"Big Dog" keys Meteors victory over St. Rita


"Big Dog" keys Meteors victory over St. Rita

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
11:00 PM

By Michael O'Brien

De La Salle senior Dre Henley calls him "the big dog," but sophomore Alvin Ellis is not supposed to be one of the Meteors' key weapons this season.

Henley, Illinois recruit Mike Shaw and highly-touted sophomore Alex Foster own those roles.

But it was Ellis, the youngest starter on the team, who stepped up and carried the load in No. 5 De La Salle's 67-60 Catholic League North win at St. Rita on Friday.

Shaw was hampered by foul trouble throughout the game. He finished with six points and three rebounds and fouled out with 2:40 left in the game.

"Most people probably wouldn't have expected us to win with Mike putting up those numbers," Ellis said.

Ellis scored 20 and grabbed seven rebounds and scored four in the 9-0 fourth-quarter run that sealed the win.

"I know everyone is criticizing our guards and saying we are too young and inexperienced," Ellis said. "So it's good to be able to step up and help the team get a big win."

De La Salle's young backcourt had plenty of trouble with St. Rita's full-court press. The Meteors (5-0, 1-0) turned the ball over 26 times, which kept the Mustangs hanging around until the fourth quarter.

"We're still getting used to playing with each other," Henley said. "It's still early, that was the first big game of the season."

Henley, who returned to De La Salle after spending last season at Brehm Prep in Carbondale, scored 16 and grabbed nine rebounds.

"It was good to be back," Henley said. "We played last week but this was my first game back in Chicago."

Foster, a 6-7 soph, is developing a significant post game. He finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, including a tomahawk slam on a fast break late in the third quarter that helped turn the momentum the Meteors' way.

St. Rita is playing without its best player, junior AJ Avery who suffered a hand injury four weeks ago. According to coach Gary DeCesare, Avery will see the doctor on Tuesday and could return relatively soon.

The emergence of freshman Dominique Matthews (21 points) has helped the Mustangs stay competitive. Tony Hicks and Cullen Foulks each added 10 points for St. Rita (2-2, 0-1).

Northwestern offense comes to play in upset win over Hawkeyes


Northwestern offense comes to play in upset win over Hawkeyes

Forget everything you thought you knew about the Northwestern offense.

A unit that's looked sluggish through a rough 1-3 start came to play Saturday, scoring touchdowns on three consecutive second-half drives to pull an upset 38-31 win over Iowa at Kinnick Stadium.

Down 24-17 early in the third quarter, the Wildcats scored on touchdown drives of 75, 77 and 80 yards, all the while the defense holding the Hawkeyes to just a pair of three and outs in that same span.

Clayton Thorson hit Austin Carr for touchdowns on two of those drives — Carr had three touchdown catches on the afternoon — and Justin Jackson sprinted away for a 58-yard scoring rush as Northwestern put a two-score gap between itself and Iowa. Even a fourth-quarter score by the Hawkeyes couldn't close that gap.

The Cats piled up a not-all-that-impressive 362 yards of offense, but it was plenty compared to the Hawkeyes' 283 yards. Northwestern out-rushed Iowa, 198-79.

The game started in almost near-perfect fashion for the Cats, with Thorson running in for a touchdown after a long punt return by Flynn Nagel. But the Hawkeyes evened the score shortly thereafter, Akrum Wadley rushing in for a touchdown after a long punt return by Desmond King.

After a field goal, Thorson hit Carr for the first time on the day to put Northwestern up 17-7, but the momentum turned from there. Iowa scored on a short field off a punt, Jay Scheel making a great catch on a C.J. Beathard pass to set up another Wadley touchdown run. Then Brandon Snyder forced a Jackson fumble, and the Hawkeyes turned that into another score, Beathard finding Riley McCarron for a go-ahead touchdown before halftime.

But after an Iowa field goal, Northwestern's offense took over in the third quarter. The Cats got a score to cap a 75-yard drive with Carr making a highlight-reel catch in the end zone. Then the defense forced a three and out. Then Jackson scampered for that 58-yard score. Then the defense forced a three and out. Then an 80-yard drive wrapped with Thorson finding Carr on a crossing route, and the receiver bounced off a would-be tackler to reach the end zone for a two-score lead.

Iowa did score once more in the fourth quarter, Beathard leading a nice 75-yard touchdown drive. But once more the Northwestern defense stood tall and picked off Beathard at game's end to secure the upset.

The Cats looked like a totally different team on both sides of the ball, particularly after an ugly, mistake-filled loss to Nebraska last weekend. The offense was incredibly productive for that second-half stretch, 38 points being the most Northwestern has scored in a game since last September's win over Eastern Illinois and the most scored against an FBS team since November 2014 wins over Purdue and Notre Dame.

The defense deserves a heck of a lot of credit, too, limiting Iowa's offense to just 283 total yards and just 79 rushing yards a week after getting shredded by Nebraska for 556 yards. Ifeadi Odenigbo sacking Beathard four times and doing so in clutch moments, all four of his sacks coming on third down. The Cats had six sacks on the game.

Meanwhile, Iowa continued to have offensive struggles two weeks after falling to North Dakota State and one week after mustering just 14 points in a one-touchdown win over Rutgers. And the defense, as it did in those two games, had more trouble shutting down the run as Northwestern racked up 198 rushing yards.

The win sent the Cats to 2-3 on the campaign, and they have a bye next weekend before a trip to Michigan State.

The Hawkeyes fell to 3-2 with the loss and face Minnesota in the Floyd of Rosedale game next weekend.

Cubs give sneak preview of Game 1 playoff lineup

Cubs give sneak preview of Game 1 playoff lineup

CINCINNATI – Joe Maddon couldn’t maintain a poker face and hide his smirk when asked if there’s a very good chance that this will be the Game 1 playoff lineup for the Cubs.

“There’s a shot,” Maddon said Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park as reporters started laughing. “I’m not a cloak-and-dagger guy.”

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So how the Cubs aligned against the Cincinnati Reds will likely be the group that runs out to thunderous cheers on Oct. 7 at Wrigley Field and faces the National League’s wild-card winner:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Kris Bryant, LF

Anthony Rizzo, 1B

Ben Zobrist, 2B

Addison Russell, SS

Jason Heyward, RF

Javier Baez, 3B

David Ross, C

Jon Lester, P