Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Notre Dame can’t get caught up in hype vs. Michigan ]]> Lead story image

There’s a ticker on Michigan’s official football website counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the kickoff Saturday against Notre Dame. The buzz has begun. “I don’t get into all of the hype of the game and things like that,’’ Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson said. ‘‘But at the same time, you have to take care of business, and you have to prepare. Michigan’s got a great football team. It’s going to be a tough one, but I’m ready for it.” This will be the last meeting for the foreseeable future between the storied programs. Notre Dame coach … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:52:36 -0500 <![CDATA[ Les Miles’ praise for Badgers doesn’t ring true ]]> Lead story image

HOUSTON — After the 28-24 comeback victory Saturday night over Wisconsin, LSU coach Les Miles had high praise for the Badgers. “Man, they’re a good football team,” Miles said. “Big, strong offensive line. Guys who can run. Their quarterback is a moxie guy who can throw it. So it would be my suggestion that they could be a highly ranked team and be in great position at the end of the year.” Some nice words, but it’s questionable whether Miles actually believes them. Badgers quarterback Tanner McEvoy (8-for-24, 50 yards, two interceptions) threw the ball so poorly, the only reasonable … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:17:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ Wisconsin burned by LSU’s chicanery, then falls apart in second half ]]> Lead story image

HOUSTON — The situation screamed for a fake. With LSU coach Les Miles, known far and wide as the “Mad Hatter,” often referred to as a “riverboat gambler” — which, by the way, he doesn’t like at all — surprises are always expected. And yet Wisconsin didn’t seem to expect this one. It was early in the third quarter, with the No. 14 Badgers leading the No. 13 Tigers by 17. LSU faced a fourth-and-four from its 43-yard line. Punt? Come on. Instead, upback Kendall Beckwith took the snap from center and dove through the line for a way-too-simple five … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:32:17 -0500 <![CDATA[ Golson dome: Irish QB electrifying in first game back ]]> Lead story image

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Everett Golson couldn’t pinpoint a singular “I’m back” moment. But from the warm ovation he received from the 80,795 fans at Notre Dame Stadium just before his first snap to the last of his five touchdowns, Golson was happy. Happy to have the opportunity again to make an impact for the Irish. And it was quite an impact Saturday. Golson rushed for three touchdowns and threw for two more as Notre Dame opened the season by smoking Rice 48-17. “I felt pretty comfortable from the get-go,” Golson said. “I don’t know if it necessarily showed the … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:32:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Irish punt-return game shows some life ]]>

Notre Dame had 106 yards on punt returns all of last season. The Irish finished with 80 in the 48-17 victory Saturday against Rice. ‘‘It was driven by personnel, and it was driven by wanting to improve in that area,’’ coach Brian Kelly said. ‘‘We’ve improved there. We need to do it consistently.’’ Cody Riggs, a fifth-year transfer from Florida, returned two punts for 49 yards. ‘‘The ones I caught, I was able to look down at the last second, and there wasn’t anyone really close to me,’’ Riggs said. ‘‘The second one there was, but I was able to … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:33:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Everett Golson accounts for 5 TDs in Notre Dame win ]]> Lead story image

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — It’s hard to imagine a team being more eager to get a season underway than Notre Dame was heading into its opener Saturday with Rice in threatening but largely docile weather conditions at Notre Dame Stadium. Endless repetitions under a hot Indiana sun can turn the most meaningful training camp into mind-numbing drudgery. Familiarity might breed contempt among even the closest teammates when they’re running into each other exclusively for weeks on end. For the Irish, an actual game also meant a break from the chatter, angst and speculation that has dogged the team since recent … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:33:19 -0500 <![CDATA[ Illini, Wes Lunt ride strong finish to opening victory ]]> Lead story image

CHAMPAIGN — The Wes Lunt era at Illinois didn’t start with a bang so much as a rat-tat-tat. And perhaps the Illini should count themselves lucky even for that. It just as easily could have begun with a thud. But after following a decidedly unambitious game plan and limping through several mistakes in the first half of the home opener Saturday, the Illini raised the sort of ruckus they had intended to all along, pulling away from Youngstown State in the fourth quarter for a 28-17 victory at Memorial Stadium. The hope was that Lunt, Illinois’ prized transfer (by way … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:32:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Illini defense holds up its end of the deal ]]>

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks’ units have received almost no love in the last two years — and they rarely did enough to deserve much. Not so Saturday. In a stark reversal of roles, Illinois’ defense dug in its heels during a first half in which the offense faltered against Youngstown State. The defense initially seemed flummoxed by the Penguins’ misdirection-heavy offense, but Banks’ crew settled down and — despite spending an inordinate amount of time on the field — held YSU to 169 yards on 42 plays (a stingy 4.0 yards per play) before the break. “We try to build … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:32:44 -0500 <![CDATA[ Northwestern thrown for loss by Cal’s two-QB system ]]> Lead story image

Northwestern looked a lot like it did last year in a 31-24 season-opening loss to California on Saturday. The only difference was how it happened, which was even more alarming than the late-game mishaps of 2013. The Wildcats started incredibly slow, mainly because of Cal’s game plan. The Golden Bears used a two-quarterback system that took Northwestern by surprise. True freshman Luke Rubenzer shared snaps with incumbent starter Jared Goff. Rubenzer carried 11 times for 48 yards. “The two-quarterback thing was something we had no idea because obviously that’s the first time they’ve ever done that,” Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:33:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Trevor Siemian’s accuracy off as offense struggles ]]>

Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian had such a bad day Saturday that coach Pat Fitzgerald couldn’t remember the last time he “saw the ball sail on him like that.” Siemian struggled with his accuracy all game. The senior quarterback completed 23 of 42 passes for 229 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Sieman threw either beyond or out of the reach of his receivers. On other occasions, he waited too long and coverage closed in on open receivers. “All of our offensive skill when we get to the passing game is going to have one of those days that they’re … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:33:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ After suspension, Irish QB Everett Golson rarin’ to go ]]> Lead story image

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Everett Golson felt embarrassed and humiliated. The 2013 season had kicked off, and Golson was miles away from Notre Dame Stadium. Miles away from his teammates and coaches. “I watched the Temple game, and I felt kind of bad,’’ Golson said. ‘‘Seeing all those guys out there, the biggest thing was I saw [tailback] Amir [Carlisle] break off on a run, and it really sunk in, ‘I’m not there.’  ‘‘And the Michigan game, it tore me up just for the simple fact that they lost, and the competitor in me always felt like maybe I could … ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:14:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ LSU’s Leonard Fournette should be a sight to behold ]]> Lead story image

HOUSTON — The sweet stench of college football is in the air, in our lungs, in our eyes and hair and maybe even on the bottoms of our shoes. Take a whiff of the 10 things I’ll be looking for on the first Saturday of the season: 1. Can’t wait to see the first collegiate steps of the next big thing, LSU freshman running back Leonard Fournette. The Tigers are facing Wisconsin in Houston in what should be an extraordinarily physical affair, and Fournette continues to be likened to Adrian Peterson — and Bo Jackson — for his brutish running … ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:13:51 -0500 <![CDATA[ Eilar Hardy suspended by Notre Dame during investigation ]]> Lead story image

Notre Dame’s investigation into suspected academic dishonesty is complete. And another player will have to sit while the program waits for a final verdict. Safety Eilar Hardy became the fifth Notre Dame football player to be held out of practice and games as part of the university’s investigation, a school official confirmed Thursday. The next steps, according to coach Brian Kelly, are that the players will be presented with the charge or inquiry, followed by hearings in front of the honor code committee. “For our football team, we feel like this brings a big part of closure for us so … ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:25:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ No Venric Mark, just question marks for Northwestern ]]> Lead story image

What happens to a team when it loses its only All-American? Well, how about Northwestern in 2013? It lost running back Venric Mark, an All-America punt returner, for the season and had a 1-7 conference record. Does that mean much of the same for 2014 now that Mark has transferred? Adding injury to insult, Christian Jones, the team’s most sure-handed receiver, was lost for the season because of a knee injury. So the Wildcats will have to find someway — or someone — to make up for his big-play ability. Welcome to Evanston, Miles Shuler. The onetime four-star recruit who … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:25:13 -0500 <![CDATA[ Joel Bouagnon scores 4 TDs as NIU extends streak to 27 games ]]> Lead story image

Northern Illinois’ home winning streak grew to a longest-in-the-nation 27 games Thursday night in DeKalb as the Huskies routed Presbyterian 55-3 in their season opener behind four touchdowns by sophomore tailback Joel Bouagnon. Akeem Daniels had a game-high 118 yards rushing on 15 carries for NIU, which amassed 635 yards of total offense and led 34-0 at the half. E. Illinois falls at Minnesota Mitch Leidner (9-for-17, 144 yards) ran for two touchdowns and threw to Donovahn Jones for another, leading host Minnesota to a season-opening 42-20 win over Eastern Illinois in the teams’ first meeting. David Cobb carried 14 … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:34:57 -0500 <![CDATA[ Big Game Hunting: Wisconsin vs. LSU in Week 1 ]]> Lead story image

STEVE GREENBERG: Based on the physical natures of both programs, Wisconsin-LSU in Houston might be judged going in as a pretty fair fight. ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:34:57 -0500