AFC: LA Chargers over BUFF/ TENN over Hou/ NYJ over Mia/ JAX over N.Eng/ K.City over PITT/ DENV over Oak
NFC: Car over ATL/ Phil over TB/ LAR over Ariz
INT-CONF GAMES: WASH over Ind/N.ORL over Cleve
SUN NIGHT: DAL over NY Giants
NFC NORTH GAMES: Minn over GB/ SF over Det/ BEARS over Seat(Mon Night)

Bears blow 20-0 lead, lose in Green Bay despite Rodgers getting injured.

GREEN BAY—The Bears found a way to barf up a 20-0 lead for the first time since 1992(lost 21-20 at Minnesota).Aaron Rodgers’ knee hurt. His arm was just fine.The hobbling two-time NFL MVP threw three touchdown passes in the second half after returning from a knee injury, and the Green Bay Packers overcame a 20-point deficit for a thrilling 24-23 win over the Bears on Sunday night.After putting heat on Rodgers BEFORE he was injured, the Bears ceased putting pressure on Rodgers in ther second half,and promply blew the lead.Rodgers, who was carted off in the first half, connected with receiver Randall Cobb for a catch-and-run through the secondary for a 75-yard touchdown and the go-ahead score with 2:13 left in the game.Nick Perry sacked the Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky on fourth-and-10 with 58 seconds to complete the comeback.The Bears defense featuring newly acquired star linebacker Khalil Mack dominated until the third quarter. Mack had a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown against backup quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second quarter.A gimpy Rodgers returned in the second half and finally figured out the Bears. He also found Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison for touchdown passes.

”Felt something in it. I had a hard time putting weight on it. (The doctor) and I had a conversation,” Rodgers said of his knee. ”We did the tests. I told him I was going back.”

Add this game to Rodgers’ already lengthy career highlight reel. He finished 20 of 30 for 286 yards.It was Rodgers’ first regular-season home game since Sept. 28 against the Bears. He was limited to seven games in 2017 because of a collarbone injury.Mack nearly stole the show. He also stripped the ball for a turnover in the red zone off Kizer in the second quarter. Mack made an immediate impact in his first game since the Bears acquired the premier pass rusher in a blockbuster deal with the Oakland Raiders.The Bears led 20-0 at one point and their defense dominated until the second half.Then Rodgers returned, and the Packers’ defense held the Bears in check.Green Bay scored 17 unanswered points at one point.

”You know we talked about finishing and we didn’t do that,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. NO KIDDING!Rodgers said he plans on playing next week against Minnesota.

Irish overcome flat effort to beat Ball State 24-16

SOUTH BEND—Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly fell on his sword after his eighth-ranked Fighting Irish struggled offensively against Ball State in what many assumed would be a tuneup game.

”I obviously didn’t do a good enough job getting them up to play at the level they need to play,” Kelly said. ”Ball State did a great job coming into this game and doing what it needed to do. Their preparation was great, their coaching was better.”

On the scoreboard, it was a 24-16 victory for Notre Dame. But it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty.The Irish (2-0), coming off an emotional 24-17 victory over Michigan, looked lackluster against the Mid-American Conference foe whose campus in Muncie is a 2 1/2-hour drive away. The Cardinals (1-1) also played nothing like the 34 1/2-point underdogs they were labeled in the schools’ first meeting in football.Junior strong safety Jalen Elliott picked off Ball State quarterback Riley Neal twice – the first interceptions by a Notre Dame safety in the last 14 games – and the Irish turned them into a pair of rushing touchdowns of 31 and 1 yards by junior Tony Jones Jr. It gave the Irish a 21-6 lead in the third quarter, but Ball State wasn’t done.

”Hats off to Ball State,” Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill said after making nine stops and securing the victory by recovering an onside kick with 1:30 remaining. ”They came here and competed.”

Notre Dame outgained Ball State 414-349 but the Cardinals ran off 97 plays to Notre Dame’s 72 and controlled the clock for 8:44 more than the Irish.Following a 46-yard field goal by Justin Yoon that gave the Irish a 24-6 lead going into the fourth quarter, Nolan Givan caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Neal, who threw for 180 yards but completed just 23 of 50 passes. A 49-yard field goal by Ball State’s Morgan Hagee, his third of the game, closed out the scoring.Junior James Gilbert rushed for 72 yards for Ball State, which outgained Notre Dame on the ground, 169-117. Sophomore Jafar Armstrong led the Irish with 66 yards, including a 42-yard scamper up the middle in the first quarter that he followed with a 1-yard scoring run two plays later. Jones finished with 61 yards.The Cardinals’ 3-4 defense frustrated senior Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who threw for 297 yards but finished with minus 7 yards rushing as Ball State registered four sacks and picked off three of his passes.

Illini overcome early struggles and beat W.Ill 34-14

Illinois Fighting IlliniImage result for WESTERN ILLINOIS LEATHERNECKS LOGO


CHAMPAIGN—Illinois beat Western Illinois 34-14 Saturday, but the victory came with a price.Illinois quarterback AJ Bush injured his left leg in the first quarter and didn’t return. M.J. Rivers finished the game, providing a needed spark for an Illinois offense that’s had trouble getting started early in both games this season.While Bush’s injury didn’t appear serious, Illinois coach Lovie Smith declined to provide specifics.

”I’m coach Smith, not Dr. Smith,” he said. ”We’ll see what the doctor says on Monday.”

For the second week in a row, the Illinois offense has been ineffective in the first half. Smith couldn’t explain the team’s slow, mistake-plagued starts.Rivers was 9 of 16 for 105 yards and two touchdowns for Illinois (2-0). Mike Epstein rushed for 105 yards on eight carries. Reggie Corbin ran for 63 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.Sean McGuire went 24 for 36 for 276 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Western Illinois (0-2). Tony Tate rushed for 41 yards to lead the Leathernecks.Illinois also lost wide receiver Edwin Carter, injured while making his second touchdown catch of the game. Carter was seeing more playing time Saturday because of the season-ending injury to star receiver Mike Dudek last week.McGuire was sharp early in the game, but the Illini adjusted at halftime and McGuire was forced to scramble often to avoid pressure. One of his two interceptions came as he was chased from the pocket. Michael Marchese intercepted for Illinois and returned it 41 yards to the 3. Reggie Corbin ran it in on the next play for Illinois.While coach Jared Elliott’s Leathernecks went to the pass often throughout the game, the Illini kept the ball mostly on the ground because of windy conditions.

”We didn’t plan on passing much in the first half, but we had some problems getting the run going,” Smith said. ”But once we got our running game going, it opened up the passing game for us.”

Carter’s second touchdown catch gave Illinois its first lead of the game early in the second quarter, but it was a costly catch. Rivers faded back, threw high into the end zone and Carter had to leap to catch it. He was hit hard just below the knees and did a complete flip in the air, landing on his head. He held onto the ball.Chase McLaughin’s 54-yard field goal for Illinois early in the third quarter was the third-longest field goal in school history. It was the longest Illini field goal since 2012.

NU’s bad second quarter fatal in 21-7 loss to Duke

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—Daniel Jones threw for three touchdowns before leaving the game with an apparent injury, and Duke beat Northwestern 21-7 on Saturday.Jones passed for three TDs in the second quarter, propelling the Blue Devils (2-0) to another victory over the Wildcats (1-1) after pounding them at home last year. But he got driven to the turf on a sack by Joe Gaziano at the end of the third and was replaced by Quentin Harris early in the fourth.Jones completed 16 of 22 passes for 192 yards in another big game against Northwestern. He accounted for 413 total yards and four touchdowns in last year’s 41-17 romp.Jonathan Lloyd had 94 yards receiving, including a 52-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Davis Koppenhaver had a one-handed TD grab late in the first half, and the Blue Devils won for the 21st time in 24 non-conference games.NU’s Clayton Thorson was 22 of 38 for 198 yards and an interception in his second game back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He again shared time with TJ Green, who went 9 for 18 for 84 yards and an interception.Jeremy Larkin ran for 121 yards and a Northwestern touchdown after going for a career-high 143 in the opener against Purdue. Flynn Nagel had 12 catches for 133 yards both career bests. But the Wildcats lost for the first time since Penn State beat them last Oct. 7.Jones threw for 159 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to help the Blue Devils grab a 21-7 lead.Larkin broke off a 40-yard run to the 4 and carried it in from the 2 for Northwestern on the game’s first possession. But three TD passes by Jones in the second quarter gave Duke a 14-point lead.He connected with T.J. Rahming on a 9-yarder just over a minute in and the Blue Devils scored on back-to-back possessions to go up 21-7.Marquis Waters intercepted Thorson in double coverage, leading to the Wildcats’ Cameron Green getting ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit on him. Jones connected with Lloyd deep down the middle on the next play for a 52-yard touchdown to put Duke on top. An open Koppenhaver made it a 14-point game with 2:18 left in the half when he reached up with his right hand and hauled in a 9-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.NU had a first down at the Duke 9 early in the third. But the drive stalled, with Thorson getting sacked on fourth down at the 4.The Blue Devils could be in trouble if they have to get by without Jones.The Wildcats clearly need a healthier Thorson if they’re going to make a run in the Big Ten. Larkin, meanwhile, showed again he’s ready to become the workhorse running back with career rushing leader Justin Jackson in the NFL.


AFC GAMES: Pitt over CLEVE, Tenn over MIAMI, Cin over IND, BALT over Buff, N.ENG over Houst, LACHARGERS over K.City
NFC GAMES: N.ORL over T.Bay, CAR over Dal, Wash over ARIZ
INT CONF: Jax over NYG, DEN over Seat
NFC NORTH: DET over NY Jets, MINN over S.Fran, GB over Bears

Irish hold off Michigan is resumption of rivalry

SOUTH BEND—The Michigan-Notre Dame series returned after a three-year hiatus and the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish became the latest rival to get the best of Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines.Brandon Wimbush connected on a long touchdown pass to help Notre Dame jump out to a big first-half lead, Te’von Coney and the defense made it stand with a late takeaway, and the Fighting Irish beat No. 14 Michigan 24-17 on Saturday night.The Wolverines fell to 1-6 under Harbaugh against the school’s biggest rivals, Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame.A green-out crowd welcomed Michigan back to Notre Dame Stadium and the Fighting Irish scored on their first two drives against a defense loaded with future NFL draft picks. Chris Finke hauled in a deep throw from Wimbush that went through a defender’s hands in traffic for a 43-yard score to put Notre Dame up 14-0 midway through the first half.Wimbush, who had to re-establish himself as the starter in the offseason after a rough end to 2017, was 12 for 22 for 170 yards and an interception and ran for 59 yards.

”It just feels like playing football again,” said Wimbush, who got a game ball from coach Brian Kelly. ”I just had so much fun out there, playing ball and just not worrying about anything else.”

Kelly said of his senior quarterback: ”I thought he played with an edge to him, a confidence.”

Jafar Armstrong’s second touchdown, a 4-yard run with 3:55 left in the second quarter made it 21-3. Ambry Thomas gave the Wolverines a much-needed jolted with a 99-yard touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, but otherwise the Michigan debut of quarterback Shea Patterson was mostly disappointing.Michigan’s only offensive touchdown came with 2:18 left in the fourth quarter, when Karan Higdon rushed in from 3 yards to cut the lead to seven.Patterson, the touted transfer from Mississippi, went 20 for 30 for 227 yards and an interception. He spent a lot of time eluding pass rushers.

”They got us on the inside blitzes. They brought great pressure all night long,” Harbaugh said.

Michigan got a final opportunity with 1:48 and got as far as its 45. Patterson was flushed out of the pocket and stripped by Jerry Tillery. Coney recovered the ball with 46 seconds and sealed Notre Dame’s second straight win against the Wolverines.When they last met in 2014, Notre Dame snapped Michigan’s streak of 365 consecutive games without being shut out with a 31-0 win in South Bend. That loss also marked the beginning of the end of Brady Hoke’s tenure as Michigan coach.

NU takes opener on the road at Purdue

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)
WEST LAFAYETTE—Jeremy Larkin proved he could be Northwestern’s workhorse Thursday night.He also showed he’s more than capable of replacing career rushing leader Justin Jackson.In his first game as the Wildcats’ feature back, the sophomore carried 26 times for a career-high 143 yards, scored two touchdowns and helped close out a season-opening 31-27 victory at Purdue with a final drive that consumed more than 7 1/2 minutes.

”I thought he (Larkin) managed the end of the game,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ”All the little things, goes down and keeps the clock running. All those seconds count. That’s a veteran guy even though he’s still young.”

It was a much needed change in direction for Northwestern, which opened last season 2-3.Since then, it has won nine straight overall and nine straight over Big Ten foes – the Wildcats’ longest streaks since their 1995 Rose Bowl. And, for now, they still have the longest winning streak among Power Five schools.The game also marked the return of quarterback Clayton Thorson, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in December. Team doctors advised Fitzgerald to play Thorson and backup TJ Green played in a rotation and both played solid.Thorson wound up 16 of 26 with 172 yards passing in his 40th consecutive start but must to wait at least one more week to break a tie with Brett Basanez and Len Williams to become the school’s career leader in TD passes.Green was 7 of 11 for 63 yards and scored on a 1-yard run to make it 24-14 midway through the second quarter.For Purdue, it was frustrating.Elijah Sindelar was benched after throwing three interceptions in the first half – each leading to a touchdown. He wound up 18 of 30 with 196 yards and connected with freshman Rondale Moore on a 32-yard score late in the first quarter.

”We can take a sack, it’s not a complete killer but we just tossed it to the other team too many times and that’s disappointing,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. ”I know he (Sindelar) is disappointed. It will get better.”

Moore had a huge college debut, catching 11 passes for 109 yards, running two times for 79 yards including a nifty 76-yard run to tie the score at 14 and broke Otis Armstrong’s single-game record for all-purpose yards. Armstrong had 312 yards against Indiana in 1972. Moore had 302 at halftime and wound up with 313.The difference, as usual, was turnovers.Sindelar’s first interception led to Larkin’s 1-yard run , and John Moten IV capped the Wildcats’ second possession with a 2-yard TD run.After Moore tied the score, NU kicker Charlie Kuhbander made it 17-14 with a 34-yard field goal.Sindelar was picked off two more times before halftime and the Wildcats cashed in with Green’s TD plunge and Larkin’s 4-yard scoring run to make it 31-17 at halftime.Things slowed down in the second half after D.J. Knox broke free for a 45-yard run on Purdue’s first play. Knox made it 31-24 with a 2-yard TD run and Evans made a 27-yard field goal just 4 seconds into the fourth quarter.But Thorson and Larkin played keep away for the final 7:57, closing it out after Purdue’s Lorenzo Neal was called for a personal foul on third-and-11 with 2:31 to go and the Boilermakers out of timeouts.
”He did an awesome job,” Thorson said, referring to Larkin. ”It’s a credit to how he worked in the offseason and we’ll be behind him all season.”
The Wildcats needed a change after slow starts the past two seasons. This key road win could help them challenge for the Big Ten West crown.

Khalil Mack a Bear, Raiders get a pair of #1 Picks.


The Bears handed their newly-acquired defensive star a $141 million, six-year extension with $90 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports. Khalil Mack and the Bears just reached agreeement on a record-setting 6-year, $141 million extension ($23.5M per year avg) that includes $90M guaranteed and $60M at signing.Mack is the new highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.It’s been a pretty, pretty, good weekend for Mack, who went from “not talking to the team who drafted him and sitting out the start of the season” to “the highest-paid defender in NFL history on a spicy Bears that just gave up two first-round picks to get him.” There are crazy implications for both sides of the deal. Mack had been sitting out the offseason and preseason with the Raiders declining to negotiate with him and reportedly not speaking with Mack or making an offer to his camp since February. That’s wild considering Mack has 40.5 sacks in 40 years and a Defensive Player of the Year award on his resume.The former No. 5 overall pick made it clear he wanted to be on the field, but there was simply no way to find even ground in negotiations.When it was reported the Raiders wanted two first-round picks for Mack, it seemed like he might just be destined to miss some games and try and squeeze out whatever he could get for this season in order to accrue a year towards free agency. Then the Bears and GM Ryan Pace stepped in and gave Mack everything he wanted, while ensuring the Raiders were sufficiently compensated for the loss of a franchise-caliber defender. Trading Mack left Raiders players stunned, and rightfully so: the idea that Oakland would be waving a white flag on their season not long after signing Gruden to a 10-year, $100 million deal is pretty wild. But it’s also clear the Raiders think they need to save some cash — not signing Mack saves them at least $23 million in terms of cap space, obviously — and acquire some younger talent as they head towards Las Vegas in 2020. The Raiders now will have their young left tackle from the 2018 NFL Draft in Kolton Miller, along with two first-round picks in 2019 and two first-round picks in 2020. If they can hit on some players in those two drafts, they have a very good chance of putting together a nice core.But it’s a core that won’t feature Mack, who is headed to Chicago, where he will be the highest-paid defender in NFL history shortly after signing the papers from the Bears.

Illini rally past Kent State 31-24

Illinois Fighting Illini

CHAMPAIGN—As expected, Illinois showed up to play what many thought would be a nonthreatening Kent State team on Saturday. Unfortunately, its offense didn’t arrive at Memorial Stadium until midway through the third quarter.Nonetheless, the Illini rallied to hold off Kent State 31-24, avoiding an upset and extending its home-opener win streak to 21 games, the fourth-longest in the nation.But the win didn’t come easy for Lovie Smith’s Illinois team, expected to easily turn around a 2-10 season from last year.Following a lackluster first half that saw Kent State leading 17-3, Illinois quarterback AJ Bush showed the crowd of 31,898 why offensive coordinator Rod Smith called him a ”dynamic, dual threat.” Bush passed for 190 yards on 23 attempts, and rushed for 139 yards on 21 carries.

”It’s been a while since AJ played,” Lovie Smith said. ”He’s a tough guy, he’s mobile and he ran well. He also threw some good passes.”

Reggie Corbin carried 10 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns for the Illini (1-0). Mike Epstein and Ra’Von Bonner added rushing touchdowns.Woody Barrett, announced by first-year Kent State coach Sean Lewis as the starting quarterback at game time, was 28-of-41 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an interception late when Illinois linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips picked off a short pass into the end zone that would have tied it with less than three minutes remaining.Barrett and sophomore Dustin Crum had battled for the starting spot since spring.Barrett also was the leading rusher for the Golden Flashes with 18 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown.Lewis saw much to be happy about on Saturday.

”For year one, game one, it’s certainly something we can build on,” he said. ”Obviously, we need to finish stronger and there are going to be some things we need to look at.”

Mike Carrigan rushed for 62 yards on eight carries and a touchdown for Kent State (0-1).Before the game, Illinois announced the indefinite suspension of five players, including three starters: safety Bennett Williams, cornerback Nate Hobbs and tight end Lou Dorsey. Wideout Carmoni Green and defensive tackle Deon Pate also were suspended.The loss of defensive backs Williams and Hobbs hurt the Illini, allowing Barrett to pepper the Illini secondary with passes early in the game, throwing for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Illinois tightened up in the second half. Losing Dorsey also hurt with backup Daniel Barker a nonfactor in the game.The team said the suspensions were for ”breaking team rules.” No further information was available, nor was it certain how long the players will be out, although Lovie Smith indicated after the game it might be sooner rather than later.With 2:11 left and Illinois up 31-24, Kent State drove to the Illini 2-yard-line. After being backed up to the 6, Barrett dropped back on fourth down. Carrigan had slipped to the left and was open briefly in the back of the end zone. Barrett fired the ball and Phillips leaped and snared the interception, ending the Kent State threat and securing the Illinois victory.Illinois was expected to cruise to victory over a Kent State team picked by most to finish last in the Mid-American Conference. But Rod Smith’s offense didn’t awaken until midway through the third quarter, finally bringing the crowd to its feet as it struck twice in less than three minutes to tie the game at 24.A few minutes later, Corbin punched his way in on a 1-yard carry to cap an eight-play, 55-yard drive that put Illinois up for Illinois hosts Western Illinois on Saturday.