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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Reports say McEvoy to be Badgers' starting QB vs. LSU

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MADISON - He was a safety a year ago.  Now, University of Wisconsin redshirt junior Tanner McEvoy has reportedly been picked as the starting quarterback for the Badgers' season opener against LSU a week from tomorrow night.  

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The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says it's been told by three unnamed sources that the Badger staff has picked McEvoy over last year's starter, Joel Stave.  Coach Gary Andersen has refused to publicly name a starting quarterback, saying he wants both McEvoy and Stave to play the position at various times this year.  McEvoy came into Madison as a quarterback -- but when he struggled, he was moved to safety because the coaches liked his speed.  He was returned to the quarterback spot this spring after Stave injured a shoulder at the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day.  McEvoy was a junior college transfer from Arizona Western, where he threw for 25 touchdowns and ran for six more in his only season as the starter there.

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University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen has confirmed that safety Vonte Jackson has quit football due to persistent knee injuries.  Jackson, a redshirt sophomore from Kenosha, hurt his surgically-repaired right knee on August ninth while substituting as a running back at practice.  Jackson tore an ACL in his left knee in his senior year of high school, and tore his right ACL at the Badgers' pre-season camp in 2012.  Last year, he re-injured the right knee in June during summer workouts.  Andersen said he feels bad about what happened, but Jackson can move on and start a new chapter in his life.  

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Yovani Gallardo will try to go 4-1 in his last five starts, when the Milwaukee Brewers host Pittsburgh tonight.  The veteran right-hander out-dueled Clayton Kershaw last Saturday, giving up one run in eight innings as the Crew beat the Dodgers in LA.  That improve Gallardo's record to 8-6, with a 3.32 ERA.  Gallardo has feasted on the Pirates in his career.  He's 12-4 lifetime against the Bucs with a 2.57 ERA in 23 starts.  The Pirates will send left-hander Jeff Locke to the mound tonight.  He's coming off a no-decision at Washington, in which he threw five-and-two-thirds scoreless innings.  Locke won his last two decisions, and is 4-3 on the year with a 3.73 ERA. 

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The division-leading Milwaukee Brewers have 35 games left.  Twenty-five of them will be against the teams breathing down their necks in the National League Central.  The Brewers open a crucial three-game series tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.  The third-place Pirates have been struggling to hang on, after a seven-game losing streak which ended last night with a win over Atlanta.  Pittsburgh is six games back.  A Milwaukee sweep would drive the Pirates down to nine games behind -- establishing what could be just a two-team race in September between the Brewers and Saint Louis.  The Cardinals are just one-and-a-half games behind Milwaukee in the Central standings.  Saint Louis has been feasting on fourth-place Cincinnati this week, and the Reds have fallen to ten games back.  The fifth-place Chicago are 15-and-a-half back.  The Brewers have either led or tied the Central every day since April 5.

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As the Milwaukee Brewers battle to win the National League Central, catcher Jonathan Lucroy says he wants no part of a growing MVP conversation.  A few reporters have asked Lucroy about his chances of winning the league's top individual honor.  He tells Brewers.com it doesn't matter right now.  As he put it ... "None of that stuff is going to come if we don't win.  Honestly, I want that ring ... That's what I want ... Period."  Meaning of course, a World Series ring.  Lucroy is fourth in two rankings of the Wins Above Replacement stat, or WAR.  Baseball Reference.com says Lucroy gives the Brewers an extra five-point-two wins over a minor league replacement.  Fan Graphs.com gives Lucroy a WAR of 4.7 wins -- while his teammate Carlos Gomez is a bit higher at four-point-eight.  Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers leads both rankings.  Also, Lucroy leads the Majors in doubles by a primary catcher with 42, just five behind Pudge Rodriguez's mark of 47 in 1996. 

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An amateur scouting service has named the Lakeshore Chinooks of Mequon as the top team in summer collegiate baseball.  Perfect Game USA evaluated 50 summer leagues throughout the country in choosing the Chinooks. Lakeshore won the Northwoods League championship a week ago in just its third season.  The team has some big-name investors that include Milwaukee Brewers' Hall-of-Famers Robin Yount and Bob Uecker, and Bucks' general manager John Hammond.  Team founder Jim Kacmarcik said it's humbling to be rated tops in the nation, especially in just its third year.  The Chinooks were only the third team in Northwoods history to win at least 50 games in the regular season.  Their pitchers led the league with a 2.92 ERA, and the Chinooks went 4-0 to sweep both their post-season series. 

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In the Midwest League, both Wisconsin teams will try to even their respective series tonight.  The Beloit Snappers are hosting Quad Cities again, after a 5-2 defeat last evening.  The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are at Peoria, where lost 3-1.  With a week-and-a-half to go, Wisconsin remains in the hunt for a playoff spot.  The Rattlers are third in the Western Division for the second half, eight games behind first-place Kane County.  Beloit is playing out the string at 20-38, 18-and-a-half off the pace.

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Most Wisconsin high schools won't start their fall classes for another eleven days -- but their football teams will have two games in by then.  Fifty-four schools played their season openers last night, and most others will make their debuts tonight and tomorrow.  At Green Bay Preble, football games will be the center of the school's social life for almost a month.  That's because classes won't begin until September 15th due to a gymnasium fire that smoked up the entire school earlier this month.  Preble opened at home last night, losing to Ashwaubenon 31-17.

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The Green Bay Packers held their final practice yesterday before their exhibition contest against the Oakland Raiders tonight at Lambeau Field.  Corner Casey Hayward did not practice -- but not due to injury, apparently.  Corners' coach Joe Whitt said he wanted to see second-year pro Jumal Rolle in action against better competition.  Whitt said he's pleased with Hayward's progress, after he sat out much of last season with a bad hamstring.  The Packers are trying to preserve Hayward.  He was pulled out of Tuesday's practice, and coach Mike McCarthy said it was only a precaution.  Guard T.J. Lang returned to the field today, after he left early on Tuesday to ice-up one of his shoulders.  The team worked out for just under an hour.

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Charles Woodson says it will be fun to return to Lambeau Field tonight, where he led the Green Bay defense to a Super Bowl title in the 2010 season.  The Packers cut Woodson a year and a half ago, and he returned to his former team at Oakland.  The Raiders will visit Lambeau for an exhibition game. Woodson still has a lot of friends on the Packers -- and while he'll enjoy returning to Titletown, he says he's not as enthusiastic about facing Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  Woodson says Rodgers is the best quarterback in the N-F-L, with an explosive offense he saw first-hand for many years.  The Raiders' first team defense has taken its lumps this pre-season.  Opposing quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Matthew Stafford picked them apart for a combined 150 yards and two touchdowns, with three scoring drives in four possessions.  Last week, Rodgers looked like he was in mid-season form, throwing for 128 yards in a pair of first-half scoring drives at Saint Louis. Raiders' starter Matt Schaub has one score in seven drives.

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Nick Collins once said he'd like to do some coaching with the Green Bay Packers someday.  Now, he's one step closer toward achieving that goal, after he officially retired from the NFL this week.  It's been almost three years since he played a down in the league.  That was after Collins had a major neck injury in collision with Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart in September of 2011.  He underwent fusion surgery in his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae -- but it wasn't enough to medically clear him, and the Packers let him go in April of 2012.  For the next two years, Collins occasionally talked about wanting to return to the NFL -- but the 31-year-old found no takers.  Collins had 63 pass breakups and 21 interceptions in his seven-year career with Green Bay.

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The University of Wisconsin women's basketball team will play two more conference games than in previous years.  The Big Ten has announced its regular season schedule, and the Badgers will have home contests with both newcomers to the league -- Maryland and Rutgers. Wisconsin went 10-19 last season under coach Bobbie Kelsey.  Her team will open Big Ten play on December 28th at home against Michigan -- and their league finale will be at Penn State on March 1.  Wisconsin returns four starters -- Michala Johnson, Jacki Gulczynski, Nicole Bauman, and Dakota Whyte.  Redshirt senior Cassie Rochel is also back.  She led the Big Ten in blocked shots per game last season.  

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We could find out by the middle of next year whether taxpayers will help pay for a new downtown Milwaukee arena to replace the Bradley Center.  Tim Sheehy, who heads the Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce, figures that an answer would have to come by the time the next governor and Legislature finalize the state budget which starts in mid-2015. The arena would house the Milwaukee Bucks, the Marquette men's basketball team, and other events.   Sheehy says local leaders will have to start talking with lawmakers about it by the time they return to session in January.  The business group has a special panel working on a financing strategy.  New Milwaukee Bucks' owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have vowed to put up $100-million, as has former owner Herb Kohl.  The new owners say tax funding will be necessary -- but nobody in government is committing to anything.  In fact, state Assembly Republican Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield has asked the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has asked how much the state coffers would lose if the NBA leaves Milwaukee.  Governor Scott Walker has not received any funding requests yet.  He says one proposal is "intriguing" -- devoting income taxes on home-and-visiting NBA player salaries toward the arena.  Edens and Lasry say they'd like construction to be started as early as next spring.

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Three Wisconsin NASCAR drivers are gearing up for the Irwin Tools Night Race tomorrow evening in Bristol Tennessee.  Matt Kenseth of Cambridge is fifth in the Sprint Cup point standings, with three races to go before the season-ending Chase for the season championship.  It appears that Kenseth will be the only Wisconsin driver to qualify for the Chase, after Paul Menard of Eau Claire slipped down the standings following a recent crash in which another driver hit him.  Menard is 17th.  Beloit-born Danica Patrick is also entered for the Bristol race.  Jeff Gordon continues to lead the Sprint Cup series with 816 points, 107 more than Kenseth.  No Wisconsin drivers are entered in the Nationwide Series' Food City-300 tonight at Bristol.  Johnny Sauter of Necedah still leads the Camping World Truck Series, after placing fifth last night in Bristol.

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Madison golfer Jerry Kelly shot a three-over-par 74 today in his first round of the PGA's Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs.  As of early afternoon, Kelly was tied for 105th among the 125 players in the Barclays tournament in Paramus, New Jersey.  It's the first of four Fed-Ex events which will continue through September.  Kelly was the only Wisconsinite to make the field, based on points he accumulated over the past year.  He came in 64th in the point standings.  The Top-100 after this weekend advance to the Deutsche Bank Championship next weekend near Boston. Steve Stricker of Madison also qualified for the playoffs, but he's out for the rest of the year due to back and hip problems.  Hunter Mahan, Cameron Tringale, and Charles Howell the Third shared the early afternoon lead at five-under.

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SCOREBOARD

Wisconsin high school football

Ashwaubenon 31, Green Bay Preble 17

Bangor 42, Melrose-Mindoro 14

Bonduel 41, Crivitz 13

Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 34, Elk Mound 6

Clear Lake 21, Cameron 8

Denmark 19, Marinette 7

Eau Claire North 41, La Crosse Central 27

Franklin 44, Milwaukee Hamilton 28

Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 16, Mondovi 6

Green Bay Notre Dame 49, Sheboygan South 26 Green Bay West 30, Green Bay East 29 Greendale 28, Cedarburg 27, OT Milwaukee Hope Christian 20, Menominee Indian 14 Kenosha Indian Trail 27, Plymouth 19 Ladysmith 41, Phillips 0 Luxemburg-Casco 28, Seymour 21 Manawa 53, Marion/Tigerton 0 Manitowoc Lincoln 33, Green Bay Southwest 13 Milwaukee Pulaski 41, Sheboygan North 13 Milwaukee Thomas More 38, Milwaukee Madison 20 Shiocton 45, Howards Grove 0 Southern Door 35, Reedsville 7 SWCHA 49, Milwaukee Bay View 6 Waunakee 49, Madison Edgewood 21 Wausau East 19, Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 13 Wausau Newman Catholic 41, Thorp 8 West De Pere 49, Oconto Falls 0 
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