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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Starks to start for Packers vs. Bengals

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GREEN BAY - James Starks will start at running back on Sunday, when the Green Bay Packers play at Cincinnati. 

Packers' Head Coach Mike McCarthy announced the decision after today's practice.  Starks ran for 132 yards and a touchdown last Sunday, after he replaced injured rookie Eddie Lacy in the Packers' home victory over Washington.  Lacy suffered a concussion in that game.  Today, McCarthy said Lacy is recovering fine -- and he's going through the league's protocol for concussions while attending team meetings.  He'll take a couple more tests tomorrow before he can get the okay to return to practice.  McCarthy also said corner Casey Hayward would again sit out on Sunday against Bengals.  He's been out since training camp with a bad hamstring.  Safety Morgan Burnett was limited at practice, after missing two games with a hamstring injury.  Three other Packers did not take part in today's workout, due to various injuries -- tight end Jermichael Finley, fullback John Kuhn, and corner Jarrett Bush. 

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The Packers will wear their throwback jerseys and pants on October 20th, when they host the Cleveland Browns.  But they will not wear the dark brown helmets which go with that uniform.  The NFL has ordered teams to use their normal helmets, amid concerns that the alternate helmets won't fit as well -- thus raising the risk of concussions.  The Packers' throwback uniform consists of a dark blue jersey with a gold circle on the chest with the number -- plus tan pants and blue socks.  It's what the Packers wore in their 1929 NFL championship season.  The players will stay their regular cheese-gold helmets -- but the "G" decal will be removed, as will the stripe down the middle.  The throwback is a third uniform for the Packers.  They wore it once in 2010 and once in '11.  They were not worn last season.

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Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been named the NFC's Player-of-the-Week on offense.  Rodgers tied a team record with 480 passing yards in last Sunday's win over Washington.  He had passer rating of 146 with 34 completions in 42 attempts, four touchdown passes, and no interceptions.  This is the eighth time in Rodgers' career that he won the weekly player honors.  He has surpassed 400 yards on two other times.

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The Green Bay Packers could get a better idea of what their running game is made of, when they face the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday.  The Bengals' defense held Pittsburgh's running backs to just 43 yards in Cincinnati's 10-point victory over the Steelers on Monday night.  The week before, Chicago's Matt Forte and Michael Bush combined for 65 yards in their win over the Bengals.  The Packers are coming off a dominant victory over Washington in which Green Bay racked up a total of 142 rushing yards -- 132 from James Starks.  Last year, Cincy was 12th in the NFL for the fewest rushing yards allowed -- and they were 11th in yards-per-carry.  All of their key defenders are back except safety Nate Clemmons, who is not signed -- and linebacker Manny Lawson, who was replaced by former Steelers' star James Harrison.  The Packers are not sure if running back Eddie Lacy can play Sunday.  The rookie suffered a concussion in the Pack's win over Washington.  Fullback John Kuhn hurt a hamstring in that game.  All signs point to rookie Johnathan Franklin getting more playing time against Cincinnati.  Coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that the Packers did not plan to bring in another running back.

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A high school receiver from Maryland says he'll play his college football at Wisconsin.  Chris Jones of DeMatha Catholic High in Hyatteville, Maryland has given the Badgers his oral commitment for next season.  In announcing his commitment, Jones said he's had a great relationship with his main recruiter, Badgers' receiving coach Chris Beatty.  The 6-3 Jones chose Wisconsin over Nebraska, Iowa, Cincinnati, Boston College, and his home state school of Maryland.

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It might have been a great year for the Milwaukee Brewers if they only had to bat against left-handers.  The Brewers have a .266 batting average and a .419 slugging percentage against southpaws like the one they'll be facing tonight at Miller Park.  The Chicago Cubs will send left-hander Chris Rusin to the mound, while the Crew puts up rookie right-hander Tyler Thornburg.  Milwaukee has four players among the National League's Top-20 hitters against left-handers.  Norichika Aoki is hitting .342 against southpaws followed by Jean Segura at .317, Carlos Gomez at .314, and Jonathan Lucroy at .307.  Rusin comes in with a 2-4 record and a 2.85 ERA.  He matched a career-high by going seven innings last Thursday against Pittsburgh, giving up two runs on four hits in a no-decision.  Thornburg is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA.  He's gone six innings in each of his five starts this year, with a 1-1 mark and an ERA of 1.50 in that stretch.  Thornburg picked up his first career win as a starter last Thursday against Saint Louis, giving up two runs on three hits in his six frames.  The fourth-place Brewers are now four-and-a-half games ahead of last-place Chicago in the National League Central.

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The Madison Mallards have been named the Organization-of-the-Year in the Northwoods League.  The Mallards won the league championship last month for the first time since 2004.  They again had strong attendance, attracting almost 214,000 fans to Warner Park for an average of 6,100 a night.  And Madison hosted the league’s first “Big League Dreams Showcase,” which featured four teams made up of the Northwoods League’s top prospects.  The Northwoods League is a summer baseball league featuring some of the nation’s top college players during their collegiate eligibility.  

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The 50th SCCA National Championships will be run this weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake.  Twenty-eight divisions are each scheduled to have 30 minutes of qualifying events over the next two days, weather permitting.  The actual competition begins on Friday, and runs through Sunday on the Road America road course.  A number of track records were broken during yesterday's initial runs.  Lawrence Loshak of Grafton won the pole in the "H"-Production group, and he set a new record in the Formula-1000 category.  Also leading their divisions were Michael Varacins of Burlington in Formula-V, and Cliff Ebben of Appleton in the GT One group

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The University of Wisconsin women's hockey team is ranked seventh in a preseason poll from USA Today and USA Hockey Magazine.  The Badgers ended last season at No. 10, with an overall record of 23-10-2.  Wisconsin opens play next Monday night in a home exhibition against the Japanese national team.  Defending national champion Minnesota comes in at No. 1, despite losing Madison area native Amanda Kessel.  The Patty Kazmaier award-winner is giving up her senior year to play for Team USA in the 2014 Olympics. 

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The Marquette University volleyball team recorded a shut-out at UW-Green Bay last night.  The Golden Eagles improved to 5-3 on the season with a three-set victory over the Phoenix, which dropped to 4-5.  Julie Jeziorowski had 20 digs for Marquette, and Autumn bailey had 11 kills with a .611 hitting percentage.  Mikaela Gunderson had 10 kills for Green Bay.  Elsewhere, UW-Milwaukee lost a home match to Iowa in five sets.  Alex Lovell had 17 kills for the Hawkeyes, including six in the decisive fifth set.  Julie Kolinske led UWM with 21 kills on the night.    

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Sean Scallon
Sean Scallon has been a reporter and Sports Editor at the Pierce County Herald newspaper in Ellsworth since 1998. He holds a bachelors degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's also worked at newspapers in Glenwood City, Wisconsin; Marion, Illinois and Shawano, Wisconsin. Sean also works as a sports reporter for other newspapers and websites in RiverTown Multimedia from River Falls to Hudson to New Richmond and Red Wing.
(715) 273-4334
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