Lake Zurich slows down Simeon; prevails


Lake Zurich slows down Simeon; prevails

Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010
11:08 PM

By Mike Clark
Twelve weeks into the season, someone finally figured out a way to slow down Simeon's high-powered offense.

No. 9 Lake Zurich turned the trick, limiting the Wolverines to one first down before halftime and no points till the fourth quarter Saturday.
Photos: Lake Zurich vs. Simeon

The Bears held off a spirited Simeon comeback to win 17-14 in a Class 7A quarterfinal at Gately Stadium, sending the Bears to the state semifinals for the fifth time in nine seasons. Lake Zurich (11-1) will play the St. RitaCarmel winner next weekend. No. 2 Simeon, seeking its first trip to the semis, finished 11-1.

"They came out trying to run the ball like a lot of teams do," Lake Zurich linebacker JJ Raffelson said. "We have a great run defense and we planned all week for that."

Simeon had four three-and-outs on its six possessions in the first three quarters, which ended with the Bears up 17-0.

"We could have done some things right in the first half that could have changed the game offensively," said Simeon coach Dante Culbreath, whose team came in averaging 51 points a game. "We couldn't execute, we didn't execute the first half. We just got started too late."

Lake Zurich, on the other hand, was clicking on offense all night even though Simeon was keying on senior running back Jacob Brinlee (21 carries, 72 yards). Fullback John Mularz, who suffered a torn MCL in practice earlier this season, gained a game-high 119 yards on 20 carries and Tim Sayre added 73 yards on eight carries.

"People are going to try to take Brinlee away and we've got to be able to have other guys step up," Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said.

Brinlee's two-yard touchdown run with 12 seconds left in the first quarter was the only score of the first half. He scored from a yard out with 6:07 left in the third quarter to make it 14-0.

Lake Zurich's Chris Rantis intercepted Simeon's Robert Gregory (9-of-12, 131 yards) on the Wolverines' next possession and the Bears' Scott Walding kicked a 24-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter, pushing the lead to 17-0.

The Bears' defense came up with another takeaway when Mike Rantis recovered a Simeon fumble. But an 11-yard punt into a stiff south wind set up the Wolverines at the Bears' 30 and Gregory hit Darius Scott with a touchdown pass on the next play, making it 17-7 with 8:13 to play.

A muffed snap on a punt gave Simeon good field position again, and once more the Wolverines converted. Gregory's 31-yard touchdown pass to Scott pulled Simeon within 17-14 with 2:59 to play. But Lake Zurich ran out the clock, getting first-down runs by Brinlee and Mularz.

"The game plan was to run down the clock as much as possible and we wanted to keep Simeon's offense off the field," Mularz said.

Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida


Hawkeyes going to Outback Bowl for fifth time, taking on Florida

Iowa is going back to the Outback Bowl.

Yes, for the fifth time in the last 13 seasons, the Hawkeyes will wrap their campaign with a trip to Tampa and an appearance in the Outback Bowl. And for the third time, their opponent there will be the Florida Gators. That game kicks at noon on Jan. 2.

Iowa and Florida met in the Outback Bowl to conclude the 2003 and 2005 seasons, splitting those two matchups.

This time around, the Hawkeyes are coming off an 8-4 regular season, a disappointing follow up to their 12-2 campaign a season ago that started off a perfect 12-0 before postseason losses in the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl.

Kirk Ferentz has led his team to a bowl appearance in 14 of his 18 seasons, though Iowa has lost the last four of those games, without a bowl win since taking down Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl.

Iowa is 2-2 in its four previous Outback Bowl appearances, beating Florida, losing to Florida, beating South Carolina and losing to LSU.

As for the Gators, they own an 8-4 record, as well, after falling to Alabama in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game. Florida is known for its sluggish offense, one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country.

Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium


Start spreadin' the news: Northwestern to face Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

Start spreadin' the news.

Northwestern is heading to New York for its bowl game this season, specifically the Bronx, where it will battle Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Though it isn't your typically warm bowl destination, the baseball-stadium setting should be pretty fantastic. The game will be played at 1 p.m. on Dec. 28.

The Wildcats reached bowl eligibility with their sixth win in the regular-season finale against Illinois. Northwestern is heading to back-to-back bowl games after missing out on the postseason in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014.

This is just the 13th-ever bowl trip for the Cats, though it's their seventh in 11 seasons under Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern has a 1-5 record under Fitzgerald in the previous six bowl games, though that win is one of just two all-time bowl victories by the program.

This season started slowly for the Cats, who lost upsetting home games to Illinois State and Western Michigan and started 1-3. But Northwestern turned things around with back-to-back road wins over Iowa and Michigan State and finished 6-6. The Cats' offense has been particularly effective this season compared to seasons past. Wide receiver Austin Carr took home Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors and is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award after leading the conference in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Running back Justin Jackson was the league's leading rusher until getting surpassed by just a couple yards by both Wisconsin's Corey Clement and Penn State's Saquon Barkley, who both competed in Saturday night's Big Ten Championship Game, adding to their respective rushing totals.

Pitt has had a pretty noteworthy season. Despite having four losses, it beat two teams that finished ranked in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings: No. 2 Clemson and No. 5 Penn State. The Panthers are coached by former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.