The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright have agreed to a contract for the 2020 season, increasing the likelihood the veteran pitcher finishes his career with the only major league team for which he has ever played.
The 38-year-old Wainwright was drafted by the Braves in 2000 and traded to the Cardinals three years later. He made his major league debut in 2005 and has been a stalwart for St. Louis the past 14 seasons, going 162-95 with a 3.39 ERA and three All-Star game appearances.
He played last season on a $2 million deal and proved he was still effective, going 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA while helping the Cardinals reach the National League Championship Series.
Wainwright was especially valuable down the stretch. He had a 2.97 ERA in September and a 1.62 ERA in the postseason, where the Cardinals were ousted by eventual World Series champion Washington.
Illinois' Kofi Cockburn was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday, the conference office announced. Cockburn had an impressive debut with the Fighting Illini, averaging a double-double on the week while helping lead the team to a 2-1 record.
Cockburn becomes the first Illini freshman in 37 years to record double-doubles in each of his first two games.
His 10 points and game-high 11 rebounds with 2 blocks came in the Illini's season-opening win over Nicholls State then recorded his second-straight double-double with game-highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds on 8-12 FG in just 23 minutes in the 12-point win at Grand Canyon.
Cockburn was held to just 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks at #21 Arizona yesterday.
Illinois returns to action next Monday.
Illinois' Josh Imatorbhebhe and Sydney Brown were named Big Ten Players of the Week on Monday, the conference office announced. Imatorbhebhe and Brown helped the Fighting Illini upset Michigan State, 37-34, with the biggest comeback in Illinois history after trailing 28-3 in the first half.
Both players shared honors on their side of the ball with players from Minnesota, which beat No. 4 Penn State to remain undefeated. Imatorbhebhe shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with quarterback Tanner Morgan, who threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns, while Brown shared defensive honors with Antoine Winfield Jr., who had 11 tackles and two interceptions.
Imatorbehebhe's four receptions for a career-high 178 yards and two touchdowns at Michigan State were the most receiving yards by an opponent at Spartan Stadium since at least 2000 and the most by an Illinois player ever in the 47-game series history against Michigan State
He had a 46-yard touchdown reception as time expired in the first half and an 83-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter.
Imatorbhebhe hauled in a 37-yard reception on 4th and 17 on the Illini's game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes.
His nine touchdown receptions this season are tied for the third-most in program history, one away from tying the Illinois single-season record of 10 set by Brandon Lloyd (2001) and David Williams (1985).
Brown's 13 tackles included a game-high eight solo stops and a career-high two interceptions.
His first pick came late in the first half to set up an Illini offensive touchdown on the last play of the first half then returned his second interception 76 yards for his first career touchdown during the Illini's 27-point fourth quarter.
Brown was the second consecutive Illini to be named Defense Player of the Week. Dele Harding was last week's recipient after his big game helped Illinois to a runaway win over Rutgers.
Illinois is off this week.
Illinois State senior Zach Copeland has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon.
The award is the first for Copeland, who earned one MVC Newcomer of the Week honor a season ago.
The Oakland, California, native averaged 19.5 points per game during the week in which Illinois State started a season 2-0 for the first time since 2012-13. He made 56 percent of his shots from the field (14-of-25) and 42 percent (5-of-12) from long range. He also pulled down six rebounds, dished out nine assists and had five steals over the two games.
Copeland scored 20 points in the season opener against Belmont, making 8-of-16 shots from the field and 2-of-6 from long range, and he also added five assists (just one turnover), six rebounds, and three steals. Four days later against Little Rock, he scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and was 3-of-6 from three-point distance. Against the Trojans, he dished out four assists and picked up a pair of steals. Copeland is currently the only player in the MVC to rank inside of the top-10 in the MVC in scoring, assists, and steals.
The Redbirds return to action on Sunday, Nov. 17, when the team plays host to the UCF Knights with a 1 p.m. tip-off at Redbird Arena.
With exceptional performances that aided No. 11 Illinois State in a road defeat of No. 4 South Dakota State, junior linebacker Dylan Draka and senior placekicker Sam Fenlason were each named Missouri Valley Football Conference Players of the Week Sunday by the league office.
Draka recorded five tackles, including four solo stops, and tallied three TFLs in the victory over the Jackrabbits. The Wheeling, Illinois, native was also credited with a forced fumble, a pass breakup and recovered a pair of fumbles for the Redbirds. His sack/fumble and recovery late in the fourth quarter set up Fenlason's fourth field goal of the contest to make the score 27-18.
Fenlason tied his career-high with four made field goals in the win over the Jackrabbits, including a career-long 46-yarder to seal the victory.
The nationally-ranked Redbirds (7-3, 4-2 MVFC) return home Saturday to host Missouri State (1-8, 1-5 MVFC) on Senior Day at Hancock Stadium, with kickoff set for noon.
Kentucky is back in a familiar position under John Calipari: No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll.
The Wildcats rose one spot after winning a 1-vs-2 matchup with Michigan State to open the season in the Champions Classic, followed by an easy win against Eastern Kentucky. They earned 64 of 65 first-place votes in Monday’s poll to finish ahead of No. 2 Duke.
It marks the first time the Wildcats (2-0) have reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 since spending two weeks there early in the 2016-17 season.
The same five teams were at the top of the poll, just in reshuffled order.
Duke climbed two spots to No. 2 after winning a top-4 matchup against Kansas at the Classic. The Blue Devils were ranked second on 48 ballots, third on 13 more and no lower than fifth on any ballot.
The Spartans were No. 1 in the AP preseason poll for the first time in program history entering the Kentucky game but fell to third, followed by Louisville — which claimed the remaining first-place vote — and Kansas.
North Carolina, Maryland, Gonzaga, reigning national champion Virginia and Villanova rounded out the top 10.
Twelve teams moved up in the poll, with Duke, Virginia, No. 11 Texas Tech, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 18 St. Mary’s, No. 19 Arizona and No. 22 Auburn all moving up two spots.
Florida and Baylor took big tumbles after opening-week losses.
The Gators had the biggest fall, sliding nine spots to No. 15 after Sunday’s loss to Florida State. The Bears fell eight spots to No. 24 after losing to now-No. 20 Washington in Friday’s Armed Forces Classic in Anchorage, Alaska.
Six ranked teams fell in the poll, though two — No. 21 Xavier (two spots) and No. 23 LSU (one spot) fell despite emerging from the week unscathed.
Purdue (No. 23) and VCU (No. 25) fell out of the poll, though the Rams won both their games last week and trailed Colorado by just 14 points in the voting.
Young sluggers known for their prodigious power, Pete Alonso and Yordan Álvarez knocked the Rookie of the Year voting out of the park.
In a rarity for the major league home run leader, Alonso didn’t land the biggest blow.
Alonso, a star first baseman with the New York Mets, got 29 of 30 first-place votes for NL Rookie of the Year. Braves right-hander Mike Soroka got the other first-place vote and finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Monday night.
Álvarez, a hulking designated hitter from the Houston Astros, earned all 30 first-place votes to become the 24th unanimous selection since the award was introduced in 1949.
The 24-year-old Alonso led the majors with 53 homers, one better than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge’s rookie record from 2017. “Polar Bear” Pete became the face of baseball in Flushing, beloved for his power, personality and philanthropy. He’s the sixth Met to win the award and first since teammate Jacob deGrom in 2014.
Álvarez, a 22-year-old from Cuba, played 87 games after debuting in June, fewest by any position player to win AL Rookie of the Year. He hit 27 homers, batted .313, drove in 78 and had a 1.067 OPS for the pennant-winning Astros. He struggled at times in the postseason, but that was after voting had concluded.
He’s the third Houston player to win, following teammate Carlos Correa in 2015 and Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell in 1991.
Álvarez easily beat out the other AL finalists, with Orioles left-hander John Means second and Rays infielder Brandon Lowe third.
Nico Mannion scored 23 points, Josh Green added 20 and Zeke Nnaji had 19 in No. 21 Arizona's 90-69 rout over Illinois on Sunday night.
Arizona (2-0) was good at both ends, shooting 56% while nabbing 14 steals. The Wildcats turned a tight game at halftime into a rout with a 17-2 second-half run behind Mannion, Green and Nnaji.
Nnaji made 9 of 12 shots, Mannion had nine assists and Green was 4 for 7 from 3-point range.
Illinois (2-1) was able to hang with the Wildcats in the first half of a high-level game with more than two dozen NBA scouts on hand.
The Illini went cold in the second half and struggled holding onto the ball, turning it over 22 times.
Ayo Dosunmu led Illinois with 15 points and Trent Frazier added 14.
Illinois made seven of its first eight shots and Frazier had eight points in the first 4 1/2 minutes.
Mannion matched him, scoring on a 3, a floater, a putback and set up Nnaji for a dunk with a baseball pass in traffic .
The offensive show continued the rest of the half. Frazier had 12 points and Illinois hit 15 of 27 shots.
Mannion had 11 points, Arizona went 16 for 30 and led 39-38 on Max Hazard's last-second 3-pointer .
Arizona tightened up on defense to start the second half and went on an early 8-0 run to go up nine.
Illinois answered with a 7-0 run, but Arizona's freshman took over and the Wildcats scored 15 straight points to go up 68-52.
Illinois went 5:11 without a field goal during the run and shot 10 of 26 in the second half.
Kofi Cockburn, Illinois's 7-foot freshman, finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
Illinois hosts Hawaii on Nov. 18.
Zach Copeland sank three 3-pointers and scored 19 points as Illinois State held off Arkansas-Little Rock 75-70 on Sunday.
Dedric Boyd had 14 points off the bench, hitting 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, for the Redbirds. Illinois State is 2-0 for the first time in seven years. Rey Idowu and Jaycee Hillsman pitched in with 12 points apiece.
Markquis Nowell had 28 points for the Trojans (1-1), hitting 10 of 21 shots with four 3-pointers. Ruot Monyyong, Kris Bankston and Ben Coupet Jr. each scored 10. Coupet topped UALR with seven rebounds.
The two schools were playing for the first time in eight years.
Mitch Trubisky tied a season-high with three touchdown passes, and the Bears withstood a late charge by Detroit with Jeff Driskel filling in for injured quarterback Matthew Stafford, beating the Lions 20-13 on Sunday.
Detroit ruled out the 31-year-old Stafford hours before kickoff because of hip and back injuries, ending his streak of 136 consecutive starts. It was the first time he missed a regular-season game since 2010.
Chicago (4-5) quieted the boos by getting its struggling offense going late in the first half, scored two touchdowns early in the third quarter and hung on to win for the first time since beating Minnesota in Week 4. Detroit (3-5-1) lost for the fifth time in six games.
Driskel threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay to cut it to 20-13 with 5:53 remaining. And he led Detroit from its 10 to the Chicago 25 on the game's final drive. But with the ball on 25, he overthrew Marvin Jones Jr. in the end zone as time expired on a play that would not have counted because of an illegal forward pass penalty.
Trubisky completed 16 of 23 passes for 173 yards in another solid outing against Detroit. It wasn't as good as his performance against the Lions last year in a win at Soldier Field, when the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns.
Trubisky got sacked five times. But overall, this was a positive step for the struggling quarterback.
Taylor Gabriel, Tarik Cohen and Ben Braunecker each caught touchdowns. Nick Kwiatkoski set up a TD with his first career interception.
Driskel finished 27 of 46 for 269 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Danny Trevathan (elbow) left in the first quarter. He ran off the field with his arm dangling by his side after it bent awkwardly as he tried to sack Driskel.
The Bears visit the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday night.
Preston Smith and Green Bay's defense stopped MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey at the goal line as time expired and the Packers defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-16 on a snowy Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Aaron Jones scored three rushing touchdowns for the second time this season to lead Green Bay (8-2), which improved to 5-2 all-time against the Panthers at home. Jones is the first Packers player since Sterling Sharpe in 1994 with multiple three-touchdown games in a season. Jones is also the first Green Bay running back since Jim Taylor in 1962 with multiple three-touchdown games in a season. Taylor did it three times that year.
The Panthers got the ball with 2:25 left on their own 11-yard line, trailing by eight. Quarterback Kyle Allen drove Carolina down the field, including completing a 12-yard pass to D.J. Moore on fourth-and-10 with 56 seconds left. The Panthers also benefited from an offsides penalty with 13 seconds remaining to convert another fourth down. After Allen threw an incompletion to McCaffrey, the Packers stopped him just short of the end zone as time expired. A brief replay review upheld the call.
Aaron Rodgers was held out of the end zone, but the two-time MVP completed 17 of 29 passes for 233 yards, including 118 yards to Davante Adams.
McCaffrey had a relatively quiet 108 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries for the Panthers (5-4), who fell to 6-10 all-time against Green Bay. McCaffrey, who entered the day leading the league in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns, also had 33 yards on six catches.
Allen completed 28 of 43 attempts for 307 yards. He also had two costly turnovers.
The Packers are off next week.
Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist, Robin Lehner made 53 saves and the Blackhawks struck early and then held off the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Sunday night.
Jonathan Toews, rookie Kirby Dach and Brandon Saad also scored. Alex DeBrincat had three assists and Dylan Strome added two.
Kane, Chicago's 30-year-old offensive whiz, clicked with linemates DeBrincat and Strome to key the Blackhawks' four-goal first period. Kane has four goals in three games and 11 points in his last six. He came out flying in this one.
Lehner stole the show at the end as the Maple Leafs took - and the Blackhawks allowed - a season-high 57 shots. That's the most the 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist has faced in regulation.
William Nylander scored twice for the Maple Leafs, and John Tavares and Andreas Johnsson added power-play goals in the third as Toronto stormed back and outshot Chicago 26-7 in the final period. Auston Matthews had four assists for Toronto, which entered on five-game point streak (3-0-2) and lost in regulation for the first time in two weeks.
Toronto backup Michael Hutchinson stopped 29 shots and remained winless at 0-4-1.
The Maple Leafs played without star forward Mitch Marner after he suffered a right ankle sprain in the second period Saturday night in a 3-2 home loss Philadelphia. Marner underwent an MRI exam and will be out of the lineup for a minimum of four weeks.
The 22-year-old Marner has four goals and 14 assists through 18 games. He led the Maple Leafs last season with career highs in points (94) and assists (68) and had a career-best 26 goals.
The Blackhawks are at Vegas on Wednesday night.
The new AP Top 25 poll is out and Minnesota has entered the top 10 following its 31-26 win over Penn State on Saturday. The Gophers (9-0) move up six spots to No. 7 while Penn State falls four spots to No. 9. Minnesota, one of college football's best surprises of the season, travels to No. 23 Iowa in Week 12. The Gophers can clinch the Big Ten West division with a win and a Wisconsin loss to Nebraska.
LSU retains its top spot after beating Alabama 46-41 in Tuscaloosa, but the Crimson Tide fall just two spots to No. 4. Most of the top 25 looks the same after Week 11, but three new teams entered the rankings: No. 22 Texas, No. 24 Indiana and No. 25 Oklahoma State. The Hoosiers are ranked for the first time since 1994.
LSU beat Alabama 46-41 on Saturday in an exciting matchup with College Football Playoff implications. As you'd expect, the Tigers were rewarded in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll as the new No. 1 team. LSU received 55 of the possible 64 first-place votes while Alabama fell from the top spot to No. 4. Ohio State rose up two spots to No. 2 after dismantling Maryland 73-14 without star defensive end Chase Young, leapfrogging Clemson. Georgia rounded out the top five after blanking Missouri 27-0.
The biggest moves, however, came as a result of Minnesota's 31-26 upset over Penn State. The Gophers moved up six spots to No. 7 while the Nittany Lions fell out of the top 10 to No. 11. Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Indiana makes its first appearance in the Coaches Poll since 1994 at No. 25. The 7-2 Hoosiers face Penn State in Happy Valley in Week 12.
Two additional teams entered (or re-entered) the rankings this week: No. 23 Texas and No. 24 Appalachian State. Wake Forest, Kansas State and San Diego State all dropped out.
Domantas Sabonis had 21 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, and Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Wareen each scored 19 to help the Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 109-102 on Sunday for their sixth win in seven games.
Doug McDermott had 18 points and T.J. McConnell added 12 points and eight assists and were the difference-makers as Indiana erased a nine-point halftime deficit by outscoring Orlando 58-42 in the second half.
Evan Fournier scored 22 points to lead Orlando. Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 17 rebounds, and Aaron Gordon added 13 points as the Magic lost for the fifth time in six games.
Orlando had its best offensive half of the season in the first two quarters, shooting 55.3 percent, including eight of 13 from behind the 3-point line. The second half was a totally different story.
Indiana limited the Magic to 35.7 percent shooting, overtaking Orlando with 12-0 and 18-8 runs to start the third and fourth quarters respectively.
The Pacers led 81-77 going into the fourth quarter and pushed the lead to 14 points with a spark from McConnell. The Magic guards couldn't stay with McConnell on the pick-and-roll and the Pacers' backup point guard made them pay, hitting three straight short jumpers.
He also had four assists in the game-deciding run, two to McDermott, who hit seven of 13 shots for the game.
The Pacers erased a 60-51 halftime deficit by scoring the first 12 points of the second half, including six straight from Brogdon at the end of the run. Indiana outscored Orlando 31-17 in the quarter, hitting 12 of 22 shots (59 percent).
The first half was Orlando's best offensive half of the season. The Magic shot 55.3 percent, including eight of 13 from behind the 3-point line. Fournier hit all three of his 3s and four of five shots for 11 points, and Vucevic also had 11 to help Orlando to its nine-point halftime lead.
Jeremy Lamb and Myles Turner were out with sprained ankles for Indiana and the Pacers' reserves outscored their Orlando counterparts 48-31.
The Pacers host Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
Fisher 34, Central A&M 69, F
Greenfield-Northwestern 14, Arcola 23, F
Carrollton 48, Argenta-Oreana 35, F
Athens 24, Camp Point Central 6, F
G.C.M.S. 6, Newman Central Catholic 21, F
Maroa-Forsyth 14, Auburn 16, F
Tuscola 20, Decatur St. Teresa 63, F
DuQuoin 14, Williamsville 48, F
Illinois Valley Central 14, Murphysboro 28, F
Tolono Unity 6, Kankakee McNamara 31, F
Columbia 22, Prairie Central 28, F
Mt. Zion 14, Joliet Catholic 27, F
Rochester 42, Highland 7, F
Troy Triad 13, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 27, F
Lemont 28, Chatham-Glenwood 38, F
Chicago Phillips 20, Normal Community 0, F
San Fenlason kicked four field goals, three in the second half, to lead Illinois State to a 27-18 win over South Dakota State on Saturday in a battle of highly-ranked Missouri Valley Conference teams.
The 12th-ranked Redbirds (7-3, 4-2) scored on four straight possessions and ran out the clock after a missed field goal. Fourth-ranked South Dakota State (7-3, 4-2) had three-straight turnovers after taking an 18-10 lead midway through the third quarter.
After Pierre Strong’s 4-yard run for SDSU’s last points, the Redbirds answered with a Fenlason field goal. An interception by Christia Uphoff led to another field goal that cut the lead to 18-16. The Jackrabbits fumbled the ensuing kickoff, caused by Peyton Jones and recovered by Luke Bennyhoff, and Illinois State went 18 yards in six plays, capped by James Robinson’s 1-yard run and a 2-point conversion. Dylan Draka forced and recovered a fumble on the SDSU 32 and Fenalson kicked his longest field goal, 46 yards.
Illinois State had 302 yards of offense and just one turnover. South Dakota State had 260 yards.
Brandon Peters threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Barker with 5 seconds left, giving the Illini a 37-34 victory over Michigan State on Saturday night. Illinois trailed 28-3 in the second quarter and 31-10 entering the fourth. The Illini had never completed a comeback from more than 20 points behind.
Down 34-30, Illinois (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) converted fourth-and-17, then drew a pass interference flag in the end zone on another fourth-down pass. It was second-and-goal when Peters patiently rolled out to his right and found Barker open in the back of the end zone.
Peters threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns.
Down 28-3, Illinois began its comeback when Peters threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Imatorbhebhe on the final play of the first half. Down 31-10, Imatorbhebhe scored on an 83-yard catch-and-run with 14:48 left in the fourth. Then Reggie Corbin scored on a 6-yard run to make it 31-24.
Michigan State’s Matt Coghlin kicked a 46-yard field goal with 3:17 remaining to make it 34-30. Peters completed a 37-yard pass to Imatorbhebhe on fourth-and-17, and before long, it was first-and-goal from the 1.
The Spartans forced Illinois into a fourth-down situation from the 4, and Peters’ pass to Caleb Reams fell incomplete. But Reams and Josh Butler got tangled, and the Michigan State defensive back was called for pass interference. The Illini finally scored with 5 seconds left.
Kofi Cockburn had 23 points and 14 rebounds, Andres Feliz added 21 points and Illinois pulled away late to beat Grand Canyon 83-61 Friday night.
Illinois (2-0) worked the ball inside to Cockburn early and that opened up the rest of the floor. The Illini led by four at halftime and stretched it to 14 with a big run to start the second half.
Riding the energy from one of college basketball’s best home crowds, Grand Canyon (0-2) kept it close in the first half and made a late run to cut the Illini’s lead to four.
Grand Canyon spread the floor to make a late run and made 8 of 19 from 3-point range.
The Antelopes were no match for the Illini inside, outrebounded 52-26 while giving up 15 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds. Illinois also had a 44-32 advantage in the paint.
Isiah Brown led Grand Canyon with 18 points and Jovan Blacksher Jr. added 14.
Grand Canyon kept pace from the 3-point arc, where it struggled in the opener. The Lopes made 5 of 9 in the first half — they were 2 for 19 against Davenport — to stay within 41-37 at halftime.
Illinois hit its first six shots to open the second half on a 15-4 run, pushing the lead to 56-41.
The Antelopes kept Illinois from running away with it, hanging around before trimming the lead to 71-67 with four minutes left.
If you've got a child playing a winter sport at Clinton High School, put Friday, November 15 on the calendar.
Athletic Director at Clinton High School Matt Koeppel has announced at 6 pm next Friday, November 15, will be the annual meet the Maroons event.
Admission will be either an unwrapped toy or a monetary donation to Kloe's Giving Heart Holiday Toy Drive.
The Maroons start their season Tuesday, November 26 at the Bill Rucks Memorial Thanksgiving Tournament at Mt. Pulaski High School where they'll take on Edinburg. Their other opponents in the tournament will be Buffalo Tri-City and Delevan.
The wrestling season opens at Dee-Mack Tuesday, December 3 with Dee-Mack and Beardstown.
The girl's basketball season opens with the Turkey Tussle November 18 at Clinton High School.
The annual Thanksgiving Turkey Tussle girls basketball schedule has been released.
The round-robin format features two pools with Clinton, Olympia, Dee-Mack and Mt. Pulaski in the "cranberry" pool and Riverton, PORTA, Tri-Valley and Buffalo Tri-City in the "stuffing" pool.
The Lady Maroons take on Dee-Mack on Monday, November 18 at 7:15 pm to open the tournament and their season.
They'll return to action Thursday, November 21 at 7:15 pm against Mt. Pulaski and finish out pool play Friday, November 22 at 7:15 against Olympia.
Placement games in the tournament will take place Saturday, November 22 starting at 1 pm with the championship game at 5:30 pm at Clinton High School.
The Illinois Fighitng Illini are plus-12 in the turnover department on the season, and they’re a league-best plus-11 in their six Big Ten games. That’s a big reason they’ve managed a .500 record in conference play heading into Saturday’s game at Michigan State. A win this weekend would make Illinois bowl eligible for the first time since 2014.
Although Michigan State (4-4, 2-3) and Illinois (5-4, 3-3) have similar records, it feels like they’re moving in different directions. A bowl appearance would be a big step for the Illini. For the Spartans, that’s the bare minimum of what is generally expected under Dantonio. Illinois has won three games in a row, including a huge upset of Wisconsin. Michigan State has dropped three straight and was outscored 100-17 by Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State.
The Illini are on a three-game winning streak for the first time since winning their first six games of the 2011 season. They have not won four straight Big Ten games since a seven-game streak gave Illinois a conference title in 2001.
The Spartans also lost linebacker Joe Bachie, who was declared ineligible after testing positive for a banned supplement. Michigan State said it would appeal, but he’s out for now.
Still, the Spartans are favored by about two touchdowns in this game, which is perhaps a nod to the fact that as bad as Michigan State has looked lately, it was up against particularly tough competition. This week should be a better test of how many problems the Spartans really have.
#8 Fisher (8-2) at #1 Central A & M (10-0), Sat. 1:00 pm
#5 Greenfield-Northwestern (8-2) at #4 Arcola (8-2), Sat., 2:00 pm
#7 Carrollton (8-2) at #2 Argenta-Oreana (9-1), Sat. 1:00 pm
#6 Athens (8-2) at #3 Camp Point Central (9-1), Sat.2:00 pm
#5 G.C.M.S. (9-1) at #4 Newman Central Catholic (9-1), Sat. 6:00 pm
2 Maroa-Forsyth (9-1) at #10 Auburn (7-3), Sat. 1:30 pm
#6 Tuscola (8-2) at #3 Decatur St. Teresa (9-1), Sat. 1:00 pm
#7 DuQuoin (9-1) at #2 Williamsville (10-0), Sat. 2:00 pm
#1 Illinois Valley Central (10-0) at #9 Murphysboro(8-2), Sat. 3:00 pm
#4 Tolono Unity (9-1) at #12 Kankakee McNamara (7-3), Sat. 1:30 pm
#2 Columbia (10-0) at #10 Prairie Central (8-2), Sat. 2:00 pm
#1 Mt. Zion (10-0) at #9 Joliet Catholic (7-3), Sat. 2:00 pm
2 Rochester (9-1) at #10 Highland (7-3), Sat. 3:00 pm
#14 Troy Triad (7-3) at #11 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (7-3), Sat. 2:00 pm
#5 Peoria (9-1) at #4 Oak Lawn Richards (9-1), Fri 7:00 pm
#7 Lemont (8-2) at #2 Chatham-Glenwood)/ (10-0), Sat. 2:00 pm
#8 Chicago Phillips (8-1) vs. #9 Normal Community (8-2) at Chicago Gately Stadium, Sat. 3:00 pm
For the first time this season, Illinois State will travel outside the state lines when it travels to Brookings, South Dakota, to face South Dakota State. The No. 11 ranked Redbirds (6-3, 3-2 MVFC) will look to bounce back after a tough defeat at the hands of No. 9 UNI last week, while the No. 4 ranked Jackrabbits (7-2, 4-1 MVFC) look to win their second in a row after a bounce-back win at Missouri State last weekend.
A scheduling anomaly for the Redbirds in 2019 resulted in the team not having to leave the state of Illinois until this upcoming weekend, when ISU flies to South Dakota to play the Jackrabbits. Five home games and four road contests against in-state foes have kept the Redbirds close to the nest, but that all changes this week when the nationally-ranked Jacks host the Redbirds. So far, the road has been kind to the 'Birds with a 3-1 record including three-straight wins over Eastern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois. ISU has averaged over 23 points per contest in those games and have limited their hosts to an average of just 8 points per game.
Illinois State currently sits at No. 11 in the STATS FCS Top 25 and No. 12 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Four MVFC teams are ranked again in the polls this week, including North Dakota State (No. 1), South Dakota State (No. 4), Northern Iowa (5) and Illinois State (11) . The Redbirds have been ranked in every poll so far this season, with a high ranking of No. 6 in the FCS Coaches Poll.
Patrick Kane had a power-play goal and two assists, and Chicago beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Thursday night.
Alex DeBrincat and Andrew Shaw scored in the first period, and Dylan Strome had three assists as the Blackhawks dealt Vancouver its first regulation loss since Oct. 19 at New Jersey. David Kampf and Brandon Saad added empty-netters as Chicago struck early and effectively managed a lead following a 1-2-1 road trip.
Corey Crawford, who made 36 saves, was sharp when the Canucks got close.
Shaw's power-play score ended his 12-game goal drought.
J.T. Miller and Jake Virtanen scored for the Canucks, who entered on a 5-0-3 run to climb to second place in the Pacific Division. Jacob Markstrom blocked 32 shots.
DeBrincat opened the scoring 6:41 in from high in the slot. After slipping free from rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes, DeBrincat fired as he tumbled and beat Markstrom on the stick side.
Vancouver defenseman Troy Stecher saved a goal when he dropped and blocked Kampf's point-blank one-timer with about seven minutes left in the period.
Shaw made it 2-0 with 1:17 remaining in the first, just 11 seconds after Miller was sent off for hooking. Shaw one-timed Strome's feed from behind the net to finish a quick, tight passing play.
Miller deflected in a power-play goal at 1:03 of the second, scoring with just one second left on Jonathan Toews' slashing penalty. Miller was a parked just left of the net when Elias Pettersson's pass across the creased caromed in off the shaft of his stick.
Crawford stopped Brock Boeser's close-in backhander with 8:02 left to preserve the lead.
Kane's goal, his fifth, with 5:06 left in the third made it 3-1. He beat Markstrom on the glove side with a screened shot from just above the left circle.
Kampf's short-handed empty netter with 2:07 left gave Chicago a 4-1 lead.
Virtanen deflected Alexander Edler's shot from the point with 1:01 left to cut it to 4-2, but Saad scored into an empty net with six seconds remaining.
The Blackhawks are in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Eastern Illinois heads to Music City to face Tennessee State coming off the bye week for the Panthers.
Eastern Illinois fell to 0-9 on the season and 0-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference as the Panthers lost on Oct. 26 to Eastern Kentucky for EIU's homecoming game. EIU scored late in the fourth quarter to lose 33-6. Tennessee State enters at 2-7 overall, 1-4 in the OVC which includes an upset win over then nationally ranked Austin Peay.
Hear Saturday's action at 2 pm on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.