Hawks drop opener to Flyers in Prague

PRAGUE—It was a successful home debut for Flyers coach Alain Vigneault – a long, long way from Philadelphia.Travis Konecny had two goals and Vigneault won his first game with his new team, directing the Flyers to a season-opening 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks on Friday night.Oskar Lindblom and Michael Raffl also scored for the Flyers in front of a sellout crowd of 17,463 at Prague’s O2 Arena as part of the NHL’s Global Series. Carter Hart stopped 28 shots.It was the first regular-season game outside of North America in Philadelphia’s 52-year history.

”I think tonight’s game, everybody was down there, everybody was consistent in what we were doing and it was a team win,” Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said. ”It was a lot of fun.”

Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists for the Hawks, who opened the 2009-10 season in Finland. Alex Nylander and Alex DeBrincat also scored.

”I like the way we fought back,” said Kane, who had a career-high 110 points last season. ”Whatever the numbers were tonight, I still think I have more to give to the team.”

The Blackhawks are hoping to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence, but defensemen Dennis Gilbert and Slater Koekkoek each made a costly mistake after the blue liners struggled last year.Konecny turned Gilbert’s turnover into a 1-0 lead for Philadelphia 6:24 into the first, beating Corey Crawford on the glove side.Lindblom was credited with a power-play goal 6:28 into the second when his shot bounced off the crossbar and was deflected by Koekkoek into his own net. Konecny then converted a backhander with 1:56 left in the period, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead.The Hawks played without defensemen Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy due to injuries.

”We turned way too many pucks over, that’s where we exposed ourselves defensively,” coach Jeremy Colliton,.

The Blackhawks pulled within one when DeBrincat one-timed a pass from Kane past Hart with 13 seconds left in the second. It was DeBrincat’s first goal since he signed a three-year contract extension worth $19.2 million.Raffl responded for Philadelphia in the third, skating around the net and sliding a backhand between Crawford’s pads for a 4-2 lead at 9:48.Kane scored with 2:07 remaining, but the Flyers held on.Crawford finished with 34 saves. Nylander scored in the first period in his first game since he was acquired in an offseason trade with Buffalo.The NHL returned to Europe for the third straight year as part of its efforts to grow the fan base in hockey-mad countries like the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and others.It will be back in Europe next month when the Tampa Bay Lightning face the Sabres in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

NOTES—NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league is planning to play more regular-season games in Europe next year, but the details are still being finalized…..UP NEXT:The Blackhawks Host the San Jose Sharks in their home opener Thursday night.

Bears put on ‘Bloody Useless’ show in London

LONDON—All that pregame talk about Khalil Mack and the Monsters of the Midway defense only served as motivation for the Oakland Raiders.A dominant performance from the offensive line, a breakthrough game from a rookie running back and the ability to bounce back from a third-quarter meltdown made Oakland’s weeklong stay in London a success.Josh Jacobs scored his second touchdown of the game with a leap from the 2-yard line with 1:57 to play, capping a 97-yard drive that helped the Raiders rally after blowing a 17-point lead to beat the Bears 24-21 on Sunday night.

”We were up for the challenge,” Jacobs said. ”All week that’s all we heard was how good their defense was and they are a great defense. But we wanted to prove we’re a good offense.”

They did that with an impressive drive that was part of a roller-coaster game that delighted the sellout crowd in London. The Raiders (3-2) broke out to a 17-0 halftime lead only to fall behind the Bears (3-2) in a mistake-filled third quarter.Then Oakland fumbled at the goal line when going in for the go-ahead score, needed a replay review to overturn a fumble on a successful fake punt on the game-winning drive and then intercepted Chase Daniel with 1:14 to go to seal the victory.

”We know everyone counted us out,” quarterback Derek Carr said. ”We knew no one would pick us to win this football game. And we hadn’t really proven anything for them to pick us, right? But it just shows you the grit and determination of our young guys.”

It sure didn’t come easy but the Raiders earned a satisfying victory in its first game against the Bears since dealing star edge rusher Khalil Mack before last season.That trade has come under heavy scrutiny as Mack led the Bears to the playoffs last year while the Raiders struggled. But Oakland came out ahead this day with Mack’s only big play coming when he recovered a fumble after Jacobs went the wrong way on a pitch that sparked the Bears third-quarter comeback.The Bears turned that turnover into a 1-yard run by David Montgomery and got two TD passes from Daniel to Allen Robinson in the third quarter to take a 21-17 lead.It looked as if it wouldn’t be Oakland’s day when Sherrick McManis punched the ball loose from Trevor Davis at the goal line and Prince Amukamara recovered at the 1.A brilliant top-tapping sideline catch by Robinson and a roughing the passer penalty on Maurice Hurst that angered the Raiders and overturned an interception by Daryl Worley helped the Bears move the ball off the goal line.The Bears pinned Oakland to the 3 with the punt before the Raiders responded with their longest game-winning drive in the fourth quarter in at least 20 years, aided by Erik Harris’ 3-yard run on a fake punt after the Bears committed a running into the punter penalty on fourth-and-6.Carr completed a 23-yard pass to Foster Moreau on third-and-1 to get the ball deep and Jacobs finished it off as part of a big night from the player acquired with one of the draft picks Oakland got for Mack. Jacobs ran 123 yards and two scores against a defense that hadn’t allowed 100 yards rushing to a single team all season.

”We punched them in the mouth and they didn’t like it,” guard Richie Incognito said. ”They were talking a bunch of trash that first drive. We came out that first drive, then punched them in the mouth and all that talk stopped.”

The Bears on the other hand managed only 42 yards on 17 carries for the game as Oakland controlled both lines of scrimmage.

”In this game, it usually starts up front, and know that,” coach Matt Nagy said. ”We preach it. We talk it. We understand that, and we just throughout the game weren’t real successful offensively with running the football. It’s been an issue this year, and so we need to figure out why.”

Mack got most of his pass rush attempts against second-year left tackle Kolton Miller. Miller had a rough rookie year but is playing much better in year two and managed to keep Carr clean most of the night thanks to some help from his tight ends and back and a quick-passing game.The lack of a pass rush had been a recurring issue in Oakland ever since the Mack trade. The Raiders came into the game with a league-low 18 sacks since the start of 2018 but had three alone in the first half as Daniel held onto the ball too long. Maxx Crosby, Benson Mayowa and Maurice Hurst all came up with sacks, the first time Oakland had three in the opening half since Mack’s final season with the team in 2017. Hurst added another on the final play of the game.Bears DT Akiem Hicks (elbow) left the game in the first half and didn’t return.Jacobs left the game briefly with an elbow injury but returned.The Bears get a week off following the long trip and will host New Orleans on Oct. 20.

Bears shut down Vikes, Trubisky hurts shoulder.

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Chase Daniel came through in relief after Mitchell Trubisky got knocked out of the game on the opening possession, and a banged-up defense dominated again for the Bears.It all added up to a victory that ranked among coach Matt Nagy’s favorites, even if it came with a price.Daniel threw for 195 yards and a touchdown after Trubisky exited with a left shoulder injury, and the Bears swarmed NFL rushing leader Dalvin Cook in a 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.The defending NFC North champions avoided an 0-2 start at Soldier Field and another home loss to a division rival to go with the one they suffered against Green Bay in the NFL’s 100th season opener.

”It’s definitely for sure top three, top four for me,” Nagy said. ”It’s a division game at home against a really good football team. That’s number one. Here we are four games into the season, and you start out 0-1 and there’s a little bit of `what’s going on.’ And our guys, they just stick together.”

Things weren’t looking so good for the Bears (3-1) when Trubisky went down in the opening minutes.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, he was scrambling on the sixth play from scrimmage when Danielle Hunter dragged him down. The quarterback’s non-throwing arm got pinned awkwardly under his body as the ball popped out. Minnesota made the recovery, but a holding penalty against Anthony Harris negated the play.Trubisky headed to the sideline and walked to the locker room a few minutes later. Nagy said he wasn’t sure of the extent of the injury.Daniel came on and connected with Tarik Cohen on a 10-yard touchdown to complete a 14-play drive. The 10th-year pro completed 22 of 30 passes.Allen Robinson had seven catches for 77 yards. Nick Williams had two sacks . Khalil Mack and Roy Robertson-Harris each had 1 1/2.The Bears (3-1) held Cook to 35 yards on 14 attempts after he ran for at least 110 in the first three games, even though Akiem Hicks (knee) and linebacker Roquan Smith (personal reasons) missed the game. The Monsters of the Midway also held a big edge in time of possession (35:27 to 24:33) on the way to their third straight win.

”You can talk all day but these guys stepped up and did what they’re supposed to do, man,” Mack said. ”Like I said, guys were stepping in big. Big Roy, Big Nick, guys were doing their job and we were able to get it done.”

Cook, who came in with 375 yards rushing, spoiled the Bears’ bid for their first shutout since 2010 when he ran it in from the 2 in the closing minutes.Kirk Cousins was 27 of 36 for 233 yards and got sacked six times as the Vikings (2-2) lost in Chicago on the road for the 16th time in 19 games.

”They are good, everybody knows they are good,” Cook said. ”It’s one of the best defenses in the league, but it was more about us than them, so we just have to do better on our part.”

The Bears took a big step toward the NFC North championship last season when they beat Minnesota at Soldier Field. They then kept the Vikings out of the playoffs with a road win to close the regular season while sweeping them for the first time since 2011.And they got a win they sorely needed on Sunday if they’re going to defend their division championship. The Bears outgained the Vikings 182 yards to 59 in the first half and held them to just two possessions.EARLY EDGE

The Bears took a 10-0 lead to the locker room after Eddy Pineiro’s 25-yard field goal at the end of the first half. They had to settle for another field goal after Mack sacked Cousins on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. took over at the Minnesota 16 after Williams made the recovery, and Pineiro’s 38-yarder made it 13-0. He added a 30-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in the third.

”You really never know when your opportunity is going to come at any position but we had so many guys step up on such short notice,” Daniel said. ”I mean, we had some Pro Bowlers out. You know? Your starting quarterback goes down. One of your best D linemen goes down, Akiem Hicks. Roquan. … I think it also says a lot about our coaching staff and how they’re able to get guys ready at moment’s notice.”

G Kyle Long missed the game because of a hip injury. He did not practice Thursday or Friday. … G Ted Larsen (knee) and LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) left the game

Das ist gut! Hawks beat Esparen Berlin 3-1 in last Pre Season Game.

BERLIN – The Blackhawks wrapped up the 2019 preseason with a 3-1 win over Eisbaren Berlin on Sunday evening from Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany. At the end of a back-and-forth opening frame, Jonathan Toews put the Blackhawks up in the final minute of the period with a bit of skill. Patrick Kane found his certerman with a no-look feed from behind the goal, with Toews finishing the chance top shelf in in the near corner from the bottom of the circle. Corey Crawford‘s night was finished at the 11:00 mark of the second, a scheduled split with newcomer Robin Lehner. Eisbaren Berlin found the equalizer just over three minutes later as Marcel Nobels founr Sean Backman from behind the net and the forward fired a quick shot past Lehner from point-blank range.

Alexander Nylander continued the trend of in-tight tallies at 10:12 of the third, corraling a loose puck at the side of the goal and roofing a shot top shelf past as sprawled-out Maximikian Franzreb for a 2-1 lead.David Kampf sealed the 3-1 win with an empty netter from inside his own blue line at 18:40 of the third. The Blackhawks depart for Prague, Czech Republic on Monday afternoon, where they will open the 2019-20 season against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday at 1 p.m. CT. 

NU hangs with Wisconsin, but Badgers prevail

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

MADISON—Jonathan Taylor ran for 119 yards and his 11th touchdown of the season, Wisconsin got two scores from its defense, and the eighth-ranked Badgers remained unbeaten with a 24-15 win over Northwestern on Saturday.Taylor carried 26 times to help Wisconsin (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten) avenge its 31-17 loss to the Wildcats last season. The junior reached 100 yards rushing for the 26th time in 31 career games and moved into fourth place on the Badgers’ career rushing list (4,730).After allowing 81 yards rushing through the first three games, the Wisconsin defense surrendered 97 yards on the ground to Northwestern (1-3, 0-2).The Badgers’ defense sacked backup quarterback Aidan Smith once and starter Hunter Johnson three times, including one by safety Eric Burrell that caused a fumble by Johnson in the end zone. Matt Henningsen recovered to make it 14-3 in the third quarter for Wisconsin. Noah Burks added the other after intercepting Smith and returning it 68 yards down the Wisconsin sideline.Johnson went 10-for-21 and Smith completed 8 of 19 passes and had a late 15-yard touchdown to JJ Jefferson. Drake Anderson had 16 carries for 69 yards and a 4-yard score for the defending Big Ten West champion Wildcats, who dropped their second straight game conference game.Charlie Kuhbander added a 29-yard field goal for Northwestern.Chris Orr had two sacks and Collin Wilder added another for a Badgers’ defense that is allowing just 7.3 points per game through the first four contests.Defensively, the Wildcats, like last season, made it hard for the Wisconsin offense. But a loose offensive line and a lack of production at the quarterback position will continue to haunt the Wildcats’ offense.Wisconsin: Jack Coan won his sixth straight start, but needed the Badgers’ defense to have a big day to overcome a lackluster day. The defense responded, as Coan finished 15-for-21 with 113 yards and an interception by Northwestern defensive back JR Pace.With one of the top running backs in the history of college football and a stout defense, No. 8 Wisconsin continues to prove it is one of the top teams in the country and deserves to be on the short list of teams that can seriously contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

NIU gives Vandy a battle,but falls short.

NASHVILLE—Ke’Shawn Vaughn rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown, Riley Neal threw for 189 yards and a touchdown and Vanderbilt defeated Northern Illinois 24-18.The victory was the first of the season for the Commodores (1-3), who dropped their first three games to Power Five teams, two of which came against Top Five ranked opponents No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 LSU.After winning their season opening game, Northern Illinois (1-3) has dropped three straight, all against Power Five teams.Vanderbilt’s Keyon Brooks and Vaughn scored rushing touchdowns on the first two Vanderbilt drives of the game.On Vanderbilt’s opening drive, Brooks broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown run, the freshman’s first of the season. He had only one more carry of the game. Entering Saturday, Brooks had just eight carries for a total of seven yards in two games this season.The Huskies pulled to within four in the third quarter after posting points on their first two drives of the second half. John Richardson kicked a 39-yard field goal to get Northern Illinois on the scoreboard, and then Mitchell Brinkman had a 38-yard touchdown reception. But Vanderbilt answered right back 1:49 later when Neal found Kalija Lipscomb with a 38-yard touchdown pass.Vanderbilt improved its record to 8-2 against Mid-American Conference opponents, including 4-0 against Northern Illinois.Neal is a graduate transfer from Ball State. His Cardinals teams never defeated MAC foe Northern Illinois.Early in the fourth, the Huskies cut the deficit to six following a one-yard touchdown run by Marcus Jones and a two-point conversion reception by Brinkman, but the Commodore defense denied the Huskies on their final drive, and the Vanderbilt offense was able to run out the remaining three minutes to seal the victory.NIU After not allowing a 100-yard rusher in 17-straight games, the Huskies allowed an opponent to eclipse the century mark for the second consecutive game. Vanderbilt’s Vaughn rushed for 138 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown. In Northern Illinois last game Sept. 14, Nebraska’s Dedrick Mills ran for 116 yards on 11 carries.Vanderbilt: In their three losses to open the season, the Commodores allowed an average of 46 points to Georgia, Purdue and LSU. After not allowing any points in the first half, Northern Illinois recorded a field goal and a touchdown on their first two possessions of the second half. The Commodores allowed the Huskies to convert just four of 13 third down opportunities in the game.

Bears jump on Washington, handle Skins 31-15.

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LANDOVER—After the Bears‘ offense was slow to get going this season, Mitchell Trubisky was excited to speed things up.Trubisky and the Bears used a no-huddle, hurry-up tempo to snap out of their offensive funk and score 28 first-half points on the way to beating the Washington Redskins 31-15 Monday night. After no passing touchdowns the first two games of the year, Trubisky connected with Taylor Gabriel on three of them in the second quarter alone.The 2017 second overall pick looked at ease with a fast-paced approach and picked apart Washington’s porous defense on 25 of 31 passing for 231 yards. It was the offensive explosion Trubisky predicted would happen this week.

”It just felt like the tempo helped us out a little bit,” Trubisky said. ”If everyone just continues to stick together and execute our plays and believe and just go out there and make plays, it’ll be a fun offense.”

The Bears (2-1) had just a 1-yard touchdown run to show for its first two games, and Trubisky entered the night with a completion percentage of 58.3 and ranked near the bottom of the league in yards per attempt. Facing the Redskins (0-3) brought out some of the best in Trubisky.

”Hat’s off to him,” said Washington linebacker Cole Holcomb, who was roommates with Trubisky at North Carolina. ”I always knew he was a good quarterback. He struggled a little bit, but he came out and he played a good game.”

Trubisky had 173 yards in the first half alone before throwing an interception at the goal line in the third quarter.With scores of 1, 3 and 36 yards, Gabriel joined Mike Ditka in 1963 as the only Bears receivers with three TD catches in the first half of a game. Gabriel made six catches for 75 yards before leaving in the second half with a concussion.The Bears took advantage of five turnovers by Redskins quarterback Case Keenum: two interceptions by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, including a pick six, another by Kyle Fuller and fumbles forced by Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan.

”That’s all me,” said Keenum, who was 30 of 43 for 331 yards and two touchdowns that didn’t compensate for the turnovers. ”Turn it over that many times as a quarterback, I let my team down. It’s all on me. I take complete responsibility. I have to take care of the ball better.”

With the offense up to the defense’s speed in the first half, The Bears put up 28 points in two quarters after scoring a total of 19 the past two weeks, 12 of which came on field goals from Eddy Pineiro.Mack had two of the Bears’ four sacks to continue a dominant start by the defense that didn’t give up a Washington TD until midway through the third quarter. Keenum’s two TD passes came long after fans chanted for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and booed the Redskins off the field at halftime.Washington’s defense that wilted in the second half of its first two losses had few answers for Trubisky all game Monday. Eight days after coach Jay Gruden said, ”I don’t think we have to push the panic button yet,” some significant changes could be coming soon.Before Gruden’s job security is really in question, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky looks like the logical target as the first coach to take the fall. Washington’s defense ranked in 21st and 17th in the NFL in Manusky’s first two seasons in charge and is on pace to finish worse than that this year.

MSU too much for Cats in first Big Ten Game

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—Michigan State was determined to get back on track following a stunning loss last week.Brian Lewerke had three touchdown passes, Elijah Collins added a rushing TD and the Spartans bounced back with a 31-10 victory over Northwestern on Saturday.Lewerke completed 18 of 31 passes for 228 yards, Collins had 76 yards rushing on 17 carries and tight end Matt Seybert had two TD receptions as Michigan State (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Wildcats (1-2, 0-1).
”I was very impressed with our workman-like attitude today,” coach Mark Dantonio said. ”If something negative happened, we just lined up and played.”

Michigan State lost 10-7 to Arizona State last week after an apparent game-tying field goal was negated by penalty.

”We talked about last week, refocusing and getting back down to business, and that’s what we did,” said linebacker Joe Bachie, who had 13 solo tackles and an interception.

The win was the 110th for Dantonio at Michigan State, which makes him the winningest coach in program history. Dantonio, who had been tied with Duffy Daugherty, is 110-52 in 13 seasons.

”I think those are things you sit back at a later date and say, `OK, did this, did that,”’ Dantonio said. ”It’s not an individual thing. There’s just so many people working toward it.”

Northwestern had its eight-game winning streak in Big Ten regular-season games snapped. The Wildcats had won 15 of 16 regular-season conference games.Quarterback Hunter Johnson completed 15 of 26 passes for 88 yards with an interception before being pulled in the fourth quarter.Running back Drake Anderson had 86 yards rushing on 16 carries with a touchdown.

Husker’s rally past Illini in Big Ten Opener

Illinois Fighting Illini

CHAMPAIGN—Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez took the blame for his team’s poor first half performance against Illinois on Saturday night.

”I didn’t play as well tonight as I should have,” he said. ”I’ll take the blame for that.”

He was serious, too.In reality, Martinez passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cornhuskers over Illinois 42-38 in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams. Martinez also rushed 18 times for 188 yards.The Cornhuskers (3-1, 1-0) put up 690 yards of total offense compared to 299 by Illinois (2-2, 0-1).Wan’Dale Robinson carried the ball 19 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. Dedrick Mills rushed 12 times for 62 yards and a touchdown.

”Wan’Dale did his job,” Martinez said. ”And he did it at a high level. He was ready to go.”

Nebraska coach Scott Frost thought his quarterback did a pretty decent job, too.

Georgia outlast’s ND

ATHENS—On a raucous Saturday night between the hedges, No. 3 Georgia held on for a gutsy win that might have ramifications all the way to the College Football Playoff.For No. 7 Notre Dame, it was another big-game loss but a performance that should bring more respect.Jake Fromm threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager early in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs survived for a 23-17 victory that was much tougher than many expected.

”That’s what college football is all about, man,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. ”I hate that somebody had to lose that game. I’ve got a lot of respect for the way they played, and all the negative things they’ve heard, and to come out and play the way they did. They played really physical as a team, and so did we. We persevered.”

The Bulldogs (4-0) trailed 10-7 at halftime but turned the momentum when redshirt freshman Divaad Wilson snatched away a deflected pass by Ian Book for an interception deep in Notre Dame territory.The Fromm-to-Cager combination helped push Georgia to a 23-10 lead before the Fighting Irish (2-1) made a game of it at the end.Book’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool cut the deficit with 3:12 remaining, the Notre Dame defense held, and Book got the ball back at his own 48 after a poor punt with just under 2 minutes to go.The Irish got as far as the Georgia 38, but no farther. It ended with Book zig-zagging on a desperate scramble before hurling up a long pass that fell incomplete, denying Notre Dame the signature win over a top opponent it so desperately needs in its first visit ever to Sanford Stadium.