Irish win at Virginia but lose Zaire for season

CHARLOTTESVILLE—Notre Dame keeps winning games and losing players. Whether the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish can keep it up will depend on whether their replacements keep putting forth golden efforts.Quarterback DeShone Kizer came in for the injured Malik Zaire and threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller with 12 seconds left Saturday as the No. 9 Irish beat Virginia 34-27.The stunning victory was ”bittersweet,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. Zaire will miss the rest of the season with a fractured ankle, making it the second week in a row that a player expected to help carry the offense went down and his replacement stepped in and starred. ”Now, Deshone has to run our football team and we feel good about it,” Kelley said, even as he acknowledged that Kizer lacks experience. ”He’s got great weapons around him and we saw that tonight,” Kelly said. The Fighting Irish (2-0) lost top running back Tarean Folston to a knee injury last week against Texas, and found a strong backup in C.J. Prosise, who ran for 155 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown, against Virginia.Notre Dame squandered a 26-14 lead and fell behind when Virginia (0-2) scored with 1:54 remaining. With Zaire out, Kizer came to the rescue on the final drive. He ran 4 yards for a first down on fourth-and-2 from the Notre Dame 28, and later found the speedy Fuller behind Maurice Canady.Fuller said he got Canady to bite on a double move, allowing him to run free. ”When I beat him and I saw the ball in the air, it was like it was up there for a million years,” Fuller said. The receiver also beat Demetrious Nicholson for a 59-yard TD in the second half and finished with five catches for 124 yards. Nicholson said the final touchdown was difficult to watch. ”You always want to just try to freeze time and go back and rewind, but you can’t,” he said. The game drew more than 58,000 to Scott Stadium, many of them in Fighting Irish green, and when the final gun sounded, the team gathered on the field for an impromptu celebration to the delight of the crowd.Those same fans had been silenced only minutes before as Matt Johns completed a 34-yard pass on third-and-15 to put the ball at the Irish 1, and then Albert Reid took it in on the next play to give Virginia a 27-26 lead. ”What a tough way to lose a football game,” Virginia coach Mike London said. Johns threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third for Virginia, taking back momentum after Notre Dame opened a 26-14 lead. The Irish were seemingly one more score from putting the game away and sending fans for the exits, but instead, Johns led a six-play drive to his 4-yard TD run.Notre Dame started to take control in the third quarter, after Virginia drove to the Irish 15 and wound up settling for a 43-yard field goal try that missed. Following an exchange of punts, Zaire sent Will Fuller streaking down the right side and hit him with a perfectly thrown 59-yard scoring pass.They made it 26-14 with a three-play, 45-yard drive capped by Prosise’s 24-yard run, but lost Zaire when he appeared to roll his ankle on a designed run that gained just three yards. Zaire was helped off the field and later taken to the locker room on a cart, and Kizer went the rest of the way.

Cubit 2-0 as Illini blow out Western 44-0

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)Related image

CHAMPAIGN—Wes Lunt threw for 316 yards and a touchdown Saturday to lead Illinois to its second-straight blowout win, 44-0 over Western Illinois.Lunt had 240 yards by halftime and Illinois (2-0) carried a 30-0 lead to the locker room.Geronimo Allison was Lunt’s favorite target with eight catches for 124 yards.Western Illinois (1-1) was coming off a 35-3 win over fellow Football Championship Subdivision school Eastern Illinois. But the step up to a Big Ten team was a struggle. The Leathernecks finished the day with 141 total yards.The win was the second straight for interim coach Bill Cubit after beating Kent State 52-3. Cubit took over after Tim Beckman was fired last month.The shutout was Illinois’ first since a 44-0 win over Charleston Southern in 2012.


AFC Games(not in Prime Time)
Indy over BUFF, Kansas City over HOUSTON,NY JETS over Cleve,DEN over Balt,
Cin over OAK
NFC Games(not in Prime Time
Seat over STL,ARIZ over N.Orl
INTER-CONF Games(not in Prime Time)
Mia over WASH, Tenn over TB,Car over JAX
Thurs Night: N.ENG over Pitt
Sun Night: DAL over NY Giants
Mon Night: Phil over ATL, Minn over SF
NFC NORTH GAMES(other than Vikes Mon Nite game)
SD over Det, Green Bay over BEARS.
Home teams in ALL CAPS

1.KC, 2.DENV, 3.SD, 4 OAK

1.INDY, 2.HOU, 3 JAX, 4.TENN

1.N.ENG, 2.MIA, 3.BUFF, 4. NYJ


1.SEAT, 2.ARIZ, 3.SF, 4.STL

1.N.ORL, 2.ATL, 3.CHAR, 4.TB

1.DAL, 2.PHIL, 3.NYG, 4.WASH

1.GB, 2.MINN, 3.DET, 4 BEARS

Any betting based on this is at your OWN RISK!!

Irish hammer Horns, lose Folston for season.

SOUTH BEND—Malik Zaire showed he’s more than a runner, picking apart the Texas defense in a dominant performance in his first home start.Zaire threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 11 Notre Dame held Texas to 163 yards of total offense in a 38-3 victory Saturday night.Zaire was 19-of-22 passing, an 86.6 percent completion rate that was second-best in school history. Steve Beuerlein completed 10 of 11 passes against Colorado in 1984, a 90.9 percent completion rate. Ten of those passes went for 15 yards or more.

”He threw precision routes,” Kelly said. ”We knew what he was capable of. I think he put it together tonight, and he has room to grow.”

Zaire credited his line.

”They gave me some great protection. The receivers did a good job catching the ball. The whole team collectively as a unit did a great job,” he said.

Texas coach Charlie Strong said his defense didn’t do enough to pressure Zaire.

”We just gave him too much time to throw it and they have really outstanding receivers,” Strong said. ”When you allow him the time and he can find him, which he did, he’s going to make those throws.”

Will Fuller caught a pair of touchdown passes – one a 66-yarder – and finished with 142 yards receiving. Chris Brown added a 6-yard touchdown catch. Freshman Josh Adams ran for a pair of TDs, including 14-yard score on his first career carry, and C.J. Prosise added 98 yards rushing on 20 carries.Kelly said Tarean Folston, the leading rusher from last season, sustained an injury to the ACL on his right knee, and is out for the season.Notre Dame took advantage of an inexperienced Longhorns squad starting three players who were in high school a year ago, amassing 527 yards of total offense.The Irish had seven runs of 10 yards or more, with the longest being a 25-yard run by Adams.The Irish improved to 9-2 against Texas, and to 10-2 in home night games. The Longhorns, coming off a 6-7 season, lost a season opener for the first time since 1999. It also marked their third straight blowout loss, finishing 2014 losing 48-10 to TCU and 31-7 to Arkansas.

”We have to get better. We have to improve. We’re just a better football team than what we showed,” Strong said. ”We have to believe it and our players have to believe it. Because we can’t go out and not execute.”

The 11th meeting between the programs that rank second and third in victories (Notre Dame with 883 and Texas with 881) didn’t match the significance of their three meetings in the Cotton Bowl in the 1970s when national championships were on the line each time. But there was still a big-game atmosphere, with burnt orange visible throughout the stands and with some in the crowd paying more than $500 a ticket.Kelly didn’t want to get overly excited about the win.

”A good victory. It’s only one,” Kelly said. ”It’s a long journey for our football team. We’re excited about the win, but we have a long way to go.”

NU shuts down #21 Stanford for season opening 16-6 win

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

Kevin Hogan couldn't get Stanford past Northwestern on the road. (USATSI)

EVANSTON—Northwestern wanted to prove a point against No. 21 Stanford and drove it home with a strong running game and solid defense that produced a season-opening surprise.Or, as defensive end Dean Lowry put it: ”We unleashed a caged bull today.” Freshman Clayton Thorson ran for a 42-yard touchdown while playing turnover-free ball at quarterback, Justin Jackson added 134 yards rushing, and the Wildcats beat the Cardinal 16-6 on Saturday afternoon.If Northwestern felt like a caged bull, well, back-to-back 5-7 seasons will do that. The recent losing ended a five-year run of bowl appearances that included a 10-win season in 2012.Anthony Walker broke up two passes and had a fumble recovery, and Kyle Queiro intercepted Kevin Hogan in the end zone with about a minute left to seal the win. ”It was probably one of the best performances I’ve seen our `D’ play top to bottom against a ranked team maybe in my time,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. Thorson scored the game’s only TD in the second quarter. He was steady overall, completing 12 of 24 passes for 105 yards, but fortunate not to have any interceptions considering he threw a few into double and triple coverage. ”I thought our team as a whole played well,” he said. ”Our O-line did a great job the whole game. Me personally, I think I can always do a lot better. I missed some throws and some decisions I made weren’t great.” Thorson got high marks from Stanford linebacker Blake Martinez. ”He was commanding the offense well,” Martinez said. ”Keeping that pace going. They never stopped that quick offense. It was cool to see that he was able to do that his first game.” Jackson carried 28 times. Jack Mitchell kicked three field goals, including a career-long 49-yarder that made it 16-6 with 3:38 left in the game, and the Wildcats started the season on a winning note.Stanford, coming off an 8-5 season that snapped a string of four consecutive BCS bowls, clearly has some work to do.Hogan had a rough afternoon, going 20 of 35 with 155 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times.Christian McCaffery ran for 66. But the Cardinal managed just 85 yards rushing and 240 in total offense. ”The bottom line for us is that we have to be efficient on first down,” coach David Shaw said. ”We can’t have penalties. We can’t have dropped passes. We can’t have missed blocks.” The Cardinal showed some of the form that carried them to four straight seasons with at least 11 wins on the game’s opening possession.But Northwestern tightened its defense, forcing Stanford to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Conrad Ukropina to finish a 12-play drive.The Cats tied it on a 31-yard field goal by Mitchell with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. Thorson, who starred at suburban Wheaton North High School about 40 miles from Ryan Field, made it 10-3 midway through the second when he took advantage of a big hole on the left and scored on a 42-yard keeper. NU had a chance to add to the lead after Walker recovered a fumble by McCaffery a few plays later. The Wildcats took over on the Stanford 38, but a 48-yard field-goal attempt by Mitchell sailed wide left with 2:35 remaining in the half. They hung on in the second half and did their best to drive home a point. ”There’s no reason why anybody should have talked about us,” Fitzgerald said. ”We had no evidence from the way that we finished last year.”

Illini rout Kent State in Cubit’s first game

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

CHAMPAIGN—Illinois had been waiting all summer to get back on the field and out from under the shadow of off-field turmoil.A three-hour thunderstorm that pushed back Friday’s scheduled opener added another 17 hours to that wait.But Saturday afternoon, Illinois finally delivered the cathartic blowout the team was looking for, dropping 38 first-half points on Kent State on the way to a 52-3 win.Just eight days earlier, head coach Tim Beckman was abruptly fired after university-hired lawyers found evidence that he had interfered in medical decisions. The investigation, which continues, was sparked back in May by former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic’s allegations that Beckman and others had pressured him to play hurt and misled him about injuries. Beckman has denied he did anything wrong and hinted he might sue over the remainder of his contract.

”We have all these things outside of us trying to get us off beat, and (the weather delay) was just another factor trying to get us off beat, and I think we handled it very well,” said Illinois linebacker Mason Monheim, who grabbed one of the three interceptions Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon threw.

“There were a lot of happy faces out there,” added Bill Cubit, the offensive coordinator who was named interim head coach when Beckman was fired.

Kent State was looking for a strong start after last season’s 2-9 finish, but didn’t find much to build on.Friday’s delay sent the team, coaches and staff scrambling late at night to book hotel rooms in two cities, Champaign and Bloomington, about an hour northwest.The brightest spot for Kent State might have been Shayne Hynes’ 43-yard field goal with 8:30 left in the game, avoiding the shutout. The Flashes had two touchdowns wiped out by penalties, and Illinois blocked a second-quarter field goal attempt.

ISU crushed by Hawkeyes

IOWA CITY—Iowa tried a fake field goal for what felt like the first time in years.It didn’t work.The crowd cheered anyway.A frustrated fan base desperate for change got it during an impressive opener for the Hawkeyes.C.J. Beathard threw for 211 yards and a touchdown in his first career start at Kinnick Stadium and Iowa pounded Illinois State 31-14 on Saturday.Beathard was 15 of 24 passing and also ran for two touchdowns, and LeShun Daniels, Jr. had a career-high 123 yards rushing for the Hawkeyes.
”After all the speculation of how this was going to be, we went out there and proved that we’re going to run the ball. We’re going to do what we do,” Beathard said. ”A great way to start the season.”

Iowa never let ISU, the second-ranked team in the FCS, entertain thoughts of an upset. It raced out to a 17-0 halftime lead and pushed it to 31-0 on Beathard’s 1-yard plunge midway through the fourth quarter.Jake Kolbe had 147 yards passing and two meaningless late TDs for Illinois State. Star quarterback Tre Roberson threw for just 49 yards while battling cramps.

SIU goes for two & misses, fall to Indiana by a point

BLOOMINGTON—Jordan Howard rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns to help Indiana slip past Southern Illinois 48-47 in the season opener for both teams on Saturday.Indiana appeared to put the game away with 58 seconds to play on a 1-yard scoring run by Howard that put the Hoosiers on top 48-41. But Southern Illinois marched 75 yards in 5 plays with Mark Iannotti hitting Jimmy Jones for a 25 yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds to play.Southern Illinois chose to go for the two-point version, and Indiana’s Andre Brown Jr. made the defensive stop on Connor Iwema at the goal line to prevent the Salukis from taking the lead.Iannotti threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns as SIU amassed 659 total yards. Iannotti also ran for 106 yards and a touchdown.Nate Sudfeld completed 19 of 32 passes for 349 yards and one touchdown for Indiana.

Bears 2nd & 3rd stringers shutdown Browns backups 24-0. Time for REAL football.

David Fales made his case to be the Bears third-string quarterback, throwing two touchdown passes, and the they closed out the preseason with a 24-0 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.The Bears (3-1) head into their first season under coach John Fox with some big holes and a long list of injuries, particularly at receiver.Fales completed 14 of 18 passes for 131 yards with Jay Cutler getting the night off and backup Jimmy Clausen recovering from a concussion.The defense had seven sacks and three takeaways, helping the Bears prevail on a night when both teams held out almost all their top players. ”I think guys made cases for themselves and made it harder on us, which I think’s a good thing,” Fox said. Terrelle Pryor, trying to secure a roster spot as a receiver for Cleveland (1-3), did little to help his cause.The former Ohio State quarterback started the second half and got called for an illegal formation – which was declined – on the second play from scrimmage. He took a few snaps at quarterback in the wildcat formation, but did not have any passes thrown his way. ”I think we have a pretty good sense of who he is and where he is right now in his transformation for a lack of a better word,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. ”It will obviously be an item on the docket to be discussed.” Thad Lewis had a difficult night filling in at QB for Josh McCown and the injured Johnny Manziel. He got sacked six times and had an interception returned 25 yards for a touchdown by Sherrod Martin in the third quarter. Fales hit veteran Marc Mariani, also trying to secure a roster spot, with a 19-yard touchdown in the second quarter after Cleveland turned the ball over deep in Bear territory.In the third, Fales made it 14-0 when he found Ify Umodu in the corner of the end zone for an 11-yard TD right as a blitzing Tank Carder took him down. ”It’s nice to get into a rhythm,” Fales said. ”You don’t have just one series or two series and you kind of feel it out and make your plays when it’s time to make your plays. But it’s definitely good to get comfortable and see what’s going on.” The question for the Bears is whether they have the flexibility to keep three quarterbacks. If so, do they go with Fales? Or with Zac Dysert, who signed Tuesday with the Bears and played for Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase in Denver. Dysert came into the game in the fourth quarter and completed 1 of 4 passes. ”We’ve got tough decisions to make and we’ll have to work through that,” Fox said. Alshon Jeffery sat out all four preseason games because of a strained left calf. His status for the opener against Green Bay is in question, and Fox wasn’t giving any hints. ”We’re gonna probably say as little as we can because we don’t really want to help our opponent,” Fox said. Rookie Kevin White, whom the Bears were counting on to help make up for the loss of Brandon Marshall, could miss the season because of a shin injury.The Bears were also without Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson, who were nursing sore hamstrings.