WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: UW's Borland, Gordon semifinalists for postseason awards
MADISON - University of Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and running back Melvin Gordon have been named semifinalists for three college football post-season awards.
Borland, a senior, is one of 16 players still in the running for the Chuck Bednarik Award as the defensive player-of-the-year. He's also among 12 semi-finalists for the Butkus Award as the country's top linebacker. Borland is also one of 20 quarter-finalists for the Ronnie Lott Impact player-of-the-year honors. Borland leads Wisconsin with 57 total tickets, seventh-highest in the Big Ten. Gordon is among 16 still in contention for the Maxwell Award as college football's player-of-the-year. He leads Division I with nine-and-a-half yards per carry, and he's tied for the Big Ten lead in touchdowns with 11.
Green Bay Packers' Head Coach Mike McCarthy says it's not easy to balance out the playing time between his two top running backs. After James Starks returned to practice last week, McCarthy said he wanted to take some pressure off rookie starter Eddie Lacy. That didn't happen last Sunday night, when Lacy had a season-high 29 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown in the Packers' win at Minnesota. Starks ran the ball seven times for 57 yards and a score, in his first game since he partially tore an MCL knee ligament at Cincinnati in late September. McCarthy said Lacy was quote, "in a groove" -- so he stuck with him. The coach said Starks made an impact when he was given the chance. McCarthy said he wished Starks would have gotten some more touches against the Vikes, but he said it's a week-to-week proposition. Lacy is on pace to have 280 carries, the most by a Packer since Ryan Grant ran it 282 times in 2009. That was the last year Green Bay had a one-thousand-yard rusher.
John Kelly of UW-Platteville has been given the WIAC's weekly football honors, along with Jordan Pendergast and Gavin Marquart of La Crosse. Kelly, a senior quarterback, threw five touchdowns for eighth-ranked Platteville in a 59-35 win over Stout. Kelly threw for 330 yards, and added 79 in rushing. Five of his 28 pass completions went for more than 20 yards. Pendergrast, a sophomore linebacker, had a sack and forced a fumble in La Crosse's 28-21 upset of UW-Stevens Point. Marquart, a sophomore DB, had 147 return yards for La Crosse -- four kickoffs and three punts, one of which set up a La Crosse touchdown three plays later. The WIAC also recognized Nate Routhier and Morgan Riese, both of La Crosse, in cross country -- Paige Meyer of Stout and Sarah Eck of Platteville in women's soccer -- Chris Whalen and Jan Nachtigall, both of Oshkosh, in men's soccer -- and Lauren Sutherland of Eau Claire in volleyball.
Former Milwaukee Brewers' reliever John Axford has pitched in two World Series games for Saint Louis -- and if he appears in two more, he just might win a championship ring. The Cardinals must win Game-Six tomorrow night in Boston to get a chance at a seventh game and a title. Axford -- who was traded to the Cards in late August -- has struck out five and walked one in two-and-a-third scoreless innings against the Red Sox in the Fall Classic. He did not pitch in last night's Game-Five, in which the Red Sox were victorious 3-1.
The American Hockey League has suspended Milwaukee Admirals' defenseman Bryan Rodney for two games, after he put an illegal head check on one of the Texas Stars last Saturday night. The Admirals won that game, 4-2. Rodney will miss the second-and-final game of Milwaukee's home set with Texas tomorrow night -- plus a home contest on Friday night against Rockford,.
Katie Vanden Avond of Saint Norbert and Sidney Blodgett of Ripon College are the Midwest Conference women's soccer players-of-the-week. Vanden Avond, a junior forward, scored a league-record five goals against Cornell and Grinnell last weekend. She now has 32 goals on the year, breaking the former conference mark of 30 set by Libby Mullin of Lawrence in 1986. Blodgett, a sophomore goal-keeper, allowed just one goal in 180 minutes of play. She recorded her sixth shutout of the year in Ripon's 2-0 win over Cardinal Stritch.