NASHVILLE—Ke’Shawn Vaughn rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown, Riley Neal threw for 189 yards and a touchdown and Vanderbilt defeated Northern Illinois 24-18.The victory was the first of the season for the Commodores (1-3), who dropped their first three games to Power Five teams, two of which came against Top Five ranked opponents No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 LSU.After winning their season opening game, Northern Illinois (1-3) has dropped three straight, all against Power Five teams.Vanderbilt’s Keyon Brooks and Vaughn scored rushing touchdowns on the first two Vanderbilt drives of the game.On Vanderbilt’s opening drive, Brooks broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown run, the freshman’s first of the season. He had only one more carry of the game. Entering Saturday, Brooks had just eight carries for a total of seven yards in two games this season.The Huskies pulled to within four in the third quarter after posting points on their first two drives of the second half. John Richardson kicked a 39-yard field goal to get Northern Illinois on the scoreboard, and then Mitchell Brinkman had a 38-yard touchdown reception. But Vanderbilt answered right back 1:49 later when Neal found Kalija Lipscomb with a 38-yard touchdown pass.Vanderbilt improved its record to 8-2 against Mid-American Conference opponents, including 4-0 against Northern Illinois.Neal is a graduate transfer from Ball State. His Cardinals teams never defeated MAC foe Northern Illinois.Early in the fourth, the Huskies cut the deficit to six following a one-yard touchdown run by Marcus Jones and a two-point conversion reception by Brinkman, but the Commodore defense denied the Huskies on their final drive, and the Vanderbilt offense was able to run out the remaining three minutes to seal the victory.NIU After not allowing a 100-yard rusher in 17-straight games, the Huskies allowed an opponent to eclipse the century mark for the second consecutive game. Vanderbilt’s Vaughn rushed for 138 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown. In Northern Illinois last game Sept. 14, Nebraska’s Dedrick Mills ran for 116 yards on 11 carries.Vanderbilt: In their three losses to open the season, the Commodores allowed an average of 46 points to Georgia, Purdue and LSU. After not allowing any points in the first half, Northern Illinois recorded a field goal and a touchdown on their first two possessions of the second half. The Commodores allowed the Huskies to convert just four of 13 third down opportunities in the game.
LANDOVER—After the Bears‘ offense was slow to get going this season, Mitchell Trubisky was excited to speed things up.Trubisky and the Bears used a no-huddle, hurry-up tempo to snap out of their offensive funk and score 28 first-half points on the way to beating the Washington Redskins 31-15 Monday night. After no passing touchdowns the first two games of the year, Trubisky connected with Taylor Gabriel on three of them in the second quarter alone.The 2017 second overall pick looked at ease with a fast-paced approach and picked apart Washington’s porous defense on 25 of 31 passing for 231 yards. It was the offensive explosion Trubisky predicted would happen this week.
”It just felt like the tempo helped us out a little bit,” Trubisky said. ”If everyone just continues to stick together and execute our plays and believe and just go out there and make plays, it’ll be a fun offense.”
The Bears (2-1) had just a 1-yard touchdown run to show for its first two games, and Trubisky entered the night with a completion percentage of 58.3 and ranked near the bottom of the league in yards per attempt. Facing the Redskins (0-3) brought out some of the best in Trubisky.
”Hat’s off to him,” said Washington linebacker Cole Holcomb, who was roommates with Trubisky at North Carolina. ”I always knew he was a good quarterback. He struggled a little bit, but he came out and he played a good game.”
Trubisky had 173 yards in the first half alone before throwing an interception at the goal line in the third quarter.With scores of 1, 3 and 36 yards, Gabriel joined Mike Ditka in 1963 as the only Bears receivers with three TD catches in the first half of a game. Gabriel made six catches for 75 yards before leaving in the second half with a concussion.The Bears took advantage of five turnovers by Redskins quarterback Case Keenum: two interceptions by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, including a pick six, another by Kyle Fuller and fumbles forced by Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan.
”That’s all me,” said Keenum, who was 30 of 43 for 331 yards and two touchdowns that didn’t compensate for the turnovers. ”Turn it over that many times as a quarterback, I let my team down. It’s all on me. I take complete responsibility. I have to take care of the ball better.”
With the offense up to the defense’s speed in the first half, The Bears put up 28 points in two quarters after scoring a total of 19 the past two weeks, 12 of which came on field goals from Eddy Pineiro.Mack had two of the Bears’ four sacks to continue a dominant start by the defense that didn’t give up a Washington TD until midway through the third quarter. Keenum’s two TD passes came long after fans chanted for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and booed the Redskins off the field at halftime.Washington’s defense that wilted in the second half of its first two losses had few answers for Trubisky all game Monday. Eight days after coach Jay Gruden said, ”I don’t think we have to push the panic button yet,” some significant changes could be coming soon.Before Gruden’s job security is really in question, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky looks like the logical target as the first coach to take the fall. Washington’s defense ranked in 21st and 17th in the NFL in Manusky’s first two seasons in charge and is on pace to finish worse than that this year.
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.
”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.