NIU rallies against Western Michigan, wins eighth straight


NIU rallies against Western Michigan, wins eighth straight

Northern Illinois 48, Western Michigan 34
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) Jordan Lynch threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more Saturday, leading Northern Illinois to a 48-34 victory over Western Michigan.
Lynch was 18 for 28 for 274 yards and no interceptions, and carried 21 times for 136 yards for the Huskies (8-1, 5-0 Mid-American), who have won eight in a row since losing to Iowa. Lynch threw two touchdown passes each to Tommylee Lewis and Da'Ron Brown. Martel Moore had 120 receiving yards for Northern Illinois.
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Eastern Illinois 24, Eastern Kentucky 7
RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) Jake Walker rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown to help Eastern Illinois beat Eastern Kentucky 24-7 Saturday.
Eastern Illinois (5-3, 4-1 Ohio Valley Conference) took the early lead on Walker's 1-yard run up the middle, but Eastern Kentucky answered with 25 seconds left in the second quarter when Matt Denham scored from 4 yards out for a 7-7 tie at halftime. Denham finished with 95 yards on 25 carries.
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Missouri State 42, Western Illinois 3
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) Kierra Harris threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, Mikael Cooper-Falls added 95 yards rushing and a score, and Missouri State dominated Western Illinois 42-3 on Saturday for the Bears' first three-game winning streak in eight years.
Harris completed just 13 passes and was intercepted three times, but he managed to find Dorian Buford, Trey Kelley and Cadarrius Dotson for scores. Cedric Miller added a rushing score for the Bears (3-6, 3-3 Missouri Valley), who last strung together three wins Sept. 2-18, 2004.
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North Dakota State 23, Southern Illinois 17

FARGO, N.D. (AP) John Crockett's 5-yard touchdown run with 5:23 to play gave North Dakota State a 23-17 win over Southern Illinois Saturday.

The Bison (7-1, 4-1 Missouri Valley), who suffered their only loss of the season in their last home game two weeks ago against Indiana State, trailed 17-10 entering the fourth quarter. Derrick Lang's 1-yard run with 12:38 remaining tied it and North Dakota State used a 11-play, 52-yard drive to score the winning TD.

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Illinois State 33, Northern Iowa 21

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) Matt Brown threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Illinois State beat Northern Iowa 33-21 on Saturday night.

Brown was 22 of 27 for 274 yards and two touchdowns - a 76-yard pass to Tyrone Walker and a 49-yard pass to James O'Shaughnessy. Brown kept the ball and scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter.

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Bears In-Foe: Vikings defense is Purple People Eaters, Part II

Bears In-Foe: Vikings defense is Purple People Eaters, Part II

It's bad enough that Jay Cutler will be rusty and he may not have Kyle Long and Josh Sitton protecting him. But even if all the Bears' offensive hands were on deck, Monday night's challenge would've been formidable anyway.

The Vikings' defense leads the league in fewest yards allowed (279.5 per game), is tied for the league-lead in allowing fewest points (14.0), third in rushing defense (81.7), fourth in pass defense (197.8), and sixth in third-down defense (34.2 percent). And oh yeah, they lead the league in turnover ratio (plus-11), courtesy of their nine interceptions (tied for second), seven fumble recoveries and 19 sacks (seventh-most in the NFL).

It's nice to have quality and depth up front. That's where that push comes from, especially off the edges, with ends Brian Robison, Everson Griffen and sophomore Danielle Hunter supplying four sacks apiece. That trio combined for 21.5 sacks a year ago (when the Bears totaled 35 as a team). And while injury-prone Sharrif Floyd finds himself sidelined again since the opener, tackle Linval Joseph (three sacks) is back playing at the All-Pro level he was at a year ago before an ankle injury slowed him. And Tom Johnson contributed 6.5 sacks a year ago rotating in with Floyd at three-technique.

[RELATED: Bears In-Foe: Purple a fitting color for Vikings' battered, bruised offense]

Reunited UCLA linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are in their second year together in a run the Bears will likely have to deal with for another decade. This is the 11th and final year they'll see Chad Greenway, who's more leader than playmaker now in the middle of that defense.

Ryan Pace, Vic Fangio and position coach Ed Donatell must also be jealous of the Vikings' deep defensive backfield. Top cover man Xavier Rhodes, last year's top pick Trae Waynes and Andrew Sendejo have two picks each. Waynes still hasn't taken a job away from ageless 37-year-old Terence Newman. The Vikes were trying to upgrade on Sendejo, who answered the challenge and should be able to play Monday after departing the Eagles game with an ankle injury he suffered almost taking an interception to the house. It's almost unfair that second-round rookie Mackensie Alexander can't even surpass fourth cornerback Captain Munnerlyn for playing time.

But we must not forget Harrison Smith. The humble Golden Domer, humorously nicknamed "Gangsta White Boy" by Adrian Peterson, became the NFL's richest safety by inking a five-year, $51 million deal this summer, is coming off a first Pro Bowl that probably would've come sooner if not for a couple injuries. Two of his four career pick-sixes have come against the Bears, and Pro Football Focus has him as the only safety to grade positively in coverage, run support, and pass rush over each of the last two seasons.

Special teams

Just as Robbie Gould fell under the microscope of the current Bears brass with last season's rough finish, the strong-legged Blair Walsh probably feels a few more eyes on him after missing the 27-yard game-winning attempt in the frigid playoff loss to Seattle. He's 10-of-13 on field goals this season, 11-of-13 on extra points.

But while the Vikings' kickoff coverage was burned by Josh Huff's return Sunday in Philadelphia, the Bears coverage units have to be disciplined and smart against Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels. Both have burned the Bears more than once before. With more than his seven kick returns, Patterson's 29.9 average would lead the league. Sherels' 14.6-yard return average on punts ranks third in the NFL. He's already returned two for touchdowns this season after burning the Bears at Soldier Field a year to the day short of Monday's contest.

Blackhawks get a point but Kris Versteeg wins it for Flames in shootout

Blackhawks get a point but Kris Versteeg wins it for Flames in shootout

Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the season, but the Calgary Flames were the latest team to punish the Blackhawks’ penalty kill in their 3-2 shootout victory on Monday night.

Kris Versteeg won it in the seventh round of the shootout, waiting long enough for Corey Crawford to be out of position, then slipping the puck past him.

Gustav Forsling was hit along the glass by Lance Bouma in the second period and did not return. An update on his status was not immediately known.

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Brian Campbell scored his first of the season early in the third period, tying the game at 2. Richard Panik looked to have the game winner in the waning seconds, but Brian Elliott stopped the puck with his right skate.

Crawford stopped 29 of 31 in the loss. Elliott stopped 31 of 33 in the victory.

The Blackhawks looked sluggish for a good part of this one, and then their penalty kill once again let them down. Sam Bennett scored the Flames’ first power-play goal just 39 seconds into the advantage. In the second period Sean Monahan buried a rebound for another power-play goal, this one also 39 seconds into the opportunity.