CHAMPAIGN—Chad Ryland booted a 24-yard field goal as time expired to give Eastern Michigan a 34-31 win over Illinois on Saturday.It was the Eagles’ third win over a Big Ten team, following victories against Rutgers in 2017 and Purdue in 2018.Mike Glass was 23 of 36 for 316 yards and three touchdowns to lead EMU (2-1). Jarius Grissom rushed three times for 52 yards, while Willie Parker had 23 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.Brandon Peterson was 22 of 37 for 297 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception for Illinois (2-1). Reggie Corbin, who sat out the last game with a hip pointer, carried the ball 18 times for 144 yards for the Illini.In a first-half shoot-out, both teams showed plenty of offense and periods of ineffective defense. The Eagles rushed for 93 yards and Glass was 11 of 20 for 183 yards and three touchdowns, while Illinois rushed for 76 yards and Peters went 13 of 17 for 164 yards and one TD
Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have to lay waste to a defense to enjoy Packers football.He sure had a good time seeing what his guys on the other side of the ball did Thursday night to the archrival Bears.
”Yeah, it was fun to watch,” Rodgers said after Green Bay opened the NFL’s 100th season with a 10-3 victory over the Bears. ”It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a performance like that. Obviously, a lot of credit to Mike Pettine and his staff, but to those players, just incredible.
”We didn’t do them a whole lot of favors with our performance on offense. I mean every time we needed something a stop, they came up with some really big plays.”
It was a defensive battle also marked by sloppy offense and penalties. A lack of action in the preseason clearly damaged both offenses, and Rodgers at times looked uncomfortable in the attack designed by new coach Matt LaFleur. But he is a two-time league MVP, and he hit Jimmy Graham in the second quarter for the only touchdown.That aggressive Green Bay defense would have made Vince Lombardi proud in the latest edition of the NFL’s longest rivalry, which the Packers lead 98-95-6. Green Bay has won 16 of the last 19 regular-season meetings, and Rodgers is 17-5.The Bear’s defense hardly slacked, getting five sacks – tying the most it has had against Rodgers. But it could do little with the ball and the Packers had five sacks of Mitchell Trubisky, who never found his stride, and was sacked on the Bear’s final offensive play. Former Bears safety Adrian Amos picked off an end-zone pass into double coverage with 1:58 remaining, the only turnover of the contest.
”It feels real good,” Amos said. ”It feels great to come back to win and how we did as a defense.”
Mason Crosby made a 39-yard field goal in the final period for Green Bay, while the defending NFC North champion Bears got a 38-yarder from Eddy Pineiro.The NFL opted to go for a history-tinged opener rather than having the Super Bowl champions host the first game. New England will be at home to Pittsburgh on Sunday night, and it’s unlikely that game will be so dominated by D.Or by mistakes.Each team had 10 penalties, there was a total of 467 yards of only offense, and several drops. At one point, the Bears had three straight penalties to put it in a first-and-40. No, the Bears didn’t convert.Still, take nothing away from either defense. They both controlled the line of scrimmage almost throughout the night, and Trubisky was particularly bothered by it, going 26 of 45 for 228 yards.
”Three points is ridiculous,” coach Matt Nagy said. ”Any Chicago Bears fan … should be upset.”
Rodgers was 18 for 30 for 203 yards, hardly vintage A-Rod, and certainly unlike his performance in leading the Packers back from a 20-point hole in the second half of the 2018 opener against the Bears.Of course, he had all that support Thursday night from the likes of newcomers Preston Smith (1 1/2 sacks), and Za’Darius Smith (a sack), enough to give Green Bay the boost it needed.The opening series couldn’t have been uglier for Green Bay. A run and a pass netted zero yards, then Rodgers was sacked heavily by Roy Robertson-Harris for a 10-yard loss.Well, maybe it could. Rodgers was sacked again on the next three-and-out and the Bears took over at the Packers 36 after a punt. The Bears had forced 17 yards in losses on those series, and the Packers had minus-12 yards through one period.Rodgers erased such ineffectiveness quickly at the start of the second quarter, launching a 47-yard completion to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Two more completions got the Pack to the 8, and Graham did what most former basketball players turned tight ends should, winning a jump ball in the end zone.By halftime, Green Bay had outgained the Bears 119 yards to 98.Bears fans rejoiced in relief on the first score of the season: Pineiro’s 38-yard first-quarter field goal. The last such kick on Soldier Field was Cody Parkey’s double-doink off the goalpost and crossbar that sent the Bears home from the wild-card round. Pineiro, a second-year player from Florida, was an immediate hero in the Windy City.LaFleur made an ill-advised challenge, claiming offensive pass interference on a catch by Taylor Gabriel. He lost in the first such challenge in NFL history after interference calls were added to replay reviews this season.
The Bears were a pitiful 3 for 15 on third downs and 0 for 2 on fourth downs. Green Bay was even worse trying to convert, going 2 for 12 on third downs.
”I am not in panic mode,” Nagy said
This will be the 105th Bears-Packers game I will be attending, mostly as a reported but those from 1962 through 1969 just as a Fan.
I have been to 93 Regular Season games, A Playoff Game, and 10 Pre Season Games(all at Milwaukee County Stadium in the days of the Shrine Game).
I’ve been to Bears-Packers Games at Wrigley Field,Soldier Field, one game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, games at Lambeau Field and Milwaukee County Stadium.
TONIGHT IS THE 105TH BEARS-PACKERS GAME I WILL BE ATTENDING
Les’s WEEK ONE NFL PICKS:
Tenn over CLEVE, NY JETS over Buffalo, Kc over JAX, Balt over Miami, LA CHARGERS over Ind, LA Rams over CAR, PHIL over Wash, DAL over NY Giants, TB over S.Fran, SEAT over Cin, N.ENG over Pitts, N.ORL over Hous, OAK over Denv, MINN over Atl, ARIZ over Det, BEARS over Green Bay.
NFC NORTH PREDICTION: 1.BEARS, 2.Minnesota, 3.Green Bay, 4.Detroit.