-0 run midway through the frame. Obi Toppin started that spurt with an acrobatic reverse putback dunk and Hield capped it with his first three of the night to make it 77-69 with under five minutes remaining in the quarter.
Indiana led 83-78 entering the fourth quarter, but the Bulls controlled the opening minutes of the final frame. Chicago opened the period with a 10-3 run, capped by LaVine’s layup that put the visitors back in front with 8:35 to play and forced a timeout from Carlisle.
It remained a one-possession game for the next five-plus minutes of game action and the outcome was in doubt until the final minute, but the Bulls ultimately prevailed, successfully stifling Indiana’s offense down the stretch.
“They denied me full-court pretty much the majority of the second half,” Haliburton said. “They did a good job of it, but we’ve just got to do a better job of getting to our stuff. We missed a lot of open looks and just turned it over a few times in transition…We were poor early in that fourth quarter taking care of the ball.”
Brown finished with 15 points for the Blue & Gold, going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, while Mathurin also scored 15. Hield led the Pacers’ reserves with 11 points off the bench, also tallying five rebounds and four assists.
Jevon Carter was the only other Bulls player aside from their big three to reach double figures, finishing with 11 points off the bench.
The Pacers will travel to Boston to take on the Celtics on Wednesday night before returning for a busy five-game homestand that begins Friday against Cleveland. The Blue & Gold will host five games in just seven days, with two sets of back-to-backs.
Inside the Numbers
Haliburton is averaging 20 points and a league-leading 12.3 assists through the first three games of his fourth NBA season.
Brown has started his Pacers career by going 9-for-14 from 3-point range over his first two games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The Pacers struggled from 3-point range on Monday, going just 12-for-46 from beyond the arc (26.1 percent), though they still managed to outscore the Bulls by 18 points from long distance, as Chicago went just 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) from 3-point range.
Chicago outscored Indiana 54-44 in points in the paint.
The Pacers limited DeRozan and LaVine to a combined 12-for-36 shooting, but they got to the line for a combined 19 free throws. DeRozan was a perfect 8-for-8, while LaVine was 10-for-11 from the charity stripe.
The Bulls forced Indiana into 17 turnovers, while only committing 13 giveaways.
You Can Quote Me On That
“There was a couple times in the second half where we had (the lead) to five or six or maybe even had it to eight and there was either a turnover, a foul, some kind of a miscue that gave them life at the other end. And then they were always able to recapture the momentum.” -Carlisle
“Honestly, I think we just missed shots. We had great looks. I had a wide-open great three from Ty, just missed it. We had great looks, shots just weren’t falling tonight. And I don’t think we played up to our speed pace-wise out there, we could have been a little faster.” -Brown on what happened down the stretch
“I thought we got a lot of good ones. I mean I was 1-for-8 but I would probably say five or six of them for me were good looks, just didn’t go. I feel like overall we got some good looks, they just didn’t fall tonight. They got stops when they needed to, they forced some tough ones late, but I think for the majority of the game we got ones that we wanted to get.” -Haliburton on the Pacers’ 3-point looks
“This was a big boy’s game. This was a physical, a lot on the line, divisional (game). We’ve got to learn from it.” -Carlisle
“We’ve got to get the ball out faster to Ty. As he said, they were pressing him the whole game. So we need just to get the ball in his hands and let him playmake.” -Brown on needing to play at a faster pace
“We’ll be a good half-court team because Ty’s a great point guard, we have shooting, and our big guys do a great job of screening and rolling. I’m not concerned that we can’t play in the half court. But we’re built for speed. Even when the other team is scoring, we can get it out quicker.” -Carlisle on the pace of Monday’s game
Stat of the Night
The Pacers shot just 6-for-26 (23.1 percent) from the field and 4-for-16 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter.
With three 3-pointers on Monday, Turner surpassed George Hill for fifth-most threes made in franchise history. Turner now has 488 career 3-pointers, while Hill made 487 during his time as a Pacer.
Pacers guard T.J. McConnell did not play on Monday. McConnell only played the final six minutes of Wednesday’s season opener, but logged 19 minutes off the bench in Saturday’s win at Cleveland.
Carlisle remains at 898 career wins. He needs two more victories to become the second active coach and 14th all time to reach 900 career victories.
Indiana travels to Boston to take on Jayson Tatum and the Celtics on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 PM ET.
The Pacers will host Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:00 PM for Indiana’s first-ever In-Season Tournament game.
COLTS SIGN S TYREQUE JONES TO PRACTICE SQUAD, RELEASE DT ROSS BLACKLOCK FROM PRACTICE SQUAD
Indianapolis – The Indianapolis Colts today signed safety Tyreque Jones to the practice squad and released defensive tackle Ross Blacklock from the practice squad.
Jones, 6-2, 195 pounds, spent Weeks 1-7 on the New York Jets’ practice squad this season. He participated in the Tennessee Titans’ 2023 offseason program and training camp after originally signing with the team as an undrafted free agent on May 12, 2023. Collegiately, Jones played in 59 games (38 starts) at Boise State (2017-22) and compiled 157 tackles (110 solo), 12.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, 18 passes defensed, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He earned All-Mountain West Honorable Mention recognition two times (2021 and 2022).
Blacklock, 6-5, 307 pounds, was signed to the team’s practice squad on October 24, 2023. He has played in 41 career games (three starts) in his time with the Colts (2023), Jacksonville Jaguars (2023), Minnesota Vikings (2022) and Houston Texans (2020-21). Blacklock has compiled 38 tackles (26 solo), 5.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.
GAME NOTES: HOST WISCONSIN
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Four games remain for the Indiana football program with a date against Wisconsin on deck for Saturday (Nov. 4). The Hoosiers and Badgers will face off at noon on Big Ten Network, with the network’s flagship pregame show, BTN Tailgate, on campus for the matchup.
INDIANA (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten) hosts WISCONSIN (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten)
Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, Ind.)
Saturday, Nov. 4 | Noon ET
TV: Big Ten Network | RADIO: Indiana Hoosiers Sports Network
Setting the Scene
• Indiana welcomes Wisconsin to Memorial Stadium for a noon kickoff on Big Ten Network on Saturday. The flagship pregame show on the Big Ten Network, BTN Tailgate, will originate from the West Entrance to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on gameday.
• The last meeting between the two programs came during the 2020 season at Camp Randall Stadium, a 14-6 victory for Indiana to snap Wisconsin’s winning streak in the series.
• This marks just the third meeting between the two programs since the Big Ten East/West Divisions were formed in 2014 Wisconsin won a 2017 meeting in Bloomington on November 4, before Indiana won the 2020 contest in Madison, Wisconsin.
• Overall, Wisconsin leads the all-time series 41-19-2, with the first meeting between the two programs in 1907.
By The Numbers
24 – Points scored against Penn State’s No. 1 overall defense in the FBS, the most scored by an opponent versus the Nittany Lions in 2023.
21 – Quarterback hurries by Andre Carter per Pro Football Focus over the first 10 weeks to rank No. 3 in the Big Ten and tied for No. 29 nationally. MORE ON PAGE 13
4 – Sacks allowed by the Indiana offensive line per Pro Football Focus, which is tied for the fewest in the Big Ten. MORE ON PAGE 11
19 – Of the 23 scholarship transfer student-athletes made their Indiana debut on the season. Of those, 18 appeared in the season opener and 10 have made at least one start in 2023.
News & Notes
• Per Pro Football Focus, redshirt senior Andre Carter ranks tied for No. 6 in the Big Ten with 24 total pressures (sacks, QB hits or hurries), a total that sits tied for No. 80 in the Power 5.
• With 2.0 tackles for loss in each of the first two games of the season, Carter’s 4.0 TFLs were the most by a Hoosier in the first two games of a season since 2004 when Kyle Killion posted 5.5 tackles for loss.
• With 69 tackles, redshirt senior Aaron Casey ranks No. 5 in the Big Ten and No. 36 nationally entering Week 10. His 9.5 tackles for loss are tied for No. 3 in the Big Ten, while his 13 tackles for loss or no gain lead the Big Ten and the Power 5 per Pro Football Focus.
• Redshirt freshman Brendan Sorsby threw for a score and rushed for a touchdown against Rutgers in a Week 8 start at quarterback. The passing score was the third of his career and the rushing touchdown marked the first of his career – a 4-yard score.
• Sorsby became the first Indiana quarterback since at least 1996 with multiple passing touchdowns of 60-plus yards in a single with two scoring strikes over 60 yards at No. 10/10 Penn State as part of a three touchdown day from the pocket.
• Redshirt senior Josh Sanquinetti pulled in his third career interception in the fourth quarter at No. 10/10 Penn State to set up the game tying score and end Drew Allar’s FBS record for attempts to start a career without an interception (311 attempts).
• Senior Louis Moore grabbed his first career interception in the second quarter versus Akron and followed that with his first defensive touchdown in the third quarter on a 22-yard interception return for a score versus the Zips.
• With three interceptions on the season, sophomore Phillip Dunnam continues to sit tied for No. 2 on the Big Ten leaderboard and tied for No. 14 in the FBS. One of two true freshman not to redshirt in 2022, Dunnam has takeaways versus No. 3/4 Ohio State, Louisville, and Akron.
• The Indiana special teams units blocked its first kick of the 2023 season at Maryland to move its streak to 12 straight seasons with at least one blocked kick. Special teams coordinator Kasey Teegardin’s crew has blocked at least one kick in each of his four seasons as the corps leader.
TOM ALLEN MONDAY PRESSER
TOM ALLEN: I want to just say how proud I am of our players and how hard they played this past weekend and prepared well and fought their tails off. Just got to continue to finish, stay the course, and keep getting better.
Got a very, very great opportunity this weekend against a very good football team at home. A lot of respect for Coach Fickell, what he does as a coach, especially the last couple of years, and the team plays really hard, very well coached, very talented football team.
Elite running back, elite receivers, big offensive linemen, big physical defense, as you would always expect from them, tackle well, good linebackers. I like their size up front, and they’ve got some good cover guys too.
So well coached, and his whole staff there does a really good job. Great opportunity for our program. We know where we are, and we know what we need to do. It’s just a matter of just locking in folks into the finish line. Very important week for this program.
Defensive scout team player of the week, got two guys, Race Stewart, Jeff Utzinger. Proud of those guys. The effort they continue to give to us is huge. Offensive scouts of the week, Max Williams and Reece Bellin. And special teams scout of the week, Connor Hole.
Very proud of the team and the way the guys keep being resilient as a whole group, continue to fight and battle, and just continue to sharpen each other as we go against each other in practice. Whether the role is a scout guy or good on good, however that looks.
We’re going to continue and look forward to this weekend. Questions?
Q. You mentioned Wisconsin. For years they were known for their offense, their power running game, kind of old school football. Fickell comes in, brings Phil Longo, air raid guy. What differences have you seen in their scheme offensively and what they’re trying to do?
TOM ALLEN: Significant. It’s completely different than in the past. It was two and three tight end sets, shift in, power, and just downhill runs, play action off of that.
They still run the ball effectively and well, got an elite running back. But just a different style without question, and Coach Longo’s had a lot of success everywhere he’s been. So definitely in the passing game significantly.
Just went out and brought in some receivers that have a lot of talent and more suited for that style of offense. Quarterbacks as well that fit that system. So they’ve done a good job of matching that up, which you need to do.
Yeah, it’s really a complete different philosophy than they’ve had in the past. You kind of knew that obviously by who they hired and the direction they were going. Definitely creates new challenges for you.
The throw game is very vague — vertical shots and reading and reacting to what you give them. They do a really good job of that, very well coached in terms of finding, as we call it, green grass in your coverages and things that they do well.
Then the RPO system is a big part of what they do and how they are able to set it up. They have a really comprehensive run game. It’s not — sometimes it’s a couple run plays and that’s it, but they’re way more complex than that. So they do a good job with that.
Very well thought out, really good system that I know they believe in.
Q. In regards to you mentioned needing to finish Saturday’s game better, when you looked back at it, was there anything you identified that maybe you wish you would have done differently as a coach, I guess offensively or defensively, in kind of those last five or so minutes?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, you think the last three, and prior to the field goal — I answered the question after the game, you look at the first and second down, the more aggressive there. The third down, I think, is definitely the right decision to make once you’re in field goal range.
You look at what happened before the half, we threw an unfortunate interception right before the half that cost us three points and gave us — could be a six-point turnaround. We lost a chance to get three. Obviously you want to make sure you don’t do that in that third down situation. So that affects your thought process in some ways.
As we talk to the staff, those first couple downs or after the takeaway, you’d love to be able to — comment on the headsets, let’s go score a touchdown. That was my whole thought process there. When we got the ball, that’s what you want to do. When you get to third down, it’s like we’ve got to be smart with the football here. Just make sure whatever we call, we make sure we’re smart and have a chance to kick a field goal to tie the game up at that point.
Then defensively, we’ve just got to make a play. We can’t stay true to what we’ve been doing. They’re still trying — game is tied. So they just need a field goal. So you can’t just get in a different mode mentally. You’ve got to be able to stop the run. They’ve got two elite running backs that can hurt you.
Didn’t necessarily disagree with things there. It’s just we’ve got to make a play. We’ve got to come up. And we played so well, especially that last quarter, defensively. We’re doing a really good job and getting them in third and longs. So just got to finish.
Proud of our guys. They fought so hard. You go back, and you look, and you try to make adjustments on things that you do, but, yeah, that would be my thoughts.
Q. This is a little more out of left field, but obviously one of the bigger stories in the sport right now is what’s happening up in Michigan. I know you played them somewhat recently. With all the talk of sign stealing and everything like that, is that something you were aware of, something you encountered, and do you have any thoughts on that situation?
TOM ALLEN: Do I have any thoughts? That’s loaded. (Laughter).
I’ve been asked about different things. I don’t know what’s going on there. I know there’s a gamesmanship, in-game signals. That’s why you see all the contraptions. We kind of laugh sometimes about all the stuff we go into. We’ve got three different signallers wearing goofy looking shirts and hats and all these different colors. So that’s the gamesmanship of it.
Then there’s whatever, there’s different things that goes beyond that, that’s different to me. But I don’t really — I don’t know enough about it. There’s no question a lot of conversations going on by a lot of people that don’t know a lot of things.
But there’s also an integrity of the game. I just believe in that. I believe in doing things the right way. You’ve got to be able to stand up and give account for how you operate as a man. Look yourself in the mirror and know you do things the right way.
I’m not saying they did it. I don’t know what’s going on there. I just want to say we need to protect the integrity of the game. That’s my stance on that, and I think that’s important.
Q. Try and follow that up a little bit, but asking about Wisconsin, looking ahead, you’ve said that you kind of found some building blocks offensively from the Penn State game that you kind of wanted to build off of. Looking at Wisconsin’s defense, how can you kind of build off of that foundation you set at Penn State?
TOM ALLEN: Just you look at what we were able to do against a really good defense, and we’re playing another really good one this week. So you’ve got to be able to run the football, and we were able to do that, especially in the second half, in an effective way. We’ve got to create explosive plays in the throw game. We were able to do that. And you’ve got to build off of that.
The play of our quarterback, which is critical in every offense, his confidence and growth and development is huge. Just the way our receivers play, their confidence. I was so proud of those guys, and they made a lot of — some contested catches and just did a great job. And just guys up front, getting better up front. I thought our running backs were running hard.
Just got to continue to build and grow off of those things and continue to score more points. It’s about that. It’s about finding a way to get one more point than the opponent has on game day. Definitely a lot to build off of, and we’re going to continue to focus on those things.
Q. I know Jaylin Lucas has struggled with punt returns, but overall in the offense his touches have been way down the last three weeks. Has it just been a symptom of the offense looking for an identity with kind of the changeover, or do you need to go back and get him involved in maybe the swing game, or what can you do for him?
TOM ALLEN: I just think that unfortunately we’ve muffed some punts, and there were several leading up to this one. Just trying to get that fixed, it has to be fixed, so that will be addressed.
Obviously they’re keying in on him defensively and trying to take him out of the game in some ways. So we’ve got to continue to find some ways of getting the ball in space. That’s never going to cease to be a priority.
I think, as you grow and develop, obviously the other guys making plays will obviously help him have his opportunities. When he gets those, to take full advantage of them and maximize those and just to relax and play the game and not try to have to hit a home run every time with that.
I think that he’s a phenomenal player, phenomenal person, and I want to see him continue to — and I think we will. I know we will. That’s always going to be a goal for us to get him the ball in space and to do it in a creative way each week. But it’s everybody doing their job — receivers, running backs, O-line, quarterbacks, tight ends. He’s just one of those pieces for sure.
Q. Asking about, I guess, the impact of injuries. First of all, Brendan, everything kind of fine once he got through, coming out the next day, not feeling anything with the shoulder?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, he’s fine.
Q. Wisconsin, they’ve obviously got kind of a different look at quarterback with Mordecai out, and now Braelon Allen, his status is unclear. He was out in a walking boot the second half on Saturday. How much, especially when you talk about Coach Longo’s kind of offense and how successful he’s been with it, can you separate preparing for the scheme versus preparing for the players when maybe you do have some pretty sort of core injury concerns on the other side, if that makes sense?
TOM ALLEN: I think the quarterback position would be the one that — the change of quarterback, since it’s happened a few weeks ago, they’ve had, with 18 playing, you kind of see some of the adjustments. That would be, if that person’s different, that would change things, and the running back position as well.
Braelon Allen is a special, special running back, without question. He’s 245 pounds. Most 245 pound people don’t move the way he does, and he’s elite. We’re expecting him to play. But I don’t know how much the scheme would change based on who else would be in there. They’ve got other talented running backs.
But I do think the quarterback position is one where you’ve got to be aware of who’s the person in that spot and how that would affect the way they call the game per his skill set and his strengths and weaknesses.
Obviously you’ve got a system that we’re playing here that’s got a lot of history of great success, and so we just try everything we can do to make sure we’re fully prepared in every way possible to whatever we might see.
Q. When you reflect on the QB process really from fall camp to now, you have the alternating, you settle on Jackson, you alternate again in Michigan, you kind of settle again on Sorsby. The way he played on Saturday, I’m sure you’re optimistic about that. Is there anything, when you reflect on that process, that would change about maybe the way the process went on as far as evaluating that throughout the fall? Is there anything that maybe you would change if you’re in a similar spot in the future?
TOM ALLEN: I’ve gone through and re-evaluated that. The thing I think you see, though, as the season’s played itself out, you kind of see the dilemma that we were in. You have two guys that had shown signs of doing some good things and also showed signs of being young. Neither one really separated themselves through the process, which made it challenging to make that decision.
So to me you need to resolve it. Everyone says, figure it out during fall camp. Well, that’s great. You’re not playing a real football game in fall camp, especially the way college is structured. There’s no exhibition games. There’s no other than what you do in practice.
With that information, we just felt like we needed to see them play. That played itself out, and we made the decision we made. Then we weren’t getting the growth we wanted to get from that spot. So I felt like we kind of needed to do what we did, and now we’re where we are.
You just want to see whoever takes over to take it and then just start growing and take the position and run with it. I think we’ve seen these last few weeks the growth with Brendan. I continue to say we have two very talented quarterbacks that are young, and we’ve just got to — I feel good about the progress he’s making. I’m excited for his future and for Tayven’s future as well.
Q. Your ability to keep the team able to play hard, to fight, to battle, despite all the adversity and stuff, what is your approach to that? How are you able to do that, continue to do that despite — and obviously it seemed to pay off, certainly paid off against Penn State.
TOM ALLEN: I think you just want to capture the hearts and minds of your players. That’s my goal from day one with this team when guys comes here. It’s the character of our players. I attribute it to the leadership of our team, the captains we have, the leaders we have on our team, our coaches and our staff being an extension of the message that we send.
I think you just have to appeal to the heart of a young man, his mindset. I’m such a big believer of how powerful our minds are and that we don’t allow circumstances to dictate the way we approach every day. It’s so easy to do that. We all do it.
I think young people really struggle with it. When we get older, we start to have a little different perspective on things. Just teaching young people your effort, your attention to detail, the way you approach every day should not be based on outside circumstances, how you feel, whether we won or lost, whether the last play was in your favor or against you, and to teach them just to focus on that.
It sounds great. It’s hard to do when things get hard and they stack against you, but you just try to appeal to who they are and what motivates them. I talk so much about what’s their identity outside of being a football player because that’s at the core of who you are as a person, and I build off of that.
They articulated that to me throughout fall camp, and I draw back on those things to try to help them work through the difficulties that I know they’re going to face in football and I know they’re going to face in life.
As I tell our guys many times, life is really hard, and sometimes it’s really unfair. Football is an amazing teacher of life. So I draw on that, I really do. We talk about that. We’re very up front about that. But the guys got to respond. Got to meet them where they are and get them to understand they’re developing qualities that are going to serve them well in this life, that’s going to help them separate themselves in whatever they choose to do when they’re done playing football.
That’s part of the conversations we have, and also you just find nuggets and words and phrases and different things to be able to capture them and connect with them and help them to stay locked in each week. As hard as that may be, to stay focused and keep fighting and playing hard for each other and for the people that helped them get where they are.
It’s a lot of things without question, but it really goes back to the culture you create, and the guys have bought into it. They believe in it. Man, we’ve got to keep battling. And this is another opportunity to continue to shape that and form that. As hard as it is right now, we’re going to keep locking arms and stay the course and not grow weary in doing the little things right, and I believe we’re going to be able to get a different outcome if we just stay the course.
Q. Kind of the other side of the same coin, but with self-inflicted wounds week after week, whether it be a muffed punt or missing an assignment in the back of the end zone that leads to a touchdown, as a coaching staff, how do you guys work together to make sure that frustration doesn’t then get on the players, that you keep things positive and constructive without as a group just getting so incredibly frustrated with the self-inflicted wounds?
TOM ALLEN: I agree. I think it’s a great question. To me, it’s about us making sure we can do everything we can do as coaches first. It’s our responsibility to put them in the best position. Then if a young man continues to make those mistakes, are we doing something structurally to help him? Have we done enough of that? If we have, maybe we need to make a personnel change to put somebody else in that position to get an opportunity to get a different outcome.
So we look at all those different things, and there’s no question it’s on us, it’s on me first, it’s on us as coaches for the areas of responsibility because, you’re right, those are so frustrating. You do all that, and you still have a chance at the end to win a football game. Those things have just got to be eliminated.
If we can just do a good job of eliminating those self-inflicted wounds — I think that’s a great way to describe them. We call them CATs, Crimes Against the Team, things we bring on ourselves. Those are things that are one of our goals, one of our three keys to winning football games. It’s going to continue to be emphasized, no question about that. I believe in that.
Obviously we’re not doing a good enough job as coaches of getting that point across and getting the right guys in the right positions to help finish those plays out. It’s a never ending process. This week is another quest to be able to eliminate those mistakes so we can have a different outcome on game day.
Q. Andre Carter played more on the inside than he had all season against Penn State. Was that something you thought you could take advantage of? Has he gone kind of under the radar a little bit because the sack numbers aren’t there, but he’s been very disruptive. What are your thoughts?
TOM ALLEN: He plays so hard, and I think we’ve got to probably take some of those reps off him so he can be better at the end. Want to continue to play him for sure, but obviously he’s very disruptive. He cares a bunch, plays hard, just got to continue to bring guys along behind him so he doesn’t have to play as many snaps.
I think that’s important on the defensive line in general to take some hits off guys and be able to finish in the fourth quarter the way you want it to be. Just that whole unit played really solid on game day this past weekend. I think we need to continue that.
We’ve got to continue to have more guys step up in those spots. It’s about pressuring the quarterback. Every week that’s an emphasis. Did a really good job of that. Got three sacks on a team that had only given up eight the whole season. And several more pressures. I thought we should have had a couple of more sacks as well. But he’s a huge part of that and appreciate how hard he plays.
Q. Want to go back to Sorsby and kind of the quarterback process. You mentioned that you’ve seen some growth from him over the last couple of weeks that probably wasn’t apparent in the fall. Part of that is probably game repetitions too. But what has he shown you in the past couple weeks that maybe wasn’t there in the early decision process?
TOM ALLEN: I think, even as you saw this game unfold, I thought the first couple throws were rushed. I think early in the process he had not played. If you go back and look at his — just number of snaps at the quarterback position, even back in high school, was not very extensive.
Played another position as a sophomore and early in his junior year and got injured his senior year. Did not have a lot of rep base to really evaluate. He hasn’t played the position in a long, long time.
Didn’t have a quarterback guy that he had been working with since he was a kid. Some guys have that, especially from the state of Texas. But just saw a guy that had a lot of upside but also a lot of questions, really probably to be resolved in game when you’re going to get hit. That’s what you don’t know. How are you going to respond?
He’s a physical guy. He ran the ball in high school too, but how are you going to respond when you get the pressure in your face? I think, as he’s gotten that, more of those opportunities to show the game day poise and confidence that you just don’t know is there. I think that’s definitely something you’re seeing each week grow, and I think that will continue as well.
He knows he’s got to continue. We’ve got two guys still right there that are very, very close. So he needs to continue to stay locked in and focused and keep executing and just keep growing. I think there’s no doubt that playing is the best way for him to gain that.
BIG TEN HONORS FOR HAWORTH AFTER HISTORIC WEEK
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Junior setter Camryn Haworth became the first player in program history with back-to-back triple-doubles this past week in matches at Illinois and Northwestern. The Fishers, Ind. native earned Big Ten Setter of the Week honors for the third time this season after a spectacular all-around performance in a pair of road contests.
She compiled 50 assists, a career-high 13 kills and 10 digs at Illinois on Wednesday (Oct. 25) before repeating the feat with 50 assists, 10 kills and 10 digs at Northwestern (Oct. 29). According to Big Ten research, she is the first player in the conference with consecutive triple-doubles since Lexi Zimmerman of Michigan did so in 2010.
Haworth is just the second player in program history to receive the same Big Ten weekly honor three times in the same season. Jordan Haverly (2009) won Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades three times in one season. All-American middle blocker Ashley Benson was awarded four weekly honors in 2010 but they were split between two separate certificates.
For her career, Haworth has passed 2,500 assists (2,509) and has 894 on the season, well on pace to pass her total mark of 1,111 from last year. She produced five service aces at Northwestern, taking her to 58 on the season and 149 for her career.
Her 58 aces are the most in a single season since Penn State’s Micha Hancock went for 126 during the 2014 campaign. Haworth is also No. 13 in Big Ten history in aces during the rally-scoring era (since 2001).
There have been four triple-doubles in the rally-scoring era at IU with three of them coming from Haworth across the last 29 matches. She is the first person with multiple in a season since Laurie Gardner in 2000. Her three career triple-doubles are second only to Karen Dunham (1984-87) with five.
Haworth has served as the team’s starting setter in all 57 of IU’s games over the past two years. In that time period, she has led IU to 32 wins. The Hoosiers are hitting .238 this season with Haworth running the offense, one of the best single-season percentages in program history.
Nebraska setter Bergen Reilly and Haworth have each one three Big Ten Setter of the Week awards this season. Nobody else in the league has more than one.
Big Ten Weekly Honors (Oct. 30)
Player of the Week: Sarah Franklin (Wisconsin)
Defensive Player of the Week: Raven Colvin (Purdue)
Setter of the Week: Camryn Haworth (Indiana)
Freshman of the Week: Bergen Reilly (Nebraska)
RYAN WALTERS MONDAY PRESSER
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, he is fun to watch. It is fun from my perspective seeing both he and Nic on opposite ends of each other, the just way they complement each other’s game, really what they allow us to do defensively, because you can’t slide a protection one way or the other because you got two people on both ends that have similar capabilities.
I think the way he plays is the way you want your team to play. He plays with discipline, physicality, toughness, and has got an unbelievable motor and a will to go compete and win his individual matchups.
Q. Just you’ve obviously broken down the Michigan tape. You know about that defense. Just best defense you think you’ve seen to this point in 2023? How do you crack that defense?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, you know, if you got an answer how to crack it, let me know. There has been a lot of that people struggled this year. I think what’s unique about Michigan in its entirety as a program is, yes, they have really good players. They also have a really good scheme on offense, defense, and special teams. So they pose problems and try to take away what you’re good at. They’ve got really good players that are able to do so.
So when they are out of position, albeit a few times, they’ve got guys that can make up for it and overcome some of the maybe schematical errors or mental errors throughout the course of a play.
I think that’s what makes Michigan special right now. You know, I’m excited to game plan for it and go compete against them in a great environment.
Q. You watch the news. You look at your social media. You know what’s going on at Michigan, the allegations. How do you think that will impact them Saturday night?
RYAN WALTERS: Impact them?
RYAN WALTERS: I’m not sure. My focus is on us and our team. Obviously we’re very aware of what the allegations are out there.
We’ll plan accordingly.
Q. And then just speak to their quarterback, JJ McCarthy. He really looks like the straw that stirs the drink up there this year, even more than their running backs.
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, you can definitely tell his improvement from last year to this year. Obviously we played against them when I was a coordinator at Illinois.
Very talented. Can make every throw. Can get you out of trouble with his legs on the ground. I think where he’s grown this season. Last year he had some questionable decisions at times and tried to make hero plays at times that kind of got them in trouble offensively. You don’t see him making those mistakes this season.
Looks like he’s more seasoned, more mature, and has a good understanding of not only what they’re trying to get done schematically, but the situation they’re in on the field, what’s the downs and distance, what area of the field are they in.
So he didn’t make mistakes. He’s playing the way he’s playing because of his talent and because of his progression this season.
Q. What can you do as a staff to kind of spark the offense? Is it a matter of scheme? Matter of personnel? Sort of a mix of both?
RYAN WALTERS: That’s a good question. There are problems everywhere, right? There are some things I think we can do schematically to calm us down and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves in games.
Then we also just as a roster need to execute the plan. You know, for instance, last week you go back and you watch the tape, and there were plays to be had out there, and for whatever reason the ball didn’t find the right guy, or we missed a block here or there, or we drop a pass here or there.
You can’t point to any one person, any one position group. I think that’s where as a team we have to all get on the same page and take accountability for doing your individual job and doing it at a high level.
So we talked about really trust and belief and confidence in what we’re doing no matter the outcome of the previous play. You got to go back and reset and refocus and retrust the plan, your teammates, and your own ability.
For example, like I think I was talking to Hudson, every snap you got to trust you’re going to get protected, trust the receiver is going to run the right route and be at the right depth, and then you got to trust in your arm and deliver the ball accordingly.
And if you throw a pick that play or you get hit that play or the receiver is not in the right spot that play, the next snap you got to retrust that all those things are going to happen.
If we do that, we’ll have a chance to continue to improve. If we don’t, then we’re going to see the same results.
Q. After the loss on Saturday and then looking ahead to Michigan this week, what’s the mood of the team right now?
RYAN WALTERS: I think naturally there is frustration, there is anger, disappointment. I did think we had a very productive meeting on Sunday. You know, we sat in and watched the game in its entirety as a full team, staff, players, coaches alike, and really talked through every play, the good, the bad, the ugly, and what we need to accomplish in those certain moments.
I think we aren’t playing like complementary football right now, and really that’s been the case this season for whatever reason.
You look at earlier in the year, I thought offensively we were a little ahead of where we are defensively, and they were making plays and we were struggling on defense.
Then sort of as the year has gone you see the defense is starting to hit its stride and make some plays, and now we’re struggling a little bit offensively.
So just got to keep continuing to put our head down and go to work and improve in areas where we see we can improve right now, and continue to go compete and fight. That’s what I want to see moving forward, is just I want to see guys fighting to go win a ballgame and not waiting to see what happens or hoping that something — some spark happens and some magical recipe to kick start us.
We got to go out there with a mindset of kick starting ourselves. That’ll definitely be the focus this week.
Q. How do you make sure nobody is getting too low on the lows and that they kind of keep a level head?
RYAN WALTERS: That’s my job as the head coach. I found, especially with this team, you have to let them ride the highs throughout the course of the game and some of the momentum plays. I think we feed off that when we do have some momentum, and it’s my job when we get into the lows to bring us out of there.
You know, obviously like I’m human. I have the same human emotions, but as the leader, as the head coach, I have to look at the program in its entirety and bring us out of those moments.
So I think yesterday’s meeting was beneficial and allowed us to do that.
Q. Abdur is on the depth chart, and I know he hasn’t played the last couple games. Do you anticipate him being good to go now?
RYAN WALTERS: If we had to play tomorrow, I don’t think so. Hopefully by Saturday he’ll continue to improve, but he’ll be out there when he’s ready.
Q. And then Moussa is not on the depth chart. I assume he’s done, right?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, I would say Moussa and OC, you know, I would be shocked if we get them back in some capacity this season.
Q. Going off that, Daniel Johnson is a guy that when you got here probably was going through some injury things. To see him elevate and get back to a position to help you, how big has this been for a guy that’s playing out his final year?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah it’s huge. I’m really happy for him. He’s put in a lot of work. You know, physically he’s what you want at tackle. He’s tall, long, twitchy. Just had an unfortunate string of injuries.
So to see him battle back and deal with sort of the pain of rehab, to be able to come back and play — really if you look at the one bright spot on offense this past week, it thought was the offensive line. To deal with the type of adversity they’ve dealt with, kudos to Coach Johnson and to Gus as a leader at the center position and whoever else is in the lineup with those guys.
I felt like they gave us a chance to be successful on offense, and it just goes to show that that’s what happens when you work together and you work hard and you go fight.
Q. You’ve been in this BigTen West and you know how crazy it is. Is it strange to sit here talk about being 2-6. Four games left and you’re two games back. You’re not out of this thing yet.
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, right now you really can’t pay attention to the record. Our focus right now is like we need to improve, you know what I mean? It was maddening Saturday to come off a bye week and put forth that type of performance as a team.
Obviously there were positives in there at times, but this is a team game, a team sport, and we need to get better. So that is the focus. We’ll make sure we do so.
Q. I know you’re looking at one game at a time, but when you look at the makeup off your defense and you have a sophomore in Nick Scourton, a sophomore in Yanni Karlaftis, a freshman at corner back, freshman Dillon Thieneman, you’ve got to feel really good about where this thing is going on that side of ball years down the road when you get done with this season and into the spring, right?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, on both sides of the ball really. We’re playing a lot of young guys. You know, when I got the job the goal is — or for me and the administration — is to set up this program where it can have long-term sustainable success, right?
So every decision that we are making is with long-term in mind. Like obviously everybody wants to win right now and win big right now. That is the goal. But you got to go through the process, and we a lot of freshman playing on defense.
Obviously we got Max Klare was a redshirt freshman and he was playing really well before he got hurt. You know, Hudson has years left of eligibility. You’ve got George Burhenn is getting more snaps at tight end.
We’ve got some freshmen wideouts doing well. Tibbs is inserted into the lineup now. You just mentioned all the guys on defenses.
So I do think we will continue to improve and those guys will continue to learn and get better. That’s the goal, is to get better year in and year out. I think the experience that we’re gaining from some of our younger players will be monumental to this program and our success moving forward.
Q. Devin had his seventh fumble. You guys just got to keep feeding him the ball, right?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah. I mean, unfortunate. That was one of the areas where we had — we did play some complementary football. You know, he fumbled and we were able to go three and out and get the ball right back.
You know, it’s a teachable moment, too. Like early in the snap he had it high and tight, exactly how you want it. Makes a guy miss and gets loose to the side. It’s never the guy you see that’s causing the fumble. It’s the guys you don’t see that are chasing from the stack and punched the ball out from behind.
So to me, that’s a technique deal. We can coach that up. But you’re absolutely right, you got to keep feeding him. You got to continue to obviously hold him accountable. He’s not out there fumbling on purpose, right?
He got some hard-fought yards later on in that game. Nobody was more upset that the ball was on the ground than him, I promise you.
Q. You mentioned I think postgame on the blocked field goal you thought it was a case of a poor snap. Was that upon further view?
RYAN WALTERS: Yeah, it was a little bit high snap and then a bobbled hold. So it’s hard to get that up in the air. Just unfortunate.
THIENEMAN COLLECTS THIRD B1G FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK ACCOLADE
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Another week, another Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolade for Dillon Thieneman. The Purdue defensive back collected the weekly honor for the third time this season following his play at Nebraska.
It was another first for Thieneman, as no Purdue defender in program history has been a three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week honoree. He became the first Boilermaker to earn the recognition at least three times since wide receiver David Bell was named B1G Freshman of the Week four times throughout the 2019 season. Bell went on to become the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Closing out the month of October at Nebraska, Thieneman led Purdue in tackles for the fifth time in 2023. He recorded 12 tackles, his most in a Big Ten game, and cracked double digits for the third time this season. The Westfield, Indiana, native also forced a pair of fumbles to tie a school record for a single game. The strips were the first two forced fumbles of his career.
In his first season of college football, Thieneman leads the Boilermakers in tackles, averaging 9.2 per game for the most by any freshman in the country. He is also the nation’s leading freshman in solo tackles (52) and interceptions (3), and his 6.5 solo tackles per game rank second in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
This week, Thieneman and the Boilermakers travel to No. 2 Michigan for a primetime battle. The rematch of the 2022 Big Ten Championship Game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
COLVIN SELECTED BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – After leading the Big Ten last week in blocks per set, junior middle blocker Raven Colvin received the league’s Defensive Player of the Week nod.
The honor marks the second straight week the middle has been named Defensive Player of the Week and the third time this season.
Colvin, an Indianapolis, Indiana, product averaged 2.00 blocks per set with 14 total blocks over the seven sets of action last week. Meanwhile, the Boilermaker secured 4.57 points per set, good for seventh in the league.
She opened the week with six total blocks vs. Minnesota (one solo, five assisted) alongside a .353 hitting % (nine kills, three errors on 17 swings). Colvin’s efforts helped Purdue secure the sweep, and improve the team to 8-3 vs. teams ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA/Taraflex poll.
Colvin followed up the performance with eight blocks at Illinois (one solo, seven assisted). Meanwhile, offensively, the Boilermaker produced 13 kills in the match, including a .556 hitting clip (10 kills) over the first two sets.
Colvin leads the Big Ten in total blocks (122) this season.
It is the ninth time a Boilermaker has received a weekly award this season.
Purdue checked in at No. 19 in the latest AVCA/Taraflex poll. The Boilermakers are set to travel to No. 2 Wisconsin for a Wednesday showdown at 7 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network before returning home on Sunday vs. No. 16 Penn State, which is slated for 1 p.m. ET on B1G+.
PURDUE WOMEN’S SOCCER
OMHOLT RECOGNIZED ON BIG TEN ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue soccer freshman forward Lauren Omholt has been named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, it was announced by the conference.
Omholt is the second Boilermaker to earn Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors in as many years, along with now-sophomore Kayla Budish in 2022. The duo are Purdue’s first two freshman team awardees since 2017. Omholt collected the program’s 11th all-freshman accolade in the team’s 26-year history, and she joins Jessica Okoroafo in 2005, Vanessa Ibewuike in 2009 and Budish in 2022 as forwards to be recognized.
Purdue has earned at least one All-Big Ten award in four consecutive seasons, the first time the program has reached that mark since a 10-year stretch from 2001-2010. Between 2010 and 2020, the Boilermakers were recognized with All-Big Ten distinctions just once, in 2017.
Additionally, redshirt junior defender Kelsi Carrico was named the team’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree. The award recognizes student-athletes who distinguish themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. They also must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
In her inaugural collegiate campaign, Omholt scored two goals and had one assist for five points. She registered 29 shots and a team-best 15 shots on goal. A native of McKinney, Texas, Omholt played in all 18 games with 17 starts and totaled 1,231 minutes.
Omholt’s first career point came via an assist on August 20 in a win against Iona in her second collegiate game. Her first goal came one game later to get the scoring started in a victory over Valparaiso on August 24. Omholt also found the back of the net against No. 25 TCU on September 7.
The all-freshman team recognition is the first award of any kind of Omholt’s college career.
Carrico is a multiple-time Academic All-Big Ten awardee and a Big Ten Distinguished scholar. She played in nine career games on the back line with four starts, all consecutive to conclude the 2022 season. Carrico played more than 300 minutes in her career.
From Mishawaka, Indiana, Carrico is pursuing her degree in public health with a concentration in behavioral social science. She also is earning a minor in American sign language and deaf studies. Carrico will graduate from Purdue in the spring of 2024.
30 HOME DATES HIGHLIGHT BASEBALL’S 2024 SCHEDULE
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue baseball’s home-heavy 2024 schedule features a program-record 30 games at Alexander Field, headlined by seven weekend series.
Head coach Greg Goff has unveiled a slate that features a 10-game homestand in March and a nine-game homestand in April. The Boilermakers open and close Big Ten play at home and are slated to play seven of their final 11 weekend series at home. They will play eight 2023 NCAA Regional qualifiers, with 12 of those 19 total games set to be played at Alexander Field.
Purdue hosts Iowa, Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois for Big Ten weekend series in May. The Boilermakers welcome both the Hoosiers and Fighting Illini to West Lafayette in the same year for only the second time (2017) since Alexander Field opened in 2013.
Purdue is slated to begin its season at a Triple-A ballpark in Texas for the fourth year in a row, opening at Constellation Field in Sugar Land again. This year it’s a four-game series vs. first-time foe Stony Brook at a stadium in suburban Houston that serves as the home of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Houston Astros affiliate).
The Boilermakers play consecutive weekends in North Carolina for the third year in a row. George Mason, a 2023 NCAA Regional qualifier, is the opponent for weekend No. 2 as Purdue returns to Ting Stadium in Holly Springs, where the Boilers are 12-3 since 2022. Ting Stadium serves as the home of the Holly Springs Salamanders of the Coastal Plain League – one of the premier summer ball leagues in the southeast.
Purdue is scheduled to play at East Carolina’s annual Keith LeClair Classic for the first time since the 2012 Big Ten championship season. Southeastern Louisiana and Cal State Fullerton round out the four-team field in Greenville, North Carolina. The Boilermakers have not played in regular-season tournament since February 2020 in Minneapolis.
The home opener at Alexander Field is slated for Friday, March 8 vs. Albany, one of four first-time visitors to Alexander Field. That’s slated to be Purdue’s earliest home opener ever, two days earlier than 2022’s March 10 victory that was part of the program’s historic 15-0 start.
The midweek schedule opens March 5 at Notre Dame’s full artificial turf field in South Bend. The last five Purdue-Notre Dame games dating back to 2009 have been neutral-site affairs played in February. A memorable 10-inning 1-0 pitcher’s duel in South Bend in April 2007 was the last on-campus meeting between the teams.
The Boilermakers host East Tennessee State for their open weekend in Big Ten play, which falls on April 19-21 this year. That’s part of the backend of the nine-game April homestand.
A full list of gameday promotions and special dates at Alexander Field will be released in February or early March.
• Home Games: 30 (12 in March, 10 in April, 8 in May)
• Road Games: 16 (6 in March, 6 in April, 4 in May)
• Neutral Site Games: 10 (8 in February, 2 in March)
• Home Weekends: 7 (March 8-10, March 15-17, March 22-24, April 12-14, April 19-21, May 3-5, May 16-18)
• Big Ten Home: Iowa, Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois
• Big Ten Road: Ohio State, Rutgers, Northwestern, Michigan
• Big Ten Non-Play: Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State
• Big Ten Tournament: May 21-26 (Charles Schwab Field – Omaha, Nebraska)
• Season-Opening Series: vs. Stony Brook for 4 games at Triple-A stadium in Sugar Land, Texas
• Back-to-Back Weekends in North Carolina: Feb. 23-25 vs. George Mason in Holly Springs, March 1-3 at ECU’s Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville
• Earliest Home Opener Ever: March 8 vs. Albany (Opener of a four-game series)
• Open Weekend in Big Ten Play: April 19-21 vs. East Tennessee State at Alexander
• Home-and-Home Midweek Dates: Indiana State, UIC
• Remainder of the Home Midweek Dates: Ball State, DePauw, Evansville, Northern Illinois, Valparaiso
• 10-Game Homestand: March 8-20 vs. Albany, NIU, Samford, UIC, Iowa
• 9-Game Homestand: April 9-23 vs. Indiana State, Michigan State, Ball State, ETSU, Evansville
• 2023 NCAA Regional Qualifiers: Ball State, Cal State Fullerton, East Carolina, George Mason, Indiana, Indiana State, Iowa, Samford
• First-Time Opponents: Albany, Cal State Fullerton, Stony Brook
• First-Time Visitors to Alexander: Albany, DePauw, East Tennessee State, Samford
• Been a While (Not Played Since): DePauw (1987), George Mason (1987)
• Been a While Since Purdue has Paid a Visit (Last Trip): at Michigan (2015), at Notre Dame (2007)
• Purdue closes the regular season at home for the ninth time since Alexander opened in 2013 (all but 2017, excluding 2020)
• St. Patrick’s Day at Home: Purdue hosts Samford, playing at home on St. Patrick’s Day for the first time since 1994
• Easter Weekend in Columbus for weekend No. 2 of Big Ten play (March 29-31)
GAMES BY STATE BREAKDOWN
• Indiana: 32
• North Carolina: 7
• Illinois: 4
• Texas: 4
• Michigan: 3
• New Jersey: 3
• Ohio: 3
BUTLER WOMEN’S SOCCER
ISGER REPRESENTS BUTLER WOMEN’S SOCCER AS BIG EAST OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Butler forward, Abigail Isger, has been selected BIG EAST Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week following her performance against Creighton in the Bulldogs’ regular-season finale.
Isger notched a brace in Butler’s 3-1 win over the Bluejays, scoring the first and third goals. She also drew the foul in the penalty area that led to the Bulldogs’ second goal.
The Bulldogs just wrapped up their season with a ninth consecutive appearance in the postseason BIG EAST Tournament.
IUPUI WOMEN’S SOCCER
JUNK EARNS SECOND STRAIGHT #HLWSOC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD
INDIANAPOLIS – For the second straight week, IUPUI sophomore goalkeeper Cailynn Junk has been named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday (Oct. 30). Junk delivered a shutout in goal for the Jaguars in the regular season finale against Purdue Fort Wayne, helping IUPUI seal the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League Tournament.
Junk faced eight shots total, making six total stops in registering her second straight shutout. In doing so, she extended her personal scoreless streak to 223 minutes without allowing a score.
Junk closed the regular season with a 0.93 goals against average and .833 save percentage with a 4-1-0 record with two solo shutouts and two additional shared shutouts.
NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL
NOTRE DAME TE MITCHELL EVANS (ACL) OUT FOR SEASON
Notre Dame tight end Mitchell Evans will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, head coach Marcus Freeman said Monday.
Evans was injured Saturday in a blowout of Pitt. He is the leading receiver for the No. 12 Irish with 29 receptions and 422 receiving yards.
He made five catches for 66 yards in the 58-7 win over the Panthers before sustaining a knee injury in the second half.
Holden Staes, who had two catches for 14 yards against Pitt, likely becomes the No. 1 tight end for the Irish. He has 12 catches for 163 yards and four touchdowns, on the season, the most among receivers.
Notre Dame (7-2) plays at Clemson (4-4) this week.
BALL STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HOSTS TRINE WEDNESDAY IN EXHIBITION GAME
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State women’s basketball team will make its first appearance of the 2023-24 season Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. ET in Worthen Area when the Cardinals host Trine University in exhibition play. This is the first-ever meeting between the Cardinals and the Thunder.
Ball State women’s basketball head coach Brady Sallee is beginning his 12th year at Ball State, returns 10 players from a record-setting squad that saw the Cardinals finish 26-9 with a 14-4 Mid-American Conference ledger.
The Cardinals’ 26 wins a season ago tied the program record for most wins in a season. Ball State advanced to the semifinals of the MAC Tournament and the second round of the postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) for the first time since 2018. The 20-win season also marked the sixth time in the last eight years Sallee reached the 20-win plateau.
One of the league’s top point guards and postseason All-MAC honoree Ally Becki returns to the court for her junior season. Joining Becki are veteran’s seniors Estel Puiggros, Sydney Shafer and Annie Rauch along with juniors Madelyn Bischoff, Marie Kiefer and Alex Richard. Also coming back for the Cardinals are Ana Barreto, Sydney Bolden and Hana Mühl.
The Cardinals welcome newcomer Nyla Hampton who transferred from Bowling Green this past summer. The three-time MAC Defensive Team recipient enters her first season with Ball State while nearing the 1,000-point plateau with 865 career points. She has also pulled down 131 career rebounds and dished 278 assists with 243 steals.
Other new faces joining Hampton are twins Hailey Smith and Olivia Smith, along with Ashlynn Brooke. All three true freshman played at Indiana high schools.
Trine ended last season with a 23-7 overall mark and went 14-2 in MIAA (Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association). Trine is a NCAA DIII school and reached the NCAA Tournament sectional semifinals last year.
After Wednesday, the Cardinals will open their season at home against Tennessee Tech for their annual “Field Trip Day” on Monday, Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. ET in Worthen Arena.
BALL STATE FOOTBALL
CARDINALS AND FALCONS OPEN #MAC-TION MIDWEEK PLAY ON WEDNESDAY
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State football team meets Bowling Green on Wednesday evening (7 p.m.) for the first time since 2015 when the Cardinals and Falcons battle on ESPN2 in the first of two midweek #MAC-tion games.
** The Cardinals carry a welcome shot of momentum into this week’s matchup, earning a 24-17 homecoming win last week over Central Michigan. It was just the second time this year Ball State has put points on the scoreboard in all four quarters, and it was the third straight week the defense has put the Cardinals in position for a victory.
** Redshirt sophomore Kiael Kelly expects to make his third straight start at QB this week, settling the position after six weeks of shuffling. He completed 13 of 16 passes last week for a career-high 101 passing yards, and he added two touchdowns while rushing for 64 yards.
** Ball State collected a pair of player of the week honors from the Mid-American Conference following last week’s win over CMU. Marquez Cooper rushed for 162 yards and a score to earn the MAC West Division offensive honor. Sidney Houston’s two sacks and three TFL were worthy of the MAC West defensive award.
** Cooper, in his fourth MAC season, remains the leading active rusher in the MAC. Cooper’s 3,397 career yards are second among all active FBS rushers and his 584 yards this season are 416 shy of his third straight 1,000-yard season.
** Officially two-thirds of the season complete, the Cardinals hit the road for a pair of #MAC-tion contests at Bowling Green and Northern Illinois before the closing the regular season with home games against Kent State and Miami.
WHAT A WIN MEANS:
** The Cardinals will rise to 3-6 and win their first road game of the season.
** Ball State would win consecutive games for the first time this season.
VALPO MEN’S BASKETBALL
MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON TO TIP OFF WITH ‘POWELL PARTY OF 5,000’ EVENT
The Valparaiso University Department of Athletics has announced plans for a welcome back party for men’s basketball head coach Roger Powell Jr. during the regular-season opener vs. Trinity Christian on Monday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
This game represents Powell’s first as a head coach and his first contest at Valpo in any capacity since March 22, 2016, when he was on staff as an assistant coach for a 60-44 win over Saint Mary’s in front of a record-setting sellout crowd of 5,444 to send Valpo to the final four of the Postseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.
The Nov. 6 welcome back party starts early as the Valpo FanZone, a pregame fan meetup for alumni and community members, will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. at Peddler’s Pizza Sidebar, located at 5 Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN, 46383. Tickets will cost $10 per person and will include pizza and one drink ticket.
Following the Valpo FanZone, the festivities will move to the Athletics-Recreation Center prior to the 7 p.m. tipoff. Roger Powell Jr. fatheads will be available for the first 1,000 fans. Everyone in attendance will receive free glowsticks. In addition, the first 100 fans to purchase a beer at the concession stand will receive a free Valpo koozie. A halftime contest will result in five fans receiving free concessions for the season.
Fans can use the following links to purchase their tickets for the pregame event and the game itself: Valpo FanZone and men’s basketball tickets. All tickets will be digital for the Valpo FanZone event. The pregame event is limited to 100 guests.
HOUNDS CREEP TO #8 IN LATEST COACHES POLL
WACO, Texas—The undefeated UIndy football team moved up two more spots in the latest AFCA DII Coaches Poll, coming in at No. 8 this week. Following a 35-7 win against Upper Iowa Saturday, the Greyhounds matched their highest national ranking since 2017.
Eleven teams entered play last weekend without a loss, with eight squads earning wins. Half of the remaining unbeatens—Pittsburg State, Harding, UIndy and Davenport—hail from Super Region 3. Furthermore, eight of the top 12 teams in this week’s rankings are SR3 teams.
AFCA DIVISION II COACHES POLL
|RK||SCHOOL (1st-place votes)||REC||PTS||PREV|
|1.||Colorado School of Mines (26)||9-0||720||1|
|2.||Pittsburg St. (Kan.) (1)||9-0||694||2|
|3.||Grand Valley St. (Mich.) (1)||7-1||662||3|
|5.||Slippery Rock (Pa.) (1)||9-0||582||6|
|7.||Ferris St. (Mich.)||6-2||534||8|
|12.||Ouachita Baptist (Ark.)||8-1||399||14|
|13.||Bemidji St. (Minn.)||7-1||353||16t|
|14.||Delta St. (Miss.)||7-1||322||16t|
|20.||Valdosta St. (Ga.)||8-1||207||24|
|23.||Missouri Western St.||7-2||69||NR|
|25.||Mars Hill (N.C.)||7-1||43||NR|
Others Receiving Votes: West Florida, 33; Fort Hays St. (Kan.), 30; Minnesota-Duluth, 24; Shepherd (W.Va.), 19; Henderson St. (Ark.), 10; Colorado St.-Pueblo, 8; Angelo St. (Tex.), 7; Southern Arkansas, 5; Truman St. (Mo.), 4; Charleston (W.Va.), 2; Fairmont St. (W.Va.), 2; New Haven (Conn.), 1.
GRAY TOPS WEIGHT CLASS, GREYHOUNDS SEVENTH IN NWCA PRESEASON NATIONAL POLL
MANHEIM, Pa. – The UIndy wrestling team was picked seventh in the annual preseason National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) poll, announced Monday.
The Greyhounds shared seventh with Lake Erie College, each tallying 47 points. UIndy placed seventh at last season’s national meet.
Cale Gray topped the 285 class following his fourth-place finish at nationals a season ago, marking the first time in his career has been ranked No. 1.
Joining Gray in the top 10 of their respective weight classes are Derek Blubaugh (second at 197), Owen Butler (sixth at 174), and Ray Rioux (11th at 141).
GLVC members McKendree and Upper Iowa tied for fifth in the poll, while Davenport received one vote. Last week, the Hounds were voted to repeat as GLVC champions, earning five of the possible six first-place votes.
UINDY MEN’S SOCCER
GLVC RELEASES MEN’S SOCCER TOURNAMENT BRACKET, HOUNDS TO HOST
INDIANAPOLIS – The Great Lakes Valley Conference released the bracket for the 2023 GLVC Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament. UIndy earned the No. 3 seed in the eight-team tournament and will serve as one of four hosts in the postseason quarterfinal contests, which take place next Sunday, Nov. 5. Seedings for this year’s postseason were based on a point system, where a win earned three points and a tie earned one.
#3 Indianapolis vs. #6 Truman | Indianapolis | 2:30 p.m.
14th-ranked UIndy went 10-1-5 overall and 10-0-3 in GLVC action during the regular season to tally 28 points.
Truman went 6-5-4 overall and 5-4-4 in GLVC action during the regular season to tally 19 points.
After tying 1-1 head-to-head on Oct. 1 against McKendree and versus UIS this afternoon, UIndy won tiebreaker over the Bearcats due to its 2-0 win over second-seeded Lewis on Oct. 8 and McKendree’s 1-0 loss to the Flyers on Sept. 29.
The Greyhounds beat the Bulldogs, 5-0, in Kirksville on Oct. 22.
UIndy is making its 31st overall and 11th-straight appearance in the GLVC postseason.
Truman is making its second-straight and overall appearance in the GLVC postseason.
Each of the four quarterfinal winners will advance to the GLVC Championship Tournament semifinals, which will be hosted at Corwin Clatt Stadium in East Peoria, Ill. The two semifinal contests will be played on Friday, Nov. 10, while the final will take place Sunday, Nov. 12.
All GLVC Championship Tournament action will be streamed live behind a paywall on GLVCSN.com, the GLVCSN iOS and Android mobile apps, and GLVCSN OTT apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV. All other details and results can be found on the official tournament homepage at GLVCsports.com/2023msoc.
MYSTIC MEANS SIGNS WITH MARIAN SOFTBALL
INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian softball officially has their first signing for the 2024 recruit class, with head coach Scott Fleming announcing the signing of Mystic Means.
Mystic Means is an Indianapolis native and attends Lutheran High School. Last year the Saints’ outfielder batted .577 with 53 hits, 40 runs scored, and 11 RBI’s, while also picking up 42 stolen bases on the season. Means has several honors under her belt, being named First Team Aa-State, All-Conference, All-Marion County, and to the Indy Start Super Team. Means helped guide her team to a sectional and regional title last year, finishing the year with a 20-8 overall record. Means also plays for the FAM travel organization.
At Marian, Mystic intends to major in nursing.
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
|New York||1||2||.333||2.0||0-1||1-1||0-1||1-1||1-2||1 L|
|Oklahoma City||3||1||.750||1.0||1-1||2-0||0-1||0-1||3-1||1 W|
|Golden State||3||1||.750||—||0-1||3-0||1-1||3-1||3-1||3 W|
|LA Clippers||2||1||.667||0.5||2-0||0-1||–||2-1||2-1||1 W|
|LA Lakers||2||2||.500||1.0||2-0||0-2||1-1||1-2||2-2||1 W|
|New Orleans||2||1||.667||1.0||1-1||1-0||1-0||1-1||2-1||1 L|
|San Antonio||1||2||.333||2.0||1-1||0-1||1-1||1-2||1-2||1 L|
|American Football Conference|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Miami Dolphins||6||2||0||.750||0.0||271||204||4-0-0||2-2-0||4-1-0||2-1-0||1 W|
|Buffalo Bills||5||3||0||.625||1.0||222||136||4-1-0||1-2-0||2-3-0||1-2-0||1 W|
|New York Jets||4||3||0||.571||1.5||126||129||2-2-0||2-1-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||3 W|
|New England Patriots||2||6||0||.250||4.0||118||208||1-3-0||1-3-0||2-3-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6||2||0||.750||0.0||187||129||3-1-0||3-1-0||4-1-0||2-1-0||1 L|
|Los Angeles Chargers||3||4||0||.429||2.5||174||168||2-2-0||1-2-0||1-3-0||1-1-0||1 W|
|Las Vegas Raiders||3||5||0||.375||3.0||126||187||2-1-0||1-4-0||2-3-0||1-1-0||2 L|
|Denver Broncos||3||5||0||.375||3.0||172||226||2-3-0||1-2-0||1-4-0||1-2-0||2 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Baltimore Ravens||6||2||0||.750||0.0||202||121||2-1-0||4-1-0||4-2-0||2-1-0||3 W|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||4||3||0||.571||1.5||113||147||2-2-0||2-1-0||3-2-0||2-0-0||1 L|
|Cleveland Browns||4||3||0||.571||1.5||154||139||3-1-0||1-2-0||3-2-0||1-2-0||1 L|
|Cincinnati Bengals||4||3||0||.571||1.5||131||144||2-1-0||2-2-0||0-3-0||0-2-0||3 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||6||2||0||.750||0.0||193||156||2-2-0||4-0-0||4-2-0||2-1-0||5 W|
|Houston Texans||3||4||0||.429||2.5||148||128||2-1-0||1-3-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||1 L|
|Tennessee Titans||3||4||0||.429||2.5||132||140||3-1-0||0-3-0||2-3-0||0-1-0||1 W|
|Indianapolis Colts||3||5||0||.375||3.0||205||229||1-4-0||2-1-0||3-3-0||2-2-0||3 L|
|National Football Conference|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Philadelphia Eagles||7||1||0||.875||0.0||224||172||3-0-0||4-1-0||5-0-0||2-0-0||2 W|
|Dallas Cowboys||5||2||0||.714||1.5||197||120||3-0-0||2-2-0||2-2-0||1-0-0||2 W|
|Washington Commanders||3||5||0||.375||4.0||171||228||1-3-0||2-2-0||2-4-0||0-3-0||2 L|
|New York Giants||2||6||0||.250||5.0||95||187||1-3-0||1-3-0||2-3-0||1-1-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Seattle Seahawks||5||2||0||.714||0.0||168||138||3-1-0||2-1-0||4-1-0||1-1-0||2 W|
|San Francisco 49ers||5||3||0||.625||0.5||218||140||3-1-0||2-2-0||4-1-0||2-0-0||3 L|
|Los Angeles Rams||3||5||0||.375||2.5||175||184||1-3-0||2-2-0||2-3-0||2-1-0||2 L|
|Arizona Cardinals||1||7||0||.125||4.5||151||213||1-3-0||0-4-0||1-5-0||0-3-0||5 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Detroit Lions||6||2||0||.750||0.0||200||165||3-1-0||3-1-0||4-1-0||1-0-0||1 W|
|Minnesota Vikings||4||4||0||.500||2.0||175||162||1-3-0||3-1-0||4-2-0||2-0-0||3 W|
|Green Bay Packers||2||5||0||.286||3.5||140||156||1-2-0||1-3-0||2-3-0||1-2-0||4 L|
|Chicago Bears||2||6||0||.250||4.0||171||218||1-3-0||1-3-0||1-3-0||0-2-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Atlanta Falcons||4||4||0||.500||0.0||138||161||3-1-0||1-3-0||3-2-0||2-0-0||1 L|
|New Orleans Saints||4||4||0||.500||0.0||171||154||1-2-0||3-2-0||1-2-0||1-1-0||1 W|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3||4||0||.429||0.5||121||128||1-3-0||2-1-0||3-3-0||1-1-0||3 L|
|Carolina Panthers||1||6||0||.143||2.5||127||199||1-2-0||0-4-0||0-5-0||0-2-0||1 W|
|Detroit Red Wings||10||6||3||1||13||6||40||31||3-1-1||3-2-0||6-3-1|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||8||5||2||1||11||4||29||24||2-1-0||3-1-1||5-2-1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||9||4||2||3||11||4||32||28||4-0-2||0-2-1||4-2-3|
|New York Rangers||9||7||2||0||14||7||28||18||1-1-0||6-1-0||7-2-0|
|New Jersey Devils||8||5||2||1||11||5||33||30||3-2-1||2-0-0||5-2-1|
|New York Islanders||8||4||2||2||10||4||21||23||3-1-2||1-1-0||4-2-2|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||9||3||4||2||8||3||23||30||2-3-1||1-1-1||3-4-2|
|St. Louis Blues||7||3||3||1||7||2||14||20||2-1-0||1-2-1||3-3-1|
|Vegas Golden Knights||10||9||0||1||19||6||38||22||5-0-1||4-0-0||9-0-1|
|Los Angeles Kings||8||4||2||2||10||4||35||30||1-2-2||3-0-0||4-2-2|
|San Jose Sharks||9||0||8||1||1||0||9||35||0-3-1||0-5-0||0-8-1|
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1931 The Cardinals release right-hander Burleigh Grimes, the last legal spitballer. Ol’ Stubblebeard will finish his 19-year Hall of Fame career with a 270-212 record and an ERA of 3.53.
1953 After touring Japan with the Giants, Commissioner Ford Frick compares Japanese play to Class A of the American minors. The Americans will finish the 14-game schedule against various Japanese teams with a 12-1-1 record, including nine consecutive victories at the start of the series.
1957 Yogi Berra says the team returned the fines the players paid for their involvement in the Copacabana fight. A group of Yankees, including Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Bill Skowron, gathered at the New York popular nightspot to celebrate Billy Martin’s 29th birthday in May when the infamous altercation occurred with a group of patrons, resulting in unwanted newspaper headlines for the storied franchise.
1960 The Giants trade infielder Andre Rodgers to Milwaukee for Alvin Dark. San Francisco obtains their former team captain not to be a player but rather to be the team’s new manager for the upcoming season.
1967 By an overwhelming margin, 23 of the 24 experts surveyed select Dick Williams as the United Press International’s American League Manager of the Year. The 38-year-old skipper guided the underdog Red Sox to a pennant, emerging on top from a fierce four-team pennant race that went down to the last day of the season.
1972 In a seven-player trade, Don Money is dealt by the Phillies, along with Bill Champion and John Vukovich, to the Brewers in exchange for Ken Brett, Jim Lonborg, Ken Sanders, and Earl Stephenson. The 25-year-old versatile infielder will spend over a decade with Milwaukee, becoming a four-time All-Star.
1972 Indians’ right-hander Gaylord Perry (24-16, 1.92) edges Wilbur Wood (24-17, 2.51) for the American League Cy Young Award, joining his brother Jim (1970) to become the first siblings to win the prestigious pitching prize. Although the future Hall of Fame hurler receives only 9 of the 24 first-place votes, the North Carolina native still outpoints the White Sox starter, 64-58.
1979 Mike Flanagan (23-9, 3.08) wins the Cy Young Award, easily outdistancing New York’s Tommy John (21-9, 2.97). The Orioles’ southpaw receives 26 of the 27 first-place votes cast by the writers.
2001 A team comes from behind to tie a Fall Classic game in the ninth and goes on to win in extra innings for the first time since Philadelphia A’s Mule Haas hit a game-tying two-run homer in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series. Tino Martinez sends the contest into overtime with a two-out homer off Diamondbacks’ closer Byung-Hyun Kim and Derek Jeter, dubbed Mr. November, wins the game after the stroke of midnight with a full count two-out round-tripper giving the Bronx Bombers a 3-2 victory.
2005 On Halloween night, former Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein eludes the media on the night of his resignation parked outside Fenway Park disguised in a gorilla suit. The hairy costume will be auctioned at a future charity event, making $11,000 for the Jimmy Fund and Theo’s Foundation, To Be Named Later.
2006 Joining Don Mattingly (Yankees, 1987), Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles, 1991), Frank Thomas (White Sox, 1995), Jeff Bagwell (Astros, 1995), and Manny Ramirez (Red Sox, 2002), Cardinal first baseman Albert Pujols becomes the sixth player to get a perfect score (100) in the annual player rankings. The Elias Sports Bureau rating considers a player’s plate appearances, batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, and RBIs compared to others playing the same position during the two past seasons.
2006 The Astros announce the club has decided not to exercise their option on first baseman Jeff Bagwell for the 2007 season. ‘BagPipes’ is the all-time franchise leader in home runs, RBIs, and walks.
2008 The Mets quickly exercise their $12 million option on Carlos Delgado. After a well-publicized slow start, which strained the relationship with his then-manager Willie Randolph, the 36-year-old first baseman batted .313, blasted 24 homers, and drove in 70 runs during the last three months of the season playing for new skipper Jerry Manuel.
2009 In Game 3, Alex Rodriguez’s fly ball in the right-field corner of Citizens Bank Park becomes the subject of the first instant replay call in World Series history. The umpires changed the Yankee third baseman’s hit, initially ruled a double, to a home run after the replay clearly showed the ball going over the fence before striking a television camera and bouncing back to the field.
2010 For the first time in major league history, two former presidents attend the same World Series game when George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are both at Rangers Ballpark for Game 4 of the Fall Classic. Before the contest against San Francisco, the elder Bush, a former first baseman at Yale, stands close by when his son, the former controlling owner of the Texas franchise, throws the ceremonial first pitch.
2010 In Game 4, southpaw Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey become the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra appeared together in the first game of the 1947 series. The freshmen do not disappoint when the 21-year-old southpaw becomes the fourth youngest to post a Fall Classic victory, limiting the Rangers to three hits while throwing eight strong innings, with his batterymate contributing to the Giants’ 4-0 win in Arlington with an eighth-inning home run.
2011 Although offered approximately $4.5 million for a three-year extension, four times more than his current salary, Theo Epstein decides to leave the Red Sox after being the youngest general manager to lead a team to a World Championship. His decision, caused by a rift with team president Larry Lucchino, who hired him as an 18-year-old Yale undergraduate as an Oriole intern, giving the ‘Boy Wonder’ a position with the Padres before bringing him to Boston, takes the Red Sox Nation by surprise.
2011 The World Champion Cardinals announce the resignation of Tony La Russa, their manager for the past 16 seasons. The 67-year-old skipper, who is only 35 games behind John McGraw on the all-time list for second place for games won, compiled a 2,728-2,365 (.536) managerial record during his 33 seasons with the White Sox, A’s, and St. Louis.
2011 The Mets announce on their Twitter page that the team is planning to move the left- and right-field fences at Citi Field closer to home plate by as much as 12 feet and lower the home-run line to eight feet. The Amazins, who have hit the fewest home runs at home of any major league team since moving into their new ballpark in 2009, will see the number of round-trippers dramatically increase when the new dimensions result in 21 additional homers for the team and 24 more for opponents
2013 The Nationals announce the hiring of Diamondback coach Matt Williams as their sixth manager in team history, replacing Davey Johnson, who previously announced his retirement. The job will be the 47-year-old former All-Star third baseman’s first major league managerial stint.
2014 “We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe.” – THEO EPSTEIN, explaining manager Rick Renteria’s dismissal. Theo Epstein dismisses first-year Cubs’ manager Rick Renteria (73-89) with two years remaining on his contract. The GM believes his skipper “deserved to come back for another season,” but replaces him with field boss Joe Maddon, a free agent available after leading the low-payroll Rays to the postseason four times in his nine-year tenure with Tampa Bay.
WORLD SERIES HISTORY
New York Yankees (4) vs Chicago Cubs (0)
Anger, emotion and controversy were the big stories of the 1932 Series and that was before the first pitch was ever even thrown. Babe Ruth, the most beloved (and hated) player in all of baseball, lived up to his reputation by ripping apart the Chicago Cubs organization in the press while sticking up for one of his former teammates.
Remembering the contributions of shortstop Mark Koenig to the Yankees’ great teams of 1926-1928, several New York players berated the National League champions for only offering him a half-share of the World Series payoff. Although he had been a late-season acquisition, the former Yankee had batted .353 in thirty-three games for his new team and many felt that he was being cheated.
Chicago tempers were also flared by the return of Joe McCarthy, who had been fired by the Cubs after the 1930 season. Many around the league had felt that the Yank’s new skipper had been unfairly treated after winning the pennant in ’29 and taking his team to second place the following year. However, many of his supporters quickly turned on him after he accepted a position with the hated American League powerhouse. Two years later he walked back onto Wrigley Field in a New York uniform determined to get the “last laugh” over his former employer. He certainly had the advantage this time as the Yankees won the first two games back home in the Bronx and were now locked in a 4-4 stalemate. What would follow has become one of the most memorable and controversial moments in the history of baseball…
With one out in the fifth, Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate and prepared to stare down Chicago’s Charlie Root. “The Bambino” had launched a three-run rocket off of the Cub’s veteran in the first, but took a called strike on the first pitch. Two balls and another strike followed as “The Babe” acknowledged it with a raised hand. Confident that a “K” was coming, the Cubs fans started taunting Ruth from the stands. As the noise level rose to a deafening roar, Ruth pointed to center field (although some contest that he was pointing back at Root) and prepared his wind-up.
Whatever the gesture, it certainly silenced the fans as he delivered the next pitch over the centerfield wall for the go-ahead score. Even Lou Gehrig (who was on-deck at the time) maintained that Ruth had definitely “called his shot” although Root wasn’t buying into the “Sultan of Swing” sensationalism. He was quoted as saying, “If he had, I would have knocked him down with the next pitch.” Ruth never expounded upon the matter and was content with another contribution to baseball folklore. It still remains a mystery.
Gehrig and Ruth both traded two-homer days in a close Game 3 that ended 7-5 in the Yankees’ favor. New York prepared the next day to close out the Cubs for their third consecutive sweep, but did not get off to a good start as they fell behind 4-1 when Chicago’s Frank Demaree knocked a three-run homer in the first. Despite the Cubs’ strong start, New York stormed back, thanks in part to the bat of Tony Lazzeri who had two, two-run homers during a late Yankees rally. In a game that was tied 5-5 for six innings, the Yanks wound up with a 13-6 win and another World Championship.
Although Ruth’s “called shot” was the most widely contested and celebrated moment of the 1932 Series, it was Lou Gehrig who was without a doubt, the biggest hitter. Gehrig went nine-for-seventeen with a .529 average, slugged three homers, scored nine runs and tallied eight RBIs. He was backed up by Bill Dickey, who batted .438, Earle Combs, who hit .375 and Joe Sewell and “the Babe” who both finished with a .333 average. Strangely, the “called shot” would be Ruth’s last homerun in World Series play.
October 31, 1988 – Indianapolis, Indiana – The 1st Nationally televised NFL game in Indianapolis took place. ABC’s Monday Night Football with their broadcast team of Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf and Al Michaels placed the Colts and their guests the Denver Broncos in living rooms across the country. The Colts franchise had moved from Baltimore in March of 1984. The Colts defeated the Denver Broncos that historic evening 55-23.
Hall of Fame Birthdays for October 31
Hogan is a Hero
October 31, 1872 – Glenbane, County Tipperary, Ireland – James Hogan a tackle from Yale University who played football there from 1901 to 1904. Hogan was always known to have a smile on his face even while playing with his hard hitting style during contests as well as his school spirit caused his classmates to nickname him “Yale”. Hogan lettered all four years and was All-America three times as well as the Eli captain in 1904. Yale’s record in his four years 43-3-2 per the NFF website. The National Football Foundation voted James Hogan to enter into their College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.
Daly Football News
October 31, 1880 – Roxbury, Massachusetts – Charlie Daly who played quarterback for both Harvard and Army during his collegiate career was born. The footballfoundation.org website tells us that he played five years and was a first team All-America four times. He played for Harvard in 1898-1900 and for Army 1901-1902. He was a first team All-America all three of his years at Harvard and at Army in 1901. In his final season, Walter Camp named him as a third team All-America. In the three years Daly was at Harvard, the team had a record of 31-1-1. Army, in his two playing years, went 11-2-3. Daly against Navy during the 1901season had a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown, a field goal, and an extra point – all of Army’s points in an 11-5 victory. Charlie Daly entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
MORE HALL OF FAME BIRTHDAYS FOR OCTOBER 31
October 31, 1897 – Mansfield, Ohio – Wilbur better known as Pete Henry, was a 3 year All-American tackle from Washington and Jefferson College. He was perhaps the largest lineman of his era as he stood 5-foot-11-inches tall and weighed in at a solid 245 pounds. Pete signed to play with the Canton Bulldogs coincidently on the same day that the NFL’s precursor the American Professional Football Association formed in Ralph Hay’s Hupmobile Showroom in Canton. The good natured Henry off the field was replaced by a focused beast on the gridiron. Pete’s most notable season had to be in 1923 with the Bulldogs according to the National Football Foundation’s website. Henry booted a 94 yard punt, blocked a punt, scored a touchdown and kicked nine field goals via drop kick , oh and by the way the Canton Bulldogs won their second consecutive NFL Championship that year due in part to his great play. In the NFL for a total of 8 seasons not only with Canton but was a member of the Pottsville Maroons and the New York Giants too. Pete Henry was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined Pete in 1963’s class of inductees.
October 31, 1900 – Keytesville, Missouri – Cal Hubbard was born on that day and he was a tackle for Centenary and Geneva Colleges. The NFF informs us that Cal Hubbard played end and tackle for Centenary 1922-24 and then moved with his coach Bo McMillin to play one season at Geneva College 1926. Later as a pro Hubbard was a big tackle, standing 6-4 in height and weighing 250 pounds, for the New York Giants, Green Bay and Pittsburgh franchises. The College Football Hall of Fame added Cal to their lineup in 1962. The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined Cal Hubbard one year later in 1963 for back to back Hall of Fame Enshrinements! Believe it or not 13 years after that in 1976 Cal Hubbard was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as an umpire.
October 31, 1962 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Was the birth of Bill Fralic a tackle from the University of Pittsburgh. Bill Fralic played his way to First Team All-America status in three consecutive seasons from 1982 to 84, and the selections were of the unanimous variety in 1983 & 1984 per the NFF. In fact he was so good that he became the first offensive lineman in history to be in the top 10 of balloting for the Heisman Award in two different seasons. Bill Fralic’s No. 79 jersey was retired by the Pitt Panthers at halftime of his final home game in 1984, a 21-10 win over Tulane. Bill Fralic was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
October 31, 1989 – Kosse , Texas – The big Defensive tackle from Texas Kenneth Sims was born. The National Football Foundation inducted Kenneth Simms into their College Football hall of Fame in 2021.
NUMBERS IN SPORTS
33 – 11 – 41 – 36 – 41 – 47 – 35
October 31, 1943 – Washington Redskin Quarterback, Number 33, “Slingin’ ” Sammy Baugh passed for 6 touchdowns against the Brooklyn Dodgers in a 48-10 route.
October 31, 1950 – The Big Cat, Earl Lloyd became the first African-American to play a game in the NBA, scoring 6 points on debut for the Washington Capitals. Mr. Lloyd would wear the Number 11, with the Syracuse Nationals.
October 31, 1967 – San Francisco Giants Mike McCormick, wearing Number 41 won the National League Cy Young Award
October 31, 1972 – Gaylord Perry of the Cleveland Indians, who wore Number 36 won the American League Cy Young award
October 31, 1973 – Tom Seaver, Number 41 of the New York Mets won the National League Cy Young Award
October 31, 2014 – Greg Maddux (Number 31), Tom Glavine (Number 47 ), Frank Thomas (Number 35), Bobby Cox (Atlanta Braves Manager), Tony La Russa (Manager) and Joe Torre (Manager) were inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY
TV SPORTS TUESDAY
|COLLEGE FOOTBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|NIU AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN||7:00PM||ESPNU|
|BUFFALO AT TOLEDO||7:30PM||ESPN2|
|MLB PLAYOFFS||TIME ET||TV|
|WORLD SERIES GAME 4: TEXAS AT ARIZONA||8:00PM||FOX|
|NBA REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|NEW YORK AT CLEVELAND||7:30PM||TNT|
|SAN ANTONIO AT PHOENIX||10:00PM||TNT|
|ORLANDO AT LA CLIPPERS||10:30PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|NHL REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|LOS ANGELES AT TORONTO||8:00PM||ESPN|
|NASHVILLE AT VANCOUVER||10:00PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|COPPA ITALIA: CREMONESE VS CITTADELLA||10:00AM||PARAMOUNT+|
|COPPA ITALIA: SALERNITANA VS SAMPDORIA||1:00PM||PARAMOUNT+|
|DFB POKAL: ST. PAULI VS SCHALKE 04||1:00PM||ESPN+|
|DFB POKAL: STUTTGART VS UNION BERLIN||1:00PM||ESPN+|
|DFB POKAL: WOLFSBURG VS RB LEIPZIG||1:00PM||ESPN+|
|DFB POKAL: UNTERHACHING VS FORTUNA DÜSSELDORF||3:45PM||ESPN+|
|DFB POKAL: KAISERSLAUTERN VS KÖLN||3:45PM||ESPN+|
|DFB POKAL: BORUSSIA M’GLADBACH VS HEIDENHEIM||3:45PM||ESPN+|
|ENGLAND LEAGUE CUP: EXETER CITY VS MIDDLESBROUGH||3:45PM||ESPN+|
|ENGLAND LEAGUE CUP: MANSFIELD TOWN VS PORT VALE||3:45PM||ESPN+|
|COPPA ITALIA: BOLOGNA VS HELLAS VERONA||4:00PM||PARAMOUNT+|
|BRASILEIRÃO: BAHIA VS FLUMINENSE||6:00PM||PARAMOUNT+|
|ARGENTINA PRIMERA DIVISIÓN: TIGRE VS GODOY CRUZ||6:00PM||PARAMOUNT+|
|ARGENTINA PRIMERA DIVISIÓN: CENTRAL CÓRDOBA SDE VS UNIÓN SANTA FE||8:00PM||PARAMOUNT+|
|SOCCER – MEN’S COLLEGE||TIME ET||TV|
|VERMONT VS NEW HAMPSHIRE||6:00PM||ESPN+|
|OLD DOMINION VS WEST VIRGINIA||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|NJIT VS ALBANY||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|UMASS LOWELL VS BRYANT||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|JAMES MADISON VS UCF||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|KENTUCKY VS GEORGIA SOUTHERN||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|GEORGIA STATE VS COASTAL CAROLINA||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|BRANDEIS VS PROVIDENCE||7:00PM||FLOSPORTS|
|SOUTH CAROLINA VS MARSHALL||7:10PM||ESPN+|
|SOCCER – WOMEN’S COLLEGE||TIME ET||TV|
|SEC TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS||1:00PM||SECN|
|SEC TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS||3:30PM||SECN|
|SEC TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS||6:00PM||SECN|
|JAMES MADISON VS UCF||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|SEC TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS||8:30PM||SECN|
|WTA FINALS ROUND ROBIN|
PARIS-ATP EARLY ROUNDS
|WTA FINALS ROUND ROBIN|
PARIS-ATP EARLY ROUNDS
|WTA FINALS ROUND ROBIN|
PARIS-ATP EARLY ROUNDS
|WOMEN’S COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|MILWAUKEE VS GREEN BAY||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|CHICAGO STATE VS UTEP||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|UC SANTA BARBARA VS CAL POLY||8:30PM||ESPN+|