SECTIONAL FOOTBALL FRIDAY SCOREBOARD
CULVER ACADEMY 17, LOWELL 7
HIGHLAND 56, EAST CHICAGO CENTRAL 6
KANKAKEE VALLEY 37, GARY WEST 22
NEW PRAIRIE 49, HOBART 14
NORTHWOOD 52, S. BEND ST. JOSEPH’S 10
NORTHRIDGE 39, LOGANSPORT 3
S. BEND WASHINGTON 43, PLYMOUTH 28
WAWASEE 35, S. BEND RILEY 26
DEKALB 21, ANGOLA 14
E. NOBLE 43, NEW HAVEN 0
FT. WAYNE DWENGER 21, FT. WAYNE WAYNE 10
LEO 42, FT. WAYNE SOUTH 0
COLUMBIA CITY 27, HUNTINGTON NORTH 7
KOKOMO 21, JAY CO. 14
MARION 63, FRANKFORT 0
MISSISSINEWA 35, WESTERN 14
INDPLS RONCALLI 42, INDPLS SHORTRIDGE 0
INDY BREBEUF 49, NORTHVIEW 42
LEBANON 35, INDPLS ATTUCKS 32
MOORESVILLE 56, INDPLS WASHINGTON 0
BEECH GROVE 42, MUNCIE CENTRAL 28
GREENFIELD 27, PENDLETON HTS. 17
MT. VERNON (FORTVILLE) 56, RICHMOND 21
NEW PALESTINE 63, NEW CASTLE 0
E. CENTRAL 62, SHELBYVILLE 7
GREENWOOD 49, CONNERSVILLE 20
JENNINGS CO. 46, EDGEWOOD 21
MARTINSVILLE 28, SILVER CREEK 14
BEDFORD N. LAWRENCE 27, EVANSVILLE HARRISON 6
EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL 38, EVANSVILLE CENTRAL 8
EVANSVILLE REITZ 24, BOONVILLE 0
JASPER 41, EVANSVILLE BOSSE 24
BOONE GROVE 26, TWIN LAKES 13
HANOVER CENTRAL 48, CALUMET 16
RENSSELAER 42, GRIFFITH 13
W. LAFAYETTE 42, RIVER FOREST 13
FAIRFIELD 17, JIMTOWN 6
GLENN 64, S. BEND CLAY 0
KNOX 46, LAKELAND 19
W. NOBLE 46, MISHAWAKA MARIAN 43
DELTA 47, NORWELL 7
GARRETT 35, BELLMONT 7
HERITAGE 35, WOODLAN 0
YORKTOWN 31, FT. WAYNE CONCORDIA 14
GUERIN CATHOLIC 27, PERU 19
HAMILTON HEIGHTS 42, OAK HILL 17
INDPLS CHATARD 40, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 7
MACONAQUAH 55, NORTHWESTERN 13
MONROVIA 56, PURDUE POLYTECHNIC 8
N. MONTGOMERY 20, WESTERN BOONE 7
SPEEDWAY 48, CRAWFORDSVILLE 13
TRI-WEST 42, DANVILLE 7
GIBSON SOUTHERN 40, MT. VERNON (POSEY) 7
PIKE CENTRAL 25, PRINCETON 20
VINCENNES 54, OWEN VALLEY 0
WASHINGTON 46, W. VIGO 7
BATESVILLE 35, RUSHVILLE 6
FRANKLIN CO. 25, S. DEARBORN 7
INDIAN CREEK 49, GREENSBURG 7
LAWRENCEBURG 40, CENTERVILLE 6
HERITAGE HILLS 51, CHARLESTOWN 14
SALEM 20, MADISON 8
SCOTTSBURG 13, N. HARRISON 0
SOUTHRIDGE 49, CORYDON 12
BREMEN 42, HAMMOND NOLL 7
LAVILLE 25, ANDREAN 23
WHITING 40, LAKE STATION 0
CASS 32, DELPHI 13
LAFAYETTE CATHOLIC 42, WINAMAC 14
SEEGER 14, BENTON CENTRAL 12
CENTRAL NOBLE 14, PRAIRIE HEIGHTS 0
EASTSIDE 48, WABASH 7
FT. WAYNE LUERS 41, CHURUBUSCO 30
MANCHESTER 49, WHITKO 0
BLUFFTON 26, ALEXANDRIA 14
EASTBROOK 28, FRANKTON 3
EASTERN (GREENTOWN) 55, ELWOOD 0
TIPTON 35, BLACKFORD 0
CASCADE 41, S. VERMILLION 20
GREENCASTLE 30, N. PUTNAM 29
LINTON 48, N. KNOX 14
SOUTHMONT 32, SULLIVAN 21
EASTERN HANCOCK 45, LAPEL 43
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN 35, SHENANDOAH 0
INDPLS RITTER 42, UNION CO. 14
WINCHESTER 14, NORTHEASTERN 12
BROWNSTOWN 56, INDPLS SCECINA 27
EASTERN (PEKIN) 49, CHRISTEL HOUSE MANUAL 29
SWITZERLAND CO. 28, BROWN CO. 21
TRITON CENTRAL 41, CLARKSVILLE 6
EVANSVILLE MATER DEI 30, TELL CITY 27
FOREST PARK 57, MITCHELL 7
N. POSEY 55, PERRY CENTRAL 8
PAOLI 48, CRAWFORD CO. 14
CULVER 40, S. CENTRAL (UNION MILLS) 15
N. JUDSON 40, PIONEER 14
S. NEWTON 64, BOWMAN 6
TRITON 71, N. NEWTON 6
CLINTON PRAIRIE 41, COVINGTON 6
INDPLS PARK TUDOR 42, FOUNTAIN CENTRAL 6
N. VERMILLION 41, ATTICA 6
CARROLL (FLORA) 42, TRI-COUNTY 8
CASTON 34, N. WHITE 28
TRI-CENTRAL 41, FRONTIER 35
W. CENTRAL 52, TAYLOR 27
ADAMS CENTRAL 42, S. ADAMS 6
MADISON-GRANT 50, NORTHFIELD 0
N. MIAMI 20, SOUTHERN WELLS 6
SOUTHWOOD 38, FREMONT 14
MONROE CENTRAL 64, UNION CITY 34
SHERIDAN 41, HAGERSTOWN 0
MILAN 46, CAMBRIDGE CITY LINCOLN 0
N. DECATUR 41, S. DECATUR 3
TRI 35, KNIGHTSTOWN 0
COVENANT CHRISTIAN 42, PARKE HERITAGE 12
RIVERTON PARKE 39, CLOVERDALE 14
S. PUTNAM 52, N. CENTRAL (FARMERSBURG) 0
N. DAVIESS 42, TECUMSEH 14
PROVIDENCE 49, EASTERN (GREENE) 22
SPRING VALLEY 36, S. SPENCER 33
INDIANA VOLLEYBALL REGIONAL MATCH-UPS SATURDAY
HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN – HARRISON
FORT WAYNE CARROLL – HOMESTEAD
MUNSTER – CROWN POINT
WARSAW – LAPORTE
CASTLE – FRANKLIN
FLOYD CENTRAL – CENTER GROVE
YORKTOWN – CATHEDRAL
ANGOLA – BELLMONT
BENTON CENTRAL – NEW CASTLE
NORTHWOOD – CULVER ACADEMIES
MISHAWAKA MARIAN – HAMMOND NOLL
PROVIDENCE – EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL
BARR REEVE – LAWRENCEBURG
HAMILTON HEIGHTS – NORTHVIEW
TRI-WEST – SPEEDWAY
ADAMS CENTRAL – LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC
MADISON GRANT – MUNCIE BURRIS
CHRUBUSCO- ILLIANA CHRISTIAN
SOUTH-CENTRAL – PIONEER
NORTH POSEY – LINTON STOCKTON
BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL – NORTH DECATUR
SCECINA – NORTHEASTERN
GREENCASTLE – CASCADE
FAITH CHRISTIAN – DALEVILLE
SOUTHWOOD – BLUE RIVER
FORT WAYNE BLACKHAWK – MARQUETTE CATHOLIC
TRI-COUNTY – KOUTS
TRINITY LUTHERAN – LOOGOOTEE
TECUMSEH – LANESVILLE
GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN – OLDENBURG ACADEMY
INDIANA BOYS SOCCER REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SATURDAY
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE NOBLESVILLE VS. LAKE CENTRAL
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE COLUMBUS NORTH VS. CATHEDRAL…INDIANA SRN/IHSAA TV
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE LEO VS. MISHAWAKA MARIAN
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL VS. BREBEUF
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE PARK TUDOR VS. BETHANY CHRISTIAN
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE FOREST PARK VS. GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN
INDIANA GIRLS SOCCER REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE CROWN POINT VS. NOBLESVILLE
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE CATHEDRAL VS. BLOOMINGTON SOUTH…INDIANA SRN/IHSAA TV
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE LEO VS. MISHAWAKA MARIAN
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL VS. GUERIN CATHOLIC
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE WESTVIEW VS. FW CANTERBURY
SATURDAY SEMI-STATE EVANSVILLE MATER DEI VS. PARK TUDOR…INDIANA SRN/IHSAA TV
INDIANA CROSS COUNTRY: HTTPS://IN.MILESPLIT.COM/
COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
SMU 55 TEMPLE 0
SATURDAY, OCT. 21
NO. 7 PENN STATE AT NO. 3 OHIO STATE | 12 P.M. | FOX
UCF AT NO. 6 OKLAHOMA | 12 P.M. | ABC
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT ARKANSAS | 12 P.M. | ESPN
RUTGERS AT INDIANA | 12 P.M. | BTN
BOSTON COLLEGE AT GEORGIA TECH | 12 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
BAYLOR AT CINCINNATI | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
MEMPHIS AT UAB | 12 P.M. | ESPN2
NO. 22 AIR FORCE AT NAVY | 12 P.M. | CBS
WESTERN MICHIGAN AT OHIO | 12 P.M. | CBS SPORTS
NORFOLK STATE AT HOWARD | 12 P.M. | ESPNU
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AT DELAWARE STATE | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
PENN AT YALE | 12 P.M. | ESPN+
LEHIGH AT BUCKNELL | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
LAFAYETTE AT HOLY CROSS | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
BROWN AT CORNELL | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTH DAKOTA AT INDIANA STATE | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
HARVARD AT PRINCETON | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
MARIST AT PRESBYTERIAN | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
ST. THOMAS (MINN.) AT STETSON | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
SAMFORD AT VMI | 1 P.M. | ESPN+
COLUMBIA AT DARTMOUTH | 1:30 P.M. | ESPN+
EAST TENNESSEE STATE AT CHATTANOOGA | 1:30 P.M. | ESPN+
CHARLOTTE AT EAST CAROLINA | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
UL MONROE AT GEORGIA SOUTHERN | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
AKRON AT BOWLING GREEN | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
ILLINOIS STATE AT YOUNGSTOWN STATE | 2 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE AT TENNESSEE TECH | 2:30 P.M. | ESPN+
FURMAN AT WESTERN CAROLINA | 2:30 P.M. | ESPN+
COLGATE AT GEORGETOWN | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
MURRAY STATE AT MISSOURI STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
BRYANT AT EASTERN ILLINOIS | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
SE LOUISIANA AT NORTHWESTERN STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN AT UT MARTIN | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
LINCOLN (CA) AT TENNESSEE STATE | 3 P.M. | ESPN+
NO. 17 TENNESSEE AT NO. 11 ALABAMA | 3:30 P.M. | CBS
WASHINGTON STATE AT NO. 9 OREGON | 3:30 P.M. | ABC
SOUTH CAROLINA AT NO. 20 MISSOURI | 3:30 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
MINNESOTA AT NO. 24 IOWA | 3:30 P.M. | NBC
NORTHWESTERN AT NEBRASKA | 3:30 P.M. | FS1
WISCONSIN AT ILLINOIS | 3:30 P.M. | FS1
SOUTH FLORIDA AT UCONN | 3:30 P.M. | CBSSN
PITT AT WAKE FOREST | 3:30 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
OKLAHOMA STATE AT WEST VIRGINIA | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN
NORTH TEXAS AT TULANE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN2
CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT BALL STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
EASTERN MICHIGAN AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
BUFFALO AT KENT STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
WESTERN ILLINOIS AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE | 3:30 P.M. | ESPN+
NO. 9 TEXAS AT HOUSTON | 4 P.M. | FOX
TOLEDO AT MIAMI (OHIO) | 4 P.M. | ESPNU
IDAHO STATE AT PORTLAND STATE | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
WOFFORD AT MERCER | 4 P.M. | ESPN+
JACKSON STATE AT MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
NORTH DAKOTA AT UNI | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
NICHOLLS AT TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
DRAKE AT SAN DIEGO | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
ABILENE CHRISTIAN AT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN | 5 P.M. | ESPN+
UTSA AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
EASTERN KENTUCKY AT GARDNER-WEBB | 6 P.M. | ESPN+
VIRGINIA AT NO. 10 NORTH CAROLINA | 6:30 P.M. | CW NETWORK
NO. 13 OLE MISS AT AUBURN | 7 P.M. | ESPN
TEXAS TECH AT BYU | 7 P.M. | FS1
TCU AT KANSAS STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN2
COASTAL CAROLINA AT ARKANSAS STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
COLORADO STATE AT UNLV | 7 P.M. | MOUNTAIN WEST NETWORK
UTAH STATE AT SAN JOSE STATE | 7 P.M. | CBSSN
APPALACHIAN STATE AT OLD DOMINION | 7 P.M. | NFL NETWORK
UTAH TECH AT NORTH ALABAMA | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
MOREHEAD STATE AT TARLETON STATE | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
WEBER STATE AT EASTERN WASHINGTON | 7 P.M. | ESPN+
NO. 2 MICHIGAN AT MICHIGAN STATE | 7:30 P.M. | NBC
NO. 16 DUKE AT NO. 4 FLORIDA STATE | 7:30 P.M. | ABC
ARMY AT NO. 19 LSU | 7:30 P.M. | SEC NETWORK
NO. 14 UTAH AT NO. 18 USC | 8 P.M. | FOX
CLEMSON AT MIAMI (FLA.) | 8 P.M. | ACC NETWORK
GEORGIA STATE AT LOUISIANA | 8 P.M. | ESPNU
FLORIDA A&M AT TEXAS SOUTHERN | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
AUSTIN PEAY AT SOUTHERN UTAH | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
NORTHERN COLORADO AT CAL POLY | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
UIW AT MCNEESE | 8 P.M. | ESPN+
NEVADA AT SAN DIEGO STATE | 9 P.M. | FS2
NO. 25 UCLA AT STANFORD | 10:30 P.M. | ESPN
MONTANA STATE AT SACRAMENTO STATE | 10:30 P.M. | ESPN2
ARIZONA STATE AT NO. 5 WASHINGTON | 10:30 P.M. | FS1
NFL WEEK 7 SCHEDULE
DETROIT LIONS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS AT CHICAGO BEARS 12:00P (CT) 1:00P FOX
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
BUFFALO BILLS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS AT NEW YORK GIANTS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P CBS
ATLANTA FALCONS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 1:00P (ET) 1:00P FOX
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS 1:05P (PT) 4:05P FOX
ARIZONA CARDINALS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 1:05P (PT) 4:05P FOX
GREEN BAY PACKERS AT DENVER BRONCOS 2:25P (MT) 4:25P CBS
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 3:25P (CT) 4:25P CBS
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 8:20P (ET) 8:20P NBC*
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS (MON) 7:15P (CT) 8:15P ESPN
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
FRIDAY, OCT. 20
HOUSTON 5 TEXAS 4 (HOUSTON LEADS SERIES 3-2)
ARIZONA 6 PHILADELPHIA 5 (SERIES TIED 2-2)
SATURDAY, OCT. 21
PHI @ AZ, GAME 5 , TBS
SUNDAY, OCT. 22
TEX @ HOU, GAME 6 , FOX/FS1
MONDAY, OCT. 23
AZ @ PHI, GAME 6 (IF NECESSARY), TBS
TEX @ HOU, GAME 7 (IF NECESSARY), FOX/FS1
TUESDAY, OCT. 24
AZ @ PHI, GAME 7 (IF NECESSARY), TBS
PRESENTED BY CAPITAL ONE
FRIDAY, OCT. 27
GAME 1 (AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
SATURDAY, OCT. 28
GAME 2 (AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
MONDAY, OCT. 30
GAME 3, FOX
TUESDAY, OCT. 31
GAME 4, FOX
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1
GAME 5 (IF NECESSARY), FOX
FRIDAY, NOV. 3
GAME 6 (IF NECESSARY, AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
SATURDAY, NOV. 4
GAME 7 (IF NECESSARY, AT BETTER 2023 RECORD), FOX
INDIANA 109 CLEVELAND 104
PHILADELPHIA 120 ATLANTA 106
TORONTO 134 WASHINGTON 98
DALLAS 114 DETROIT 104
HOUSTON 110 MIAMI 104
MILWAUKEE 124 MEMPHIS 116
SAN ANTONIO 122 GOLDEN STATE 117
COLUMBUS 3 CALGARY 1
NEW JERSEY 5 NY ISLANDERS 4
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
NO GAMES SCHEDULED
TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS/NEWS
ALTUVE HITS GO-AHEAD HOMER IN 9TH, ASTROS TAKE 3-2 LEAD OVER RANGERS IN ALCS AFTER BENCHES CLEAR
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Jose Altuve thrives under pressure for the Houston Astros, able to stay calm in the biggest October moments even after another bench-clearing fracas against the Texas Rangers.
The defending World Series champions are one win from a third consecutive pennant after Altuve’s three-run homer in the ninth inning of a wild and testy 5-4 victory over their instate division rival Friday gave the Astros a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.
“He’s got a high concentration level, because that’s what it takes in big moments like that, is concentration, desire, and relaxation all encompassed into one. And everybody can’t do all three of those things,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “This dude is one of the baddest dudes I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some greats.”
Baker wasn’t in the dugout when Altuve hit his 26th career postseason homer, second in major league history behind Manny Ramirez (29). The skipper was ejected an inning earlier after the benches and bullpens cleared.
Rangers slugger Adolis García, who punctuated a go-ahead homer in the sixth with an empathic bat spike and a slow trot, became irate when Bryan Abreu hit him on the left arm with a 98 mph fastball. García immediately turned around and got in the face of catcher Martín Maldonado – the two also jawed nose-to-nose when García touched home plate after his grand slam in Houston on July 26.
“I just reacted to the ball that came towards me,” García said. “He could have hurt me, he could have injured me. I just let him know that shouldn’t happen there.”
While it didn’t appear any punches were thrown as the teams grabbed hold of each other near home plate, the game was delayed almost 12 minutes. García, Abreu and Baker were all ejected.
After the game, umpire crew chief James Hoye told a pool reporter Abreu was ejected for throwing with intent, and García was tossed for being the aggressor.
“The guy hits a three-run homer; the next time up he gets smoked,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “I’d be upset, too, if I was Doli. But like I said, it just took too long to get things back in order, that’s what was frustrating me.”
Rangers closer José Leclerc gave up a single to pinch-hitter Yainer Diaz to open the Houston ninth and walked pinch-hitter Jon Singleton at the bottom of the lineup. The 5-foot-6 Altuve, playing in his 101st postseason game for Houston, then pulled an 0-1 changeup over the left-field fence, just beyond the glove of a leaping Evan Carter.
“Emotions are high in the postseason. You’ve got two of the best teams in the world competing against each other. Everybody’s trying to win. I feel like that’s just him,” said Alex Bregman, who also homered for the Astros. “He has a slow heartbeat. He’s calm under pressure. He’s confident in his ability. He always is just focused.”
The visiting team has won every game in the first postseason matchup between the Lone Star State rivals after the Astros won three in a row in Arlington. Game 6 in the best-of-seven series is Sunday night in Houston.
“We’ve done it so many times. We never give up until the last out,” Altuve said.
García connected off three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, who took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth before Corey Seager doubled, Carter singled and García homered in a span of three pitches to make it 4-2.
Nathaniel Lowe also went deep for the wild-card Rangers, tying it 1-all in the fifth.
Ryan Pressly pitched two scoreless innings for the win after replacing Abreu following his ejection. Pressly gave up consecutive singles to start the bottom of the ninth before retiring the top three batters in Texas’ lineup. Marcus Semien lined out to shortstop, Seager flied out to deep center and Carter struck out to end it.
Houston is in its seventh straight ALCS and is trying to get to its fifth World Series during that span.
The AL West champion Astros are 40-45 this year at Minute Maid Park, including 1-3 in the postseason. But they are 5-0 on the road and have won 19 of their past 22 games away from home overall.
Houston went 9-1 at Globe Life Field this season, winning its last eight while outscoring Texas 79-36.
García, the Cuban slugger known as El Bombi, took a couple of slow steps out of the batter’s box after connecting off Verlander and was about halfway down the baseline when the ball landed in the first row of seats a few feet beyond the left-center wall. It was his fourth homer this postseason.
That go-ahead shot in the 42nd inning of this series was the first time the home team took the lead at any point through the first five games.
Houston took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when José Abreu reached out to hit a 79 mph curveball from starter Jordan Montgomery and the sharply hit ball took a tough hop off Seager at shortstop for an RBI single.
Josh Sborz entered with the bases loaded and one out but prevented further damage with the help of a diving play by Semien at second base.
Verlander retired 13 of his first 15 batters in his 21st postseason start for Houston until Lowe went the opposite way for a 380-foot homer to left field. The 40-year-old right-hander allowed four runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings.
A day after the retractable roof at Globe Life Park was open during a game for the first time since May 21, it was closed again on a sunny afternoon. The temperature outside at first pitch was 91 degrees. It was 74 inside.
All-Star pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Framber Valdez will start Game 6, the same matchup as Game 2 when the Rangers won 5-4. Eovaldi struck out nine and allowed three runs in six innings to win Monday. Valdez had six strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings, but allowed five runs (four earned).
THOMAS’ TYING HOMER, MORENO’S DECISIVE HIT SEND D-BACKS OVER PHILLIES 6-5, TIES NLCS AT 2 GAMES
PHOENIX (AP) The crack of the bat was a stunner, jolting the sellout crowd at Chase Field into a frenzy.
Light-hitting Alek Thomas, who had lost his spot in the starting lineup because of consistently weak at-bats, had just provided the most important swing of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ storybook season.
“I was just screaming as loud as I could,” D-backs outfielder Pavin Smith said. “I think everyone was in the whole stadium.”
Thomas hit a tying, two-run homer in a three-run eighth inning, Gabriel Moreno followed with a go-ahead single and the D-backs stunned the Philadelphia Phillies with a 6-5 victory on Friday night that tied the NL Championship Series at two games apiece.
Arizona trailed 5-2 before Orion Kerkering’s bases-loaded walk to Christian Walker with two outs in the seventh.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled leading off the eighth against Craig Kimbrel, who also gave up Ketel Marte’s game-ending single in Game 3. Thomas, pinch hitting for Emmanuel Rivera with one out, sent a full-count fastball splashing into the right-center field swimming pool to tie the score 5-5 as 47,806 fans roared.
“That play is definitely something you see in your dreams,” the 23-year-old Thomas said. “So for it to come in real life, for it to happen to me, it’s awesome. Just so grateful to have that moment.”
Marte singled with two outs, Corbin Carroll was hit by a pitch and José Alvarado relieved. Moreno laced a single to left-center to drive in the go-ahead run.
Kyle Schwarber, whose fourth-inning homer had sparked Philadelphia’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit, doubled with two outs in the ninth off Paul Sewald, Arizona’s eighth pitcher. Sewald struck out Trea Turner for his fifth save of the postseason.
“Huge contributions from everyone,” Carroll said. “We knew we need it, being a bullpen game. Some huge hits today – almost too many to count. An unbelievable win.”
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night.
Houston earlier scored three times in the ninth to win 5-4 at Texas and take a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series. It was the first time in major league history two teams rallied to win postseason games on the same day after trailing by two runs or more in the eighth inning or later.
Philadelphia was let down by its usually reliable bullpen. The last four – Gregory Soto, Kerkering, Kimbrel and Alvarado – threw just 25 of 54 pitches for strikes.
“I saw a lot of pitchers who looked sped-up to me,” catcher J.T. Realmuto said. “That is what happens when you fall behind counts and let baserunners on. The place get loud. They start feeling the crowd.”
Philadelphia had some other miscues. Bohm was charged for an error after a misplayed grounder. Left-hander Cristopher Sánchez missed an opportunity to turn a double play in the first inning when he lost track of the outs, thinking their were already two and throwing to first base.
“We’ve got to play better baseball,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Arizona, in the postseason for the first time since 2017, lost the first two games of the series at Citizens Bank Park. The Diamondbacks built a two-run lead against the defending NL champions on run-scoring singles by Rivera in the second and Moreno in the third.
Schwarber’s homer was his fourth of this postseason and the 19th of his postseason career, passing Reggie Jackson for most among left-handed batters.
Brandon Marsh’s two-out RBI double tied the score in the fifth, and the Phillies opened a 4-2 lead in the sixth after three straight walks by rookie lefty Andrew Saalfrank.
Bohm followed with a chopper down the third-base line off Ryan Thompson. Rivera gloved the ball with a backhand grab that took him into foul territory and made an off-balance throw home from near the coach’s box. The ball short-hopped Moreno and bounced off the catcher as two runs scored, one on the hit and one on the throwing error.
Turner added a seventh-inning sacrifice fly.
But it wasn’t enough for the Phillies, who are suddenly scrambling for momentum after their power surge slowed.
“Never good to lose,” Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott said. “We’ve got to come back out tomorrow and play our game. I think we will be good.”
Gurriel saved a potential extra-base hit in the second with a leaping catch at the left field wall after a drive by Realmuto.
Former Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Three-time NBA All-Star Devin Booker was also in attendance, drawing a large cheer when he was pictured on the video board.
KEEPING IT COOL
The temperature inside Chase Field was 76 at game time. It was 102 outside the retractable-roof ballpark.
Philadelphia RHP Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.37 ERA postseason) starts Saturday night against RHP Zac Gallen (2-1, 4.96 ERA).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOP 25 PREVIEWS
NO. 22 AIR FORCE BACK IN RANKINGS, BATTLES RIVAL NAVY
If a rivalry game with Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy implications wasn’t enough to get Air Force fired up, perhaps a spot in the national rankings will do the trick.
The No. 22 Falcons find themselves among the top 25 teams in the country for the first time since 2019, and they will look to keep climbing on Saturday when they face Navy in Annapolis, Md.
Air Force (6-0) moved into the rankings thanks to a 34-27 victory over Wyoming last weekend. The Falcons leaned on their rushing attack, amassing 356 yards on the ground, including a team-high 111 from quarterback Zac Larrier.
Larrier, however, injured his knee late in the game and was ruled out for the Navy game. Backup Jensen Jones will take over at quarterback.
Although the win pushed Air Force into the national spotlight, coach Troy Calhoun knows his team can’t concern itself with the extra attention it’s about to receive.
“We’re on to the next practice — to learn from a game and to move forward,” Calhoun said following the victory over Wyoming. “What’s (outside noise) mean? What’s it really mean?”
The Falcons were able to erase an early 14-point deficit against the Cowboys, and that type of resiliency is something that Air Force hopes to carry into the back half of its season.
“We just know who we are. We’re going to kick you in the teeth and we’re going to go at you, every play,” Falcons running back Owen Burk said. “Good things are going to happen, bad things are going to happen, but we’re going to keep moving forward and we’re never going to quit.
“I think that’s what we’re going to do the rest of the season.”
Air Force has won its first six games for the first time since 2002.
The Midshipmen’s spirits are also high after beating Charlotte 14-0 last Saturday. Although the 49ers ran 68 plays, Navy (3-3) held them to 265 yards while snagging a pair of interceptions.
Senior quarterback Tai Lavatai lasted just one offensive drive before exiting with a rib injury, forcing freshman Braxton Woodson to step in under center.
Woodson completed 5 of 14 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 58 yards on 18 carries.
With their 27-24 win over North Texas on Oct. 7, the Midshipmen have strung together back-to-back victories for the first time this season, but coach Brian Newberry understands there is plenty of work to be done if his team is going to hand Air Force its first loss.
“It’s awesome to win two consecutive league games. We got to find a way to be more consistent offensively,” Newberry said. “We’re going to have to score points to beat a team like Air Force. Everybody knows that.
“We got to go out and get better (and) put together a great plan.”
Saturday marks the 56th meeting, with the Falcons leading the all-time series 33-22. However, Air Force has struggled in Annapolis, going 9-12.
The Falcons are riding an 11-game winning streak dating back to last season, tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the country among FBS teams. It also matches the second-longest winning streak in program history.
ELITE DEFENSES CLASH AS NO. 7 PENN STATE VISITS NO. 3 OHIO STATE
Forget scouting reports. The outcome of Saturday’s game between No. 7 Penn State and No. 3 Ohio State may be impacted by the availability report released by the host Buckeyes hours before the Big Ten battle in Columbus.
Attention will focus on the injury status of three running backs and standout receiver Emeka Egbuka for the Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0) when they try to take down the Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0) and their defense that ranks in the top five nationally in several categories.
The Buckeyes finished their 41-7 win over Purdue last Saturday without their top three runners — TreVeyon Henderson, Chip Trayanum and Miyan Williams. Also, cornerback Denzel Burke left the game with an injury.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day was tight-lipped when asked Tuesday about his quartet of injured players.
“I’m not going to get into all those guys, but hopefully we’ll have those guys back for Saturday,” Day said.
Henderson has missed the past two games. Williams sat against Purdue, and Trayanum was injured late in the first quarter against the Boilermakers.
Dallan Hayden, who was considered for a redshirt season, came off the bench to rush for 76 of the Buckeyes’ 152 yards, with a long run of 19 and a 1-yard touchdown.
“You do have to get creative,” Day said. “You have to figure out ways to kind of make it work because ultimately nobody cares (about the injuries). You’ve got to figure out a way to get it done.”
Egbuka sat out the Purdue game, and his return would divert some of the focus off Marvin Harrison Jr., who hauled in six throws for 105 yards and a score against Purdue.
“It is another top-10 opponent,” Penn State defensive end Adisa Isaac said. “Obviously we’ve been battling these guys for years and years, so this is a great test for us.”
The Buckeyes will need to be as healthy as possible against a defense that ranks first in the nation in pass defense (121.2 yards per game) and total yards (193.7) and second in points (8.0) and rushing yards allowed (72.5). The Nittany Lions have held opponents under 100 rushing yards in five straight games.
Ohio State is no slouch either on defense and will be a challenge for Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar, a native of Medina, Ohio, who has thrown 12 touchdowns without an interception this season through 181 passes.
The Buckeyes’ pass defense is fourth (154.3) in the nation. The defense also is third in average points allowed (9.7) and seventh in total defense (263.5).
“I feel like we’ve definitely been battle-tested; we’ve played some really good opponents,” Allar said. “Offensively, we’ve gotten better each week, gotten more consistent each week, and we just need to keep building on that. We can’t change our routine based on the opponent.”
With each team still having to play No. 2 Michigan, the winner will have the inside track to the Big Ten East Division and further down the road a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Ohio State has won six straight in the series and 10 of the past 11. Penn State coach James Franklin is 1-8 vs. the Buckeyes and has lost all four games in Ohio Stadium. Penn State has not won in Columbus since 2011.
NO. 6 OKLAHOMA’S DILLON GABRIEL REUNITES FOR UCF GAME
Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel acknowledges it’ll be unusual going against UCF on Saturday when his No. 6 Sooners host the Knights in Big 12 Conference play in Norman, Okla.
“I think now I’m just kind of settling into (the fact) college football is what it is,” said Gabriel, who played his first three seasons for UCF from 2019-21. “Once you think one thing, it’ll turn into a whole ‘nother.”
Gabriel is one of the biggest reasons why the Sooners (6-0, 3-0) are in the position they’re in. He has completed 72.3 percent of his throws with 16 touchdown passes and just two interceptions this season.
“When we had him, every day in practice, he would make a throw that you’d go, ‘Wow,’” Knights coach Gus Malzahn said. “His accuracy. He’s a veteran guy now, too. Think about all the snaps he’s played. You can see when you watch him on film. He’s got really good command. He knows when to throw the ball away. He’s got great courage. He’ll wait until the last second, get the ball out.”
Gabriel was hours away from transferring to UCLA from UCF two years ago before flipping to Oklahoma, where he’s reunited with Jeff Lebby, his offensive coordinator with the Knights in his freshman season of 2019.
But while Gabriel knew Lebby was going to be calling the plays, the rest of the roster was less certain.
“I told him I couldn’t make any promises about who was going to be here or who wasn’t,” Sooners coach Brent Venables said. “I was going to try to keep the roster as-is, so he’d have to come knowing that. I wasn’t going to be misleading or things of that nature. I wanted him to come here and feel good about his opportunity. He bet on himself, when it was all said and done … and it worked out really well for all of us.”
While Gabriel has fueled the Sooners’ hot start, quarterback play also has been a deciding factor for the Knights (3-3, 0-3).
John Rhys Plumlee has missed most of the last four games with a leg injury, contributing to UCF’s rough initiation to Big 12 play.
Plumlee played briefly at Kansas on Oct. 7 before leaving the game having thrown just seven passes.
Malzahn said Plumlee would start against the Sooners after he made significant progress during the Knights’ bye week.
“I’d say he’s close to 100 percent, so don’t expect any issues moving forward,” Malzahn said.
Saturday’s matchup will feature the top two offenses in the Big 12, with UCF averaging 516.7 yards per game and the Sooners 506.
The two teams have done it in a much different way, though, with the Knights’ biggest strength being their ground game — averaging 246.3 rushing yards — and the Sooners’ being their passing attack, which has averaged 341.2 yards per game.
The meeting will be the first between the programs and their only meeting in the Big 12 before the Sooners make the leap to the SEC next season.
NO. 11 ALABAMA SEARCHES FOR TOP GEAR VS. NO. 17 TENNESSEE
Alabama may not be the power program it usually is, but the No. 11 Crimson Tide still have plenty to play for this season.
Alabama (6-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) takes aim at its sixth consecutive victory when it battles No. 17 Tennessee on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide lead the SEC West by a half-game over No. 19 LSU (4-1 SEC). A victory over the Volunteers (5-1, 2-1) would assure Alabama of being in the division lead when it hosts the Tigers on Nov. 4.
The winner of that contest likely will be the West representative in the SEC title game on Dec. 2.
Of course, the Crimson Tide are still seeking the form they have shown in previous seasons. The latest example of Alabama staggering through a game came last weekend in a 24-21 home win over Arkansas, a squad that dropped to 0-4 in SEC play.
“We should be dominating games rather than just winning games, and there’s a difference,” Crimson Tide guard Tyler Booker said.
The victory was Nick Saban’s 200th as Alabama’s coach but certainly not one of the most memorable.
“Hopefully we can learn how to beat the other team, not just win the game but beat the other team,” Saban said.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe connected on a season-low 47.6 percent of his passes but did have 238 yards on just 10 completions. The big throw was a 79-yard touchdown to Kobe Prentice.
Milroe accounted for three TDs (two passing, one rushing). He has thrown for 1,397 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions while tacking on a team-high five rushing scores.
Linebacker Dallas Turner has seven sacks to lead the Alabama defense, which allows 16 points per game.
The Crimson Tide will look to avenge last season’s 52-49 road loss to Tennessee. Chase McGrath booted a 40-yard field goal as time expired, allowing the Volunteers to snap a 15-game losing streak against the Crimson Tide.
Tennessee had a big-time star quarterback, Hendon Hooker, leading the way in that game. Current quarterback Joe Milton III is nowhere near as lethal, even though the Volunteers own a three-game winning streak.
Milton passed for a season-low 100 yards as Tennessee beat Texas A&M 20-13 last weekend for its 13th consecutive home victory. He has thrown for 1,264 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.
“There’s a few things fundamentally that Joe did that caused a couple of passes to be a little bit off target,” Volunteers coach Josh Heupel said of Milton’s 11-of-22 performance. “Joe has been really mature in how he has prepared. We’ve got to be a little bit better in the pass game. That’s him, that’s the wideouts, that’s everybody.”
The big play in the victory over the Aggies was a 39-yard punt return for touchdown by Dee Williams, his second career punt-return score.
Volunteers running back Jaylen Wright also stood out with a season-high 136 rushing yards. Wright, who has 571 yards on the ground, has topped the century mark four times this season.
Tennessee tight end Jacob Warren said the Crimson Tide game might be won in the trenches.
“Alabama has an extremely good defensive front,” Warren said. “As long as we are able to control the line of scrimmage and we’re able to move the ball, whether it is through the air or on the ground, that’s really the end goal — to be able to move the ball down the field and put the ball in the end zone.”
The Volunteers have dropped nine straight games in Tuscaloosa. The last victory was the memorable 51-43, five-overtime game on Oct. 25, 2003.
MINUS TE ERICK ALL, NO. 24 IOWA TAKES ON MINNESOTA
Big Ten West-leading Iowa absorbed more tough injury news ahead of Saturday’s visit from conference rival Minnesota.
Hawkeyes tight end Erick All will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a right knee injury — reportedly a torn ACL — during last week’s victory at Wisconsin.
The No. 24 Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1) have struggled to move the ball as it is, so losing a reliable weapon presents a significant roadblock.
“Just really unfortunate. He’s done a great job as a newcomer to the team,” Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said of All, who has 21 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns this season. “Just a great addition. Such a positive guy, hard-working, great personality.”
Iowa has won three straight games and has returned to the Top 25 for the first time since suffering a demoralizing 31-0 shutout at No. 7 Penn State on Sept. 23.
The Hawkeyes turned in arguably their most defensively dominant victory during their streak in the contest at Wisconsin, prevailing 15-6 despite getting outgained 332-237.
All caught two passes for 19 yards and finished as the team’s leading receiver. Leshon Williams rushed for 174 yards — including an 82-yard touchdown — as Iowa continued to squeeze whatever it can from a banged-up attack.
Quarterback Cade McNamara tore his left ACL in a Sept. 30 win against Michigan State and is out for the season.
Offensive struggles notwithstanding, the Hawkeyes are 5-0 this season in games decided by 10 points or fewer.
Minnesota (3-3, 1-2) has lost three of four games following a 2-0 start but looks to be well-rested for its second straight test against a ranked foe.
The Golden Gophers haven’t played since suffering a 52-10 home rout to No. 2 Michigan on Oct. 7. Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis threw for a touchdown to Daniel Jackson but also had a pair of interceptions returned for scores.
Minnesota amassed just 169 yards of total offense, with 35 coming on the touchdown connection between Kaliakmanis and Jackson in the final minute of the first half.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said he feels Kaliakmanis, a sophomore, is “maturing with every game” in his first full season as a starter and compared his development to growing a bank account.
“He’s just putting more deposits in there by the game mentally, physically and emotionally,” Fleck said. “I think we all see he’s got every physical skill, but it’s going through different environments, going through different situations, having the ebbs and flow of a game, the response mechanisms, the leadership, influence and everybody on the football team based on your body language and everything that goes into lay with that learning.”
Efficient, smart play will be imperative as the Golden Gophers aim to snap an eight-game losing streak in the Floyd of Rosedale trophy series. The Hawkeyes, who trail 62-52-2 in the series, have won three of the past four meetings by five points or less.
“We know how good they are,” Fleck said. “The game has been really close the last few years, as a rivalry should be. I think both teams really respect the rivalry, and the fan base really [does], too. Obviously, Iowa’s had the upper hand over the years, but we’re prepared to do everything we can to be 1-0.”
NO. 20 MISSOURI AIMS TO KEEP ROLLING VS. SOUTH CAROLINA
After scoring an upset at Kentucky, No. 20 Missouri is positioned to deliver a breakthrough season for fourth-year coach Eli Drinkwitz.
The Tigers (6-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) will continue that quest when they host South Carolina (2-4, 1-3) in their homecoming game Saturday in Columbia, Mo.
Missouri finished 5-5, 6-7 and 6-7 during Drinkwitz’s first three seasons.
“We got an opportunity to be 7-1,” Missouri defensive end Darius Robinson said. “My whole career has been one-and-this, two-and-this, three-and-this, and the opportunity to be 7-1 is a blessing.”
Missouri has gained bowl eligibility and moved into contention for a New Year’s Six bowl berth.
“This is good,” Drinkwitz said. “We’ll see how it plays out. We’re not really worried about bowls right now.”
Missouri rallied from a 14-0 deficit to defeat then-No. 24 Kentucky 38-21. The Tigers scored a touchdown off a fake punt to start their rally, then they secured the victory with three strong defensive quarters.
“We were able to limit the run game and force them into some pass opportunities,” Drinkwitz said.
Until the Kentucky game, Missouri’s offense had performed much better than the team’s defense. Quarterback Brady Cook has passed for 2,046 yards and 14 touchdowns with a 71.0 percent completion rate.
Cody Schrader has rushed for 648 yards and seven touchdowns, and Luther Burden III (56 catches, 808 yards, five touchdowns) and Theo Wease Jr. (34 catches, 394 yards, five TDs) are Cook’s top targets.
South Carolina is coming off a 41-39 home loss to Florida on Saturday. The Gamecocks rushed for 152 yards and piled up 465 offensive yards.
“Proud of the offensive line,” Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer said Sunday. “Thought they played really well. They gave us a chance. We were able to get the run game going and opened up the passing game and a lot to build on.”
Missouri’s defense applied significant pressure at Kentucky, so offensive line play will be critical for South Carolina. The Gamecocks shuffled the personnel on that unit going into the Florida game.
Center Vershon Lee moved to right tackle and was replaced at center by guard Nick Gargiulo, Beamer also plugged true freshmen Trovon Baugh (right guard) and Tree Babalade (left tackle) into the starting lineup and started Trai Jones at left guard.
When Lee suffered a knee injury in the third quarter, Sidney Fugar replaced him. Lee’s status for the Missouri game is unclear.
“As far as the moves, it was something that we had talked about moving Vershon to tackle a couple of weeks ago,” Beamer said. “It was one of those, ‘Do you want to make that change?’ because that is pretty radical to move your starting center to right tackle. We said, ‘Let’s just keep trying to get these guys a little bit better and see how we can evolve.’
“Certainly, coming out of the Tennessee game (a 41-20 loss), that didn’t happen. Felt like we needed to do something.”
South Carolina’s offense is led by quarterback Spencer Rattler, who has passed for 1,724 yards and 11 touchdowns with a 73.6 percent completion rate. Mario Anderson has rushed for 328 yards on 64 carries and Xavier Legette has caught 37 passes for 716 yards and three TDs.
NO. 9 OREGON SEEKS BETTER EXECUTION VS. WASHINGTON ST.
Washington State and No. 9 Oregon will both try to rebound from difficult losses when they meet in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday afternoon.
Which defeat was more devastating remains to be seen.
The Ducks fell 36-33 at then-No. 7 Washington last Saturday as Camden Lewis’ last-second, 43-yard field-goal attempt sailed just wide of the right upright.
Meanwhile, Washington State was blown out 44-6 by Arizona the same day in Pullman, Wash. It was the second consecutive defeat for the Cougars (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12), who dropped out of the Top 25 after being ranked No. 13 before a 25-17 loss at UCLA on Oct. 7.
Oregon coach Dan Lanning’s play-calling came into question after the Ducks (5-1, 2-1) thrice failed to convert on fourth-and-3, twice in the red zone and once near midfield with 2:11 left in the game. The Huskies needed just two plays to score the go-ahead touchdown, as Heisman Trophy hopeful Michael Penix Jr. threw an 18-yard scoring strike to Rome Odunze.
“At the end of the day, they made a couple of more plays than we did,” Lanning said. “We made some decisions we probably could have made differently throughout that game, but our guys battled to the end (and) I thought they showed some resiliency.
“This game’s 100 percent on me. I don’t think you guys have to look anywhere else but me.”
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, whose Heisman hopes took a shot in the showdown with Penix, defended his coach and teammates in the wake of the defeat.
“A lot of people, they want to see how we respond, and I’m excited for that,” said Nix, who produced 337 yards and two touchdowns on 33-of-44 passing against the Huskies. “I think that’s the challenge that I can’t wait for, and this group is going to be able to write its own story, write its own journey. And I think if it was easy, everybody would do it.
“If there was no failures, then everybody would be playing football, you know? So, I think that’s part of it. You win and lose. You go out there and play your best. You go out there and enjoy the process. Even though I hated the outcome of (Saturday), it was one heck of a football game that I loved playing.”
The Cougars scored on their opening drive against Arizona, their homecoming opponent, but failed to score again.
Quarterback Cameron Ward was 22 of 30 for 192 yards with one interception and a lost fumble. The Cougars gained just 35 yards on 22 rushing attempts.
“I think the biggest thing is we gotta get back to getting the ball out decisively — and quickly,” Washington State coach Jake Dickert said. “I think you see a little bit of hesitation in Cam (Ward) sometimes. But like I said, coverage-wise, we did get what we expected to get. So make the correct play.”
Last year in Pullman, the Cougars had a 12-point lead with just under seven minutes remaining before Oregon scored three consecutive touchdowns for a 44-41 victory.
NO. 23 TULANE LOOKS TO KEEP ROLLING VS. NORTH TEXAS
Willie Fritz will become Tulane’s all-time leader in games coached when the 23rd-ranked Green Wave play North Texas on Saturday afternoon in New Orleans.
It will be the 95th game on the sidelines for Fritz, breaking a tie with Chris Scelfo (1998-2006).
It also will be an opportunity for Tulane (5-1, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) — which has won 17 of its last 20 games — to continue to show it is one of the premier Group of 5 programs in the country.
But Fritz said his team still can perform much better than it has this season.
“We don’t believe we’ve played our best game yet,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ve been even close to playing our best game yet. We’ve played really well in spurts. We haven’t put a complete game together yet, and we’d love to do that. Perfection is our goal. Excellence will be tolerated.”
Nonetheless, the Green Wave are coming off a significant victory. They won at Memphis for the first time in 25 years when they beat the Tigers 31-21 in an AAC showdown on Oct. 13.
The victory led to Tulane ending a five-week absence from the AP poll. It was ranked No. 24 to start the season and stayed there until after losing to then-No. 20 Ole Miss 37-20 on Sept. 9.
The Green Wave started fast against Memphis, taking a 10-0 lead after one quarter before falling behind 21-10 in the third quarter and scoring the final 21 points.
“From the middle of the third quarter on we played well,” Fritz said.
Tulane’s defense is No. 6 nationally in fewest rushing yards allowed (77.7 per game) and is eighth in sacks (3.33 per game).
The Green Wave will be tested by a versatile Mean Green offense that has gained more than 500 yards in four games this season.
Former Washington State offensive coordinator Eric Morris is in his first season as head coach at North Texas (3-3, 1-1).
“I think this will probably be the best football team we have played to this point,” Morris said of the Green Wave.
Morris is in the first stage of trying to build the Mean Green into the type of program that Fritz has built. Tulane won the AAC last season, defeated Southern California in the Cotton Bowl and was picked in the preseason to repeat as conference champion.
North Texas is coming off its first conference victory as a new member of the American, defeating visiting Temple 45-14 last week.
The Mean Green made three interceptions and didn’t allow a point in the second half. Chandler Rogers tied a career high with four touchdown passes and extended his streak of passes without an interception to 165 while Ja’Mori Maclin caught two touchdown passes to increase his season total to eight.
But Morris said the key for his team could be its ability to run against the stingy Green Wave defense.
“Nobody’s really been able to establish a run game against them,” Morris said. “I think it would be important for us to continue to build on what we’ve been able to do in the run game.”
NO. 8 TEXAS LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST HIGH-FLYING HOUSTON
No. 8 Texas looks to get back on the winning track when it travels to battle Houston on Saturday as the teams renew their rivalry and square off for the only time as members of the Big 12 Conference.
It’s the 26th all-time meeting between the programs, the first since 2002 and the first time as conference opponents since the Southwest Conference dissolved after the 1995 season. Texas leads the all-time series 16-7-2 and has won the past seven contests with the Cougars, including the past three played in Houston.
The Longhorns (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) head to the Bayou City after a bye week following a wild 34-30 loss to now-No. 6 Oklahoma on Oct. 7 in Dallas. Texas surrendered the deciding score on a touchdown pass with 15 seconds to play after taking the lead on a 47-yard field goal from Burt Auburn with 1:17 left.
Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers passed for 346 yards and a touchdown in the loss but threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and endured five sacks.
Jonathon Brooks reeled off 129 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for the Longhorns, his fourth straight 100-plus-yard game. Jordan Whittington (career-high 10 catches for 115 yards) and Xavier Worthy (eight receptions for 108 yards) topped the 100-yard receiving mark in the setback.
However, it was Texas’ turnovers as well as nine penalties for 70 yards and the failure to score and stop Oklahoma from scoring in the red zone that doomed the Longhorns.
The Longhorns expect Houston to give them all they can handle. Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said his team needs to make sure it gets its mental intensity correct.
“We’re at our best when we do play with an edge, when we do play with a chip on our shoulder and when we do have something to prove,” Sarkisian said Monday. “We do have something to prove in the second half of the season. I think (my team) has improved each game. If we want to be the team we’re capable of being, we have to execute at a high level.”
Houston (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) has plenty of momentum after a thrilling 41-39 win over West Virginia on Oct. 12. That victory — the Cougars’ first as a member of the Big 12 after two losses to begin their inaugural season in the conference — was sealed when quarterback Donovan Smith hit Stephon Johnson with a 49-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play.
The deciding touchdown occurred after West Virginia took the lead on a 50-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 12 seconds to play. Smith finished 21 of 27 for 253 yards and four touchdowns.
Houston coach Dana Holgorsen, echoing the sentiments heard by other Big 12 coaches this season, said the Cougars’ fan base is rabid for a win over the Longhorns.
“I’ve got a lot of comments: ‘Just beat Texas. Don’t care if you win any of them, but you’ve got to win that one. You can go 1-11 and it’s OK if you beat Texas,’” Holgorsen said Monday.
The problem is that Holgorsen understands that demand will be a tough one.
“There’s not enough time in this press conference to explain all the challenges that Texas brings,” he said. “They’ve been dominant all season, but to have two weeks coming off that (loss), I’m sure they’re going to be about as motivated as anyone in college football coming into Houston on Saturday afternoon.”
NO. 10 NORTH CAROLINA WARY OF SCUFFLING VIRGINIA
For the first time since 1997 — when Mack Brown was in his first stint as North Carolina’s head coach — the Tar Heels are 6-0 to start a season.
Quarterback Drake Maye and the rest of No. 10 UNC will attempt to keep their hot start rolling on Saturday when they welcome Virginia to Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Carolina (6-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is one of just 11 undefeated teams remaining in the FBS, and one of just two in the ACC — the other being No. 4 Florida State (6-0, 4-0). Meanwhile, Virginia (1-5, 0-2) is one of five Power Five teams with five or more losses on the season.
The final score between the Tar Heels and Cavaliers is expected to be lopsided in favor of North Carolina, but Brown is trying to make sure his team doesn’t overlook Virginia.
“I’ve great respect for (Cavaliers coach) Tony Elliott. His life story is unbelievable,” Brown said. “He sits with me at the ACC meetings. … They’re going to play hard. They’re going to play great. Their record is not near indicative of how good their team is, because they’ve had a chance every week to win.
“And we’ve got to handle success. That’s something that we haven’t done very well around here.”
Indeed, the last time the Tar Heels were ranked inside the top 10 of the AP Top 25 poll was in the 2021 preseason. UNC then lost its season opener to Virginia Tech and limped to a 6-7 finish.
Because of their hot start this season, the Tar Heels control their destiny. An ACC championship is possible, as is a berth in the College Football Playoff. The only ranked opponent left on UNC’s schedule is rival Duke, which is No. 16 this week.
North Carolina is coming off a 41-31 home win over Miami in which Maye played spectacularly again, passing for 273 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. He continued to build chemistry with wideout Tez Walker, as the receiver hauled in six catches for 132 yards and three touchdowns in just his second game as a Tar Heel.
The offense was also boosted by the play of Omarion Hampton, who racked up 217 yards of total offense (197 rushing, 20 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving). He was named ACC Running Back of the Week for the second time this season.
“He’s just a dog, straightforward,” UNC defensive back Alijah Huzzie said of Hampton. “Runs hard. Probably one of the hardest backs to tackle from my point of view. I’ve tried to tackle him before, so I know what (other defenses) go through.”
While Maye and Walker get much of the attention, Hampton has nine touchdowns — eight of which have come on the ground — and 756 yards of total offense (658 rushing, 98 receiving) on the season.
Virginia is coming off a bye week, having last played on Oct. 7 when it beat FCS William & Mary 27-13 at home. Tony Muskett threw for 232 yards and two scores in the first victory of the season for the Cavaliers, while Perris Jones rushed for 134 yards.
“What it does is it allows you to take a little bit of time to scout yourselves. You’re going to create some tendencies,” Elliott said. “This is what you want as a competitor. That was my message to the guys. … It’s primetime, it’s on the road, top-10 team — this is what you dream about.”
Commonly known as the South’s Oldest Rivalry, Virginia and UNC first played each other in football in 1892. The Tar Heels have won the last two meetings.
NO. 13 OLE MISS HAS HEALTHY RESPECT FOR AUBURN
The oddsmakers say No. 13 Ole Miss is a 6 1/2-point favorite Saturday night at Auburn for their Southeastern Conference matchup.
Rebels coach Lane Kiffin is wary.
“I think we’ve, as a program, won once there in 20 years,” he said. “New challenge to go try win on the road there. This year, like a lot of years, they’re a different team at home.”
The numbers back Kiffin up. The Tigers (3-3, 0-3) are 2-1 in Jordan-Hare Stadium this year, with the loss a 27-20 squeaker to No. 1 Georgia, which required a late touchdown to escape with a win.
Conversely, Auburn is 1-2 on the road, with the only win a 14-10 nailbiter at Cal. Last week, the Tigers were routed 48-18 at then-No. 22 LSU, falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter and allowing 563 total yards for the game.
Auburn came within 3 rushing yards by LSU’s Logan Diggs of permitting a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver. LSU gained an average of more than 8 1/2 yards every snap in administering its second-most lopsided beatdown of Auburn since the series began 122 years ago.
Auburn coach Hugh Freeze said a slow start really affected the game’s texture.
“We looked like zombies a bit on the sideline after that, and it kind of snowballed,” he said. “I didn’t think we showed up with the right energy and drive and competitive spirit. And that lies in my lap. And that’s disappointing.”
The Tigers’ problems went beyond defense in Baton Rouge. They managed just 18 points and 293 total yards against an LSU defense that has been torched for big numbers by Florida State, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Missouri. Auburn has only managed to top 100 passing yards against a Power 5 opponent once.
But Freeze said not to expect major changes on offense and also said that both Payton Thorne and Robby Ashford would get action at quarterback on Saturday.
“We consider everything and everybody,” Freeze said.
The Rebels (5-1, 2-1) have no such problems under center, where Jaxson Dart is completing 64.1 percent of his passes through six games for 1,638 yards with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s also on pace to rush for more than 600 yards.
Dart’s contributions to a 27-20 win two weeks ago over Arkansas were modest — 153 yards, one touchdown and 33 rushing yards — but he committed no turnovers. That was crucial because the defense came up with two big interceptions that helped secure a win.
But Dart might have to play minus his leading receiver this week. Jordan Watkins, who has 36 catches for 536 yards in six games, was injured in practice during the bye week last week. The specific injury has not been disclosed, and Kiffin didn’t have much to say about it on Monday.
“We anticipate him playing,” the coach said. “That’s all I got.”
Auburn holds a 35-12 lead in the all-time series, including a 17-3 mark at home. Ole Miss took a 48-34 win last year in Oxford.
NO. 16 DUKE SHOOTS FOR FIRST-EVER WIN OVER NO. 4 FLORIDA ST.
On the way to returning to prominence — and hoping to stay there — Florida State is bound to encounter hurdles.
Duke could be one of those roadblocks, as the fourth-ranked Seminoles oppose the 16th-ranked Blue Devils on Saturday night in Tallahassee, Fla.
The belief is growing at Florida State (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“You can feel the energy and the sense of urgency,” Seminoles coach Mike Norvell said. “It’s a team that’s excited to get better.”
Duke (5-1, 2-0) is one of the surprise teams in the country. The Blue Devils have split prime-time matchups this season, beating Clemson and falling to Notre Dame, and now they get a chance to spoil Florida State’s homecoming.
The Blue Devils have never defeated Florida State in 21 previous meetings, but the contest still looms huge for the Seminoles.
“These are the games you love to be a part of,” Norvell said.
Florida State rolled past Virginia Tech and Syracuse after an overtime escape at Clemson on Sept. 23. Duke recovered from a last-minute loss to the Fighting Irish to deck North Carolina State 24-3 last week.
“They’re one play away from being undefeated,” Norvell said of the Blue Devils. “You see the mindset of how they play and what they do, it’s impressive. They done a great job with what they’re doing.”
The big question facing Duke is the status of quarterback Riley Leonard, who missed the NC State game because of a high ankle sprain sustained two weeks earlier vs. Notre Dame. Coach Mike Elko gave no hints whether Leonard would be ready to return this week.
Redshirt freshman Henry Belin IV filled in for Leonard against the Wolfpack, and he completed only 4 of 12 passes in his first career start.
“I think getting that composure and getting that under his belt, now he’s one game further along from a maturity standpoint, which will pay huge dividends I think for him moving forward,” Elko said.
Norvell said quarterback Jordan Travis was fine after sustaining a hand injury in the first half against Syracuse. That should be a relief to the Seminoles, who have racked up at least 30 points in 12 consecutive games — all wins — dating back to last year.
Travis is second all-time at Florida State with 9,218 yards of total offense, just 255 yards behind former quarterback Chris Weinke’s record.
“You can see him have complete command of the offense not only as a quarterback but also as a leader,” Elko said. “It’s really impressive to see. They’ve got skill players all over the place.”
The Seminoles also could receive boosts on offense from the returns of receiver Johnny Wilson, who didn’t play against Syracuse, and tackle Bless Harris, who missed the past two games with an injury.
Florida State’s defense shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Our guys have really grown in their confidence,” Norvell said. “They’ve really taken some positive strides through their ownership.”
Florida State holds a top-five national ranking for the seventh week in a row. That’s the longest streak for the Seminoles in nearly a decade.
Duke is set to face a third nationally ranked opponent within its first seven games for the first time since 2016.
“Anytime you get on a stage again, it’s better. And then this stage again presents a different type of challenge, right?” Elko said. “There’s a challenge of being on the road that creates a whole different type of atmosphere and environment and level of emotions that you’ve got to push through.”
NO. 19 LSU NOT PEEKING PAST ARMY AHEAD OF BYE WEEK
LSU is nearing its open date, and a Southeastern Conference West showdown against Alabama looms on the first Saturday in November.
But first the No. 19 Tigers (5-2) have a nonconference game against Army (2-4) on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La.
LSU coach Brian Kelly is focused on keeping his players focused on the task at hand.
“It’ll be important for our guys to think about what’s important right now,” Kelly said. “The bye week’s not important right now. We need to focus on Army. This week we need to focus on our development and our process. If we focus on anything else, we’ll get beat.”
The Tigers, who were ranked No. 5 in the AP preseason poll, lost to Florida State (45-24) in the season opener and to Ole Miss (55-49) three weeks ago. But they have shown improvement the last two weeks, going on the road to hand Missouri its only loss of the season with a 49-39 win before routing Auburn 48-18 at home last Saturday in what Kelly called “a complete game.”
“We were tackling much better,” Kelly said. “The little things we’re looking for we’re starting to see. (But) this is not a team that can play with the dimmer. We’re either on or off so we need to be on. If we’re locked in and doing our thing the right way, we’re going to have a good Saturday.”
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels went 20-for-27 for 325 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 93 yards against Auburn.
The LSU defense has played much better the last six quarters after giving up 706 yards against Ole Miss and 25 first-half points against Missouri.
“We’re playing more consistent defense,” Kelly said. “It’s not just one. It’s 11 guys knowing their roles. When the structure of the defense is in place and everybody knows their role within the defense, you start to get complementary defense.”
The defense will face a Black Knights offense that is struggling. Army has scored a total of just 40 points during a three-game losing streak, the most recent setback coming 19-0 at the hands of visiting Troy last Saturday.
The Black Knights totaled just 255 yards, including 78 passing. They converted 2 of 13 third downs and 1 of 5 fourth downs, lost three fumbles, and gave up six sacks.
“We’ve got to find an identity on offense and we’ve got to score more points,” Army coach Jeff Monken said.
The Black Knights have turned the ball over 13 times this season, among the worst totals in FBS, but Monken said the offense isn’t the only area in need of improvement.
“We’ve got to improve in every phase,” Monken said. “Just because we’re stalling on offense a little bit doesn’t make it a rule that the other team has to hit a big play and score themselves. We’ve got to play a team game.”
Monken called the Tigers “a blue blood” of college football.
“They are tremendously talented and it will take a monumental effort for us to challenge these guys and have an opportunity to be in the football game,” he said.
Army’s leading passer and rusher, Bryson Daily, suffered a leg injury against Troy but Monken said he is hopeful Daily will play against LSU. Champ Harris is the Black Knights’ No. 2 quarterback.
MICHIGAN STATE SKIDS INTO MATCHUP WITH NO. 2 MICHIGAN
The Michigan State football program appears to be in disarray, yet the Spartans can salvage their season by defeating their heated rival in East Lansing on Saturday night.
The Spartans have lost their past four games heading into their annual showdown with No. 2 Michigan.
The skid includes a fourth-quarter collapse against Rutgers last week in which Michigan State squandered an 18-point lead. The Spartans haven’t won a game since head coach Mel Tucker was suspended on Sept. 10 and subsequently fired amid sexual harassment allegations. Some players have transferred out and high school prospects have decommitted.
An unlikely upset would give Spartans players and fans something to brag about amid the chaos. Michigan State enters the contest as more than a three-touchdown underdog.
“You always are just trying to get better no matter, rivalry game or not,” interim coach Harlon Barnett said. “Definitely, it can bring some more focus to it. And we talk about having great attention to detail. But as far as if it’s Michigan or not Michigan or what have you, we just need to start playing better, and now it’s about finishing. That’s our next step.”
Spartans redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser threw two touchdown passes in his first career start, but a pair of special teams gaffes allowed the Scarlet Knights to rally. Houser replaced Noah Kim, as Barnett felt the need to shake things up.
“We just thought it was a chance to change it up a little bit — not that it was all Noah’s fault or anything like that,” he said. “But we thought it was an opportunity to change it up and give (Houser) an opportunity to show what he could do.”
Top running back Nathan Carter was held to 52 yards on 20 carries. The Spartans (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) will have to get their running game going to help out their new quarterback and stick with the powerful Wolverines.
Michigan won last year’s meeting 29-7, a contest that is mainly remembered for some Spartans players scuffling with their counterparts in the Michigan Stadium tunnel, including a helmet-swinging incident.
“That seems like a long time ago,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The Wolverines (7-0, 4-0) are more concerned with protecting their perfect record heading into a difficult November schedule that includes No. 7 Penn State, Maryland and No. 3 Ohio State.
In Harbaugh’s mind, next month is already here.
“These are huge games every single week, and there’s definitely a November mentality,” he said. “That’s when you’re in a chase for the championship, you’re in a run for the championship. They’re decided in November if you’ve put yourself in position. … When all the leaves are brown and the skies are gray, that’s when the championships get decided.”
The Wolverines have looked more dominant every week. They have won their four conference games by an average of 37.3 points.
They overcame a shaky first quarter and pounded Indiana 52-7 last week. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes before taking the fourth quarter off.
Blake Corum added two rushing touchdowns, giving him 12 for the season. Corum ran for 177 yards and scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) against the Spartans last season.
“We treat the game like the rivalry it is. We’re not really focused on what happened last year,” Corum said. “First, we’re going to handle business during the week. We’re going to watch a lot of film. Saturday, we’ll go in there and just handle business like always, like we have the past couple games. We’re not going to hold a grudge on what happened last year.”
NO. 14 UTAH AIMS TO EXTEND WIN STREAK OVER NO. 18 USC
No. 14 Utah visits Los Angeles on Saturday night seeking its fourth straight win over No. 18 Southern California in Pac-12 Conference action.
Utah (5-1, 2-1) handed USC its only loss of the 2022 regular season — a 43-42 nail-biter in Salt Lake City — then denied the Trojans both a conference title and possible berth in the College Football Playoff with a 47-24 rout in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Throughout the 2023 season, the Utes have been without a star from both of those games, however. Quarterback Cameron Rising continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in January’s Rose Bowl loss to Penn State.
“It’s a situation where we’re just waiting, week after week, for a thumbs-up,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in his Monday press conference of both Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe, who also has yet to play this season.
Rising threw for a combined 725 yards and five touchdowns in the two wins against the Trojans last season.
In Utah’s most recent game, a 34-14 victory last Saturday against Cal, Bryson Barnes put up modest passing stats –15 of 21 for 128 yards — to improve his overall numbers this season to 38 of 66 for 398 yards and one touchdown, with two interceptions. His 50 yards rushing on eight carries with a touchdown contributed to a 317-yard onslaught for Utah on the ground, however, with Sione Vaki’s 158 yards and two scores leading the way.
The Utah defense held an opponent to 14 or fewer points for the fifth time this season, all wins.
Southern Cal (6-1, 4-0) has been a mirror-opposite of Utah, with one of the nation’s most prolific offenses at 47.3 points per game but a defense that has given up an average of 30 points per contest.
The Trojans gave up at least 41 points in each of their last three games. One of those, a 43-41 defeat of Arizona on Oct. 7, went to three overtimes. Last week, though, USC surrendered a season-high 48 points while scoring just 20 points in a blowout loss at Notre Dame.
“The Notre Dame game is very applicable,” Whittingham said of referencing how the Fighting Irish slowed the Trojans’ offense last week in preparation for Saturday. “We’ll also go back and look at our two games last year. We do as much research and homework as you can.”
Notre Dame forced Southern Cal into five turnovers, including picking off reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams three times in the first half.
After throwing just five interceptions in 14 games a season ago, Williams has thrown four this season. The Utes have intercepted seven passes this season.
“Especially against good teams and good defenses like we faced last week, and like we’re getting ready to face again this week, you’ve got to have all 11 (players) clicking,” Trojans coach Lincoln Riley said on his radio show on Monday night. “And when we do, we can play. But we’ve got to do it more often.”
STANFORD CARRIES MOMENTUM INTO CLASH WITH NO. 25 UCLA
Stanford tries to build off the largest comeback victory in program history when it hosts No. 25 UCLA in a Pac-12 Conference game Saturday night.
The Cardinal (2-4, 1-3) rallied from a 29-0 deficit to stun Colorado 46-43 in double overtime last Friday in Boulder, Colo.
The victory ended a seven-game conference losing streak for Stanford and instilled a level of confidence that first-year coach Troy Taylor has been hoping to see.
“We’re going to get it done here, there’s no question,” Taylor said. “I think we got a chance to see a little bit of what we can do here. We have a long way to go, there’s no question about that. The things that are really important: the resolve, the tenacity, the courage, the willingness, and the need to be great at something we have, we have all that now. We just have to continue to improve and get better.”
UCLA (4-2, 1-2) is looking to get back on track after facing three straight ranked teams and going 1-2.
The Bruins most recently lost 36-24 at then-No. 15 Oregon State last Saturday. UCLA coach Chip Kelly blamed the defeat on his team’s three turnovers, which led to 13 points.
“With a 12-point game, we have to do a better job offensively, in all phases, especially in the turnover deal,” Kelly said. “You can’t lose the turnover battle on the road in this conference and expect to win the football game.”
Cleaning up the turnovers will require better pass protection, crisper route running and greater accuracy from freshman quarterback Dante Moore, who has completed just 45.5 percent of his passes in the past three games.
Kelly said Moore has the resiliency and maturity to quickly put poor performances behind him.
“He has the ability to live in the present,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t live in the past. He doesn’t live in the future. He lives in the present, and that’s a real special quality for people to have. I think in every situation he learns, and he’ll grow from it.”
Taylor has witnessed that quality in his team as well.
The Cardinal lost four straight games earlier this season, including 30-23 to Sacramento State, and then fell behind 29-0 in the first half against Colorado.
“I’m really happy for our guys; they’ve been through a lot,” Taylor said. “Early in the year, we had a couple of tough games and we had a couple of losses where we could have won easily. I was really worried about how demoralized it gets, so I spent a lot of time meeting and talking with them, but after about three or four weeks, I realized that these guys are never going to quit. They’re never going to stop preparing and competing.”
Ashton Daniels showed he’s the person to lead Stanford after passing for 396 yards and four touchdowns against Colorado. Daniels completed 27 of 45 passes in the win after combining to go 23-for-44 in the previous four games.
“This is an inspiring group,” Taylor said. “I’ve never been around this quality of a group of men that just give everything they got regardless of what they’re going against.”
BIG 10 FOOTBALL SATURDAY
• Conference action continues this week, with six Big Ten divisional matchups. Maryland and Purdue will enjoy byes this week, with the complete schedule appearing to the right.
• Four Big Ten teams appear in the AP Poll this week. Michigan leads the conference at No. 2, followed by No. 3 Ohio State, No. 7 Penn State and No. 24 Iowa. The Big Ten (three teams) is the only conference with more than two teams ranked in the top-10 of the AP Poll.
• A trio of Big Ten teams remain undefeated on the season, as Michigan is 7-0, while Ohio State and Penn State are 6-0. The Nittany Lions look to remain undefeated as they travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday for a divisional battle against the Buckeyes at noon ET on FOX.
• Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State currently rank among the top 20 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Wolverines lead the nation in scoring defense (6.7 points per game), while ranking No. 10 nationally in scoring offense (39.4 points per game). The Nittany Lions rank No. 2 nationally in scoring defense (8.0 points per game), while ranking 5th in scoring offense (44.3 points per game) and the Buckeyes rank No. 3 nationally in scoring defense (9.7 points per game), while ranking 20th in scoring offense (36.0 points per game).
• Four additional Big Ten teams rank in the top 25 in terms of scoring defense: Iowa (10th, 14.9 points per game), Rutgers (12th, 16.0 points per game), Wisconsin (21st, 17.8 points per game) and Maryland (24th, 18.6 points per game).
• Michigan and Michigan State meet this weekend in the Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, marking the 116th meeting in the all-time series. The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 72-38-5, and have won 27 of the last 44 games played between the two schools dating back to 1979.
• The Wolverines are averaging a scoring margin of +32.7 across their seven wins this season, the best figure in the country and one of three above 30 points per game (Penn State, Oklahoma). The Wolverines are one of four teams to rank top-10 in scoring offense (10th, 39.4 points per game) and scoring defense (first, 6.7 points per game) along with Oklahoma (fourth, eighth), Penn State (fifth, second), and Georgia (ninth, seventh).
• Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season, finishing with 105 yards on six catches and a touchdown in the Buckeyes’ 41-7 win at Purdue on Saturday. He went over 100 yards for the 11th time in his career, which passes Garrett Wilson and Michael Jenkins, and tied Chris Olave for the second-most by an Ohio State receiver.
• Iowa’s Tory Taylor punted 10 times for a career-high 506 combined yards, averaging 50.6 yards per punt, in a 15-6 win against the Badgers. Half of his 10 punts were over 50 yards, including two 60+ yards (60 and 62) and six were downed inside the 20-yard line. None of his punts were touchbacks. His 10 punts equaled a personal best, while his 62-yard punt in the third quarter matched a season high. The Australia native ranks first in the conference and fourth in the country in average yards per punt (48.3).
• Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State have all secured bowl eligibility by reaching six wins this season, while Maryland and Rutgers 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 (109,788 fans per game), No. 2 Penn State (108,921), No. 3 Ohio State (102,696), No. 12 Nebraska (87,041), No. 18 Wisconsin (75,732), No. 19 Michigan State (70,981) and No. 20 Iowa (69,250). Additionally, Big Ten teams own 11 of the top 15 single-game attendance highs this season, including the top eight spots.
• 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.
• Twelve Big Ten Conference students are among the 201 semifinalists for the 2023 William V. Campbell Trophy. Now in its 34th year, the Campbell Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete. Representing the Big Ten as this year’s Campbell Trophy semifinalists are Illinois’ Isaiah Williams, Indiana’s Trey Walker, Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, Michigan’s Zak Zinter, Michigan State’s Maverick Hansen, Nebraska’s Brian Buschini, Northwestern’s Bryce Gallagher, Ohio State’s Cody Simon, Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, Purdue’s Gus Hartwig, Rutgers’ Mayan Ahanotu and Wisconsin’s Maema Njongmeta.
• 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, October 21, 2023 Football|
|Penn State||Ohio State||12:00 P.M.||Columbus, Ohio (Conf.)||TV: FOX Stats Radio: Penn State Sports Network|
|Rutgers||Indiana||12:00 P.M.||Bloomington, Ind. (Conf.)||TV: BTN Stats Radio: Indiana Sports Radio Network Video|
|Wisconsin||Illinois||3:30 P.M.||Champaign, Ill. (Conf.)||TV: FS1 Stats Radio: Badger Sports Network|
|Minnesota||Iowa||3:30 P.M.||Iowa City, Iowa (Conf.)||TV: NBC Stats Video|
|Northwestern||Nebraska||3:30 P.M.||Lincoln, Neb. (Conf.)||TV: Big Ten Network Radio: WGN Radio 720|
|Michigan||Michigan State||7:30 P.M.||East Lansing, MI (Conf.)||TV: NBC Stats Radio: Spartan Media Network Video|
MAC FOOTBALL PREVIEW
Saturday, October 21
*Western Michigan at Ohio, 12:00 pm ET (CBSSN)
*Akron at Bowling Green, 2:00 pm ET (ESPN+)
*Central Michigan at Ball State, 3:30 pm ET (ESPN+)
*Buffalo at Kent State, 3:30 pm ET (ESPN+)
*Eastern Michigan at NIU, 3:30 pm ET (ESPN+)
*Toledo at Miami, 4:00 pm ET (ESPNU)
Two Minute Drill
• Brett Gabbert threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns and added a career-best two rushing scores as the Miami University football team captured its sixth-straight win, downing Western Michigan 34-21 on Saturday. The RedHawks (6-1, 3-0 MAC) are off to their best start since 2003. With the win, Miami is bowl eligible for the seventh time in the past eight years.
• Junior Peny Boone’s three-yard touchdown run with 1:31 remaining lifted Toledo to a 13-6 Mid-American Conference win over Ball State at a rain-soaked Scheumann Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The victory moved the Rockets’ record to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in league play and extended their winning streak to six games. Toledo also earned bowl eligibility for the 14th consecutive season, the eighth-longest streak in the country.
• Central Michigan held Akron to under 200 yards in total offense as CMU defeated the Zips, 17-10, on Saturday afternoon. The Chippewas intercepted two passes while Tristan Mattson set a new program record with a 58-yard field goal to help Central Michigan earn its fourth win of the season and move to 2-1 in MAC play.
• Eastern Michigan improved to 4-3 on the year and 2-1 in conference competition with a 28-14 victory over Kent State at The Factory on Saturday. Samson Evansfound the end zone twice on the ground and passed the 2,000-yard mark for his career with 47 yards.
• Northern Illinois scored the final 16 points of its MAC showdown against Ohio to post a 23-13 Homecoming victory in DeKalb last Saturday. The Huskies found the end zone on two plays of 50-plus yards to post its second-straight MAC win.
• Bowling Green forced five Buffalo turnovers, highlighted by four interceptions, and scored 24 unanswered points to pick up a 24-14 road win last Saturday. The Falcon 24-0 run was capped off by a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by PaSean Wimberly.
NO. 2 MICHIGAN SUSPENDS STAFFER AFTER NCAA LAUNCHES INVESTIGATING INTO ALLEGATIONS OF SIGN-STEALING
(AP) — No. 2 Michigan announced Friday it has suspended a low-level football program employee a day after disclosing it is under NCAA investigation for allegedly stealing the play-calling signals used by Wolverines opponents.
Athletic director Warde Manuel issued a one-sentence statement saying that analytics assistant Connor Stalions had been suspended with pay pending the conclusion of the investigation. Stalions had not been previously identified by the school, but was named in an ESPN report alleging he is a key figure in the probe.
A person who has been briefed on the allegations against Michigan confirmed to The Associated Press that the investigation is focused on Stalions and whether he was involved in sending people to the games of Michigan’s opponents to take videos of teams using sideline signals. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no one was authorized to speak publicly about the NCAA’s investigation.
Stalions is a retired captain in the Marine Corps and a graduate of the Naval Academy, ESPN reported. He was hired as an off-field analyst at Michigan in May 2022, according to a bio on his LinkedIn account that has since been deleted.
The Wolverines (7-0), who started their season with coach Jim Harbaugh serving a university-imposed three-game suspension for a still unresolved NCAA infractions case, play at Michigan State on Saturday. Harbaugh denied any knowledge or involvement in plotting to steal signs.
“I do not have any knowledge or information regarding the University of Michigan football program illegally stealing signals, nor have I directed any staff member or others to participate in an off-campus scouting assignment,” Harbaugh said Thursday. “I have no awareness of anyone on our staff having done that or having directed that action.”
NCAA rules do not directly ban the stealing of signs. There are rules against using electronic equipment to record an opponent’s signals, but what’s mostly at issue with Michigan is NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1: “Off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season) is prohibited.” There are also bylaws prohibiting unsportsmanlike or unethical activities by coaches, and NCAA rules place an onus on a head coach to be responsible for violations that occur under his watch.
The Big Ten notified all of Michigan’s remaining opponents of the investigation.
“As we look forward to the football game this Saturday, we are chagrined by the news of the NCAA investigation and we echo the Big Ten Conference’s commitment to integrity,” interim Michigan State President Teresa Woodruff said in a statement. “The allegations are concerning., but will be handled through the NCAA’s process.”
The accusations harken back to the Spygate scandals involving the New England Patriots. While NFL teams are permitted to do in-person advance scouting of opponents, the Patriots were fined and stripped of a first-round draft pick by the NFL after they were found to have had a staffer video an opponent’s sideline signals in 2007 – two years after they had won a Super Bowl.
Major League Baseball also recently had a sign-stealing scandal with one of its best teams. The Houston Astros were found to have used of electronics to steal signs during the team’s run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season.
Michigan is coming off two straight playoff appearances under Harbaugh and is tied with No. 1 Georgia as the odds-on favorite to win the national title, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Oct. 31.
SUNDAY’S WEEK 7 NFL CAPSULES
Las Vegas Raiders (3-3) at Chicago Bears (1-5): Here come the backups. Tyson Bagent, a Division II product, went from undrafted underdog to backup to his first career start in a matter of months. Bagent’s cameo in the second half last week included two turnovers and a TD run. He draws a difficult matchup in the Raiders, who have won two in a row but still haven’t scored more than 21 points this season. That’s a credit to a defense with dynamic edge rushers, led by Maxx Crosby. With 25 sacks allowed in six games, protecting Bagent is a worry. The Raiders, too, send a backup to do the starting QB work on Sunday with Jimmy Garoppolo (back) out. Las Vegas leaned on Josh Jacobs last week, but he’s averaging just 2.9 yards per carry this season.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The Chicago Bears were working under the assumption rookie Tyson Bagent would start at quarterback with Justin Fields injured.
The Las Vegas Raiders weren’t quite as sure who would be behind center for them. Jimmy Garoppolo is out, meaning veteran Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell will get the call.
Be prepared for a heavy dose of backups when the Bears host the Raiders on Sunday after both starters left games last week.
Fields dislocated his right thumb when he was sacked early in the third quarter against Minnesota. Chicago (1-5) lost for the 15th time in 16 games, falling 19-13 to the Vikings. Garoppolo missed the second half of a 21-17 win over New England with a back injury.
Bagent, who went undrafted last spring after a record-setting career at Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia, is ready for his opportunity. He said he and his dad, Travis, had a feeling early on that he would play in the NFL. But he wasn’t sure he would get a chance to start again after his final college game.
“I was talking to a good buddy of mine,” he said. “We were kind of talking about, hey, no matter how good or bad this goes at the next level, there is a very big chance that maybe you make the team but you might never get to start a game ever again in your whole life. You may never get that QB1 role ever again. That’s just kind of how the apple falls from the tree sometimes.”
Bagent took over for Fields last week and completed 10 of 14 passes for 83 yards in his debut. He ran for a 1-yard touchdown. But he also committed two turnovers.
In college, Bagent put up huge numbers.
He set the NCAA’s all-division record with 159 career touchdown passes, and finished with more completions (1,400) and yards passing (17,034) than any other Division II quarterback. In 2021, he won the Harlon Hill Trophy, Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman.
As for the Raiders, Hoyer came off the bench last week to throw for 102 yards on 6-of-10 passing. O’Connell, a rookie from Purdue, started in a Week 4 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers when Garoppolo was sidelined with a concussion. He completed 24 of 39 passes for 238 yards, but lost two fumbles, threw an interception and was sacked seven times.
Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said he was excited to play at Soldier Field and he brought up Doug Atkins, a Hall of Fame defensive end who played for the Bears from 1955 to 1966.
“You guys (media) probably don’t even know about Doug Atkins, but he was way back in the day,” Crosby said. “Six-foot-eight, hurdling guys. Just an unbelievable defensive lineman in this league. He’s definitely the guy that’s going to be in my mind when I get out there and play.”
Crosby said he and Rod Marinelli used to talk about football history when Marinelli was the Raiders’ defensive coordinator in 2020. The two remain in contact nearly daily. Marinelli was the Bears’ defensive line coach in 2009 and their coordinator from 2010 to 2012.
Chicago’s Cody Whitehair has started all 113 games he has played in over eight seasons, be it at left guard or center, and has a Pro Bowl selection on his resume.
But after struggling with snaps last week in a move back to center from left guard, he could be in a backup role. Coach Matt Eberflus hinted at changes this week, saying, “We’re working through those things right now.”
Whitehair was penciled in as the starting center this year, only to move to left guard when Teven Jenkins suffered a leg injury a few weeks before the opener. Jenkins returned last week and Whitehair was back at center. But he got benched in favor of Lucas Patrick in the second half after several bad snaps.
“I take a lot of pride in my work,” Whitehair said. “Any time things aren’t going your way, you’ve got to dive in and dissect where you’re going wrong. That’s what I’m in right now.”
BUYERS AT THE DEADLINE?
The Raiders, who have won back-to-back games to get to 3-3, have the chance to put themselves in playoff position during what is the weakest part of their schedule.
If they take advantage of the opportunity, they could be buyers at the trade deadline on Oct. 31. Coach Josh McDaniels, however, said those discussions are limited to the front office.
“I’m going to be in my lane here, and if (general manager Dave Ziegler) needs to honk the horn and we need to pull over to the side of the road and have a conversation, then we will,” McDaniels said.
Bears receiver DJ Moore is no stranger to quarterback switches. He experienced his share during his five seasons with Carolina, and was asked what he can do to make Bagent’s job easier.
“Just get open faster,” he said. “Do what I been doing. Probably just talk to him about what I see on the sideline and see what he’s thinking and how we can execute and be on the same page.”
The Bears’ defense will try to build on a solid effort. Chicago gave up a season-low 220 yards and held Minnesota to 2 of 13 on third downs.
Buffalo Bills (4-2) at New England Patriots (1-5): The Bills share the NFL lead with 24 sacks and have won the past three meetings by not allowing Mac Jones and New England time to get comfortable in the pocket. Bills QB Josh Allen thrives in this matchup, with 11 TDs and no INTs in four games at Gillette Stadium. He’ll be trying to get WR Stefon Diggs over 100 yards for the fifth consecutive game, but New England has held most No. 1 receivers in check. The Patriots are pressing offensively while averaging 12 points per game. Jones is averaging less than 200 passing yards per game. Bill Belichick could become the third coach in NFL history with 300 regular-season victories (Don Shula, 328; George Halas, 318).
FORXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) There was a time in the not too distant past when the Buffalo Bills traveled to New England looking to prove they could give the Patriots a fight at the top of the division.
This season, New England is enduring its worst start in more than two decades and is just hoping to put up any kind of fight against the Bills.
At 1-5 for the first time during his Patriots tenure, coach Bill Belichick said the message to his team remains straightforward even as calls for wholesale changes echo around New England.
“Get ready to play Buffalo,” he said.
While the Bills haven’t performed the way they’re accustomed to on offense over the past two games, they enter Sunday’s matchup at 4-2 and are just three weeks removed from handing AFC East-leading Miami a 28-point loss in Week 4.
Including the playoffs, Buffalo has also won the last four meetings and six out of seven against the Patriots. It makes the Bills’ 15-game losing streak to New England from 2003 to 2010 feel like ancient history.
Long snapper Reid Ferguson, who has been with Buffalo since 2017, said the mantra coach Sean McDermott has preached has been to win at home and in the division to get to the playoffs.
That approach has helped this new generation of Bills players view the Patriots like any other opponent.
“The Patriots had a great run in this division before a lot of us got here,” Ferguson said. “I think it’s a mindset change and just knowing each and every week you can beat anybody you get on the field with.”
Losers of their last three games, the Patriots will be looking to avoid their first four-game skid since 2020.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who scored his first touchdown of the season during last week’s loss to Las Vegas, said the Patriots’ routine should remain the same.
“Keep working,” Elliott said. “We’ve got to handle this thing one game at a time. That’s how we would handle it if we were 5-1 instead of 1-5. We’d still be attacking it the same way.”
For the second straight week, Belichick changed the team’s schedule, moving up the week’s first practice from Wednesday to Tuesday. Energy in the locker room is still high, linebacker Jahlani Tavai said.
“We’re not going to back down from any challenge. And we’re not going to hit the panic button,” Tavai said.
Bills center Mitch Morse is preaching patience in light of Buffalo’s suddenly sluggish offense and criticism of coordinator Ken Dorsey.
“When something doesn’t go well, the world’s going to hell, and when things are going well, no one’s ever been a greater play caller,” Morse said.
It’s something he reminded teammates during a three-game winning streak in which Buffalo outscored its opponents by a combined 123-33 and starters were being removed from games in the fourth quarter. Buffalo’s offense is supported by a defense allowing just 14.8 points per game.
Bills edge rusher Von Miller is feeling more comfortable with each outing as he ramps up his playing time since missing more than 10 months because of a torn right knee ligament.
Miller went from playing 20 snaps in his debut against Jacksonville to 27 against the Giants last week. All that’s missing now is a sack for the NFL’s active leader in the category.
“It’s process over outcome,” Miller said. “And I feel like that’s the type of process to get me where I want to be at the end of the season.”
Miller is still wearing a brace, which he hopes to trade for a smaller one in a few weeks with the plan to be free of the brace by the end of the season.
The Patriots’ two rushing touchdowns in last week’s loss broke a 12-quarter TD drought and were the first semblance of production the offense has shown since the Week 3 win over the Jets.
It’s something to build on for a unit that ranks 31st in the NFL, averaging just 12 points per game.
Quarterback Mac Jones hopes the ability to get into the end zone will carry over.
“To work through tough times shows a lot about people’s character and who they are, and I feel like we have the right group to do it,” Jones said. “I definitely want to face the challenge, look at it in the eyes and attack it.”
Belichick will try for a fourth straight game to join Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318) as the only NFL coaches with 300 regular-season wins.
Including the playoffs, Belichick is 36-12 against the Bills.
Washington Commanders (3-3) at N.Y. Giants (1-5): Commanders QB Sam Howell hasn’t thrown an interception in three road games and Washington is in the midst of four division games in six weeks. Keeping him upright is the worry in Washington. The Commanders ended a three-game losing streak last week when Howell threw three touchdown passes in a 24-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. But Howell was sacked five times for the third straight game after the Bills tortured him with nine sacks on Sept. 24. The second-year pro has taken care of the ball in most games, but he’s taken 34 sacks in all, leading the league by six. Giants QB Daniel Jones is second in the NFL with 28 sacks over just five games. Jones injured his neck in Week 5 and missed last week’s 14-9 loss to the Bills. He’s expected to play Sunday.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The Washington Commanders and New York Giants entered the season with the goal of closing the gap on the perennial frontrunners in the NFL East, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.
Inching toward the halfway point and with a game against New York at MetLife Stadium up next on Sunday, the Commanders (3-3) are a lot closer to success than the offensively inept Giants, who have lost four straight and dropped to 1-5.
There’s a lot at stake for both teams. Washington finished only a game out of a playoff spot a year ago – and that was in large part due to being 0-1-1 in its two games against New York.
The Giants, who made the playoffs a year ago with a 9-7-1 mark, are in must-win territory. Only three teams since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 have started 1-5 and made the postseason. Only the ’70 Bengals started 1-6 and got to the playoffs.
“We may be 1-5, but it’s a long season ahead of us and we’ve lost only one divisional game,” Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke. “So it’s just getting that urgency, it’s not wholesale changes. It’s just doing the little things even better. If we can get a win in our back pocket, we can start rolling.”
Both teams played well last week. The Commanders beat the Falcons in Atlanta to snap a three-game losing streak, while the Giants played their most complete game of the season in dropping a 14-9 decision to Buffalo on Sunday night.
Commanders coach Ron Rivera is expecting another good game from New York since it involves another NFC East team.
“I think that’s probably the biggest one more than anything else,” he said. “It’s a divisional game and you’re going to play against your divisional rivals a little better. At least I believe you typically should because you know them a little bit more. Because of that, I think that’s what really brings the game to being pretty evenly matched.”
CALLING THE SIGNALS
The Giants are expected to start backup Tyrod Taylor at quarterback for the second straight week. After missing the Bills game because of a neck injury, Daniel Jones was limited in practice this week.
Taylor played well against the Bills. The 13-year veteran was 24 of 36 for 200 yards and ran five times for 24 yards in his first start since 2021. His last start in Washington was in 2015 for Buffalo, a game in which he threw two touchdown passes to Sammy Watkins in a 35-25 loss.
The Giants’ offense hasn’t scored a first-half touchdown this season, and hasn’t scored in 205 minutes over the last three-plus games.
After riding the bench for the entire game with zero snaps last weekend, Commanders rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes said he has “no clue” what the coaching staff’s plan is for him this weekend.
Rivera, who decided to sit the first-round pick late in a home loss to Chicago on Oct. 5, said there’s a difficult balance between wanting Forbes and other young players to develop and trying to win games.
Forbes has been thrown at 27 times, giving up 20 catches for 401 yards — the second most of any defender in the NFL this season. The 22-year-old Mississippi State product insists he isn’t bothered by the uncertainty he’s mired in at the moment.
“I just come in and do my job,” Forbes said. “As long as I do my job and give myself the best opportunity to play, I can’t complain about that.”
GATES GOES BACK
This will be the first chance for former Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates to face his old team since signing with Washington. Gates played his first four pro seasons with the Giants and says he has no hard feelings toward them.
“It’s a business,” Gates said. “It’s part of this league. You’ve got to move on, and you’re going to go to other teams. It’ll be nice to see all my buddies and all the old training stuff and stuff, but other than that it’s just a football game.”
With LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) very unlikely to play, the Giants’ offensive line probably will be “straight off the couch” Justin Pugh at LT, Mark Glowinski at LG, Ben Bredeson at C, Marcus McKethan at RG and Evan Neal (ankle) at RT.
With Shane Lemieux (torn biceps) on IR, the backups will be Tyre Phillips, Joshua Miles and Sean Harlow. who were all signed off the practice squads of other teams in the last week.
The Giants have not had the same starting offensive line in consecutive games this season.
OKEREKE IS OK
The Giants signed inside linebacker Bobby Okereke as a free agent in the offseason after the Stanford product led the Colts in tackles. It took him a couple of games to fit in but the five-year veteran has been making plays all over the field lately, with double-digit tackles in three straight games.
He leads the team with 53 tackles, including five for losses, and has five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and an interception.
In a game against Miami two weeks ago, he tipped a pass that safety Jason Pinnock returned 102 yards for a touchdown and also had a pick of his own. Against the Bills, he had a forced fumble and a tipped pass that fellow linebacker Micah McFadden recovered and intercepted.
Detroit Lions (5-1) at Baltimore Ravens (4-2): The Lions roll into a matchup of North division leaders on a four-game winning streak — all by double-digit margins. QB Jared Goff accounted for 13 touchdowns (11 TD passes) in the first six games, crashing the MVP conversation. Detroit may have to rely on its passing game again at Baltimore. RB David Montgomery departed in the first half last week with a rib injury and didn’t practice this week, opening the door for rookie first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs to start after he missed the past two games with a hamstring strain. Baltimore leads the AFC North due to a stout defense that has allowed 260.8 yards per game, the second fewest in the league. The Ravens rank fourth in the league in points allowed at 15.2 per game, and they have recorded 24 sacks, tying them for the league lead with the Bills.
Two years ago, it took Dan Campbell a dozen games to earn his first victory as coach of the Detroit Lions.
That win would have come much earlier if not for Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, whose 66-yard field goal handed Campbell and his team a crushing home defeat in September of that season.
“I just remember thinking over and over it’s like enjoy it now, just enjoy it now because our time will come, and we’ve just got to get through the hard stuff,” Campbell said this week. “And here we go, man. We’ve got an opportunity. We’re in year three of this program, we’re 5-1 and we’ve got to go earn the next win.”
Campbell and the Lions stayed the course through that difficult 2021 season. After the loss to the Ravens, quarterback Jared Goff said defiantly that “the gut punches will stop” – and now, as Detroit prepares to face Baltimore again Sunday, Motown’s team is in a much different place. This is a matchup of division leaders. In fact, the Lions are one of five teams in a tie for the NFL’s best record.
This will be the first home game in four weeks for the Ravens (4-2), although in one sense that might be a relief for the Lions, given what Tucker has done at Detroit’s Ford Field. He kicked a 61-yard field goal there to beat the Lions in 2013, then outdid himself with a record-long boot from 66 two seasons ago.
That was the third game of Campbell’s first season. The Lions didn’t win one until December.
“Everything that happens, happens for a reason and it helps you grow,” Campbell said. “If it doesn’t, it’s because you don’t know how to grow. So, we’ve taken our lumps and we’re going to be better for it.”
There’s certainly evidence of that. Detroit has won 13 of its last 16 games and looks poised to break through after narrowly missing the playoffs last season.
“You just know you’re going to get your best shot from them. This is a team that’s been rolling since the end of last year,” Ravens safety Geno Stone said. “I feel like they have a head coach that’s a fiery head coach that’s going to get their guys going, so we just have to know that we’re going to get the best out of all those guys.”
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Detroit has given up 10 sacks this season – only four teams have allowed fewer. Baltimore has 24 sacks, tied with Buffalo for the league lead.
Tucker kicked six field goals in Baltimore’s 24-16 win over Tennessee in London last weekend, although none of them was all that long. The Ravens have allowed only six touchdowns this season – no other team has yielded fewer than eight – but Baltimore has only reached the end zone once in each of the past two games.
The Ravens certainly have the right kicker for when they’re in a tight, low-scoring game.
The Lions are off to their best their best start in 12 years and are tied with Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia and San Francisco for the NFL’s best record. They haven’t had at least a share of the league’s best mark this late in a season since 1993, when they went on to win the NFC Central for the franchise’s most recent division title.
“It’s important for us to be in this position because that was the expectation this year,” defensive end Aidan Hutchinson said. “And, now we’re here.”
Detroit has an opportunity to be 6-1 for the first time since 1956, which was during a six-year stretch when the franchise won three NFL titles in four appearances in the league championship game.
“We’ll be ready to welcome those guys here,” Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith said. “They’re playing good ball, but hey, I’m from the show-me business, so you have to show me.”
The Ravens have outscored opponents 41-6 in the first quarter, and they’ve led entering the fourth in every game this season.
Detroit has outscored opponents 48-10 in the opening quarter.
Baltimore receiver Zay Flowers ranks second among rookies in both receptions (35) and yards receiving (367). Lions tight end Sam LaPorta is third in both those categories with 29 catches for 325 yards.
Atlanta Falcons (3-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2): First place in the NFC South is on the line and Atlanta is vying to prove it can win on the road. The Falcons’ last division road win was in 2021. Tampa Bay has struggled to run the football consistently all season long, and the Falcons are 11th in the NFL in run defense (99.0 yards per game). That puts pressure on QB Baker Mayfield to make the offense go, but the Buccaneers’ stout defense is highly capable of turning a game. Falcons QB Desmond Ridder, coming off of a three-INT game in a loss to the Commanders, stares down a stout Bucs’ defense that ranks eighth in scoring defense (17.6 points per game), seventh in rush defense (83.8 yards per game) and 14th in total defense (330.8 yards per game).
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The surest path to the playoffs is a division championship, which isn’t a far-fetched goal if you’re part of the less-than-imposing NFC South.
Tampa Bay won with a losing record last season, and the first-place Buccaneers (3-2) haven’t exactly been a juggernaut in building the slender division lead they’ll carry into Sunday’s home matchup against the rival Atlanta Falcons (3-3).
The season, obviously, is still young. Nevertheless, it’s an opportunity to get an early leg up on potential tiebreaker scenarios in a race that could go down to the wire.
“That’s important,” Bucs receiver Mike Evans said. “Last year, we had the opportunity to gain some ground early in the season and we didn’t do it. This would be a great time to take control.”
Tampa Bay, which won the division the past two seasons with Tom Brady leading the way, holds a half-game lead over the Falcons despite sputtering offensively while losing two of its past three games.
The Falcons and young quarterback Desmond Ridder have dropped three of four following a 2-0 start, including a mistake-filled, eight-point loss to Washington last week.
Atlanta has posted losing records in five consecutive seasons since its last playoff appearance in 2017. Coach Arthur Smith said the path to ending the drought goes through Tampa Bay.
“That’s the only way you guarantee yourself the postseason, by winning the division. … Tampa has been the one at the top of the division,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a big game for us, a big game for them. … We understand the significance.”
Baker Mayfield has replaced Brady at quarterback for the Bucs, who are aiming to rebound from a 20-6 loss to Detroit that coach Todd Bowles described as a “clunker.”
Tampa Bay was held to two field goals and didn’t surpass 200 yards of offense until the closing minutes of the game.
“This game is bigger … because it is a division game, obviously. They’re fighting for first, we’re fighting for first, New Orleans is fighting for first,” Bowles said. “It’s early on, but anytime you get a divisional game you want to win it.”
“All of our goals are in front of us. It starts big picture-wise. You have to win your division first to get where you want to go. We’re still in control of our destiny when it comes to that,” the Bucs quarterback said.
“We’re not hitting the panic button. We know we can play better, and that’s the good thing,” Mayfield added. “It’s not we’re looking round like: ‘Oh no, what’s the deal? How do we fix this?’ No, we know what we need to fix, and we have a good group to be able to do that.”
The Bucs have outscored opponents 73-43 in their three victories. They’ve only gotten into the end zone once while being outscored 45-17 in losses to the Eagles and Lions. Players, however, reject the notion that struggling against Philadelphia and Detroit is an indication Tampa Bay doesn’t match up well with stronger teams in the NFC.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s us not measuring up. We did some stupid stuff in both those games,” left tackle Tristan Wirfs said. “Hindsight is always 20-20, but I think we fix some stuff, we are right there with them.”
The Falcons were tied with the New York Giants for last in the league with five sacks through five games. They doubled that total with five sacks in last week’s loss to Washington.
“This team held the ball a little bit longer and gave us a chance to get there,” assistant head coach for defense Jerry Gray said.
The push from defensive tackles Grady Jarrett, who had one sack, and David Onyematta were keys to the pass rush.
“When they’re really playing at a high level, we know three (blockers) have to take two,” Gray said. “That’s a plus for us.”
TIGHT END CENTRAL
Ridder’s two touchdown passes last week were to tight ends Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith. Smith has at least four catches in five consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak among NFL tight ends. It was the first scoring catch of the season for Pitts, who has a combined 11 catches for 130 yards the last two weeks.
Smith ranks third on the team with 25 receptions. Pitts has 22 catches.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) at L.A. Rams (3-3): The Rams are a bit of an unknown without rookie RB Kyren Williams, who is out with an ankle injury suffered while posting a career-best 158 yards rushing last week. QB Matthew Stafford is now set to hand off to rookie Zach Evans, a sixth-round draft pick out of Ole Miss, and work to get the ball in the hands of WRs Cooper Kupp and standout rookie Puka Nacua. Evans should get a chance to prove his worth. Pittsburgh’s defense allows 143.8 rushing yards per game and the Steelers are scuffling offensively. Even with RB Najee Harris, the Steelers’ rushing attack is 28th in the NFL (80.4 yards per game) and the passing offense ranks 27th (187.8 yards).
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Kenny Pickett was an early-enrollee freshman at Pitt when he first met Aaron Donald, who still spends every offseason training at his alma mater.
Although the teenage quarterback understandably didn’t become fast friends with the All-Pro defensive lineman, Pickett credits the Los Angeles Rams star with more help in his football career than even Donald realizes.
“He kind of showed me the way, and showed me how to train and how to work,” said Pickett, now the Steelers’ starting quarterback. “From afar, I would just watch. I never really talked – just hellos – until I earned his respect to be able to talk to him a little bit more. But there’s a reason he is who he is, and he works hard. Showed me the ropes.”
So if Pickett ends up becoming the 53rd NFL quarterback to be sacked by Donald on Sunday when Pittsburgh (3-2) visits Los Angeles (3-3), he might feel the slightest bit ambivalent about it.
Donald might have the same mixed feelings during his third career chance to face the Steelers, his still-beloved hometown team. He had a recent conversation with his father about facing the black and gold.
“My first year (in 2015), I was excited about it,” Donald said of his first chance to play against the Steelers. “Obviously, going back to Pittsburgh (in 2019), it was exciting. Now, it’s cool to play against the team that I grew up watching and all that, but it’s just another week. Want to find a way to be successful. … I still consider myself a Steelers fan until we’ve got to play them, and I still look to see if they’re doing good.”
Donald’s sturdy presence on the Rams’ line is a major reason why they’ve remained competitive after gutting their roster in the offseason, losing the majority of their regular defensive contributors in trades, releases or free-agent departures. Donald has continued to improve the lives of every teammate rushing the passer alongside him, and the latest beneficiary is rookie Byron Young, who has three sacks while marveling at how much attention is given to No. 99 by offenses.
Many Steelers are acquaintances of Donald’s from offseason training, and they’re well aware of the hazards he presents, even if they’ve rarely faced him.
“I don’t want to say what we’re going to do, but yes (we are going to plan for him),” Steelers running back Najee Harris said. “Is he still the guy? Of course. Aaron Donald is a generational talent.”
Pittsburgh center Mason Cole praised Donald’s intelligence and football savvy, which gets overshadowed by Donald’s brute physical skills.
“I’m just trying not to get on his Hall of Fame induction film,” Cole said. “If I’m not on screen when he’s walking out, that’s a good thing.”
Donald said plenty of his extended family will be in the SoFi Stadium stands to watch this meeting of their two favorite teams. Donald will do his best to spoil the Steelers’ day even while savoring his own quiet fandom.
“I don’t want to keep praising them too much!” Donald said with a grin.
The Steelers have made it a point to bring left tackle Broderick Jones and cornerback Joey Porter Jr. – their top two picks in the draft – along slowly.
It may be nearing time to take the training wheels off.
Jones played well in his first NFL start two weeks ago against Baltimore, making his first career interception off Lamar Jackson in the end zone to set up Pittsburgh’s game-winning drive.
Jones could return to the bench against Los Angeles with Dan Moore likely returning from a knee injury, but Porter could see more playing time. He played a season-high 40% of the defensive snaps against Baltimore and has the size at 6-foot-2 to match up with Rams rookie sensation Puka Nacua.
RUNNING BACK ROULETTE
The Rams will be without running backs Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers, who both got hurt late in last week’s 26-9 win over Arizona. Los Angeles has four candidates to take over in the backfield: rookie Zach Evans, veterans Royce Freeman and Myles Gaskin – and Super Bowl champion Darrell Henderson, who returned to the practice squad this week after getting dropped last year following 3 1/2 years in LA. Whoever gets the workload will be hard-pressed to duplicate Williams, who broke out with a career-high 158 yards last week.
Harris and Cole stayed in Pittsburgh an extra day during the bye week reviewing film and trying to figure out ways to help the NFL’s 30th-ranked offense gain some traction. The two then went to embattled offensive coordinator Matt Canada to brainstorm.
Harris said he did something similar a year ago during the bye, and the Steelers surged to a 7-2 finish after a 2-6 start. This time around, they find themselves in better shape record-wise but still spinning their wheels on offense, though the return of receiver Diontae Johnson and tight end Pat Freiermuth could help.
“We are sitting better than where we were at last year,” Harris said. “That’s good. There is always room to get better. That’s what we are preaching as a team.”
DECADES OF HISTORY
The Steelers haven’t faced the Rams in Los Angeles since 1993, and they have never beaten the Rams on the West Coast, going 0-10. The rivalry dates to 1938, when the Pittsburgh Pirates faced the Cleveland Rams in a season finale played in New Orleans.
Arizona Cardinals (1-5) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2): The wheels fell off for the Cardinals during a victory lap celebrating an upset of the Dallas Cowboys. Arizona has lost its past three games, outscored 51-12 in the second half, and injuries are making a major dent. The Cardinals allowed 20 unanswered points to the host Los Angeles Rams last Sunday in a 26-9 defeat. Seattle gets its first close-up with QB Joshua Dobbs, who is keeping the spot warm while Kyler Murray (knee) continues his recovery from a 2022 knee injury. The Seahawks suffered a 17-13 loss at Cincinnati last week that snapped their three-game winning streak. Geno Smith threw for 326 yards but the Seahawks failed to score on four of their trips to the red zone. RB Kenneth Walker III remains a stabilizer for the offense and has 15 TD runs in 20 career games.
SEATTLE (AP) Until it was mentioned, Seattle’s Jamal Adams hadn’t considered that more than a year had passed since he last played a game inside his home stadium.
In fact, Adams hasn’t experienced playing very many games before the home fans since arriving with the Seahawks before the 2020 season.
“I’m just looking forward to it,” Adams said ahead of Seattle hosting Arizona on Sunday. “I know it’s going to be amped. I know it’s going to be juiced. I know we’re going to feed off one another, so it’s going to be good.”
With what’s upcoming on the schedule, the matchup with the Cardinals is of high importance for the Seahawks. After losing last week at Cincinnati and games with Cleveland and Baltimore on the horizon, Seattle (3-2) can’t afford a slip up against the struggling Cardinals.
“No matter what the record is or who the opponent is, they are going to bring their A-game and it’s going to be a good team,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “If you watched the film, (the Cardinals) have been close in a lot of their games. Their record could really be different than what it is right now.”
For Adams, it will be his first game at home since suffering a torn quadriceps tendon in the 2022 season opener. Playing before Seattle’s rowdy fans has been rare for Adams – the 2020 season was played without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic and he played in just six home games in 2021 before a shoulder injury ended his season.
Adams made his return in Week 4 against the Giants, but lasted only nine plays before suffering a concussion. Last week, he played 85% of the snaps against the Bengals and was pretty sore afterward. But it was a “good” sore after going nearly two calendar years since last playing a complete game.
“It was more so about getting back in the groove, the routine, understanding my body and understanding what comes after playing a full game,” Adams said.
Arizona (1-5) has lost three straight after its surprising win over Dallas in Week 4. The Cardinals’ problem during the losing streak has been the second half, where they’ve been outscored 51-12 in the three games.
Arizona led Cincinnati at halftime two weeks ago and was outscored 17-6 in the second half. Last week, the Rams outscored the Cardinals 20-0 in the second half after Arizona led 9-6 at halftime.
“I think it’s all of us just making a couple more plays here or there and the consistency of that,” Arizona coach Jonathan Gannon said.
FOR NOW, DOBBS IN CHARGE
Journeyman Joshua Dobbs is still the quarterback for the Cardinals, even though his days as the starter appear numbered.
The return of Arizona’s Kyler Murray appears imminent after the team announced the quarterback was returning to practice on Wednesday following a 10-month layoff because of an ACL injury. The Cardinals have 21 days to move the quarterback to the active roster. The 28-year-old Dobbs was acquired from the Cleveland Browns in a trade just before the season started and performed very well the first few weeks before regressing during the team’s three-game losing streak.
RED ZONE WOES
Seattle would likely be riding a four-game win streak if it was better in the red zone last week against Cincinnati.
The Seahawks managed just 10 points out of five red zone trips against the Bengals, including twice failing to come away with points in the fourth quarter of the loss.
For the season, Seattle has scored 11 touchdowns in 22 red-zone trips. The Seahawks should get a few more chances to improve that percentage this week as the Cardinals have allowed the most red-zone possessions in the league with 30 through six games.
The Cardinals are struggling in the secondary, ranking 22nd in the league in pass defense while allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete more than 70% of their passes.
Two-time All-Pro Budda Baker has missed the past five games with a hamstring ailment, though he was designated to return from injured reserve Wednesday. The team’s other starting safety, Jalen Thompson, also missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury. Rookie cornerback Kei’Trel Clark had a tough time guarding L.A.’s Cooper Kupp last week, with the receiver racking up seven catches for 148 yards and a touchdown.
Playing at Lumen Field was once a fortress for the Seahawks. Now? Not so much.
Since the start of the 2019 season, the Seahawks are just 13-14 in home games played with fans in attendance.
The Cardinals are responsible for two of those losses with wins in 2019 and 2021.
“We have to get back and get out ahead of this thing,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “If you’re going to have a really good season, you have to be really good at home and there’s no two ways about that.”
Green Bay Packers (2-3) at Denver Broncos (1-5): The Broncos are minus-6 in turnover margin and allowing 33.3 points per game, the kind of stats that have visitors salivating to stroll into Colorado. Denver is 0-3 at home and off to its worst start since 1994. QB Russell Wilson passed for a season-low 95 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown in a 19-8 loss to the host Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 12. It marked the second straight game and third of the season in which Wilson threw for less than 200 yards. Green Bay enters off of its bye week after a Monday night loss to the Raiders and needs a win to avoid a three-game losing streak with four of the Packers’ next six games at home. The Packers badly missed running back Aaron Jones, limited to just 14 carries in parts of two games due to a hamstring injury, and are optimistic the three-time 1,000-yard rusher will play this week.
DENVER (AP) Russell Wilson and Jordan Love are the latest examples of how quickly quarterbacks can go from sizzle to fizzle in the NFL.
Wilson started out the season looking nothing like the QB who struggled so mightily last year for the Broncos, and from the get-go Love looked every bit like a worthy successor to Aaron Rodgers with the Packers.
Wilson’s numbers through four mostly efficient games rivaled Patrick Mahomes’ stats as he threw for over 1,000 yards with nine TDs and two interceptions under new Denver coach Sean Payton’s tutelage. But he has three turnovers and eight sacks over the last two weeks, including another loss at Kansas City in which he threw for a meager 95 yards and was intercepted twice.
“We’ve done some really good things offensively, but didn’t play our best game the last game,” Wilson said. “I didn’t play my best game, but I’ve been feeling really confident all season long.”
Love played so well in the Green Bay’s 18-point rout at Chicago in its opener that he got a text congratulating him for “keeping the ownership in place.” That message was from Rodgers, who famously hollered, “I still own you!” after scoring a game-clinching TD at Soldier Field in 2021, one of his two dozen wins over the Bears.
After throwing for six touchdown passes without an interception in Green Bay’s first two games, Love has thrown six interceptions and two TD passes over his last three and is coming off a three-interception dud against the Raiders before the Packers’ bye week.
“Just having that sick taste in my mouth, it’s going to keep pushing me forward,” Love said.
The Broncos (1-5) and Packers (2-3) play Sunday at Empower Field, where the loser could see a swelling of the “ Collapse for Caleb ” sentiment as their fans further espouse the notion of stinking so badly that Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams will come to their rescue in 2024.
That would take a season-long slide and some leapfrogging of other struggling teams, but both of these storied franchises are squarely in the mix for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner as the weather begins to turn.
There are still plenty of games left to bounce back and salvage this season, but the Halloween trade deadline is approaching and teams are taking a hard look at being sellers if they deem the cellar a real possibility.
The Broncos have lost all three of their home games to underdogs, something that won’t be an issue Sunday because the Packers were installed as 1 1/2-point road favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
KEEPING UP WITH JONES
The Packers are hopeful their early bye will allow one of their top playmakers to return to form. Running back Aaron Jones scored twice on opening weekend but has missed three of the last four games with a pulled hamstring.
“I prefer a later bye, but I needed it now, so thank God it came when it did,” Jones said. “Everything happens for a reason. It worked out.”
Broncos tight end Greg Dulcich focused on his hydration, stretching routine and hip mobility after pulled hamstrings caused him to miss seven games as a rookie last year. But it’s been even worse this season as he’s pulled up lame in both games he’s played and will miss his fifth game Sunday because of hamstring injuries.
Without Dulcich stretching the field and forcing defenses into difficult decisions, the Broncos rank next-to-last in the league with 19.7 receiving yards per game out of their tight ends.
“I’m sure he’s frustrated just like we are frustrated for him,” Payton said.
The Packers have been outscored 54-6 in the first half of their last three games. Not only are they dawdling, they’ve been mostly idle of late. Due to scheduling quirks, the Packers return to action Sunday having played just one game in a 23-day stretch.
The Packers hosted the Lions in a Thursday night game on Sept. 28, then didn’t play again until a Monday night matchup at Las Vegas on Oct. 9 ahead of their bye week.
The screenshots quickly reached Sean Payton following Denver’s loss at Kansas City, when the two-minute section of his playsheet was on display for everyone to read quite clearly. But he downplayed the significance of everyone knowing, for instance, that his code word for quarterback sneak is “Converse.”
“I don’t worry about it,” Payton said, explaining that the game unspools too fast for such keywords to matter to a defense.
When NFL reporter Dov Kleiman tweeted that Payton will have to change the tags for the next game, NFL commentator and former O-lineman Mark Schlereth hit the snark button with this reply: “Not because people see them but because they don’t work!”
L.A. Chargers (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-1): The Chiefs try to stretch their winning streak to six while the Chargers are eager to shake a three-game losing streak to Kansas City and shrug off their third loss by three or fewer points this season. The Chargers lost a 20-17 home game to the Cowboys last week in the return of RB Austin Ekeler, a key cog in the offense who has a strong resume against Kansas City that includes a TD in four of the past five meetings. The Chiefs are relying on an improved pass defense to limit opponents to 14.7 points per game. TE Travis Kelce had three TD catches in the last meeting with the Chargers.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Chargers and the Chiefs have been predictably good on offense this season, at least statistically, which means in the complementary world of the NFL, the difference in their records probably resides on the opposite side of the ball.
The Chargers are 2-3 largely because they allow more yards than all but one team in the league.
The Chiefs are 5-1 thanks to a defense that allows fewer points than all but one.
“Yeah, that helps a ton, especially when you don’t play your best ball,” said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has been openly critical of his own play heading into Sunday’s game between the AFC West rivals at Arrowhead Stadium.
“Our defense is holding it down for us right now, but let’s take the pressure off them so they can play free and be even better.”
Imagine that: The Chiefs are tied for the best record in the NFL with an offense Mahomes thinks has yet to hit its stride.
Still, the Chiefs are second in yards passing, fourth in total offense and ninth in scoring the first six weeks of the season. And while those numbers were inflated by a blowout of the Bears, Kansas City’s offense has nevertheless been impressive enough on a week-to-week basis to win every game since a season-opening loss to Detroit.
Part of the reason Mahomes is lamenting the offense has been its failure to reach the end zone. The Chiefs have piled up the yards between the 20s, taking advantage of short passes while opposing defenses continually take away the deep stuff, but their offense has been bogged down by turnovers and penalties when it reaches the red zone.
“You have to continue to push, continue to get better and better. That’s all you can do regardless,” Mahomes said. “We understand that it’s going to take the offense at some point to have to have the big game to win it.”
Might happen this week. The Chargers, despite some desultory lulls of their own, are a top-10 offense when it comes to passing, total offense and scoring, so the Chiefs might well need their offense to finally pop to win a shootout.
It should help their cause that the Chargers have among the worst defenses in the league.
“This is going to be a different week because it’s a shorter week,” said Chargers coach Brandon Staley, whose team is coming off a Monday night game while the Chiefs played the previous Thursday, giving them four more days to prepare.
“But in terms of the approach of how we attack a plan and what’s needed to be our best for Sunday, that has to stay the same,” Staley said. “What you have to focus on are the keys to winning. What ultimately is going to impact winning on Sunday? That’s where our full focus has to be right now. From now until kickoff, just focusing on the things that are going to help us win.”
The Chiefs should get even better on defense with the return of Charles Omenihu, who was suspended the first six games for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. The former 49ers pass rusher, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Kansas City, is expected to be active against the Chargers despite having only a week to get back up to speed.
SPEAKING OF HELP
Kansas City brought back wide receiver Mecole Hardman this week in a swap of late-round draft picks with the Jets, who had signed him to a $4 million deal in the offseason. Hardman was part of both of the Chiefs’ recent Super Bowl-winning teams, but he barely got on the field in New York, which had made it clear in recent weeks that it was eager to move on.
The Chargers are tied for third in the league with 21 sacks, and all of them have come in their last four games. Morgan Fox has four straight games where he has taken down the quarterback, the longest streak of his career, and Khalil Mack has seven in the past two games alone, including a franchise-record six in a win over the Raiders.
“He is really healthy, and a healthy Khalil Mack is a productive Khalil Mack,” said Staley, whose veteran pass rusher has sacked Mahomes twice over the years. “We’ve done an outstanding job against the run, which has earned him more opportunities to rush. I think he has capitalized on his matchups. When you can get into a rhythm, as a rusher, that’s as good as Khalil is, I think that you’re going to be consistent around the quarterback, which is what he has been.”
LOOKING TO REBOUND
Justin Herbert has completed fewer than 60% of his passes in consecutive games for only the third time in his four-year career, going 22 of 37 for 227 yards with two touchdowns and a pick last week against Dallas. Yet he also has three 300-yard games in six starts against the Chiefs.
“They are kind of young, but they don’t play like it. They play like they’re veterans all around the board,” Herbert said. “They’re really well-coached. When you have a group like that together, it’s going to make for a really good defense.”
The Chiefs have won three straight against the Chargers, part of an era of AFC West dominance that has yielded seven straight division titles. One reason for that sustained success is that Chiefs coach Andy Reid spends time during training camp working specifically on division opponents, and that could give his team an advantage when game week arrives.
“I don’t know if most teams do that but I’m sure other teams do,” Reid said. “I think taking the time for the coaches and players when it’s not quite so chaotic as during the season, I think helps.”
Miami Dolphins (5-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-1): Brisk fall weather, at least for Florida folks, awaits the Dolphins on Sunday night with the forecast calling for temps in the 40s and plenty of wind. Mother Nature might be the only thing capable of slowing down the Miami offense at its current rate, averaging nearly 500 yards and 38 points per game. By far the best run defense the Dolphins have seen, the Eagles surrender 65.8 rushing yards per game while Miami has averaged 181.8 yards on the ground to date. QB Jalen Hurts gets his first NFL close-up with former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa, who displaced Hurts with the Crimson Tide, and might show up angry after the Eagles’ first loss of the season last week. He has 24 total touchdowns in 10 career home starts. Injuries could be a detrimental factor for the Eagles, who hit midweek with an extensive list of contributors iffy for Sunday.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) There will be one certainty when the Miami Dolphins visit the Philadelphia Eagles in a matchup of two of the NFL’s best teams on Sunday night: Tua Tagovailoa can’t replace Jalen Hurts at halftime.
Tagovailoa and Hurts are among the top young quarterbacks in the NFL. The 25-year-old Hurts was the MVP runner-up a year ago, when he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl. The 25-year-old Tagovailoa has thrived under coach Mike McDaniel’s system and this year has built off a breakout 2022, when he set career highs in passing touchdowns, passing yards and passer rating.
But the QBs who go head-to-head for the first time in the NFL will forever be linked by their tenures under coach Nick Saban at Alabama.
More specifically, the 2017 season national championship game when Saban benched Hurts, who had led the Crimson Tide to two national title games, at the half and replaced him with Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa was a freshman who had played mostly in mop-up duty when he came off the bench and threw three touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide their fifth national championship.
Oh, and the play that sparked the comeback? Tagovailoa’s 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith, the 1,110-yard receiving wideout from a year ago, when he reunited with Hurts.
Tagovailoa, who leads the NFL in passing yards and touchdown passes, remained the starter the following Alabama season. Hurts, though, led the Crimson Tide to a win in the SEC Championship game when Tagovailoa was injured. Hurts later transferred to Oklahoma for his final season.
Miami drafted Tagovailoa fifth overall in the 2020 draft while the Eagles snagged Hurts in the second round with the 53rd pick.
Now, they lead teams that are both 5-1 and considered Super Bowl contenders.
“I know it’ll be a good game and I don’t think of it as a Super Bowl preview or anything like that,” Tagovailoa said. “I just think that this is another team that we’re preparing for and in order for us to get to where we want to go to, we’ve got to play this game.”
Saban said this week he never felt there were simmering issues between Tagovailoa and Hurts, even as they battled for one of the premier positions in college football.
“I never had two players that were really, really good players at the same position who actually supported each other the way those two guys supported each other when they were here,” Saban said. “I think that comes from mutual respect and both guys being great team guys and putting the team before their own personal feelings. One guy went like 26-2 as a starter and got replaced by another guy for a whole year and supported him. And when that guy got hurt, he went in and won the game.”
Saban said he believed that Hurts improved more as a passer in the year he played behind Tagovailoa than in his years as a starter.
“The psychological support that they gave each other in every circumstance is something that I think is really, really special, and I’m sure they have the same feeling about each other,” Saban said. “I know they’re both great competitors, so they’re going to go do what they have to do for their team. But I do think there’ll be a mutual respect by both guys.”
Both QBs were respectful toward the other, although, in the heat of competition, neither necessarily gushed about his rival.
“It’s been great to see the things he’s been able to do over his career,” Hurts said.
Added Tagovailoa: “I got a lot of respect for Jalen. He’s been a great competitor since I got there to Alabama. He’s been a special player since I’ve been there, and he’s been a special player throughout his entire college career.”
Dolphins All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey practiced Wednesday for the first time since having surgery in July to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Ramsey, who suffered the injury during the second practice of training camp, will not play Sunday, but McDaniel said the team is optimistic that Ramsey will return soon.
“He told us before his surgery that he was going to – he kept telling me he was an alien,” McDaniel said. “So I’m starting to believe him. And that’s a cool thing for such a well-established player at the top of his game for the whole team to see, on how you attack things.”
The Dolphins have until Nov. 7 to activate Ramsey to the 53-man roster.
Miami currently has the league’s 20th-ranked defense, allowing 343.7 yards per game.
The Dolphins’ five wins this season have come against teams with a combined record of 5-24. The only team they’ve faced with a winning record is Buffalo (4-2). Miami lost that game 48-20.
Tagovailoa said Sunday’s matchup could be a litmus test.
“I think it’s always good when you’re facing a team that went to the Super Bowl, where they were just that short of winning it,” Tagovailoa said. “It’s always a test to go up against a team like this where they understand what it takes. They know the work that needs to be put in to make it there. And it definitely is a good opportunity to see where our team stands and where we’re at with that.”
Back by weirdly popular demand, the Eagles will wear throwback Kelly green jerseys on Sunday. The Eagles wore the color as their primary uniform from 1985 to 1995, an era when the team won very little, but the aura of former coach Buddy Ryan, the late Reggie White, Randall Cunningham and others from that time still looms large on the Philly sports scene.
Princess Diana once made the cover of People magazine wearing a Kelly green Eagles jacket.
The Eagles tried for years to bring back the color scheme as an alternate jersey but it wasn’t until the NFL said ahead of the 2022 season that teams could wear two different helmets that the idea could become a reality.
“Look good, feel good, play good, right?” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “We focus on the task at hand, but that’s a cool thing. I know that when those jerseys came out, right, I went immediately to the store and got my kids those jerseys, and my son doesn’t take that A.J. Brown Kelly green jersey off very often. I think it’s an exciting thing for the fans and I think it’s an exciting thing for us.”
The Eagles have gone all in on Kelly green products outside of the uniform line, launching everything from Kelly green debit cards to the labels for special whiskey and vodka.
NFL PREVIEW: WHAT TO LOOK FOR WEEK 7
Below are teams and players that can set historic marks or reach career milestones in Week 7 of the 2023 NFL season, including:
- Miami (Tyreek Hill)
- Philadelphia (A.J. Brown)
- Cleveland (Myles Garrett)
- Detroit (Jared Goff)
- Buffalo (Stefon Diggs)
- San Francisco (Christian McCaffrey)
- Kansas City (Travis Kelce & Chris Jones)
- L.A. Rams (Puka Nacua & Aaron Donald)
- L.A. Chargers (Austin Ekeler)
TOP OFFENSES & TOP RECEIVERS MEET ON SNF
The MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-1) and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-1) tie for the best record in the NFL entering Week 7, while owning the top-two offenses in the league. Miami ranks first with 498.7 yards per game, with the Eagles ranking second with 395.0 yards per game.
When the two clubs meet in Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), it will mark the first game since 2016 to feature the top-two offenses in the league in Week 7 or later, when the Falcons hosted the Saints in Week 17 of that season.
Miami’s offense continues on a historic pace, as its 2,992 total yards are the second-most by a team through its first six games of a season in NFL history. With 282 yards on Sunday night, the Dolphins will move into the top-three for the most total yards of offense ever by a team through its first seven games of a season.
The teams with the most total yards of offense in their first seven games of a season in NFL history:
|TEAM||TOTAL YARDS OF OFFENSE|
|2000 St. Louis Rams||3,484|
|2013 Denver Broncos||3,285|
|2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3,273|
|2023 Miami Dolphins||2,992*|
|*Through six games|
Sunday night’s matchup will also feature the top-two receiving leaders in the league this season – Miami’s TYREEK HILL (814 receiving yards in 2023) and Phialdelphia’s A.J. BROWN (672).
With 86 receiving yards on Sunday, Hill will become the first player in 62 years and fourth player in NFL history to reach 900 receiving yards through his team’s first seven games of a season, joining CHARLIE HENNIGAN (1,044 receiving yards in 1961), and Pro Football Hall of Famers ELROY “CRAZY LEGS” HIRSCH (961 in 1951) and DON HUTSON (915 in 1942).
The players with at least 900 receiving yards in their team’s first seven games of a season all-time:
|Charlie Hennigan||Houston Oilers||1961||1,044|
|Elroy HirschHOF||L.A. Rams||1951||961|
|Don HutsonHOF||Green Bay||1942||915|
|*Through six games|
Hill has totaled at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in four games this season (Weeks 1, 3, 5 and 6) and became the first player ever to record 150 receiving yards in four of his team’s first six games of a season.
On Sunday, Hill can become the first player in NFL history with 150 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in five games within a season and the fourth player since 1970 to record 150 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in three consecutive games, joining JOSH GORDON (2013), Pro Football Hall of Famer JAMES LOFTON (1984) and ANDRE RISON (1990).
Hill can also become the fifth player ever with 150 receiving yards in five games within a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers TIM BROWN (1997) and JERRY RICE (1995) as well as ANTONIO BROWN (2017) and ROY GREEN (1984).
Since entering the NFL in 2016, Hill has 15 career games with 150 receiving yards. With another 150-yard performance, he will tie JULIO JONES – who signed with Philadelphia this past week and can make his Eagles debut on Sunday – for the fourth-most such games all-time. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (30 games), LANCE ALWORTH (17) and TERRELL OWENS (17) have more.
The players with the most games with at least 150 receiving yards all-time:
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco, Oakland||30|
|Lance AlworthHOF||San Diego Chargers||17|
|Terrell OwensHOF||San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati||17|
|Tyreek Hill||Kansas City, Miami||15*|
|Don MaynardHOF||N.Y. Titans/Jets||15|
A.J. BROWN has totaled over 125 receiving yards in each of the past four games, the longest streak within a season in franchise history. With 125 receiving yards on Sunday night, Brown will become the third player in NFL history to reach 125 receiving yards in five consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer CALVIN JOHNSON (2012) and PAT STUDSTILL (1966).
Both Brown and Hill were acquired by their current teams prior to the 2022 season and Sunday night will mark their 24th regular-season game with their respective club. Each player has among the most receiving yards by a player in his first 25 games with a new team in the Super Bowl era.
The players with the most receiving yards in their first 25 games with a new team in the Super Bowl era:
|Odell Beckham, Jr.||N.Y. Giants||2014-15||2,625|
|Wes Chandler||San Diego Chargers||1981-83||2,172|
|*Through 23 games|
BROWNS LOOK TO CONTINUE HISTORIC PACE ON DEFENSE
The CLEVELAND BROWNS lead the league in total defense this season, allowing 200.4 yards per game. Their 1,002 total yards allowed in their first five games this season are the fewest in 52 years and the third-fewest yards allowed by a team in its first five games of a season since 1970.
By allowing 198-or-fewer yards at Indianapolis on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Cleveland will become the fourth team since 1970 to allow fewer than 1,200 yards through its first six games of a season, joining the Baltimore Colts in 1971 (989 yards allowed), Minnesota in 1970 (1,045) and Washington in 1974 (1,176).
Defensive end MYLES GARRETT leads the team with 5.5 sacks this season and ranks second in the NFL with 80 sacks since entering the league in 2017.
With a sack on Sunday, Garrett, who turns 28 later this season, can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (80 sacks)for the most NFL sacks by a player prior to his 28th birthday since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.
The players with the most NFL sacks prior to their 28th birthday since 1982:
|Derrick ThomasHOF||Kansas City||77|
|*Turns 28 on Dec. 29, 2023|
LIONS CAN CONTINUE HOT START
The DETROIT LIONS (5-1) have won four consecutive games and 10 of their last 12 overall. Since beginning the 2022 season 1-6, Detroit has compiled a 13-3 record.
With a win at Baltimore on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Detroit will be off to its best start since 1956 and will become the second team in the past 10 years to begin a season 6-1 the year after beginning a season 1-6, joining San Francisco in 2019.
The Lions have won each of their past four games by at least 14 points. The Lions can become the fifth team since 2000 to win five consecutive games within a season by at least 14 points, joining the 2019 Baltimore Ravens, 2009 New Orleans Saints, 2007 New England Patriots and 2005 Indianapolis Colts.
Quarterback JARED GOFF ranks fifth in the league with 1,618 passing yards this season and last week recorded his 17th-career game with at least 350 passing yards since entering the NFL in 2016.
With his next 350-yard performance, Goff will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (18 games) and MATTHEW STAFFORD (18) for the second-most such games by a player in his first eight seasons in NFL history. Only PATRICK MAHOMES (21 games, currently in his seventh season) has more.
The players with the most games with at least 350 passing yards in their first eight seasons in NFL history:
|Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City||21#|
|Jared Goff||St. Louis/L.A. Rams, Detroit||17*|
|*In eighth season|
DIGGS DOMINATING THROUGH SIX GAMES
Buffalo wide receiver STEFON DIGGS ranks tied for second in the NFL with five touchdown receptions this season, third with 620 receiving yards and tied for third with 49 receptions. He has recorded at least six receptions in each of his first six games and over 100 receiving yards in five of six games.
With 100 receiving yards at New England on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Diggs will become the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record 100 receiving yards in six of his team’s first seven games of a season, joining ADAM THIELEN (first seven games in 2018) and Pro Football Hall of Famers MARVIN HARRISON (six games in 2000) and MICHAEL IRVIN (six games in 1995).
With six receptions, Diggs will become the sixth different player in the Super Bowl era to record at least six catches in each of his team’s first seven games of a season, joining JIMMY SMITH (2001), STEVE SMITH (2006), ADAM THIELEN (2018), HINES WARD (2004) and WES WELKER (2008 and 2009).
The players with at least six receptions in the most consecutive games to begin a season in the Super Bowl era:
|Wes Welker||New England||2009||11|
|Wes Welker||New England||2008||11|
MCCAFFREY CAN EXTEND HISTORIC TOUCHDOWN STREAK
San Francisco running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY leads the NFL with 553 rushing yards this season and ranks second with nine scrimmage touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns. He is the only player in the league with a touchdown in each of the first six weeks.
Dating back to Week 13 of the 2022 season and including the postseason, McCaffrey has recorded at least one scrimmage touchdown in 15 consecutive games. With a touchdown on Sunday, he would become the first player in NFL history to score a scrimmage touchdown in 16 consecutive games. He can also join Pro Football Hall of Famer LENNY MOORE (17 consecutive games from 1963-64) as the only players all-time with a touchdown of any kind in 16-or-more straight games, including the postseason.
The players with the most consecutive games with a scrimmage touchdown, including the postseason, in NFL history:
|Christian McCaffrey||San Francisco||15* (Dec. 4, 2022 – current)|
|Lenny MooreHOF||Baltimore Colts||15 (Oct. 27, 1963 – Nov. 29, 1964)|
|John RigginsHOF||Washington||15 (Jan. 15, 1983 – Nov. 27, 1983)|
|O.J. SimpsonHOF||Buffalo||15 (Dec. 12, 1974 – Dec. 20, 1975)|
The players with the most consecutive games with a touchdown of any kind, including the postseason, in NFL history:
|Lenny MooreHOF||Baltimore Colts||17 (Oct. 27, 1963 – Dec. 13, 1964)|
|Christian McCaffrey||San Francisco||15* (Dec. 4, 2022 – current)|
|John RigginsHOF||Washington||15 (Jan. 15, 1983 – Nov. 27, 1983)|
|O.J. SimpsonHOF||Buffalo||15 (Dec. 12, 1974 – Dec. 20, 1975)|
KELCE MOVING UP TOUCHDOWN LIST, JONES LOOKS TO EXTEND SACK STREAK
Last week, Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE recorded his 36th-career game with 100 receiving yards, the most such games by a tight end in NFL history. Since entering the league in 2013, Kelce ranks second among all players with 850 receptions and fourth with 10,690 receiving yards and 72 touchdown receptions.
With two touchdown receptions against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Kelce will tie JASON WITTEN (74 touchdown receptions) for the fifth-most touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history.
The tight ends with the most receptions in NFL history:
|Antonio Gates||San Diego/L.A. Chargers||116|
|Tony GonzalezHOF||Kansas City, Atlanta||111|
|Rob Gronkowski||New England, Tampa Bay||92|
|Jimmy Graham||New Orleans, Seattle, Green Bay, Chicago||86|
|Jason Witten||Dallas, Las Vegas||74|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||72|
Defensive tackle CHRIS JONES has recorded a sack in each of his five games this season and in each of his past eight regular-season games overall.
With a sack on Sunday, Jones will become the first player since CLAY MATTHEWS in 2019 to record a sack in each of his first six games of a season. It will also mark the fifth occurrence since 2000 in which a player has recorded a sack in nine-or-more consecutive games in which he appeared. Jones recorded a sack in 11 consecutive games in 2018, the longest such streak within a season since 1982.
The players with the most consecutive games with a sack in which they appeared since 2000:
|Chris Jones||Kansas City||11 (Oct. 7 – Dec. 23, 2018)|
|DeMarcus WareHOF||Dallas||10 (Dec. 16, 2007 – Oct. 19, 2008)|
|Dwight Freeney||Indianapolis||9 (Dec. 12, 2008 – Nov. 8, 2009)|
|Trey Hendrickson||Cincinnati||9 (Oct. 10 – Dec. 12, 2021)|
|Chris Jones||Kansas City||8* (Dec. 24, 2022 – current)|
WATT CAN REACH SEVERAL MARKS WITH 2+ SACKS
Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. WATT enters Week 7 tied for the league lead with eight sacks this season. He has recorded a sack in four of five games in 2023, with multiple sacks in three games.
With two sacks at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, FOX), Watt will become the third player to record at least two sacks in four of his team’s first six games of a season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining ELVIS DUMERVIL (2009) and Pro Football Hall of Famer KEVIN GREENE (1998).
With two sacks, Watt will also become the first player since Dumervil in 2009 and the fourth since 2000 to total at least 10 sacks through his team’s first six games of a season.
Since entering the league in 2017, Watt leads all players with 85.5 sacks in 92 games. With two sacks on Sunday, Watt will tie his brother J.J. WATT (87.5 sacks) for the second-most sacks by a player in his first 100 career games since 1982. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (105) has more.
Watt’s 19 career games with at least two sacks are also the most in the NFL since 2017. With his next two-sack performance, he will tie JARED ALLEN (20 sacks) andPro Football Hall of Famer BRUCE SMITH (20) for the fourth-most such games by a player in his first 100 games since 1982.
The players with the most games with at least two sacks in their first 100 NFL games since 1982:
|Jared Allen||Kansas City, Minnesota||20|
|*In 92 career games|
NACUA’S FIRST SEVEN GAMES & DONALD AIMS FOR 10 TFL
Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver PUKA NACUA ties for the NFL lead with 50 receptions this season and ranks fourth with 598 receiving yards. His 50 receptions (in six games) are already the most-ever by a player in his first seven career games, surpassing SAQUON BARKLEY (49 in 2018).
With 102 receiving yards against Pittsburgh on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, FOX), Nacua will become the second player in NFL history to reach 700 receiving yards in his first seven career games, joining JA’MARR CHASE (754 receiving yards in 2021).
The players with the most receiving yards in their first seven career games in NFL history:
|Harlon Hill||Chicago Bears||1954||685|
|Billy Howton||Green Bay||1952||667|
|Puka Nacua||L.A. Rams||2023||598*|
|*Through six games|
Defensive tackle AARON DONALD ranks tied for fourth in the NFL with eight tackles for loss this season. With two tackles for loss on Sunday, he will become the second player since 2000 to record at least 10 tackles for loss in each of his first 10 seasons, joining JARED ALLEN.
EKELER CLOSING IN ON 400 RECEPTIONS, 7,500 YARDS
Since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Los Angeles Chargers running back AUSTIN EKELER has totaled 7,401 scrimmage yards, leads all running backs with 29 touchdown receptions and ranks third among running backs with 397 receptions.
With 99 scrimmage yards at Kansas City on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Ekeler will become the fourth undrafted running back in the common-draft era to record at least 7,500 career scrimmage yards, joining PRIEST HOLMES (11,134 scrimmage yards), ARIAN FOSTER (8,873) and FRED JACKSON (8,643).
The undrafted running backs with at least 7,500 career scrimmage yards in the common-draft era:
|Priest Holmes||Baltimore, Kansas City||11,134|
|Arian Foster||Houston, Miami||8,873|
|Fred Jackson||Buffalo, Seattle||8,643|
|Austin Ekeler||L.A. Chargers||7,401*|
Ekeler also has 397 receptions in his first 91 career games. With three receptions, Ekeler will surpass LARRY CENTERS (94 games) as the fourth-fastest running back in NFL history to reach 400 career receptions. Only CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY (66 games), ALVIN KAMARA (79) and ROGER CRAIG (85) reached the mark in fewer games.
The running backs to reach 400 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:
|Alvin Kamara||New Orleans||79|
|Roger Craig||San Francisco||85|
|Austin Ekeler||L.A. Chargers||91*|
|*Has 397 receptions in 91 games|
Ekeler has 29 career touchdown receptions and can also become the sixth running back in the Super Bowl era with at least 30 career touchdown receptions, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (36 touchdown receptions), DARREN SPROLES (32), KEITH BYARS (31), JAMES BROOKS (30) and BRIAN WESTBROOK (30).
The running backs with the most touchdown receptions in the Super Bowl era:
|Marshall FaulkHOF||Indianapolis, St. Louis Rams||36|
|Darren Sproles||San Diego Chargers, New Orleans, Philadelphia||32|
|Keith Byars||Philadelphia, Miami, New England, N.Y. Jets||31|
|James Brooks||San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati||30|
|Brian Westbrook||Philadelphia, San Francisco||30|
|Austin Ekeler||L.A. Chargers||29|
BROWNS QB DESHAUN WATSON EXPECTED TO START SUNDAY AT INDY AFTER MISSING 2 GAMES WITH SHOULDER INJURY
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to start Sunday at Indianapolis after missing two games with a right shoulder injury.
Watson last played on Sept. 24, when he bruised his rotator cuff while being tackled on a running play against Tennessee. He missed Cleveland’s game on Oct. 1 against Baltimore, and sat out again — one week after the Browns’ bye — a week ago against San Francisco.
Coach Kevin Stefanski wouldn’t commit to Watson starting, but said he looked good in Friday’s practice and all signs are pointing to Cleveland getting back its No. 1 quarterback.
Stefanski said he wants to see how Watson’s shoulder responds over the next 48 hours.
The team is listing Watson as questionable.
The Browns (3-2) split their games without Watson, who had his best overall game since signing with Cleveland against the Titans.
The 28-year-old Watson, who is 5-4 as a starter with Cleveland, practiced Thursday for the first time in nearly three weeks. He looked tentative while throwing during the 30-minute portion of the workout open to media.
On Friday, Watson had a compression sleeve on his right arm and a supportive brace on his shoulder as the Browns worked out indoors. Watson threw with more velocity than the previous day and took the bulk of first-team reps in preparation for the Colts (3-3).
REPORTS: SEAHAWKS’ JAMAL ADAMS FINED $50K FOR ACTIONS TOWARD CONCUSSION DOCTOR
The NFL fined Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams $50,000 this week for “verbal remarks” and “inappropriate physical contact” with an independent concussion doctor during Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, CBS Sports and the Seattle Times reported.
The league sent Adams a letter saying he “interfered with orderly administration of the game when the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant (UNC) was walking with Seahawks wide receiver Jake Bobo to the blue medical tent for evaluation of a concussion,” according to CBS Sports.
Bobo had caught a 20-yard pass in the third quarter and was hit hard by Bengals safety Dax Hill, resulting in a penalty. Bobo was evaluated and returned to the game.
The media reports said league sources indicated that Adams’ previous incident with a concussion doctor during an Oct. 2 game against the New York Giants was not a factor in the fine.
Adams sustained a concussion in that contest, his first game back since Sept. 12, 2022, when he tore his quad and was lost for that season. Appearing frustrated about being removed, he shouted at the red hat, whose sole job is to identify possible concussion injuries and get those players out of the game. Final decisions are made by the team doctors and trainers.
But after looking at video of Adams’ interaction with the doctor, as well as hearing his apology, the NFL declined to fine or otherwise punish Adams.
Adams, 28, appeared wobbly when getting up after the tackle of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and was taken to the medical tent on the Seahawks’ sideline. Adams was taken back to the locker room for tests and subsequently ruled out for the rest of the game by the team.
Adams later apologized to the unnamed doctor via social media.
“You did everything right when you realized I was concussed, I apologize for any negative energy I brought your way,” Adams wrote on Twitter.
“Watching the replay, I am thankful for your patience knowing I wasn’t myself in that moment. You’re a real one and you serve a great purpose that benefits the NFL and so many players. Prioritizing player’s health is essential. Much respect to you.”
NFL WEEK 7 PROP PICKS: MEASURING THE BAGENT EFFECT
Week 7 arrives with the first mass bye week sending six teams to the sidelines: the Panthers, Bengals, Cowboys, Texans, Jets and Titans.
Fewer teams and opportunities sent us digging a little deeper for find an edge in the props market.
We managed to find three plays offering value that bettors should consider adding to their portfolios for Week 7.
–Packers WR Romeo Doubs over 3.5 receptions (+112 at FanDuel)
The Packers had plenty of time to reflect on their 17-13 loss to the Raiders in Week 5. Green Bay is one of just two teams coming off a bye.
Although the Packers didn’t play particularly well in Las Vegas, they still had a chance to win until Jordan Love threw an interception inside Raiders territory with 44 seconds left in regulation.
Love only managed to link up with Doubs for one completion for just four yards in the game. Those numbers fell well short of the wide receiver’s expectations based on his team-leading 21 receptions, 37 targets and 228 receiving yards.
This game sets up nicely for Doubs to bounce back, considering the extra rest for him and his teammates. It also doesn’t hurt that the Packers will face a Broncos team that ranks dead last in pass defense expected points added (EPA) per Nfelo metrics.
This prop seems a bit short, as my projections have Doubs going over this number, given his median and average on the season.
–Chargers QB Justin Herbert under 38.5 pass attempts (-115 at BetMGM)
After playing their last two games at home, the Chargers hit the road for a divisional matchup against the Chiefs. Kansas City is on a five-game win streak after dropping their season opener to the Detroit Lions.
What’s interesting about this Chiefs team is the fact that they’ve been able to lean on their defense for much of the season.
Kansas City sits third for the fewest points allowed (88) in 2023. And against the pass, the Chiefs’ defense is tied for second in EPA.
While this matchup between two divisional foes has grown more competitive since Herbert’s arrival with the Chargers, the Oregon product is just 2-4 against the Chiefs with three straight losses.
The line movement for the total could be foretelling, given that it opened at 49, and it’s now down 47.5. That’s quite a drop considering that the last four totals in this series were at least 52.5 points.
Herbert’s head-to-head matchups against Kansas City provide a tell. He attempted over 38 passes in only one of six games against Kansas City.
Combined with Kansas City’s defense playing well, there is value in the under.
–Bears TE Robert Tonyan over 6.5 receiving yards (-110 at BetMGM)
If starting quarterback Justin Fields (thumb) is out, this prop is even more attractive with rookie Tyson Bagent making his first NFL start. Despite signing as an undrafted free agent, Bagent defied the odds to make the Bears’ 53-man roster.
To say the odds were against him would be an understatement, mainly since he played his ball in Division II. Bagent did manage to break the NCAA touchdown passing record.
You don’t make it to the NFL if you don’t have the ability, and Chicago must’ve seen enough out of him in preseason to reward him with a roster spot. Nonetheless, this is quite a step up in class for the Shepherd University product.
I don’t see the Bears calling a ton of go routes with Bagent under center. Instead, look for him to play the role of a game manager to try and move his team up the field.
That should result in shorter passing plays and an increased usage of his tight ends. Based on the Bears’ snap counts by position, they’re using multiple tight end sets, which means Tonyan is getting opportunities to line up even with Cole Kmet (TE1) already on the field.
According to Pro-Football-Reference, Chicago’s offensive line is facing the fourth-highest pressure rate at 28.8%, so Bagent must get the ball out of his hands quickly.
Chicago’s protection woes should lead to more catching opportunities for their tight ends, particularly Tonyan.
GIANTS PART WAYS WITH VETERAN WR COLE BEASLEY
The New York Giants parted ways with wide receiver Cole Beasley on Friday, coach Brian Daboll confirmed.
The 34-year-old veteran had requested his release from the practice squad, according to NFL Network.
Beasley joined the Giants ahead of training camp and began the season on injured reserve with a quad injury.
“Got a lot of respect for Cole,” Daboll said. “Just decided that — kind of both parties had a good conversation, and he won’t be on the practice squad.”
Beasley was designated for return from IR on Oct. 10 but never played a snap for New York.
He has 556 catches for 5,744 yards and 34 touchdowns in 153 games (51 starts) with the Dallas Cowboys (2012-18), Buffalo Bills (2019-22) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2022).
LIONS EXPECT RB JAHMYR GIBBS (HAMSTRING) TO PLAY VS. RAVENS
The Detroit Lions expect rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs to return from a hamstring injury and to carry the load Sunday against the host Baltimore Ravens.
Gibbs sustained the injury in practice on Oct. 6. Leading rusher David Montgomery is out with a rib cartilage injury and backup Craig Reynolds has been limited at practice this week by hamstring and toe injuries.
“(Gibbs) looks good. Yeah, I think he’s gonna be a go,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said Friday. “He looked pretty good yesterday.”
Gibbs has rushed for 179 yards on 39 attempts and caught 14 passes for 70 yards in four games (one start) since being selected by Detroit with the 12th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
“Certainly, I think he’s going to need to take the load of it. We’re just gonna have to see where he’s at,” Campbell said. “I’d like to say we want to be careful with him, but the reality of it is, we need him. So, we’ll go as far as he can take us here, trying to be as smart as we can, but he’s got to go. And he’s ready.”
FOUR-TIME CHAMP ANDRE IGUODALA RETIRES AFTER 19 SEASONS
Four-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala announced his retirement Friday after 19 seasons with four teams.
Iguodala, 39, won all of his titles with the Golden State Warriors and was the 2015 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
The 2011-12 All-Star and 2012 Olympic gold medalist said he turned down interest from the Warriors and other teams before deciding to step away to spend more time with his family.
“It’s just the right time,” Iguodala told Andscape. “Time started to get limited for me and I didn’t want to put anything in the back seat. I didn’t want to have to try to delegate time anymore. Especially with on the court, off the court with family. A lot.
“You want to play at a high level. But then family is a lot. My son is 16 and then two girls. So, (I’m) looking forward to seeing them grow up in those important years.”
He averaged 11.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 1,231 games (784 starts) with the Philadelphia 76ers (2004-12), Denver Nuggets (2012-13), Warriors (2013-19, 2021-23) and Miami Heat (2019-21).
Iguodala made the 2004-05 All-Rookie first team and the All-Defensive teams in 2010-11 (second team) and 2013-14 (first team). His championships with Golden State came in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022.
His teams made the playoffs 15 times and he appeared in 177 postseason games (107 starts), averaging 9.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
In the 2015 Finals against Cleveland, he earned MVP honors after averaging 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals and playing outstanding defense against Cavaliers star LeBron James throughout the six-game series.
The Sixers drafted Iguodala with the No. 9 pick in 2004 out of Arizona.
He earned a gold medal with the United States at the 2012 Summer Games in London. Iguodala also won a FIBA world championship in 2010 in Turkey.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW BIG 10: MARYLAND
|2022-23:||22-13, 11-9 (T-5th, Big Ten)|
|NCAA Tournament – Second Round|
|Location:||College Park, MD|
|Coach:||KEVIN WILLARD (2nd Season)|
|Homecourt:||XFINITY CENTER (17,950)|
|Key Departures:||HAKIM HART (11.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.6 apg)|
|DONALD CAREY (7.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.1 apg)|
|IAN MARTINEZ (5.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.6 apg)|
|PATRICK EMILIEN (2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.7 bpg)|
|Key Newcomers:||DeSHAWN HARRIS-SMITH (freshman, Paul VI Catholic)|
|JAMIE KAISER (freshman, IMG Academy)|
|JORDAN GERONIMO (transfer, Indiana)|
|CHANCE STEPHENS (transfer, LMU)|
|JAHNATHAN LAMOTHE (freshman, St. Frances Academy)|
FROM THE COACH
“We’ve gotten way more athletic, and now with our size, we actually look like a Big Ten team.”
Kevin Willard’s first season in College Park couldn’t have gone much better. There was a bad taste after the early season departure of Mark Turgeon the previous year, and Willard was the easy choice as his successor.
The new coach kept a few holdovers and hit the portal for a couple guards, and he wound up taking a proud program that had struggled the previous couple seasons back to the NCAA Tournament, beating West Virginia in the first round before falling to top-seeded Alabama.
It didn’t take long for the new coach to win over the fan base.
Willard lost veteran Hakim Hart, who transferred to Villanova in the offseason. But other than that, he brought everyone of note back, including three starters. Willard also added a couple of top-75 freshmen and brought in a pair of impact transfers from the portal — including one who will fight for a starting spot.
The culture has changed quickly under Willard. He’s added more toughness and talent, and now, he’s also ramped up expectations for the Terps.
ROAD TO SUCCESS
Maryland brought back three veteran starters in leading scorer Jahmir Young, talented big man Julian Reese and versatile forward Donta Scott.
Young came back home from Charlotte last season and was a savior of sorts, averaging 15.8 points and giving Willard a guy who could create something out of nothing. He shouldn’t need to score quite as much this season with an influx of talent, especially on the perimeter, but he’ll still be a guy who can go get a bucket, and perhaps the go-to option in crunch time.
“We need him to be more of a playmaker,” Willard said of Young. “He’ll never be a pass-first guy, but we need a little more of that mentality.”
Reese took a major jump last season as a sophomore, and if he can do that again, the 6-9 Maryland native can become an all-league player. The key is whether he can consistently make mid-range jumpers, and even more importantly, whether he can play with a high motor all the time.
Scott is just a tough dude who provides leadership as a fifth-year player, and he does a lot of little things. The 6-8, 230-pounder simply needs to improve his perimeter shot — he only hit 31% of his 3s a year ago and 29% the year prior. There’s a sharpshooter in there somewhere, though; Scott knocked down 44% of his 3-pointers on over 100 attempts back in 2020-21.
As for the new guys, Willard can’t stop gushing about his freshman guards, and he has reason to love these two rookies.
Deshawn Harris-Smith (ranked No. 32 in the 2023 class) comes out of Paul VI in Virginia and is an old-school Big East guard: tough, gets to the basket, will defend and try to rip your head off. His weakness? Shooting from deep. The Terps also added 6-6 wing Jamie Kaiser (No. 66), a former high school quarterback who has a flamethrower. He can really shoot it and isn’t shy in letting it fly.
“Both of these guys are older, stronger and mentally tough,” Willard said.
Willard also added three guys out of the portal, although former LMU guard Chance Stephens suffered a preseason knee injury and could miss the year. But look for former Indiana guard Jordan Geronimo to challenge for a starting spot, and New Mexico State transfer Mady Traore to play a key role off the bench this season and eventually grow into a starter.
Geronimo only averaged 4.2 points in Bloomington and was a role player for three years with the Hoosiers, but Willard loves his toughness and intangibles — and is hopeful he can make open shots. Traore is a 7-foot athlete who will back up Reese, but he gives the Terps a different dimension.
Willard also has some nice pieces back that will bolster the bench: senior guard Jahari Long, sophomore wing Noah Batchelor and 6-11 Canadian Caelum Swanton-Rodger. Long will give Willard a veteran backing up Young, Batchelor can provide shooting, and Swanton-Rodger can rebound and run the floor as a reserve big.
Maryland shot just 33% from 3 a year ago. Young is much more of a driver than a shooter, and he made just 31% from deep last season. Scott hasn’t been much of a threat from long range, either. Harris-Smith is streaky, and Geronimo has made 18 total 3s in his three-year college career. Reese does nearly all his damage in the paint.
“If we shoot it well, we can be really good,” Willard said. “We had too many games last year where we really struggled shooting the ball.”
Kaiser can be an elite shooter, but that may be a lot of pressure to put on a freshman. He will have the green light from Willard, but he’ll need to make sure he gets off to a good start or else his confidence could take a hit. Even more importantly: If he doesn’t make them, this team may struggle to score due to a clogged paint.
It’ll also be interesting to see how Young will adapt to a decreased scoring role this season.
A year ago after transferring in from Charlotte, where he was the go-to guy for the final two seasons, he had a similar role in College Park out of necessity. He had the ball in his hands at the end of the shot clock and end of games, and while he’ll still be a guy that gets his share of shot attempts, he may not average 13-plus shots per game — as has been the case for the past three years.
With an influx of talent, including the addition of Harris-Smith as a guy who can make plays with the ball in his hands, Young’s scoring should take a dip. Willard has also made it clear that he would like Young to be more of a playmaker for his teammates. A year ago, he had 107 assists and 79 turnovers and shot a career-low 42% from the field.
Willard is optimistic that Young will also be more efficient surrounded by more talent, which will allow him to take higher-percentage shots.
The key to the team might be Kaiser because of his ability to knock down shots and open up the floor for his teammates.
If he isn’t able to do it, the Terps will likely go through some serious scoring droughts — there is just no one else like him on the roster. No pure shooters. Sure, they have guys who can get to the basket and finish around the rim, but if they can’t shoot better than they did a year ago, teams will pack it in and dare them to take shots from long range.
That’s why Kaiser is so important to their overall success. He has great size and toughness, and his mere presence could help create driving lanes for guys like Young and Harris-Smith. He’ll make sure that teams don’t play zone and will force opposing teams to have to press up on him.
Reese is as important because of his talent and his ceiling. His freshman season was solid, but he was a factor last year, averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds in 27 minutes. He’s efficient around the basket, but he needs to expand his game and make free throws at a higher rate after shooting just 53% last season. Reese must also mature and make quality decisions while on the court. If he takes another step and becomes one of the top big men in the entire conference, he could change this team’s entire trajectory.
Willard’s team is deeper and more talented than it was a year ago. It’s more athletic, and there’s more length and size. There is no reason why the Terps shouldn’t get back to the NCAA Tournament with good balance between the perimeter and frontcourt, no shortage of toughness, a nice blend of experience and youth, and one of the more underrated coaches in the country.
“I like our team,” admitted Willard, not always known for being the eternal optimist. “I think we have a chance to be pretty good.”
Willard finished tied for fifth in the league a year ago with virtually no expectations. Now, we’ll see what he does in Year 2 with a team full of primarily his own guys — and with the Maryland fanbase yearning for even more.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW MAC: BALL STATE
|2022-23:||20-12, 11-7 (4th, MAC)|
|Coach:||MICHAEL LEWIS (2nd Season)|
|Homecourt:||WORTHEN ARENA (11,500)|
|Key Departures:||DEMARIUS JACOBS (12.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg)|
|JAYLIN SELLERS (13.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.8 apg)|
|PAYTON SPARKS (13.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.9 apg)|
|JARRON COLEMAN (14.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.8 apg)|
|Key Newcomers:||ETHAN BRITTAIN-WATTS (transfer, Boston U)|
|JALIN ANDERSON (transfer, Loyola Marymount)|
|DAVION BAILEY (transfer, Southeastern)|
|JOEY BROWN (freshman, North Central HS)|
|MASON JONES (freshman, Valparaiso HS)|
FROM THE COACH
“Last year, we had talent; we just had to teach them how to win. This year, it’s about meshing all these new guys together.”
Big picture, Michael Lewis made a resounding statement in his first season in Muncie. He led Ball State to a fourth-place finish in the MAC with an 11-7 record. Before a tumultuous tailspin down the stretch — the team dropped four of its last five regular season games — the Cardinals were neck-and-neck with the MAC’s cream of the crop (Toledo, Kent State and Akron) all year long. In fact, Ball State was the only MAC team who beat all three last year.
Flirting with a conference crown in his first MAC rodeo was a monumental first step for Lewis in more ways than one. The boost in program pedigree, along with a raised recruiting profile, are tangible returns from last year’s success. However, Lewis is most enthused about the shot of life last year’s unit injected into the Ball State basketball community.
“Overall, we had a really good year. We had to change some things within the program last season, and the returners were willing to make those changes,” Lewis said.
“That’s what drives winning. More than anything, last year’s team brought some pride back into Ball State basketball.”
ROAD TO SUCCESS
To the victor goes the spoils, they say. That’s not always the case in mid-major basketball, however, where power conference programs have made a pastime of pilfering top-end players.
The Cardinals, for example, lost four program pillars this offseason — three of which took their talents to high-major havens. The unfortunate timing of these portal announcements, most notably Jarron ‘Boogie’ Coleman’s last-second decision to play at Nebraska, forced Lewis to adapt on the fly.
The losses of Coleman, an All-MAC second-teamer last year, and his trusted perimeter sidekicks, Demarius Jacobs and Jaylin Sellers, swing the doors wide open for two touted transfer additions: Jalin Anderson and Davion Bailey.
Anderson, an established producer at Loyola Marymount, is a highly efficient, underrated off-guard with pinpoint long-range shooting precision. He canned 44% of his treys last season against WCC competition while doubling as a timely offensive facilitator.
Bailey, a JUCO standout, may be the tougher nut to crack. After a decorated career at Southeastern CC, he has nothing left to prove at the JUCO ranks. Bailey averaged 15 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. As far as shooting goes, Bailey may give Anderson a run for his money — he made 72 threes last year at a scorching 41% clip.He was also once a standout at the esteemed Pike High School in Indianapolis.
In fact, Bailey is one of multiple Hoosiers returning to their hometown roots this season. Another is Boston U. transfer Ethan Brittain-Watts, who is slated for major burn on the perimeter. Brittain-Watts really popped in his latter years with the Terriers, where he played for a terrific coach in Joe Jones. Lewis will lean heavily on that experience in the backcourt, especially in the wake of Coleman’s departure.
The Cardinals’ frontline is also due for a makeover. Payton Sparks, now at Indiana, was a force inside, particularly on the offensive glass. Sparks was a bull in a china shop on the block, impossible to defend without fouling. Ball State fans begrudged by Sparks’ departure will quickly point to his free-throw shooting woes, but no one can argue with his production and impact.
That puts the spotlight on Mickey Pearson and Basheer Jihad, the Cardinals’ two most established incumbents. Neither one is a star, per se, but both shine within their respective crafts. Pearson is a quintessential do-it-all wing, while the bigger Jihad does most of his damage inside. The latter could be a major surprise this year given his relative youth for his grade. Lewis pointed out that Jihad is still only 19 years old and showing signs of maturation.
In matchups that call for big-time size, Lewis can call upon 6-10 Ben Hendricks, who played sparingly last season. Coming off a shoulder injury, it’s tough to peg what Hendricks will offer this season, but his experience and size should prove useful in some capacity.
A quick look at the statistics might point to Ball State’s defense as its Achilles heel last season. However, math is funny sometimes.
Consider this: Per KenPom, Ball State was tops in the MAC last season in defensive rebounding rate and 2-point field goal percentage defense. Yet, somehow, seven other teams finished ahead of the Cardinals in adjusted defensive efficiency.
This is where the big, bad ‘variance monster’ (translation: bad luck) took over last year. Despite surrendering the fewest 3-point attempts in the MAC, Ball State’s opponents rained in a blistering 40% of their triples against the Cardinals. Statistically, defenses that prioritize limiting 3-point looks tend to be more effective at depressing opponents’ shooting. However, luck is always part of the equation — and Ball State drew the short end of the stick.
While we’re 20,000 leagues deep in the nitty-gritty arithmetic, here’s another defensive data point to note: Ball State’s defensive assist rate (also found on KenPom) ranked fourth-lowest in all of college basketball. The interpretation here is that Ball State’s defense frequently forced opposing offenses into isolation possessions, which generally correlates with tougher, lower-percentage shot chances.
The common denominator between those two anecdotes is that Lewis and his staff are instilling a sound, data-driven defensive process. Don’t be surprised to see Ball State’s defense improve this season, despite the loss of two defensive destroyers in Jacobs and Sparks.
Pearson and Jihad will lock arms and patrol the painted area in 2024, no longer with Sparks’ imposing presence nearby as protection. While neither is a high-flying shot blocking specialist, they’re both smart, savvy defenders.
Another strand of Lewis’ stylistic DNA, as seen last season, is a fearlessness in attacking the goal. As Lewis told The Almanac last year, “I don’t deal well with soft.”
Lewis still embraces the concepts of modern offense (spacing, shooting, etc.), but he relishes his team’s ability to attack the rim.
By barreling their way to the rim a year ago, the Cardinals found themselves at the free-throw line frequently. That’s where they failed to cash in on their hard work. Ball State’s team free-throw percentage plummeted into the mid-60s by season’s end, dooming the Cardinals in multiple close games.
In a season with little margin for error, every point and every possession matters. Preaching this sermon to a slew of young freshmen is a tall hurdle to clear, but Lewis is up to the task.
Micah Bell, a super-athlete sophomore, only played one game last year but could be in the mix for minutes at the point. True rookies Zane Doughty, Mason Jones and Joey Brown all hail from the Hoosier State, and each brings a different dimension to the table. Lewis loves Doughty’s competitiveness and physical makeup, and Brown is another athletic marvel on the wing. Jones, a Valparaiso native, is another versatile wing that adds to this rejiggered roster, which looks more positionless than last season.
Quincy Adams is also back after redshirting last season. He’s still battling an injury, so his impact remains in a holding pattern. Late signee Jurica Zagorsak is a 6-6 guard from Croatia with a well-rounded toolkit as well.
After earning mounds of equity with the fanbase last year, Lewis will have his work cut out for him to retain it through 2024. It might sound backwards, but the newness of this roster looks and feels more like a first-year campaign for Lewis, especially when juxtaposed against last season.
Lewis understands the daunting challenge ahead but frames it as a rare opportunity for a hopeful youth movement, which could lay the foundation for continued success down the road. It’s unfair to expect any mid-major program to lose four starters, three to power leagues, and reload overnight. Such is the harsh reality of operating in mid-major college basketball.
If there’s ever a year to reset or retool, this would be it. The MAC lost an army of top-end players this summer, so the competitive field may be weaker than last season.
“We don’t need any superhero-type efforts, but we need the guys we have to do what they do at a high level,” said Lewis on the key to success this season.
“We need them to be who they are at a high level.”
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW TOP 25: #25 FLORIDA GATORS
|2022-23:||16-17, 9-9 (8th SEC)|
|NIT – FIRST ROUND|
|Coach:||TODD GOLDEN (2nd season)|
|Homecourt:||EXACTECH ARENA (10,151)|
|Key Departures:||COLIN CASTLETON (16.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.0 bpg)|
|KYLE LOFTON (8.7 ppg, 3.5 apg)|
|KOWACIE REEVES (8.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg)|
|ALEX FUDGE (5.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg)|
|TREY BONHAM (5.6 ppg)|
|MYREON JONES (5.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg)|
|Key Newcomers:||WALTER CLAYTON JR. (transfer, Iona)|
|TYRESE SAMUEL (transfer, Seton Hall)|
|MICAH HANDLOGTEN (transfer, Marshall)|
|ZYON PULLIN (transfer, UC Riverside)|
|JULIAN RISHWAIN (transfer, San Francisco)|
|EJ JARVIS (transfer, Yale)|
|1||Walter Clayton Jr.*||G||6-2||Jr.||30.4||16.8||4.3||3.2||1.8||0.6||45.5||43.1|
FROM THE COACH
“Last year, our results were up and down. We didn’t have the finish we wanted, but we’re really happy with the foundation we laid. It gave us a base to build off of.”
Todd Golden was a darling of the mid-major world after leading San Francisco to its first NCAA Tournament in 24 years. That success landed him on the other side of the country, where he took over a Florida program that remains the last school to win back-to-back national titles.
Expectations are always high in Gainesville, regardless of the sport, so there were high hopes for Golden’s debut — but Florida struggled to get out of second gear in 2022-23. After shaking off a slow start to the season and battling to get to 13-9 heading into February, the Gators dropped six of their next seven, lost their best player to injury and finished the season under .500 for the first time since Billy Donovan’s final season in 2015.
Part of it came down to luck; there’s not much that could have been done to prevent Colin Castleton’s season-ending injury. Part of it was the fact that the staff relied too heavily on players that had never proven themselves as consistent, high-level producers. And part of it requires the coaches to look inward: Did they put their players in the best situations to succeed?
“I thought we executed really well in the spring,” Golden said. “The retention of Will (Richard) and Riley (Kugel), the guys we brought in from the portal, our freshmen. I think we’ll be a more consistent product this year.”
ROAD TO SUCCESS
It’s no surprise that Golden’s offseason summary starts with Richard and Kugel. Those two talented, efficient wings are going to play major, if not starring, roles for the Gators this season.
Kugel will show up on every Breakout Players list worth paying attention to this preseason. The 6-5 sophomore went through some growing pains as a freshman, but by the time February came around, he was one of the better players in the SEC. Over the final 10 games, Kugel averaged 17.3 points while shooting 38% from 3.
“He was the best freshman producer in league play behind Brandon Miller,” Golden said.
Kugel has terrific positional size, he is a floor-spacer, and he spent the offseason improving his body and his conditioning. The hype around him is real, and there’s a real chance he could end up being the SEC Player of the Year when it’s all said and done.
Richard will be his counterpart on the wing. He’s an NBA-caliber athlete who stands 6-4 and posted a top-50 offensive rating nationally, according to KenPom. Golden will be looking to increase the number of shots he gets this year.
“We’re going to try to manufacture looks for him, but Will’s skill is that he’s really unselfish. He takes what the defense gives him,” Golden said.
There’s a chance that Richard will end up being the sixth man for Florida this season, as the Gators landed a pair of terrific guards out of the portal in Iona’s Walter Clayton Jr. and UC Riverside’s Zyon Pullin.
Clayton is the more talented of the two, a 6-2 scorer who can play with the ball in his hands but profiles more as a combo guard than as a pure point. He is, as the kids say, a bucket.
“He’s a stud,” Golden said, “and he belongs at this level. His production didn’t drop against high level competition.”
The former Iona Gael should thrive playing alongside Pullin, who at 6-4 is more of a natural point guard and a better passer out of ball screens. The other value that Pullin brings is his mid-range game — not a shot that the analytically-inclined mind of Golden typically loves.
“Against good teams, you need someone that can operate and score at the end of a clock,” Golden said.
Between Kugel, Richard, Clayton and Pullin, Golden believes he has four guys for three spots who are all good enough to play 25-30 minutes a night. As for the bench, Denzel Aberdeen should see some minutes at the point, and the staff is excited about the potential of freshman Thomas Haugh, a dynamic 6-9 athlete who can play either forward spot. Julian Rishwain should push for minutes as well because of his ability to shoot (assuming he’s back from his ACL recovery), but for the most part, Golden is going to be riding with his top four guys.
“They are very functional together,” Golden said.
While the perimeter rotation is more or less mapped out, there are questions about how Florida will replace the production lost with Castleton’s graduation.
“We’re not going to be able to replace him with just one guy,” Golden said, “because you can’t replace a guy as talented as Colin.”
Instead, the Gators went out and landed three transfers that they believe will be able to have an impact on the program starting on opening night.
The biggest name of the three is probably Tyrese Samuel, a grad transfer from Seton Hall who started his career profiling as something of a stretch-4 before a breakout senior season playing a role centering on his defense and rebounding. He put up impressive numbers on the offensive glass, he was a playmaker defensively, and he posted his best offensive season to date in 2022-23. At 6-10, 235 pounds, he should be able to slot into the 4-spot for Golden fairly seamlessly.
While Samuel is a fifth-year senior who has proven himself at the high-major level, sophomore Micah Handlogten is a transfer who can comfortably be called an analytics darling. The 7-1 center finished his freshman season at Marshall as one of the nation’s most efficient scorers — top 10 in effective field goal percentage — as well as one of the best shot-blockers in the country. He’s an impactful athlete for his size, and he can protect the rim, operate as a vertical spacer and create issues on both ends with his mobility.
“It might take some time to adjust to the higher level,” Golden said, “but he’s really talented.”
Keep an eye on Aleks Szymczyk and Alex Condon as well. Szymczyk is a big-body stretch-5 who can make 3s while possessing the size to bang inside. Condon is, as Golden puts it, “similar to a lot of the Aussies that have come over before him: tough and grimy.” He’s a skilled, 6-11 center with a nasty streak. He’ll be a rotation guy as a freshman. With Yale grad transfer EJ Jarvis leaving the program in October, production from Szymczyck and Condon will become even more important.
Florida was a really good defensive unit last season, finishing in the top 30 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
That was in large part due to the presence of Castleton at the 5. Though he’s gone, there are enough good defenders and rim protectors up and down this lineup that Florida should find a way to remain one of the better defensive teams in the country.
Where the Gators need to take a leap is on the offensive end of the floor.
They shot just 31% from 3 last season. They were also one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the country, and when you combine an inability to space the floor with struggles scoring in a congested paint, you get a team that has to win games in the 60s.
On paper, Florida looks like it should be much more dangerous on the offensive end of the floor. But it looked good on paper last season, too.
Will Pullin and Clayton adjust to the SEC better than Kyle Lofton did? Notably, Pullin will miss the season’s first three games due to an NCAA suspension after playing in the Portsmouth Invitational, but he will be able to practice with the team throughout that stretch.
A year after Kowacie Reeves looked like he’d be a breakout star, will Kugel and Richard actually live up to the offseason hype?
Can that backcourt provide enough firepower for the Gators to be a top-40 offense in America?
Those three questions are the key to Florida’s success this year, and there’s reason to believe the Gators can answer all three with a resounding “yes.”
There aren’t many perimeters in America more dangerous than the quartet that Golden has put together. The fit of Tyrese Samuel at the 4-spot is perfect, and asking Micah Handlogten to be nothing more than a rim protector, a rim runner and a presence in the paint will play directly into his skill set.
Depth up front could end up being an issue, but there are a lot of players on this roster that have proven they can do the job being asked of them.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Florida will win the SEC, but this group should make the NCAA Tournament and be ranked in the Top 25 at some point this season.
DANFORTH HAS GOAL AND AN ASSIST, MARTIN STOPS 36 SHOTS AS BLUE JACKETS BEAT FLAMES 3-1
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Justin Danforth had a goal and an assist, backup goalie Spencer Martin stopped 36 shots to get his first win in nearly a year, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Friday night.
Sean Kuraly and Zach Werenski also scored for the Blue Jackets, who rebounded from a 4-0 loss to Detroit on Monday.
“There was a lot of good stuff from us,” Kuraly said.
Elias Lindholm scored, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 23 shots for Calgary.
After a scoreless first period, Kuraly picked up a leading pass from Danforth in the neutral zone and unloaded from the right circle. The puck went in under Markstrom’s arm to get Columbus on the board at 6:29 of the second with Kuraly’s first goal of the season and 50th of his career.
In the third period, Jack Roslovic brought the puck out from behind the Flames’ net and passed across the crease to Danforth who finished it to give the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead at 8:45. Danforth recorded his first multi-point game in the NHL.
Less than two minutes later, Lindholm broke away and beat Martin for a short-handed goal to get the Flames on the board. But that would be it for Calgary.
“(The Flames) had a press there in the second and third and Marty was lights out tonight and has a great game,” Danforth said.
Werenski got an unassisted empty-netter with 2:21 left to seal the win.
“They came out and pressed us hard,” Calgary center Mikael Backlund said. “They put a lot of pressure on us. They have a lot of fast forwards. We knew that going in. I thought we were a little sloppier than we have been in the past.”
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Merzlikins left last Saturday’s win against the New York Rangers with an unspecified illness and then missed the loss to Detroit on Monday. He wasn’t 100% on Friday, so Martin started in his place again. Martin, in his fourth NHL season, was claimed off waivers from Vancouver because of a knee injury to Daniil Tarasov.
The Blue Jackets’ Cole Sillinger and Flames center Nazem Kadri dropped the gloves and traded some wild roundhouse punches in the first period. Both went to the box for fighting. Shortly after, Columbus killed a 5-on-3 Calgary power play.
“I think that fight was huge for us,” Danforth said. “Just the young kid (who) dropped the gloves with a veteran guy like that. It shows a lot for our team, and it’s big for him to step up like that for himself. I think after that’s when we started.”
LAINE SHAKEN UP
Columbus forward Patrik Laine took a shot to the head from Rasmus Andersson as the horn sounded to end the game. Laine’s teammate Erik Gudbranson took exception and jumped Andersson before the ice was cleared. Laine was very slow to get up.
“I see a hit to the head and (Andersson) lifting his feet,” Columbus coach Pacal Vincent said. “I saw the replay. That’s illegal in my book. So we’ll let the NHL deal with it.”
Flames: At Detroit on Sunday.
Blue Jackets: At Minnesota on Saturday night.
JACK HUGHES HAS 2 GOALS AND 2 ASSISTS AS DEVILS TOP ISLANDERS 5-4 IN OT
NEW YORK (AP) Jack Hughes got his second goal of the game at 2:19 of overtime and added two assists to give the New Jersey Devils a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders on Friday night.
Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Toffoli and Luke Hughes also scored and New Jersey snapped a two-game skid. Jesper Bratt had three assists, Timo Meier had two and Akira Schmid stopped 27 shots for his first win of the season.
“I thought that really looked like our club,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said after earning his 100th win with New Jersey. “We created a lot of turnovers, inside shots, and a lot of good opportunities. Our play around the puck was a lot stronger than it has been the first few games.”
Brock Nelson and Bo Horvat each scored twice, and Kyle Palmieri had three assists as the Islanders snapped a season-opening two-game win streak. Ilya Sorokin finished with 33 saves.
In the extra period, Hughes circled with the puck in the offensive zone, cut to the middle and fired a shot around Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock and past Sorokin on the glove side.
“That play really started 25 seconds before,” Hughes said of his overtime goal. “(Meier, Dawson Mercer and John Marino) did a really good job of controlling the puck and they didn’t let the Islanders cross the red line so they couldn’t change. They had tired guys with bad gaps and I came on the ice with fresh legs, saw his feet turn and took the shot.”
Horvat tied the score at 4-4 in the final minutes of the third period. The 28-year-old center crashed the net and craftily buried a loose puck with 1:11 remaining.
“It’s a funny one because we’re happy with the point in the sense that we showed resilience and coming back,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “Clearly, giving up those goals, we feel like we may have given something away.”
Jack Hughes had given the Devils a 4-3 lead at 4:30 of the third with New Jersey’s fourth power-play goal of the night. Ondrej Palat delivered a perfect pass through the crease to set up Hughes on the far post for a back-door tap-in.
The Devils and Islanders each scored twice in an action-packed six-minute stretch in the early stages of the second period.
Toffoli opened the second with a power-play goal at 21 seconds to give the Devils a 2-1 advantage.
Nelson tied it 2-2 with his second of the game when he slid a puck through Schmid’s legs just 1:16 later.
The Devils went back ahead when Luke Hughes got his first of the season with a slap shot into the top corner as Devils captain Nico Hischier screened Sorokin.
“It’s hard coming in being a rookie defenseman especially on a really good team,” Jack Hughes said of his brother Luke. “It’s not like he is just walking in and given the minutes, he’s got to earn it. He’s done a really good job. From game four to 40 to 80 he will be a much different player, too.”
Horvat scored the final goal of a back-and-forth second period to tie it 3-3. Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson faked a slap shot and set up Horvat for a sharp-angled one-timer at 6:10.
Nelson opened the scoring with 7:25 left in the first period.
Hamilton responded with 1 minute to go with a one-timer from the high slot after Meier made a nifty backhand pass to find the defenseman all alone in the slot. Schmid also had an assist on the play for his first NHL point.
“We got so many skilled players on the ice that you can kind of put anyone out there,” Luke Hughes said of the power play that has produced a league-leading nine goals and is second at 43%. “Dougie (Hamilton) has that big shot and kind of kicked us off. It’s just us making skilled plays.”
Hischier did not return for the third period after he sustained an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.
Jack Hughes and Bratt both are off to sizzling starts to the season. Hughes now has 10 points (four goals, six assists) for the NHL lead, and Bratt is tied for second with eight (three goals, five assists).
Devils: Host Montreal on Tuesday night.
Islanders: At Buffalo on Saturday night.
MINJEE LEE GRABS LEAD AT BMW LADIES CHAMPIONSHIP
Australia’s Minjee Lee battled swirling winds Friday to grab a two-stroke lead through 36 holes at the BMW Ladies Championship in Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea.
Moving to 11-under with a 3-under 69 that featured four birdies and one bogey, Lee leads at the midway point for the 11th time in her LPGA Tour career. It’s her lowest 36-hole score since winning the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open.
First-round leader Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa (73 on Friday) and Alison Lee (72) are two shots back at 9-under entering the weekend at Seowon Hills at Seowon Valley Country Club.
Minjee Lee birdied both par-5 holes on the back nine at Nos. 11 and 15, reaching the green in two at the latter. She capped her round with another birdie at the 18th.
“Obviously the par-5s, a couple of them, you can really be quite aggressive,” she said. “… I just tried to take as much advantage as I could when the wind was behind us. And obviously the birdie on 18 was just like cherry on top. So it was nice to finish on a good note.”
Minjee Lee, 27, said it would be special to win in the country where both her parents were born.
“I have a really deep heritage here. So I always love coming back and playing,” she said. “Being at the top of the leaderboard is always nice, and being in contention is always my goal. So hopefully I can have a great weekend.”
Buhai was at 13-under through 12 holes before closing with four bogeys on the final six holes, including three in a row at Nos. 13-15.
“I think that is one of the toughest days I’ve ever had on a golf course in terms of the wind switching,” Buhai said. “I’ve never played any round where the wind just switched that much.”
Defending champion Lydia Ko of Australia (69) and South Koreans Jeongeun Lee6 (68) and Hae Ran Ryu (71) are tied for fourth and three shots back of the leader.
Last week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai winner Angel Yin is tied with China’s Yan Liu at 7-under, with Nelly Korda, France’s Celine Boutier and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff sitting in a tie for ninth at 6-under.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lilia Vu closed with a double bogey on No. 18 to settle for a second-round 76 and a tie for 57th at 1-over.
BEAU HOSSLER WITHSTANDS WIND, UP ONE AT ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
Beau Hossler posted a 5-under 65 in the second round to capture a one-shot lead over fellow American Justin Suh in the Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, on Friday.
Hossler, chasing his first PGA Tour win and 7-under in the tournament, stood out on a day bigger names were whipped by wind at the no-cut event.
Fifty of the 78 golfers in the field completed 36 holes over par, including Rickie Fowler (+4) and Hideki Matsuyama (+5). Ben Taylor carded an 84 in the second round with wind gusts touching 37 mph and consistently clocking in the 20-30 mph range.
“I’d say anything under par was a really quality score, so to shoot 5 under par was incredible,” Hossler said on Friday.
Hossler was the first-round leader in Las Vegas at the Shriners Children’s Open and wound up seventh. He kept his score low Friday by carding birdies on three par-3s with a run of four birdies in five holes.
Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira, alone in third place, shot 68 with three birdies and one bogey. He’s one clear of four players tied for fourth: Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Yuki Inamori (Japan) and Americans Xander Schauffele and Eric Cole.
First-round leader Collin Morikawa was 3-over (73) and defending champion Keegan Bradley shot even-par Friday. They enter the third round in a group of seven players tied for eighth and four shots off the lead at 3-under for the tournament.
Suh is also in pursuit of his first PGA win and credited precise iron play as the reason he was on the right side of the jumbled leaderboard through 36 holes.
“Didn’t have any big misses, made some putts, so that kind of sums up my round,” Suh said.
PGA officials decided not to mow the greens before the second round in an effort to slow the landing surface to compensate for the high winds. It didn’t save everyone strokes.
Matsuyama had back-to-back double bogeys for a round of 76. Cam Davis of Australia shot 70 on Friday but found himself short of the green hitting his third shot on his final hole, a par-4, despite a unique power approach that wasn’t enough.
“That was tough,” Davis said. “I can’t remember the last time I hit driver, driver on a par-4 and still came up short of the green,”
INDIANA RELEASES/TOP HEADLINES
Cleveland Browns (3-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-3): Gardner Minshew and the Colts were blasted at Jacksonville (37-20) last week and run into the NFL’s No. 1 defense in Week 7. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has the Browns on a historic track: only two teams in NFL history have allowed fewer than the 1,002 yards Cleveland gave up through five games. The Browns enter with a last-second win over previously undefeated San Francisco behind backup PJ Walker last week, and could add reinforcements. The Browns could have Deshaun Watson (shoulder) back in the lineup while working through inconsistency prolonged by multiple offensive line injuries. The Browns have only eight offensive touchdowns (the Colts have 14).
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns used the same strategy this week.
Both continued collecting information about throwing shoulder injuries to their starting quarterbacks. Both went to backups in practice. And both debated the long-term health consequences of bringing back the respective faces of their franchises.
Then they went different directions.
While Indy opted to let rookie Anthony Richardson undergo season-ending surgery and handed the reins to Gardner Minshew, the Browns are still contemplating whether to start Deshaun Watson or PJ Walker on Sunday after Watson’s return to practice this week.
“We’ll continue to be careful and safe and make sure that when he (Watson) is ready to do his job and he has all of his ability in terms of being able to throw the football when he’s ready for that, we’ll have him back out there at practice,” Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday.
Watson returned Thursday, his first workout since Sept. 28. But just having him back, throwing was a promising sign, one receiver Amari Cooper believes could give the Browns’ offense a big boost.
Cleveland (3-2) thought Watson might return last week following a bye but when he couldn’t go, Walker was activated from the practice squad and promptly led Cleveland to a surprise victory over previously unbeaten San Francisco. If Watson can’t play at Indy (3-3), Stefanski already has said Walker will.
But will the Browns go all in on their $230 million investment by playing Watson and risk further injury to an already strained rotator cuff?
“They haven’t mentioned that part to me, so I’m not going to be thinking about that,” Watson said. “I don’t want to get out there and be hesitant throwing the ball or anything like that. So I’m not going to put myself first in this situation. I’m going to put the team first.”
The Colts know both Browns quarterbacks well.
Watson went 2-5 against Indy when he was with the Texans, while Walker spent three seasons of Indy’s practice squad.
What the Colts must figure out is what direction this season will go.
With Richardson out, Minshew in and 2021 NFL rushing champ Jonathan Taylor working his way back into playing shape following offseason ankle surgery, the Colts certainly didn’t look the same last week in Jacksonville. Minshew had been a steadying influence through five games, but was picked off a career-high three times and lost one fumble in a loss to the team that drafted him.
The challenge this week will be rebounding against the league’s top-rated defense. But the Colts’ defense may face an even tougher obstacle – getting it right against who runs the Browns’ offense.
“This team is a good team,” three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard said. “It’s a good running team and we’ve got to find a way to get some takeaways.”
The only thing Cleveland’s defense hasn’t tackled is a catchy nickname.
It has been the NFL’s stingiest group through five games, allowing the fewest yards (1,002), yards passing (607), points (77) and first downs (52) and has the best third-down conversion rate (23.1%). Only the 1971 Baltimore Colts and 1970 Minnesota Vikings started the season allowing fewer yards.
And when the defense breaks down the huddle after practice, it chants: “Best in the world!”
“When we lock in, when we play disciplined, complementary football and have a great deal of focus and everything is aligning the way it’s supposed to, we are the best,” said safety Rodney McLeod. “I think for anything in life, you have to speak things into existence and you have to manifest it. It’s just a constant reminder about who we are and what we’re striving to be.”
Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart has been an iron man through his first 6 1/2 pro seasons. He has missed only two games and played in 66 straight. But he won’t play Sunday after drawing a six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy.
“He made a mistake, it wasn’t malicious,” Colts coach Shane Steichen said. “The eight months I’ve been around him – an unbelievable teammate, great character. He made a mistake.”
DOWN THE MIDDLE
Dustin Hopkins has given Cleveland’s special teams the kick it needed.
Acquired from the Chargers in a late August trade, Hopkins has been better than hoped. He has made 12 of 14 field goals, including four of five in last week’s victory, including from 50 and 29 yards in the final 3:21, to beat the 49ers. He has made a kick of at least 50 yards in a team-record four straight games.
“Credit to (Browns GM Andrew Berry) for getting Dustin here,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “Really felt like we need a guy and we’re excited to have him.”
Indy will have a new look this week – ditching its traditional white helmets and horseshoe logo for black helmets and a block letter “C” surrounding an outline of the state of Indiana. Other changes include black trim around the sleeves and neck of the jerseys as well as classic block font numbers and a textured blue stripe on the helmet.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (3-2) AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-3)
DATE: Sunday, October 22, 2023
GAME TIME: 1:00 PM ET
CBS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta, Aditi Kinkhabwala
SiriusXM (also available on the SXM App) CLE: 158 or 383 IND: 109 or 227
ALL-TIME SERIES HISTORY
REG. SEASON: Series tied, 15-15 (IND won 3 of past 4)
POSTSEASON: Series tied, 2-2
THE LAST TIME …
REG. SEASON: 10/11/20: IND 23 at CLE 32
POSTSEASON: 1/9/88 AFC-DIV: IND 21 at CLE 38
BROWNS have allowed 1,002 yards this season, 3rd-fewest by a team through their 1st 6 games of a season since 1970. • QB DESHAUN WATSON completed 33 of 41 atts. (80.5 pct.) for 373 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs with 120.8 rating in his last start at Ind. (12/20/20 w/ Hou.). Has 100 rating in 8 career starts vs. Ind., with 300+ pass yards in all 3 starts at Ind. • QB P.J. WALKER passed for 192 yards in 1st start of season last week. Has 5-3 record in 8 career starts. • RB JEROME FORD led team with 84 rush yards in Week 6. Has 50+ scrimmage yards in 3 of past 4. • RB KAREEM HUNT had season-high 71 scrimmage yards (47 rush, 24 rec.) & 1st rush TD of season last week. Had 93 scrimmage yards (72 rush, 21 rec.) & rec. TD in last meeting. • WR AMARI COOPER had 108 rec. yards in Week 6, his 2nd 100- yard game this season. Has 90+ rec. yards in 3 of past 4. • WR ELIJAH MOORE has 4+ catches in 2 of past 3. Had 7 catches for 84 yards & 2 TDs in only career game vs. Ind. (11/4/21 w/ NYJ). • TE DAVID NJOKU has 4+ catches in 3 of past 4. Had TD catch in last road meeting. • DE MYLES GARRETT has 4.5 sacks in his past 3. Has sack in 3 of his past 4 on road. Had sack in last meeting. Needs sack to surpass HOFer Reggie White (80 sacks) for most sacks by player prior to 28th birthday since 1982. • DE ZA’DARIUS SMITH had half sack & career-high 2 FFs in his last game vs. Ind. (12/17/22 w/ Min.). • LB JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH had career-high 3 TFL, sack & PD last week. Has 8 TFL in his past 4, with 2+ TFL in 3 of 4. • CB MARTIN EMERSON had 6 tackles, 2 PD & 1st INT of season in Week 6. Aims for 5th in row with PD.
QB GARDNER MINSHEW completed career-high 33 of 55 atts. (60 pct.) for 329 yards last week, his 7th-career 300-yard game. Aims for his 5th start in row with 225+ pass yards. • RB ZACK MOSS has 55+ scrimmage yards in each of his 5 games this season, with TD in 4 of 5. Aims for 3rd in row with rush TD. Has 100+ rush yards & rush TD in 2 of past 3 at home. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 466 rush yards this season. • RB JONATHAN TAYLOR had 65 scrimmage yards (46 rec., 19 rush) & 5 catches last week. Had 74 scrimmage yards (57 rush, 17 rec.) & rush TD in last meeting. • WR MICHAEL PITTMAN led team with 9 catches for season high 109 yards in Week 6, his 6th-career game with 100+ rec. yards. Has 5+ catches & 50+ rec. yards in 5 of 6 games this season. Has rec. TD in 2 of his past 3 vs. AFC North. Ranks 5th in AFC with 40 catches this season. • WR JOSH DOWNS (rookie) had 1st-career TD catch last week. Aims for 3rd in row with 5+ catches. Ranks 4th among rookies with 28 catches this season. • TE KYLEN GRANSON had career-high 67 rec. yards last week. • LB ZAIRE FRANKLIN has 8+ tackles in all 6 games this season & leads NFL with 77 tackles in 2023. Has PD in 2 of past 3 at home. • LB SHAQUILLE LEONARD had 7 tackles & TFL in Week 6. • DT DEFOREST BUCKNER had 3rd sack of season last week. • DE SAMSON EBUKAM has sack in 4 of past 5 & each of past 2. • DE TYQUAN LEWIS had 1st sack of season in Week 6. • CB KENNY MOORE had 6 tackles & career-best 3 TFL last week. Aims for 4th in row with 6+ tackles. • CB JUJU BRENTS (rookie) had 7 tackles, 2 PD & 1st-career INT in Week 6. Aims for 3rd in row with PD.
GAME REWIND: PACERS 109, CAVALIERS 104 (PRESEASON)
With the final rehearsal run behind them, the Indiana Pacers are riding positive momentum heading into next Wednesday’s season opener.
Concluding preseason play Friday, the Pacers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-104 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. On Oct. 25, the Pacers will host the Washington Wizards to commence the 2023-24 regular season.
Indiana held a five-point lead at halftime, led by a trio of points after three quarters, and outscored the visitors’ reserves 26-24 in the final frame to come away with the win. The Blue & Gold finish preseason play 2-2.
First-year Pacers Obi Toppin and Bruce Brown looked right at home against the Cavs, accounting for 26 points and 14 rebounds. Toppin totaled 17 points (6-for-9 FG) and nine rebounds in 26 minutes, and Brown finished with nine points (3-for-6 3-point) and five boards in 23 minutes.
Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield drilled six 3-pointers to lead the Blue & Gold with 20 points, and All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton was solid as ever, registering 14 points, nine assists and four rebounds.
Cavs All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell led the visitors with 28 points (11-for-21 shooting), including scoring 19 in the third quarter, across 28 minutes. Center Evan Mobley had 18 points and eight rebounds.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we have a great group of guys,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlislse said. “They care about each other. I like the way we’re competing. We’re just going to keep working on it.”
In the first half, Toppin had 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting while Brown trained a trio of 3-pointers for nine points to help the Pacers to a 56-51 lead.
Off the tip, the newest Pacers fired the crowd up as Toppin threw down a lob from Brown on the game’s first possession.
Despite the quick points, neither team could get more than two points ahead through the first four minutes of action, as each side shot 2-for-8 to start.
Another high-flying finish by Toppin got the Pacers offense finally rolling, as second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin grabbed the ball near Indiana’s own 3-point arc and fired an outlet pass to the forward, who then went between the legs for a thunderous breakaway dunk to put the Blue & Gold up 12-7 with 6:46 left in the first quarter. On the next possession, Brown drained a 3-pointer to extend the lead.
“I’m the type of person who is going to be a little flashy, if I can, on dunks,” Toppin said. “It’s like an energy-booster for the fans and our bench. Something little like that can put juice into our team, and just help us get better. It’s just the way I play.”
The Cavs answered in the final 2:49 of the opening frame, finishing on a 12-5 run to tie the game at 26. Hield drained a wide-open 3-pointer from the top-right corner of the arc at the buzzer to keep it knotted.
To start the second quarter, the Cavs went on a 13-2 scoring spree – behind 3-pointers from Caris Lavert and Georges Niang and an and-one from Isaac Okoro – to go up 39-28 with 9:13 left in the half.
Indiana then made a group substitution, putting the starting lineup back on the floor, and Brown and Mathurin drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to narrow it to 39-34.
From 6:45 to 3:38 in the second quarter, the Pacers went on a 12-2 run, behind five points from Toppin and a trey by Brown – to retake the lead at 46-43.
The game stayed within three points for much of the remaining time in the half, but a four-point play by Hield and free throws by Haliburton in the final 66 seconds helped keep the Pacers ahead by five.
In the third quarter, Mitchell could hardly miss, going 8-for-11 from the floor (2-for-3 3-point) for 19 of the Cavs’ 29 points. At one point in the third, Mitchell had scored 17 straight for the visitors.
Out of the break, the teams traded baskets three times before Mitchell scored eight straight points for the Cavs – six of which came off an and-one and a 3-pointer – to give the Cavs the lead back at 70-68 with 4:45 left in the third quarter.
In the final 1:15 of the third frame, the Pacers closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to take an 83-80 advantage into the last 12 minutes.
Neither team’s starting lineup made it to the floor in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers reserves – led by nine fourth-quarter points from second-year guard Andrew Nembhard – came out on top.
Both squads went on mini runs to start the fourth quarter until the Cavs tied the game at 92 with 8:37 left on free throws by Ty Jerome.
A 7-0 self-imposed run by Nembhard gave the Blue & Gold a 100-94 lead with 5:28 remaining. Down the final stretch, the Pacers never trailed.
Nembhard, who played in 75 games last season (starting 63), made his preseason debut Friday after missing the first three games due to a kidney stone.
“I definitely wanted to let the game come to me,” Nembhard said. “I didn’t want to go out and just try to assert myself too aggressively. I just wanted to let it come to me naturally.”
The Pacers finished 37-of-94 (13-for-34 from 3-point range) from the floor, and the Cavs went 39-for-92 (11-for-35 from 3-point range).
Indiana and Cleveland will see each other again next week. After Indiana hosts the Wizards on Wednesday, the Pacers will travel to the Cavs on Oct. 28 for their first road game of the season.
Inside the Numbers
Indiana won the rebounding margin 54-38.
Cleveland outscored Indiana in the paint 54-42.
From the free throw line, the Pacers shot 22-for-28 and the Cavs went 15-for-20.
Indiana had 22 turnovers to the Cavs’ 19 giveaways.
In his first game this preseason, Nembhard registered 13 points in 23 minutes.
15 different players took the floor for the Cavs and 14 played for the Pacers.
You Can Quote Me On That
“I’m just working every day to improve defensively, offensively, anything that I can do to stay on the floor and help the team win. I’m going to continue working.” – Toppin on his game
“I feel like everyone’s connection with Ty (Haliburton) is going to be good because he’s such a great player. He’s going to put people in positions to be successful. He’s going to make sure everybody’s doing their job and exactly where they need to be on the court at all times. He does a great job with that.” – Toppin on Haliburton
“We’re so good off the court together with each other. We’re hanging out, we’re doing things together. When we get on the court, it’s just natural. We know each other in and out. The more time we spend with each other the better the connection is going to be. The more we play together, the better the connection is going to be.” – Toppin on working with the starting unit
“Just how fast they’re learning and just what great guys they are. They come into the gym every day and work with a smile on their face. They’re fun to be around and they fit into what we’re trying to build as a culture really well, so I love those guys.” – Nembhard on the rookies
“Playmaking is a premium in the NBA. If you get two playmakers on the floor like that, that level of competitor, some good things can happen.” – Rick Carlisle on playing Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell together with the second unit
“The nine rebounds are terrific. We’ve challenged him to be a better rebounder, to work on his defense. On just about every off day he’s been looking at clips and getting on the floor and working. He’s a worker. He did a lot of good things tonight.” – Carlisle on Toppin
“Cleveland is a great defensive team – top five (defensively) in the league — and they’re also among the best in forcing turnovers.” – Carlisle on the Cavs
“We’ve got to create space on the floor and use it. A lot of our problems happened when they were in an all-out switching defense to start the game and they locked us up some. We will have to do a better job against that kind of defense.” – Carlisle on the 22 turnovers
Stat of the Night
Obi Toppin, in his fourth game as a Pacer, recorded preseason highs in points (17) and rebounds (9).
On the other bench, two key members of the Cavs sat out: speedy point guard Darius Garland and 6-foot-9 forward/center Jarrett Allen. Both warmed up for the Cavs.
Former Pacers forward Caris LeVert is entering his second full (third overall) season with the Cavs since being traded in February 2022 from Indiana. One of the picks the Pacers acquired in the trade turned into this year’s 26th overall pick (Belmont’s Ben Sheppard).
Indiana and Cleveland will play each other four times during the regular season.
The Pacers tip off the 2023-24 regular season on Opening Night presented by Kroger against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7:00 PM ET.
NO. 6 SEED INDY TO FACE NO. 3 SEED CHARLESTON IN EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS
Indy Eleven at Charleston Battery
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Sunday, October 22, 2023 – 4:00 p.m. ET
Patriots Point – Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Streaming Video: ESPN+ (click to subscribe)
In-game updates: @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed
Stats: #CHSvIND MatchCenter at USLChampionship.com
2023 USL Championship Records
No. 3 Charleston: 17W-9L-8D (4)
No. 6 Indy Eleven: 13W-11L-10D (8)
Community Health Network Sports Medicine Indy Eleven Injury Report
OUT: A. Quinn (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: J. Blake (ankle)
SETTING THE SCENE
The Boys in Blue hit the road Sunday for the first math of the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs against Charleston Battery This is the third match of the season against Charleston. Indy Eleven leads on the season 1-0-1.
The Eleven are coming off a 3-3 draw against San Antonio FC and are 2-1-2 in their last five games. With a 13-11-10 record, Indy clinched sixth in the USLC Eastern Conference ahead of the playoffs. Charleston Battery is 2-2-1 in its last five matches and is coming off a 1-0 win over Birmingham Legion FC. CHS clinched third in the Eastern Conference at 17-9-8
SERIES VS. CHARLESTON
Sunday marks the ninth all-time meeting between the two teams with Indy leading 4-2-2. This weekend’s match-up is the third of the 2023 season with teams ending in a 1-1 draw in the last meeting.
Indy leads 4-2-2 | GF 18, GA 11
7.12.23 | Home | D, 1-1
6.2.23 | Away | W, 4-0
10.8.22 | Home | W, 4-1
6.4.22 | Away | W, 4-3
With a 3-0 win over Detroit City FC on Sept. 30, Indy clinched a USL Championship playoff berth for 2023. This is the third playoff appearance since joining the USLC in 2018, and the first since 2019.
2019 season: 19W-9L-6D, 63 pts., +19 GD (3rd/18 in East)
– Lost in Eastern Conf. Final (1-3 L in aet vs. LOU)
2018 record: 13W-11L-10D, 49 pts., +3 GD (7th/16 in East)
– Lost in Eastern Conf. Quarters (4-1 at LOU)
The Eleven finished the 2023 regular season 8-5-4 on the road, giving them their most regular season wins away from home in the club’s USLC history (previously 6 in 2019). Indy has outscored its opponents 27-21 on the road with eight multi-goal performances and four of 3+ (3 at ELP, PIT, SA; 4 at CHS).
The Boys in Blue’s longest unbeaten streak in 2023 ended at six matches (8.9-9.2) with victories over Birmingham, Miami (2x), El Paso and Loudoun and a tie at Memphis. The longest unbeaten streak of 2023 fell just short of a seven-match regular season streak from Oct. 5, 2019-July 22, 2020 (6-0-1). Indy is riding a three-match unbeaten streak into playoffs (2-0-1) its fourth such streak of 2023.
Indy went unbeaten in 2023 against the top three teams in the USLC Eastern Conference. The Eleven’s 3-1 win over PIT put the first, and only, blemish on the home team’s record this season after coming into the match 7-0-3 and kept Indy atop the league record for most points at home in a regular season (43). Overall, the Boys in Blue were 2-0-4 (10 GF, 4 GA) against the top three.
- Pittsburgh | 19-5-10 | W, 3-1 / D, 1-1
- Tampa Bay | 19-9-6 | D, 0-0 / D, 1-1
- Charleston | 17-9-8 | D, 1-1 / W, 4-0
PROTECT THE NET
Indy Eleven ranks tied for third in the USLC having only conceded 38 goals in 2023. The team also ranks tied for sixth in clean sheets with 11.
IN THE WIN COLUMN
The Boys in Blue had 13 regular-season wins in 2023 tied for the second most during a USL Championship season (2018) and behind the 19 victories from the 2019 season.
GO 4 MORE
Indy has scored four goals on seven occasions through six USL Championship seasons, most recently in a 4-0 win over Birmingham on August 9. The Eleven outscored opponents 28-10 in these matches and have multiple four-goal performances over Charleston (3x) and Birmingham (2x).
LAST TIME OUT
SA 3:3 IND
OCTOBER 14, 2023
Cam Lindley picked up his team-leading seventh assist of the season on the opening goal in San Antonio. Sebastian Velasquez found Lindley on the right flank, who played a one-time ball across to Jack Blake. Blake found the back of the net for his third of the season.
Indy players continued to extend their team-leading totals as Sebastian Guenzatti scored his 11th goal of the season to extend the lead for the Boys in Blue to 2-0 in the 37th minute. Guenzatti found himself in the right place at the right time as an initial shot from Blake caromed off the post and into the six-yard box for the rebound. San Antonio was able to grab one back in stoppage time of the first frame as Santiago Patino cut into the lead on a penalty kick to make it 2-1.
Indy Eleven picked up an insurance goal from Adrian Diz Pe, who stayed dangerous in the air, and picked up his third goal of the season in the 54th minute off a corner. The assist came from none other than Lindley for his second of the game and eighth of 2023. Lindley now has four assists in the Eleven’s last three matches. It didn’t take long for San Antonio to grab one back as Tani Oluwaseyi scored in the 58th minute. The final equalizer came from Mitchell Taintor in the 88th minute. Indy was forced to play a man down from the 61st minute on as Solomon Asante was shown a second yellow.
2023 USL Championship Records
San Antonio FC: 14W-6L-14D (25), 56 pts
Indy Eleven: 13W-11L-10D (8), 49 pts
IND – Jack Blake (Cam Lindley) 9’
IND – Sebastian Guenzatti (unassisted) 37’
SA – Santiago Patino (penalty) 45+4’
IND – Adrian Diz Pe (Cam Lindley) 54’
SA – Tani Oluwaseyi (unassisted) 58’
SA – Mitchell Taintor 88’
SA – Mitchell Taintor (caution) 8’
IND – Cam Lindley (caution) 24’
IND – Douglas Martinez (caution) 36’
SA – San Antionio bench (caution) 43’
IND – Younes Boudadi (caution) 45+2’
IND – Solomon Asante (caution) 45+3’
IND – Solomon Asante (caution/ejection) 61’
IND – Adrian Diz Pe (caution) 67’
SA – Lamar Batista (caution) 74’
IND – Macauley King (caution) 90+8’
FUEL SELL OUT HOME OPENER, FALL TO KOMETS
INDIANAPOLIS- The Indy Fuel hosted the Fort Wayne Komets for Opening Night on Friday in front of a sellout crowd of 6,370 fans. The Fuel ultimately fell 4-1 to their Central division rivals in the teams’ 99th all-time meeting.
The first period of the season began with a long stretch of play without a whistle. Ultimately, the first goal was scored at 6:48 by Fort Wayne’s Morgan Adams-Moisan. They added to their lead with a goal about thirty seconds later via Matt Wedman.
In an uncharacteristic twist, there were no penalties between these cross-state rivals until Fort Wayne’s Jack Gorniak was called for high sticking at 17:03 of the first period.
The Fuel were not able to capitalize on that power play and time ticked down on the first frame as the Komets outshot the Fuel 11-5.
The second period opened with a bit more fire from both teams as Indy’s Luc Brown took a holding penalty just one minute in. The Fuel were able to kill off the penalty.
At the 5:16 mark, Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski was ejected from the game and issued a five minute misconduct penalty for an ill-placed slash against Cam Hillis.
Jon Martin scored the Fuel’s first goal of the season on the power play with the help of Santino Centorame and Cam Hillis to make it 2-1.
At 18:52, Chase Lang took Indy’s second penalty of the game with a cross-checking call that would carry over into the third period.
The Fuel were able to kill off that penalty and hold the Komets until 14:29 when Fort Wayne’s Nolan Volcan scored to make it 3-1.
With three minutes left in the period, the Fuel pulled Mitchell Weeks from the net in favor of the extra skater.
Fort Wayne’s Ture Linden scored the empty net goal to seal the deal for the Komets at 18:29 of the third. The game ended with a score of 4-1 in favor of Fort Wayne with the Komets outshooting the Fuel 37-18.
The Indy Fuel are back in action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on October 28, 2023 for Pucks and Paws/Halloween Night against the Kalamazoo Wings.
ABOUT THE INDY FUEL:
The Indy Fuel, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks and the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs, are back at Indiana Farmers Coliseum for their tenth season.
INDIANA MEN’S SOCCER
SARVER’S LATE SCORE STEADIES HOOSIER STREAK
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Sunday, the winning goal came in the 82nd minute. Friday it was the 83rd. Either way, the Indiana men’s soccer team keeps stacking wins and surging up the Big Ten table.
The flaming hot Samuel Sarver scored the match-winner to give the Hoosiers (7-3-4, 3-1-2 B1G) their fourth straight victory, a 2-1 result over Maryland (3-7-3, 0-5-2 B1G) Friday (Oct. 20) night on Ludwig Field. With the win, Indiana jumped into second place in the conference standings with two chances to make up two points on current leader Michigan State.
Freshman defender Alex Barger scored his first-career goal from a set piece to give the Hoosiers a lead in the 54th minute. Maryland equalized against the run of play in the 69th minute before senior Karsen Henderlong found Sarver wide open down the right in transition, and the junior scored his third goal in four games.
With the win, Indiana clinched a Big Ten Tournament berth.
• 21′ – A Maryland shot from distance that went just high was the closest chance in the first half as the teams combined for three shots in the opening 45 minutes.
• 46′ – The Terps had a chance 30 seconds after the break, but the shot trickled just wide.
• 54′ – Indiana took the lead via its third straight goal scored from a set piece. The Hoosiers won a throw-in down the left side of their attacking third, and junior midfielder Patrick McDonald launched the ball toward the edge of the six-yard box. It found the head of senior defender Jansen Miller, who flicked it across. Barger jumped in front of his mark and headed it past the keeper.
• 69′ – IU got caught on a counter in conceding the equalizer. UM freshman forward Luke Van Heukelum dribbled box-to-box before passing to sophomore defender Brian St. Martin on the right wing. St. Martin crossed, and senior forward Stefan Copetti got just enough to nudge it past IU senior keeper JT Harms.
• 78′ – Maryland nearly took the lead from another transition moment, dispossessing IU in the final third. However, a shot from the top of the 18 ran inches wide to keep the tie intact.
• 80′ – A McDonald shot from distance pinged off the top of the crossbar.
• 83′ – A pass came to Henderlong as the furthest man up the field. A Terrapin challenged him and put the ball in the air. Henderlong stayed with it and volleyed it to Sarver running free down the right wing. Sarver controlled, put it on his left and pushed it around the keeper.
• Indiana improved to 8-5-8 against Maryland all-time.
• Sarver tallied his fifth goal contribution during IU’s four-match win streak and his third goal in that span. The junior leads IU with six goals, four assists and 12 points.
• Barger opened his IU account. He is the lone member of the IU back-line to start all 14 matches.
• Henderlong has tallied four goal contributions in IU’s last five matches with his first assist of the season Friday.
• Miller earned his first-career assist and first point of the season.
Another three points are up for grabs Tuesday (Oct. 24) when IU travels to Evanston to face No. 12-ranked Northwestern. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network.
INDIANA FIELD HOCKEY
HOOSIERS FALL AT NO.4 RUTGERS
PISCATAWAY, N.J. ––– Indiana Field Hockey lost at No. 4 and undefeated Rutgers on Friday in a hard-fought battle, 4-2.
The Hoosiers had it tied at 2-2 going into the fourth period before Rutgers pulled away.
With the loss, the Hoosiers are now 5-11 on the season and 0-6 in Big Ten play.
• Rutgers got off to a fast start with Marique Dieudonne scoring in the fourth minute of play. She was assisted by Guillermina Causarano.
• Bridy Molyneaux scored later in the first period for Rutgers to go up 2-0 in the 11th minute.
• Freshman forward Theresa Ricci got Indiana back into the game with a goal in the 13th minute to cut into the deficit and make it a 2-1 game.
• Indiana took the momentum when sophomore Kylie Dawson scored on a penalty corner in the third period to even the game at 2-2.
• Rutgers earned a penalty stroke after review in the 50th minute. Puck Winter converted on the stroke to give Rutgers a 3-2 lead.
• Causarano would score in the 53rd minute to extend Rutgers’s lead to 4-2.
• Ricci’s goal was the first of her career.
• Dawson scored her first career goal in her home state of New Jersey.
• Loveridge recorded seven saves in the game.
• Seven different Hoosiers recorded a shot.
• Indiana will stay on the road for the weekend as it will face No. 9 Maryland at noon on Sunday in College Park.
INDIANA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
HOLMES MAKES THIRD-STRAIGHT APPEARANCE ON LISA LESLIE PRESEASON AWARD WATCH LIST
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes is one of 20 players on the 2024 Lisa Leslie Award preseason watch list, announced by Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The award recognizes the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
Holmes appears on the Lisa Leslie award preseason watch list for the third consecutive season and was a Top 10 finalist in 2022-23. A three-time first team All-American last season, she is a unanimous preseason all-Big Ten honoree from the coaches and was also selected by the media vote, enters her fifth and final season with the Hoosiers in 2023-24. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous selection for All-Big Ten first teams in 2022-23, the Gorham, Maine native averaged 22.3 points (second in B1G), a team-high 7.8 rebounds and shot a NCAA second-best 68.0 percent from the floor.
Holmes led the Hoosiers in scoring on 25 occasions as a senior while posting double figures in 31 games, scoring 20 points 19 times and three 30-point scoring efforts. Her nine double-doubles led the team, as six of her double-doubles occurred in conference play which ranks eighth all-time in a single season. She also led the league in blocks (58) and blocks per game (1.9) and averages 1.1 steals (35) per game. Holmes is now in the top five in scoring in school history (1,897) and second in all-time blocks (208).
Fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting, presented by Dell Technologies, in each of the three rounds starting today, October 200. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2024 Lisa Leslie Award will be narrowed to 10, and then in late February, to just five. In March, the five finalists will be presented to Leslie and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee, where a winner will be selected.
The winner of the 2024 Lisa Leslie Award will be presented on a to be determined date, along with the other four members of the Women’s Starting Five. Additional awards being presented include the
Nancy Lieberman Award (Point Guard), Ann Meyers Drysdale Award (Shooting Guard), Cheryl Miller Award (Small Forward), and the Katrina McClain Award (Power Forward), in addition to the Men’s
Starting Five. The Hoosiers have additional candidates on the Ann Meyers Drysdale award (Sara Scalia) and Cheryl Miller award (Yarden Garzon).
VOLLEYBALL CENTRAL: VS. (RV) OHIO STATE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Fresh off a defeat in West Lafayette to in-state foe and No. 19 Purdue, the Indiana Volleyball team (15-7, 5-4) will look to return to winning ways this weekend as the first half of the Big Ten season comes to a close.
(RV) Ohio State, an Elite Eight team a year ago, comes to Bloomington on Saturday night (8:00 PM) as homecoming week ends. The Buckeyes are 7-11 on the season but all 11 losses have come at the hands of ranked opponents.
Jen Flynn Oldenburg, in her fourth season as the head coach, has fielded a youthful squad which includes a true freshman setter and a true freshman middle blocker. The Buckeyes have lost back-to-back matches to No. 15 Purdue and No. 1 Wisconsin.
This is IU’s final home match in October before the team begins a four-game road trip to close out the month. November begins with a trip to Rutgers and this same Ohio State program.
Saturday, October 21st, 2023 | vs. (RV) Ohio State | 8:00 PM ET
Hoosier News and Notes
• The Hoosiers sit at 15-7 (5-4) heading into the weekend’s competition. On the season, IU has quality wins at Miami (FL) and Maryland as well as beating No. 15 Purdue at home. All seven losses have come to teams who have come to top-60 RPI teams including five away from home.
• IU tested itself early in the season with a trip to the Long Beach Invitational. A tough weekend at The Beach, which featured three defeats and eight of nine set loss by four of fewer points, was a strong litmus test for the Hoosiers in the early going of the season.
• With a straight sweep of opponents at the Stacheville Challenge and four wins at the 305 Challenge, IU won seven-straight contests heading into Big Ten play.
• The Hoosiers’ only losses in the Big Ten have come at No. 1 Wisconsin, vs. No. 2 Nebraska, at No. 14 Penn State and at No. 19 Purdue. Those are currently the top four teams in the Big Ten.
• A victory over No. 15 Purdue (Oct. 11) was the fourth top-15 win of the Steve Aird era and the first in Wilkinson Hall (opened in 2019). IU’s 5-3 start to the conference slate was the best eight-game start in Big Ten play since 1993.
• IU earned two weekly honors from the Big Ten office last week, winning the league’s Setter of the Week (Camryn Haworth) and Freshman of the Week (Ramsey Gary) awards.
• IU opened the season with its best 20-game start to a season (14-6) since beginning 15-5 in the 2010 campaign. The Hoosiers also began conference play 5-3 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1993.
• The Hoosiers possess five conference wins already this season including sweeps of Iowa and Maryland and a four-set victory over Illinois and No. 15 Purdue.
• A perfect weekend in Miami at the end of the non-conference schedule ensured the Hoosiers 10 wins in the preseason for the first time since 2019. It is the fourth season since the turn of the century the program brought 10+ wins and at least one power five victory home out of the preseason.
• Head coach Steve Aird became the first coach in program history with multiple seasons of 10+ wins in non-conference with at least one true road win over Power Five team (2019 and 2023). IU’s nine victories by sweep in the non-conference were the most since winning nine during the 2010 preseason.
• To follow up a strong end to the preseason slate, IU beat Illinois 3-1 at Wilkinson Hall to kick off the Big Ten season. The Hoosiers blocked the Illini 18 times with a career-high 12 stuffs from senior middle blocker Savannah Kjolhede. The victory was the final in a run of eight-straight wins, IU’s longest winning streak since 2017.
• As a team, the Hoosiers are 1st in the Big Ten and 20th nationally with 1.91 aces per set. In total, IU has 145 aces on the season including 50 from Haworth (No. 1 in Big Ten and NCAA).
• The Hoosiers are 38th in the NCAA and 2nd in the Big Ten in total team blocks, racking up 187.0 stuffs across the first 21 matches of the season. They average 2.46 per set.
• IU is holding opponents to just .175 hitting offensively which ranks fourth in the Big Ten and top-50 nationally among team defenses. As a team, IU is hitting .239 which is on pace to be one of the best marks in program history for a single season.
• The Hoosiers sold out matches vs. No. 2 Nebraska and No. 15 Purdue with the latter setting a new Wilkinson Hall Attendance Record of 2,725. IU is averaging 1,718 fans per game across eight home matches this season.
What’s At Stake?
• A win over Ohio State would be the fourth win in five matches and the eighth win of the season at home in Wilkinson Hall.
• A victory Saturday would match IU’s best-ever 10-game start to Big Ten play (6-4, 1985).
• The next win of the season would give the Hoosiers 16 for the year, matching the most by Aird during his time in Bloomington.
#10 Haworth, Camryn
• Haworth has built on an impressive 2022 season, continuing her fine form into 2023 as a junior and a team captain. She leads the conference in aces (50) and assists (748).
• Among setters in the conference, she’s top-three in total aces (50), assists (748), assists per set (9.84), blocks (41.0) and kills (66). She’s also fifth in digs (160).
• She became the first IU athlete to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors since 2010 (Ashley Benson) and was named to the 2023 Preseason All-Big Ten team.
• The Fishers, Ind. native became the 11th player in program history to record 2,000 assists, crossing the mark in a 33-assist effort against Jacksonville on September 16th.
• She is one of just 19 players in program history with 100 career aces and broke the program’s rally-era record (in place since 2001) with aces 131 and 132 of her career against Nebraska. She is No. 4 all-time in program history and will challenge for the all-time mark of 197 in the next year.
• In her time at IU, she has three of the best five single-season aces performances in the rally-scoring era. She’s got 50 aces with 11 matches to play and will challenge for the rally-era single season record of 51 set in both 2005 and 2014. She is No. 14 in Big Ten history during the rally era in service aces with 141.
• For her career, Haworth has 2,363 assists, 605 digs and 141 aces. She is just the fourth player in program history with 2,000+ assists, 500+ digs and 100+ aces in an IU uniform.
• She matched her career high with 51 assists in a win at Miami (FL), the third time in her career she’s recorded 50+ assists in a single match. She has had four or more aces on seven occasions in her time at IU including a five-ace performance over Stetson.
• The junior was named the conference’s setter of the week after her performance in Miami, becoming the first IU player to win a Big Ten weekly award in consecutive seasons since Ashley Benson (2009-10). She has four double-doubles on the season, her last coming against Illinois.
• She is the only active junior in NCAA Division I volleyball with career numbers of 2,000+ assists, 500+ digs, 200+ kills, 140+ aces and 100+ blocks. She’s second among active juniors in career aces with 141.
#15 Kjolhede, Savannah
• The Colleyville, Texas native was one of the Big Ten’s best blockers last year and is 7th among active Big Ten players in blocks (330).
• She is now 10th all-time in blocks at IU and is the 14th athlete with 300+ blocks in an IU uniform.
• The veteran middle has played in 102 games of her college career and has started 98 of those including all 18 during her freshman campaign which was shortened by COVID-19. The only games she missed was against Radford and Lindenwood in which she was a healthy, unused sub.
• Against Illinois, she blocked a career-high 12 shots, becoming just the seventh player in program history with 12-or-more blocks in a single game. She passed 300 career blocks during the match and helped lead IU to 18 total team blocks in the dominant victory.
• Through eight Big Ten games, which includes matches against the nation’s two-best teams, Kjolhede is hitting a whopping .378 (60-9-135) which includes 10 kills on a .643 clip against No. 2 Nebraska and 12 kills and no errors at Maryland. She is one of four athletes hitting .400 or better in conference play.
• She (.291) and graduate student middle blocker Kaley Rammelsberg (.320) are both among IU’s all-time top five best hitters (with at least 1,000 career attempts). Only two athletes in program history have ever finished their careers with a hitting percentage of .300 or better.
#32 Gary, Ramsey
• One of the top-rated prep liberos in the 2023 class, Gary has lived up to the billing early in her college career. She has 325 digs across 22 matches including five 20+ dig efforts in Big Ten play.
• Her 325 digs are most in the Big Ten and most among power five freshmen nationally. Among all freshmen in the nation, she is seventh in digs. She is averaging 4.28 digs per set on the season which leads the Big Ten.
• Gary’s 24 digs in the win over Illinois were not only a career high but the most in a single game by an IU freshman since Caitlin Cox in 2008. IU’s all-time freshman digs record sits at 402 which Gary will challenge for in the final two months of the season.
• She is averaging 4.79 digs per set in conference play through seven matches and has 158 digs in total including 43 combined in two matches against Purdue. She has the most digs per set in conference play this season among any Big Ten player.
Opponent Breakdown: Ohio State
Series History: 26-58 (Ohio State leads) | Last Meeting: 11/20/23 (W, 3-2)
• The Hoosiers and Buckeyes meet for the first of two matches this season. The teams will play in Columbus on November 4th.
• Ohio State’s offense starts with star outside hitter Emily Londot who is second in the Big Ten in kills (313) and kills per set (4.67).
• All-Big Ten middle blocker Rylee Rader is hitting .356 with 140 kills on the season.
• Freshman Mia Tuman has been the primary choice as setter, one of many freshmen with a large role for the Buckeyes.
• Ohio State is 7-11 (4-5) on the season, having lost all 11 matches to ranked opponents.
#19 PURDUE TO TAKE ON #11 PENN STATE
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Riding a two-match winning streak, the No. 19 Purdue volleyball is set to take on its sixth top-25 opponent on Sunday with its trip to No. 11 Penn State. The match is set for 1 p.m. ET on FS1.
PURDUE AT A GLANCE
The Boilermakers are 4-1 over the last five matches and have won two straight vs. teams receiving votes in the AVCA/Taraflex Coaches’ Poll.
Purdue is fourth in the Big Ten standings and fourth in hitting %.
Two Boilermakers are in sole possession of #1 in the league for the respective statistical categories: Maddie Schermerhorn (4.27 digs per set) and Raven Colvin (102 total blocks).
Purdue will be looking for its first win vs. Penn State since its 3-1 victory on March 5, 2021, which came in University Park, Pa.
Overall, Purdue is 9-59 all-time vs. Penn State, including 4-29 in away matches.
PURDUE DOWNS INDIANA, 3-1
Purdue will enter the Penn State match off a 3-1 victory against in-state rival, Indiana.
The Boilermakers posted a season-high 16 total blocks in the match and the most since the 2022 Big Ten season-finale at Penn State (17, 11/25/22).
Eva Hudson recorded 19 kills for the second straight match, leading the team.
Purdue got out to early leads in Set 1 (9-3 lead), Set 2 (11-3 lead) and Set 4 (11-4 lead).
Raven Colvin produced the seventh errorless match of her career, including first of the season, with her seven kills on 14 attacks, in addition to a season-high 11 total blocks (1-10). Meanwhile, her .500 attack % was her most efficient performance of Big Ten play this year.
Four Boilermakers secured season-highs or better: Lourdès Myers career-high 11 kills, Raven Colvin’s season-high 11 blocks and Big Ten season-high .500 attack %, Grace Heaney’s career-high six blocks and Chloe Chicoine’s career-high-tying three blocks.
SCOUTING THE PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
The Nittany Lions have played seven matches against ranked teams this season and have gone 3-4 in them, which includes a 2-1 record against ranked Big Ten teams
Penn State reloaded their roster this season by adding five transfers; 2nd team All-American setter Mac Podraza (Ohio State), 2nd team All-ACC right-side hitter Camryn Hannah (Clemson), 1st team All-Big Ten outside hitter Jess Mruzik (Michigan), Big South Setter of the Year Ally Van Eekeren (High Point), 2nd team All-Sun Belt defensive specialist Lina Perugini (Coastal Carolina). Of these five transfers, three of them frequently start and combine for over 400 kills and 650 assists this season.
The Nittany Lions’ attack is led by Jess Mruzik who ranks 17th in the country and 3rd in the Big Ten with 4.34 kills per set. Her teammates, Camryn Hannah and Alexa Markley, also average over 2.40 kills a set.
Mac Podraza controls the attack averaging 11.46 assists per set which is good enough for 2nd in the Big Ten and 35th in the country.
On the defensive side of the net, Penn State leads the Big Ten in blocks per set averaging 2.92. They are led by Allie Holland who contributed 1.44 blocks per set, ranking 2nd in the Big Ten.
STAT COMPARISON: PURDUE & PENN STATE
Penn State is 3-3 this season vs. top-25 opponents while Purdue is 3-2.
Overall, both teams are about even in hitting % this season at .254 (Penn State) and .252 (Purdue).
Purdue’s blocking has improved during Big Ten play, averaging 2.56 blocks per set during league action, while Penn State’s has lowered to 2.66 blocks per set.
PURDUE AMONG THE BIG TEN
The team ranks No. 4 in the league with .252 hitting % on the season, fifth in kills (13.03 per set) and assists (11.89) and third in opponent blocks (1.82 per set).
Six Boilermakers rank among the league’s top-10 in at least one category: Maddie Schermerhorn (#1 with 4.27 digs per set), Raven Colvin (#1 with 102 total blocks), Taylor Anderson (#4 with 9.36 assists per set), Eva Hudson (#3 in kills with 293 and #3 with 319 points) and Chloe Chicoine (#4 with 312 points and #4 with 279 kills).
Purdue allowed just two blocks by Iowa, marking the fewest by a Big Ten opponent since 2021 (2 by Northwestern, 11/21/21).
Looking at Big Ten-only matches, Purdue is fourth in the league in assists, kills, blocks and hitting %. Meanwhile, it is #1 in total blocks and #3 in total kills
BUTLERVB DROPS THREE-SET MATCH TO MARQUETTE
INDIANAPOLIS — The Butler volleyball team fell to Marquette in three sets (25-15, 25-9, 25-17). The Bulldogs moved to 3-6 in the conference and 9-11 overall.
Set 1: Marquette 25-15
The Bulldogs fell behind early at 5-2 before a kill from Mariah Grunze and a serving ace by Jaymeson Kinley cut the lead to 5-4. Marquette then went on a 3-0 run to extend their lead to 12-6. The Golden Eagles continued to pile it on with a 4-0 spurt to make the score 20-12 and eventually close out the match at 25-15.
Set 2: Marquette 25-9
The second set was all Golden Eagles. Kills by Grunze and Laiya Ebo kept the score at 2-2, but Marquette then went on a 5-0 run to bring the score to 7-2. Elise Ward and Destiny Cherry helped cut the lead back to within four points at 12-8. Consecutive spurts of 6-0 and 7-0 finished the lopsided set at 25-9.
Set 3: Marquette 25-17
Butler played the best set of the match in the third frame. The Bulldogs used kills from Ebo and a serving ace by Reese Bates to tie the score at 4-4. Marquette would regain the lead at 9-6, but another serving ace by Cora Taylor cut the lead to 10-8. The Golden Eagles then began to pull away at 16-10, but Butler rallied back by using kills from Grunze and Ward to make the score 19-16. Marquette fought back and would slowly lengthen their lead eventually winning the match at 25-17.
Stat of the Match
Cora Taylor collected her sixth double-double of the season tallying 26 assists and 10 digs. Taylor’s mark was also her 20th career double-double.
Inside the Box Score
Taylor registered 26 assists and 10 digs in the match
Kinley matched Taylor for a team-high 10 digs
Grunze led the match with 10 kills while also adding five digs
Ward finished just behind Grunze with nine kills and seven digs
Ebo had eight kills in the match.
The Bulldogs will welcome DePaul inside Hinkle Fieldhouse tomorrow with the first serve slated for 5 PM.
JAGS’ RALLY FALLS SHORT TO GREEN BAY, 3-2
INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI volleyball team fell in the first two sets of the match but rallied to force a fifth set. The Jags ultimately fell to the Green Bay Phoenix in five sets, 3-2. Sophomore Morgan Ostrowski led the Jaguar attack with 14 kills.
Green Bay kept the momentum throughout the first two sets, taking a 2-0 lead. In the opening set, the Jags hit just .056 with 11 kills while the Phoenix hit .139 with 12 kills, giving Green Bay the edge at 25-20.
Although the Jaguars improved their hitting percentage to .154 in the second set, they couldn’t get into a steady groove and fell 25-17.
IUPUI wasn’t going home and kept the match alive with a third set victory, 25-19. Despite being down 17-13, the Jags went on a 7-0 run to take the 20-17 lead. Emily Alan led the way, recording three kills within that 7-0 run. After a couple Phoenix points, IUPUI closed out the third set with back-to-back service aces from Briana Brown and a kill by Grace Purichia.
Once again the match was on the line with Green Bay leading 2-1, but the Jags forced a fifth set after winning a close fourth set, 26-24. IUPUI started the match on a 4-0 run with kills from Ostrowski and Purichia and back-to-back aces from Brown.
The Jaguars held onto the lead until the Phoenix tied the set at 22-22. Maia Long slammed one down to give the Jags the lead, followed by an ace from Brynn Zastrow. The Phoenix tied it up again at 24-24 but with a kill from Brown and a Green Bay attack error the Jags sealed the fourth set victory.
After forcing the fifth set, the Jags couldn’t finish it out, falling 15-10. Green Bay outhit IUPUI in the fifth and deciding set, .227 to just .038.
Ostrowski collected 14 kills while Alan added 10. Freshman Purichia led in assists with 39 while also collecting 13 digs. Brown earned a career-high five aces with eight kills. Addie Evans led the defense with 19 digs.
The Jaguars are now 8-13 overall and 2-8 in conference. They next host Milwaukee tomorrow, October 21 in the Jungle with first serve set for 4:00 PM.
NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER
#6 IRISH WIN ACC COASTAL TITLE WITH DRAW AT #3 WAKE FOREST
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The No. 6 Fighting Irish men’s soccer team battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw at No. 3 Wake Forest in the final road game of the regular season at Spry Stadium on Friday evening.
Daniel Russo provided the heroics for the Irish, scoring in the 85th minute off a diving header from a free kick delivery off the foot of Ethan O’Brien.
With the draw, Notre Dame outright clinched the ACC Coastal Division and a top-2 seed in the ACC Tournament.
Bryan Dowd made five saves on the evening to keep the Wake Forest attack in check.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two sides came out and traded jabs in the opening stages with neither team landing a big blow in the opening 45 minutes of play, as the match was scoreless going into the halftime break.
Notre Dame put its first shot on target in the 19th minute, as Matthew Roou dispossessed a Wake Forest center back and found KK Baffour in space, who fired a shot towards the far post that was pushed out for a corner by the Demon Deacon keeper.
With just over a minute left in the frame Baffour’s free kick connected with Mo Williams but the grad student’s header was right at the Wake Forest keeper, sending the two sides to halftime at 0-0.
The Irish were forced to defend for much of the second half, as they put out fires all over the pitch. However, in the 79th minute Wake Forest found the opener off a strike from Leo Guarino. Irish goalkeeper Bryan Dowd got a finger to the shot to push it to the post but it ricocheted in to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame responded. Roou won a free kick in the final third in the 85th minute and O’Brien perfectly floated his delivery into the box. Russo ran in and dove to win the ball, firing his shot just inside the near post to secure the 1-1 draw on the road.
McFARLAND FAMILY MEN’S HEAD SOCCER COACH CHAD RILEY’S TAKE
On the performance…
“I am really proud of the group. We knew this week would challenge us being at Virginia Tech, Michigan and at Wake Forest and we took it as an opportunity to make us tougher. Tonight was all about the team and their toughness and grit. It takes committed squads to win championships.”
ND STAT OF THE MATCH
Notre Dame wins an ACC regular-season title for the third time in program history and specifically a Coastal Division title for the second time. The Irish tied for the 2013 ACC regular-season championship when there were no divisions. Notre Dame claimed the 2014 ACC Coastal Division title in its inaugural season in 2014.
The Irish welcome No. 23 Pitt to Alumni Stadium for the regular-season finale at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 27. The match will be Senior Day with the ceremony taking place prior to the start of the match. The contest will be streamed on ACCNX.
NOTRE DAME HOCKEY
IRISH DEFEAT #6/6 TERRIERS, 4-1
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame hockey team defeated No. 6/6 Boston University, 4-1, Friday night behind a 43-save performance from Ryan Bischel and goals from four individual skaters.
Despite the Terriers opening the scoring Friday night with a goal at 4:44 of the first period, the Irish bounced back quickly, scoring three goals before the end of the period to take the 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
Drew Bavaro struck first for the Irish in the opening stanza, firing a shot from the high slot on the powerplay to even the score, 1-1, at 9:53 of the first.
The Irish goal flurry continued late in the period with goals from Landon Slaggert and Justin Janicke as the Irish carried the two-goal into the remaining 40 minutes of play.
The Irish took advantage of a powerplay opportunity early in the second period following some extracurriculars after the whistle at 1:38 of the middle frame. Danny Nelson took just six seconds to capitalize on the man-advantage, scoring his second in an Irish sweater this season, and giving Notre Dame the 4-1 lead.
The goal off the stick of D. Nelson would prove to be the final of the night for both sides as the Irish claimed the 4-1 game one victory over the visitors.
Bischel stopped 43 shots between the pipes Friday night, setting his season high, including all 18 shots faced in the final stanza.
Drew Bavaro opened the Irish scoring Friday night with a wrister from the top of the slot at 9:53 of the first period. Maddox Fleming sent a pass over to Patrick Moynihan, feeding the puck over to Bavaro who walked it in from the point to knot things up, 1-1.
Ryan Siedem skated the puck up the ice before centering a pass back to Landon Slaggert who tucked the puck home from the doorstep for the eventual game-winner. Moynihan also picked up an assist on the play, his second of the night.
The Irish rushed the Terriers’ zone late in the first period with Brennan Ali skating the puck into the offensive end before finding Justin Janicke out front for the 3-1 tally. With the primary assist on the play, Ali recorded his first point with the Blue and Gold.
Danny Nelson ripped a one-timer off from the near circle to give the Irish the 4-1 final. His powerplay goal was assisted by Bavaro and Fleming.
Landon Slaggert’s game-winner was his first of the year and his third lamp lighter of the season. He leads the team in goals, having scored in each home game thus far.
With a goal and an assist Friday, Drew Bavaro recorded his first multi-point game of the season, and fifth in an Irish sweater.
Patrick Moynihan tallied a pair of assists in Friday’s victory, including the set up of the game-winner. His assist on the first goal of the night was his first career point with the Irish.
Maddox Fleming also recorded his first multi-point night with the Irish, assisting on the first and final goals of the evening. The freshman forward now boasts three points in four games played.
Seven Irish skaters highlighted the box score Friday night, including Bavaro, Moynihan and Fleming who led the team with two points each.
Justin Janicke scored his first goal of the season late in the first period to give the Irish the 3-1 lead.
Ryan Bischel set a season high save count with 43 stops on 44 shots faced. The visitors also fired 18 shots on the Irish goaltender in the final period of regulation.
Notre Dame capitalized on two of their five powerplay chances Friday night as Drew Bavaro and Danny Nelson each found the back of the net on the man-advantage.
The Irish killed off all six Terrier powerplay opportunities, including a six-on-four chance late in the game as BU opted for the extra skater in place of the goaltender.
The Irish and Terriers return to Compton Family Ice Arena to close out the regular season series Saturday night with a 6:05 p.m. puck drop.
NOTRE DAME VOLLEYBALL
IRISH FALL IN FIVE TO VIRGINIA TECH
BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish fell to 10-7 on the year and 4-5 in the ACC after falling in five to Virginia Tech on Friday, Oct. 20.
The Irish were led by Sydney Palazzolo with 20 kills, 10 digs, and five service aces. Ava Lange finished with 15 kills, followed by Lucy Trump with seven kills. Lauren Tarnoff finished with five blocks and Hattie Monson led the Irish with 20 digs. Phyona Schrader dished out 25 assists, followed by Harmony Sample with 20 assists.
The Irish and Hokies went back and forth to start the first and after being tied at 8-8, the Irish were able to take the lead at 12-10, but a 3-0 run from the Hokies gave Virginia Tech the advantage again at 13-12. Tied at 14-all, the Irish would go on a 4-0 run with kills from Schrader and Sample, coupled with a block from Tarnoff and Schrader, to post an 18-14 lead and force a Hokie timeout. Virginia Tech was able to bring it within two at 22-20, but back-to-back kills from Palazzolo and a service error from the Hokies gave the Irish set one 25-22.
Tied at 5-5 in set two, the Hokies started to pull away and claimed the 11-6 lead, forcing an Irish timeout. A Palazzolo kill out of the timeout stopped the Hokie run and sparked a 6-2 run for Notre Dame to bring the Irish within one. Virginia Tech wasn’t going anywhere though as they scored five straight to extend their lead to 18-12 and force another Irish timeout. With back-to-back kills from Lange, a kill from Tarnoff and an ace from Manitzas, the Irish battled back to close the gap to four at 21-17. Despite Notre Dame’s late efforts, the Hokies were able to take set two 25-20.
The Hokies carried their momentum into the third set as they posted an early 11-7 lead. The Irish would go on to outscore Virginia Tech 8-3 to capture the lead at 15-14 heading into the media timeout. The Hokies responded with a 6-1 run of their own to regain the advantage at 20-16. The Irish battled back to make it a one point game and force a Virginia Tech timeout with the Hokies leading 22-21. A kill by Lange and a block from Sample and Tarnoff made it 23-all. The Irish took the lead 25-24 after a VT service error and a block from Tarnoff and Schrader, but the Hokies would score three straight to take home the set three battle at 27-25.
Both teams struggled to pull away from the other to start the fourth. Tied at 11-11, the Irish finally separated themselves as they claimed a 20-13 advantage. However, the Hokies weren’t going down without a fight as they closed the gap to five at 20-15 and to four at 23-19. One last kill from Lange in set four gave Notre Dame the 25-20 win to take it into five sets.
Set five was no different from the rest as both teams were hanging tough. Tied at 8-8, a kill and an ace from Palazzolo gave the Irish a two point edge at 10-8. The Hokies came back to take the lead 14-11. The Irish brought it within one at 14-13, but Virginia Tech would send home a final kill to take the win 15-13.
The Irish are set to play Wake Forest on the road on Sunday, Oct. 22 at noon on the ACCN.
BALL STATE VOLLEYBALL
VOLLEYBALL’S COMEBACK FALLS SHORT AT BUFFALO
BUFFALO – – The Ball State women’s volleyball team saw itself s 10-match winning streak come to an end Friday night with a 3-2 (25-22, 25-18, 19-25, 25-27, 15-9) setback to Mid-American Conference East Division leader Buffalo at Alumni Arena.
The Cardinals (12-9; 9-1 MAC), who battled back to force a fifth set after dropping the opening two, fall a match behind Western Michigan, who swept Eastern Michigan tonight, for the top spot in the league standings.
The Bulls (18-4; 8-2 MAC) remain third, one back of BSU.
Ball State redshirt freshman outside attacker Aniya Kennedy had another solid night, leading all players with 22 kills. She was one of three Cardinals to finish the match with double-digit kills, joined by sophomore opposite Madison Buckley at 14 and fifth-year middle Marie Plitt at 13.
Junior setter Megan Wielonski set the BSU offense to a .213 hitting percentage, while picking up her 11th double-double of the season with 48 assists and 10 digs.
Fifth-year libero Havyn Gates led the Ball State backcourt with 14 digs, while Buckley and freshman middle Camryn Wise tallied a team-high six blocks apiece.
Abby Leigh and Courtney Okwara led the Buffalo attack with 16 kills apiece, while Maria Futey collected a match-best 26 digs. Overall four Bulls finished the night with double-digit kills, while UB connected for a .264 rate of success as a team.
The Cardinals and Bulls will play again Saturday afternoon at Alumni Arena with first serve set for 4 p.m.
INDIANA STATE VOLLEYBALL
SYCAMORES FALL TO BRAVES IN TIGHTLY-CONTESTED MATCH
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Kira Holland surpassed 200 kills for the season Friday evening, but host Bradley defeated Indiana State in three sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-22) inside Renaissance Coliseum.
Holland led all players in the match with 14 kills and added nine digs. Ella Scott added seven kills for the Sycmaores, while Avery Hales had 31 assists, seven digs, five kills and three aces. Macy Lengacher led all players in the match with 14 digs.
Holland got things started early with a pair of kills, as the Sycamores and Braves split the first 10 points of the match. Bradley opened up a five-point advantage midway through the set, but the Sycamores cut into that thanks to a pair off Karinna Gall kills. Indiana State got within two points at 18-16, but Bradley went on a four-point run to seize control. An ace from Hales and a kill from Jadyn Smith late in the set weren’t enough for the Trees, as Bradley took the opening frame 25-20.
Bradley carried its momentum into the second set, as the Braves quickly jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Holland had four kills in a nine-point span to cut into the Sycamore deficit, and kills from Hales and Smith cut it to a 14-12 Bradley lead midway through. Bradley used a run of its own to push its advantage back to five, but a Sycamore scoring run capped by back-to-back service aces from Scott leveled the set at 20-apiece. Kills from Holland and Hales gave the Sycamores the lead, but Bradley closed out the set with four straight points to win the second set 25-22.
The home side scored the first four points of the third set, but Indiana State battled back. Holland and Scott got the attack going for the Sycamores with kills, but another Braves scoring run saw the Trees facing a 12-6 deficit. Indiana State cut its deficit to 17-15 following kills from Scott, Hales and Holland, but Bradley was able to push its lead back up to five with three straight points. Back-to-back service aces from Hales, along with a kill from Holland, got the Sycamores within two at 20-18, but Indiana State never got closer as Bradley clinched the match with a 25-22 win in the third set.
Inside the Numbers
All three sets in Friday’s match were decided by five points or less, marking the first match this season where every set was decided by five points or fewer.
Kira Holland became the first freshman in the MVC to top 200 kills this season, with her 14 kills Friday putting her at 202 this year.
Avery Hales and Ella Scott combined for all five of Indiana State’s service aces Friday.
News and Notes
Kira Holland has recorded double-digit kills in each of the last nine matches, a streak that dates back to the opening weekend of conference play.
Jamie Brown made her first appearance since the non-conference finale against IUPUI, recording a block assist in the third set.
Avery Hales has dished out 30 or more assists in each of the last three matches, while her five kills and three service aces matched her season bests.
Indiana State closes its two-match road swing Saturday at Illinois State, with first serve set for 6 p.m.
INDIANA STATE WOMEN’S SOCCER
SYCAMORES CLOSE OUT REGULAR SEASON AGAINST MURRAY STATE WITH PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS ON THE LINE
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State closes out the 2023 regular season on Sunday afternoon with playoff implications on the line as the Sycamores host Murray State at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff between the Sycamores and the Racers is set for 1 p.m. and will be carried live on ESPN+.
The Sycamores (2-6-9, 1-4-4) enter the weekend trailing Evansville for the final spot in the 2023 MVC Soccer Championships. Indiana State needs a win on Sunday and an Evansville loss to Missouri State to outright secure a spot into the postseason. An ISU win and an Evansville tie would swing the Purple Aces to the postseason courtesy of the MVC tiebreak scenarios.
Indiana State is in position to fight for the postseason courtesy of their 2-0 win last weekend against Illinois State, as well as Thursday night’s 2-2 tie against Murray State. The Sycamores’ four goals over the last two matches mark season highs for Indiana State in 2023.
Thursday night’s match at Evansville was highlighted by Isabella Hunter’s first collegiate goal, while Adelaide Wolfe scored her second goal of 2023 in the draw against the Aces. The 2-2 tie marked Indiana State’s NCAA-leading ninth draw of the year and fourth in MVC play.
The Sycamores struck first as Hunter collected a loose ball inside the box. The senior midfielder fired past the keeper from seven yards out for her first collegiate goal over her ISU career to put the Sycamores ahead early. Indiana State’s lead would remain through the first half as Maddie Alexander recorded three saves over seven early Evansville shots to keep it a 1-0 margin after the first 45 minutes of play.
Indiana State tied the match back up in the 83rd minute as Wolfe scored her second goal of the season off a set piece on a corner kick. Audrey Stephens launched the ball into the box toward an open gap just past the net. Wolfe caught the ball on the fly and redirected the shot with the header into the upper right corner to knot the match back up at 2-2.
The Sycamores return to Memorial Stadium after recording their first MVC win this past Sunday against the Redbirds. Indiana State snapped a seven-match scoreless streak in the 2-0 win over the Redbirds with Caitlin Mullen and Maddie Helling both scoring in the shutout over Illinois State.
Helling leads the Sycamores with three goals on the year, while Wolfe became the second Sycamore to post multiple goals on the season with her second on Thursday night. Hunter scored her first goal of the year and has posted three assists over the last three matches to pace the team.
Mackenzie Kent, Lina Fasquelle, Mullen, and Tesny have also found the back of the net in 2023, while Kent, Carlie Jensen, Alexa Mackey, Audrey Stephens, and Brooklyn Woods have also posted assists on the year.
Maddie Alexander has started all 17 matches in the 2023 season and recently moved into fourth all-time in the ISU record books with 242 career saves over her four seasons in the net. The Battle Creek, Mich. native has allowed a 1.04 goals-against-average, while adding 76 saves against 218 shots faced.
Murray State (5-8-4, 3-2-4) saw its three-match winning streak come to an end on Thursday night as the Racers secured a spot in the MVC postseason tournament. The Racers topped Northern Iowa, Illinois State, and Southern Illinois prior to falling to Drake this past Thursday, 2-1.
Mary Hardy leads the Racers with six goals and three assists on the season as the sophomore midfielder has posted team-highs with 42 shots and 24 shots on goal. Hailey Cole has four goals on the year, while Sydney Etter has two goals and a pair of assists to pace the Racers offense.
Griselda Revolorio and Jenna Villacres have split time in the net this season. Revolorio has recorded a team-high 10 match starts and a 0.76 goals-against-average, while Villacres has made seven starts with a 2.17 goals-against-average.
PURDUE FT. WAYNE VOLLEYBALL
RATKAI SETS PROGRAM AND TIES HORIZON LEAGUE RALLY SCORING ERA RECORD WITH 35 KILLS
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Redshirt-freshman Panna Ratkai set a new rally scoring era program record with 35 kills in Purdue Fort Wayne’s 3-2 (21-25, 17-25, 33-31, 25-12, 15-11) loss to first-place Milwaukee on Friday (Oct. 20) on the Arnie Ball Court at the Gates Sports Center.
Ratkai’s totals for the night: 35 kills on 86 attempts, seven digs, four aces and three blocks.
Her 35 kills are:
– the most in the rally scoring era in program history (passing: 34, Fabiana Souza vs South Dakota State, Nov. 12, 2005)
– the second most all-time in program history (36, Laura Douglas at Lewis, Oct. 28, 2000)
– tied for the fourth-most in Horizon League history
– tied for first in Horizon League history during the rally scoring era (35, Kara Koch, Cleveland State vs. UIC, Nov. 4, 2011)
– tied for the fifth-most kills by any player in the nation in a match this season
Her 86 attacks are:
– fourth in Horizon League history for attacks
– second in Horizon League history for attacks in the rally scoring era (87, Kara Koch, Cleveland State vs. Oakland, Sept. 8, 2012)
– third in program history all-time
The ‘Dons took set one by four points by limiting the Panthers to a .094 attack percentage in the frame. The ‘Dons had four aces, three by Ratkai in the frame. Set two was up in the air with the ‘Dons up 18-16. Panna Ratkai followed with three straight kills and it started a 7-1 run to end the set and put the ‘Dons up 2-0.
Set three was the marathon. Ratkai turned away a Panther set point to tie the set at 24 and added another kill to make it 25-24 and give the ‘Dons their first of four match points in the contest. The next one came at 29-28 after two more Ratkai kills. Two more match points were turned away until the Panthers scored points 31, 32 and 33 on kills. 2021 Horizon League Player of the Year Ari Miller had the kill for point 32 with Madi Malone scoring points 31 and 33. Ratkai recorded 13 kills on 24 swings in the third set.
The Panthers took that momentum the rest of the way.
Ashby Willis added 15 kills and a career-high 17 digs for a double-double. Taya Haffner totaled a career-high 59 assists. LonDynn Betts finished with 21 digs. The ‘Dons had a 9-2 edge in aces, four from Ratkai and two from Betts.
Malone recorded 26 kills for the Panthers.
The ‘Dons fall to 7-15 (2-8 Horizon League). Milwaukee is now 16-8 (8-2 Horizon League). The ‘Dons host Green Bay on Saturday (Oct. 21) at 4 p.m.
ACES FALL TO ILLINOIS STATE IN WEEKEND OPENER
NORMAL, Ill. – Giulia Cardona posted a team-best 8 kills while tying to the Ainoah Cruz’ high of 14 digs in Friday evening’s match at Illinois State that saw the University of Evansville volleyball team fall by a 3-0 final inside Redbird Arena.
Just behind Cardona was Melanie Feliciano with 7 kills. Lexi Owen recorded a team-high 16 assists and contributed 8 digs. Aida Shadewald led all players with 10 kills for ISU.
Game 1 – ISU 25, UE 23
Early in the opening frame, it was the serving that had UE on top. An ace from Melanie Feliciano saw the Purple Aces take a 5-3 lead before consecutive aces by Giulia Cardona put Evansville on top by a 9-7 tally. Cardona would later add a kill that gave UE a 13-12 edge.
Illinois State took its first multi-point advantage at 17-15 before the Aces rallied to tie it up at 21-21 on a Feliciano kill. The Redbirds countered with three in a row to have set point but UE bounced back with a pair to get within one before ISU scored the clinching point.
Game 2 – ISU 25, UE 17
Ainoah Cruz picked up an ace that saw UE tie the second set at 3-3 but Illinois State changed the course of the evening with a 7-2 run to go up by a 10-5 tally. Evansville trailed by a manageable 17-12 tally before ISU scored four in a row and would take a 2-0 lead with a 25-17 decision.
Game 3 – ISU 25, UE 12
With the set tied at 3-3, Illinois State reeled off four in a row to take the lead for good. Up by a 12-7 margin, the Redbirds posted five in a row and would pull away for a 25-12 win to clinch the match.
On Saturday, the Aces will be in Peoria, Ill. to face Bradley at 5 p.m.
SOUTHERN INDIANA WOMEN’S SOCCER
EAGLES FINISH REGULAR SEASON SUNDAY AT EASTERN ILLINOIS
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – With an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament berth already clinched, University of Southern Indiana Women’s Soccer will look to solidify its postseason seeding in Sunday’s regular-season finale at Eastern Illinois University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Southern Indiana is 4-6-7 this season and 3-1-4 in Ohio Valley Conference action. USI is riding a season-best six-match unbeaten streak, going 3-0-3. USI has also earned a result in 10 of the last 11 matches, going 4-1-6 during that stretch.
The Screaming Eagles are coming off their third straight tie, a 0-0 draw at home Thursday night against Southeast Missouri State University. In a back-and-forth battle that featured a few chances for each side, neither squad could find the back of the net. USI had a couple of opportunities late that were kept out of the goal. USI outshot SEMO 11-9 with both teams placing five shots on target. Senior defender Alexis Schone (Galena, Ohio) had a game-high four shots, and sophomore midfielder
Peyton Murphy (Bargersville, Indiana) had three shots with two on goal. The scoreless draw was USI’s sixth shutout of the season. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Anna Markland (Hoover, Alabama) recorded five saves toward her sixth clean sheet of the 2023 campaign.
On the season, freshman midfielder Pilar Torres (Chula Vista, California) leads Southern Indiana with three goals. Murphy has two goals and paces the team with 30 shots, which is tied for eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference. In goal, Markland is second in the OVC with six shutouts. She is also second in the league with a 1.05 GAA and fourth with 67 saves.
Earlier this week, Markland and sophomore defender Charli Grafton (Sunriver, Oregon) were named OVC Goalkeeper of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively. For Markland, it was her third weekly accolade of the season while it was the second for Grafton. Overall, USI has claimed six OVC weekly honors this season.
Eastern Illinois (3-8-4, 2-4-2) collected a 2-0 road win at Lindenwood University on Thursday. Both goals came after the intermission. EIU jumped in front on a penalty-kick goal in the 60th minute before sealing the deal with a goal in the 85th minute.
Leading the charge for the Panthers are freshman forwards Abby Reinl and Alex Tetteh with three goals each. Tetteh scored EIU’s second goal against Lindenwood on Thursday. Reinl has a team-best nine points with three assists in addition to her three goals. In goal, freshman keeper Ella Kratochvil has been the mainstay in the net recently for the Panthers. With nine starts and 11 appearances this season, Kratochvil has a 1.43 GAA with 59 saves and three shutouts.
Sunday will be the second all-time meeting between the two schools. Last season, USI captured a 2-0 home victory against the Panthers to clinch USI’s first-ever OVC Tournament berth.
Entering Thursday, the Screaming Eagles sit in a tie with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for third in the Ohio Valley Conference standings at 13 points. With the tournament field set but seedings still to be determined, USI is looking to finish with a third or fourth seed to host a first-round and quarterfinal round. Eastern Illinois enters Sunday as the No. 8 seed with eight points, seeking to jump above Southeast Missouri. Several tiebreaker scenarios could come into play Sunday to determine the middle of the pack in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Sunday’s match can be seen with a subscription to ESPN+. Additional coverage links are available on the USI Women’s Soccer schedule page on usiscreamingeagles.com.
SOUTHERN INDIANA VOLLEYBALL
EAGLES’ OFFENSE IGNITES FOR ROAD WIN OVER LEATHERNECKS
MACOMB, Ill. – University of Southern Indiana Volleyball (10-12, 6-5 OVC) tallied a season-high 73 kills and 68 assists in the 3-1 victory (28-26, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21) over Ohio Valley Conference foe, Western Illinois University (6-13, 5-4 OVC), at Western Hall on Friday night. The Screaming Eagles get back in the win column and snap their three-match skid after earning the most kills and assists in a single match since October 2021.
USI’s 23 kills kicked off the match and sparked the 28-26 opening-set win. The Eagles started with a 4-0 run that began with an ace from junior setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana) and continued with a pair of kills from senior outside hitter Leah Anderson (Bloomington, Illinois) and a kill by junior middle hitter Paris Downing (Avon, Indiana). USI held a late 20-15 lead until WIU scored six of the next seven points to knot it up at 21 apiece. The Leathernecks held the momentum with a 26-25 advantage until the Eagles rallied back with kills from Downing and sophomore middle hitter Bianca Anderson (Chicago Heights, Illinois) and stole the frame back.
Another tight battle resulted in a 25-22 win for the Eagles in the second game. Both sides traded blows until USI ran up the score with a 5-0 surge to make it 18-14. Junior outside hitter Abby Weber (Fishers, Indiana) started the run with a kill with Bianca Anderson securing back-to-back kills to capitalize the stint. Despite trailing by five, the Leathernecks stormed back once again by scoring five of the next six points, four coming off the Eagles’ offensive errors. Even after the late push, USI was able to hold off WIU and win the set with the help of kills from Leah Anderson and senior outside/right side hitter Abby Bednar (Chagrin Falls, Ohio). The Eagles’ defense nabbed four blocks and held the Leathernecks’ offense to 10 kills and a 0.111 hitting percentage.
The Leathernecks took care of business in the third set and took down the Eagles, 25-21. USI held an early 6-4 advantage until a 3-0 run from WIU switched the flow of the game. Down 17-13, the Eagles’ offense sprang into action and knocked down four kills and an ace to take an 18-17 lead. Bianca Anderson led the charge, earning all four kills, while Bednar nabbed the lone ace. Despite the late push, USI could not stop WIU’s offense who racked up four kills and three aces to seal the Eagles’ fate and keep the Leathernecks alive. USI was able to outhit WIU, 14-10, but it was the six aces and five blocks from the Leathernecks that hurt the Eagles in the end.
An offensive slugfest from USI leads to the 25-21 win and secures the match victory. The Eagles nabbed the first three points off kills from Downing and Bednar before the Leathernecks stormed back with four straight points that resulted in a 5-4 advantage for WIU. Bednar quickly retaliated with back-to-back kills to retake the lead followed by kills from Leah Anderson and Bianca Anderson to extend the advantage, 8-6. It was back-and-forth play until Bednar tallied three straight kills to expand USI’s lead to 13-10. The Eagles were able to hold on to the lead and take down the Leathernecks for the first win in the new rivalry. USI recorded 21 kills with just two errors for a whopping 0.514 attacking percentage.
Bianca Anderson put up a career-high 25 kills to pair with four blocks and a staggering 0.605 hitting percentage that ultimately lifted USI to the victory. Her 25 kills are the most for any USI player all season. Also hitting the 20-kill plateau was Bednar who also secured a team-high four aces. Downing and Leah Anderson round out double-digit kills for the Eagles with 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Downing’s 14 kills were a career-high as she also totaled four blocks. Sobieralski had an impressive all-around performance, earning a career-high 65 assists to go with 11 digs, four blocks, and three aces. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Keira Moore (Newburgh, Indiana) had 26 digs to lead the Eagles while Weber nabbed 22 digs and Leah Anderson totaled 15 digs.
As a team, the Eagles totaled 73 kills, 68 assists, and eight aces along with eight blocks and 83 digs. The Leathernecks recorded 52 kills, 48 assists, and 13 aces to go with 74 digs and 11 blocks.
NEXT UP FOR THE EAGLES:
The Eagles will face the Leathernecks tomorrow at 2 p.m. to close out the road swing. After tomorrow’s match, USI will have to wait an extra week before facing another opponent due to the OVC’s new bye-week format.
VOLLEYBALL PICKS UP THIRD STRAIGHT ROAD WIN
The Valpo volleyball team extended its winning streak to four consecutive matches, the last three of which have all come away from home, on Friday evening with a 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-18, 25-21) victory at Southern Illinois.
How It Happened
Valpo scored the first three points of the opening set, matching what was the biggest lead for either side in the first frame. SIU came back to take the lead twice in the set, but the Beacons prevented the Salukis from extending their lead past a single point on either occasion.
Valpo led late 23-20 following a kill from fifth-year middle Miranda Strongman (Wolverine Lake, Mich./Walled Lake Central [LIU]), and after consecutive SIU points, the Beacons earned set point at 24-22 thanks to a block from senior Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) and junior Elise Swistek (LaPorte, Ind./New Prairie).
SIU scored each of the next two points to force extra points, but that just set up Januski to rack up back-to-back kills to close out the opener in Valpo’s favor.
Valpo held a 5-1 edge early in set two before the Salukis scored 14 of the next 18 points to take control, eventually evening the match at one set apiece.
It was a battle for control of the third set into the second half of the frame, as neither side held more than a two-point lead for the first half of the set. Tied 14-14, Valpo strung together three straight points — including a kill and a block from Januski — to pull ahead 17-14, but SIU came back with three in a row of its own to again even the score at 17-17.
It was all Beacons from there, however, as they ended the set on an 8-1 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Strongman tallied a trio of kills in the closing stretch to lead the way.
The fourth set proved to be a story of runs, the biggest of which fell in Valpo’s favor. The Beacons led 6-3 early on, but SIU flipped the script with six points in a row to go ahead, 9-6.
Valpo responded in an even bigger fashion, piecing together 10 consecutive points — highlighted by two kills and two blocks apiece by Strongman and senior Olivia Blackketter (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South [Winthrop) — to turn the three-point deficit into a 16-9 lead.
SIU tried to battle back, getting as close as two points at 19-17, but Valpo held the Salukis at bay and another kill from Strongman closed out Friday’s road win.
Inside the Match
Valpo has won four matches in a row for the second time this season, the last three of them coming on the road.
This is the first time Valpo has won three consecutive conference matches, all away from home, since the spring 2021 campaign, when it won the second match at Illinois State before sweeping the two-match weekend at Drake.
Prior to that, the last time Valpo had played at least three consecutive conference matches on the road and won all of them came back in 2008, when it swept road trips at Youngstown State and Cleveland State and at Loyola and UIC on consecutive weekends.
Valpo owns an 11-2 record over SIU since joining the Valley, including wins in each of the last six meetings.
The Beacons continued their recent strong defensive play on Friday, limiting SIU to .155 hitting. The defense at the net stood out yet again, as Valpo racked up 12 total team blocks — the team’s fourth straight match with double-digit blocks, for the first time since the 2021 team did so in five consecutive matches Nov. 13-26.
Both of Valpo’s middles enjoyed strong matches on Friday, highlighted by Strongman, who posted a match-high 13 kills on .407 hitting and tied for match-high honors with six blocks.
Strongman has tallied double digits in kills six times in Valpo’s 10 MVC matches and has hit above .400 five times.
Januski backed up Strongman with 12 kills of her own and matched her fellow middle with six rejections.
Swistek picked up nine kills, but her back-row work was most impressive, as the junior tallied 28 digs — 10 more than any other player and a new season high.
Sophomore Maddie Moan (Woodstock, Ill./Woodstock [Milwaukee]) enjoyed another good outing on the right side, hitting .316 with seven kills. She notched six digs as well, easily a career high, and also tied her season best with three blocks,
Setters Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) and Addy Kois (Osceola, Ind./Penn) each handed out 22 assists on Friday. Bulmahn finished with 11 digs as well for her sixth double-double of the year.
Two Beacons moved up Valpo’s career digs chart in Friday’s win. Fifth-year outside Bella Ravotto (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian) posted 15 digs to increase her career total to 1,534 digs, moving into ninth position in program history and just three shy of eighth place. Meanwhile, sophomore Emma Hickey (Granger, Ind./Penn) cracked the top-20 in program history, as her 16 digs bumped her career total to 1,143 digs.
Valpo (14-9, 6-4 MVC) goes for a fourth straight road victory on Saturday at Missouri State. The matchup with the Bears begins at 5 p.m.
UINDY MEN’S SOCCER
HOUNDS FALLS TO PEACOCKS FOR FIRST LOSS OF THE SEASON
FAYETTE, Iowa – The seventh ranked UIndy men’s soccer team falls to Upper Iowa 0-2 to gain their first loss on the season. This is the first contest between the Peacocks and Greyhounds since Upper Iowa joined the GLVC.
INS & OUTS
Upper Iowa reached the back of the net first with a goal only eight minutes into the game. UIndy was awarded a group of corner kicks in the middle of the half but a strong Upper Iowa’s defense prevented the ball from going in.
The rest of the first half was controlled by the Greyhounds. The team had a total of 11 shots in the first 45, two on goal. Kabiru Gafar had a chance to tie the game in the last seconds of the half. Gafar was able to get the ball into the net, but time had run out just before the ball crossed the line.
The second became a defensive battle between both teams. The ball continued to travel the length of the field as both teams maintained a limited about of shots.
Halfway through the second half Upper Iowa scored their second goal of the game.
UIndy picked up the pace for the final 25 minutes of the match. The Greyhounds kept the ball near the Peacocks goal, they attempted 21 shots, 10 on goal. Even with the effort the Hounds where not able to reach the back of the net.
INSIDE THE BOX
– Kieran Brown guarded the UIndy goal for entirety of the match. He only let in two goals and had 2 saves on the day.
– The defensive trio of Bobby Tuner, Pierre Lurot, and Niklas Thanhofer played for all 90 minutes of the match. Jona Hogle and Michael Tselios also stayed in for the whole game.
– The Greyhounds finished the contest with 32 shots, 12 on goal.
UIndy will travel to Kirksville, Mo. to face Truman State. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET at Stokes Stadium.
UINDY WOMEN’S SOCCER
WINTERS’ FIRST-CAREER GOAL HELPS TO PROPEL HOUNDS OVER PEACOCKS
FAYETTE, Iowa – The University of Indianapolis women’s soccer team has returned to the win column, handing GLVC-newcomer Upper Iowa a 2-0 loss in Fayette, Iowa. The Greyhounds tallied a goal in both 45-minute periods for their first GLVC-conference victory since Sept. 24.
Mia Winters, the freshman from Indianapolis, achieved a significant career milestone by netting her first goal during her Greyhound tenure in the 61st minute.
Stephanie Brady also found the mark, striking from close range in the first half to notch her third goal of the season.
INS & OUTS
The Hounds’ offense came alive early as they mounted their first attack in the second minute with a shot on goal by Natalie Lograsso. They didn’t let up, firing eight more shots in the first half. The standout moment came from Brady who, after having her shot blocked, promptly returned it into the net for the first Greyhound goal.
The Greyhound defense, fresh off a first-half shutout, continued to stymie the Peacocks early in the second period. Rochelle Maxson intercepted a midfield pass and sent it upfield where some slick passing by Sarah Wegener and Emma Lopp found Brady out on the wing, who took a powerful shot, being saved by the Peacock keeper. Despite the save, Winters was in the right spot at the right time to chip it in for the milestone and the second goal for the Hounds.
The Hounds did not let up with their two-goal lead, sending four more shots out, but with none finding the net. Nonetheless, they clinched their third GLVC win of the season.
This contest marks the first time the Greyhounds and the Upper Iowa Peacocks have faced off since 2006, when the Hounds secured a 3-0 win in Indianapolis. UIndy now leads the all-time series 2-0 and stands at 1-0 in the new Peacock x GLVC era.
INSIDE THE BOX
– Sabrina Shaw, making her third Greyhound start in net, recorded her first UIndy clean sheet, making four saves in the process.
– The Hounds offense was relentless, taking 18 shots total, 10 of which on goal.
– Corners were a strong presence for the Hounds, taking seven, which is the season best for the squad.
The Greyhounds’ extended road trip continue as they head south to Kirksville, Mo., to face the Truman State Bulldogs in the battle of the dawgs. Truman and UIndy will square off on October 22 at 1 p.m.
MARIAN SUFFERS FIVE-SET HEARTBREAK AT GRACE COLLEGE
Winona Lake, Ind. – The Marian volleyball team got a challenge from Grace College on Friday night, and were unable to match the intensity on enemy territory as the Lancers defeated the Knights in five sets. Marian’s loss drops them to 16-8 overall on the season and 10-4 in Crossroads League action, holding a half-game advantage over Bethel for third place in the CL standings.
Grace took the opening game 25-16, taking the set after overcoming an early charge by Marian. The Knights grabbed the first two points and then held control through a back and forth run, but a 6-0 Lancer run through a Marian timeout put the home team on top 14-9. Marian would claw back and get within a pair of the Lancers with Madison Brooks landing a kill around a pair of attack errors, but couldn’t close the gap. Grace used a 5-0 run while leading 17-15 to grow their lead to seven, eventually rolling to a 1-0 lead.
Marian responded by winning the second set 25-20, as they broke through an early back and forth at the start of the set to pull in front 10-7. Brooks and Mikayla Christiansen helped build the lead to four at 16-12, but Grace would respond and take an 18-17 lead as they used a pair of three-point bursts. Khori Dryden helped Marian get back in system and push to even the set, as the freshman tied the score at 18 and produced four additional kills to help the Knights win their first game.
The Knights were unable to stack consecutive set wins after winning the second, as Grace prevailed in the third 25-16. The Lancers took charge early and trailed for just two rallies in the game, pushing their lead to five points after 17 rallies. An Emma Lyons service ace would help the Knights inch within three of their medieval counterparts, but a 4-0 run put Grace in control for good. Grace would go on to win 25-16, out-scoring Marian 10-5 over the final 15 rallies.
With the match on the line, Marian dialed up their intensity in the fourth set and jumped in front 8-5 thanks to a 6-1 swing led by Dryden and Averi Lanman. Marian would go in front 11-7, but Grace came roaring back and got within a point of the visitors after scoring three straight. Lanman helped get Marian back in system as they jumped in front by four, and eventually took a 21-15 lead fueled by Christiansen and Nicole Wilkinson. Grace didn’t go away quietly however, scoring seven of the next nine rallies to get within one of the Knights, but a Wilkinson kill halted the run. Brooks would finish the set with a kill as Marian won the fourth set 25-22, forcing the fifth and final set.
After using their energy to rally and force the fifth set, Marian came out flat in the final game, allowing seven unanswered points to Grace as the final game began. The Knights chipped away and inched with five points on two separate occasions, but their early deficit was too much to overcome, as Grace went on to win the final set 15-7, taking the match in five sets.
Logan Smith and Mikayla Christiansen each recorded double-doubles in the loss, with Smith posting 21 assists and 10 digs, while the outside hitter Christiansen had 12 kills and 14 digs. Emma Lyons finished with 14 digs for the match, and Dryden led Marian with 13 kills. Lanman led Marian with five total blocks including one block solo, as Marian had nine total rejections as a team.
Marian will host their senior day and regular season home finale on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m., as the Knights welcome St. Francis to the PE Center. Senior ceremonies begin at 4:55 p.m.
SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETICS
INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/
EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/
WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/
FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/
ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/
ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index
TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index
BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/
DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/
HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/
MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/
HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/
OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx
ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index
IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/
IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/
IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/
PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/
INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx
GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/
ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/
GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/
HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php
TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/
VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index
|American Football Conference|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Miami Dolphins||5||1||0||.833||0.0||223||156||3-0-0||2-1-0||3-1-0||1-1-0||2 W|
|Buffalo Bills||4||2||0||.667||1.0||173||89||3-1-0||1-1-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||1 W|
|New York Jets||3||3||0||.500||2.0||113||119||2-2-0||1-1-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||2 W|
|New England Patriots||1||5||0||.167||4.0||72||152||0-3-0||1-2-0||1-2-0||1-1-0||3 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Kansas City Chiefs||5||1||0||.833||0.0||147||88||2-1-0||3-0-0||3-0-0||1-0-0||5 W|
|Las Vegas Raiders||3||3||0||.500||2.0||100||131||2-1-0||1-2-0||2-3-0||1-1-0||2 W|
|Los Angeles Chargers||2||3||0||.400||2.5||127||124||1-2-0||1-1-0||1-2-0||1-0-0||1 L|
|Denver Broncos||1||5||0||.167||4.0||129||200||0-3-0||1-2-0||0-4-0||0-2-0||2 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Baltimore Ravens||4||2||0||.667||0.0||133||91||1-1-0||3-1-0||4-2-0||2-1-0||1 W|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||3||2||0||.600||0.5||79||110||2-1-0||1-1-0||3-1-0||2-0-0||1 W|
|Cleveland Browns||3||2||0||.600||0.5||95||77||3-1-0||0-1-0||2-2-0||1-2-0||1 W|
|Cincinnati Bengals||3||3||0||.500||1.0||100||127||2-1-0||1-2-0||0-3-0||0-2-0||2 W|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||5||2||0||.714||0.0||173||146||2-2-0||3-0-0||3-2-0||2-1-0||4 W|
|Indianapolis Colts||3||3||0||.500||1.5||140||152||1-2-0||2-1-0||3-2-0||2-2-0||1 L|
|Houston Texans||3||3||0||.500||1.5||135||113||2-1-0||1-2-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||1 W|
|Tennessee Titans||2||4||0||.333||2.5||104||117||2-1-0||0-3-0||2-3-0||0-1-0||2 L|
|National Football Conference|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Philadelphia Eagles||5||1||0||.833||0.0||155||124||2-0-0||3-1-0||4-0-0||1-0-0||1 L|
|Dallas Cowboys||4||2||0||.667||1.0||154||100||2-0-0||2-2-0||1-2-0||1-0-0||1 W|
|Washington Commanders||3||3||0||.500||2.0||133||176||1-2-0||2-1-0||2-2-0||0-1-0||1 W|
|New York Giants||1||5||0||.167||4.0||71||167||0-2-0||1-3-0||1-3-0||0-1-0||4 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|San Francisco 49ers||5||1||0||.833||0.0||184||87||3-0-0||2-1-0||4-0-0||2-0-0||1 L|
|Seattle Seahawks||3||2||0||.600||1.5||124||108||1-1-0||2-1-0||3-1-0||0-1-0||1 L|
|Los Angeles Rams||3||3||0||.500||2.0||138||117||1-2-0||2-1-0||2-2-0||2-1-0||1 W|
|Arizona Cardinals||1||5||0||.167||4.0||117||162||1-2-0||0-3-0||1-4-0||0-2-0||3 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Detroit Lions||5||1||0||.833||0.0||168||113||2-1-0||3-0-0||4-1-0||1-0-0||4 W|
|Green Bay Packers||2||3||0||.400||2.5||113||113||1-1-0||1-2-0||2-2-0||1-1-0||2 L|
|Minnesota Vikings||2||4||0||.333||3.0||129||135||0-3-0||2-1-0||2-2-0||1-0-0||1 W|
|Chicago Bears||1||5||0||.167||4.0||128||176||0-3-0||1-2-0||1-3-0||0-2-0||1 L|
|W||L||T||Pct||GB||PF||PA||Home||Road||vs. Conf||vs. Div||Streak|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3||2||0||.600||0.0||90||88||1-2-0||2-0-0||3-2-0||1-0-0||1 L|
|Atlanta Falcons||3||3||0||.500||0.5||99||120||3-1-0||0-2-0||2-2-0||1-0-0||1 L|
|New Orleans Saints||3||4||0||.429||1.0||133||127||1-2-0||2-2-0||1-2-0||1-1-0||2 L|
|Carolina Panthers||0||6||0||.000||3.5||112||186||0-2-0||0-4-0||0-5-0||0-2-0||6 L|
|1 Boston Bruins||3||3||0||0||6||3||9||4||2-0-0||1-0-0||3-0-0|
|2 Philadelphia Flyers||4||3||1||0||6||3||12||8||2-0-0||1-1-0||3-1-0|
|3 Ottawa Senators||4||3||1||0||6||3||19||10||3-0-0||0-1-0||3-1-0|
|4 Detroit Red Wings||4||3||1||0||6||3||19||11||2-0-0||1-1-0||3-1-0|
|5 Carolina Hurricanes||5||3||2||0||6||2||24||24||1-0-0||2-2-0||3-2-0|
|6 New York Islanders||3||2||0||1||5||2||8||7||2-0-1||—||2-0-1|
|7 New Jersey Devils||4||2||1||1||5||2||15||15||1-1-1||1-0-0||2-1-1|
|8 Tampa Bay Lightning||5||2||2||1||5||2||17||20||2-0-0||0-2-1||2-2-1|
|9 Pittsburgh Penguins||4||2||2||0||4||2||14||12||1-1-0||1-1-0||2-2-0|
|10 New York Rangers||4||2||2||0||4||2||11||11||1-1-0||1-1-0||2-2-0|
|11 Florida Panthers||4||2||2||0||4||2||11||12||1-0-0||1-2-0||2-2-0|
|12 Columbus Blue Jackets||4||2||2||0||4||2||10||12||2-2-0||—||2-2-0|
|13 Toronto Maple Leafs||4||2||2||0||4||1||15||16||2-1-0||0-1-0||2-2-0|
|14 Montreal Canadiens||3||1||1||1||3||1||10||13||1-1-0||0-0-1||1-1-1|
|15 Washington Capitals||3||1||2||0||2||0||4||12||1-1-0||0-1-0||1-2-0|
|16 Buffalo Sabres||4||1||3||0||2||1||9||14||1-2-0||0-1-0||1-3-0|
|1 Vegas Golden Knights||5||5||0||0||10||4||20||8||3-0-0||2-0-0||5-0-0|
|2 Colorado Avalanche||4||4||0||0||8||3||15||4||1-0-0||3-0-0||4-0-0|
|3 Dallas Stars||3||2||0||1||5||1||7||6||1-0-0||1-0-1||2-0-1|
|4 Los Angeles Kings||4||2||1||1||5||2||19||15||0-1-1||2-0-0||2-1-1|
|5 Calgary Flames||5||2||2||1||5||2||14||17||1-0-0||1-2-1||2-2-1|
|6 Minnesota Wild||4||2||2||0||4||2||14||16||1-1-0||1-1-0||2-2-0|
|7 Vancouver Canucks||4||2||2||0||4||2||15||10||1-0-0||1-2-0||2-2-0|
|8 Arizona Coyotes||4||2||2||0||4||1||11||8||—||2-2-0||2-2-0|
|9 Nashville Predators||5||2||3||0||4||2||13||15||1-1-0||1-2-0||2-3-0|
|10 Chicago Blackhawks||5||2||3||0||4||2||11||13||—||2-3-0||2-3-0|
|11 St. Louis Blues||3||1||1||1||3||0||5||9||1-1-0||0-0-1||1-1-1|
|12 Seattle Kraken||5||1||3||1||3||1||10||17||1-1-0||0-2-1||1-3-1|
|13 Anaheim Ducks||3||1||2||0||2||1||9||10||1-1-0||0-1-0||1-2-0|
|14 Winnipeg Jets||4||1||3||0||2||1||13||19||1-2-0||0-1-0||1-3-0|
|15 Edmonton Oilers||4||1||3||0||2||1||11||17||0-1-0||1-2-0||1-3-0|
|16 San Jose Sharks||4||0||3||1||1||0||6||15||0-3-1||—||0-3-1|
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1957 With major league baseball coming to the Bay Area, the Giants buy the single-A minor league team in Arizona to move the San Francisco Seals to the nearby desert. The transplanted team name their new farm club, the Phoenix Giants.
1973 In Game Seven, the hometown A’s capture their second consecutive World Championship, defeating the Mets, 5-2, when Darold Knowles, coming out of the bullpen with two outs and two on in the ninth, gets Wayne Garrett to pop out. The 31-year-old southpaw reliever, who hurls 6.1 Fall Classic innings without giving up an earned run en route to recording two saves, is the first pitcher to appear in all seven games of a World Series.
1975 “Isn’t this great? Isn’t this great? This is the best game I’ve ever played in. Isn’t this great? People will remember this game forever. Isn’t this great?” – PETE ROSE, sharing his enthusiasm with teammates, opponents, and umpires.
In the bottom of the 12th inning of Game Six at Fenway Park, Red Sox’s backstop Carlton Fisk hits one of the most dramatic home runs in major league history, forcing a seventh game with the Reds. In 2002, this event, seen by 75.9 million viewers, will be chosen as one of baseball’s most memorable moments.
1976 The Reds beat the Yankees, 7-2, to complete the World Series sweep over the Bronx Bombers for their second consecutive World Championship. The Big Red Machine is powered by Johnny Bench’s two-run and three-run home runs.
1980 In front of 65,838 fans at Veterans Stadium, the Phillies win their first World Series ever in the 98-year history of the franchise by defeating the Royals, 4-1, in Game 6. Winning pitcher Steve Carlton limits Kansas City to four hits in seven innings, and Tug McGraw hurls the last two frames to pick up the save.
1981 The Yankees trade their 1977 first-round (15th overall) pick Willie McGee to the Cardinals for southpaw Bob Sykes, who will never again appear in a major league game. New York’s former 22-year-old farmhand will go on to have a stellar career with the Redbirds, winning the NL MVP (1985), capturing two batting crowns (1985, 1990), and earning three Gold Gloves (1983, 1985, 1986).
1982 An estimated 150,000 people line Wisconsin Avenue on a chilly day in Milwaukee to cheer for their Brewers, who suffered a crushing defeat in Game 7 of the World Series last night. Following the parade, the fans show their support at County Stadium by chanting “M-V-P! M-V-P!” when shortstop Robin Yount appears in the left-field corner on his motorcycle, which he rides around the warning track, acknowledging the admiration.
1986 After losing the first two World Series games at home, the Mets beat the Red Sox at Fenway Park, 7-1. Lenny Dykstra’s first-inning home run off Oil Can Boyd marks the third time in history the Mets’ leadoff hitter has homered in the initial inning of Game 3 of the Fall Classic. Tommie Agee (1969) and Wayne Garrett (1973) also accomplished the feat in the first frame of Fall Classic’s third game.
1993 In Game 5, Curt Schilling becomes the first Phillies’ hurler to pitch a World Series shutout, blanking the Blue Jays at Veterans Stadium on five hits, 2-0. The game is the franchise’s 20th Fall Classic contest, having played for the world championship in 1915, 1950, 1980, and 1983.
1996 After being awarded one of the two expansion franchises for Triple-A by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Durham (NC) officially becomes the home of the Devil Rays’ top farm club in 1998. Tampa Bay and Capitol Broadcasting Co., Inc. own the new North Carolina franchise, but the team will continue to be called the Bulls.
1998 In the bottom of the ninth inning at Qualcomm Stadium, Ruben Rivera, in his only major league appearance against cousin Mariano, legs out an infield single. The future Hall of Fame closer gets the next batter to ground into a double play, quickly erasing the hit before retiring Mark Sweeney for the final out of the contest, saving Game 4 to complete the Yankees’ World Series sweep of the Padres.
1998 After spending 135 days in first place and winning their division and league titles, the Yankees, with a 3-0 victory at Qualcomm Stadium, sweep the Padres to capture their 24th World Series championship. The Bronx Bombers’ 125 wins, combining regular season (114) and playoffs (11) victories, are the most by a championship team, surpassing the record of 116 established by the Mets in 1986.
2000 In the longest World Series game ever played, the Yankees take Game 1 of the Subway Series, thanks to Jose Vizcaino’s 12th inning two-out single, defeating the Mets, 4-3, in four hours and fifty-one minutes. The victory surpasses the streak established by the Murderers’ Row clubs, as the present Bronx Bombers win their 13th consecutive World Series game.
2002 Florida team president David Samson, to get fans “falling back in love with the Marlins,” announces plans which include free hot dogs and a cozier atmosphere at Pro Player Stadium. The average crowd of 10,038 per home game, more than a third less than the previous season, was next-to-last in the major leagues in attendance this year.
2004 At Busch Stadium, the Cardinals advance to the World Series for the first time in 17 years. The Redbirds capture the National League pennant, beating Roger Clemens and the Astros in Game 7 of an exciting NLCS, 5-2.
2005 On the eve of the World Series beginning in Chicago, Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) sponsor a resolution in the U.S. Senate calling for ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson to be “appropriately honored for his outstanding baseball accomplishments.” The former White Sox outfielder, considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history, was banned from baseball for life by commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for his role in the 1919 ‘Black Sox’ Fall Classic fix.
2006 In the first matchup of rookies to start Game 1 of the World Series, Anthony Reyes bests Justin Verlander as the visiting Cardinals beat the Tigers at Comerica Park, 7-2. The 25-year-old right-hander allows two runs and four hits, striking out five Redbirds in eight innings.
2006 After being the site of Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in February, Detroit becomes just the second city to host both a Super Bowl and a World Series in the same calendar year. San Diego was the site of the NFL Championship game and Fall Classic in 1998.
2009 In Game 5 of the NLCS, the Phillies defeat the Dodgers, capturing their second straight pennant. With their 10-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia becomes the first National League team to repeat the feat since the Braves won consecutive flags in 1995-96.
2009 Chase Utley ties a postseason record by reaching base in 25 consecutive contests when he is issued a first-inning walk by L.A.’s starter Vicente Padilla in Game 5 of the NLCS. The slugging second baseman, who has reached base in every postseason game he has participated in except for his first in 2007, equals Boog Powell’s mark established from 1966-1971 playing for the Orioles.
2010 Pleased to stay in Detroit, Brandon Inge signs an $11.5 million, two-year deal to remain with the Tigers. The 33-year-old infielder, prone to striking out, is better known for his defensive prowess at third base than for his hitting.
2014 During Game 1 of the World Series, Laurence Leavy, known as the Marlin Man, is approached by a Royals representative, who informs him that the Kansas City owner is upset with his bright orange Miami jersey diverting attention from the home team on national television. Offered various inducements, including autographed memorabilia and an opportunity to sit in the luxury boxes at Kauffman Stadium, the workers’ comp attorney refuses to remove his colorful garb, choosing to remain in his $8,000 seat behind home plate.
2018 David Bell, agreeing to a three-year deal with the last-place Reds, replaces Jim Riggleman to become the franchise’s 63rd skipper. The 46-year-old former infielder and his dad, Buddy, join Bob and Joel Skinner, George and Dick Sisler, and Bob and Aaron Boone as the fourth father-son managerial duo in major league history.
WORLD SERIES HISTORY
The defending American League champion Yankees entered the 1922 season still recovering from a devastating loss to the Giants and without two of their star players. Both Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel had been suspended for an unauthorized barnstorming tour after the 1921 Series. To make matters worse, Commissioner Landis handed Ruth additional suspensions after several run-ins with umpires and other indiscretions off the field. In fact, the Babe did not play until May 20th and had only made one-hundred ten appearances out of one-hundred fifty-four games at the end of the pennant race. His stats plummeted as a result, dropping him to third in homers (with thirty-five) and out of the top five for RBI’s (with ninety-nine). Still, the Yankees managed to hold onto their American League crown and prepared for a rematch against the defending World Champion New York Giants.
The Yankees had continued to pillage the Boston Red Sox acquiring Everett Scott and Joe Dugan as well as Whitey Witt from the Philadelphia Athletics. The Giants had made some great deals too in trading for third baseman Heinie Groh and pitcher Jack Scott. Once again, New York was host to its second consecutive Subway Series which had finally reverted back to a best-of-seven format.
Game 1 found the Giants in familiar territory as they rebounded from a 2-0 deficit in the eighth on their way to a 3-2 victory. Newly acquired Heinie Groh performed exceptionally well going three-for-three despite the best efforts of Joe Bush who had shut out his hometown rivals through seven innings. Things started differently in Game 2 as the Giants quickly set the pace with a three run homer off of Yankee veteran Bob Shawkey in the top of the first. Not to be outdone, the Yankees managed to tie it up with runs in the first, fourth and eighth innings. Both sides dug in for what promised to be a dramatic finish, but umpire George Hildebrand insisted on calling the game due to “darkness” after the tenth inning. With at least a ½ hour of sunlight left, the fans were outraged and demanded the official’s resignation. In an effort to make the best of a bad public relations situation, the league decided that the gate receipts would be donated to various New York charities.
Babe Ruth’s difficulties had continued to plague him well into the post-season and it wasn’t looking any better for Game 3. At this point in the Series, the Sultan of Swat had gone two-for-eight with one measly RBI and his teammates weren’t looking any better. Giant’s pitcher Jack Scott, who had compiled an impressive 8-2 record in only seventeen games, blanked the Yankees with a four hit, 3-0 triumph and set a momentum that would last for the rest of the Series. Hugh McQuillan took the mound for the Nationals in Game 4 and notched a complete 4-3 win backed up by the slugging of Dave Bancroft. Art Nehf returned for Game 5 and the clincher (as he had in the previous year) in a 5-3 triumph that netted the Giants their second consecutive title. Not only had the Giants pitching staff dominated the last three games for a back-to-back championship, they had done so while holding baseball greatest slugger to a miserable zero-for-nine record. The Bambino wound up with two hits in seventeen at-bats for a .118 average and his teammates hit only .203 as a team.
Football History Headlines
Scrimmage Downs Established
October 21, 1882 – Major Rules revision occurred per historian Parke H. Davis in his book ‘Football: The American Intercollegiate Game”. The game was changed from the “Block Game” which since there was not a set number of downs and distance, teams like Princeton developed the style of play where they could snap the ball and gain no ground and keep the ball for an entire half of a game to keep an undefeated record. Walter Camp proposed that the offensive team be required to advance the ball at least five yards in three scrimmage downs and these down-and-distance rules, combined with the establishment of the line of scrimmage, transformed the game from a variation of rugby football into the very different and unique game of American football.
Dryer gets a deuce … twice
October 21, 1973 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Fred Dryer of the then Los Angeles Rams became the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game. In an article on barstoolsports.com it is found that going into the 1973 Week 6 matchup with the Pack the LA Rams were 5-0, while the Packers were 2-1-2. By the fourth quarter, the Rams were in a comfortable position, taking a 20-7 lead. As the game was winding down, Fred Dryer took down quarterback Scott Hunter in the end zone. On the next possession, Dryer sacked backup Jim Del Gaizo for another safety for a final score of 24-7. A few days later, Fred Dryer was named NFL Defensive Player of the Week.
Newsome Starts Streak
October 21, 1979 – Ozzie Newsome begins his NFL streak of 150 consecutive games with a reception. In a UPI article by Thomas M. Burnettrich dated October 29, 1989 about the game when the streak ended on October 29, 1989. The story goes that Newsome was injured after the first Cleveland offensive play in the second half and had not had a reception in the first half against the Oilers. Newsome, by his own choice, decided not to go back into the game to try and preserve the streak with a short reception. The Browns prevailed without their star receiver contributing on the stat line as they cruised to a 28-17 victory over the Houston Oilers.
Cox Boots a Franchise Record
October 21, 1984 – Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio – Cleveland Browns’ Steve Cox sets club record with a 60-yd field goal. The amazing thing was that Cox was the punter and kick off guy on the Brown’s roster that season, Matt Bahr was the field goal and extra point kicker. Bahr had booted a 50 yarder earlier in the first quarter, but with time waning in the 2nd stanza, the Brown’s faced a fourth down and were just out of the range of Bahr’s accuracy. Since Cox had a powerful kick off leg Cleveland decided to trot him out there for the attempt. The NFL rule for placing the ball at the spot it was kicked from after a missed field goal was not present in that era, so with 28 seconds left on the clock, the worst that would probably occur on a miss would be a touchback. Cox’s kick went through and knotted the game at the half 6-6. The Bengals however managed to come on in the second half and won the game 12-9.
Biggest NCAA Comeback Ever!
October 21, 2006 – Ryan Field, Evanston, Illinois – The Michigan State Spartans set an NCAA record when they staged a comeback victory after being down by 35 points. According to Enacademic.com the Spartans scored 38 unanswered points after trailing the Wildcats of Northwestern by the score of 38-3 at the 9:54 left in the 3rd quarter. Michigan State back up quarterback Bryan Hoyer came off the bench to help his team escape with a 41-38 ‘W”.
Bironas Nails 8
October 21, 2007 – Reliant Stadium, Houston Texas – Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas sets NFL record for most points scored in a game without a TD by a player, with 26. Everyone of Bironas’s 8 field goals were needed as the Titans defeated the Houston Texans by the close score of 38-36 win.
NUMBERS IN SPORTS
9 – 31 – 27 – 5 – 19 – 20 – 17 – 18 – 2
October 21, 1973 – Baseball World Series: defending champion Oakland A’s beat NY Mets, 5-2 in Game 7 at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum to retain title; A’s manager Dick Williams immediately quits; MVP: A’s outfielder Number 9, Reggie Jackson
October 21, 1973 – Fred Dryer of the then Los Angeles Rams becomes the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game.
October 21, 1974 – NHL New York Islanders and goaltender Number 31, Billy Smith‘s 1st shut-out win, 5-0 vs Washington Capitals
October 21, 1975 – Boston Red Sox Number 27, Carlton Fisk‘s 12th inning home run beats Reds 7-6 in game 6 of the World Series
October 21, 1976 – World Series: defending champions Cincinnati Reds sweep New York Yankees; beat Bombers, 7-2 in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium; MVP: Reds catcher Number 5, Johnny Bench
October 21, 1976 – New York Knicks retired the franchise’s first number, Number 19, Willis Reed
October 21, 1980 – World Series the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Kansas City Royals, 4-1 at Veterans Stadium to secure series, 4-2. Phillies won their 1st World Championship in their 98-year history. MVP: Phillies third baseman Number 20, Mike Schmidt
October 21, 1984 – Cleveland Browns’ kicker, Number 15, Steve Cox sets club record with a 60-yd field goal
October 21, 1997 – Cleveland Indians outfielder Number 17, Marquis Grissom recorded a hit in his 15th straight World Series game; second longest 9 inning World Series game (4:12) as Florida Marlins beat Indians, 14-11. Remember Grissom played the two previosu seasons as Number 9 of the Atlanta Braves whoe were in the World Series.
October 21, 1998 – World Series: New York Yankees beat San Diego, 3-0 in Game 4 at Qualcomm Stadium to sweep Padres and win 2nd title in 3 years; MVP: Yankees 3rd baseman Scott Brosius, Number 18
October 21, 2007 – Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas, Number 2 set an NFL record for most points scored in a game (no touchdowns) with 26 in 38-36 win over the Texans at Reliant Stadium, Houston
|COLLEGE FOOTBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|Memphis at UAB||12:00pm||ESPN2|
|Air Force at Navy||12:00pm||CBS|
|Mississippi State at Arkansas||12:00pm||ESPN|
|Penn State at Ohio State||12:00pm||FOX|
|Rutgers at Indiana||12:00pm||BTN|
|Boston College at Georgia Tech||12:00pm||ACCN|
|Baylor at Cincinnati||12:00pm||ESPN+|
|UCF at Oklahoma||12:00pm||ABC|
|Western Michigan at Ohio||12:00pm||CBSSN|
|Charlotte at East Carolina||2:00pm||ESPN+|
|ULM at Georgia Southern||2:00pm||ESPN+|
|Akron at Bowling Green||2:00pm||ESPN+|
|Central Michigan at Ball State||3:30pm||ESPN+|
|North Texas at Tulane||3:30pm||ESPN2|
|Eastern Michigan at NIU||3:30pm||ESPN+|
|Oklahoma State at West Virginia||3:30pm||ESPN|
|Buffalo at Kent State||3:30pm||ESPN+|
|Pitt at Wake Forest||3:30pm||ACCN|
|Washington State at Oregon||3:30pm||ABC|
|Northwestern at Nebraska||3:30pm||BTN|
|Wisconsin at Illinois||3:30pm||–|
|Minnesota at Iowa||3:30pm||–|
|USF at UConn||3:30pm||CBSSN|
|Tennessee at Alabama||3:30pm||CBS|
|South Carolina at Missouri||3:30pm||SECN|
|Texas at Houston||4:00pm||FOX|
|Toledo at Miami (OH)||4:00pm||ESPNU|
|UTSA at Florida Atlantic||6:00pm||ESPN+|
|Hawaii at New Mexico||6:00pm||Spectrum|
|Virginia at North Carolina||6:30pm||CW|
|Ole Miss at Auburn||7:00pm||ESPN|
|TCU at Kansas State||7:00pm||ESPN2|
|Texas Tech at BYU||7:00pm||FS1|
|Appalachian State at Old Dominion||7:00pm||NFLN|
|Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State||7:00pm||ESPN+|
|Colorado State at UNLV||7:00pm||MWN|
|Utah State at San Jose State||7:00pm||CBSSN|
|Army at LSU||7:30pm||SECN|
|Michigan at Michigan State||7:30pm||NBC|
|Duke at Flroida State||7:30pm||ABC|
|Clemson at Miami(FL)||8:00pm||ACCN|
|Utah at USC||8:00pm||FOX|
|Georgia State at Louisiana||8:00pm||ESPNU|
|Nevada at San Diego State||9:00pm||FS2|
|UCLA at Stanford||10:30pm||ESPN|
|Arizona State at Washington||10:30pm||FS1|
|DP World Tour: Andalucia Masters||7:30am||GOLF|
|LIV Golf League||1:00pm||CW|
|Champions: Dominion Energy Charity||2:00pm||GOLF|
|LPGA: BMW Ladies Championship||5:30pm||GOLF|
|PGA Tour: The ZOZO Championship||11:00pm||GOLF|
|MLB PLAYOFFS||TIME ET||TV|
|NLCS Game 5: Philadelphia at Arizona||8:07pm||TBS|
|NASCAR Truck: Baptist Health 200||12:00pm||FS1|
|Xfinity: Contender Boats 300||3:00pm||NBC|
|NHL REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|Detroit at Ottawa||1:00pm||Bally Sports|
|Anaheim at Arizona||4:00pm||Bally Sports|
|NY Islanders at Buffalo||7:00pm||MSGSN|
|Vancouver at Florida||7:00pm||Bally Sports|
|Washington at Montréal||7:00pm||NBCS-WSH|
|Toronto at Tampa Bay||7:00pm||Bally Sports|
|Vegas at Chicago||8:00pm||ATTSN-RM|
|Philadelphia at Dallas||8:00pm||Bally Sports|
|Columbus at Minnesota||8:00pm||Bally Sports|
|San Jose at Nashville||8:00pm||Bally Sports|
|Pittsburgh at St. Louis||8:00pm||ATTSN-PIT|
|Carolina at Colorado||9:00pm||ALT|
|NY Rangers at Seattle||10:00pm||MSG|
|Winnipeg at Edmonton||10:00pm||Sportsnet|
|Boston at Los Angeles||10:30pm||NESN|
|EPL: Liverpool vs Everton||7:30am||USA|
|La Liga: Real Sociedad vs Mallorca||8:00am||ESPN+|
|Serie A: Hellas Verona vs Napoli||9:00am||Paramount+|
|Bundesliga: Darmstadt 98 vs RB Leipzig||9:30am||ESPN+|
|Bundesliga: Freiburg vs Bochum||9:30am||ESPN+|
|Bundesliga: Hoffenheim vs Eintracht Frankfurt||9:30am||ESPN+|
|Bundesliga: Union Berlin vs Stuttgart||9:30am||ESPN+|
|Bundesliga: Wolfsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen||9:30am||ESPN+|
|EPL: Manchester City vs Brighton & Hove Albion||10:00am||Peacock|
|EPL: Manchester City vs Brighton & Hove Albion||10:00am||Peacock|
|EPL: Brentford vs Burnley||10:00am||Peacock|
|EPL: AFC Bournemouth vs Wolverhampton Wanderers||10:00am||Peacock|
|EPL: Newcastle United vs Crystal Palace||10:00am||Peacock|
|EPL: Nottingham Forest vs Luton Town||10:00am||Peacock|
|La Liga: Getafe vs Real Betis||10:15am||ESPN+|
|Ligue 1: PSG vs Strasbourg||11:00am||beIN Sports|
|Serie A: Torino vs Internazionale||12:00pm||Paramount+|
|EPL: Chelsea vs Arsenal||12:30pm||NBC|
|La Liga: Sevilla vs Real Madrid||12:30pm||ESPN+|
|Bundesliga: Mainz 05 vs Bayern München||12:30pm||ESPN+|
|Serie A: Sassuolo vs Lazio||2:45pm||Paramount+|
|EPL: Sheffield United vs Manchester United||3:00pm||USA|
|La Liga: Celta de Vigo vs Atlético Madrid||3:00pm||ESPN+|
|Ligue 1: Nice vs Olympique Marseille||3:00pm||beIN Sports|
|Brasileirão: Bahia vs Fortaleza||5:30pm||Paramount+|
|Brasileirão: Cuiabá vs Goiás||5:30pm||Paramount+|
|Brasileirão: Corinthians vs América Mineiro||5:30pm||Paramount+|
|MLS: Cincinnati vs Atlanta United||6:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Columbus Crew vs CF Montréal||6:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Charlotte vs Inter Miami||6:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Nashville SC vs New York RB||6:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: New York City vs Chicago Fire||6:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: New England vs Philadelphia Union||6:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Toronto FC vs Orlando City SC||6:00pm||MLS Pass|
|Brasileirão: Botafogo vs Athletico-PR||8:00pm||Paramount+|
|MLS: LA Galaxy vs Dallas||9:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Sporting KC vs Minnesota United||9:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Colorado Rapids vs Real Salt Lake||9:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo||9:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: St. Louis City vs Seattle Sounders FC||9:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: SJ Earthquakes vs Austin||9:00pm||MLS Pass|
|MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Los Angeles FC||9:00pm||MLS Pass|
What to Watch: Saturday, 10-21-23
|COLLEGE FOOTBALL||TIME ET||TV|
|(6)Penn State at (3)Ohio State||12:00pm||FOX|
Ohio State Buckeyes leads all time series 23-14 versus Penn State Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes has won the last six versus the Nittany Lions. Last season the Buckeyes won 44-31 on the road versus Nittany Lions. Penn State last win versus Ohio State at Ohio was in 2011.
|(19)Tennessee at (10)Alabama||3:30pm||ABC|
Oregon Ducks leads all time series 53-42-7 versus Washington State Cougars. Since 2015 the Oregon Washington State series is tied 4-4. Last season the Ducks won 44-41 at Washington and has won the last four games. The Cougars last win in Oregon was in 2017 and they are 21-27-6 all time versus the Ducks.
|(19)Washington State at (8) Oregon||3:30pm||CBS|
Alabama Crimson Tide leads all time series 58-39-7 versus Tennessee Volunteers. Last season the Volunteers won 52-49 at home which ended the Crimson Tide’s 15 game win streak. The Volunteers last win in Alabma was in 2003 and they are 18-31-6 all time versus the Crimson Tide.
|(17)Duke at (4)Flroida State||3:30pm||ABC|
Florida State Seminoles leads all time series 19-0 versus Duke Blue Devils. Last time the Seminoles and Blue Devils met was in 2020 which Florida State won 56-35 on the road versus the Blue Devils. This season Duke is 1-1 versus top 25 teams in the nation. The Blue Devils won their first game of the season versus (9)Clemson at home 28-7 and lost 21-14 to (11)Notre Dame at home.
|(16)Utah at (10)USC||8:00pm||FOX|
USC Trojans leads all time series 13-9 versus Utah Utes. Last season the Utes won 47-24 on the road versus the Trojans. The Trojans last win at home versus the Utes was in 2019 and are 8-2 at home all time versus Utah.
|MLB PLAYOFFS||TIME ET||TV|
|NLCS Game 5: Philadelphia at Arizona||8:07pm||TBS|
The Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks game 5 of the National League Championship Series will be played if necessary. Last time the Diamondbacks went to game 5 in the playoffs was in 2011 which they lost the series 3-2 in the NL Divisional round. The Phillies last time they played a game 5 in the National Champhionship Series was in 2022 which they won the series 4-1.
|Toronto at Tampa Bay||7:00pm||Sportsnet|
The Toronto Maple Leafs finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last season with a 52-32 record. The Tampa Bay Lightning finished sixth in the Eastern Conference in the 2022-23 regular season with a 46-36 record. Last season the Maple Leafs were 2-1 versus the Lighting during the regular season.
|Carolina at Colorado||9:00pm||ALT|
The Carolina Hurricanes finished first in the Metropolitan division last season with a 52-30 record. The Colorado Avalanche finished first in the Central division in the 2022-23 regular season with a 51-31 record. Last season the Avalanche were 2-0 versus the Hurricanes during the regular season.
|Boston at Los Angeles||10:30pm||NESN|
The Boston Bruins finished first in the Atlantic division last season with a 65-17 record. The Los Angeles Kings finished third in the Pacific division in the 2022-23 regular season with a 47-35 record. Last season the Bruins and Kings series was tied 1-1 during the regular season.
|DP World Tour: Andalucia Masters||7:00am||GOLF|
|LIV Golf League||1:00pm||CW|
|Champions: Dominion Energy Charity||2:00pm||GOLF|
|LPGA: BMW Ladies Championship||5:30pm||GOLF|
|MLB PLAYOFFS||TIME ET||TV|
|ALCS Game 6: Texas at Houston||8:03pm||FS1|
|NASCAR Cup: NASCAR Cup Series Race at Homestead-Miami||2:30pm||NBC|
|Formula One: United States Grand Prix||3:00pm||ESPN|
|NFL REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|Detroit at Baltimore||1:00pm||FOX|
|Las Vegas at Chicago||1:00pm||FOX|
|Cleveland at Indianapolis||1:00pm||CBS|
|Buffalo at New England||1:00pm||CBS|
|Washington at NY Giants||1:00pm||CBS|
|Atlanta at Tampa Bay||1:00pm||FOX|
|Pittsburgh at LA Rams||4:05pm||FOX|
|Arizona at Seattle||4:05pm||FOX|
|Green Bay at Denver||4:25pm||CBS|
|LA Chargers at Kansas City||4:25pm||CBS|
|Miami at Philadelphia||8:20pm||NBC|
|NHL REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|Calgary at Detroit||5:00pm||Bally Sports|
|Boston at Anaheim||8:30pm||NESN|
|Serie A: Roma vs Monza||6:30am||Paramount+|
|Ligue 1: Lorient vs Rennes||7:00am||beIN Sports|
|La Liga: Las Palmas vs Rayo Vallecano||8:00am||ESPN+|
|Serie A: Bologna vs Frosinone||9:00am||Paramount+|
|Serie A: Salernitana vs Cagliari||9:00am||Paramount+|
|Ligue 1: Lille vs Brest||9:00am||beIN Sports|
|Bundesliga: Köln vs Borussia M’gladbach||9:30am||ESPN+|
|La Liga: Girona vs Almería||10:15am||ESPN+|
|Ligue 1: Monaco vs Metz||11:05am||beIN Sports|
|EPL: Aston Villa vs West Ham United||11:30am||USA|
|Bundesliga: Heidenheim vs Augsburg||11:30am||ESPN+|
|Serie A: Atalanta vs Genoa||12:00pm||Paramount+|
|La Liga: Villarreal vs Deportivo Alavés||12:30pm||ESPN+|
|Women’s Super League: Bristol City vs Arsenal||1:45pm||Paramount+|
|Serie A: Milan vs Juventus||2:45pm||Paramount+|
|Ligue 1: Olympique Lyonnais vs Clermont||2:45pm||beIN Sports|
|La Liga: Barcelona vs Athletic Club||3:00pm||ESPN+|
|Brasileirão: Atlético Mineiro vs Cruzeiro||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|Brasileirão: Internacional vs Santos||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|Brasileirão: Flamengo vs Vasco da Gama||3:00pm||Paramount+|
|Brasileirão: Coritiba vs Palmeiras||5:30pm||Paramount+|
|Brasileirão: RB Bragantino vs Fluminense||5:30pm||Paramount+|
|Brasileirão: São Paulo vs Grêmio||5:30pm||Paramount+|
What to Watch: Sunday, 10/22/23
|MLB PLAYOFFS||TIME ET||TV|
|ALCS Game 6: Texas at Houston||8:03pm||FS1|
The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros of the American League Championship Series is tied 2-2. The Rangers are 6-0 on the road in the 2023 playoffs and the Astros are 1-3 at home. Last time the Astros lost in a American Leage Championship Series was in 2020. The only two times in history the Rangers advanced to the Amercian League Championships series they won and moved on to the World Series.
|Detroit at Baltimore||1:00pm||FOX|
The Baltimore ravens leads all time series 5-1 versus the Detroit Lions. The Ravens have won the last four games versus the Lions. Both teams last met in 2021 which the Ravens won 19-17 on the road against the Lions. The Lions last win versus the Ravens was in 2005 which was in Detroit.
|LA Chargers at Kansas City||4:25pm||CBS|
The Kansas City Chiefs leads all time series 67-58-1 versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Since 2014 the Chiefs are 13-3 overall and 6-3 at home versus the Chargers. The last time the Chargers won on the road versus the Chiefs was in 2021. The Chiefs have won the last three games and 3-2 against the Chargers since 2021.
|Miami at Philadelphia||8:20pm||NBC|
The Miami Dolphins leads all time series 9-6 versus the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams last met in 2019 which the Dolphins won 37-31 at home versus the Eagles. The Eagles are 4-3 at home all time against the Dolphins. The Eagles last win versus the Dolphins was in 2011 at Miami.
|Boston at Anaheim||8:30pm||NHLN|
The Anaheim Ducks leads all time series 21-18-2 versus the Boston Bruins. Last season the Bruins were 2-0 versus the Ducks during the regular season. The Ducks are 10-8-2 at home all time versus the Bruins.