Late Pass Interference call erases would be game winning TD for ND as FSU escapes with 31-27 win

TALLAHASSEE—Jameis Winston prevailed after another week of controversy and threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 2 Florida State to 31-27 win over No. 5 Notre Dame on Saturday.The Seminoles (7-0, 5-0 ACC) used a second-half comeback with the season on the line to topple the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame (6-1) is the last ranked team FSU’s schedule and the win may be its last chance to make a decisive impression on the College Football Playoff selection committee.Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but Winston won the duel in the second half as he completed his first 13 passes against a defense that had Florida State flustered for the first 30 minutes.The Irish moved to the 2-yard line on the final drive, but an offensive pass interference call killed the drive.Florida State said this week it was investigating whether Winston received benefits for autographs being sold online.

Abdullah too tough as Nebraska runs past Cats 38-17

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—Ameer Abdullah had four 1-yard touchdown runs and quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. scored on a 16-yard reception, leading No. 19 Nebraska to a 38-17 victory at Northwestern on Saturday night.Abdullah finished with 146 yards on 23 carries as the Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) bounced back from a 27-22 loss at Michigan State. Abdullah had only 45 yards in the loss to the Spartans on Oct. 4.Northwestern (3-4, 2-2) wasted another big game for freshman Justin Jackson in its second consecutive loss. Jackson had 128 yards and two touchdowns in his third straight 100-yard game.The Wildcats got a scare in the third quarter when receiver Miles Shuler had his head down when he slammed into Nebraska safety Corey Cooper after a short reception. Shuler held up his right arm to acknowledge the cheers as he was taken off the field on a stretcher. The school said he was taken to a hospital as a precaution.Led by Abdullah, the Cornhuskers improved to 3-1 against the Wildcats since joining the Big Ten. The three previous meetings were decided by seven points or less, including Nebraska’s 27-24 win last season on Jordan Westerkamp’s 49-yard touchdown reception on a tipped Hail Mary as time expired.This one wasn’t that close.Abdullah scored three times in the second half and Drew Brown kicked a 33-yard field goal as Nebraska scored 24 unanswered points to erase a 17-14 halftime deficit. Northwestern had just 28 yards in the second half.The four touchdowns set a career high for Abdullah, who also passed Ahman Green for second on the school’s career rushing list. The senior also became the first player in school history with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons.The first half was more in line with the close history in the series. The Wildcats and Cornhuskers were tied at 7 before they combined for 17 points in the final 1:52 of the second quarter.The scoring spree started with a flashy move by Jackson on a 5-yard touchdown run that gave Northwestern a 14-7 lead. Josh Mitchell was going in for the tackle on Jackson near the line of scrimmage when the freshman spun away from the defensive back and went in for his fifth TD of the season.De’Mornay Pierson-El, another true freshman, then led Nebraska right down the field. He had a 46-yard catch-and-run down to the Northwestern 27, showing off impressive speed.After an 11-yard reception for Abdullah, Pierson-El took a pitch on a reverse and threw across the field to a wide-open Armstrong for a tying 16-yard TD.Northwestern got the ball back with a little more than a minute to go. But Trevor Siemian had a 15-yard pass to Cameron Dickerson and found Treyvon Green for 23 yards to help set up Jack Mitchell’s 29-yard field goal with 3 second left.Jackson had 15 carries for 99 yards and two touchdowns at the break, compared to nine carries for 39 yards and a score for Abdullah.Jackson helped NU get off to a fast start. Wearing new black uniforms with an architecture theme, the Wildcats put together a 15-play, 89-yard scoring drive on their first possession. Dan Vitale grabbed two big third-down receptions and Jackson had six carries for 39 yards, including a 2-yard TD with 5:58 left in the first.Abdullah got his 11th rushing touchdown of the season in the second quarter, a 1-yard plunge that capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive. Armstrong set up the score with a 17-yard run to the 1.

Toews OT goal send Hawks past Preds 2-1

Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed breakaway goal at 3:26 of overtime to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.With Patrick Sharp off for tripping, Toews stole the puck from Nashville’s Roman Josi just inside the Hawk blue line. He raced down left wing, cut to the slot and was stopped by Carter Hutton on his first shot, but Toews managed to push the rebound under Hutton’s pads.Johnny Oduya got his first goal of the season in the first period and Corey Crawford had 19 saves.Shea Weber scored his third goal for Nashville and Hutton finished with 35 saves. Hutton was making his first start of the season in place of Pekka Rinne, who started the Predators’ first four games.The Blackhawks outshot the Predators 37-20, finishing with a shooting advantage against an opponent for the second straight game. The Hawks outshot Calgary 50-18 on Wednesday in a 3-2 overtime loss.In this one, the Predators took control of the game for much of the third period with up-tempo skating and persistent forechecking after being dominated through the first two periods and outshot 23-6 after 40 minutes.It was tied 1-all after one period despite the Hawks holding a 12-2 advantage on shots.Both teams scored on their first shots of the game.Oduya connected just 1:49 in when he skated in from the left point and leaned into a low shot from the top of the circle that beat Hutton between the pads.Weber tied it with a power-play goal at 11:17 shortly after serving a cross-checking call and exiting the penalty box. His drive from the left circle appeared to strike Michal Rozsival, then deflected upward and over Crawford’s shoulder.The Blackhawks outshot Nashville 11-4 in the second, and Hutton made several tough in-close saves late in the period to keep it tied.The Predators picked up the pace in the third, forcing the Blackhawks into turnovers in the Hawk zone and tested Crawford. He made a point-blank pad save on Craig Smith 4:45 into the period when both Smith and Colin Wilson were alone in front of the net following a giveaway. NOTES—Rozsival played his first game after suffering a upper-body injury in training camp last month. … Kris Versteeg, who sustained an injury in practice two days before the season opener, has resumed skating. … Hutton started his career in the Blackhawks’ organization, but appeared in only one NHL contest with the Hawks before signing with the Predators as a free agent in 2013. He was 20-11-4 with Nashville last season. … The Predators didn’t arrive at their Chicago hotel until about 2:30 a.m. Saturday following their 2-0 win at Winnipeg on Friday.

Butler three pointer at buzzer caps Bulls comeback from 21 point deficit–again.

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Jimmy Butler hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cap a 20-point fourth quarter and the Bulls rallied from a 21-point deficit with 11 minutes to play to beat the Atlanta Hawks 85-84 on Thursday night in an exhibition game.Butler, who only played 6 minutes in the fourth, had a game-high 29 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field and 12-for-16 shooting from the line.Forward Mike Scott led the Hawks (2-2) with 15 points.Pau Gasol had 11 points and seven rebounds while Joakim Noah had seven points and 13 rebounds. Derrick Rose had 10 points in 20 minutes.The Bulls (3-2) struggled to score for much of the game, managing no more than 17 points in any of the first three quarters before erupting for 38 points in the final quarter.The Bulls also rallied from a 21-point deficit in the first half Monday night to beat Denver 110-90.Tom Thibodeau put starters Butler, Noah and Gasol back in the game midway through the fourth and they led the rally against Atlanta reserves.Butler tied the game at 82 with three free throws with 14.1 seconds left. Dennis Schroder (11 points) hit a driving layup with 1.5 seconds left to put the Hawks back on top and set the stage for Butler’s game winner.

GROBBER’S WEEK 7 NFL PICKS

AFC GAMES:
Cleveland over JACKSONVILLE
INDIANAPOLIS over Cincinnati
SAN DIEGO over Kansas City
NFC GAMES:
Seattle over ST.LOUIS
DALLAS over NY Giants
INTER-CONFERENCE GAMES:
BALTIMORE over Atlanta
WASHINGTON lover Tennessee
Arizona over OAKLAND
THURSDAY NIGHT:
NEW ENGLAND over NY. Jets
SUNDAY NIGHT;
DENVER over San Francisco
MONDAY NIGHT:
PITTSBURGH over Houston
NFC NORTH GAMES:
DETROIT over New Orleans
GREEN BAY over Carolina
BUFFALO over Minnesota
BEARS over Miami
HOME teams in ALL CAPS
Last week: 11-3-1

Bulls fall behind by 21, then wake up and beat Nuggets 110-90

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Jimmy Butler scored 21 points while rookie Doug McDermott added 16 to lead the Bulls to a 110-90 rout of the Denver Nuggets in an exhibition game on Monday night.Kenneth Faried led a balanced Nuggets offense with 19 points. Jusuf Nurkic scored 15 and Timofey Mozgov and Arron Afflalo each added 10 for Denver (1-3).Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson each scored 15 while Nikola Mirotic added 12 for the Bulls (2-2).After trailing early, Denver pushed to a 30-19 lead after one quarter and led by as many as 21 in the second quarter before the Bulls launched a 29-4 run to force a 58-58 halftime tie on Tony Snell’s fast-break dunk with six seconds showing.The Bulls led 83-75 after three quarters and the Nuggets never got closer than eight in the fourth.

Cutler,Forte beat down Falcons 27-13.

Bears at Falcons

ATLANTA—Jay Cutler loves to throw the ball as far as he can.He got plenty of chances Sunday.Cutler passed for 381 yards and a touchdown, Matt Forte ran for a couple of second-half scores, and the Bears picked up another road victory by beating the Atlanta Falcons 27-13.

”We came into it knowing we were going to have to get some chunks,” Cutler said. ”We couldn’t just dink it.”

No problem there. Cutler turned in the second-highest passing total of his career, surpassed only by a 447-yard effort at Cleveland in 2008. He was 26 for 38, an especially impressive performance since six of his completions went for at least 19 yards.

”We did a few things versus man, a few things versus zone down the field,” Cutler said. ”If we can keep mixing it up like that and running the ball effectively, we should be good.”

The Bears (3-3) snapped a two-game losing streak with its third victory in four road games this season, though there were so many Bears fans at the Georgia Dome that this seemed almost like a neutral site. They got to see the Bears become the first NFL franchise to reach 750 wins.After the Falcons (2-4) rallied from a 13-3 halftime deficit to tie the game late in the third quarter, the Bears bounced back to hand Atlanta its third straight loss. Cutler unleashed a towering pass to Alshon Jeffery that went for 74 yards. On the next play, Forte took it in for a 6-yard touchdown.The Falcons went three-and-out, and the Bears finished them off with a 15-play, 87-yard drive. Forte capped the march down the field with a 9-yard scoring burst up the middle.Jeffery finished with five catches for 136 yards. Brandon Marshall chipped in with six receptions for 113 yards.The Bears’ defense also came up with a monster effort, especially since all three starting linebackers and one of their top backups were out with injuries.

”Unbelievable job,” Cutler said.

The Bears outgained the Falcons in total yards (478-287) and controlled the time of possession, holding the ball for more than 36 minutes.Atlanta’s Matt Ryan was 19 of 37 for 271 yards, including a late interception, though he seemed like a one-man team at times. His receivers sure didn’t help the cause, dropping at least seven passes. The depleted offensive line surrendered four sacks. The Falcons rushed for just 42 yards on 13 carries.The loss was a huge blow for the Falcons, who won’t have another true home game until Nov. 23. Three of the next four are on the road, with the only designated home game actually the longest road trip of all – a game against Detroit at London’s Wembley Stadium.Not a good omen for a team that has lost 10 of its last 11 on the road.

”We’ve got a tough stretch coming up,” Ryan said. ”We can’t worry about it. We can’t complain about it. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”

The Bears are doing just fine away from the Windy City.With the score tied at 3, The Bears pulled ahead on a seven-play, 79-yard drive. Cutler went to Marshall for the biggest play, a 47-yard pass to the Atlanta 3. On the next play, Cutler passed to Josh Morgan for the touchdown.Robbie Gould’s second field goal, a 28-yarder with 2 seconds left in the half, came after Cutler directed an 83-yard drive.The Falcons showed some life in the third period. Antone Smith took a short pass 41 yards for his fifth touchdown of the season – all of them coming on plays of at least 38 yards.Smith’s big play was about as good as it got for the Falcons, even though Matt Bryant booted a 54-yard field goal to tie the game. Bryant also connected from 52 yards in the opening quarter.By the fourth quarter, the Bears defenders were whipping up their fans at the Georgia Dome, sending them into raucous chants of ”Let’s go Bears!”

”We travel well,” Marshall said. ”We gave them something to cheer about.”

NOTES—The Bears were missing starting LBs Lance Briggs (rib), D.J. Williams (neck) and Shea McClellin (hand), along with Jonathan Bostic (back), who had been projected to start for Briggs on the weakside. Only Briggs and McClellin were listed as out on the final injury report before Sunday. … Falcons LG Justin Blalock, who had missed the previous game with a back injury, returned to the lineup. … Falcons return specialist Devin Hester didn’t do much against his former team. He had one catch for 23 yards along with 54 yards on punt and kickoff returns.

Hawks explode in third period to rout Sabres 6-2 in Home Opener

The Blackhawks had Brad Richards at second-line center for much of training camp, and then coach Joel Quenneville returned Andrew Shaw to that role near the end of the preseason.Sure looks like a smart move right now.Shaw, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad combined for two goals and five assists, and the Blackhawks used a four-goal third period to beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 in their home opener on Saturday night. ”It is satisfying. Playing with those two guys, you know they’re going to make plays,” Shaw said, ”so I just try to go to the dirty areas and get them the puck and go to the net and they seem to make a lot of things happen.” Shaw, Kane and Saad helped lead the Hawks back from a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference final last season, but the Stanley Cup champion Kings won Game 7 in overtime. The Blackhawks then signed Richards in the offseason, but it looks as if Shaw is right at home playing center behind captain Jonathan Toews. ”That line had a couple of shifts that were pretty impressive in the third period,” Quenneville said. Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis scored in the first period for Buffalo, which lost 3-1 to Columbus in its season opener on Thursday night. Drew Stafford had two assists and Jhonas Enroth had 41 stops. ”In the third period, their star players turned it up a notch and we didn’t,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. Shaw and Kane each had a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks’ fifth consecutive win against the Sabres. Saad had a career-high three assists and Corey Crawford made 21 saves. ”I think we started really well, and we forgot to play defense,” said Marian Hossa, who had a short-handed goal in the third. ”They just kept coming and it was a tie game. But we had more chances and more shots, and eventually we played better defensively.” The game was tied at 2 when Kane one-timed a backhand pass from Shaw past Enroth at 5:58 of the third. It was the first of the season for the Buffalo native, who has five career goals against his hometown team.The Blackhawks poured it on from there. Hossa had a short-handed score at 10:03, Patrick Sharp converted a long power-play slap shot and Daniel Carcillo tapped in a feed from Saad with 2:37 left.Coming off a 3-2 shootout win at Dallas in their season opener, a victory that Quenneville said they stole from the Stars, the Blackhawks jumped out to a fast start against the Sabres.Shaw tipped Niklas Hjalmarsson‘s long shot past Enroth just 59 seconds into the game. Duncan Keith then had another long shot go off the stick of a Buffalo player and into the upper right corner for a 2-0 lead at 2:52 of the first.With the crowd of 22,012 looking for a quick knockout, Enroth settled down and the Sabres went to work on Crawford. Girgensons poked home a rebound to get Buffalo on the board, and Ennis scored on a short-handed breakaway to make it 2-2 at 18:40.Stafford set up the tying score when he intercepted a pass from Richards near the blue line and played it forward to a streaking Ennis, who skated in on Crawford for his first goal of the season. The Blackhawks went 1 for 4 on the power play.The Hawks had a chance to go in front in the final seconds of the first, but Enroth made a great save on Jonathan Toews right in front of the net.Buffalo had the best opportunity in the scoreless second period. After Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad failed to control the puck at the point, Nicolas Deslauriers got loose for a breakaway, but was stopped by Crawford, leading to chants of ”Co-rey! Co-rey!” from the crowd. NOTES—Kris Versteeg and Ds Kyle Cumiskey and Michal Rozsival were the scratches for the Blackhawks … Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon received a standing ovation before he participated in the shoot the puck contest in between the second and third periods.

Irish hold off North Carolina in ‘slug fest’ 50-43

SOUTH BEND—Everett Golson and Notre Dame did just enough to overcome their own mistakes and beat North Carolina.The 50-43 victory Saturday, the highest-scoring game in the 84-year-history of Notre Dame Stadium, wasn’t secure for the sixth-ranked Irish until Ben Koyack recovered the Tar Heels’ onside kick with 47 seconds left. ”We managed to find a way to battle back and get up on them and score 15 points late in the game and get a win,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ”There are many, many things I could delve into, but I would say the thing that points up for me is that our guys know how to win football games. They found a way to win this one.” It marked the second straight game the Irish (6-0) rallied to win in the fourth quarter. Last week, they beat Stanford with a touchdown with 61 seconds left. The Irish are at No. 1 Florida State (6-0) next week. Notre Dame’s last game against a No. 1 team was against Southern California in 2005, the ”Bush Push” game when Trojans tailback Reggie Bush nudged quarterback Matt Leinart into the end zone with 3 seconds left for the winning touchdown. North Carolina (2-4) lost its fourth straight and fell to 0-12 all-time at Notre Dame Stadium. ”I just left a team whose guts are ripped out of them right now,” North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. ”They came here believing they were going to win a football game, and they came up short.” Golson threw three touchdowns passes to overcome his three turnovers, giving him a total of nine turnovers in the past three games. He was 21-of-38 passing for 300 yards. ”If you take away those three turnovers that I had, the score looks a little bit more relaxed. I will do better,” Golson said. North Carolina’s Marquise Williams threw two touchdown passes, ran for another score and caught a 23-yard TD pass from receiver Quinshad Davis late in the third quarter to give the Tar Heels a 36-35 lead.But mistakes hurt the Tar Heels as they have all season. A roughing-the-center penalty on North Carolina’s Norkeithus Otis kept alive a drive that led to a 9-yard TD pass from Golson to Tarean Folston early in the fourth quarter and the Irish added a two-point conversion.Fedora said he was better off not commenting about the penalty, but said Otis told him he didn’t hit the center too early.But Kelly said the Notre Dame coaches alerted officials earlier that North Carolina was doing it.North Carolina was driving when Williams’ short pass was intercepted by cornerback Cole Luke at the 26. That set up Folston’s 6-yard scoring run, his third touchdown. ”That guy played his heart out,” Fedora said. ”He really gave everything he had out there.” Williams rushed for a career-high 132 yards and was 24-of-41 passing for 303 yards. ”We couldn’t tackle him,” Kelly said. ”We had two or three ties where we couldn’t get him down.” Fedora abandoned his practice of rotating quarterbacks. Mitch Trubisky, a redshirt freshman, had entered each game on the third offensive series, but didn’t play against the Irish.Folston finished with 98 yards rushing for the Irish on 18 carries for Notre Dame. Will Fuller had seven catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.Freshman Elijah Hood, who originally committed to Notre Dame, had a season-high 17 carries, finishing with 27 yards. The Tar Heels finished with a season-high 510 yards of offense.The victory ended a streak of 16 straight losses by the Irish when an opponent scored 35 or more points. Golson said the key was the Irish didn’t lose their composure.

Long return does in Cats against Gophers

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

MINNEAPOLIS—Jalen Myrick returned a kickoff 100 yards in the fourth quarter to atone for a penalty on the previous drive and help Minnesota defeat Northwestern, 24-17, on Saturday.Mitch Leidner was 10 for 15 for 153 yards and ran for two touchdowns and David Cobb added 97 yards rushing on 30 carries for the Golden Gophers (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten), who didn’t lose any momentum during the bye week after a convincing win at Michigan.After Northwestern (3-3, 2-1) drove 97 yards to tie the game at 17 midway through the fourth quarter, Myrick raced through a big hole on the left side and out-ran the Wildcats down the sideline for the winning score.Justin Jackson rushed for 106 yards and Trevor Siemian completed 32 of 50 passes for 269 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Northwestern.There was nothing flashy about this game between two throwback offenses that prefer to grind games out on the ground and avoid costly mistakes in the passing game, until Myrick turned on the jets.Cobb averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and Leidner rushed for 31 as well.Leidner was just 3 for 4 in the first half, but one of those was a 52-yard completion to tight end Maxx Williams in the second quarter. That set up Leidner’s second touchdown plunge of the game to help the Gophers respond after Northwestern had tied the game 7-7 on the previous drive.The Wildcats had two scoring drives of 16 plays in the first half and Siemian completed 5 of 9 passes for 55 yards on the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter.The drive started at Northwestern’s 3-yard line, and the Wildcats also took advantage of a pass interference call and two personal fouls to move to the 2-yard line. On third-and-goal from the Minnesota 10, Siemian threw incomplete, but the drive was extended by a roughing the passer call on Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Coach Jerry Kill was also penalized on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct after he slammed his clipboard on the turf and yelled at the officials.Siemian dived in from the 2 on the next play, but the Wildcats couldn’t cover the ensuing kick, which kept them from improving to 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2000.One of the biggest cheers of the day came when the Little Brown Jug was shown on the big screen, a rare appearance in Minnesota for one of the oldest trophies in college football. The Gophers won it for just the second time in 24 games when they dominated Michigan, 30-14, and they had last week off to both celebrate that victory and prepare for an important matchup against Northwestern.The Gophers have winnable games against Purdue next week and at Illinois on Oct. 25, and this victory puts them in nice position to challenge in the Big Ten’s West Division.