Sports News 141204
► Holtz expecting defense from Herd’s first 11 games
Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz watched the Herd’s game against Western Kentucky last Friday and saw Marshall’s defense get carved up for by Hilltoppers’ quarterback Brandon Doughty. WKU rolled up 738 yards of total offense and Doughty threw eight touchdown passes. But Holtz is not expecting Marshall’s defense to have another day like that anytime soon.
“They (WKU) had 49 points at halftime and I think they hit a couple of big play,” assessed Holtz. “There was not one thing that they did that said, ‘wow, they really exposed this.’ When I look at this defense, there is nothing to expose.”
Going into last week’s game Marshall’s defense was ranked first in Conference USA in total defense and scoring defense. Its still tops in C-USA allowing 20.7 points per game and second in total defense, right behind this week’s opponent, Louisiana Tech.
“There is not one area where we say, ‘alright, we are going to pick on this like their defensive line or their secondary.’ What [WKU] did was make some plays. They made some one-on-one jump balls and they threw the ball down the field. They executed, they hit some guys in dead stride that had to be perfect plays,” said Holtz.
While at times there were wide open receivers, WKU did make some outstanding plays throughout the game. There was at least one diving catch for a touchdown and credit Doughty for threading the needle and fitting passes in to some very tight windows.
That’s why Holtz is not coming to Huntington on Saturday expecting to put 65 points on the scoreboard. The body of evidence suggests that last Friday was an anomaly.
“They (WKU) could not do a lot wrong, but you come back and look at the end of regulation and they scored 10 points in the second half. They scored 49 in the first and 10 in the second and then scored a touchdown and went for two in overtime. They played really well in the first half, but then it seemed like Marshall came out in the second half and said enough of this. It was just a little too little too late to make up.”
Marshall gave up a little more than half as many yards in the second half as it did in the first half against WKU and limited to the Hilltoppers to 2-of-6 on third downs in the final two quarters.
“Marshall is not real complicated with what they do. They are fast, athletic and simple in what they do. They run to the ball and keep it in front of them. They got beat a couple of times deep, but they did not start changing their scheme. They did not start blitzing or changing coverages. They do what they do and they are very stern with what they do and give their players a chance to execute.”
► Sooners and Cowboys collide in Battle of Bedlam
The historic Battle of Bedlam is on tap for Saturday afternoon at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, as the 18th- ranked Oklahoma Sooners play host to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Big 12 Conference regular-season finale.
At just 5-6 overall (3-5 Big 12), Oklahoma State is in danger of missing out on bowl season for the first time since 2005. After an excellent 5-1 start to the season, the Cowboys have dropped five straight games, most recently falling at nationally-ranked Baylor on November 22, 49-28.
Despite his team’s struggles, coach Mike Gundy remains optimistic about his team’s progress.
“We’ve had a number of young players who have continued to improve,“ Gundy said. “Unfortunately, we probably played out best game we’ve played in six weeks last night against what could have very well been the best team on our schedule this year.“
Oklahoma had sky-high expectations coming into the season as the No. 4 team in the country, but it has fallen well short of its lofty goals by dropping out of the Big 12 race with three losses this season to all three teams ahead of it in the standings - TCU (37-33), Kansas State (31-30) and Baylor (48-14). Since their most recent setback the Sooners have righted the ship with two straight wins to get reintroduced to the polls, most recently downing Kansas at home on November 22, 44-7.
“(Oklahoma State is) one of the teams that are better than the record indicates,“ Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “They always do a good job with balance, run and pass. Gundy’s teams are always that way.“
It’s been a one-sided all-time series, with Oklahoma holding to a 83-18-7 advantage, including a 39-9-2 showing in Norman.
Oklahoma State doesn’t fit in very well in the high-scoring Big 12, as it ranks in the bottom half of the league in terms of both scoring (26.5 ppg) and yardage (369.7 ypg).
Daxx Garman (.549 completions, 2,041 yards, 12 TDs, 12 INTs) missed the Baylor game with a concussion and is questionable to return on Saturday. In Garman’s absence the last time out, Mason Rudolph had an uneven performance, throwing for 281 yards and two touchdowns but on just 13-of-25 passing with a pair of interceptions.
The Cowboys have run more rushing plays this season (431) than passing (339), but they have only picked up 3.5 yards per carry for 137.5 ypg. Desmond Roland (579 yards, eight TDs) and Tyreek Hill (496 yards, TD) earn the most work.
David Glidden (39 receptions, 549 yards, two TDs) and Brandon Sheperd (27 yards, 483 yards, two TDs) anchor a modest receiving corps.
The Cowboys’ defense has not done a good job picking up the slack for an underachieving offense, as they allow 31.7 ppg and 438.5 ypg.
Emmanuel Ogbah is one of the best pass rushers in the league with 16.5 TFL and 11.0 sacks, while Josh Furman (12.0 TFL, 6.0 sacks) has found some success opposite him. Jordan Sterns and Ryan Simmons are tied for the team lead in tackles with 85. Ramon Richards has picked off three passes.
The Sooners possess a potent offense, as they rack up 39.3 ppg and 485.6 ypg, and the unit is riding high after a record-setting performance by its freshman tailback the last time out.
Just a week after Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon set a single-game FBS rushing record, Semaje Perine topped it with a historic performance of his own against Kansas by running for 427 yards and five touchdowns.
“The guy is just so exceptional in everything that he does,“ Stoops said. “We were thinking about resting him, and then someone said he only needs 35 more yards, and you know, that’s just too close not to do it, and there was too much time left in the game.“
Perine’s emergence late in the season has left him with 1,428 yards and 19 touchdowns on 214 carries (6.7 ypc).
Perine and the running game were leaned on heavily in the Kansas win with quarterback Trevor Knight (2,197 passing yards, 340 rushing yards, 19 TDs, nine INTs) out with a concussion. Even with a bye week in between, Knight will not be ready to play on Saturday, leaving another start for Cody Thomas, who’s completed just 20-of-49 passes this season for 222 yards, a touchdown and four picks, although his rushing numbers (149 yards, TD) have been stellar.
Thomas’ presence under center has hindered the production of the receivers, especially Sterling Shepard (59 receptions, 957 yards, five TDs), who’s bidding for an All-Conference selection at year’s end.
The Sooners’ defense has not lived up to the expectations of a Stoops-led unit, but they have nonetheless played admirably this season in allowing only 23.5 ppg while forcing 18 turnovers.
Zack Sanchez has a large say in the turnover battle with five interceptions. Dominique Alexander is the leading tackler with 93 stops and Eric Striker generates a strong pass rush with 13.5 TFL and 7.0 sacks.
► Top-10 foes clash in Big 12 matchup
With the Big 12 Conference championship on the line, the No. 5 Baylor Bears welcome the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats to McLane Stadium on Saturday night.
Heading into Saturday, Kansas State, Baylor and TCU are all tied atop the league standings with a 7-1 conference record. In the unlikely event that TCU losses at home to Iowa State, the survivor of this contest would win the league title outright. Otherwise, without a conference championship game, there will be co-champions, leaving the fate of winners in the hands of the College Football Playoff rankings.
Kansas State has exceeded expectations this season with an outstanding 9-2 record, with its only loss in league competition coming at TCU on November 8, 41-20. Since that setback, the Wildcats have reeled off two straight wins at West Virginia (26-20) and at home against Kansas (51-13) to set up this make- or-break contest.
“We want to win a Big 12 Championship and we have that ahead of us,“ Kansas State wide receiver Curry Sexton said. “We have struggled with Baylor over the past couple of years…I think we owe them one. It is a tough game and they are a really good football team. We are looking forward to the challenge and going to be (as) ready as possible.“
Since losing its only game of the season at West Virginia on October 18 (41-27), Baylor has pieced together a four-game winning streak to move to 10-1 overall, most recently edging out Texas Tech last Saturday, 48-46. The Bears have a lot going for them in this matchup, as they have won 15 in a row at home (the second-longest active streak in the nation) and they are 7-0 against Top-25 teams in the last three seasons.
“Baylor never won a Big 12 Championship until last year so making history is good, but it’s about winning football games now,“ Baylor coach Art Briles said. “(We’re) trying to create consistency in a program and trying to prove that we belong with the nation’s elite in college football and we can win on a consistent basis and it’s not easy to do.“
Kansas State has 7-4 lead in the all-time series with Baylor, but the Bears have won two of the last three matchups.
The Wildcats’ offense has been extremely effective this season with 36.6 ppg an 428.1 ypg, and they are coming off one of their best performances of the season in a 51-point, 505-yard effort over Kansas last week.
Jake Waters was nothing short of outstanding in the KU win, completing 21- of-27 passes for 294 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s completing just shy of 65% of his passes this season for 2,863 yards with 18 touchdowns and five picks, and he’s thrown for at least 200 yards in every game. The quarterback is also a potent rushing threat with 440 yards and eight scores.
Waters is fortunate enough to have one of the nation’s best receiving duos on his side in Tyler Lockett (79 receptions, 1,193 yards, eight TDs) and Sexton (67 receptions, 940 yards, five TDs). The two combined for 18 catches, 260 yards and three scores last week.
The backfield workload is split evenly between Charles Jones (111 carries, 476 yards) and DeMarcus Robinson (101 carries, 410 yards), with Jones getting the call in the red zone and cashing in with 12 touchdowns.
Defensively, Kansas State has done a great job keeping the potent Big 12 offenses down, as it yields just 20.3 ppg and 341.0 ypg.
Jonathan Truman is one of the league’s best tacklers with 101 stops. Dante Barnett (65 tackles), Randall Evans (55 tackles) and Morgan Burns (46 tackles) all have three interceptions, while Ryan Mueller has 7.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks.
Under Briles, the Baylor offense has become the nation’s most lethal, as it ranks first in the FBS in both scoring (49.8 ppg) and yardage (581.1 ypg), and with a 48-point showing last week, it has put up 40 or more points in all but two games this season.
Bryce Petty was in the midst of a great game last week (18-of-25, 210 yards, two TDs) before getting knocked out in the third quarter with a head injury, but after passing all the concussion tests, he is expected to play on Saturday.
“He was feeling pretty good (at practice early in the week),“ Briles said of his quarterback. “He actually felt pretty good at the end of the game the other day.“
Petty is completing just 59.3% of his passes this season but he has thrown for 289.3 ypg, accounted for 29 touchdowns and tossed just five interceptions. In the unlikely event that Petty doesn’t play, the call will go to Seth Russell (804 passing yards, 11 total TDs, INT).
Petty has an arsenal of receiving weapons to rely on, as Corey Coleman, KD Cannon, Antwan Goodley and Jay Lee all have at least 539 yards and five touchdowns to their credit. Coleman (53 receptions, 928 yards, 10 TDs in just eight games) and Cannon (47 receptions, 800 yards, six TDs) are the stars of the unit.
The potent rushing attack picks up more than 240 yards per outing, with Shock Linwood earning the majority of the work with 1,135 yards and 15 touchdowns on 222 carries.
Baylor’s defense had a major hiccup last week in giving up 46 points and 712 yards to Texas Tech, but the unit has still performed well this season in allowing only 23.9 ppg and 364.5 ypg, while forcing 23 turnovers.
The Bears’ top defensive playmakers are Bryce Hager (89 tackles, 9.0 TFL, sack, INT, two FF), Orion Stewart (64 tackles, four INT), Shawn Oakman (17.5 TFL, 9.0 sacks, three FF) and Xavian Howard (39 tackles, three INTs, 14 passes defended).
► TCU jumps FSU to No. 3 in CFP rankings
TCU returned to the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, moving up two spots to No. 3 ahead of reigning national champion Florida State.
Alabama was No. 1 for the third week in a row after beating Auburn in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl in history and Oregon was No. 2 for the fourth week running.
The Crimson Tide (11-1) will face Missouri in Saturday’s SEC championship game while the Ducks (11-1) are getting ready for Friday’s Pac-12 title game against Arizona, which is No. 7 in this week’s poll.
TCU, after routing Texas by 38 points for its sixth consecutive win, returned to the top four for the first time in three weeks with its highest ranking in the poll to date.
The Horned Frogs (10-1) face Iowa State on Saturday in their final regular season game.
After being ranked No. 3 for three weeks in a row, Florida State fell one spot in the poll despite being the only remaining unbeaten FBS team.
The Seminoles (12-0) play Georgia Tech on Saturday for the ACC championship.
Ohio State moved up one spot to No. 5 despite losing Heisman Trophy hopeful J.T. Barrett to a broken ankle during Saturday’s win over Michigan, and Baylor was ranked sixth this week.
Ohio State (11-1) faces Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday and Baylor (10-1), which beat TCU in October, plays Kansas State.
The selection committee will meet one more time this weekend before announcing the final standings on Sunday.
The top four teams in the final rankings will play in the national semifinals on January 01.
The winners of the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day will move on to the national championship game on January 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The playoff system replaced the oft-criticized BCS, which was in place from 1998 until last season.
Michigan State, Kansas State and former CFP No. 1 Mississippi rounded out the top 10 on Tuesday. Mississippi State tumbled six places from No. 4 last week after losing to Ole Miss.
Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Georgia, UCLA, Missouri, Arizona State, Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, Louisville, Boise State, Utah, LSU and USC rounded out the top 25.
► Herd meet Bulldogs for Conference USA crown
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs made it out of the Conference USA West Division with a 7-1 mark in league play, and will travel this weekend to face the Marshall Thundering Herd in the conference’s championship clash at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Louisiana Tech breezed through Conference USA competition during the regular season until an overtime loss against Old Dominion in the second-to-last week raised some concerns. But the Bulldogs squashed those feelings with an absolutely dominant 76-31 victory over defending C-USA champion Rice at home to earn a spot in the title game.
Marshall had already clinched its spot in the title contest after running through East Division play and earning an unblemished record up until the regular-season finale. Even though the Herd’s dreams of a perfect record were shattered by Western Kentucky last weekend in a 67-66 loss, the team is still a favorite to take the conference crown.
These two conference rivals have met just one time on the football field before this championship matchup - a 26-0 shutout by the Bulldogs back in the 1942 season in Ruston, Louisiana. It’s been 72 years since that clash, so this second matchup could be well worth the wait.
Louisiana Tech entered this season with high hopes, but it wasn’t until the team took the field that fans saw what the Bulldogs were capable of. The strong offense, which averages 38.8 ppg entering the title tilt with Marshall, is led by two of the strongest offensive stars in the league. Running back Kenneth Dixon had a stellar regular season, finishing the campaign with 1,080 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 220 carries. He led the team averaging 90.0 ypg, but also served as a primary target out of the backfield in the passing game. He caught five touchdown receptions and averaged another 25.5 ypg through the air during the season. Dixon is coming off a three-touchdown game against Rice.
Cody Sokol took the reins under center and ran with them this season. The signal caller passed for 3,117 yards (ranked 23rd in the FBS) with 29 touchdown tosses. He averaged 259.8 passing ypg in 12 contests, and comes into this game sporting a completion percentage just shy of 60%. As an offensive unit, the Bulldogs are gaining 415.2 ypg.
Dixon is certainly one of Sokol’s main weapons through the air, but Trent Taylor has made his mark more than anyone in the passing game. Taylor enters this weekend averaging 67.3 ypg receiving, having caught 61 passes this season for 808 yards and a team-best nine touchdowns. Dixon’s five receiving scores is second on the squad, while Paul Turner has proven his worth with 38 receptions for 466 yards and four scores through the air.
The team’s defense will have its hands full as it prepares for a Marshall offense that ranks second in the nation in scoring and total offense. But that hasn’t stopped the Bulldogs from doing plenty of damage this season, holding opponents to 349.6 offensive ypg and 25.2 ppg. The same Western Kentucky team that just posted 67 points on Marshall’s defense was held to a mere 10 points by Louisiana Tech back on the first day of November, which could be very telling.
Kentrell Brice leads the Bulldogs this season with 73 tackles, adding in three sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles. But Tony Johnson isn’t far behind Brice’s tackle total with 69 on the season, adding in six quarterback hurries. Linemen Houston Bates (nine tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries) and Vernon Butler (12.5 tackles for loss) are going to need to be very active in trying to get to Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and slowing down a high- powered run game. The Bulldogs do lead the nation in takeaways with 36 (12 fumble recoveries, 24 interceptions).
“This football team is really special to me because I do not know that I have had a football team that has had to overcome so much, with the schedule, new faces, new coaches and everything to make this year work,“ coach Skip Holtz said. “This group of guys is really special. They will always have a special place in my heart.“
Marshall could be in for a real shock if running back Devon Johnson can’t go this weekend after suffering a shoulder injury in last weekend’s loss to WKU. The tailback carried the ball just three times before he was knocked out of the game and replaced by Steward Butler, who ran for 233 yards and a pair of scores in the relief effort. This season, Johnson has been a monster out of the backfield, gaining 1,602 yards with 16 rushing scores, averaging 145.6 rushing ypg. It’s unclear if he will be ready to go this weekend
“Devon, he’s not in real good shape right now,“ coach Doc Holliday said after the team’s loss to the Hilltoppers.
Fortunately for Marshall, Butler has rushed for 761 yards and seven touchdowns this season in the reserve role. Cato has been a capable runner as well, scoring six touchdowns with his feet. But the passing game is where Cato excels the most, throwing for 3,314 yards and 35 touchdowns against 12 interceptions (four of which came in last weekend’s loss). The senior signal caller did toss a school single-game record seven touchdowns in that contest, however. He’s the centerpiece of an offense that is averaging 46.7 ppg and 574.6 offensive ypg.
“The bottom line is we’ve got to put (the loss to WKU) behind us because we’re playing for a championship,“ Holliday said. “And the leadership on this football team has to do a tremendous job of putting this game behind us and moving on because the ultimate goal was to win a championship, and we’ve still got that out there for us.“
Defensively, the Herd have been dominant as well. The 67 points allowed to Western Kentucky raised the team’s scoring average significantly, and it’s still at a mere 20.7 ppg. It was the first time all season long that Marshall allowed more than 27 points to a challenger, and just the third time all season the Herd gave up more than 20 points or more in a single game.
Linebacker Neville Hewitt leads the team with 100 tackles this season, adding in 10.5 tackles for loss with 4.5 sacks. He and lineman Arnold Blackmon (13 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles) will be the two players the Herd turn to in order to slow down Dixon and Sokol. Darryl Roberts (15 pass breakups), Corey Tindal (11 pass breakups) and Taj Letman (four interceptions) will be tasked with keeping the strong Louisiana Tech pass game in check.
► Ryan’s actions tell the true story
NFL coaches can be a lot like politicians when it comes to word play.
That’s why when you really want to know what a mentor is thinking, you ignore the semantics—artful or not—and focus in on the actions.
Understand, unless your Jay Gruden, NFL coaches simply don’t put players on blast and that’s why you won’t see a Rex Ryan stepping to the podium and giving you his honest assessment of a player like Geno Smith.
Ryan’s handling of the second-year quarterback who ultimately will cost him his job in New York couldn’t have been more transparent on Monday night, however.
“It had zero to do with us not having faith in our quarterback,“ Ryan claimed after figuratively tying Smith up in a 16-13 loss to Miami. “It had everything to do with us trying to win the game.“
In one fell swoop Ryan lied to his constituency before rebounding and allowing a grain of truth to escape. Inject Ryan with sodium pentothal and that statement would have read “I have no faith in our quarterback and I was trying to win the game.“
With Ryan and his team limping toward the finish line, the Jets (read that GM John Idzik) turned back to Smith at quarterback against the playoff-hopeful Dolphins.
Ryan, who will be first in line to file his change of address form on “Black Monday,“ understands the only power he has left with this team is between the lines on game day and this contest served as his very own occupy movement, a protest against the GM who forced an ill-equipped QB on the coach.
The overmatched Smith threw a total of 13 times against Miami, five of which came after the Dolphins kicked what proved to be the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter.
Up until Caleb Sturgis converted that 26-yard chip shot, Ryan ordered his offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to make Smith hand it off again and again and again ... and again.
The Jets’ run-to-pass ratio was a ridiculous 49-8 before necessity gave Smith a few meaningful throwing opportunities, a clear indication Ryan had absolutely no confidence in the signal caller.
And the coach’s lack of belief was only amplified by that fact that two of the Dolphins’ top three cornerbacks—Cortland Finnegan and Jamar Taylor—were injured and Miami was forced to play street free agent R.J. Stanford.
Granted the Jets were more than successful on the ground early, piling up 210 yards in the first half but when the Dolphins ultimately adjusted and stacked the box, New York still wouldn’t allow Smith take a shot against a corner who was busy getting his early Christmas shopping done the previous week.
“The game plan was to try to establish the run and when you have that kind of success running, that helps the football team and that’s why we stayed the course,“ Ryan said.
What Ryan left out was the fact that the course was originally plotted because he didn’t believe the quarterback could carry his own water.
“Well, I don’t know about that,“ Ryan said Tuesday when asked whether Smith gave him the best chance to win. “I have said all along that I feel good, that we could win with either Mike Vick at quarterback or Geno Smith and I have always said that. Geno Smith wouldn’t be in there if we didn’t think we had an opportunity to win. I can promise you that.“
Again, ignore the words and watch the actions.
The decision to take the ball out of the quarterbacks’s hands was ultimately Ryan’s definition of giving his team the best chance to win.
“If we can run for 300 yards again this week, I would love to sign up for it,“ Ryan said. “We are just trying to find a way to give us a chance to win the football game and I thought we did that, it’s just unfortunate (that) we came up short.“
And then the dam broke.
“Yep, absolutely, 100%,“ Ryan responded when asked if he was embarrassed by his team’s 2-10 record. “I’m embarrassed for myself absolutely. It is, it’s an embarrassment. It’s definitely embarrassing to me. I feel like I’ve let my owner down. I’ve let our fan base down.“
The absence of Idzik’s and Smith’s names in Ryan’s confession stood out as starkly as his game plan on Monday night.
WEEK 14 (All Times Eastern)
Dallas (8-4) (-3 1/2) at Chicago (5-7), Thursday, 8:25 PM - Week 14 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night when the Bears host the Cowboys at Soldier Field. Each team will try to rebound from lopsided divisional losses on Thanksgiving Day as Dallas laid a 33-10 egg against visiting Philadelphia, and the Bears suffered a 34-17 setback at Detroit. Dallas is a perfect 5-0 on the road this season, the best mark in the league as a visitor and relies on a strong running game, led by DeMarco Murray who tops the NFL with 1,427 rushing yards and has run for at least 100 yards in 10 of the team’s 12 games this year.
Bears 28, Cowboys 23
Pittsburgh (7-5) at Cincinnati (8-3-1) (-3), Sunday, 1 PM - The AFC North rivals clash at Paul Brown Stadium in the first of two meetings over the final four weeks. The Bengals, who have won five of six and are 13-1-1 in their last 15 at home, hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the other three teams in the division (Steelers, Baltimore and Cleveland). Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown enters the final month of the season leading the NFL with 96 catches and 1,258 yards.
Bengals 24, Steelers 21
Indianapolis (8-4) (-4) at Cleveland (7-5), Sunday, 1 PM - The Colts can be the first team to clinch a division title with a win and a Houston loss but they won’t be doing it against Johnny Manziel. The embattled Brian Hoyer will remain the starting quarterback for the Browns, at least for the time being.
“After thorough evaluation and talking to the staff, we feel Brian gives us the best opportunity to win on Sunday,“ said Cleveland coach Mike Pettine in a statement on the club’s website. “This is a football decision and those are always going to be based on what we think is best for our team.“
Last week, Indianapolis scored six touchdowns of at least 30 yards in a 49-27 win over Washington, becoming the first team to register at least six 30-plus yard touchdowns in a game since 1966 (Washington, November 27, 1966, 72-41 win vs. New York Giants).
Colts 33, Browns 17
Tampa Bay (2-10) at Detroit (8-4) (-9 1/2), Sunday, 1 PM - The ex-NFC Central inhabitants renew hostilities with the Lions being the only relevant participant. Detroit is one game behind Green Bay in the NFC North with a Week 17 matchup looming. Lions QB Matthew Stafford has averaged 301 passing yards and three TDs in two career meetings with the Bucs.
Lions 27, Buccaneers 17
Houston (6-6) (-5) at Jacksonville (2-10), Sunday, 1 PM - The J.J. Watt show invades Jacksonville as the presumptive NFL Defensive Player of the Year looks to build on his historic season. Watt is first player with three offensive TDs and two TDs on takeaways since Bill Golding in 1948. He also leads all AFC players with 48 sacks since entering the league in 2011.
Texans 24, Jaguars 14
Baltimore (7-5) at Miami (7-5) (-3), Sunday, 1 PM - The Ravens and Dolphins are two of five AFC teams at 7-5 and the loser of this one could be crippled in the conference playoff hunt. Baltimore QB Joe Flacco is 3-0 in his career against Miami with a 105.1 passer rating, a number which foreshadows success for the Ravens. Baltimore is 49-9 when Flacco crosses the 90.0 barrier.
Ravens 21, Dolphins 20
NY Jets (2-10) at Minnesota (5-7) (-6), Sunday, 1 PM - The Jets have won seven straight and are 8-1 all-time against Minnesota but Rex Ryan has checked out when it comes to Geno Smith while Vikings rookie signal caller Teddy Bridgewater is trending upward, compiling a career-high 120.7 passer rating against Carolina in Week 13.
Vikings 20, Jets 13
Carolina (3-8-1) at New Orleans (5-7) (-9 1/2), Sunday, 1 PM - The Saints have been uncharacteristically bad at the Superdome, losing three straight but Carolina has dropped six consecutive overall and Drew Brees has a 129.8 passer rating in his past three at home against the Panthers.
Saints 31, Panthers 14
NY Giants (3-9) at Tennessee (2-10) (pick ‘em), Sunday, 1 PM - Two dismal teams battle in Music City. The Giants have lost seven straight and failed to beat 2-10 Jacksonville last week after jumping out to a 21-0 lead. Titans rookie QB Zach Mettenberger is expected back under center this week after being knocked out against Houston with a shoulder injury. Tennessee has failed in six consecutive tests.
Giants 17, Titans 16
St. Louis (5-7) (-2 1/2) at Washington (3-9), Sunday, 1 PM - The Rams have remained very competitive thanks to their strong from on defense which includes star pass rusher Robert Quinn, who has nine sacks and four forced fumbles in his past seven games, and rookie DT Aaron Donald, who leads all freshman with six sacks. Washington is sticking with Colt McCoy at QB after a 392-yard, three-TD performance in a shootout loss to Indianapolis last weekend.
Rams 23, Redskins 21
Kansas City (7-5) at Arizona (9-3) (-1 1/2), Sunday, 4:05 PM - Two teams aiming to stop the bleeding after consecutive losses tangle in the desert. The Chiefs are now among five teams at 7-5 on the AFC side and can ill afford another setback, while Arizona’s 9-1 start has regressed to 9-3 and a slim, one-game edge on the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks in the NFC West. The Cards are 6-0 at home this season and have won 10 of their last 11 overall in Arizona.
Cardinals 20, Chiefs 17
Buffalo (7-5) at Denver (9-3) (-10), Sunday, 4:05 PM - Buffalo’s stout front will try to slow down the powerful Broncos. The Bills lead the NFL with 48 sacks and are the only team with three players who have nine-or-more sacks (Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes). Williams has 6 1/2 sacks in his past four games while Dareus leads all interior lineman with 10 QB takedowns. Hughes, meanwhile, needs just one-half sack to record back-to-back 10-sack seasons. Denver QB Peyton Manning leads the NFL with 36 TD passes and has a TD pass in 51 consecutive games.
Broncos 27, Bills 20
San Francisco (7-5) (-8) at Oakland (1-11), Sunday, 4:25 PM - The Bay Area Bragging Rights Bowl shouldn’t be much of a contest as the 49ers are in desperation mode to keep their playoff hopes alive and the 1-11 Raiders are fresh off a 52-0 drubbing at the hands of the St. Louis Rams.
49ers 31, Raiders 10
Seattle (8-4) at Philadelphia (9-3) (-1), Sunday, 4:25 PM - The Seahawks and Eagles are both coming off big divisional Thanksgiving Day victories. Seattle won at San Francisco 19-3 while Philadelphia recorded a 33-10 win at Dallas. After two consecutive division wins - both by scores of 19-3—the Seahawks enter the final month in control in the NFC West. If Seattle wins out, which includes a Week 16 matchup against the 9-3 Cardinals, Seattle will take home the division crown for the second consecutive year. The Eagles have sole possession of first place in the NFC East and LeSean McCoy surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark (1,018) against the Cowboys while wide receiver Jeremy Maclin reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark (1,088).
Seahawks 23, Eagles 20
New England (9-3) (-3 1/2) at San Diego (8-4), Sunday 8:30 PM - Sunday’s action concludes with two teams in the thick of the AFC playoff race. At 9-3, the Patriots lead the AFC East and are in control for home-field advantage in the conference. The 8-4 Chargers are currently the top wild-card team and sit just one game behind Denver for the top spot in the AFC West. The Pats, who have won seven of eight, need one win to join the 1983-98 San Francisco 49ers as the only NFL teams with 10-plus wins in 14 consecutive seasons.
Patriots 27, Chargers 20
Atlanta (5-7) at Green Bay (9-3) (-12), Monday, 8:30 PM - Rarely is a division leader favored by double digits over another division leader but that’s the story here. The Falcons enter the final month tied with New Orleans for the top spot in the NFC South at 5-7. The powerful Packers are 6-0 at Lambeau Field this season, outscoring opponents 245-106 in those contests. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 360 consecutive passed and 31 touchdown passes at home since his last interception, both NFL records.
Packers 34, Falcons 20
► Bears sign K Feely
With Robbie Gould nursing a quad injury, the Chicago Bears signed kicker Jay Feely on Wednesday.
Gould sat out practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game in Dallas.
Feely has connected on 329-of-398 field goal attempts (82.7 percent) over 13 seasons with Atlanta (2001-04), the New York Giants (2005-06), Miami (2007), the New York Jets (2008-09) and Arizona (2010-13). He has also hit 444-of-446 PATs for a total of 1,431 points.
To make room for Feely, the Bears waived injured wide receiver/kick returner Chris Williams.
Chicago also listed defensive end Cornelius Washington as doubtful for Thursday’s game. Wide receiver Chris Williams and linebacker Darryl Sharpton are out. Starting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is questionable with a hamstring injury and starting tight end Martellus Bennett is probable with a foot ailment.
► Jags place Pasztor on IR
The Jacksonville Jaguars placed tackle Austin Pasztor on injured reserve Wednesday.
Pasztor ruptured his hamstring during Sunday’s 25-24 win over the New York Giants, the Jags’ second victory of the season.
Pasztor missed the first four games of the year recovering from a broken right hand.
In addition, Jacksonville signed linebacker A.J. Edds.
► Cowboys take playoff push to Chicago
Neither the Dallas Cowboys or the Chicago Bears had all that much to give thanks for last week.
Each team will try to rebound from lopsided divisional losses on Thanksgiving Day when they kick off Week 14 of the NFL season on Thursday night at Soldier Field.
The Cowboys laid a 33-10 egg against visiting Philadelphia on Turkey Day, and the Bears suffered a 34-17 setback at Detroit.
Dallas is now a game behind the Eagles in the NFC East with just four to play and the Bears are all but done in the NFC North at 5-7, three games south of the Lions and four behind division-leading Green Bay.
“No excuses,“ Cowboys defensive tackle Jeremy Mincey said. “We just gotta get better. Sometimes it’s good to get a good old fashioned butt-kicking to get you going again.“
The Eagles ended Tony Romo’s consecutive games streak with a touchdown pass at 38 in North Texas and held league rushing leader DeMarco Murray to under 100 yards.
Romo completed 18-of-29 passes for 199 yards and threw two interceptions as Dallas dropped its third straight home game.
“Today was an opportunity that we didn’t cash in on, but we have to learn from this game and move forward,“ Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said.
Murray failed to reach the century mark for only the second time in 2014, finishing with a season-low 73 yards on 20 carries against the Eagles.
The Cowboys will meet the Eagles again in Philadelphia on December 14, meaning this could serve as a bit of a trap game for Dallas, although the Bears haven’t scared many foes this season.
In the Motor City on Turkey Day, embattled QB Jay Cutler was 31-for-48 for 280 yards with a pair of touchdown passes to Alshon Jeffery along with two interceptions for Chicago, which had won its previous two coming into the contest. Jeffery had nine catches for 71 yards.
“We had a fast start which was good,“ Bears head coach Marc Trestman said. “Then they got on a roll and really made their money throwing the football and moving it around.“
The all-time series between the ‘Boys and the Bears is tied at 11 apiece but Garrett has yet to beat Chicago in his head-coaching career, losing three straight.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Cutler has always seemed very comfortable against Dallas and has passed for 552 yards with five touchdowns and a gaudy 138.2 passer rating in his previous two starts against the Cowboys.
He has plenty of weapons offensively starting with lengthy wideouts Jeffery, who has seven touchdown catches this season, including four in the previous three games, and Brandon Marshall as well as 6-foot-6 tight end Martellus Bennett.
“We’ve got a big game in primetime this Thursday night,“ said Marshall, who has 22 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns in four career games against Dallas. “We’ve definitely got to put our best game forward against the Cowboys.“
Meanwhile, running back Matt Forte has been nearly as productive as Murray this season with the two ranking first and second in the NFC, respectively, in scrimmage yards this season.
Forte (828 rushing, 650 receiving) is the only NFL player with at least 800 rushing yards and 650 receiving yards in 2014 and he tends to be even better at home where he 147.2 scrimmage yards per game with four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).
“(Forte is) almost half of their offense if you put it all together,“ Garrett said. “Very versatile, very productive, and they use him really well - similar to what Philly does in using their backs a lot of different ways.“
Despite all that skill-position talent, however, Chicago is just 21st in the league, averaging only 21.1 points per game.
“I think with the guys we have and character and integrity of the guys, I don’t think anybody’s going to quit,“ Cutler said. “I think the coaches won’t let us, they’re not going to quit on us.“
Dallas has been much better on the road this season than at home, piling up over 30 points per game and compiling a perfect 5-0 mark away from the Lone Star State.
“I think (it) turns me on a little bit - to come into someone’s house and hear the boos and all that,“ Murray said. “I think it’s a great thing. We’ve just got to focus, and have more patience, especially on the road, and not make many mistakes. I think we’ll be fine.“
Romo has been exceptional as the visitor, passing for 1,164 yards with 12 touchdowns and a league-best 122.0 passer rating when he is in unfamiliar surroundings. .
As a starter on Thursday games, Romo has led the Cowboys to a 7-2 record with a 103.1 passer rating. Of course, he is also coming off one of those losses.
The recipe for Dallas’ success this season has been getting Murray going and they need to get back to that default setting. The NFL’s leading rusher has at least 100 rushing yards in 10 of 12 games heading into Thursday, and has 1,427 yards this season.
In three career Thursday games, Murray has 343 scrimmage yards (114.3 per game) and four rushing touchdowns.
With all the focus on Cutler and the offense’s failings that has masked the bigger issue in Chicago, a poor defense which lacks playmakers.
Overall the Bears’ stop unit is 26th in a 32-team league and really doesn’t do anything all that well. It’s 10th against the run but that is more indicative of just how easy it has been to throw the ball against Chicago.
“We’re going to come out and play ball,“ said Bears defensive end Willie Young. “We’re going to stick to our game plan against Dallas. It should be a good game.“
The Bears are technically still alive in the NFC playoff race but they would need to win out and get plenty of help. Dallas on the other hand is a legitimate player but one that could be heading for another late-season collapse if it can’t get things done here.
“I think it’s just about this week, this Thursday against the Chicago Bears,“ Romo said. “More than anything, it’s a time to start playing your best football and our football team needs to understand the sense of urgency is now. I think our guys understand what’s ahead of them if they can go on and play their best football.“
Romo and the offense isn’t the problem, though. The Cowboys defense, which allowed a season-high 464 yards against Philadelphia, is starting to leak oil and that figures to continue here.
Predicted outcome: Bears 28, Cowboys 23
► Fitzpatrick among AFC’s best of the week
Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was among those selected as the AFC’s top players for Week 13 of the NFL season.
Joining Fitzpatrick on the honor roll were Indianapolis linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee.
Fitzpatrick threw for 358 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in a 45-21 win over Tennessee last Sunday to capture the offensive award. His six TD passes set a single-game franchise record and his passer rating of 147.5 was the second-highest by a Houston quarterback, behind only the 147.7 set by Matt Schaub in 2011.
Jackson posted seven tackles and returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown in the Colts’ 49-27 win over Washington to earn the defensive honor. His 35-yard score was one of six touchdowns of at least 30 yards by Indianapolis during the game.
Scobee garnered the special teams nod after kicking the winning 43-yard field goal in Jacksonville’s 25-24 triumph over the New York Giants. His kick with 28 seconds remaining helped the Jaguars rally from a 21-0 deficit to secure the largest comeback win in franchise history.
Others considered for the offensive award were San Diego receiver Keenan Allen, who caught 11 passes for 121 yards with two touchdowns in a 34-33 win over Baltimore; Denver running back C.J. Anderson, who rushed for 168 yards on 32 carries and caught a touchdown pass in a 29-16 win over Kansas City; and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who threw for 370 yards with five touchdowns against the Redskins.
Defensive nominees included Miami linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who notched 16 tackles in a 16-13 victory over the Jets; and Houston’s J.J. Watt, who had three tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown reception against the Titans.
Buffalo’s Colton Schmidt was up for the special teams award after three of his five punts finished inside the 20-yard line in a 26-10 win over Cleveland.
► Bears sign K Feely
With Robbie Gould nursing a quad injury, the Chicago Bears signed kicker Jay Feely on Wednesday.
Gould sat out practice on Tuesday and his status for Thursday’s game in Dallas is uncertain.
Feely has connected on 329-of-398 field goal attempts (82.7 percent) over 13 seasons with Atlanta (2001-04), the New York Giants (2005-06), Miami (2007), the New York Jets (2008-09) and Arizona (2010-13). He has also hit 444-of-446 PATs for a total of 1,431 points.
To make room for Feely, the Bears waived injured wide receiver/kick returner Chris Williams.
► Brees highlights NFC Players of the Week
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ five-touchdown pass performance helped him garner NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for Week 13.
Brees completed 19-of-27 passes for 257 yards with no interceptions for a 140.0 passer rating in the Saints’ 35-32 win at Pittsburgh. It marked his seventh career game with at least five touchdown passes and no interceptions, the most in NFL history.
Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees has won 18 of his career 20 Player of the Week Awards, the most in franchise history. During that span, Brees’ 18 Player of the Week Awards are the most in the NFL.
Also named NFC Players of the Week were Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman and Minnesota special teamer Adam Thielen.
Sherman, the Defensive Player of the Week, had two interceptions and two tackles in the Seahawks’ 19-3 win at San Francisco. He recorded an opponent’s passer rating of 0.0 in throws targeted in his direction, allowing just one of six completions for six yards and intercepting two passes.
Thielen, the Special Teams Player of the Week, blocked a punt and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown in the Vikings’ 31-13 win over Carolina. He also added two tackles on special teams. He was part of a special teams unit that scored two touchdowns on blocked punts. The Vikings are the first team to accomplish the feat in one half since the 1975 Detroit Lions.
► Browns place Austin on IR; sign Draughn
The Cleveland Browns have placed wide receiver Miles Austin on injured reserve because of a kidney issue.
Browns coach Mike Pettine said Austin was hospitalized after sustaining the injury during last Sunday’s game against Buffalo.
“Our thoughts are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery,“ said Pettine on Wednesday. “Miles is a guy who embodies what ‘Play like a Brown’ means and instills that in our receiving corps.“
Austin, signed as a free agent in May, was Cleveland’s second-leading receiver this season with 47 catches for 568 yards and two touchdowns.
The Browns signed running back Shaun Draughn to fill the roster spot.
Draughn will join his third team this season, having played two games for Chicago and four with San Diego. He had 19 yards on 10 carries for the Chargers.
The 26-year-old North Carolina product has also played for Kansas City and Baltimore since 2011 and saw his most extensive playing time in 2012 with the Chiefs when he ran for 233 yards and two touchdowns on 59 carries.
► Titans waive DB Ghee
The Tennessee Titans waived cornerback Brandon Ghee on Wednesday.
Ghee appeared in six games this season with the Titans, recording four tackles and an interception.
In 29 career games, the four-year veteran has 21 tackles and one pick. Ghee played his first three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
To replace Ghee on the roster, the Titans signed defensive back Jemea Thomas off the St. Louis Rams’ practice squad.
► Hoyer to remain starting QB
Brian Hoyer will reportedly remain the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, at least for the time being.
According to various reports, including NFL.com and FOX Sports, Browns coach Mike Pettine decided to keep Hoyer in the starter’s role over Johnny Manziel for Sunday’s game against Indianapolis.
Pettine will likely make it official Wednesday afternoon in a briefing with the media.
Hoyer was benched early in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Manziel stepped in and engineered an 8-play, 80-yard drive that he capped with a 10-yard touchdown scramble.
Manziel ended the game 5-of-8 for 63 yards, forcing the Browns into a critical decision about the team’s future of the quarterback position.
Hoyer completed just 18-of-30 passes for 192 yards and two interceptions before being benched. In the past three games, he has thrown only one touchdown pass and six interceptions.
The Browns are 7-5 heading into Sunday’s contest with the Colts and are tied with five other teams for the final AFC wild card spot.
► Bills end Toronto Series agreement
The Buffalo Bills have ended their agreement to play home games in Toronto.
The Bills had an agreement with Rogers Media through 2017, and had moved a home game from Ralph Wilson Stadium to the Rogers Centre for six years from 2008 through 2013.
However, in March, the two sides announced a suspension of the agreement for the 2014 campaign and on Wednesday decided to terminate the remainder of the contract.
“We greatly appreciate the support we’ve received over the past seven years from all of the tremendous people at Rogers Communications,“ said Bills president Russ Brandon in a statement Wednesday. “We will continue to work hard to solidify our footprint in Southern Ontario. Our fan base in this region remains extremely important to our organization and their support has been well documented.“
The Bills began playing games in Toronto in 2008, matching up against the Steelers in the preseason and the Dolphins during the regular season. The 2013 regular-season game against Atlanta drew 38,969 fans for the Falcons’ 34-31 overtime win.
► The Big Push
One of my very favorite Vince Lombardi quotes goes something like this:
“Gentleman, we have our team now. We have the men we’re going with ... This is the beginning of the big push.“
Just like those Packers’ players under Lombardi, fantasy owners have been pushing all season just at a chance of making the playoffs. For those who have gotten there, the really big push begins right now.
From now through Week 17, my writing will concentrate on just fantasy football in attempt to breakdown every little detail to win owners that elusive fantasy title.
Unlike the Lombardi quote though, owners might not have all the “men” they’re going with particularly at defense.
When planning what defenses to use for the playoffs, owners have to look past the upcoming week and plan ahead. At this point in the season, it is acceptable to have defenses occupy two or three roster spots as long as owners will indeed use them in future weeks.
The Week 14 Defense rankings will appear on our site Thursday, but let’s take a look at the defensive options for Weeks 15, 16 and 17.
The defenses recommended in this article will be available in at least one- third of Yahoo Leagues. Minnesota is actually available in over half of them.
Three of the four matchups remaining for the Vikings are against teams that are in the top half of fantasy points allowed to defenses. The Jets at home this week is a very juicy matchup, and then the Vikings travel to Detroit and Miami. The Lions allow the 14th most fantasy points to defenses and the Dolphins are 20th.
Minnesota finishes the season at home against Chicago, who has the sixth most giveaways this season.
Green Bay Packers
Adding the Packers defense this week is a classic proactive move. They don’t have a very good matchup this week against the Falcons, which could be a shootout. Therefore, no one will be targeting the Green Bay defense to start them this week.
The next three weeks, however, the Packers have nice matchups against the Bills, Buccaneers and Lions. In particular, the Week 16 matchup, when most fantasy championships take place, is extra nice. The Packers are in Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers, who allow the fourth most fantasy points to defenses.
As far as picking up defenses on the waiver wire goes, there won’t be a better matchup than that available for championship week.
The Ravens are available in about 43% of Yahoo leagues and are a middle-of-the-pack fantasy defense this season. The unit has scored double- digit fantasy points three times, but also has three weeks where they scored just one or two points.
Baltimore also has non-favorable matchups in three of the four remaining weeks, so readers may be wondering why even bring them up. Well, if owners can add the Vikings and Packers, the Ravens would work wonderfully in that platoon.
As discussed previously, Minnesota plays the New York Jets this week and Green Bay is going against Tampa Bay in Week 16. Neither one has a really, really juicy matchup in Week 15, and that’s where Baltimore would come into play.
The Ravens face the Jaguars in Week 15, who allows the most fantasy points to opposing defenses in the league. Jacksonville leads the NFL in sacks allowed, 50.0, which is 11.0 more than second place. The Jaguars also have 24 giveaways, which is fifth most in the league. Expect Baltimore’s veteran pass rush to eat rookie Blake Bortles alive.
To conclude, by no means am I recommending sitting the top fantasy ranked Eagles defense against the Redskins in Week 16 or the fourth-ranked Cardinals defense against the Rams in Week 15. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
This list is for owners in the playoffs who have streamed defenses all season long.
As for one last recommendation for championship week: The Browns take on the Panthers in Week 16, who allow the sixth-most fantasy points to defenses. If the Packers aren’t available, the Browns are another great option. Cleveland is available in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues.
The combination of the Vikings, Ravens and then Packers/Browns defenses give owners streaming defenses the best opportunity for defensive production each playoff game.
► Top-25 Men’s College Basketball Game Results
(Wednesday, December 03)
Final Score: (4) Duke 80, (2) Wisconsin 70
Tyus Jones had 22 points, Rasheed Sulaimon scored 14 and fourth-ranked Duke beat No. 2 Wisconsin 80-70 in a marquee ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. Jahlil Okafor and Quinn Cook added 13 points each for the Blue Devils (8-0), who snapped Wisconsin’s regular-season winning streak over non-conference opponents at 23 games. Traevon Jackson led the Badgers (7-1) with 25 points and Frank Kaminsky scored 17. Duke has won each of its first eight games by double digits for the first time in 12 years. It was the first meeting between the teams since Wisconsin knocked off then-No. 6 Duke 73-69 in Madison on December 2, 2009—the Blue Devils’ first-ever loss in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Final Score: (7) Virginia 76, (21) Maryland 65
It’s nights like this that Maryland is probably glad it left the ACC. Malcolm Brogdon scored 18 points and seventh- ranked Virginia never trailed in handing the No. 21 Terrapins a 76-65 loss in Maryland’s first game of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge as a member of the opposite side. The Cavaliers completely dictated this meeting with their longtime ACC cohorts, which ended a 61-year association with the league to join the Big Ten at the conclusion of last season. Virginia shot 53.1% from the field, outrebounded the Terps by a 34-22 margin and led many as many as 18 points to deal newly ranked Maryland its first defeat of the season. Virginia (8-0) did lose leading scorer Justin Anderson to an apparent ankle injury with 9:24 left, the lone negative on an otherwise celebratory night for the Cavs. Anderson tallied 16 points and six rebounds before exiting, with Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill adding 14 and 11 points, respectively, to the victory. Maryland (7-1) struggled offensively all throughout, shooting just 40% and never sustaining any level of comfort against the Cavaliers’ tight defense. Star freshman Melo Trimble finished with 16 points, but most of that total came from the free throw line.
Final Score: (10) Villanova 84, La Salle 70
Darrun Hilliard and Dylan Ennis each scored 15 points as No. 10 Villanova remained unbeaten with an 84-70 win over rival La Salle on Wednesday in the Big 5 opener for both schools. Josh Hart and JayVaughn Pinkston had 12 points apiece with Daniel Ochefu adding 10 and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (7-0), who next face Saint Joseph’s on Saturday in the 2014 edition of the Holy War between the Catholic institutions. Jerrell Wright totaled a game-best 19 points for the Explorers (4-3), who play Temple in another rivalry game on Saturday. Khalid Lewis picked up 17 points and Jordan Price had 10 in La Salle’s third consecutive loss.
Final Score: Iowa 60, (12) North Carolina 55
Mike Gesell’s three-point play broke a tie with 1:16 remaining, and North Carolina missed a 3-pointer in the dying seconds, allowing the Iowa Hawkeyes to leave the Dean Smith Center with a 60-55 win over the 12th-ranked Tar Heels. Gesell made a short jumper after being fouled on a drive through the lane, then sank the free throw to put Iowa up 58-55. Marcus Paige was called for a charge on the next North Carolina possession. However, the Tar Heels still trailed by three when Jarrod Uthoff missed a shot with 13 seconds left. Paige looked to force overtime, but his game-tying 3-point attempt did not fall. Gesell sealed the win with two free throws and finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Adam Woodbury scored 11 points with seven rebounds for Iowa (6-2), which has won four straight since dropping consecutive games to then-No. 10 Texas and then-No. 23 Syracuse on November 20-21 at Madison Square Garden. Kennedy Meeks posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Tar Heels (5-2), who returned home after going 2-1 at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas last week.
Final Score: Notre Dame 79, (19) Michigan State 78 (OT)
Jerian Grant threw the ball away with just over a minute remaining in overtime, Notre Dame’s first turnover in nearly 26 minutes. Luckily for the Irish, it didn’t come back to haunt them. Grant had 27 points and six assists as Notre Dame defeated No. 19 Michigan State 79-78 on Wednesday night in this installment of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Grant miscue came after Denzel Valentine sunk 2-of-3 free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer, pulling the Spartans with 76-73 with 1:33 remaining in the extra session. There was miscommunication between Grant and Steve Vasturia at the other end and Grant’s pass intended for him in the left corner went out of bounds. Travis Trice missed a desperation leaning triple from the left wing with the shot clock running down on the Spartans’ next trip down the floor and Pat Connaughton sunk a pair of foul shots for Notre Dame. Trice nailed a jumper with seven seconds on the clock, pulling MSU within 78-75, but Demetrius Jackson split a pair of bonus shots to put the game away. Notre Dame posted just four turnovers in the victory.
Final Score: (23) Butler 77, Indiana State 54
Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham scored 14 points apiece and No. 23 Butler rolled to a 77-54 win over longtime rival Indiana State on Wednesday night. Kameron Woods added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs (6-1) and Kelan Martin scored 11. Devonte Brown had 16 points and Jake Kitchell scored 14 to lead the Sycamores (3-4), who were coming off consecutive losses to Illinois and Memphis. Butler was coming off a 64-58 win over Big East foe Georgetown on Friday in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament after losing to Oklahoma the day before.
► Pulse of the NBA
The New Orleans Pelicans snapped their three-game losing streak Tuesday with a 112-104 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Kevin Durant’s first game of the season.
The three-game skid for the Pelicans coincided with losing starting two guard Eric Gordon indefinitely due to a torn left labrum.
Gordon hasn’t exactly been lighting it up this season (9.5 ppg), but his presence has been sorely missed because the guys getting additional minutes with him sidelined have been awful for the most part.
Darius Miller got the start in the first game following Gordon’s injury, and was 0-for-3 from the floor and went scoreless in 14 minutes. That performance earned him a seat on the bench for the next two games, and then the Pelicans waived him on November 30.
Austin Rivers replaced Miller in the starting lineup, but that promotion lasted all of two games because of how poorly he played. In his first start, the third-year guard was 0-for-8 in 21 minutes and failed to get into the scoring column. The following game wasn’t much better as Rivers was 1-of-5 from the field and scored four points in 29 minutes.
Luke Babbitt moved into the starting lineup last night with Tyreke Evans sliding over to shooting guard, and produced six points in 15 minutes. But don’t expect too much from Babbitt, who is a very limited offensive player and a liability on defense.
Jimmer Fredette has also been of no help in the limited minutes he’s received since Gordon has been sidelined, going 1-for-7 from the field and scoring three points in 31 minutes.
John Salmons has also seen additional playing time with some mixed results, but can’t be counted on for consistent production at this stage of his career. The Pelicans put up just 89, 91, and 80 points respectively in the first three games following Gordon’s injury, but finally broke out offensively Tuesday night against the Thunder only because they got excellent production from their core players with Tyreke Evans scoring a season-high 30 points, while Anthony Davis had 25, Ryan Anderson 23 and Jrue Holiday 16.
The Pelicans are reportedly considering signing free agent forward Dante Cunningham, but he’s not a good offensive player and wouldn’t give the Pelicans a player like Gordon who can create his own shot.
I think New Orleans should sign point guard Sebastian Telfair, who was recently released by the Thunder and is rumored to be close to returning for a second stint in China.
If the Pelicans fail to add a player who can provide some scoring punch, I think they’ll continue to have their share of games where they struggle offensively, and it’ll also put a lot of pressure on their main guys to carry too much of the load.
One team which certainly doesn’t have to worry about where their points will come from is the Golden State Warriors.
Steve Kerr’s team is third in the league in points per game at 106.5 and boasts the highest scoring backcourt tandem with Stephen Curry (23.7 ppg) and Klay Thompson (20.9 ppg).
But you’d probably be shocked to find out that it’s another Warriors’ player that leads the NBA in scoring per 48 minutes.
That distinction belongs to Marreese Speights, who is having a career year. The six-year veteran is averaging 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in just 15.8 minutes per game, and is shooting 56.6% from the field.
Speights’ performance has even been a huge surprise to his coach.
“I figured he was a guy who could give us a spark off the bench every now and again, but I didn’t see him as our full-time backup center. ... but Mo has been way better than I expected,“ Kerr said.
Speights actually got very little playing time at the start of the season, averaging just over eight minutes per game in his first five games, which Kerr explained by saying “because I’m an idiot.“
The backup big man has had several huge games, including one in which he almost single handedly won in the fourth quarter. Speights scored the Warriors’ first 16 points of the final quarter last Friday as Golden State rallied to win in Charlotte.
“We were struggling to find a rhythm and he came in and dominated, took over the game,“ Curry said. “He basically won us the game. Without him tonight our team doesn’t even come close.“
“He saved us again,“ added Kerr. “It’s like the fourth time he’s saved us. He’s just having a terrific season.“
Speights knocked down 8-of-9 shots in that fourth quarter and finished with 27 points in just 24 minutes. It marked the third time this season he topped the 20-point mark, and on all three occasions, Speights’ point total was greater than the minutes he played. He had 28 points in 25 minutes in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he scored 24 points in 20 minutes in the Warriors’ rout of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Speights has even drew praise from the guy he backs up.
“Mo has been huge for us,“ said starting center Andrew Bogut. “He’s one of the most talented guys in this locker room. He’s very, very talented.“
Said Speights: “I think it shows we got a deep team.“
► NBA Game Results
(Wednesday, December 03)
Final Score: Chicago 102, Charlotte 95
Pau Gasol amassed 19 points and 15 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls finished strong to record a 102-95 win over Charlotte, the Hornets’ 10th consecutive loss. Jimmy Butler and Derek Rose each scored 15 points for Chicago, which squandered a 13-point third- quarter lead before embarking on a 15-4 run in the fourth to put the scuffling Hornets away. Joakim Noah and Nikola Mirotic each posted double-doubles in the victory, with Noah compiling 14 points and 10 rebounds and Mirotic contributing 11 points and 12 boards off the bench. Charlotte received 23 points from Kemba Walker and 20 out of Lance Stephenson, but was badly outshot by the Bulls from the perimeter. The Hornets hit just 2-of-15 attempts from 3- point range, compared to a 12-of-28 mark for Chicago.
Final Score: Washington 111, LA Lakers 95
John Wall scored 17 points and handed out 15 assists to lead Washington to a 111-95 win over the Lakers on Wednesday. Wall was just 6-of-18 from the field, but he set up his teammates and ran the Wizards offense effectively as they picked up their third straight win. Bradley Beal led Washington with 27 points and collected seven assists himself. Marcin Gortat contributed 21 points and 11 boards, and Kris Humphries dominated the glass with 20 rebounds. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 29 points, 15 of which came in the first quarter. Former Wizard Nick Young made 5-of-8 3-pointers on his way to 21 points for the Lakers, whose two- game winning streak was snapped.
Final Score: Boston 109, Detroit 102 (OT)
The Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics both entered Wednesday night’s game riding lengthy losing streaks. Greg Monroe did his part to end Detroit’s slide, but Jared Sullinger was just as clutch to push Boston to a victory. Sullinger scored 10 of his 14 points in overtime to help the Celtics snap their five-game losing streak with a 109-102 win. Jeff Green supplied 32 points to pace Boston and Kelly Olynyk added 20 in a reserve role. Monroe was a force inside down the stretch, and his 29-point effort off the bench was a huge reason his team made a game of it late. His effort was all for naught, however, as Detroit lost its 10th straight game. Andre Drummond deposited 27 points with 14 rebounds and five blocks in the setback.
Final Score: Brooklyn 95, San Antonio 93 (OT)
Mirza Teletovic had 26 points and 15 rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-93 in overtime on Wednesday night. The Spurs didn’t record a field goal in the extra session until Danny Green hit a right corner 3-pointer with 1:38 left, pulling the defending champions within 95-93. Manu Ginobili, though, missed a pair of potentially go-ahead triples in the final 1:06, including one in the final five seconds to seal the outcome. Brook Lopez posted 16 points and 15 boards, Deron Williams recorded 17 points and nine assists and Bojan Bogdanovic added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Nets, who have won four of their last six games on the heels of a five-game losing streak.
Final Score: Atlanta 112, Miami 102
Jeff Teague had 27 points, six assists and three steals in the Atlanta Hawks’ 112-102 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Kyle Korver added 18 points, six rebounds and two steals for the Hawks, who have won four in a row. Dennis Schroder and Paul Millsap tallied 16 and 14 points, respectively. Dwyane Wade ended with 28 points, seven assists and two steals for the Heat, who have lost three of four. Chris Bosh had 27 points an
d 11 rebounds.
Final Score: Houston 105, Memphis 96
James Harden had 21 points and the Houston Rockets rolled to a 105-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night in a battle of Southwest Division powers. The Rockets led for the final 38 minutes of the game and by as many as 27 points in the second half. A 12-0 run at the end of the game made it look respectable for the Grizzlies, who entered play on a five-game winning streak and tied for the NBA’s best record at 15-2. Trevor Ariza and Jason Terry scored 16 points apiece for the 14-4 Rockets, who have won five of their last six, and Donatas Motiejunas scored most of his 15 points during a couple of key runs for Houston. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 15 points and Jarnell Stokes scored 12 off the bench.
Final Score: Dallas 107, Milwaukee 105
Monta Ellis’ jumper as time expired lifted the Dallas Mavericks to a 107-105 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. Ellis, whose season-high 38 points helped the Mavs to a grueling double- overtime victory over Chicago on Tuesday, supplied eight of the final nine points for Dallas to burn his former team. With the game tied after Brandon Knight’s jumper, Ellis drove down the right sideline out of a timeout, spun to his left to gain separation from O.J. Mayo and hit a tough fadeaway jumper as the buzzer sounded to give Dallas its fifth straight win. Ellis had 23 points with seven assists, Tyson Chandler dropped in 18 points with 20 rebounds and Chandler Parsons chipped in with 14 points. Knight paced the Bucks with 25 points and Khris Middleton registered 21 points off the bench. Milwaukee has lost three straight following a three-game winning streak.
Final Score: Philadelphia 85, Minnesota 77
The Philadelphia 76ers finally won a basketball game. It wasn’t pretty, but the Sixers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 85-77, to avoid tying the 2009-10 Nets for the worst start in NBA history. The victory means the 1-17 Sixers don’t have to put their name next to the Nets in the NBA record book of shame. The 2009-10 Nets began 0-18. Sixers forward Robert Covington was an unlikely hero, scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Michael Carter-Williams ended with 20 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and three steals. Minnesota forward Thaddeus Young ended with 16 points and six rebounds against his former team. Young played the first seven seasons of his career with the Sixers and was part of the three-team blockbuster trade that landed Kevin Love in Cleveland and Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett with the Timberwolves.
Final Score: Toronto 123, Utah 104
Kyle Lowry scored a career-high 39 points to lead Toronto to a 123-104 win over Utah on Wednesday. Lowry was 13- of-22 from the field and hit four shots from beyond the arc. Toronto as a team shot 57% from the field and made 12-of-21 3-point attempts. Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez each scored 17 for Toronto, which went 2-1 on a three-game road trip. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter led Utah with 19 points each. Kanter also pulled in a game-high nine rebounds. Gordon Hayward chipped in 16 points for the Jazz, who have lost seven games in a row.
► Pirates ink Richard to minor-league deal
The Pittsburgh Pirates signed left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp on Wednesday.
Richard went a combined 1-2 with a 5.91 ERA in four starts last year between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno in the Diamondbacks’ minor league system.
The 31-year-old veteran was originally selected by the White Sox in the eighth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. He made his big league debut in 2008 with Chicago before being traded to San Diego on July 31, 2009. In 2012, he established a career-high in innings pitched (218.2) while tying his career highs in both wins (14) and starts (33).
Since breaking into the big leagues in 2008, he has posted a career record of 46-47 with a 4.33 ERA in 147 appearances (129 starts).
► Padres, Cabrera part ways
San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera is now a free agent after the team declined to offer him a contract for the 2014 season.
Cabrera only appeared in 90 games last season for the Padres and hit just .232 after making the All-Star Game in 2013. He, of course, was also suspended 50 games that season for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic accused of supplying performance-enhancing drugs
The 28-year-old also ran into some legal problems late last season when he was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. Cabrera faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor.
He is scheduled to be arraigned in San Diego on Monday.
Cabrera wasn’t the only former National League All-Star to hit the free agent market, as the Pittsburgh Pirates chose not offer a contract to first baseman Gaby Sanchez.
Also, infielders Gordon Beckham, Justin Smoak and Daniel Descalso, as well as outfielders Eric Young Jr., John Mayberry Jr., Andy Dirks and Kyle Blanks were not offered deals, as were left-hander Wade LeBlanc and righty Logan Ondrusek.
► Rangers’ Ogando becomes free agent
Texas Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando is a free agent after the team declined to offer him a contract for next season.
Ogando was an All-Star in 2011, but has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons and the Rangers did not want to offer him a contract that would have made him arbitration-eligible.
The 31-year-old right-hander made his debut in 2010 with a stellar 1.30 ERA in 44 games out of the bullpen, then was a 13-game winner for the Rangers in 2011 when he made 29 starts.
After a return to the bullpen in 2012, Ogando had three stints on the disabled list because of arm issues in 2013 and elbow problems forced him to miss the final four months of 2014. He was 2-3 with a 6.84 ERA in just 25 innings over 27 relief appearances last season.
First baseman Mitch Moreland and pitcher Neftali Feliz were tendered contracts before the deadline, while pitcher Michael Kirkman and infielder Adam Rosales were not tendered offers.
► Mariners finalize deal with Seager
The Seattle Mariners have finalized a seven- year contract with third baseman Kyle Seager.
The deal runs through the 2021 season and includes a club option for 2022.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but reports last week indicated it to be worth $100 million.
“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity that the Seattle Mariners have given me,“ said Seager in a statement. “This is an amazing honor for me and my family to remain with such a great organization for the foreseeable future.“
Seager led the Mariners with 25 home runs and 96 runs batted in last season. He batted .268 in 159 games and was named to the All-Star team for the first time while also earning his first Gold Glove.
“As one of our homegrown players it is nice to know that he will remain with us for at least seven more seasons,“ said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. “Kyle has taken a step forward each season since joining the organization in 2009, and has turned into one of the premier third baseman in the game. He has exhibited class both on and off the field and is someone we are all extremely proud of. We are very pleased to announce this joint commitment by the Seattle Mariners and Kyle Seager as we strive toward our goal of winning a world championship.“
Seager was selected in the third round of the 2009 draft and made his debut with the Mariners on July 7, 2011. He has appeared in 520 of the club’s last 540 games since August 2011.
The 27-year-old native of North Carolina has 67 home runs and 251 RBI with a .262 batting average since the start of the 2012 season, his first full year in the big leagues.
► Yankees avoid arbitration with Rogers
The New York Yankees avoided arbitration with right-hander Esmil Rogers on Wednesday, signing the right-hander to a one-year deal.
The deal is believed to be worth $750,000, but he could earn up to $1.48 million.
Rogers was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on July 31 and made 18 appearances (one start) for the Yankees, going 2-0 with a 4.68 ERA. He also posted a 23/10 K/BB ratio in 25 innings.
The 29-year-old hurler broke into the majors with Colorado in 2009 and is 18-21 lifetime with a 5.54 ERA in 192 games (43 starts) for the Rockies, Cleveland Indians and Yankees.
► NHL Game Results
(Wednesday, December 03)
Final Score: Minnesota 2, Montreal 1
Darcy Kuemper stopped 18 shots and Jason Pominville scored an unconventional game winner in the second period as Minnesota clipped Montreal, 2-1, at Xcel Energy Center. Jason Zucker provided a first-period tally for the Wild, who have won three of their last five. Alex Galchenyuk scored a late marker for the Canadiens, who have dropped four of their last five. Carey Price stopped 33 pucks in defeat.
Final Score: Chicago 4, St. Louis 1
Kris Versteeg scored and set up Patrick Kane for two goals, all in the first 5:19 of the third period, as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Wednesday. Marcus Kruger had a first-period goal for the Blackhawks, who returned to United Center following a 5-1-0 road trip and won their fourth straight home game. Antti Raanta made 40 saves in his first start since a 3-2 loss at St. Louis on October 25. Raanta will see his workload increase with No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford sidelined 2-to-3 weeks with a left foot injury he suffered when he missed a step leaving a recent concert. Ian Cole scored the lone goal for St. Louis, which fell to 1-1-0 halfway through its road trip. Jake Allen stopped 29-of-33 shots in defeat.
Final Score: Winnipeg 3, Edmonton 2 (OT)
Mathieu Perreault’s redirection goal came only 17 seconds into overtime and lifted Winnipeg to a 3-2 victory over hapless Edmonton at MTS Centre. The Jets controlled the puck following the faceoff to begin the extra session, and on the dump-in to the Edmonton zone, Evander Kane fished the puck away from the left-wing boards. He dished to the point for Jacob Trouba, whose wrister was tipped en route by Perreault to end the contest. Trouba finished with a goal and two assists, while Dustin Byfuglien supplied the other marker for the Jets, who improved to 2-2 in games decided by the five-minute overtime period. Ondrej Pavelec made 22 saves as Winnipeg has taken three of its last four outings. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Teddy Purcell lit the lamp for the Oilers, who remained winless against Western Conference competition this season. Ben Scrivens stopped 23 shots as Edmonton has dropped 11 straight games.
► Marshall to host 1st meet on indoor track
Marshall University is set to hold the first meet on its indoor track.
The women’s dual meet with Ohio University will be held Thursday night in the Chris Cline Athletic Complex in Huntington.
It will be the first meet hosted by Marshall since the last one was held in 2000 on its outdoor track, which was removed in 2006.
The 300-meter indoor track was dedicated in late October.
Two other women’s meets will be held in January and February.
The track is named after Marshall track and field coach Jeff Small, whose father, Richard, donated $1 million to the Marshall Vision Campaign for Athletics.
|ABC - American Broadcasting Company|
|CBS - Columbia Broadcast System|
|FOX - Fox Entertainment Group|
|NBC - National Broadcasting Company|
|JIP - Joined in Progress|
|DSS - DIRECTV|
|TSN - Sports Network (Canada)|
|SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)|
|RDS - Reseau des sports|
|MSG - Madison Square Garden Network|
|TNT - Turner Network Television|
|TBS - Turner Broadcasting System|
|SNY - SportsNet New York|
|CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network|
|CSN - Comcast SportsNet|
|TCN - The Comcast Network|
|NBCSN - NBC Sports Network|
|NESN - New England Sports Network|
|MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network|
|ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)|
|CST - Cox Sports Television|
|FCS - FOX College Sports|
|FS - FOX Sports Regional|
|RSN - Regional Sports Networks|
|CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting|
|TVG - Horse Racing Channel|
|FS1 - FOX Sports 1|
|TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel|
|* - If Necessary|
|THURSDAY, DECEMBER 04, 2014|
|National Football League|
|Dallas at Chicago, 8:25 PM - NFL Network|
|National Basketball Association|
|Cleveland at New York, 8:00 PM - FS-Ohio, TNT|
|Indiana at Portland, 10:00 PM - FS-Indiana, CSN-Northwest, DSS|
|New Orleans at Golden State, 10:30 PM - TNT|
|National Hockey League|
|Vancouver at Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM - SNET-360, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS|
|Washington at Carolina, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, FS-Carolina, DSS|
|Dallas at Detroit, 7:30 PM - FS-Southwest, Detroit, NHL Network, DSS|
|Columbus at Florida, 7:30 PM - FS-Ohio, Florida, DSS|
|Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM - MSG-Buffalo, SunSports, DSS|
|NY Islanders at Ottawa, 7:30 PM - MSG+, TSN5, RDS, DSS|
|New Jersey at Toronto, 7:30 PM - MSG, TSN4, DSS|
|St. Louis at Nashville, 8:00 PM - FS-Midwest, Tennessee, DSS|
|Colorado at Calgary, 9:00 PM - TVA, Altitude, SNET-1, DSS|
|Los Angeles at Arizona, 9:00 PM - FS-West, Arizona, DSS|
|Boston at San Jose, 10:30 PM - NESN, CSN-California, DSS|
|NC A&T at USC Upstate, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com|
|Baylor at Vanderbilt, 7:00 PM - ESPN U|
|LSU at West Virginia, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2|
|Morehead State at UAB, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN|
|Arkansas at Iowa State, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2|
|TCU at Ole Miss, 9:00 PM - ESPN U|
|San Diego at San Diego State, 11:00 PM - ESPN U|
|Women’s College Basketball|
|Iowa at Louisville, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com|
|North Carolina at Rutgers, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network|
|SE Louisiana at Auburn, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+|
|UT Martin at Alabama, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+|
|Georgia at Mercer, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com|
|South Dakota State at Arkansas, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+|
|Charlotte at South Carolina, 8:00 PM - SEC Network|
|UCF at East Carolina, 7:30 PM - ESPN|
|Olympique Lyonnais vs. Stade Reims, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport|
|EUROPEAN - Nedbank Challenge, 6:00 AM - Golf Channel|
|PGA - Hero World Challenge, 2:00 PM - Golf Channel|