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home : sports : college/pro January 15, 2021

Packers' potent offense faces big test from Rams' D
No NFL team scored more points during the regular season than the Green Bay Packers. Nobody has played better defense than the Los Angeles Rams.

That sets up an intriguing showdown of strength vs. strength when MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers  and the Packers (13-3) host All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the Rams (11-6) in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday.

"This is what you love," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "These are the type of matchups and opportunities that as a competitor, you can't wait for."

Both of these units are at the top of their game.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Similarities abound for Browns, Chiefs in first playoff game
Despite their long and storied histories, with the Cleveland Browns having joined the NFL in 1950 and the Kansas City Chiefs with the AFL-NFL merger some 16 years later, the two franchises have rarely met — and never in the playoffs.

They are certainly familiar with each other headed into their divisional-round showdown Sunday, though.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Epstein hired as MLB consultant
Former Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox executive Theo Epstein has been hired by Major League Baseball as a consultant for on-field matters and will evaluate possible rule changes.

Epstein will work with baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, the owners' competition committee and analytics experts, MLB said Thursday,

Friday, January 15, 2021

Blackhawks place Toews on long-term IR
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will miss at least 10 games and 24 days after the team placed him on long-term injured reserve Thursday because of an unspecified illness.

The 32-year-old Toews announced prior to the start of training camp last month he was experiencing symptoms that left him feeling "drained and lethargic."

Friday, January 15, 2021

Blues open with 4-1 win over Avalanche
Elevated to the second line on short notice, Oskar Sundqvist just wanted to do his part.

He certainly did that and more — with a bruise to show for it.

Sundqvist scored twice and blocked four shots, Jordan Binnington made 26 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Bears plan to keep Nagy, Pace for at least 1 more season
Chairman George McCaskey insisted the Chicago Bears have the right culture to become a winning franchise. So the team is sticking with general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy for at least another season.

What helped convince him to stay the course rather than make sweeping changes? A six-game losing streak — and how the team responded to it.

"The leadership, the collaboration, the adaptability, the ability to handle adversity," McCaskey said. "Listen, we all want things to get better, and a lot of times you have to go through tough times before they get better. The way they handled success in 2018 and the way they've handled adversity the last two seasons lead us to the conclusion that they're the best people to lead us in 2021."

Thursday, January 14, 2021

No. 7 Michigan routs No. 9 Wisconsin 77-54
Juwan Howard watched his team turn another highly anticipated matchup into a blowout.

First, Michigan pushed its lead to 17 at halftime. Then it was 30. Then, unbelievably, the Wolverines led No. 9 Wisconsin by 40 points near the midway point of the second half.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

IOC, Japan press ahead with already postponed Tokyo Games
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency last week for Tokyo and surrounding areas. Amid the surging virus, he again promised the postponed Tokyo Olympics would be "safe and secure" and tried to disconnect the state of emergency from the fate of the games.

But opposition to the Olympics is growing with calls mounting for a cancellation. The International Olympic Committee and local organizers have already said another postponement is impossible, leaving cancellation — or opening on July 23 — as the only options.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Colliton gets extension as Blackhawks coach
Jeremy Colliton replaced a beloved figure with the Chicago Blackhawks. Then his first full season with the team was interrupted by a pandemic.

That's a lot of adversity for a first-time NHL coach, but Colliton thinks it made him better at his job. He is looking forward to putting everything he learned to good use.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Bama routs Ohio St for national title
The celebration was at once familiar and unique. The confetti cannons sent a crimson and white shower into the air and Alabama players ran to the sideline to grab their championship hats and T-shirts.

It's a rite of passage if you have played for the Crimson Tide under coach Nick Saban.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

NCAA D1 Council holds off on student-athlete compensation
The NCAA delayed votes on legislation that would permit college athletes to cash in on their popularity for the first time and to transfer to another school without having to sit out one year.

The issues, originally scheduled to be voted on by the Division I Council on Monday, were expected to be the main storylines of this week's NCAA annual convention. There was no announcement on when a vote might be taken.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Saints pull away late for 21-9 playoff win over Bears
Drew Brees will get to celebrate his 42nd birthday by preparing for a playoff game that will also feature the one active NFL quarterback older than him.

Brees completed 28 of 39 passes for 265 yards, connecting with Michael Thomas and Latavius Murray for touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints defeated the Chicago Bears 21-9 in an NFC wild-card game Sunday.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Number 1 Alabama looking for 6th title under Saban
Trying to figure out which of Nick Saban's Alabama teams is best is akin to picking Michelangelo's greatest work of art or Ernest Hemingway's best novel.

They are all excellent in their own way.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Morsell scores 19, Maryland upsets No. 12 Illinois
Darryl Morsell scored 19 points, Donta Scott added 16 and Maryland upset No. 12 Illinois 66-63 on Sunday.

The game was fast-paced and close throughout. Hakim Hart hit a 3-pointer with 4:08 left to give the Terrapins a 62-61 lead, which Maryland didn't relinquish.

Monday, January 11, 2021

'Work to be done": Harbaugh has new, 5-year deal at Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has decided to stick with coach Jim Harbaugh, finalizing a new, five-year deal that cuts his guaranteed compensation but gives him an opportunity to make up for the financial loss if he can start winning championships.
Saturday, January 9, 2021

Chiefs enter playoff race as favorite for rare Super Bowl repeat
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — It took five decades for the Kansas City Chiefs to win a second Super Bowl. Now they have the audacity to shoot for two in two years.
Saturday, January 9, 2021

Williams-led Purdue rallies to beat No. 23 Michigan St.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Trevion Williams knew no one doubted he would get the ball when Purdue had a chance to score a go-ahead basket against No. 23 Michigan State.
Saturday, January 9, 2021

IHSA offers update following meeting with IDPH
ILLINOIS — Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Executive Director Craig Anderson, members of the IHSA staff, and Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) staff members met virtually with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz, and IDPH Chief of Staff Justin DeWitt on the evening of January 6, 2021.
Saturday, January 9, 2021

Favored Saints brace for Bears team with 'nothing to lose'
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints linebacker Demario Davis' largely productive NFL career also has had its share of disappointing, teachable moments.
Friday, January 8, 2021

Mega deal: Indians trade star Lindor to Mets
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians drafted and developed Francisco Lindor, who blossomed into an All-Star shortstop and one of baseball's best all-around players.
Friday, January 8, 2021

Cockburn leads No. 12 Illinois past Northwestern
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Illinois coach Brad Underwood went to talk to his team at halftime and saw exactly what he needed to see.
Friday, January 8, 2021

Ticking clock? Time running out for Steelers veterans
The opportunities are dwindling.

Ben Roethlisberger knows it. Cam Heyward and David DeCastro too.

It's been a decade since the Pittsburgh Steelers have reached the Super Bowl and a dozen years since they've won it. In most places, that's hardly a drought. Not in a place where players, coaches and front office members walk past six Lombardi Trophies each day when they get to work.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

'A sad day': NBA reacts to Capitol protest, Blake decision
With words and actions, several NBA teams showed dismay Wednesday hours after a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump was able to storm the U.S. Capitol and in response to a decision by a Wisconsin prosecutor not to charge a police officer who shot a black man last year.
Thursday, January 7, 2021

Whan makes surprise decision to leave as LPGA commish
Mike Whan has been commissioner longer than anyone in the 70-year history of the LPGA Tour. Guiding it through its toughest year amid the COVID-19 pandemic made him realize the tour was strong enough for him to move on.

In a surprise announcement Wednesday, the high-energy, fast-talking Whan said he will be leaving after 11 years.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Big Ten preview: Iowa-Minnesota rematch looms
Here's a look at the upcoming week around the Big Ten Conference:
Thursday, January 7, 2021

Bears' postseason saved by newly created seventh seed
While Matt Nagy gets to coach Chicago in the playoffs despite a middling 8-8 record that could help save his job, former Bears coach Lovie Smith can only wonder if the extra team in the postseason could have helped him eight years ago.

The addition of a seventh playoff team in each conference this season helped make sure Indianapolis wouldn't become the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to miss the postseason despite winning 11 games, and let the Bears sneak in as the eighth 8-8 team ever to earn a wild-card spot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

White scores 21, Bulls rally to beat Blazers 111-108
Zach LaVine was blunt: The Chicago Bulls of the recent past wouldn't have come back to beat the Trail Blazers like this.

The short-handed Bulls rebounded from a 20-point first-half deficit to down Portland 111-108 on Tuesday night.

Coby White had 21 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, while Otto Porter Jr. added 19 points and 13 rebounds. The Bulls had seven players in double figures.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Henry scores 20, Michigan State beats No. 15 Rutgers
Aaron Henry did it all for No. 23 Michigan State.

For much of the night against No. 15 Rutgers, he had to while teammates turned the ball over and missed shots.

Henry had 20 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals to help the Spartans pull away and beat the Scarlet Knights 68-45 on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Reported virus issues at Ohio St. could spell CFP delay
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Tuesday the national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State is still a go for Monday night amid a report that the Buckeyes are having COVID-19 issues. reported that Ohio State has been in contact with CFP officials about possible player availability problems that could force the game to be delayed. Those discussions were confirmed to The Associated Press by a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because no one had been authorized to speak publicly about the details.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Bears not sweating how they reached postseason
The Chicago Bears aren't worrying about how they made the playoffs. They're in and that's what matters most to them.

"It's not perfect," coach Matt Nagy said.

It's far from that.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Alabama, Ohio State traveled different paths to title game
Alabama breezed through the regular season and college football's semifinals, surviving a solitary scare in the Southeastern Conference championship game to reach its expected destination.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Saints passed tests of resilience before making the playoffs
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton can draw encouragement from the fact that his team enters the playoffs having won 11 of 13 games despite a lack of stability at several key positions.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021

No word on Toews as Blackhawks start practice
When it comes to when Jonathan Toews might return to the Chicago Blackhawks, everyone around the team is staying quiet.

They are more concerned about the health of the franchise's longtime captain than his playing career.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

LaVine scores 39, Bulls beat Doncic-less Mavericks
CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine had 39 points and Coby White scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 118-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.
Monday, January 4, 2021

Heisman Trophy Preview: Loads of offense in four finalists
(AP) — Two Alabama teammates, quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver DeVonta Smith, join Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask as the finalists for the 86th annual Heisman Trophy. The winner will be announced Tuesday. A rundown of the finalists:
Monday, January 4, 2021

Rodgers throws 4 TDs, Packers beat Bears 35-16

CHICAGO (AP) — Aaron Rodgers saw teammates hugging and dancing and coach Matt LaFleur break out a few impressive moves in the locker room celebration.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Fields' day: No. 3 Ohio State routs No. 2 Clemson
Numbers have fueled Ohio State all year.

There was 29-23, the score of last season's painful playoff loss to Clemson.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

No. 1 Bama beats Notre Dame 31-14 in Rose Bowl
A truly untraditional Rose Bowl setting, a very common result for Alabama in the College Football Playoff.

With Heisman Trophy finalists DeVonta Smith and Mac Jones, the top-ranked Crimson Tide rolled into its fifth CFP championship game in six seasons.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

No. 6 Cinci comes up short vs. Georgia as unbeaten season ends
Cincinnati came oh so close to toppling a Power 5 opponent on a big stage.

The sixth-ranked Bearcats blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of the Peach Bowl on Friday, losing their perfect record when Jack Podlesny kicked a 53-yard field goal in the final seconds of Georgia's 24-21 victory.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Ramsey leads No. 15 Northwestern past Auburn in Citrus Bowl
Northwestern's defense sent coordinator Mike Hankwitz into retirement as a winner.

Peyton Ramsey threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and the 15th-ranked Wildcats clamped down defensively to beat Auburn 35-19 in the Citrus Bowl on Friday.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

No. 8 Oklahoma routs Florida in Cotton Bowl

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Lincoln Riley will remember this Oklahoma season for a long time. It took a lot to get to the end of it — with two significant trophies.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ball drop: Wisconsin wins Duke's Mayo Bowl, breaks trophy
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Wisconsin Badgers captured the Duke's Mayo Bowl and the trophy that came along with it.
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Hammon becomes 1st woman to direct NBA team
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Becky Hammon became the first woman to direct an NBA team, taking over the San Antonio Spurs after coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in a 121-107 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Quarterback Peters to return for third season at Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters will return for a third season with the Illini and play for new coach Bret Bielema, the team announced Tuesday.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Bulls win 1st game as Wizards lose 4th straight, 115-107
WASHINGTON (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 23 points, including nine straight in the third quarter, and Coby White added 18 to lead the Chicago Bulls to their first victory of the season, 115-107 over the winless Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Padres acquire Darvish in blockbuster trade with Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) — San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller reunited with an old friend in another blockbuster move Tuesday night.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State beat Miami 37-34 in Cheez-It Bowl
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Oklahoma State went to the air early and often to finish its season on a high note.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

No. 10 Iowa beats No. 19 Northwestern 87-72 in Big Ten showcase
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Fran McCaffery knows he doesn't have to tell Jordan Bohannon all that he has accomplished in his career at Iowa. Yet the Hawkeyes coach felt the to talk to Bohannon after his recent struggles.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Steelers to sit Roethlisberger for regular season finale against Browns
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to let Ben Roethlisberger rest up for the playoffs.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

No. 21 Minnesota beats bad-shooting No. 17 Mich. St. 81-56
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Three days after surging back to beat Iowa in overtime behind a stream of 3-pointers, Minnesota followed with a decisive victory over Michigan State on the strength of a stifling defense.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Bills earn 1st sweep of Patriots since '99 with 38-9 win
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills put a cherry atop the changing of the guard in the AFC East.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Maryland upsets No. 6 Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Maryland coach Mark Turgeon wasn't exactly pleased that the Big Ten schedule had his team on the road for a Christmas Day game followed by a trip to Wisconsin three later.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

NFL has pulled off task playing in a pandemic

(AP) — It took playing games on all seven days of the week, a wide receiver starting at quarterback, numerous schedule changes and constant revisions to health and safety protocols for the NFL to reach Week 17 on time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Practice time will be in short supply in NBA this season
(AP) — The Miami Heat just wrapped up two consecutive days of practice, which is significant for this reason: It might not happen again for a while.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Lee's late 3 lifts Warriors over winless Bulls
CHICAGO (AP) — Although Stephen Curry is one of the best finishers in NBA history, he was more of a decoy late on Sunday night.
Monday, December 28, 2020

Bears close in on NFC playoffs, beat Jags 41-17
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jimmy Graham disappeared into a tunnel following his second touchdown catch of the day. He re-emerged after what seemed like forever and found a group of Chicago teammates waiting to celebrate.
Monday, December 28, 2020

NFL Sunday recap: Chiefs, Steelers clinch top seeds
(AP) — CHIEFS 17,

 Kansas City clinched the top seed in the AFC and the only playoff bye when Patrick Mahomes threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson with just under two minutes for a 17-14 win over Atlanta on Sunday.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Minnesota beats No. 4 Iowa 102-95
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brandon Johnson joined Minnesota as a graduate transfer in this pandemic-altered season, the adjustment to Big Ten play made even more challenging by a recent ankle injury.
Saturday, December 26, 2020

Steelers versus Colts headlines NFL week 16 preview
(AP) — Now this is a week NFL fans can truly celebrate.

First off, it appears the league will complete the 2020 portion of the schedule on time and with no cancellations. Secondly, there are only two games in Week 16 that have no postseason implications.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Kamara's 6 TDs tie NFL record; Saints beat Vikings
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Alvin Kamara expects a fine for wearing a pair of Christmas-themed shoes that, as it turned out, would also be worthy of a Hall of Fame display.
Saturday, December 26, 2020

Dosunmu, Cockburn lead No. 18 Illinois past Penn State
Illinois coach Brad Underwood isn't going to change his mind or his tune all season, especially if Ayo Dosunmu keeps playing like this.

Dosunmu scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half to lead the No. 18 Fighting Illini past Penn State 98-81 on Wednesday night.

"He's the best guard in the country," Underwood said. "He scores it in a lot of ways. When we get Ayo locked in at the defensive end, he might be as good as I've coached."

Thursday, December 24, 2020

After 2 straight wins, Trubisky, Bears' offense suddenly thriving
From the doldrums of three weeks ago to now, the Chicago Bears' offense led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has made a major turnaround.

After reaching at least 30 points in three straight games for the first time since 2013, the offense has revived playoff hopes for the Bears (7-7) heading into Sunday's road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-13).

"Guys are excited to be on the field," Trubisky said. "We're excited to have the football, and there's just a strong, quiet confidence about us that all 11 guys in the huddle are going to get the job done."

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Trae Young scores 37 as Hawks pound Bulls 124-104 in opener
Trae Young was tough to stop in his first two NBA seasons. Surrounded by more talent than ever before, he could become a nightmare for the league in his third year.

Young scored 37 points and the revamped Atlanta Hawks pounded Chicago 124-104 on Wednesday night, spoiling Billy Donovan's debut as Bulls coach.

"Just being able to go out there and put on a show in the first game was really good," Young said. "Not every night obviously is going to be like this, but it's really good to have an opening game like this."

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Wisconsin-Michigan St. headlines Big Ten's Christmas slate
GAME OF THE (HOLIDAY) WEEKEND: No. 9 Wisconsin (7-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at No. 12 Michigan State (6-1, 0-1): This Christmas Day matinee — one of four Big Ten games taking place Friday — features the teams that shared the league's regular-season title with Maryland last season. Wisconsin has nine consecutive Big Ten victories but owns a 4-22 record at the Breslin Center. The Badgers had lost eight straight matchups with Michigan State before edging the Spartans 64-63 in Madison on Feb. 1. Michigan State is trying to bounce back from a stunning 79-65 loss at Northwestern in its Big Ten opener. The Big Ten's other Christmas Day games include Maryland at Purdue, No. 19 Michigan at Nebraska and No. 4 Iowa at Minnesota.
Thursday, December 24, 2020

George scores 33, Clippers beat Lakers on ring night
After the Los Angeles Lakers got their championship rings, the Los Angeles Clippers gave a performance that showed this retooled team is determined to contend for its own jewelry several months from now.

Paul George scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half, Kawhi Leonard added 26 points and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers on the NBA champions' ring ceremony night for a 116-109 victory Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

No. 9 Wisconsin opens Big Ten play, beats Nebraska 67-53
Struggling mightily to sink a jump shot, Wisconsin never stopped playing well on the other end of the floor.

That approach helped the ninth-ranked Badgers overcome an ice-cold start to beat Nebraska 67-53 on Tuesday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Penn State faces tough test vs No. 18 Illinois
No. 18 Illinois (5-3, 1-1) vs. Penn State (3-2, 0-1)

Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pennsylvania; Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: No. 18 Illinois presents a tough challenge for Penn State. Illinois came up short in a 91-88 game at Rutgers on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Luke Garza scores 22 points as number four Iowa beats Purdue 70-55
Offense has spurred No. 4 Iowa's hot start this season. The Hawkeyes ramped up on defense and rebounding to open Big Ten play.

Luka Garza scored 22 points, Joe Wieskamp added 17 and Iowa beat Purdue 70-55 on Tuesday night in the lowest scoring game of the season for the Hawkeyes, who entered leading the nation with 98.7 points per game.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Bengals ride big first half to shocking win over Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers' December swoon is looking more like a collapse.

The Steelers lost their third straight — getting thumped 27-17 by the last-place Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night — after ripping off 11 straight wins to start the season. They couldn't generate any offense early, and the opportunistic Bengals took advantage of their mistakes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Basketball is back: 10 things to know about the NBA season
And ... it's back.

The NBA's new season starts Tuesday with a pair of games; Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets welcoming Durant's former team in Golden State, while the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers open with the Los Angeles Clippers in the renewal of rivals who share a building.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Bielema wants to prioritize homegrown talent
New Illinois coach Bret Bielema said Monday he hopes to have a staff in place by early January and is already concentrating on homegrown recruiting.

"I called (the Illinois Department of Transportation) and told them to put up roadblocks so kids won't be allowed to leave the state," he joked at his introductory news conference. "Seriously, I can't tell you how many Illinois high school football coaches I have talked to already. We are making Illinois kids a priority here."

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

College hoops: No. 19 Rutgers beats No. 13 Illinois
Rutgers entered the season with great expectations. Six games in, the Scarlet Knights look like they could exceed them.

Ron Harper Jr. scored 28 points, Jacob Young added 24, and No. 19 Rutgers (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) overcame a double-digit first-half deficit to beat No. 13 Illinois 91-88 on Sunday.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Illinois hires Bielema as coach to lift struggling program
Bret Bielema, who led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowls before a disappointing run at Arkansas, is returning to the Big Ten and his home state to coach Illinois.

The Illini hired Bielema to replace the fired Lovie Smith on Saturday, hoping he can turn around a program with nine consecutive losing seasons.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Bears beat Vikings 33-27 to stay in stride in playoff race
David Montgomery burst through a big hole in the defense and carried most of Minnesota's secondary with him across the goal line. That 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, his second score of the game, put Chicago ahead again by double digits.

Every time the Vikings made a push, this once-flailing Bears offense had an answer.

Montgomery rushed 32 times for a career-high 146 yards as Chicago trampled Minnesota's depleted defense and hung on for a 33-27 victory on Sunday to stay in the hunt for the expanded playoffs.

Monday, December 21, 2020

NHL, players finalize a deal for 56-game season in 2021
Hockey is set to return Jan. 13 after the NHL and players completed a deal Sunday to hold a 56-game season that would include playoffs lasting into July to award the Stanley Cup.

The league's Board of Governors voted to approve the agreement that was backed by the NHL Players' Association executive board Friday night. The regular season is scheduled to go until May 8 with a 16-team playoff to follow..

Monday, December 21, 2020

Buie, Northwestern beat number four Michigan State 79-65
Northwestern coach Chris Collins wants his team to take a step forward this year after struggling last season.

It's early yet, but the Wildcats made quite a statement Sunday night.

Boo Buie scored a career-high 30 points and Northwestern beat Michigan State for the first time in almost a decade, holding off the No. 4 Spartans for a 79-65 victory.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Chiefs-Saints highlights NFL weekend, Bears-Vikings clash
A rite of December in the NFL, along with Christmas, Hanukkah and meaningless games for the Jets, Bengals and Lions, is the release of playoff scenarios.

Those scenarios become less complicated as the league gets deeper into the month. Suffice to note that eight of the top teams can clinch something this weekend.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

NHL eyeing 56-game season
Drop the puck in mid-January? The National Hockey League is well on the way to making that happen.

The NHL and players reached a tentative deal Friday to hold a 56-game season that would begin Jan. 13. The NHLPA executive board gave the agreement a green light to proceed, but players and owners must hold formal votes and Canadian health officials give their approval before it becomes reality.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Successful season? College football played 500-plus games
Back in August, when there was still doubt about whether a college football would be played during the pandemic, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he would look at the season as a success if he could hand out a championship trophy in December.

The virus is not going to allow for traditional trophy presentations, but Bowlsby and most of his 10 fellow commissioners in major conferences will reach that goal this weekend.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

LPGA comes out of COVID pandemic strong with 34-event schedule
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan no longer measures success by making it to the end of year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A schedule for 2021 he released Friday suggests the LPGA Tour came out stronger than ever.

The LPGA Tour has added two tournaments and didn't lose any of the ones that had to cancel because of the shutdown.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cleveland manager Terry Francona says team's name change "correct"
Manager Terry Francona praised the Cleveland Indians for trying to "do the right thing" with a name change that was inevitable — and necessary.

On Friday, Francona complimented the team's decision to drop its name after 105 years, a switch that came after months of internal discussions, meetings with numerous groups and one that will signal a new beginning for the AL club.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Penn State, Illinois ready to close out regular season
James Franklin has felt the heat before, as recently as a few weeks ago when Penn State was stuck in its worst ever losing streak to start a season.

The seventh-year head coach hasn't felt it quite like Illinois' staff, which will be led by offensive coordinator Rod Smith when the Illini (2-5) visit Beaver Stadium on Saturday. Franklin is expecting a fired-up group after head coach Lovie Smith was let go on Sunday following four losing seasons.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Coaches' challenge stays in NBA
The NBA coach's challenge is back, and here to stay.

Following the recommendation from the league's competition committee, the NBA's board of governors voted Thursday to keep the challenge.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Ramsey, No. 15 Wildcats try to end No. 3 Buckeyes' title run
Northwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey grew up around the Ohio State mystique, the son of a high school football coach in Cincinnati.

As others in the football-crazed state gathered round television sets to watch their beloved Buckeyes each weekend, Ramsey was never much of a fan. Still isn't.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Packers continue quest for No. 1 seed as they host Panthers
The Green Bay Packers' path to the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs is straightforward.

Win their final three regular-season games, and the Packers (10-3) have the opportunity to earn a Super Bowl berth without leaving Lambeau Field. That's a tantalizing possibility for a franchise that has lost on the road in three of the past six NFC championship games.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Raiders lose QB Carr, fall in overtime to Chargers, Herbert
Justin Herbert's brilliant rookie season is now a record-setting campaign.

Herbert scored on 1-yard plunge to give the Los Angeles Chargers a 30-27 overtime victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night.

"It was pretty crazy," said Herbert, who set an NFL rookie record with his seventh 300-yard game and has 27 passing scores on the year, tying Baker Mayfield (2018) for the most by a rookie in NFL history. "I kind of waited to see the replay and guys didn't really know what had happened. So I got up and started shaking hands and kind of saw the game was over.

Friday, December 18, 2020

American Magic wins 1, loses 1 at America's Cup World Series
United States challenger American Magic had its first loss but stayed atop the leaderboard after the second day of racing Friday in the America's Cup World Series off Auckland.

American Magic, backed by the New York Yacht Club, won one and lost one of its two tight races against Italy's Luna Rossa, ending the day with a 3-1 record.

Friday, December 18, 2020

MLB reclassifies former Negro Leagues as official major leagues
Willie Mays will add some hits to his record, Monte Irvin's big league batting average should climb over .300 and Satchel Paige may add nearly 150 victories to his total.

Josh Gibson, the greatest of all Negro League sluggers, might just wind up with a major league record, too.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Booker, Dem. lawmakers introduce NCAA reform bill
A bill being introduced Thursday by four Democratic lawmakers would grant college athletes sweeping rights to compensation, including a share of the revenue generated by their sports, and create a federal commission on college athletics.

The College Athletes Bill of Rights is sponsored by U.S. Senators Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). If passed it could wreak havoc with the NCAA's ability to govern intercollegiate athletics, and the association's model for amateurism.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Trubisky, Bears trying to battle through distractions
If the Chicago Bears can get beyond off-field distractions, they think a revised offense with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can put them in position to beat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in a key NFC North game.

Getting past those off-field situations can be a problem, though.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Big Ten weekend preview
Things to watch during the ninth week of play in the Big Ten Conference:


No. 15 Northwestern vs. No. 3 Ohio State, at Indianapolis

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Winter X Games on, but fans not part of the show
The 2021 version of the Winter X Games promises lots of flipping and spinning, not so much singing and dancing.

ESPN announced Tuesday that the first major action-sports contest since the COVID-19 pandemic started forcing major cancellations will take place during its usual slot in Aspen, Colorado, from Jan. 29-31, but will be closed off to fans.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

VanDerveer becomes winningest women's basketball coach
Tara VanDerveer made history, and then took a moment to tell her Stanford players what they mean to her.

"The most important thing I can do as a coach is love you," VanDerveer said. "I love the game of basketball and I want to help you be the best you can be. You're the people that I care about. Thank you."

Typical Tara, wanting to share the joy on a night when the spotlight shined brightly on her — and her alone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Cockburn scores 33, No. 13 Illini rout Minnesota
Kofi Cockburn scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in only 25 minutes to lead No. 13 Illinois past Minnesota 92-65 in the Big Ten opener for both teams Tuesday night.

Freshman guard Adam Miller added 14 points, while Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu each scored 10 for Illinois (5-2). Dosunmu also had seven rebounds and five assists.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Number three Buckeyes have something to prove in Big Ten title game
A group of university administrators on a Zoom call decided Ohio State would play in the Big Ten championship game. Now the No. 3 Buckeyes are eager to show that not only are they the dominant team in the conference, but they also unequivocally deserve a spot in the College Football Playoff.

They do that by winning big Saturday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Chicago Bulls set different course with new management team, coach
The Chicago Bulls made sweeping changes to their front office and snagged one of the top coaches on the market, hoping an overhaul in leadership will carry them back to respectability.

After the past few seasons, that would be a huge improvement.

Though their roster remains largely intact, the Bulls come into the season with a new direction and a different outlook.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Alabama, Irish, Clemson, OSU enter champ weekend in CFP position
Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State will enter championship weekend in position to make the College Football Playoff with very little drama.

In fact, where the semifinals will be played might be more in doubt than who will play in them.

The top five teams were locked into their places Tuesday night for the fourth straight week, with the Crimson Tide (10-0) leading the way as it prepares to play Florida for the Southeastern Conference championship.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Jackson saves Ravens in 47-42 win over Browns
Lamar Jackson's only thought was to rescue his teammates.

Like any other superhero.

Jackson emerged from the locker room, saved the game and maybe Baltimore's season with a 47-42 win over the Cleveland Browns in a wild, back-and-forth Monday night game in which the teams combined to tie a 98-year-old NFL record.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Indians owner says name won't change in 2021
The Cleveland Indians are changing their name — they just don't know to what or when.

Expressing that "it's time," owner Paul Dolan said that after months of internal discussions and meetings with groups, including Native Americans who have sought to have the team stop using a moniker many deem racist, the American League franchise is dropping the name it has been known by since 1915.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Illinois fires coach Lovie Smith after 5 seasons
Illinois fired coach Lovie Smith on Sunday with a game left in its ninth consecutive losing season.

Smith became Illinois' first Black head football coach when he was hired by athletic director Josh Whitman in March 2016. The longtime NFL coach went 17-39 in five seasons at the school.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Trubisky outplays Watson, Bears throttle Texans 36-7
All Mitchell Trubisky cared about was helping the Chicago Bears get back to winning. He insisted the other story that got most of the attention during the week wasn't on his mind.

Trubisky threw three touchdown passes to outplay Deshaun Watson in their first meeting since they entered the NFL, and the Bears snapped a six-game losing streak with a 36-7 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Rogers, Packers beat Lions 31-24 to clinch NFC North title
Aaron Rodgers has played for the NFC championship four times without having his cleats in the turf at Lambeau Field once.

He hopes to change that fact next month.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Bills improve to 10-3 with 26-15 win over sloppy Steelers
Don't think safety Jordan Poyer and other members of Buffalo's secondary didn't notice Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster dancing on the Bills logo at midfield during pregame warmups on Sunday night.

Come the fourth quarter, after Levi Wallace intercepted Ben Roethlisberger to essentially seal Buffalo's 26-15 victory, it was the Bills' turn to break out into a dance along their sideline.

"It was tight energy. The song playing. We felt the momentum of the game swing," Poyer said, before noting a TikTok video of Smith-Schuster posted on social media.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Stung Steelers seek to rebound when they face Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills coach Sean McDermott wouldn't go as far as to describe Mike Tomlin's sometimes gruff demeanor as intimidating.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

Packers set for Lions, look to secure NFC North title
DETROIT (AP) — Aaron Rodgers had his 37th birthday recently and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

QB choice looms as Bears host Watson, Texans
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bears went into the 2017 draft with their sights set on landing a franchise quarterback to serve as a building block for a struggling organization.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

Stung Steelers seek to rebound when they face Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills coach Sean McDermott wouldn't go as far as to describe Mike Tomlin's sometimes gruff demeanor as intimidating.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

Pittsburgh players opt out of potential bowl game
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Six months working inside the confines that came with playing college football in the middle of a pandemic was enough for the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

Steelers -Bills headlines weekend NFL slate
Friday, December 11, 2020

Army to host Navy for 1st time in 77 years
(AP) — Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo never tires of the feeling that permeates the locker room in the moments before the opening kickoff of the annual matchup against Army.
Friday, December 11, 2020

MLB plays hardball with minor leagues
(AP) — Minor league baseball hasn't been able to take the field in more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Big Ten weekend preview
AP College Football Writer

(AP) — Things to watch during the eighth week of play in the Big Ten Conference:

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Big Ten audible: Ohio State will play for title vs Wildcats

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Big Ten Conference dropped its six-game minimum requirement for the league championship game Wednesday, clearing the way for No. 3 Ohio State to take on No. 15 Northwestern in another chance for the Buckeyes to burnish their playoff credentials.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Trubisky understands storyline when Bears face Texans
(AP) — Mitchell Trubisky insisted it doesn't bother him that the 2017 draft remains such a hot topic in Chicago. The temperature is getting turned up a few degrees this week.
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Ravens run past Cowboys 34-17 to end 3-game slide
Back in action after a 15-day layoff, Lamar Jackson directed a relentless rushing attack that the Baltimore Ravens hope will be the first big step in a run to the playoffs.

Jackson ran for 94 yards and a touchdown, and the Ravens returned from a COVID-19 outbreak to amass 294 yards rushing in a 34-17 rout of the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday night.

Playing for the first time since Nov. 22 following a positive test for the potentially deadly virus, Jackson carried 13 times and threw for two scores. He was one of 23 Ravens to spend time on the reserve/COVID-19 list while four different strains of the virus swept through the organization.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Michigan cancels Ohio St. showdown, citing COVID-19 cases
Citing a rising number of COVID-19 cases in its program, Michigan canceled its annual showdown with Ohio State on Tuesday as college football lurches toward the end of the season without one of its cornerstone rivalry games.

The season-ending grudge match known as "The Game" won't be played for the first time in 102 years.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Jets fire Gregg Williams after call on defense costs team 1st win
Adam Gase thought through the final agonizing moments of the New York Jets' stunning loss and tried to not make a rash decision.

The coach got a little bit of sleep before he headed to the team's facility Monday morning — with the same conclusion he had Sunday night: defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had to go.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Dosunmu, balance help No. 6 Illinois beat No. 10 Duke
Ayo Dosunmu had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds while sixth-ranked Illinois shot 58% to beat No. 10 Duke 83-68 on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Kofi Cockburn added 13 points for the Fighting Illini (4-1), who jumped to a 14-2 lead and never looked back to regroup from last week's loss to No. 2 Baylor.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Cardinals' Adam Wainwright wins Roberto Clemente Award
Longtime St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright has won the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually by Major League Baseball for community involvement and philanthropy.

Wainwright's Big League Impact foundation and recording artist Garth Brooks' Teammates for Kids Foundation teamed for a Home Plate Project with Texas pitcher Kyle Gibson, and raised money from more than 150 big leaguers that let to the donation of about $5.8 million donated to 94 charities. The effort provided more than 4 million meals to prevent childhood hunger during the coronavirus pandemic and nearly 8 million meals in all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Alabama, Irish, Tigers, Buckeyes hold steady atop CFP rankings
For the third straight week, Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State held on to the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings.

The selection committee's second-from-last rankings had only a little movement in the top 10. Texas A&M is still fifth and Florida held at sixth.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

NFL union sees no current need for bubble to slow COVID-19
The NFL players believe the season can be completed on time without the league moving into a version of a postseason bubble like other sports have as long as everyone follows the rules already in place meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

NFLPA President JC Tretter and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith held a virtual news conference on Tuesday to discuss the challenges the players have felt this season while playing during a global pandemic and address how things will change in the future.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Washington ends Pittsburgh's perfect season 23-17
The Pittsburgh Steelers spent three months shaking off whatever 2020 threw at them. Schedule changes. Injuries to a handful of impact players. The ever-present threat of COVID-19.

Through the chaos, they kept winning. Sometimes pretty. Sometimes ugly. Sometimes a little of both in the same game. Through it all, they insisted they were well aware of their flaws. pointing out time and again the only thing perfect about them was their record.

So much for that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

AP source: Rangers trading RHP Lance Lynn to White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are set to acquire a big workhorse for their starting rotation.

Lance Lynn is being traded from the Texas Rangers to the White Sox, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press late Monday night, at the end of the first day of Major League Baseball's virtual winter meeting, because there was no announcement from either team.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Allen throws for 4 TDs, Bills beat 49ers 34-24 in Arizona
The passes zipped through the air one by one, almost always finding their intended target right on the hands and in stride.

By the time Josh Allen was done, the quarterback had finished one of the best games of his young NFL career, and the Buffalo Bills once again looked like one of the league's elite teams.

Allen threw for 375 yards and tied a career high with four touchdown passes as the Bills stayed in sole possession of first place in the AFC East with a thoroughly impressive 34-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Zags, Baylor remain atop AP Top 25
Gonzaga and Baylor remained atop the AP Top 25 men's basketball poll Monday after their hotly anticipated weekend game in Indianapolis was called off about 90 minutes before tipoff because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Bulldogs' program.

Gonzaga received 54 of 61 first-place votes from a national media panel while the Bears had the other seven. Iowa remained third after Luka Garza's monster week powered the Hawkeyes to a pair of easy victories, Michigan State climbed four spots to No. 4 and Kansas jumped two spots to round out the top 5.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Stafford throws 3 touchdowns and the Lions rally to beat the Bears 34-30
Darrell Bevell had a hard time processing everything from his first game as an NFL coach.

He watched as the Detroit Lions wiped out a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, recovered a strip-sack in the closing minutes to set up the go-ahead touchdown, and squeezed out a 34-30 victory over the Chicago Bears.

"My emotions right now, I can't even think straight," Bevell said. "I'm just trying to wrap my head around this whole thing on what just happened."

So were the Bears.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Packers withstand last-minute rally and outlast Philadelphia Eagles 30-16
On a day when Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams reached personal milestones, the Packers needed a long run from Aaron Jones to put the Eagles away.

Jones rushed for 130 yards and delivered a game-clinching 77-yard touchdown with 2:36 left as the Packers produced seven sacks and withstood a fourth-quarter comeback attempt to defeat Philadelphia 30-16 on Sunday.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Nagy not throwing in towel as Bears face Lions
Matt Nagy saw it five years ago when he was an assistant on Andy Reid's staff in Kansas City. The Chiefs answered a big slump with a massive turnaround, catapulting them to the playoffs.

Nagy is hoping for something similar in his third season coaching Chicago.

The Bears look to break a five-game losing streak when they host the Detroit Lions in a matchup of struggling teams on Sunday.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Dupree's injury latest hurdle for unbeaten Steelers
Bud Dupree slammed the turf in anger, well aware of what the pain in his right knee meant.

One bad step in the fourth quarter against Baltimore on Wednesday put an end to the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker's season. Maybe his time with the only franchise he's played for too.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Longtime Cubs TV announcer Kasper joins White Sox
Len Kasper, the longtime TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs, is joining the radio booth of the crosstown White Sox.

Kasper, who spent 16 seasons on the North Side, will call games alongside former major leaguer Darrin Jackson. He replaces Andy Masur, who took over after longtime announcer Ed Farmer died in April. Kasper also will work 20 to 25 games as a member of the TV broadcast team.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

NFL further limits player access to facilities amid virus
The NFL is further limiting player access to team facilities as it attempts to enhance safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a memo sent to the 32 clubs and obtained by The Associated Press, teams must close their facilities for two days after games, with some exceptions.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

No. 24 Iowa taking nothing for granted in match against Illinois this weekend
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is taking nothing for granted after seeing what Illinois did to a Nebraska team his Hawkeyes hung on to beat 26-20 last week.

The Illini beat the Cornhuskers 41-23 two weeks ago and were idle this past weekend after their game against Ohio State was canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Buckeyes.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Nagy not throwing in towel as struggling Bears face the Lions
Matt Nagy saw it five years ago when he was an assistant on Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City. The Chiefs answered a big slump with a massive turnaround, catapulting them to the playoffs.

Nagy is hoping for something similar in his third season coaching Chicago.

The Bears look to break a five-game losing streak when they host the Detroit Lions in a matchup of struggling teams on Sunday.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Matchup of division leaders not what you'd expect
In this strangest of NFL seasons in this weirdest of years, here's a matchup of division leaders you wouldn't expect: Seattle hosting the New York Giants.

Certainly the Seahawks on top of the tough NFC West is no stretch. They are 8-3, have a dynamic offense and improving defense, and plenty of pedigree under coach Pete Carroll. It's their opponent that makes little sense — except in 2020.

Friday, December 4, 2020

No. 2 Baylor uses stout defense to get past No. 5 Illini
Scott Drew watched No.. 2 Baylor's first two games in quarantine.

When he returned to the sideline Wednesday night, he found himself coaching in a vastly different atmosphere — and relying on a familiar script.

Adam Flagler scored 18 points, three of his teammates also reached double figures and Baylor used its trademark defense to turn the game and pull away from No. 5 Illinois for an 82-69 victory in the Jimmy V Classic.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Schwarber, Bradley, Duvall among 59 cut in pandemic fallout
Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. were cut loose by the Chicago Cubs this week. The pair were big role players in helping the team win its first World Series title in more than a century four years ago, but the big-name Cubs were just two of 59 other players across the league who became free agents as part of the fallout from the coranavirus pandemic when their teams declined to offer them 2021 contracts by Wednesday night's deadline.

Cincinnati reliever Archie Bradley, Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall, Colorado outfielder David Dahl and Minnesota outfielder Eddie Rosario also were let go by their clubs, who did not want to allow those players to become eligible for salary arbitration in February, which would have been their right had they been tendered contracts.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Women's team, US Soccer settle part of their lawsuit
U.S. women's national team players and the U.S. Soccer Federation settled their long-running lawsuit over inequitable working conditions compared with the men's team while leaving their dispute over unequal pay for additional litigation.

The parties filed a redacted public notice of the settlement with the federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday while providing the complete agreement to U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner. The deal with the world champion American women and the sport's U.S. governing body calls for charter flights, hotel accommodations, venue selection and professional staff support equitable to that of the men's national team.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A cautious start to NBA season, as camps open amid positives
The first day of NBA training camp is supposed to be accompanied by brimming optimism, a time for players and coaches all taking those first steps toward what they hope is a championship.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Popovich: Filling US Olympic roster will be challenge
Game 7 of the 2021 NBA Finals, as of now, would be played on July 22.

The opening cermony of the Tokyo Olympics, as of now, would be the next day.

And when presented with this potential scheduling conundrum, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich — who will coach USA Basketball men's national team at the next Olympics — came up with a very quick, very lighthearted solution.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

No. 5 Illini set for No. 2 Baylor
No. 5 Illinois visits No. 2 Baylor in an early season matchup. Both teams earned victories in their last game. Baylor earned an 86-52 win in Las Vegas over Washington on Sunday, while Illinois won 77-75 at home against Ohio on Friday.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Metcalf, Wilson lead Seahawks over Eagles 23-17
DK Metcalf got extra motivation he didn't even need.

Metcalf caught 10 passes for 177 yards, Russell Wilson threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-17 on Monday night.

Before the game, Metcalf said Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Calvin Johnson in Detroit, compared him to the former Lions star.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Gonzaga, Baylor stay atop AP Top 25; Va. Tech, Richmond in
The first Associated Press men's college basketball poll of the regular season remained steady at the top.

The rest, predictably, was filled with change as teams exceeded or failed to live up to preseason expectations.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Coordinator Darrell Bevell takes over after Lions clean house
Darrell Bevell is pumped about the opportunity to coach the Detroit Lions, and quarterback Matthew Stafford sounds relaxed and ready for these last few games of the season — no matter what the future holds after that.

The Lions finally cleaned house, firing their coach and general manager, and now the rest of the franchise can begin moving on.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

NFL Roundup: Henry's 3 TDs leads rushing-centered NFL Sunday
(AP) —  TITANS 45, COLTS 26

Derrick Henry battered the NFL's second-stingiest defense for 140 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, finished with 178 yards and led the Tennessee Titans to a crucial 45-26 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Alabama is No. 1 for 4th straight week
(AP) — Alabama is the unanimous No. 1 again in The Associated Press college football poll as the top eight teams in the rankings held steady for the fourth week in a row.
Monday, November 30, 2020

Turnover-prone Trubisky can't stop Bears' slide vs Pack
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Mitchell Trubisky couldn't make the most of his second chance to lead the Chicago Bears' offense.
Monday, November 30, 2020

Hawkeyes' defense comes up big in 26-20 win over floundering Nebraska
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Tyler Goodson ran for 87 of his 111 yards in the second half and Zach VanValkenburg recovered Adrian Martinez's late fumble to secure Iowa's 26-20 win over Nebraska on Friday.
Saturday, November 28, 2020

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Ian Book kept scrambling to buy time and help No. 2 Notre Dame put together multiple long touchdown drives. The Fighting Irish's defense allowed little room for Sam Howell and No. 25 North Carolina's potent offense to do the same.
Saturday, November 28, 2020

Oregon St. upsets No. 9 Oregon 41-38 on Nolan's late run
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Taking his first college snap after starting quarterback Tristan Gebbia limped off, Chance Nolan scored on a 1-yard, fourth-down run with 33 seconds left to give Oregon State a 41-38 upset victory over No. 9 Oregon on Friday night.
Saturday, November 28, 2020

No. 3 Ohio State cancels game at Illinois after virus spike
(AP) — No. 3 Ohio State's game at Illinois on Saturday has been canceled because the Buckeyes have had a spike of COVID-19 cases this week, leaving the Big Ten's best team precariously close to being ineligible to play for the conference title.
Saturday, November 28, 2020

Dosunmu scores 24, No. 8 Illini escape Ohio
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Ayo Dosunmu scored 24 points, Kofi Cockburn had 13 points and 11 rebounds and No. 8 Illinois rallied to beat Ohio 77-75 on Friday.
Saturday, November 28, 2020

Bears name Trubisky starting QB vs. Packers
LAKE FOREST, IIll. (AP) — It's been a long way back from a difficult place for Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Saturday, November 28, 2020

Packers try to extend NFC North lead as they host slumping Bears
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES: The first of two matchups between the NFC North-leading Packers and second-place Bears. They’ll meet again at Chicago on Jan. 3 to close the regular season. … The Packers have won their last four home matchups with the Bears. Chicago’s last victory at Green Bay was a 17-13 triumph on Nov. 26, 2015. … The Bears and Packers faced off for the first time in 1921, making this the NFL’s oldest rivalry.
Friday, November 27, 2020

Revitalized Illini football set to host undefeated No. 3 Ohio St.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Justin Fields and Ohio State are scoring points by the truckload, as expected, but cracks in the defense have made for some unsatisfying finishes of late for the No. 3 Buckeyes.
Friday, November 27, 2020

Smith, Washington in 1st after Thanksgiving win over Cowboys
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Alex Smith has Washington at least temporarily in first place in the NFC East after winning on Thanksgiving for the first time, two years after a planned holiday showing was wrecked by the quarterback's career-threatening leg injury.
Friday, November 27, 2020

Deshaun Watson's 4 TDs lift Texans to 41-25 win over Lions
DETROIT (AP) — Deshaun Watson dropped back in a protected pocket at midfield and perfectly lofted one of his four touchdown passes, connecting with Will Fuller in stride just before he reached the end zone.
Friday, November 27, 2020

Dosunmu, Curbelo lead No. eight Illinois past Chicago State
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Ayo Dosunmu scored 22 points, freshman Andres Curbelo added 18 and No. 8 Illinois beat Chicago State 97-38 on Thursday.
Friday, November 27, 2020

Silent Night: Virus putting college basketball traditions on hold
There is a tradition at Taylor University, a small NAIA school in Indiana, where the entire crowd sits in complete silence until the men’s basketball team scores its 10th point of the game and sets off a wild celebration.

Thanks to the scourge of COVID-19, there will be no Silent Night game this year. Only silence.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Playoff rankings: 'Bama, ND, Clemson, Ohio St.; Cincinnati 7
Alabama was No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season Tuesday night, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State.

Texas A&M was fifth and Florida sixth, giving the Southeastern Conference three of the top six teams. Alabama is No. 1 in the CFP rankings for a record 19th time.

Unbeaten Cincinnati from the American Athletic Conference at seventh has the best ranking for a non-Power Five team in the seven-year history of the selection committee's top 25.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers have found ways to slow down Ravens' Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson's energy is palpable.

It pulses every time the NFL's reigning Most Valuable Player has the ball in his hands, a kinetic energy fueled by the Baltimore quarterback's unique skillset, one most teams in the league have struggled to grasp let alone stop.

Yet something happens when Jackson faces the Pittsburgh Steelers. The electricity that comes so easily against others vanishes. Jackson's surehandedness too. He gave it away three times in Pittsburgh last season as Baltimore relied on the defense and Justin Tucker's ever-reliable right leg to survive in overtime.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Big Ten: What to look for in Week Six
This isn't a game of the week in the traditional sense, but it's sure to draw lots of eyeballs. Penn State is 0-5 for the first time, the quarterback situation is murky and coach James Franklin doesn't appear to have any answers. The state of Michigan's program is summed up by the fact it needed three overtimes to beat Rutgers and improve to 2-3. Jim Harbaugh has one more year left on his contract. The question is whether he'll be at Michigan after next month.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams' 27-24 win vs Bucs
Jared Goff likes how the Los Angeles Rams are shaping up.

"We can be as good as we want to be, honestly," the fifth-year quarterback said after Monday night's 27-24 victory over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "We've got it all in front of us. Everything is there for us to take."

Goff threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, and Matt Gay kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining to lift the Rams back into first place in the NFC West.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Cubs prez Hoyer's goal: Retool, but stay competitive
While the window is just opening on Jed Hoyer's time as the Chicago Cubs' president of baseball operations, it's closing on the Cubs' championship-winning core.

The Cubs gave Hoyer a five-year contract on Monday that runs through the 2025 season, one week after his friend and mentor Theo Epstein stepped down as team president. The 46-year-old Hoyer was promoted from general manager to replace Epstein, who oversaw drought-busting championships with both Boston and Chicago.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Lions stumble into Thanksgiving game after abysmal defeat
As poorly as the Detroit Lions have played this season, this might have been a new low.

That meant some predictable questions for coach Matt Patricia.

The Lions were shut out 20-0 Sunday by a Carolina team that was missing its quarterback and star running back. It was the first time Detroit went scoreless since 2009. The Lions managed only 10 first downs and 185 total yards, utterly failing to take advantage of a weakened opponent.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Blackhawks hire Coyne Schofield as development coach
Kendall Coyne Schofield figures there will be a time in her new role as player development coach that a Chicago Blackhawks prospect will razz her for preaching one thing and doing the opposite on the ice herself.

She's not worried about how she'll be received as a woman in a men's professional sport.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Uncharacteristic mistakes result in Packers' collapse against Colts
The Green Bay Packers have succeeded this season by protecting leads, taking care of the football and controlling the clock.

They failed to do any of those things Sunday.

Green Bay committed four turnovers and squandered a two-touchdown halftime advantage in a 34-31 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts.  The defeat caused the Packers (7-3) to fall behind New Orleans (8-2) in the race for the NFC's best record.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Early mistakes by Vikings too costly to overcome versus Cowboys
The Minnesota Vikings stumbled through the first half, an uneven and undisciplined performance that was a little unlucky, too.

As well as they played against the Dallas Cowboys after that, those early mistakes made their margin for error too small to overcome.

The same might ultimately be said about their 2020 season. With their 31-28 defeat, the Vikings (4-6) squandered a prime opportunity to pull within one game of the final wild-card spot in the NFC.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Steelers dominate skidding Jaguars 27-3 to remain unbeaten
Pittsburgh's latest victory was picture perfect.

The Steelers defense gathered in the end zone after each turnover — four times in all — and posed for the cameras. Some of the celebrations were planned, some candid, most cheesy..

All of them well-deserved.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bama now unanimous Number 1; Northwestern to eleven
Alabama is now a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, and Northwestern moved up to No. 11 on Sunday for its best ranking in 24 years.

For the second straight week, the top eight teams in the poll held their spots. The Crimson Tide received all 62 first-place votes after beating Kentucky 63-3, making Alabama the first unanimous No. 1 this season and the first team to do it in the regular season since 2018.

Notre Dame was No. 2, followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Texas A&M. Florida was No. 6, and No. 7 Cincinnati and No. 8 BYU also held their spots.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bears seek answers for offense as they stumble into bye
The Chicago Bears switched quarterbacks early in the season and changed who calls plays last week, all in an effort to spark the one of the NFL's worst offenses.

So far, nothing's worked.

They can't pass, can't run, can't block. Above all else, they're not getting the touchdowns they need from their anemic offense.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Raptors not allowed to play in Canada, head to Tampa
The Toronto Raptors will start the NBA season next month in Tampa, Florida, because of travel restrictions by the Canadian government stemming from the pandemic.

The Raptors had been looking at other sites for several weeks, including Sunrise, Florida, the home of the NHL's Florida Panthers. But with NBA training camp less than two weeks away and a season starting Dec. 22, the Raptors were pressed to make a final decision.

Instead, they will play home games at Amalie Arena, home of the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Late interception helps Minnesota beat Purdue 34-31
The end of this pass-and-catch clinic put on by Purdue and Minnesota boiled down to an alleged push — followed by a game-sealing interception.

As the Boilermakers seethed, the weary Gophers were relieved after a game both teams won't soon forget.

Josh Aune picked off Jack Plummer with 44 seconds left at the Minnesota 13-yard line after a disputed penalty on Purdue gave the beleaguered Gophers defense a big lift and preserved a 34-31 victory over the Boilermakers on Friday night.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Drew Brees to miss at least 3 games
The Saints placed quarterback Drew Brees on injured reserve Friday, meaning he'll miss at least three games with rib injuries.

Brees was unable to finish last Sunday's game after absorbing a heavy hit on a sack attempt by 287-pound San Francisco defensive tackle Kentavius Street, who was penalized for roughing on the play.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Murray, Cardinals get shut down by Seahawks
Kyler Murray was crunched on Arizona's second drive of the game. A rude hello from Seattle's L.J. Collier and Carlos Dunlap that left Murray with a sore right shoulder.

After not being touched by the Seahawks in their first meeting, Murray quickly knew this time was going to be different.

"They definitely played for me in certain situations but like I said, we put up 21, had a chance to win the game at the end, but throughout the game, we started slow and kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Murray said.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Colts versus Packers headlines packed NFL schedule
It's difficult to sneak up on anybody in the NFL, given the attention the sport gets everywhere.

Yet the Indianapolis Colts have been something of a hidden secret at 6-3. If you're surprised to see them tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South, it's excusable.

After beating the Titans, should they handle one of the NFL's elite teams, the Packers, on Sunday, well, evaluations of the Colts will change from outsider to contender.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Bulls draft FSU's Williams at No. 4
Arturas Karnisovas understood how important it was to set the tone by getting his first draft pick for the Chicago Bulls right as he tries to set them on a championship course.

He also hopes they're never in this position again.

The Bulls drafted versatile Florida State forward Patrick Williams with the No. 4 pick on Wednesday night, the next step for a rebuilding team with a new front office.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Illini, Huskers both looking to build off 1st wins
A couple teams trying to establish some mojo meet when Nebraska hosts Illinois on Saturday.

Both programs are in building mode, and both are coming off their first wins.

"Guys in this building can't win one and relax," Nebraska coach Scott Frost said. "They have to let that elevate them and go back out on the field and and work that much harder to get even better and keep moving this ball down the field."

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Nick Foles could be available despite hip injury
Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy on Tuesday indicated a desire to keep his offense's play-calling in the hands of coordinator Bill Lazor even after their lowest yardage output in almost three years during a 19-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Now he just needs to determine who can actually execute those plays on the field.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Theo Epstein steps down after nine seasons leading Cubs
Listening in on fans' conversations during his walks home from Wrigley Field, Theo Epstein could sense their excitement as the Chicago Cubs set themselves up to capture that long-awaited World Series championship.

It was as if they were all in it together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wait is over: Delayed NBA draft finally makes debut today
There was no dancing on the court after a March Madness victory. No bounding onto the stage in a spiffy suit to meet the commissioner in June.

The coronavirus pandemic wiped out the traditional end of a college career and the usual start of a pro one. Players such as Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman should be about a month into their rookie seasons by now, but their plans were put on hold.

After multiple delays, the NBA draft finally arrives Wednesday. Like everyone else in 2020, this year's class of players has tried to make the best of their difficult circumstances.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Vikings overcome Patterson return, beat Bears 19-13
Kirk Cousins will take a victory any day of the week. That he finally got one on a Monday night didn't seem to matter.

Cousins threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, and the Minnesota Vikings overcame a 104-yard kickoff return by Chicago's Cordarrelle Patterson to beat the Bears 19-13.

Cousins won for the first time in 10 career Monday night starts. He hit Adam Thielen with a 6-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota ahead by the final margin, and the Vikings (4-5) held on for their third straight win. They also snapped a four-game losing streak against Chicago (5-5).

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Chris Paul to Suns in blockbuster trade
Chris Paul holds a $44 million option for the 2021-22 season, a massive payday that may have kept some teams from trying to trade for the All-Star point guard.

The Phoenix Suns weren't deterred.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

March Madness in one place? NCAA looking at Indianapolis
The University of Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off one of the greatest upsets in American sports history at the 2018 NCAA Tournament, knocking off Virginia to become the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1.

The madness kept coming that March from Pittsburgh to San Diego. Top-ranked Xavier lost in the second round and so did No. 2 seeds North Carolina and Cincinnati. Two third-seeded teams were bounced early, as were three No. 4 seeds during an opening weekend that epitomized the beloved spectacle the NCAA Tournament has become.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

McCourt's late field goal sends Illinois past Rutgers
When it was clear the game would be coming down to his kicker, Lovie Smith had no doubt the third time would be the charm for James McCourt in the waning moments of a 10-point comeback.

McCourt overcame two long misses in the fourth quarter to hit a 47-yard field goal with three seconds left to lift Illinois past Rutgers 23-20 for the Illini's first win of the season.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Fading Bears look to stop skid vs. resurgent Vikings
The Chicago Bears are piling up losses, looking more like a team fading from contention in the NFC North than one poised to make a run at the division.

Despite the recent defeats, they insist they are not a beaten team.

The Bears get a chance to prove it in primetime and stop a three-game losing streak when they host the resurgent Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Cardinals-Bills thriller highlights NFL Sunday roundup
Kyler Murray completed a stunning 43-yard desperation pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 2 seconds left to lift the Arizona Cardinals to a 32-30 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

The catch was as sensational as the throw.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Iowa drubs Minnesota 35-7 for 6th straight series win
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Iowa's defense clamped down hard on Minnesota all night, coming awfully close to its first shutout in the series since 2009.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Nagy hands play calls to coordinator
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy is handing off play-calling duties, after all.

Nagy said Friday he's giving that job to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in an effort to lift an offense that ranks among the NFL's worst.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Marlins hire Kim Ng as MLB's first female GM
MIAMI (AP) — Kim Ng started her Major League Baseball career as an intern, and three decades later she's still on the rise while shattering ceilings.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Ramsey vs. Metcalf could be big showdown
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Count Brandon Staley among those excited to see Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf face off on Sunday.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Perfect Steelers facing COVID-19 concerns ahead of Bengals visit
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Cam Heyward can't figure out how the math works. The Pittsburgh Steelers keep winning games. And yet the veteran defensive tackle keeps hearing noise about how unimpressively the NFL's last unbeaten team is doing it.
Saturday, November 14, 2020

Packers' Lewis ready to face his former team, Jaguars, for first time

(AP) — Green Bay Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis says it took him "about a good year" to get over the way his 12-season tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars ended.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Dosunmu, Garza, Butler named preseason All-Americans
(AP) — The coronavirus pandemic initially clouded Luka Garza's decision whether to stay at Iowa or leave for the NBA. The uncertainty of the 2020-21 college basketball season and NBA draft made a tough choice even tougher.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Colts beat Titans 34-17, grab AFC South lead
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Coaches and quarterbacks change for the Indianapolis Colts. What remains the same is they keep beating Tennessee in its own building.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Big Ten: A rough start for trio of storied programs
(AP) — When Nebraska hosts Penn State this weekend, it will be a matchup between two of the most storied programs in the Big Ten — neither of which has played like it so far in 2020.
Friday, November 13, 2020

Mizzou basketball eyeing odd season
There are two ways to look at Missouri's basketball program as it heads into the new season.

One way is to look at the Tigers' experience: They have 88.2% of their minutes back, their top eight players when it comes to minutes per game and the most veteran — and arguably deepest — team not only in the SEC but perhaps the country.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Cleveland's Bieber, Cincinnati's Bauer win Cy Young Awards
Shane Bieber and Trevor Bauer love to talk pitching. They bonded as teammates with the Cleveland Indians, and stayed in touch after Bauer was traded to the Cincinnati Reds last year.

Bieber got a text from Bauer before this season started. The right-handers had the same Las Vegas odds for the Cy Young Award.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Alabama-LSU, Texas A&M-Tennessee games postponed
No. 1 Alabama at LSU and No. 5 Texas A&M at Tennessee will not be played Saturday because of COVID-19 issues, raising the number of Southeastern Conference games postponed this week to three.

The SEC said Tuesday that the Aggies and Volunteers will be rescheduled for Dec. 12, but the Crimson Tide's game against the defending national champion Tigers is in danger of not being played at all after COVID-19 cases in LSU's program.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

No. 8 Illini return with high expectations behind star duo
They're back.

The return of stars Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn has brought a sense of optimism and high expectations to an Illinois program that saw a magical season abruptly halted by the pandemic in March.

Dosunmu, a dynamic 6-5 junior, and Cockburn, a 7-foot sophomore, both tested the NBA draft waters before deciding to return for a shot at a Big Ten title if not a national championship. It was a boost Illinois fans needed over the long summer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Zags edge Baylor for top spot on preseason NCAA poll
Just about the only thing Gonzaga has left to accomplish under Mark Few is win a national championship.

The 'Zags scratched another first off the list Monday: They will open the season at No. 1.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Patriots storm back to beat Jets 30-27, end four-game skid
Cam Newton and the New England Patriots appeared headed to a fifth straight loss — this one against the winless New York Jets, of all teams.

Then came the fourth quarter, and potential embarrassment turned into big-time relief.

Nick Folk kicked a 51-yard field goal as time expired to win it 30-27 on Monday night after Newton rallied the Patriots from a 10-point deficit to avoid the franchise's first five-game skid since 1995.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Bears' offense struggles again in 24-17 loss to Titans

 The Chicago Bears can score really well in the fourth quarter. 


Dominate even. 


Monday, November 9, 2020

Elliott drives from back of the field to first NASCAR title

The new face of NASCAR circled Phoenix Raceway for a celebratory lap of his finest achievement. Chase Elliott, NASCAR's most popular driver, was now a Cup champion, too. 

He came upon teammate Jimmie Johnson, who banged doors with Elliott. Then the seven-time champion, in his final race, gave Elliott a fist bump. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Sunday NFL recap

Drew Brees threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns, regaining the NFL career TD pass lead and lifting the New Orleans Saints into first place in the NFC South with a 38-3 rout of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Red Sox bring back Alex Cora as manager
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox are bringing back Alex Cora, rehiring the manager that led them to the 2018 World Series title less than a year after the team let him go because of his role in the Houston Astros' cheating scandal.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Steelers offense is at ease operating on the fly
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers spent the first half against Baltimore stuck in neutral. James Conner couldn't get anything going on the ground. Ben Roethlisberger couldn't find any rhythm. And the NFL's last unbeaten team couldn't have looked more listless offensively.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Bears, Titans both looking to snap 2-game skids
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are not happy. Their sizzling start during which they won their first five games is a distant memory with the fresh pain of back-to-back losses for the first time since December.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

As Cook thrives, Vikings turn strong-arm strategy to Lions
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have rarely shied from a ground-oriented approach on offense in seven seasons under coach Mike Zimmer, never more apparent than in their last game.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

DeChambeau's big swing is the talk of the Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The scene was straight out of the World Long Drive Championship spectacle. Bryson DeChambeau would consider that a compliment.
Saturday, November 7, 2020

NASCAR title path now clear with Harvick out of way
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Harvick was a sure bet to make the NASCAR finale and likely close out one of the most dominant seasons of the decade.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Gophers, Illini square off looking for first win of season
(AP) — Minnesota has a golden opportunity to notch its first win of the season on Saturday when it travels to Illinois to face a team decimated by COVID-19 protocols.
Friday, November 6, 2020

Rodgers leads Pack past undermanned 49ers, 34-17
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers took advantage of the undermanned San Francisco 49ers rather than sympathizing with the team that dominated his Green Bay Packers twice last season.
Friday, November 6, 2020

NBA players approve plan to start season on Dec. 22
(AP) — The National Basketball Players Association voted Thursday to support the notion of starting this coming season on Dec. 22, the date that the league has been targeting in its talks about how and when to get teams back on the floor for a planned 72-game season.
Friday, November 6, 2020

In virus era, bubbles proving to be effective tool
The NBA wants to be back in December. The NHL is aiming at games resuming in January. Baseball's spring training may begin in February, like normal.

They almost certainly won't be in bubbles if and when any or all of that happens.

But many of the lessons learned from being in some form of a bubble environment — where the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball each crowned a champion after finding a way to finish their seasons in most unusual circumstances — could apply to whatever the new definition of normal is for those and other sports.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Trubisky injured versus Saints
Mitchell Trubisky's brief appearance last week was a painful one for the Chicago Bears' former starting quarterback.

Trubisky injured his right shoulder when he was tackled running the ball on his lone snap in an overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints, coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday.

In his first appearance since he was replaced by Nick Foles during the Week 3 win at Atlanta, Trubisky came on in the first quarter on Sunday. He landed awkwardly on his throwing shoulder, Nagy said, when he was tackled by linebacker Alex Anzalone and jogged off the field.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Lions put Stafford on Reserve COVID-19 list
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, although his wife Kelly said on social media he tested negative.

It was the second straight day the team gave a player the designation. The Reserve/COVID-19 list was created for players who either test positive or have been in close contact with an infected person.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

College hoops scheduling still chaotic as season nears
The NCAA's announcement of a college basketball start date led to huge scramble as schools tried to fill out schedules altered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of getting easier with time, the task of building schedules has become more difficult as the season's start date nears.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Crew chiefs feel the heat to be perfect in NASCAR finale
The NASCAR championship was in clear reach when Denny Hamlin made his final pit stop in last year's title-deciding finale. With everything on the line, his crew chief went with an aggressive adjustment aimed at gaining one last burst of speed.

Chris Gabehart called for a large, thick patch of tape across the front right side of the No. 11 Toyota. It was a gamble Gabehart was willing to take, believing "you've got to dance with the fire to beat these guys."

He got burned.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Wisconsin-Purdue game now off amid Badgers' outbreak
Wisconsin has canceled Saturday's home game against Purdue, the second straight game the 10th-ranked Badgers have called off as COVID-19 cases within their team continue to rise.

School officials announced Tuesday that three more players and two additional staffers have tested positive since Saturday, bringing the program's total number of active cases to 27. That includes 15 players and 12 staffers.

All team-related activities for Wisconsin remain paused indefinitely.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Arenado, Gordon each win 8th Gold Glove
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado won his eighth consecutive Gold Glove and right fielder Mookie Betts snared his fifth in a row on Tuesday, his first with the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers after four with Boston.

Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon also won his eighth Gold Glove — and fourth straight — in his final major league season.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Brady, Succop lift Buccaneers over Giants, 25-23
Tom Brady has felt uncomfortable against the New York Giants before. Most notably in a couple of Super Bowl losses.

 He recognized Monday night's 25-23 victory by his Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasn't very artistic. At least, for the star quarterback, it had a better ending.

"We obviously didn't play the way we're capable of, but it was good to get a win," Brady said.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Betts, deGrom in the hunt for historic NL awards
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts could become the second player to win the MVP award in each league, and New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is in the running for his third consecutive NL Cy Young Award.

The competition, of course, is tough.

Betts, Freddie Freeman and Manny Machado are the top finishers for NL MVP in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. DeGrom, Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish are the finalists in the NL Cy Young race.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

SEC fines Florida's Mullen $25K
Florida coach Dan Mullen did more to inflame than extinguish a tense situation against Missouri, drawing a public reprimand and a hefty fine.

The Southeastern Conference docked Mullen $25,000 on Monday for his role in a benches-clearing brawl against the Tigers on Saturday night.

The league also issued half-game suspensions for Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey, offensive lineman Dylan Spencer and defensive lineman Markell Utsey.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

NFL scores around the league Sunday
The Pittsburgh Steelers rallied behind Ben Roethlisberger to remain the lone unbeaten team in the NFL, beating error-prone Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens 28-24 on Sunday in a duel for first place in the AFC North.

Roethlisberger threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to bring Pittsburgh (7-0) back from a 10-point halftime deficit. After completing only four passes for 24 yards in the first half, the 38-year-old finished 21 for 32 for 182 yards.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Will Lutz makes field goal in OT, Saints beat Bears 26-23
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints kept their cool in another tight spot and again came away with a narrow victory.

Brees threw two touchdown passes to regain the NFL's career lead from Tom Brady, Wil Lutz nailed a 35-yard field goal in overtime and New Orleans beat Chicago 26-23 on Sunday.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Maryland shocks Minnesota 45-44 in OT on missed conversion
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A back-and-forth game that featured comebacks by both teams, a dozen touchdowns and more than 1,100 yards in offense seemed destined to reach a second overtime before ending abruptly on — of all things — a botched conversion kick.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Lester, Kluber, Hand boost free agent total to 175 players
NEW YORK (AP) — Jon Lester, Corey Kluber and Brad Hand were among 15 more major leaguers who became free agents Friday when teams declined their 2021 options, many the victims of budget cuts following a regular season without fans due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saints look to stay on roll, Bears seek bounce-back win
CHICAGO (AP) — Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints come into Chicago rolling along with three straight wins as they try to build on yet another unbeaten October. They're hitting their stride, steadying themselves after a shaky start.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Vikings' slide dulls rematch with Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — When the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings faced off in the season's opening weekend, it was billed as a showdown between NFC North's two top contenders.
Saturday, October 31, 2020

White Sox hire Tony La Russa as manager
CHICAGO (AP) — Tony La Russa didn't envision returning to the dugout when he stood at the podium in Cooperstown six years ago and took his place alongside baseball's greats.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — This time, the Atlanta Falcons finished.

Matt Ryan threw for 281 yards and ran for a touchdown, Younghoe Koo made four field goals and the Atlanta Falcons held on to beat the Carolina Panthers 25-17 on Thursday night behind a strong defensive performance to avoid a series season sweep.

Friday, October 30, 2020

NCAA weekend preview
(AP) — The potential Big Ten game of the year lost some luster last week.
Friday, October 30, 2020

Fitting finale: Dodgers win title, Turner tests positive
No large dogpile, just a small huddle instead; no champagne; and a mask on nearly every face — the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their first World Series title since 1988 in a manner no one could have imagined prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

They started the party without Justin Turner, too, after their red-headed star received word of a positive COVID-19 test in the middle of their clinching victory.

Turner was removed from Los Angeles' 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 on Tuesday night after registering Major League Baseball's first positive test in 59 days. He wasn't on the field initially as the Dodgers enjoyed the spoils of a title earned during a most unusual season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Big Ten pondering what happens when outbreak hits QBs
Wisconsin may be facing the type of nightmare scenario that coaches feared as soon as the coronavirus pandemic arrived.

What happens if an outbreak hits a team's quarterback room?

Wisconsin isn't commenting on the COVID-19 testing results of individual players, but CBS Sports first reported that quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive a second time. Under Big Ten protocols, that means Mertz can't play for at least 21 days.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Browns, Bills, Bears winning while being outscored
Cleveland, Buffalo and Chicago have piled up wins early this season, even if they haven't come in dominating fashion.

Those three teams are all 5-2 after seven games despite being outscored by the opposition. The Browns have been outscored by 21 points thanks to blowout losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, while the Bills have been outscored by four points and the Bears by two.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Rays, Dodgers grateful to have fans at neutral-site Series
Individual whistles echo during quieter moments, and a single fan with enough persistence can leave an impression with a chant during World Series games with the smallest crowds in more than 100 years.

Because of the coronavirus, this year's Fall Classic is being held at a neutral site. A team from each coast is playing in Texas, drawing fans from Los Angeles and Tampa, Florida — along with curious Rangers supporters seeing the home squad's new retractable-roof stadium for the first time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Rams dominate on defense, beat Bears 24-10
The Rams could tell Leonard Floyd was playing with an uncommon fury against his old team, and the rest of the Los Angeles defense followed his lead.

By the time the Rams were done with the Chicago Bears on Monday night, Floyd had two sacks and the game ball — and Los Angeles had a decisive, energizing victory over a fellow NFC contender.

Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett caught touchdown passes from Jared Goff, and the Rams won a matchup of dominant defenses, beating the Bears 24-10.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Wisconsin QB may have tested postive for COVID
Wisconsin says nobody who played in the season opener Friday night tested positive for COVID-19 or reported having any symptoms beforehand, amid weekend reports that quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal  reported Mertz would be taking a second test to determine whether his first test was a false positive. The Journal-Sentinel reported Mertz's positive test came Saturday, one day after the Badgers' 45-7 home victory over Illinois.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

American runner loses appeal to race with prosthetic legs
An American runner who uses two prosthetic legs lost an appeal Monday in his bid to try to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a decision by the governing body of track and field that had ruled Blake Leeper gets a competitive advantage against able-bodied runners because of the added height his prostheses give him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Court seeks 15-month sentence in Ohio St. threat
A California man's anger over his sports teams' setbacks went far beyond the average fan's emotions and must be punished with time in prison, the government said ahead of the man's sentencing in federal court.

Daniel Rippy, of Livermore, California, used Facebook Messenger to threaten a shooting at Ohio State University during its annual game against Michigan, and vowed to hurt players on the football team and then-head coach Urban Meyer, authorities said.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

NASCAR's Cup playoff at misty Texas speedway put on hold another day
The NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas was pushed back yet another day without drivers completing any more laps Monday.

Eight hours after the race was scheduled to resume on a misty day with temperatures in the low 40s Fahrenheit (single digits Celsius), NASCAR postponed it and decided to try again Tuesday.

Similar weather conditions were in the forecast for Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

No. 17 Hoosiers now moving beyond upset to take another big step
Coach Tom Allen and the No. 17 Indiana Hoosiers celebrated wildly after Saturday's monumental upset of Penn State.

On Sunday, they were rewarded with their highest ranking since November 1993.

By Monday, everyone was back to business in Bloomington, looking to take the next step in the program's steady, years-long progression: staying in the Top 25.

"We've got a lot of guys who went through the course of last season where we won enough games to become nationally recognized and we didn't stay there very long. That's a fact," Allen said. Monday. "So a big win, no question about it, a historic win. But it's in the past."

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Kershaw stops steal of home, hands Dodgers 3-2 Series lead
As much as Clayton Kershaw has dominated hitters throughout a glittering career, he has not silenced those who cite his lack of baseball's ultimate accomplishment.

With a gritty performance, plus one particular delivery home that will long be remembered, he hushed the skeptics and moved the Los Angeles Dodgers within a victory of their first World Series title since 1988.

"He's a phenomenal pitcher on the biggest stage," reliever Blake Treinen said after Kershaw beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the second time in six days, a 4-2 win Sunday night that gave the Dodgers a 3-2 Series lead. "I think a lot of credit goes to what he's been able to do in this World Series for us."

Monday, October 26, 2020

Sunday NFL recap
Zane Gonzalez made a 48-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in overtime to give the Arizona Cardinals a 37-34 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night in a thriller that featured 1,091 total yards, huge plays, crucial mistakes and — finally — a winner.
Monday, October 26, 2020

Mertz, No. 14 Badgers rout Illinois in Big Ten opener
Wisconsin's Graham Mertz gave a star-making performance on the opening night of the Big Ten's pandemic-delayed season.

Mertz threw five touchdown passes to match the Wisconsin record in a commanding first career start and the No. 14 Badgers beat Illinois 45-7 on Friday night.

"The kid's definitely smooth," said tight end Jake Ferguson, who caught seven passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns. "He was smiling cheek to cheek after the first touchdown. He knew, and everybody in that huddle knew, we were rolling. It's just awesome to see that out of him."

Saturday, October 24, 2020

NBA eyeing Dec. 22 as start to new season
The NBA may be back before Christmas and fans could return to games at some point next season, if one plan considered by the league's board of governors becomes reality.

The board is targeting a Dec. 22 start to what would be a season of 70 to 72 games, with the NBA Finals ending in June again as has been in the case for many years, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because no plan has been finalized, said the possibility of fans being at games would hinge on how a particular market is faring against the coronavirus at that time.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead
Walker Buehler pitched in the World Series like the Los Angeles Dodgers' aces of old.

Think Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser, all leaders of title runs.

Now Buehler has the Dodgers two wins from the championship that has eluded them since 1988.

Buehler struck out 10 over six innings in a pulsating performance, and Los Angeles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Friday night for a 2-1 World Series lead.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Carson Wentz rallies Eagles to 22-21 win over Giants
Hurried, harassed and hit repeatedly, Carson Wentz completed the comeback this time.

Wentz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the New York Giants 22-21 on Thursday night.

Wentz led a depleted offense to 22 fourth-quarter points only to miss a 2-point conversion at the end in a 30-28 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.

He wouldn't be denied against the Giants.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Bears, Rams hunting for respect
The Chicago Bears don't get much respect for a 5-1 team. They can only win ugly, or so the conventional wisdom goes, and their luck is supposedly going to end when they meet an elite opponent.

The Los Angeles Rams (4-2) looked like an elite opponent until last week, when an unsightly loss to San Francisco led to a re-evaluation of just how good this team is as well.

Friday, October 23, 2020

No. 18 Michigan faces difficult opener at Minnesota
Michigan hasn't left Minnesota with a loss since 1977.

This time, the only fans in the seats will be family members of the players, drastically reducing the disadvantage for the visitors.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Penn State's Pat Chambers resigns
Pat Chambers resigned as Penn State's basketball coach Wednesday following an internal investigation by the school into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Chambers, 49, had been at Penn State for nine years and was coming off the team's best season under his directions.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Trinity Dodge Fixed
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