Miami @ DALLAS**(Thanksgiving)

 San Francisco** @ BALTIMORE(Thanksgiving)

 Cleveland @ CINCINNATI**

 Carolina** @ INDIANAPOLIS


 Buffalo @ NY JETS**

 Arizona** @ ST.LOUIS

 Tampa Bay @ TENNESSEE**

 Washington @ SEATTLE**

 Denver @ SAN DIEGO**

 New England** @ PHILADELPHIA

 Pittsburgh** @ KANSAS CITY(Sun Night)

 NY Giants @ NEW ORLEANS**(Mon Night)



 Bears @ OAKLAND

 Green Bay** @ DETROIT(Thanksgiving)

 Minnesota @ ATLANTA**

 Last week 10-4, Overall through 11 weeks: 106-55

 Home team in ALL CAPS. **= Les’s pick to win that game.

Illinois, Illinois State both win Cancun-meet in Title Game Wed Night


CANCUN, Mexico—John Wilkins scored 21 points and Nic Moore hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:29 to play as Illinois State defeated Rutgers 76-70 on Tuesday at the Cancun Challenge.The Redbirds (3-1) also got 19 points from Tyler Brown, 11 from Moore and 10 from Jon Ekey.Eli Carter and Austin Johnson led the Scarlet Knights (3-2) with 12 points apiece. Gilvydas Biruta added 11 and Myles Mack 10.ISU never trailed until Dane Miller’s 3-pointer put Rutgers up 66-65 with 3:16 left. Then, with the Redbirds trailing 68-67, Moore sank his clutch basket.Rutgers had an advantage in shooting, hitting 29 of 61 (47 percent) to Illinois State’s 19 of 42 (45 percent.)But the Redbirds made 10 of 21 3-pointers and 28 of 38 free throws, while the Scarlet Knights went 4 of 11 from 3-point range and 8 of 18 from the line.

Meyers Leonard had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds as Illinois defeated Richmond 70-61 on Tuesday night in the Cancun Challenge.Sam Maniscalco added 19 points and D.J. Richardson 15 for the Fighting Illini (4-0).Darien Brothers matched Leonard with 22 points for the Spiders (3-2), including six 3-pointers. He was backed by 11 apiece from Kendall Anthony and Cedrick Lindsay.Only five players scored for Illinois and just six for Richmond.Illinois shot 42.3 percent (22 of 52), only slightly better than the 38.3 percent (18 of 47) by Richmond.

The Illini will face in-state rival Illinois State for the championship of the tournament’s Riviera Division on Wednesday night. Richmond will play Rutgers for third place.

GROBBER’S MONDAY RANTS—Nov 21,2011-Cutler Breaks Thumb






***The Bears got their hard earned fiufth straight win 31-20 over the San Diego Chargers who dropped their fifth in a row. BUT it may be a costly ‘W’ since Jay Cutler broke a thumb while trying to make a tackle in the fourth quarter on Antoine Cason,who had just picked off a pass. Word of this injury did not leak out untill well after the game ended. The Bears have the Raiders in Oakland next week in game two of their ‘four game tour’ of the AFC West. The Bears offense did well to keep the Chargers offense off the field as they held the ball for 33:10 while San Diego held it for 26:50.In the final quarter the Chargers offense was only on the field for :37!


***A great weekend for Northwestern. Pat Fitzgerald’s Football Wildcats held off Minnesota for their sixth win(and 4th in a row)to become Bowl Eligible. And Bill Carmody’s Men’s Basketball Cats won three games over LSU,Tulsa and Sunday night Seton Hall to win the Charleston(S.C.)Classic. It’s the Wildcats decond Holiday Tournament title in three years.They won the Chicagoland Classic Invitational two years ago.


***Illinois,after winning their first six Football games has hit a tail spin with five losses in a row,and even though the Illini are Bowl eligible, Ron Zook could be on the way out after Saturday’s game at Minnesota,which they may need just to GET a Bowl invitation.



Northwestern beats Seton Hall for Charleston Classic Title–Crawford Tourney MVP.


CHARLESTON, S.C.—Northwestern showed experience, depth and poise to earn itself a tournament title at the Charleston Classic. Does that mean the Wildcats are ready to reach a much more important tournament come March?


“It’s November 20th. Come on,” Wildcats coach Bill Carmody said when asked if these Wildcats (4-0) looked like the group that could end the school’s 0-for-the-NCAA-tournament run.


Northwestern is the lone school from a BCS conference that hasn’t played in the NCAAs. But if the Wildcats continue to play as they did this weekend at TD Arena, that’s a distinction likely to end.Drew Crawford had 27 points and John Shurna 19, the two upperclassmen making plenty of plays down the stretch after the Wildcats lost a 12-point lead in the second half. Crawford scored 72 points in Northwestern’s three tournament games and was named the Charleston Classic MVP.Crawford, a junior, is not worried about individual honors or ultimate goals, not when the season’s just starting and the Wildcats are still a work in progress.


“We’ve got a few young guys, but we’ve got a few experienced guys,” Crawford said. “Coach has confidence in us. We have confidence in our teammates.”


All of that was well-placed against Seton Hall (3-1) and star Herb Pope, who had a career-high 32 points in the title game.Northwestern had a 10-point lead at the half, but was in trouble right away as the Pirates turned up the pressure. Aaron Cosby, Pope and Fuquan Edwin had three straight 3s to start a 15-0 run by the Hall. When Edwin made a basket with 8:29 to go, the Pirates were up 57-54 and the large following that traveled from New Jersey filled TD Arena with shouts of celebration.Shurna, a senior, quickly quieted things with a tying 3-pointer and began a stretch where the lead changed hands on six straight possessions. Seton Hall point guard Jordan Theodore had the last one with his 3 for a 67-65 lead with 4:18 to go. Shurna tied things with two foul shots and Crawford put the Wildcats up front for good, 69-67, on a jumper with 2:28 remaining. Crawford and Shurna each had four more points down the stretch to seal the win.Carmody acknowledged that he counted on his team’s experience to right the ship after losing its large lead. He said during one time out, “I really had nothing to say,” because he knew his players understood the situation and would correct their mistakes.Don’t let Carmody fool you, though. “Coach always has a little something to say,” Crawford said with a smile.Crawford and Shurna were the Wildcats’ steadying hands throughout a very tough tournament. Shurna went for a career-high 37 points and Crawford 17 in an 88-82 win over LSU of the Southeastern Conference on Thursday. The next day, it was Crawford with the hot hand with 28 points and Shurna had 15 points and made several key plays near the end in a 69-65 victory over Tulsa of Conference USA on Friday.Then came Seton Hall of the Big East, all the types of teams the Wildcats might see in March – if Carmody wasn’t so dead set against considering it.


“That’s what we’re all trying to do, just like everyone,” Carmody said. “But we’re working on ourselves as much as anyone.”


That’s what coach Kevin Willard wants his players to do, too. He was proud of their comeback, yet knew he had several young players who need more experience in end-of-game situations to pull out ones like this.


“They made some great plays,” he said. “Shurna and Crawford are excellent players and those two guys made great plays down the stretch.”


NOTES—The Tourament title was NU’s second in three years.The Wildcats won the Chicagoland Invitational Classic two years ago with wins over Notre Dame and Iowa State.

Bears start AFC ‘West Tour’ with 31-20 win over Chargers for fifth straight win. Cutler breaks thumb in fourth quarter


 Make it five in a row for the Bears as they controlled the ball,Jay Cutler passed for a pair of touchdown passes while scoring another in a 31-20 win over the San Diego Chargers who have lost five straight.It may have been a costly win however since Cutler broke his thumb while making a tackle after an interception by Antoine Cason in the fourth quarter. There was no report on how bad this injury is,or if Cutler will miss next week’s game at Oakland or not.

 On a cool 43* over cast day at Soldier Field.the Bears took the opening kickoff,but went three and out. San Diego took over at it’s 43,and moved the ball on a 17 yard Phillip Rivers screen pass to Antonio Gates,and a 26 yard run by Ryan Matthews. After that, the Bears stiffened and forced a Nick Novak 28 yard field goal.This time on a third and 8, Cutler threw to Williams who caught it this time for 15 yards and the Bears first move of the chains. Then a 31 yarder to Knox at the SD 38.A quick pass to Forte for 17 to the Chargers 21 as the Bears threaten for the first time. The drive stalled at that point and Robbie Gould kicked a 42 yarder to tie the game 3-3.The Bears got great field position when Devin Hester returned a kick to the San Diego 3,only to have a holding call on Kahlil Bell take the ball back to the Chargers 41. A pass to Earl Bennett for 26 yards put the ball on the one,and two plays later Marion Barber punched it in for the Bears first lead 10-3 with 4:03 left in the half. The Chargers came right back. Rivers connected on a third down play to Gates for 8 yards to tie the game with 2:04 left in the half. Johnny Knox gave the Bears great field position by returning the kickoff 53 yds to the SD 44 at the two minute warning.Cutler hit Bennett for 32 yards to the Chargers 5.A 10 TD pass to Bennett was reviewed(forever),and they took away the score(similar to the Calvin Johnson call last year)yet an illegal hands to the face on SD gave the Bears 1st and goal at the five.On a third and goal, Cutler hit Kellen Davis with :20 left and the Bears took a 17-10 lead.The Chargers did get Novak a chance for a 55 yd field goal which was way short,but Lovie Smith had called a STUPID time out before the snap.Novak ALMOST made Smith pay for it as his second try hit the cross bar. The Bears took the 17-10 lead into the locker room.

The Chargers started the third quarter with the ball and went right down field 76 yards in 7 plays.A 47 yard pass from Rivers to Jackson put the ball on the Bears 32. The Bears can not guard Vincent Jackson.A pass interference followed putting the ball on the 11.On a third and 4 from the five, Rivers went to Jackson again to tie the game 17-17. Jackson continued to torch the Bears. Hester had another good return,but a holding call by Craig Steltz moved the ball back to the Bears 17.Three straight Cutler to Williams complted passes moved it to the SD 43.The came a 42 yarder to Knox which he grabbed at the 3 and rolled to the one yard line.On second down,a play we would see happened. Cutler actually tried a quarterback sneak and it worked! The play Cutler and Mike Martz have said they did not want to run! 24-17 Bears with 5:47 to go in the third quarter.

The first turnover happened when Peanut Tillman stripped the ball from Matthews and then fell on it at the Chargers 37.Two plays later,Cutler threw a high floater that Knox made a sensational grab on near the back of the end zone,just staying in bounds.31-17 Bears which was how the third quarter ended.

The fourth period began with Novak’s 48 yard field goal that came off a 51 yard drive.That ended the scoring.

NOTES—Cutler was 18-31 for 286 yards and a passer rating of 97.0 while Rivers was 21-31 for 280 yards,two TD’s and a rating of 90.8…..Jackson caught 7 passes for 165 yards and one TD while Williams led the Bears with five catches for 62 yards,Forte caught four out of the backfield for 26 yards and Knox grabbed three for 97 yards and a TD…..Next week the Bears game game two of their four game tour of the AFC West in Oakland against the Raiders.




Oilers win never in doubt, crush Hawks 9-2

EDMONTON—The Edmonton Oilers didn’t just break their four-game losing streak, they smashed it to pieces.Taylor Hall had a hat trick, Jordan Eberle had a goal and three assists, and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set up five goals for the Oilers, who ended their skid in a big way with a 9-2 rout of the Blackawks on Saturday night.Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones, Ryan Smyth, Tom Gilbert and Shawn Horcoff also scored for the Oilers (10-7-2), and Nikolai Khabibulin moved into a 19th-place tie with Sean Burke on the NHL career wins list.

“It definitely gives us confidence,” said Hall, who hadn’t scored in nine games. “It’s great we won all three periods. It’s easy to let off the gas pedal, but we didn’t.”

The last time the Oilers had three players with four points in a game was Jan. 30, 1991, when Mark Messier, Petr Klima and Steve Smith did it.

“It was fun to see the guys enjoying themselves,” Oilers coach Tom Renney said. “This was a big game for us under the circumstances.Chicago is a good hockey club. I’m not sure you are going to see something like this happen to them again this season.”

Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland had goals for the Blackhawks (12-6-3), who have lost two in a row following a four-game winning streak.

NU Bowl eligible after 28-13 win over Minnesota

EVANSTON—Northwestern,trying to become Bowl eligible for a record fifth straight year,did so by beating Minnesota 28-13. The Wildcats(6-5, 3-4)scored on their first three series with ease, went into a two quarter snooze,and woke up in the fourth period in time to put the game away.On the first drive of the day, NU wasted zero time going 54 yards and Dan Persa hit fellow QB Kain Colter on a 7 yard scoring play.The Gophers came right back with a fast 66 yard,7 play drive to tie it 7-7 on a 5 yd keeper by QB MarQueis Gray. Then a 42 yard kickoff return by NU’s Venric Mark gave the Cats the ball at the Minnesota 42. This started to look like another one of those NINTENDO type of games,but things would settle down.It came down to a 4th and 8,and Persa found Demetrius Fields in stride for a 28 yard TD score and a 14-7 Cats lead with only 6:47 gone in the game.Hey! Some defense, as the Wildcats stopped the Gophers(2-9,1-6) three and out,and Dan Orseske popped up a NINE yard punt,out of bounds at the Minn 38. How many yards Mrs.Buehler? NIIIIIIINE! Treyvon Green scored the third Cats TD of the quarter and game on a two yard run to make it 21-7. The only score in the next two quarters was a Jordan Wettstein 28 yard field goal with 6:20 before halftime.NU did play like crap in the second and third quarters.The Gophers ran on Cats all day.Minnesota drove to Cats 9  but Brian Peters grabbed a tipped pass in the end zone to stop the drive.This prevented Minny from cutting this to a one possession game.Persa was sacked at his 17 as the scoreless third qtr ended still 21-10 NU.As the 4th quarter started, the Wildcats showed life with Persa hitting Jeremy Ebert,Colter and used the running of Jacob Schmidt who finished the 80 yd,15 play drive by taking an option pitchout around left end for a 1 yard run and a 28-10 Northwestern lead.After Wettstein’s 48 yard field goal ended the day’s scoring,the Wildcats drove again deep into the Gopher end while running down the clock.down to 1:10 before turning the ball over on downs at the Minnesota 9.Jerry Kill used all his timeouts by that time.It ended with the Cats accomplishing their goal.


Flames struggling offense wakes up, cools off Hawks

CALGARY—Curts Glencross woke up the Calgary Flames’ offense.Glencross had two of Calgary’s season-high five goals, and added an assist to lead the Calgary Flames to a 5-2 win over the Blackhawks on Friday.The season-high five-goal output was a relief for the Flames after they managed just one goal in five of their previous eight. Calgary improved to 5-0 when scoring four or more goals. Lee Stempniak, Rene Bourque and Paul Byron also scored for the Flames.

“When you play Calgary, it’s about working hard and making it simple and we didn’t do that tonight,” Joel Quenneville said. “We always measure what we gave up and what we gave up tonight was our own doing — five goals that were all preventable, the way we have to play or the way we want to play.”

Defenseman T.J. Brodie, called up from the AHL on Nov. 9, got his first NHL point by assisting on Stempniak’s goal.Viktor Stahlberg and Marian Hossa scored for the Blackhawks goals. Miikka Kiprusoff made 30 saves on 32 shots for the win.
Corey Crawford stopped 21 of 26.Calgary scored twice in a 17-second span at the start of the second period to take a 3-1 lead. The Blackhawks reduced the deficit with a power-play goal, but Glencross restored Calgary’s two-goal cushion heading into the third.The Blackhawks couldn’t score on a two-man advantage with 2:45 remaining in the game.

NOTES—Brent Seabrook was scratched for a second straight game with a “lower-body injury” he sustained Sunday against Edmonton….Calgary avenged a 4-1 loss Nov. 11 in the United Center.

NU beats Tulsa, in Charleston Classic Title Game

CHARLESTON, S.C.—Drew Crawford scored 28 points and John Shurna had a critical three-point play down the stretch to lead Northwestern into the Charleston Classic championship game with a 69-65 victory over Tulsa on Friday.The Wildcats (3-0) will play Seton Hall on Sunday night for the title of the eight-team tournament.Crawford hit his fifth 3-pointer with 5:06 left that put Northwestern in front 62-56. But the Golden Hurricane (3-1) got within 62-60 three minutes later on Jordan Clarkson’s foul shots. That’s when Shurna spun on defender Steven Idlet for a leaning basket and was fouled to extend the lead.Tulsa cut it two on Clarkson’s 3-pointer seconds later, but got no closer.Shurna had 15 points.Clarkson led Tulsa with 16 points.

Northwestern rallies past LSU in Charleston Classic

CHARLESTON, S.C.—John Shurna scored a career-high 37 points, and Dave Sobelewski hit a critical 3-pointer in the final minute to lead Northwestern to an 88-82 victory over LSU at the Charleston Classic on Thursday.The Wildcats (2-0) will take on Tulsa in Friday’s winner’s bracket matchup. The winner of that game will advance to Sunday night’s championship game.Shurna had 21 of his points in the second half as Northwestern charged back from 14 points down and built a 76-67 victory with 5 minutes to go.But the Tigers (1-2) narrowed the lead to 83-82 on Ralston Turner’s 3-pointer with 47 seconds left. That’s when Sobelewski connected from the right corner to extend NU’s lead.Johnny O’Bryant III led LSU with 21 points and eight rebounds.