Lots of offense 'trolls' for Vikings to battle

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Lots of offense 'trolls' for Vikings to battle

The Bears have beaten the Vikings six straight times, prompting Minnesota All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams to suspect they must have a lucky Troll in this place. The Bears also are 27-10 in Cutlers last 37 starts so maybe Cutler is the troll.

He wasnt the only one.

The performance of the offense was nothing close to dominating but it was precisely what has worked for the Bears and represented a step up for first-year coordinator Mike Tice.

The Bears netted 102 combined yards from running backs Michael Bush (60) and Matt Forte (42). The fact that they needed 35 carries to accomplish 100 yards the first time since Tennessee that Bears backs have topped 100 is perhaps less important than that they did need 35 carries because of the commitment to the run it represented.

I think when we stay committed to the run and we block well, were going to be successful, Cutler said. Whenever you get into pass-happy and divert from the run, its hard, especially in November and December.

The consistent use of the run amid the chaos on the offensive line was the biggest reason the Bears allowed zero sacks (Cutler tripped over center Roberto Garza for the Vikings one credited sack), arguably more important than protection schemes, which have failed against Jared Allen in the past.

The Brandon Ratio

Brandon Marshall was targeted on 17 of Cutlers 31 pass attempts and caught 12 for 92 yards, the seventh time this season he has topped 90 yards. Whether that sort of ball distribution is effective in the long run but it pushed Marshall past 1,000 yards (1,017 through 11 games) for the sixth straight year.

Marshall currently has 81 receptions, already tied (with Curtis Conway, 1996) for seventh on the Bears all-time list for single-season receptions. That will change very soon, since Jeff Graham (82) and Bobby Engram (88) are next on the list.

To his credit, however, Marshall is less impressed with that number than the Bears win total.

I definitely take pride in it, Marshall said. There is a great quote out there that says, Dont confuse activity with production. You have to be productive in anything you do in life.

I hope that this is the last place that I catch 1,000 yards. Im really proud to be a Bear and when I look back on my legacy as a football player, I want it to be as a Bear.

Report reveals details behind Kevin Wilson's departure from Hoosiers

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USA TODAY

Report reveals details behind Kevin Wilson's departure from Hoosiers

Indiana athletics director Fred Glass was vague during a Thursday press conference announcing the resignation of head football coach Kevin Wilson, citing "philosophical differences" between the two as the primary reason for Wilson's departure from the football program and refusing to get into specifics.

But new reporting from the Indianapolis Star's Zach Osterman revealed Saturday that multiple investigations and allegations of player mistreatment played a role in Glass' actions Thursday that led to Wilson no longer being the Hoosiers' head coach.

Reports throughout the day Thursday indicated this might be the case, suggesting a similar situation to what played out last year at Illinois, where Tim Beckman was fired a week prior to the start of the season after an investigation found support for claims that Beckman forced his players to play through injuries and held too much influence over the training staff.

Osterman's reporting revealed an investigation into the Hoosiers' football program in the spring of 2015 after a student-athlete left the program and his parents complained to the athletics department. The player, Nick Carovillano, sustained a back injury that the Indiana training staff did not take seriously enough, and it took an evaluation by Carovillano's hometown doctor to determine that he shouldn't be participating in football activities while injured.

Carovillano also said that Wilson's treatment of injured players was demeaning, not unlike some of the allegations at Illinois, where Beckman was said to have belittled injured players.

From Osterman's report:

"(Wilson) would come over and yell at us, saying, 'I’m paying $70,000 a year for you to sit on your ass,'" Carovillano said. "That happened about halfway through the season and carried on to the end of it. If you were injured, he just wanted to make you feel like crap. He just wanted to make you feel bad, so you basically would stop being injured."

...

"It just seemed like I wasn’t welcome there, and I was kind of considered a disappointment to them. I injured myself playing for them. I wasn’t starting at all. Everything I was doing was for the betterment of the team. You get injured, and the whole attitude changes toward you."

After Carovillano's parents made their complaints, Indiana launched an investigation into the program and found that there was no "inadequate" medical care. But Glass felt the need to tell Wilson to change his approach anyway, instructing the coach and his assistants to take a different attitude toward injured players. Glass also ordered the implementation of several changes involving the medical attention given to injured players.

Osterman reported that Glass was pleased with the changes Wilson made and considered the issues to be resolved. Wilson received a six-year contract extension in January, less than a year removed from the investigation into Carovillano's departure from the program.

But new issues popped up last month, according to Osterman's interview with Glass. This prompted another investigation, the results of which are not yet public knowledge. But given that this was not the first time such issues arose in Wilson's program, Glass felt it was enough and that a separation was necessary, that separation being Wilson's resignation.

Wilson resigned rather than getting fired, leaving an eyebrow-raising amount of money on the table. He will be paid his base salary of about half a million dollars for one year, but there was approximately $11 million left on his contract.

Tom Allen, who just completed his first season as Indiana's defensive coordinator, was named Wilson's permanent replacement Thursday evening.

Check out all the details in Osterman's report.

Blackhawks sign goalie with no NHL experience to serve as emergency backup

Blackhawks sign goalie with no NHL experience to serve as emergency backup

The Blackhawks were put in a rough spot on Saturday afternoon when goaltender Corey Crawford had to undergo an emergency appendectomy before their matinee matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers.

With Scott Darling as the lone goaltender on the active roster the Blackhawks signed Eric Semborski to an amateur tryout to serve as Darling's backup for Saturday's game against the Flyers.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Semborski, 23, has no NHL experience and last played club hockey at Temple University and for the Empire Junior Hockey Jersey Wildcats.

According to EliteProspects.com, Semborski had a 4.98 GAA and .844 save percentage in 29 games with the Wildcats.

Both the Blackhawks and NHL Twitter accounts had some fun at the expense of Semborski.