Illinois’ Redbox Bowl appearance is a significant step for Lovie Smith and the football program. What’s next for both?

Between practices and media sessions, Illinois has fit in some touristy stops in San Francisco as it prepares for its first bowl game since 2014. A reporter asked coach Lovie Smith if he had previously toured Alcatraz.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

The Bears pull out one final win in a disappointing season: 3 keys revisited after a 21-19 win over the Vikings

The Bears beat the Vikings 21-19 on Sunday afternoon, a ho-hum victory that ended with a game-winning 22-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro in the closing seconds. That pushed Matt Nagy’s team across the finish line of a disappointing season at 8-8.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

7 takeaways from Ohio State’s controversial 29-23 playoff loss to Clemson, including a terrific — and terrible — night for J.K. Dobbins

Chris Olave sat at his locker, dazed. As his Ohio State teammates showered and changed, he remained motionless in his No. 17 jersey.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

Saluki Football | Top-ranked Bison have a lot to play for, too

CARBONDALE — Normally you can’t talk about No. 1 North Dakota State without mentioning its defense. Its last two head coaches, who both won multiple FCS national championships, were former defensive coordinators, and current leader Matt Entz was the defensive coordinator on last year’s team that won it all.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Cardinals add pitchers Woodford and Seijas, 3B Montero to 40-man roster; Leone dropped

The Cardinals added three minor leaguers and designated veteran reliever Dominic Leone for assignment Wednesday as they placed their 40-man winter roster at 40 players a couple of weeks or so ahead of the winter meetings.

Here’s the link to the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

As Ozuna declines qualifying offer, Cardinals focus on improving their outfield

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When it comes to the Cardinals’ description of an early-offseason approach that is not as singularly focused as previous winters — straight talk, no chaser — the annual General Manager Meetings offered a chance to do some comparative shopping because of the one thing agents and teams all shared for a few days.

Here’s a link to the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Colin Kaepernick’s NFL workout – Top takeaways (and the truth) about Saturday’s tryout

I still remember watching Colin Kaepernick play in the Kraft Bowl which solidified him as the greatest player in the history of the University of Nevada football. His playing style was captivating, as he became the only player in NCAA history to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards in their college career

Here’s a link to the column at Fox News.

Murray State closes out SIU, 79-66

MURRAY, Ky. – Murray State used a 10-0 run late in the game to put away the SIU men’s basketball team 79-66 on Tuesday night at CFSB Center. The back-and-forth game featured eight ties and 17 lead changes.

SIU (2-4), which was a double-digit underdog, came to fight, starting the game on a 6-0 run. The Salukis stayed with the Racers until a six-minute field goal drought in the game’s final eight minutes.

Murray State (3-1) had two runs that went a long way in deciding the outcome. SIU had a one-point lead with three minutes to play in the first half, but Murray closed the half on a 7-0 run — all in the final 1:20 of the half — to take a 34-28 lead into the break. Then, with SIU within four points after an Aaron Cook Jr. layup at the 8:20 mark, the Racers went on a 10-0 run to push the lead to 14.

“We had a bad end to the first half and a bad end to the game. We have to be able to make those runs,” SIU head coach Bryan Mullins said. “But in terms of sharing the ball and playing the right way, I thought we did a much better job tonight than we did against San Francisco. We have to grow and get better as a team. Now with Sekou (Dembele) back and hopefully getting Karrington (Davis) back in the mix, we’re going to continue to get more depth off the bench, as well.”

Murray State featured its depth; of the nine players that played against SIU, eight played less than 24 minutes. Five Racers scored in double-figures, combining for 70 of MSU’s 79 points.

The Salukis battled foul trouble throughout the game, with all of the starters except Eric McGill in foul trouble most of the night. The Racers got 30 of their points from the free-throw line, including a remarkable 26 attempts in the second half. MSU knocked down 22 of those (85%) to avoid an upset-minded group of Salukis.

SIU played well in front of more than 4,500 fans at the CFSB Center in Southern’s first true road game of the season. SIU started the first half on a 6-0 run and the second half on a 7-0 run. Early in the second half, SIU added another 7-0 run in just 21 seconds to take a three-point lead at the 14:35 mark to force a Murray State timeout.

“After San Francisco, we challenged the guys the last couple days,” Mullins said. “They knew they didn’t play the right way against San Francisco and they wanted to come out and battle them. There were those two runs that caused the separation, and we have to do a better job not letting 6-0, 8-0, or 10-0 runs happen throughout the game.”

SIU was led by Cook’s 16 points. He was joined in double-figures by Eric McGill (11) and Ronnie Suggs (10). Harwin Francois hit three 3-pointers to provide a spark off the bench in 15 minutes.

UP NEXT: SIU has a week off before hosting NC Central on Tuesday, November 26, at Banterra Center.

NOTES: Aaron Cook had two steals to tie Desmar Jackson for 10th on SIU’s career steals all-time list … Sekou Dembele, who redshirted last year and battled an injury this year, saw his first action in an SIU uniform and scored three points … Murray State took the lead in the series between the schools, 19-18.

Column: The removal of Mitch Trubisky late in the Bears’ loss to the Rams exemplifies this lost season

On another brutal night in the middle of a lost season, Bears coach Matt Nagy made an executive decision to pull the plug on quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The move came late in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s miserable 17-7 loss to the Rams and was announced to America by legendary NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels.

Here’s a link to the column at the Chicago Tribune.

Bears fall to the Rams 17-7 as quarterback Mitch Trubisky exits late with a hip injury

The Bears’ 17-7 loss to the Rams on Sunday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was filled with misses.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

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