Peanut Tillman on season ending I.R.

Charles Tillman was fighting back tears after being injured on Sunday. (NBC)
Charles Tillman fights back tears after being injured Sunday against San Francisco. 

LAKE FOREST—For the second straight season, a triceps injury is going to end Charles “Peanut” Tillman’s season. Tillman, who re-injured his right triceps Sunday night against San Francisco, has been placed on season-ending injured reserve, the Bears announced on Monday.Tillman was injured in the third quarter of the Bears 28-20 win over the 49ers. Tillman appeared to be in considerable pain and seemed to know that his season might be over as he fought back tears on the sideline.The 33-year-old missed the final eight games of 2013 after tearing his triceps in Week 9 against the Lions. The Bears placed Tillman on IR-return last season, but they couldn’t do that this year because the designation can only be used once and the team used it on wide receiver Marquess Wilson.Tillman has been with the Bears since they selected him in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft, but the cornerback’s time here could be coming to an end.The 12-year-veteran was playing this season on a one-year deal. It’s hard to imagine the Bears bringing back an aging corner who has dealt with two devastating injuries the last two years.The two-time Pro Bowler has started 156 games in his career, the third-most in Bears history.

Bears wake up late in first half, stun Niners 28-20 in opening game of Levi’s Stadium

SANTA CLARA—Brandon Marshall walked up to Jay Cutler and planted a congratulatory kiss on his quarterback’s head.No doubt the admiration and appreciation – relief, too – went both ways. Down big, Cutler kept his poise on the road. Marshall relied on adrenaline to carry him on a bum ankle, cleared to play just 90 minutes before kickoff.Cutler found Marshall for two of his three fourth-quarter touchdown passes after much of the Bears starting defense went down, and they beat the San Francisco 49ers 28-20 Sunday night to spoil their Levi’s Stadium debut.

”The defense did a great job giving us short fields, causing turnovers and keeping it close enough so that we could get back in it,” Cutler said.

Cutler and Marshall clicked as the Bears erased a late 13-point deficit and quieted the sellout crowd. Cutler threw for two scores in a 27-second span early in the final period, aided by the gutsy play of a backup cornerback.Kyle Fuller made two late interceptions for the depleted  secondary, and the first set up the go-ahead score.

”We all still had confidence, we knew we were going to pull it out,” said Fuller, the Bears’ first-round pick in this year’s draft.

Kaepernick was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for ”inappropriate language” following Fuller’s first big play. That gave the Bears first-and-goal on the 3, and Cutler threw a 3-yard TD pass to Martellus Bennett for a 21-20 lead.Kaepernick threw three interceptions in all, lost a fumble and his cool, a far cry from his breakout start on the Monday night stage nearly two years ago in a rout of the Bears. Cutler sat out that night with a concussion.

”We hurt ourselves,” Kaepernick said, insisting he didn’t say anything wrong.

A sloppy game filled with 26 penalties – 16 by the Niners – and a crazy collapse overshadowed the fanfare of the regular-season debut for the sparkling $1.2 billion stadium.The Bears (1-1), in a stretch with six of eight games on the road, go home with some serious momentum despite injuries on both sides of the ball. Cutler finished 23 of 34 for 176 yards and four TDs.

”Jay has had an excellent start to the season minus one play,” coach Marc Trestman said. ”He led the way this whole week.”

Five key defenders are hurt: cornerbacks Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) and Charles Tillman (triceps), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion). Trestman had no updates on the injured players.The 49ers (1-1) had a 17-7 halftime lead, but missed an opportunity to grab an early lead in the NFC West after the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks lost earlier in the day at San Diego.

”This is very disappointing, our first game in the new stadium,” linebacker Patrick Willis said. ”We put the loss on us as a football team. … We have to cut down on the penalties.”

Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown pass on his 27th birthday for one of his seven receptions, and Frank Gore ran for a score but also had his 54-yard TD burst negated by Anquan Boldin‘s costly holding penalty.Cutler helped the Bears get on the board with a 25-yard run late in the first half. He took a jarring hit from Quinton Dial with 56 seconds remaining, but stayed in the game and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Marshall, who made a leaping, one-handed catch to pull the ball into his body as he fell into the end zone.

”I just threw my hand out there and it stuck,” Marshall cracked.

What a way for the Bears to forget that bitter 23-20 overtime loss to the Bills at home in Week 1.San Francisco didn’t give the ball away once in a season-opening win at Dallas.In the first half, the 49ers outgained the Bears 197-93 and out-penalized them 10-7 for 85 lost yards. The much-scrutinized field featured visible chunks of loose sod after new grass was laid for a third time since April.Kaepernick made his first career start against the Bears in November 2012, and then held onto the No. 1 job over Alex Smith.A concussion to now-Chiefs QB Smith thrust Kaepernick into the spotlight that night, and he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns as the Niners pounded the Bears 32-7.The 49ers were embarrassed at home for the second time in a month. They lost 34-0 in a rout by Denver in the first preseason game in the new stadium.The Bears patchwork offensive line looked shaky early with center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson each sidelined by ankle injuries.

”We played four quarters tonight,” Trestman said. ”The guys gathered themselves and went back to work.”

NOTES—San Francisco TEs Vance McDonald (knee) and Vernon Davis (ankle) were hurt. … The 49ers lost a home opener for the first time under fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh.

Irish pull away from Purdue in Shamrock Series game.

INDIANAPOLIS—Everett Golson was quick on his feet Saturday night.He had to be. With Amir Carlisle out with an injured right knee, the offense struggling, an already short-handed defense getting even thinner, and an uncharacteristic series of miscues, Golson did what he does best – tucked the ball and improvised.The senior quarterback scrambled for a 15-yard touchdown just before halftime to erase Notre Dame’s first deficit of the season, kept a second-half TD drive going with a 17-yard completion on the run and helped the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish score the final 20 points to pull away from rival Purdue 30-14. ”He just understands the game,” coach Brian Kelly said. ”The game is slower for him than it was when he was here in his first year. The game has slowed down. He sees the field better. He can see it better. He’s not there yet. We missed some things tonight that would have changed the complexion of the game.” No, it wasn’t easy for the Irish to get to 3-0 for the second time in three years, the first time Notre Dame has done that since four straight years from 1987-90. And there wasn’t much celebrating, either.Carlisle left in the first quarter with a sprained medical collateral ligament in his right knee and did not return. Safety Max Redfield was ejected in the second quarter after being called for targeting, safety Nicky Baratti re-injured his shoulder on the next play and starting cornerback Cole Luke left later with a neck injury.So Golson put the burden to do more on his shoulders – and legs – and the guy who led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game two seasons ago took control as one of the few offensive players in sync.Golson finished 25 of 40 for 259 yards with two touchdown passes and ran 18 times for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown, the nifty scramble that gave Notre Dame the lead for good.The combination was good enough to send the Shillelagh Trophy back to South Bend, Indiana, for a seventh consecutive year, where it will stay until these teams resume the rivalry in 2020 following a five-year hiatus. The Shamrock Series has been played every year since 1946.With No. 6 Georgia losing to No. 24 South Carolina earlier Saturday, Notre Dame could crack the Top 10 for the first time this season – though Kelly isn’t convinced his team is playing that well yet. ”We’re still not a finished product by any means, we’re still such a young team,” Kelly said. ”At 3-0, we’re extremely pleased with where we are, but we know we’re nowhere close to where we need to be.” That may partially explain why this game again failed to follow the expected script.Purdue (1-2), which has traditionally played some of its best football against the Irish, delivered another strong performance exactly one week after a poor showing in a loss to Central Michigan.Quarterback Danny Etling kept the starting job and rewarded coach Darrell Hazell by going 27 of 40 for 234 yards with two touchdowns. He also had two interceptions.Brandon Cottom scored on a 7-yard TD pass in the first quarter to tie the score at 7, and Etling somehow managed to fit in a 19-yard TD pass to DeAngelo Yancey, who tip-toed the end line despite drawing a pass interference call, to give the Boilermakers a 14-10 lead with 3 minutes left in the first half.But against Golson’s improv act, it wasn’t enough.

Washington starts fast, blows out Illini 44-19

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

SEATTLE—Linebacker Shaq Thompson returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown, picked up a fumble and rumbled 52 yards for another score, and Washington routed Illinois 44-19 on Saturday, improving to 3-0 under Chris Petersen.Thompson became the first Washington player to score via fumble and interception in the same game since at least 1978, according to the school’s records. Thompson was on the verge of adding a TD on offense but stumbled on a 13-yard run when it looked like he had a clear path to the end zone.Washington quarterback Cyler Miles threw a 75-yard touchdown to John Ross as part of a 21-point blitz that took less than six minutes of the first half. Dwayne Washington’s 12-yard TD run gave the Huskies a 28-3 lead on the first play of the second quarter.Wes Lunt threw for 230 yards for the Fighting Illini (2-1), but was unable to take advantage of Washington’s depleted secondary. Illinois was trying for just the fifth 3-0 start in the past 25 years.Washington played without starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters (suspension) and Jermaine Kelly (injury) and it didn’t matter. After two shaky outings in squeaking past Hawaii and FCS power Eastern Washington, the Huskies put together a complete performance.Thompson was the catalyst. A week after racing 57 yards for a touchdown on offense, Thompson’s two defensive TDs were part of a 28-2 scoring run by the Huskies. Thompson stepped in front of Lunt’s pass and ran untouched for his first score, just four plays after Miles and Ross hooked up for their long touchdown.Then early in the second quarter, Lunt was stripped by Andrew Hudson as he attempted to move in the pocket. Washington’s John Timu shielded an Illinois player so Thompson had a clear path to scoop up the loose ball and run for his second touchdown and a 35-5 Washington lead.Miles was 15 of 20 passing for 191 yards and added another 55 yards rushing. If there is a complaint for Washington it might be the run game. Collectively, the Huskies finished with 245 yards rushing – most of those coming in the fourth quarter – but there was no standout ball carrier. Dwayne Washington had 58 yards rushing on 11 carries while Jesse Callier ran for 53 yards and had a 3-yard TD run for Washington’s first score.The effort was what Petersen was hoping to see after offense struggles in the opening win at Hawaii and the defensive concerns that arose after last week’s narrow victory over Eastern Washington.Cameron Van Winkle added field goals of 20, 25 and 51 yards.Geronimo Allison had six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns, but was the bulk of the Illini offense. After throwing for 456 yards in last week’s win over Western Kentucky, Lunt was sacked five times and when he did have time missed open receivers. Illinois was 1 of 11 on third downs and committed 11 penalties.


Thurs: Pittsburgh over BALTIMORE
Sunday:BUFFALO over Miami
OAKLAND over Houston
DENVER over Kansas City
Arizona over NY GIANTS
TAMPA BAY over St.Louis
CINCINNATI over Atlanta
Jacksonville over WASHINGTON
New Orleans over CLEVELAND
Seattle over SAN DIEGO
TENNESSEE over Dallas
Mon Nite: INDIANAPOLIS over Philadelphia
New England over MINNESOTA
CAROLINA over Detroit
GREEN BAY over NY Jets

WEEK ONE: 12-4

USA romps past Lithuania, now in Sunday Gold Medal Game


BARCELONA—Another slow start from Team USA, thanks to Lithuania finding a way to make it ugly early. That seems to be the recipe for staying in games against the United States — force their hand to play sloppy by slowing the game down with fouls, reach in to deflect errant dribbles, and try to cut off the paint as much as you can. For a while in this game, Lithuania managed to do that. They were down five points after the first quarter and kept it to eight points after the first 20 minutes.But the problem with this recipe is the United States has been great at turning the sloppiness and chippiness into motivation to really pour the points on their opponents. They’ve typically been great about accomplishing this in the second quarter and not even letting it really get to the halftime before they grab control of the game. If they can’t get you before the third quarter, they always come out of the half with a blowout on their mind. That’s exactly what happened here as the effort and execution met the talent, and the Lithuanian team couldn’t stop them from scoring at will.Klay Thompson kept Team USA in the lead in the first half and Kyrie Irving was able to really seal the game in the second half. Mixed into their performances was a concerted effort to keep Jonas Valanciunas from putting his mark on this game unless he was going to do it from the free throw line. He scored 11 of his 15 points at the charity stripe and only made two baskets on five attempts from the field. And as highly touted as Lithuania’s frontcourt is, Team USA pounded them on the offensive glass, grabbing 18 offensive boards.Team USA didn’t let Lithuania get good shots from outside and held their 3-point shooting to just 2-of-18 for the game. The strategy of keeping the game ugly eventually broke, and it was Lithuania which lived at the line and failed to find a rhythm on offense. This led to the Americans using their defense to start many scoring opportunities in the open floor and get plenty of quick strikes in the halfcourt as well. They scored as many points (33) in the third quarter as Lithuania did for the entire second half.Derrick Rose scored 4 points,shooting 1-for-8 from the field.

THREE STARS: 1. Klay Thompson. You can’t say enough about how well Thompson has played in this tournament, especially the last few games. He’s set himself up to be in rhythm for jumpers, which basically become layups for him. He’s also creating off the dribble against weaker defenders and using his size advantage to get to his scoring spot and control his body for a quality attempt. He had 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting in Thursday’s game, along with three rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. He had 14 of those 16 points in the first half.
2. Kyrie Irving. If there is one criticism of Irving in this tournament, it’s that the ball seems to stick to his hands a little too much at times. He hasn’t done a great job moving it ahead to teammates in the open court and seems to dribble a little too much in those situations. Even so, he’s still the leading assist man for Team USA to this point. When Irving is scoring like he did Thursday, I’m not sure you want him passing much at all. His body control is so good around the basket that you can’t really bother him with a big defender. Lithuania thrives on using their size to intimidate guards in the paint. That didn’t work with Irving today. He was the leading scorer in the game with 18 points. Half of his buckets came at the basket, and the other half came off jumpers. He even dished out four assists. Irving was as lethal with the ball as you could hope in this environment.
3. James Harden. It was not a unique development for viewers to see Harden put together a poor defensive performance once again, though it was even worse in the first half of this game because he was in foul trouble and trying to avoid picking up a third. He more than made up for that bad defense with his scoring, though. Harden has been hunting less contact recently, and it’s helping him become a more balanced and effective scorer for Team USA. He finished with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, knocked down a couple of 3-pointers, and was a terror going to the basket. He also did a good job of finding a way to create turnovers off the ball, racking up three steals in the process.
NOTES—Team USA will face the winner of Serbia vs. France in the FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medal game on Sunday.

Rose solid as USA runs past Slovenia

Image result for team usa basketball LOGO

BARCELONA—What happened: Well, things didn’t start all that well. The Americans had beaten this Slovenian team by 30 in an exhibition in the run up to the World Cup, and the Slovenians jumped out to an early lead and battled Team USA throughout the first half.Oh, and Kyrie Irving managed to frighten the whole of Cleveland — again — by falling on his injured hip and exiting the game in the first quarter. He turned out to be fine, and so did the Americans, who started sluggishly.Steph Curry and James Harden, specifically, had a rough first half, missing their first 13 shots combined. Slovenia was able to pull within 49-42 just before half, and it appeared they were, at the very least, somewhat in the game. Or perhaps it was business as usual, and the Americans were starting slow and building to a blowout.It was the latter. By about the middle of the third quarter, Team USA asserted itself defensively, which led to runouts and alley-oops and easy baskets. Slovenia got sloppy and frustrated, and the lead extended. There was a five-minute stretch in the third when the Team USA’s lead ballooned from seven to 20 — eventually outscoring the Slovenians 37-22 in the third — and that was all she wrote.The fourth quarter was basically a layup drill for the Americans. The 119 points was the most Team USA has scored in the tournament.
Three stars: 1. Klay Thompson. As is his wont, Thompson did his thing from the perimeter, burying 4 of 8 of his 3-point attempts en route to a game-high 20 points. But he was also effective around the basket, including setting up a few teammates with lobs. Additionally, he scored seven points in the first quarter, when the game was at least a little bit in doubt.2. Derrick Rose (+ Kyrie Irving). Rose came off the bench early in place of Irving after the Cavs star banged his hip again. The two finished with 12 points apiece, while Rose dished out five assists and Irving had four steals. The Slovenians didn’t really have a chance at staying in front of either of them, and both guards were effective in transition, even before the bloodletting that was the second half.3. Kenneth Faried. OK, pretty much every American big man had his way with the Slovenians (Mason Plumlee dunked twice, even). And sure, Anthony Davis finished with a smooth 13 and 11, and he barely broke a sweat. But Faried brought the energy Tuesday — especially in the first half, when Team USA looked a bit flat. His 14 points was tied for second-most on the team, and he finished with a game-high 11 boards.

NOTES—Team USA will face Lithuania in the semifinals Thursday.

Key turnovers do in Bears in 23-20 OT loss to Bills.

Fred Jackson showed no signs of slowing down as he raced along the sideline, and the Buffalo Bills might be ready to kick things into a higher gear, too.A stunning overtime victory over the Bears was a good start.Jackson set up Dan Carpenter’s field goal in overtime with a 38-yard run to the 1 and the Buffalo Bills surprised the Bears 23-20 on Sunday.The veteran running back ran for just 61 yards, but he came through with a big one at the end.
”I am old, but I can still play,” the 33-year-old Jackson said.

The Bears had just punted to open the extra period and Buffalo took over on its own 22 to start the winning possession. The Bills got the ball to the Bears 39 when the 33-year-old Jackson turned toward the left side and broke off his big run, pushing safety Chris Conte out of the way twice inside the 10 before being knocked out of bounds at the 1.Buffalo’s EJ Manuel backed up 3 yards and put the ball in the middle of the field. After a delay of game, Carpenter won it with a 27-yarder.It was a good start for the Bills as they enter a new era following the death of founding father and Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson. They’re trying to end a 14-year playoff drought and they started by knocking off a team eyeing a run to the postseason.This was not what the Bears had in mind. They got little pressure from a revamped defense despite the addition of five-time Pro Bowl end Jared Allen, and there were some questionable decisions at times by Jay Cutler, who got picked off twice while throwing for 349 yards and two touchdowns.The Bears trailed 17-7 at the half after Buffalo scored 17 unanswered points and came up short down the stretch after tying it.The Bills looked like they might pull this one out in regulation with a 20-17 lead after Dan Carpenter kicked a 33-yard field goal.That came after Cutler threw across his body and tried to squeeze a pass to Martellus Bennett on a third-and-1 at the Buffalo 34. Kyle Williams came away with his first career interception, instead.But the Bears answered after the Bills grabbed the lead.They drove from the 20 to the Buffalo 19, and Cutler threw an incomplete pass to Brandon Marshall in the end zone before Robbie Gould tied it with a 37-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in regulation.

”You guys are going to be as negative as possible,” a surly Cutler said. ”But we’ve got a lot of games left, we did a lot of good things. Obviously we made mistakes today and we’ve got to clean them up and got to keep it going.”

Manuel completed 16 of 22 passes for 173 yards for Buffalo. He also had a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.Robert Woods added 78 yards receiving.Matt Forte ran for 82 yards and had 87 receiving. Brandon Marshall caught eight passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Alshon Jeffery also had 71 yards receiving, although he spent most of the second half on the sideline because of a hamstring injury.Bennett had 70 yards receiving and a TD, but left guard Matt Slauson and center Roberto Garza left the game with ankle injuries.It wasn’t a great afternoon for a revamped defense, either. Allen, the star addition in the offseason overhaul, was a nonfactor in his Bears debut. But Trestman thought it was a good day overall for that group – Jackson’s long run aside.

”At the end of the day you keep them in the 17 to 20-point range, that should be enough for us to win,” he said. ”And if we hang onto the football, take care of it we would have been in a good position to do that.”

NOTES—Trestman thought Jeffery might return at some point in the second half, but that didn’t happen. … Slauson and Garza did not think they were seriously injured.

Irish blank Wolverines in the ‘Last Dance”(forever?).

SOUTH BEND—Everett Golson and Notre Dame said so long to Michigan with a devastating parting shot. When it was over, the Fighting Irish celebrated their most lopsided victory in the history of the series – and the only thing playing in the stadium was the alma mater and the fight song by the band.Golson threw three touchdown passes and No. 16 Notre Dame beat the Wolverines 31-0 Saturday night, snapping Michigan’s NCAA record streak of games without being shut out at 365 before the rivalry goes into hiatus.Coach Brian Kelly tried to downplay the win a little.
”It counts as one,” he said, before adding: ”I’d be lying if I told you that it didn’t feel great to shut out Michigan, 31-to-nothing,” stressing the 31.
Game No. 42 in a rivalry that has been off-and-on for more than 100 years is the last scheduled. Notre Dame broke off the series to accommodate its new scheduling arrangement with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Michigan didn’t take it well.Coach Brady Hoke jokingly accused the Fighting Irish of chickening out before last year’s game at Ann Arbor. Then after Michigan beat the Irish, ”The Chicken Dance” blared through the sound system at the Big House.No hard feelings?
”It was great revenge,” Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith said of the Irish fans serenading the Wolverines with ”Nah, nah, nah. Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye.”
The previous most lopsided victory for Notre Dame against Michigan as 35-12 in 1943. The last time the Wolverines were shut out was 26-0 by Iowa on Oct. 20, 1984.This one will probably sting longer, considering the circumstances.
”We will bounce back,” Hoke said. ”This is a very resilient, hard-working group of young men, who know what it takes to win.”
Golson was 23 for 34 for 226 yards.Devin Gardner was 19 for 32 for 189 yards and committed four second-half turnovers for Michigan.Maybe it was just a coincidence that this week Notre Dame announced a future home-and-home with Ohio State, Michigan’s hated rival – and a team that has owned the Wolverines in recent years. Still, this is a rivalry that has been generally quite civil in recent years. Two of the bluest of bloods in college football history, they are the winningest programs ever by percentage. They have combined for 1,787 victories. In fact, Michigan had a chance to take back the top spot by beating the Fighting Irish.Notre Dame and Michigan may not love each other, especially these days, but they’ve always seemed to like being associated with one another. Classic uniforms. Recognizable fight songs (they sound a little alike to an untrained ear). They both tout their high academic standards and doing things the right way.The traditional early season meeting between the Irish and Wolverines has always been a measuring stick.But things change. Notre Dame now has artificial turf and an interlocking ND logo at midfield. And Michigan has now been shut out for the first time in 30 years.The golden domes and winged helmets will go their separate ways. Michigan leads the series 24-17-1, but Notre Dame will get to bask in this one for a while.

NIU gets first ever win over NU

EVANSTON—Drew Hare passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead Northern Illinois to a 23-15 win over in-state rival Northwestern on Saturday.He got help from Da’Ron Brown, who hauled in the two TD passes and finished with six receptions for 128 yards.Hare, who didn’t play until the second half, completed six of 10 passes for 109 yards and had 11 rushes for 31 yards. Hare was the third quarterback to play for the Huskies.NIU (2-0) is 5-3 versus Big Ten teams since Sept. 19, 2009. The Huskies also lead the nation with 16 straight road victories (games played in opponents’ stadiums).Trevor Siemian was 27 for 41 for 268 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Northwestern before leaving the game with an apparent right leg injury after a late hit with 3:15 left in the game.NU is 0-2 for the first time in coach Pat Fitzgerald’s nine seasons. The Wildcats lost 31-24 to California in their opener last week.The Wildcats amassed 394 yards of total offense but most of their drives were stalled by mistakes — a dropped pass, a penalty or a sack.It was the first meeting between the schools since 2005 when Northwestern posted a 38-37 win in a wild finish. NIU scored with 6 seconds left and could have opted for a tying extra point, but then-coach Joe Novak called for a two-point conversion that failed.It was the Huskies’ first win in eight meetings between the schools. Northwestern had posted six wins and a tie in the previous seven games.Considering both schools’ history of high-powered offenses, a shootout would have been the logical expectation. But the first half was scoreless with each team squandering its lone scoring opportunity.The Huskies got the ball to start the second half and Hare took over the offensive reins. He immediately led NIU on a 10-play, 60-yard drive — the key play being a 25-yard pass to Brown — to set up a 32-yard field goal by Wedel for a 3-0 lead with 11:55 left in the third quarter.After showing flashes, the Northwestern offense finally put together a complete drive on its second possession of the second half. Siemian capped a four-play, 60-yard drive with a 19-yard TD pass to wide receiver Kyle Prater for a 7-3 lead with 4:51 remaining in the third. All four plays were completed passes and the drive took just 58 seconds.NIU, though, answered with a 13-play, 82-yard drive capped by an 18-yard scoring pass from Hare to Brown for a 10-7 Huskies lead with 52 seconds to play in the quarter.The Huskies stretched the lead to 16-7 (the extra point failed) when Hare and Brown hooked up again, this time on a 59-yard scoring pass with seven minutes to go in the game.On the next NIU possession, Hare scored on a four-yard run to make it 23-7.