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QB Justin Fields rallies the Chicago Bears in the 2nd half for a 19-10 win in rainy conditions at Soldier Field

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Qb Justin Fields Rallies The Chicago Bears In The 2Nd Half For A 19-10 Win In Rainy Conditions At Soldier Field
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Equanimeous St. Brown whipped the football at the wall behind the end zone in celebration early in the fourth quarter Sunday.

The Chicago Bears wide receiver caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Justin Fields in stride, and the burst of energy within Soldier Field at the team’s first lead of the game was immediate.

The Bears started slow with a scoreless first half but roared back after halftime for a 19-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

After a 2.8 passer rating at halftime, Fields rebounded to finish 8-for-17 for 121 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and an 85.7 passer rating. Bears players slid in a puddle-filled end zone at the end of the upset to celebrate.

Fields found a wide open Dante Pettis for a 51-yard touchdown catch, and Khalil Herbert added a 3-yard touchdown run to lead the Bears surge.

Veteran Bears safety Eddie Jackson had his first interception since Dec. 29, 2019, and returned it 26 yards to set up Herbert’s run, which put the Bears ahead 19-10.

Before St. Brown’s catch, Fields opened the 84-yard touchdown drive with a 22-yard pass to Byron Pringle. An unnecessary roughness call on 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair for a hit on Fields gave the Bears a boost.

Fields found Darnell Mooney for the first time in the game on an 8-yard pass to get the Bears to the 18-yard-line before the touchdown.

One drive earlier, Fields escaped sack attempts from Arik Armstead and Charles Omenihu and looked up to find Pettis wide open on the right side of the field with only open field to the end zone. Pettis caught the lofted pass and ran 30 yards to the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown.

The Bears defense held the 49ers to only a field goal in the second half.

The 49ers got to a second-and-goal at the 2-yard line on their opening drive of the second half. But safety Jaquan Brisker stopped running back Jeff Wilson Jr. for a loss of 2 yards and Dominique Robinson and Roquan Smith combined to sack quarterback Trey Lance on third down.

The 49ers went to kicker Robbie Gould, who made a 25-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.

The 49ers were playing without three-time Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle and starting running back Elijah Mitchell, who left in the first half with a knee injury and didn’t return.

On a rain-soaked day, Bears kicker Cairo Santos missed two extra points, and holder Trenton Gill was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for bringing a towel onto the field to dry it before a Santos 47-yard field-goal attempt. The penalty pushed the Bears out of field-goal range.

Here’s how the day played out.

Weather report

It’s setting up to be a sloppy season opener for the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field today.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Chicago, Naperville and Cicero until 12:15 p.m. Sunday.

Earlier this week, the Bears resodded Soldier Field with Bermuda grass, replacing the old Kentucky bluegrass. Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the change was in the works for some time, though it wasn’t implemented until after Soldier Field hosted German metal band Rammstein’s concert last week.

Inactives for Week 1

Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. will miss the season opener with a hamstring injury after sitting out practice most of the week.

New offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, whom the Bears claimed off waivers on Aug. 31, also is inactive as he gets up to speed. Other waivers claims that are inactive are defensive lineman Kingsley Jonathan and tight end Trevon Wesco. Rookie offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter and safety Elijah Hicks also are inactive.

Rookie defensive end Dominique Robinson, who was battling a knee injury, is active.

For the San Francisco 49ers, tight end George Kittle is out with a groin injury and offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill is out with a hamstring injury.

Quarterback Brock Purdy, offensive lineman Nick Zakelj, running back Tyrion Davis-Price, wide receiver Danny Gray and defensive lineman Jordan Willis are also inactive.

Halftime: 49ers 7, Bears 0

The new Bears offense didn’t get off to a rousing start in the first half of the season opener against the 49ers at Soldier Field

The Bears had just 68 net yards of offense as the 49ers inched to a 7-0 halftime lead.

The Bears looked like they would avoid being shut out late in the second quarter. But as kicker Cairo Santos set up for a 47-yard field goal in the final minute, rookie holder/punter Trenton Gill brought a towel onto the field to dry the field, which officials said is illegal. Gill was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, pushing the Bears out of field goal range and forcing them to punt.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed 3 of 9 passes for 19 yards, an interception and a 2.8 passer rating. He also had five carries for 25 yards. He was sacked twice.

Deebo Samuel’s 6-yard touchdown run gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead with 10:11 to play in the second quarter.

The Bears had the 49ers in a third-and-3 situation at the 8-yard line. But defensive tackle Justin Jones committed a neutral zone infraction, giving the 49ers first-and-4 at the 4. Samuel scored two plays later.

The 52-yard 49ers drive included a 20-yard pass from Trey Lance to Ray-Ray McCloud.

The Bears defense got its first takeaway of the season earlier in the game on a Samuel carry. Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson punched the ball out of Samuel’s hands, and rookie safety Jaquan Brisker recovered it.

But the Bears gave the ball back on the following drive when 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga jumped in front of Fields’ pass intended for Darnell Mooney and returned the interception 6 yards.

While running back David Montgomery worked in the majority of drives, Khalil Herbert got some work and finished with five carries for 27 yards. Montgomery had nine carries for 13 yards.

The Bears’ starting offensive was left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Cody Whitehair, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom. But Lucas Patrick replaced Jenkins on a couple of first-half drives.

The Bears used Trestan Ebner on the opening kickoff return and Dante Pettis on punt returns.

Q&A with McCaskey and Phillips

Bears Chairman George McCaskey and Ted Phillips sat down Friday with the Tribune and a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times to address some of the many questions that come with the search for a new team president.

Here are some of their answers on what the Bears are looking for in the next president, how the Arlington project will be handled as Phillips prepares to depart, how Phillips views his tenure and more. Read more here.

  • George McCaskey doesn’t ‘anticipate any change in the structure’ as the Bears look for a new team president. But will it be a ‘football person’ this time?

Here’s the latest on the possible stadium move to Arlington Heights.

  • Bears promise ‘first-class experience’ for fans during stadium meeting in Arlington Heights
  • Will the Bears leave Soldier Field? Here’s what to know.
  • Bears show renderings for enclosed stadium complex in Arlington Heights
  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveils Soldier Field dome plan, among 3 proposals to keep Bears from departing for Arlington Heights
  • What would a potential new Bears stadium be like? Here’s a look at the 7 newest NFL stadiums, from capacity to best amenities.
  • A Bears move may leave thousands of fans with worthless Soldier Field seat licenses
  • What are the costs if the Bears bail on Chicago for Arlington Heights?
  • A Bears move would be a ‘win-win’ to many. But about that traffic and construction …

Justin Fields in Year 2

In the quest to establish Justin Fields as their no-doubt franchise quarterback, the Bears have to set him up for success and keep him in the proper mindset.

There’s more to that than it sounds. For Fields to stay properly calibrated, he must remain in tune with his preparation responsibilities — for himself and the team. He also must have a strong feel for what his new offensive system asks while trusting what each play is designed to accomplish. Read more here.

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Tony La Russa will not return to manage this season, and the Chicago White Sox will address his status for 2023 ‘when it’s appropriate’

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Tony La Russa Will Not Return To Manage This Season, And The Chicago White Sox Will Address His Status For 2023 ‘When It’s Appropriate’
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Manager Tony La Russa will not return this season at the direction of his doctors, the Chicago White Sox announced Saturday.

“After undergoing additional testing and medical procedures over the past week, doctors for Tony La Russa have directed him to not return as manager of the Chicago White Sox for the remainder of the 2022 season,” the Sox said in a statement.

Added general manager Rick Hahn at Guaranteed Rate Field: “I did speak to him (Saturday) morning and he had no issue with us letting everybody know that there is a treatment protocol in place that he plans on adhering to. …

“As for the inevitable question, ‘Well, what does that mean for next season?’ We are going to finish up this season first and then address everything when it’s appropriate to turn the page at the end of this year.”

Bench coach Miguel Cairo will remain the acting manager for the rest of the season.

“I talked to him (Friday) night, he’s doing good,” Cairo said of La Russa. “First is health. That’s the most important right now.

“We’ve got a job to do — we’ve got to finish strong. I talked to the players (before Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers), I let them know and it’s 11 more games, let’s finish strong.”

The Sox have been without La Russa, 77, since Aug. 30, when they announced less than an hour before a game against the Kansas City Royals that he would not manage that night. The next day the Sox said La Russa was out indefinitely and would undergo further testing with doctors in Arizona.

La Russa received clearance to attend a ceremony for former pitcher Dave Stewart on Sept. 11 in Oakland, Calif.

“Health ain’t nothing to mess with,” La Russa said before the event. “I got checked in Chicago and the reason I flew to Arizona is because that’s been the place since the ‘90s I’ve had physicals. They addressed it, they fixed it, now it’s just a question of regaining strength. Don’t mess with health.”

He told Janie McCauley of the Associated Press he had a pacemaker inserted for his heart.

La Russa flew to Chicago with the team after the A’s game and was in attendance for the next series against the Colorado Rockies, watching from a suite. He did not travel with the team for the ensuing trip to Cleveland and Detroit.

He is in the second season of his second stint with the Sox, who have hovered around .500 most of the season and are on the verge of missing the playoffs. They entered Saturday at 76-75 and eight games behind the first-place Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central.

La Russa is second all time among major-league managers in victories. The 2014 Hall of Fame inductee won World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and St. Louis Cardinals (2006, 2011).

“I learned so much, I’ve been learning so much, I’m still learning because every day you learn something else,” Cairo said. “I always double check with him. What he would do different in that situation and he’s very straightforward to me. Sometimes, ‘OK, I didn’t think about that.’ It’s a learning experience that I’m enjoying. I learn from the best, I’m learning from the best still.

“We reflect on games, reflecting on a move or reflecting on innings that happen. Of course when you lose you’re going to second-guess yourself on everything. When you win, sometimes you’re going to do stuff that’s out of the book and works and sometimes you go by the book and it don’t work. As long as you go with the information and your gut together, that balance, you’re going to give your players a chance to succeed.”

The Sox entered Saturday 13-10 since Cairo took over Aug. 30.

“(Cairo) and the coaches have done a very fine job,” Hahn said. “We’ve seen at various stretches, unfortunately not over the last four days (all four losses), but for extended stretches over the last few weeks, this team showing flashes of playing at the level we thought was capable over the course of the entire season. It’s a little too little too late over the course of the year. But I think those guys deserve a lot of credit for what was thrust upon them on the fly and the way they responded, both in the coaches room and in the clubhouse.

“I feel that in many ways they haven’t missed a beat, which they deserve a lot of credit for. The focus has been on the games and the series right in front of them as opposed to any uncertainty. At the same time Tony is in their thoughts and there has been communication with Tony and well wishes passed along. In no way do I feel the club has been distracted despite the circumstances. Very professional response.”

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Ime Udoka’s Sidepiece Handled His Travel Arrangements Including Nia Long’s Move To Boston

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Ime Udoka’s Sidepiece Handled His Travel Arrangements Including Nia Long’s Move To Boston
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It’s heartbreaking realizing that the man you’ve been living with for years has a sidepiece at his workplace who handles his travel plans, including your own travels. Nia Long must be going through hell now—knowing that her man Ime Udoka cheated on her with one of his staff members.

But what can Nia do? Leave his cheating a**? TMZ Sports has given some updates about Ime Udoka‘s romantic relationship with his staff member—and according to the updates, this sidepiece handled his travel arrangements including Nia Long’s recent relocation to Boston. Well played!!!

The Celtics employee with whom Ime Udoka had an affair helped make all his travel arrangements … and that job sometimes included organizing travel for his fiancee, Nia Long.

Sources connected to the couple and the NBA franchise tell TMZ … one of the staffer’s duties included planning Udoka’s team-related travel, and we’re told she was also involved in booking travel for Nia to come to Boston or to road games.

Perhaps most upsetting for Nia is that the employee had a hand in Nia’s arrangements to move to Boston permanently, according to our sources.

The public still does not know who this woman is but according to the juicy updates, Nia Long has been told about this woman her man f***ed so why’s she not calling this b***ch out?

The Celtics are not releasing the name of the employee, but we’re told Nia has been told who she is.

Team President Brad Stevens got choked up Friday during a news conference … saying the scandal had been particularly upsetting for all their female employees — due to speculation about who had the affair with Udoka.

As we’ve reported, the team suspended its head coach for the entire 2022-23 season after what it says was a months-long investigation into his conduct.

Ime Udoka and Nia Long’s relationship will never be the same after this whole cheating scandal goes to sleep. A trust has been BROKEN!!!

Here is how Twitter is reacting to Ime Udoka’s cheating scandal:

The post Ime Udoka’s Sidepiece Handled His Travel Arrangements Including Nia Long’s Move To Boston appeared first on TheGossipScoop.com.

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Three arrested in connection with Inver Grove Heights death

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Three Arrested In Connection With Inver Grove Heights Death
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Authorities say that three people were arrested and booked on suspicion of murder after investigators responding to a 911 call early Saturday morning in Inver Grove Heights found a man dead inside the home.

According to a press release, shortly after 2 a.m. police went to the 2100 block of 78th Court East after someone called 911 and hung up. When they arrived they found a man on the floor who was unresponsive and later determined to be deceased.

Officers responding to the 911 call stopped a vehicle leaving the area with three adults who were detained, questioned and then booked on suspicion of murder.

Authorities say the following people were booked at the Dakota County Jail:

• Logan David Slack, 25, of Minneapolis, is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.
• Fotini Anest West, 25, of Minneapolis, is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.
• Sean Richard Lumley, 30, of Monticello was booked on suspicion of aiding and abetting murder in the first degree and then released.

Police say the death was not a random incident and that there is no danger to the public.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office will release the victim’s name and cause of death at a later date.

Investigators ask anyone with information about this crime to leave a message on the police tip line at 651-450-2530.

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Column: With Tony La Russa officially done for 2022, speculation on next season’s Chicago White Sox managing job can begin

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Column: With Tony La Russa Officially Done For 2022, Speculation On Next Season’s Chicago White Sox  Managing Job Can Begin
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In early May before a series against the Chicago Cubs, Tony La Russa referred to the White Sox as being in “survival mode.”

“We’re four under, got a chance to win two in a row, but there’s no script for the season,” La Russa said. “That’s probably the most entertaining part of it. You can’t say what’s going to happen. You have to go out there and make things happen.”

If there was a script for the 2022 season, no one would’ve believed it. From beginning to end it has been a series of unforced errors by players, management and La Russa. They always were one hot streak away from living up to expectations, never showing the urgency to make it happen.

Heavy favorites to win the American League Central, the Sox remained in survival mode through August, when La Russa left the team to deal with a heart-related issue. After a brief surge under acting manager Miguel Cairo, they reverted to form over the last week, getting swept by the Cleveland Guardians to fall out of contention.

With the Sox now playing out the string, the announcement was made Saturday that La Russa would not return this season on orders of from his doctors.

Whether this is the end of the story or just a pause is unknown.

It would seem unlikely for general manager Rick Hahn to bring La Russa back in 2023, but crazier things have happened, such as Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf hiring his old friend in the first place after La Russa retired from managing in 2011.

La Russa might have thought it was a push-button job with all the young talent in place. He would walk off with another ring by the time his deal was up after 2023, a second happy ending to a Hall of Fame career. The players seemed to believe the hype as well, as did the media hyping them.

But in the end we were all wrong, myself included. They began Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers one game over .500 with 11 to play, the picture of mediocrity.

How much blame La Russa deserves for the Sox downfall is in the eye of the beholder.

But there is no debating his effect on the Sox culture, once considered the swaggiest in baseball.

For all the talk about how he would relate to Tim Anderson and a group that enjoyed fighting the “fun police,” La Russa let the players do their own thing and had only one publicized incident — throwing Yermin Mercedes under the bus in 2021 in Minnesota for homering on a 3-0 pitch in a Sox blowout.

La Russa came up with excuses for players who didn’t hustle, saying they needed to preserve their legs to avoid injuries. When Anderson bumped an umpire this season to earn a suspension, La Russa falsely claimed the umpire was walking toward Anderson — as if the shortstop were blameless.

It’s no wonder Sox players never had a discouraging word to say about La Russa. He defended them like family and in fact often wore a T-shirt that said “FAMILY” in case the message wasn’t clear enough.

It was only after he left, however, that the family began to play up to its potential and give Sox fans hope the season could be salvaged. That turned out to be false hope, and now the question is what can be done to fix things in 2023.

Hahn on Saturday declined to discuss next year’s plans to reporters at Sox Park, though he lauded Cairo and the coaching staff for “flashes of playing at the level we thought was capable over the course of the entire season.”

Unfortunately for Cairo, those “flashes” provided too small of a sample size to fairly assess whether he would be the right man to take over if the Sox move on from La Russa — or if La Russa moves on from the Sox.

Having Hahn’s endorsement was nice, and Cairo surely has many of the players in his corner. But after the bitter disappointment of this season, there’s a growing sense the Sox will need to do something big this offseason to make amends to the fan base for their suffering.

Does Cairo move the needle with Sox fans? Or do the Sox need to go for a bigger name with experience, gravitas and the ability to help market the team?

The reaction to the La Russa news was, well, the same as it has been all season. Even his health issue hasn’t evoked much sympathy, and most fans were happy he would not return.

If the Sox do decide to bring La Russa back next season, it would be considered a slap in the face to the fan base. But Reinsdorf has done it before, notably with former Sox manager Terry Bevington and former Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Foreman. Few owners of professional teams seem as oblivious to fans’ wishes as Reinsdorf has been over the last four decades.

From a media perspective, La Russa’s return would be bonus points. His fame and strong personality make for good reading, and he’s the king of generating a frenzy on sports-talk radio. La Russa is many things, but boring he’s not.

The Sox haven’t had anyone generate this much publicity since Ozzie Guillén left after battling with then-GM Ken Williams in 2011. After tiring of all the controversies, Williams hired the low-key Robin Ventura in 2012 before Hahn replaced Ventura with the amiable and cliche-spouting Rick Renteria in 2017.

Giving Guillén another shot would be a move that should be considered. It’s doubtful Sox players would be given the go-ahead to jog to first base under Guillén 2.0. But it probably won’t happen. No one has skewered this Sox team more than Guillén on the NBC Sports Chicago pre- and postgame shows. I’m guessing Hahn and Williams would be wary of Guillén upsetting someone’s delicate ego and creating headlines.

Hiring a veteran such as Joe Maddon, Bruce Bochy or Joe Girardi would seem to make perfect sense. Or if Reinsdorf wants a respected former Sox player without experience, A.J. Pierzynski or Jim Thome, a special assistant to Hahn, would be at the head of the list.

There will be plenty of time to debate the candidates once the season ends and La Russa’s fate is announced.

The ending to this strange script has yet to be written.

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Area college football: Bethel rallies past St. John’s 28-24 in battle of MIAC titans

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Area College Football: Bethel Rallies Past St. John’s 28-24 In Battle Of Miac Titans
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There’s a new sheriff in MIAC football. At least, for now.

In a rematch of last year’s conference championship game, Bethel avenged its 2021 loss to St. John’s by taking down the Johnnies 28-24 on Saturday in Arden Hills.

It was the MIAC opener for both teams.

The game was back and forth from the very beginning, with neither team leading by more than seven points, until it was decided when Jaran Roste hooked up with Micah Niewald on a 72-yard touchdown pass with 9:38 left in the game. It was a one-play scoring drive that took all of 11 seconds.

Both offenses were in fine form. The Royals finished with 506 yards offense to the Johnnies’ 414.

St. John’s entered the game ranked No. 2 nationally in NCAA Division III.

Last fall, St. John’s beat Bethel 31-25 during the regular season, then 29-28 in the MIAC championship game.

Carleton 45, Hamline 12: Jonathan Singleton threw three TD passes as the Knights routed the Pipers at Klas Field in St. Paul. Charlie Wilson scored both Hamline TDs, one on a run and the other on a pass from Alejandro Villanueva.

Augsburg 50, St. Scholastica 13: Cade Sheehan completed 26 of 38 passes for 295 yards and four TDs, and Braden Tretter caught 12 passes for 182 yards and two TDs at Edor Nelson Field in Minneapolis as the Auggies improved to 3-0 on the season.

Hope (Mich.) 56, Northwestern-St. Paul 7: The Flying Dutch rolled up 561 yards of offense to spoil the Eagles’ Homecoming game at Reynolds Field in St. Paul, dropping Northwestern to 0-4 on the season.

North Dakota State 34, South Dakota 17: The Bison rushed for 200 yards in the second half and scored 24 unanswered points to beat the Coyotes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener for both teams before a crowd of 6,530 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D.

South Dakota State 28, Missouri State 14: The Jackrabbits finished with a 475 yards to 258 advantage in total offense, and Mark Gronowski established new career highs with 22 completions (on 29 attempts), 319 yards passing and four TDs in Springfield, Mo.

Minnesota State Mankato 31, Mary 28: The Marauders drove to the Mavericks’ 1-yard line in the final seconds, but Jacob Baulton intercepted a pass in the end zone to preserve the victory for Mankato at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, Minn. The Mavericks went ahead with a 60-yard drive in the fourth quarter, capped by Shen Butler-Lawson’s 6-yard TD run with six minutes to play.

Winona State 40, Minnesota Moorhead 7: The Warriors scored every way they could — run (Sam Lloyd), pass (Jack Strand and Kyle Hass), field goal (three, by Jacob Scott), punt return (Tristan Root), interception return (Clay Schueffner) and extra-point kick (four, by Scott) — to overwhelm the Dragons in Winona, Minn.

Sioux Falls 34, Minnesota Duluth 31: Thuro Reisdorfer scored on a 2-yard run with 45 seconds left to help the Cougars escape with the narrow victory in Sioux Falls, S.D., and improve their record to 4-0 this season.

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Tommies overcome midgame lull to roll over Division II Lincoln 43-6

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Tommies Overcome Midgame Lull To Roll Over Division Ii Lincoln 43-6
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St. Thomas’ football game against Division II Lincoln University (Calif.) on Saturday afternoon at O’Shaughnessy Stadium began as though it was going to be a blowout. It ended in a blowout, with the Tommies improving to 2-1 with a 43-6 victory.

In between, enough went wrong for the Tommies to know that they will have to play better moving forward, with Pioneer Football League play beginning next Saturday with a game at Marist.

“I don’t think I have to walk into our meeting tomorrow at noon and say, ‘Guys, there’s a lot of things we have to clean up,’ ” Tommies coach Glenn Caruso said. “These guys understand that. But, they also understand it because the level of expectations is so ridiculously high.

“But as a guy on the sidelines who can see (offense, defense and the kicking game), one side of the ball’s shortcomings are not affecting the two other sides of the ball.”

Lincoln, based in Oakland, Calif., began its football program last year. The Oaklanders have been taking their lumps ever since, but the Tommies insist that they didn’t allow complacency to creep into their game

“We knew they had great athletes,” Tommies linebacker Luke Herzog said. “Their running back is a former All-American at the FCS level. We knew they were dangerous if we took them lightly. I don’t think we’re looking to take any games off.”

Caruso pointed to two lost fumbles and the inability to get the ball into the end zone from inside the red zone on two occasions as things that need to get better.

The Tommies have scored on their first drive in each of their first three games this season, but they have not been able to sustain that success.

“We’ve been great from the jump,” said quarterback Cade Sexauer, who completed 15 of 22 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. “Where we need to grow now is drives two, three, four, five, where we’ve been hitting that lull.”

For Sexauer, that means “cleaning up the little things,” which will eliminate the Tommies beating themselves, be it on a drive, or, down the road, in a game.

Defensively, Herzog said the Tommies were hurt by some missed assignments, including one of his own.

“We didn’t always do an amazing job of getting off the field,” Caruso said, “but we did enough to put the offense on some shorter fields.”

The Tommies scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, with Sexauer throwing touchdown passes to Jacob Wildermuth and James Klecker. But St. Thomas sputtered on both sides of the ball after that and took a 15-3 lead into halftime.

After a Lincoln field goal, the Tommies added a safety when Herzog tackled the ball carrier in the end zone. On the ensuing free kick, Andrew McElroy nearly ran it all the way back, getting pushed out at the Lincoln 3. Shawn Shipman rushed for a touchdown on the next play for  a 24-6 St. Thomas lead.

The Tommies then blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown to finally gain control of the game.

“Every time someone comes into Palmer Field at O’Shaughnessy they are going to play their absolute best or one of their top-two games of the year,” Caruso said. “It’s happened for nine or 10 years now. And that is a blessing. We work very hard to have the privilege of pressure. But it also allows us to go to work, go to work, go to work.

“Eventually, if you do your job well enough, and long enough, things sort of open up. That’s what you saw today, maybe five to eight minutes into the third quarter.”

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