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SPORTS

Page C4 • Sunday, September 22, 2013

Northwest Herald / NWHerald.com

NORTHWESTERN 35, MAINE 21

Northwestern struggles offensively but defeats Maine By SETH GRUEN Chicago Sun-Times Northwestern didn’t play to its potential in any of its four nonconference games this season. That’s not coach speak. At Cal, the Wildcats struggled to finish in the red zone. Against Syracuse, NU struggled to finish off the Orange in the second half. Against Western Michigan, the Wildcats started out slowly. And in a 35-21 victory Saturday against Maine, NU couldn’t generate any offensive consistency. Still, the No. 18 Wildcats (40) are undefeated and clearly talented. Act like it, and all those mistakes might disappear. ‘‘Coach [Pat] Fitz[gerald] has been on us about that,’’ NU wide receiver Tony Jones said. ‘‘We’re ranked, [so] let’s go out there and have some swag. I’ve seen glimpses of it.

AP photo

Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian looks to pass Saturday against Maine in Evanston. Obviously, we just need to play a lot better. Swag is depending on how you’re playing. So I think we just have to step it up.’’

Against Maine, there wasn’t really a doubt the Wildcats would win the game. At times, though, it appeared NU thought the Black Bears belonged in it.

The Wildcats never would come out and say they were the more talented team, but they had to think it. There is a reason the Wildcats were the

ones holding Division I scholarships. As Jones alluded to, there were moments where the Wildcats showed flashes of the confidence they will need to bring to the field when they host No. 4 Ohio State on Oct. 5. It mostly came on defense, though, where they returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Offensively, NU looked frustrated. Throughout the game, the Wildcats struggled to run the read-option, which is the cornerstone of their no-huddle offense. At times, quarterback Kain Colter had difficulty reading when to pitch the ball and struggled to see the pass rush coming. Fitzgerald said he will need to watch the tape to determine exactly what needs to be corrected in the next two weeks, but he said he was confident after what he thought was a solid nonconference season overall.

Jones explained exactly how he would like the offense to exude more self-assuredness. ‘‘Just guys on each other’s hats, celebrating,’’ Jones said. ‘‘Just a confident demeanor about ourselves. But, obviously, that confidence has got to translate over to execution.’’ Because it has next Saturday off, NU won’t practice until Thursday. Fitzgerald said the bye week is well-timed, giving the Wildcats an opportunity to rest and correct their mistakes before beginning to game-plan for the Buckeyes. ‘‘This team needs to start school and get a week off, and then I think we can fix the things that we need to correct and we need to fix,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘I think when you sputter a little bit on offense, I think sometimes the guys start trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s our job to help them and correct them.’’

TOP 25 ROUNDUP

NIU 43, EIU 39

NIU rallies from 20-point deficit for win Tide beats Colorado St; Buckeyes roll By ROSS JACOBSON

rjacobson@shawmedia.com

DeKALB – Eastern Illinois and its high-powered offense pulled out all the tricks and gave Northern Illinois everything it had in the Huskies’ home opener on Saturday. EIU took a late lead as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo found Erik Lora in the back corner of the end zone for 10-yard touchdown and a three-point lead with 9:53 remaining. But on the next possession, NIU running back Cameron Stingily rumbled 46 yards into the EIU red zone, setting up an eight-yard touchdown run by Keith Harris Jr., and the Huskies held on to win, 43-39. It was the 22nd consecutive win at Huskie Stadium for NIU (3-0). “I hope you guys believe me now that that’s the best team we’ve played to date,” NIU coach Rod Carey said. “That team is fantastic. I have an unbelievable respect for them.” Eastern Illinois (3-1) wasted little time getting on the board and EIU coach Dino Babers made it clear the Panthers weren’t going to play it safe, either.

Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com

Running back Cameron Stingily leaves the defense in the dust Saturday in the fourth quarter of Northern Illinois hosting Eastern Illinois. The Huskies won 43-39. Garoppolo completed seven of his first eight passes, including a 14-yard touchdown to Lora, leading the Panthers on a 75-yard touchdown drive on its first possession. After EIU recovered the onside kick, Garoppolo fired a 44-yard touchdown to Adam Drake to put Eastern Illinois up, 13-0. “You don’t beat a team like this playing straight up and playing by the rules,” Babers said. “If you’re going to come up and beat a team like this you’re going to have to bend the rules a little bit and that’s what we were doing.” The Panthers forced a

quick three-and-out, converted its second fourth down of the night, and Garoppolo found Keiondre Gober for a 13-yard touchdown and a 20-0 lead. “I don’t know if it was a slow start by us as much as a fast start by them,” Carey said. NIU’s offense responded with a 60-yard scoring drive, capped by Stingily’s 5-yard rushing touchdown. After NIU’s defense got a stop, Stingily leaped over an EIU defender and stumbled in for another 5-yard touchdown to cut the Panther lead to seven. Stingily finished with 134

rushing yards on the night while Jordan Lynch ended with 235 passing yards and 189 rushing yards. Early in the second quarter, Lynch escaped multiple tacklers, spun away from another defender for a 36-yard run. Lynch then found Luke Eakes for a 3-yard touchdown pass and a 20-20 tie. A late Huskie drive ended in a Mathew Sims field goal to give the Huskies their first lead of the game, 23-20, at the half. “We tried to slow down the [EIU] run first, that was the first thing we had to do,” Carey said. “You have to get [Garoppolo] in situations where you know he’s going to throw so you can come and get after him some.” Harris’ nine-yard touchdown run in the third quarter put NIU up 10. EIU ended NIU’s run of 30 consecutive points with two Garoppolo touchdown passes sandwiched around a Sims field goal, tying the score, 3333, early in the fourth quarter. NIU announced attendance at 23,595, the first sellout since 2003. “It was an emotional game,” Ward said. “The crowd gave us a lot of enthusiasm.”

Coach Kelly: We knew it was going to be this kind of game • IRISH Continued from page C1 The Spartans were flagged for four pass interference calls. “We did what we had to do defensively,’’ Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. ‘‘I felt we played the ball the way we teach them to play the ball. That’s how they played the ball.’’ Irish coach Brian Kelly said the intent wasn’t to draw penalties.

“We want to complete [passes],” Kelly said. “We were getting pulled and tugged.” Not only pass-interference calls made a difference. The game was tied at 10 late in the third quarter, and Michigan State was on the move. The Spartans tried a trick play, with wide receiver R.J. Shelton attempting a pass, but Matthias Farley picked it off. The Spartans also were called for a personal-foul penalty at the end of

the play, giving the Irish the ball at the Michigan State 37. “Anytime you pick off a pass, it’s a definite momentum-builder for your football team,” Kelly said. The interception – and the two interference calls – set up McDaniel’s seven-yard run. “We have an extremely smart quarterback who knows how to get us in good plays and good situations,’’ McDaniel said. ‘‘He made a critical check, and we were able to pin the edge, got fan-

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tastic edge blocking. All I had to do was run through the hole that was there. My job was pretty easy.’’ Michigan State closed the deficit to four, but a late drive fizzled. “We knew it was going to be this kind of game,” Kelly said. “Somebody was going to have to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter. We were able to get the touchdown and hold them from scoring one.”

Johnny Manziel accounted for 346 yards with three touchdowns in just more than a half to help Texas A&M cruise past SMU.

The ASSOCIATED PRESS TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – AJ McCarron passed for 258 yards and threw a 30-yard touchdown to DeAndrew White in the fourth quarter to lift No. 1 Alabama to a 31-6 victory over Colorado State on Saturday night. Kenyan Drake set up one touchdown with a blocked punt returned 15 yards by Dillon Lee and scored on a 3-yard touchdown run for the Crimson Tide (3-0), who led 17-6 heading to the fourth.

No. 16 Miami 77, Savannah St. 7: At Miami Gardens, Fla., Dallas Crawford and Gus Edwards both scored three touchdowns and Miami got into the end zone on its first seven possessions in rolling to a victory over Savannah State.

No. 17 Washington 56, Idaho St. 0: At Seattle, Keith Price

At Columbus, Ohio, Kenny Guiton again starred in place of Braxton Miller, setting a school record with six touchdown passes – all in the first half – to lead Ohio State over Florida A&M.

threw for 213 yards and three touchdowns in less than a half, Deontae Cooper scored his first career touchdown after three major knee surgeries, and Washington routed Idaho State in the Huskies’ final tuneup before the start of Pac-12 play.

No. 5 Stanford 42, No. 23 Arizona St. 28: At Stanford, Calif.,

No. 19 Florida 31, Tennessee 17: At Gainesville, Fla.,

Tyler Gaffney ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Anthony Wilkerson added 68 yards and another score, and Stanford started strong en route to a victory over Arizona State in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.

After starting quarterback Jeff Driskel was lost to a season-ending ankle injury, Tyler Murphy led Florida to five scores in a somewhat ugly game, helping the Gators open Southeastern Conference play with a victory over Tennessee.

No. 4 Ohio St. 76, FAMU 0:

No. 7 Louisville 72, Florida International 0: At Louisville,

No. 20 Baylor 70, Louisiana Monroe 7: At Waco, Texas,

Ky., Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes and Louisville’s defense allowed a school-record 30 yards, helping the Cardinals blow out Florida International.

Bryce Petty threw for 351 yards with four touchdowns and ran 2 yards for another score, and Baylor kept piling up the points in a win over Louisiana-Monroe.

No. 8 Florida St. 54, Bethune-Cookman 6: At Tal-

No. 24 Wisconsin 41, Purdue 10: At Madison, Wis., Melvin

lahassee, Fla., Florida State and quarterback Jameis Winston defeated FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman despite plenty of sloppy play.

Gordon ran for three touchdowns, James White added 145 yards rushing and a 70yard score, and Wisconsin opened Big Ten play with a win over Purdue.

No. 9 Georgia 45, North Texas 21: At Athens, Ga., Aaron Mur-

No. 25 Texas Tech 33, Texas St. 7: Lubbock, Texas, Back-

ray threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another score to lead Georgia over pesky North Texas.

up quarterback Davis Webb threw for two touchdowns and 310 yards to lead Texas Tech over Texas State.

No. 10 Texas A&M 42, SMU 13: At College Station, Texas,

FEATURING

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Early Bird Ticket deadine: Oct. 7

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”Please join us in recognizing this historic moment in time for the McHenry County Historical Society. It will be a grand party for all its members and I wish the Society another 50 years of success in presenting McHenry County History and their dedication to preservation.” Honorary Event Chairwoman, McHenry County Recorder of Deeds, Phyllis K. Walters

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