EVANSTON—Michigan State was determined to get back on track following a stunning loss last week.Brian Lewerke had three touchdown passes, Elijah Collins added a rushing TD and the Spartans bounced back with a 31-10 victory over Northwestern on Saturday.Lewerke completed 18 of 31 passes for 228 yards, Collins had 76 yards rushing on 17 carries and tight end Matt Seybert had two TD receptions as Michigan State (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Wildcats (1-2, 0-1).
”I was very impressed with our workman-like attitude today,” coach Mark Dantonio said. ”If something negative happened, we just lined up and played.”
Michigan State lost 10-7 to Arizona State last week after an apparent game-tying field goal was negated by penalty.
”We talked about last week, refocusing and getting back down to business, and that’s what we did,” said linebacker Joe Bachie, who had 13 solo tackles and an interception.
The win was the 110th for Dantonio at Michigan State, which makes him the winningest coach in program history. Dantonio, who had been tied with Duffy Daugherty, is 110-52 in 13 seasons.
”I think those are things you sit back at a later date and say, `OK, did this, did that,”’ Dantonio said. ”It’s not an individual thing. There’s just so many people working toward it.”
Northwestern had its eight-game winning streak in Big Ten regular-season games snapped. The Wildcats had won 15 of 16 regular-season conference games.Quarterback Hunter Johnson completed 15 of 26 passes for 88 yards with an interception before being pulled in the fourth quarter.Running back Drake Anderson had 86 yards rushing on 16 carries with a touchdown.
CHAMPAIGN—Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez took the blame for his team’s poor first half performance against Illinois on Saturday night.
”I didn’t play as well tonight as I should have,” he said. ”I’ll take the blame for that.”
He was serious, too.In reality, Martinez passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cornhuskers over Illinois 42-38 in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams. Martinez also rushed 18 times for 188 yards.The Cornhuskers (3-1, 1-0) put up 690 yards of total offense compared to 299 by Illinois (2-2, 0-1).Wan’Dale Robinson carried the ball 19 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. Dedrick Mills rushed 12 times for 62 yards and a touchdown.
”Wan’Dale did his job,” Martinez said. ”And he did it at a high level. He was ready to go.”
Nebraska coach Scott Frost thought his quarterback did a pretty decent job, too.
ATHENS—On a raucous Saturday night between the hedges, No. 3 Georgia held on for a gutsy win that might have ramifications all the way to the College Football Playoff.For No. 7 Notre Dame, it was another big-game loss but a performance that should bring more respect.Jake Fromm threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager early in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs survived for a 23-17 victory that was much tougher than many expected.
”That’s what college football is all about, man,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. ”I hate that somebody had to lose that game. I’ve got a lot of respect for the way they played, and all the negative things they’ve heard, and to come out and play the way they did. They played really physical as a team, and so did we. We persevered.”
The Bulldogs (4-0) trailed 10-7 at halftime but turned the momentum when redshirt freshman Divaad Wilson snatched away a deflected pass by Ian Book for an interception deep in Notre Dame territory.The Fromm-to-Cager combination helped push Georgia to a 23-10 lead before the Fighting Irish (2-1) made a game of it at the end.Book’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool cut the deficit with 3:12 remaining, the Notre Dame defense held, and Book got the ball back at his own 48 after a poor punt with just under 2 minutes to go.The Irish got as far as the Georgia 38, but no farther. It ended with Book zig-zagging on a desperate scramble before hurling up a long pass that fell incomplete, denying Notre Dame the signature win over a top opponent it so desperately needs in its first visit ever to Sanford Stadium.
DENVER—Eddy Pineiro won the Bears nerve-wracking kicking competition.Now, he’s winning over Bears fans and teammates who suffered through the bad miss by Cody Parkey that sent them home from the playoffs.Pineiro kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Bears a wild 16-14 win Sunday over the Broncos and their former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whose gutsy 2-point call 31 seconds earlier had given Denver the lead.
”Well, that was a crazy one,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. ”Absolutely crazy. Just a whirlwind of emotions going back and forth.”
”It’s not how you draw it up,” Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky said. ”It’s definitely not.”
The Broncos, who are off to their first 0-2 start since 1999, thought they’d survived and that time had expired when cornerback Chris Harris Jr. tackled Allen Robinson after he hauled in a 25-yard pass on fourth-and-15 from Trubisky at the Denver 35.The clock showed all zeroes and both teams milled around on the field not knowing whether to celebrate a win or lament a loss. Then referee Adrian Hill announced there was 1 second remaining and then Bears were using its last timeout.Pineiro’s third field goal, a day after his 24th birthday, sent the Bears (1-1) streaming back onto the field in celebration of a victory that seemed so unlikely after they’d surrendered the lead moments earlier.
”I knew deep down in my heart that it was going in,” Khalil Mack said. ”You put that pressure on that guy, Eddy P., the birthday man. He came out and nailed it. That’s how you want to play ball. Kudos to everyone else sticking in there and believing. I’m glad to get the win and get the hell up out of here.”
In a whipsaw of emotion, cornerback Kyle Fuller, whose goal-line interception with five minutes left seemingly sealed a Bear’s win, surrendered a 7-yard tiptoe TD to Emmanuel Sanders . Sanders barely got both feet toes down in the right corner of the end zone.That made it 13-12, and the Broncos lined up for 2. A delay pushed them back 5 yards and Fangio sent Brandon McManus out instead for the extra point from the 20-yard line and the tie. But McManus was wide right and the Bears went wild.Buster Skrine was offside and the Broncos moved up to the 1. Out came their offense again, and with an empty backfield, Joe Flacco backpedaled and hit Sanders at the goal line in front of Fuller to give Denver a 14-13 lead.For the second straight game, the Broncos failed to get a sack, but linebacker Bradley Chubb came close, hitting Trubisky just as he got off a throw to tight end Trey Burton for 10 yards. A debatable roughing call on Chubb tacked on 15 yards and the Bears were suddenly in business at the Broncos 45.
”We had our chances to win there,” Fangio said. ”Obviously, the critical penalty at the end of the game there, the roughing call was huge because it stops the clock, saves their timeout and gives them 15 yards.”
Three incompletions were followed by a 12-men-in-the-huddle infraction, however, and the Bears were facing fourth-and-15 from their 40 with 9 seconds remaining.Trubisky stepped up and found Robinson over the middle in the nick of time. Harris’ tackle came 1 second too early for the Broncos, who saw their 13 home game September winning streak snapped.
”Tough call, tough game,” said Von Miller, who remains stuck on 98 career sacks.
The Bears finally reached the end zone – by the nose of the football – with 1:14 left in the third quarter when running back David Montgomery scored from a yard out on the Bears’ sixth snap from inside the 5 and fifth straight from the 1 or 2. That put them ahead 13-3.
SOUTH BEND—Ian Book threw a career-high five touchdown passes and Notre Dame‘s defense came up with three first-half interceptions as the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish rolled past New Mexico 66-14 on Saturday in the final tuneup for a showdown at No. 3 Georgia.The senior quarterback rebounded from a lackluster opening performance in a victory at Louisville to complete 15 of 24 passes for 360 yards. Book finished with another 46 yards rushing yards and a 1-yard TD. He sat the final 1 1/2 quarters.
”It felt good getting the confidence up for everybody,” Book said. ”To come in here and get the win that we wanted felt really good. We’ll enjoy it tonight and once tomorrow hits it’s Georgia week and everyone knows that.”
Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish (2-0) had their way with the Lobos (1-1), who were without head coach Bob Davie. Saga Tuitele acted as head coach for Davie, the former Irish head coach from 1997-2001 who was hospitalized following New Mexico’s opening victory Aug. 31 against Sam Houston State and did not make the trip.Notre Dame finished with 591 total yards to 363 by New Mexico, which got touchdown runs by Bryson Carroll (47 yards) and Bobby Cole (37). The Lobos outrushed the Irish 212-157.
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.
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.
With Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro battling for the Bears kicking job, the best kicking effort in Thursday’s preseason opener came instead from Carolina Panthers rookie Joey Slye, who made field goals of 42, 55 and 29 yards and the Panthers had a 7-yard touchdown catch and 11-yard TD run from rookie Elijah Holyfield in a 23-13 victory over the Bears.The Panthers already have a standout kicker in Graham Gano, and it’s possible Slye put himself on the radar of the Bears as well as other teams seeking a kicker by hitting a second-quarter kick of 55 yards for a 6-0 lead.
”He handled it really well,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. ”We had an opportunity for him to kick a 55-yarder. During practice, he hit a 60-something yarder. So I thought this was well within his range and it was kind of fun to watch him kick it.”
”When your job is on the line, every kick is pressure,” Fry said. Rivera called a timeout to freeze Fry just before the kick. The Eagles had done the same to Parkey. ”You know what is funny, I did that to help the Bears because they are in a kicking contest,” Rivera said.
The former Virginia Tech player made a 29-yarder in the third quarter to expand Carolina’s lead to 16-10. Slye’s 42-yarder came on Carolina’s second possession to open the scoring.While the Bears look for a kicker, the Panthers are trying to determine who will back up quarterback Cam Newton.Both Carolina quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Will Grier enjoyed solid efforts, with Newton sitting out to rest his shoulder after offseason surgery.Allen started and completed 7 of 11 for 76 yards, while Grier completed 9 of 16 for 77 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Grier’s 7-yard TD pass to Holyfield put the Panthers ahead 13-10 in the third quarter, and was set up by a 57-yard punt return from Terry Godwin. Holyfield added his 11-yard run, cutting to the left sideline in the final two minutes.Bears rookie running back David Montgomery made his debut and broke off left tackle for a 7-yard TD in the second quarter, and Fry’s point-after kick put the Bears up 7-6. Montgomery finished with 16 yards on three rushes and caught three passes for 30 yards.Fry later had the Soldier Field fans roaring with a 43-yard field goal to close the first half, the same distance and at the same post Cody Parkey struck on his double-doink to end the Bears’ 16-15 playoff loss last season to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Pineiro wasn’t as fortunate, missing wide left on a 48-yard attempt in the first half. Pineiro did make a 23-yard chip shot to get the Bears within 16-13 in the fourth quarter.
”This was the big stage tonight for them,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said of his kickers. ”This was as big as we can get it before the season starts.”
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel completed 11 of 13 for 120 yards and a TD while Tyler Bray was 8 for 17 for 85 yards for the Bears. Rookie tight end Ian Bunting led the Bears with 77 yards on three receptions.Holyfield, the son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, picked himself up and kept on going in the fashion of his famous father.Elijah Holyfield lost a fumble in the second quarter of his first NFL game. The former Georgia back was hit by Josh Woods, coughed it up as he went to the ground and James Vaughters recovered to set the Bears up for their drive to the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter.Holyfield found things moving a bit quicker than at Georgia.
”It is fast, very fast,” he said. ”You’ve only got 1 second to make a decision, so it was cool.”
Nagy downplayed the chances of starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky playing in the preseason opener earlier in the week, but Trubisky did start. He played one series, didn’t throw a pass, and the Bears were off the field in three plays.
”Even though it was just a couple handoffs, I feel just that part is good for him,” Nagy said.
The Panthers’ defense kept the Bears in check much of the game, with Marquis Haynes and Brian Burns each getting two sacks. Carolina Tight end Ian Thomas suffered a rib injury and left the game in the second quarter. He did not return. … Cornerback Lorenzo Doss left in the third quarter with a rib injury and did not return. … Linebacker Luke Kuechly did not play after an injury scare earlier in the week. Kuechly absorbed a blow in practice but did not go into the league’s concussion protocol…..The Bears did not have an injury in the game, but cornerback Kevin Toliver II was a scratch at game time due to illness…..The Bears play the New York Giants on Aug. 16.