NCAA Roundup: ISU falls to North Dakota

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NCAA Roundup: ISU falls to North Dakota

North Dakota State 38, Illinois State 20

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) Sam Ojuri and John Crockett each rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown, Marcus Williams returned a kickoff a career-long 98 yards for a score, and North Dakota State won the Missouri Valley Conference title Saturday, beating Illinois State 38-20 in both teams' regular-season finale.

Ojuri had 118 yards on the ground, including a 1-yard TD that capped a 21-point fourth quarter for the Bison (10-1, 7-1). Crockett scored on a 5-yard run and totaled 109 yards rushing.

Brock Jensen added two short rushing scores for NDSU, which improved to 11-0 on the road the past two seasons. Jensen had just 96 yards passing, but NDSU rolled up 274 yards on the ground.

Box Score Recap

SIU shuts down Western

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) Kory Faulkner threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score as Southern Illinois defeated Western Illinois 35-0 Saturday in the season finale for both teams.

Steve Strother ran for 90 yards for the Salukis (6-6, 5-3 Missouri Valley), who held Western Illinois to 16 yards rushing and 126 total yards. Kevin Reed returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown for SIU.

Southern Illinois sacked three Western quarterbacks five times, and the Leathernecks (3-8, 1-7) punted 11 times in the game.

Box Score Complete Recap

Eastern Illinois can't slow Central Arkansas

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) Wynri Smothers threw for 335 yards and four touchdowns as Central Arkansas defeated Eastern Illinois 48-30 in a battle of conference champions Saturday night.

Smothers completed 35 of 49 passes and had TDs of 26, 14, 37 and 6 yards for the Bears (9-2), who finished the regular season with six straight victories and won the Southland Conference.

Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo also threw for four TDs, completing 19 of 33 passes for 228 yards. Garoppolo had scoring throws of 17, 37, 14 and 74 yards for the Panthers (7-4), who won the Ohio Valley Conference.

Box Score Complete Recap

Saturday on CSN: Fire go for second straight win with Timbers in town

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Saturday on CSN: Fire go for second straight win with Timbers in town

The beginning of the season was not very good for the Chicago Fire, just ask general manager Nelson Rodriguez.

However, a win against Portland on Saturday would put the Fire, currently last in Major League Soccer with 10 points, back within range of the playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. That’s how quickly things can turn around in Major League Soccer, especially in the weaker of the two conferences.

The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on CSN and coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live. There will also be a Spanish language simulcast on CSN+.

The Fire (2-5-4, 10 points) are coming off a 1-0 win against Houston. The last time the Fire had back-to-back wins was April of last year.

Portland (4-6-3, 15 points) is the defending MLS Cup champs, but the Timbers have not looked like it so far this season. Portland is the only team in the league without a shutout and is tied for the most goals allowed in the league.

Fire coach Veljko Paunovic mentioned the preseason meeting between the two teams as something to use as a reference. The Fire won 2-0 in Portland on Feb. 27, but a preseason win didn’t do the Fire any good against Vancouver, which beat the Fire on May 11.

“We had a great performance in Portland,” Paunovic said. “We learned a lot about them in that game.

“They play as a team. They are very good in transition. They are very good on set pieces, too. A lot of important, individually very good players.”

Fanendo Adi is certainly one of those very good players. The Nigerian is tied for the league lead with eight goals. Diego Valeri and Jack McInerney also have four goals each, with McInerney mostly coming off the bench.

When asked if the Fire and Timbers have similar styles, Paunovic detailed a few of the tactical differences.

“They play very narrow at times, but we are looking for something different,” Paunovic said. “When we have Gilberto, Kennedy (Igboananike), (David) Accam switch positions to create superiority on a different part of the field and especially being in the final third it can give us a lot of advantage. We have very fast, very offensive guys up in front and I believe that can help.”

This will be the first time since the season opener that Accam will be available to play at home. He came back from injury with two appearances on the road and was suspended for the win against Houston. Paunovic could have all three aforementioned forwards play together for the first time since the season opener.

As for who won’t be available, John Goossens and Michael Harrington are out while Collin Fernandez is listed as questionable while still nursing an ankle sprain.

Meanwhile, Portland is short two players who are prepping for the Copa America before MLS goes on break after the weekend. Key playmaker Darlington Nagbe is with the U.S. while defender Jermaine Taylor is away with Jamaica.

Maddon, Cubs giving Iron Man Anthony Rizzo his own 'mini All-Star break'

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Maddon, Cubs giving Iron Man Anthony Rizzo his own 'mini All-Star break'

Joe Maddon took full advantage of the off-day Thursday.

"I rested my butt off," the Cubs manager said.

Maddon wants Anthony Rizzo to do the same, giving the Iron Man first baseman the day off Friday to kick off a holiday-weekend series against the Phillies at Wrigley Field.

Rizzo has played every game for the Cubs so far, appearing in 399.1 innings at first base out of a possible 407.1.

He led the National League in games played (160) and plate appearances (701) last season and has missed only 26 games since the start of 2013.

"This is something I was looking forward to doing," Maddon said before Friday's game. "When I was with Tampa Bay, I used to do this with Carl [Crawford] all the time to try to take advantage of either the front or back side of a day off to give him two days off.

"I think it's great the way it all played out with the left-hander today (Adam Morgan) for them. And then we play consecutively after this — hopefully, barring any rainouts.

"It was a good time to just give him his little mini All-Star break. And then just have him come back fresh tomorrow."

Friday's game began a stretch of 13 straight for the Cubs, who don't have their next off-day until June 9.

Maddon said he wouldn't hesitate to use Rizzo off the bench if the Cubs needed it Friday.

The All-Star first baseman and perennial MVP candidate is mired in a 3-for-38 slump with his last extra-base hit coming May 14 against the Pirates.

Maddon is hoping this day off will help Rizzo recharge mentally, too.

"I'm anticipating a good result, so that moving forward later in the season, maybe do the same thing again," Maddon said. "'Cause it really does rest those guys up."

Maddon is also giving Jason Heyward his own "mini All-Star Break" Friday after playing two straight games coming out of the scary-looking injury in San Francisco last week.

Heyward left in the first inning of last Friday's game and then missed the next three before playing every inning of the final two games against the Cardinals this week.

Maddon said Heyward is feeling OK, but the Cubs just want to play things safe.

"I wanna be a little cautious," Maddon said. "We had a significant moment in San Francisco. We were more worried that it was going to be even worse and it turned out to be good, so why press our luck right now?

"Let's take advantage of the moment. And a lot of times, the schedule tells you what to do, you just gotta pay attention."

In place of Heyward and Rizzo, Maddon inserted Matt Szczur in right field and Kris Bryant at first base.

Maddon forecasted his backup plan at first base last week in Milwaukee the day after Rizzo was removed in the ninth for a pinch-runner in a game that ultimately went to 13 innings. 

Javy Baez was the option then at first base, but Bryant did shift over there for an out. 

Friday, Maddon opted for Baez at third and Bryant at first.

"KB's been really good at third base. Just a little bit more agility there with Javy," Maddon said. "I still like how large KB is at first base, for lack of a better word. I mean, he's big. He's a great target.

"Moving forward, it's kind of interesting to give him an opportunity to do it. This is something when he's 10 years from now, he's probably going to be able to do very easily. For right now, I like the agility of third base with Javy and I like the target at first base with KB."

Bryant has continued his evolution into Mr. Versatility this season, moving to right field in a tough ballpark when Heyward got hurt last week and regularly seeing time in left field and third base.

When asked how he will handle the transition to first base, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year had the same reaction he does to most things — a simple shrug of the shoulders.

"I think I have good instincts on the field, so I'm gonna go with those and hopefully my glove's broken in," he said through a smile. "That's all I'm worried about, really. I think just playing the infield and throwing the ball across the diamond a lot, I kinda see how it works over there and the bunt defenses and stuff like that. I think it should be alright."

Bryant said he's not worried about making scoops or stretches, relying on his hands and instincts and acknowledging that those are both actions in the moment.

Bryant — who has 6.1 innings under his belt at first base in his professional career — also said he feels comfortable wherever he plays and has talked in the past about being seen as a "baseball player" rather than a "third baseman" or "outfielder."

"I've played some first before," he said. "I played my freshman year in college. I actually worked out mostly at first base my whole fall leading up to the season and then I played third base the whole year there.

"I've had some experience there working around the bag, turning double plays, throwing from a different arm slot over there. I feel comfortable with it.

"I like to be a baseball player and I guess this is another one of those situations where I get to kinda show that."

91 Days to Kickoff: New Trier

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91 Days to Kickoff: New Trier

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: New Trier Trevians

Head coach: Brian Doll

Assistant coaches: Jason Dane (DC), Tom Hessling, Mike Napoleon, Bob Spagnoli, Bill Morrison, Bob Bollweg, Pete Collins

How they fared in 2015: 9-2 (4-1) Central Suburban South. The Trevians made the Class 8A IHSA playoff field. New Trier defeated Lyons Township then lost to Homewood-Flossmoor in second-round action.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Trevians finally find a way to wrestle away the Central Suburban South conference crown from Maine South (75 straight conference wins and counting)?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Max Rosenthall, QB Clay Czyzynski, RB/DB Francis Fay

Biggest holes to fill: The Trevians will look to add some depth this fall. New Trier welcomes back 14 returning starters, but five are also two-way starters.

EDGY's early take: Doll didn't need long to get the Trevians program up to speed.  New Trier has experience and talent back this fall, and remains a team the could easily push into the Top 25 team polls.