Morning State Sports Briefs: Right guard spot on O-Line still unsettled for UWWisconsin Sports
-- The starting right guard spot remains up in the air for Saturday’s University of Wisconsin season opener against the University of Northern Iowa in Madison.
MADISON - The starting right guard spot remains up in the air for Saturday’s University of Wisconsin season opener against the University of Northern Iowa in Madison.
Sophomore Kyle Costigan and junior Zach Matthias are listed as co-starters on the depth chart for the game. Costigan was moved to the guard spot from defensive tackle after the Badgers’ spring practices. Matthias had back problems a year ago, but he managed to play in nine games – mostly on special teams.
Meanwhile, red-shirt freshman Darius Hillary has become the main backup to senior corner Devin Smith. Hillary replaces Peniel Jean on the depth chart. Jean, a sophomore, is out for 4-to-6 weeks with a broken foot.
The University of Wisconsin football team is in “game week” mode, as it gets ready for Saturday’s season opener in Madison against Northern Iowa. The Badger defense is trying to improve its communication on the field, so it can avoid the big plays that burned Wisconsin in all three of its losses a year ago. Junior linebacker Chris Borland says the on-field communication at this month’s practices has been the best he’s seen in his years in Madison. He says it’s got to carry over to the season. The Badgers gave up seven plays of 20-yards-or-more against Michigan State last fall, including the infamous Hail Mary that won the game for the Spartans in the final seconds. Wisconsin also gave up three plays of over 20 yards against Ohio State, and nine plays totaling 393 yards in the Badgers’ Rose Bowl loss to Oregon. Borland said the Badger defense has to be focused on every play. He said there were times last year when certain defenders had a quote, “brain lapse, and they gashed us.”
Waunakee, West De Pere, and Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs are the leaders in the season’s first AP state high school football polls. Schools are not locked into the WIAA’s seven divisions until playoff time, so the AP uses three categories for its in-season polls – large schools with 900 students or more, medium schools with at least 301 students, and small schools with 300 or less. Waunakee, the Division 2 state champ from a year, leads the large schools. Hartland Arrowhead is second, followed by Sun Prairie and Brookfield Central. West De Pere, the defending champ in Division-Three, leads the AP medium school poll. Walworth Big Foot is second, followed by Waukesha Catholic Memorial and Wisconsin Lutheran. Springs, which won the Division 6 crown last year, is the small school leader. Edgar is second, Lancaster third, and Eau Claire Regis fourth.
A 38-year-old man was killed while competing in a mountain bike race north of Green Bay. Sheriff’s deputies said the man was among 600 riders taking part in a 12-mile off-road race yesterday in the Brown County Re-forestation Camp near Suamico. Officials said the man was going up a steep hill – and he told a nurse at that spot that he couldn’t catch his breath. The man was taken to a hospital, where he later died. The cause of the rider’s death is still being investigated. His name was not immediately released. The race was put on by the Wisconsin Off-Road Series.
Six Wisconsin players have been named to a pre-season All-American football team for the NCAA’s Division III. UW-Whitewater receiver Tyler Huber and Warhawks’ defensive back Noah Timm were both selected to the North first team by the Collegiate Development Football League. That’s the group which sponsors the D-3 Senior Classic, to be played on December 7th in Salem, Virginia. Only seniors received national pre-season honors. Other first-teamers from Wisconsin were kicker Jacob Gahart of Ripon College and punter Christian Hallingstad from UW-La Crosse. Defensive lineman Josh Zank of Carroll in Waukesha made the North second team on offense. And Oshkosh quarterback Nate Wara was named an honorable mention.
The wife of former UW-Eau Claire football coach Todd Hoffner says the child pornography charges filed against her husband in Minnesota are quote, “ridiculous and baseless.” Melodee Hoffner told reporters today quote, “My family does what every family does – We take videos and pictures of our kids in all their craziness.” Hoffner, who’s now the suspended football coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, was charged after a school tech employee found videos depicting three naked kids on the coach’s school cell phone earlier this month. Melodee Hoffner said she’s a licensed school counselor, and she’s fully aware of the signs of children who have been abused – and she says it’s clear that her kids have not been exploited in that manner. Hoffner was Eau Claire’s coach for seven seasons ending in 2005. He’s been the head man at Mankato since 2008.
The Chicago Bears released former UW-Whitewater quarterback Matt Blanchard before their practice yesterday. Reporters said the undrafted Blanchard showed some promise at training camp – and it’s still possible the Bears could name him to their practice squad after the final roster cuts are made on Friday. Blanchard completed 9-of-16 passes in two exhibition games, with one interception. He did play against the New York Giants last weekend. Blanchard was a standout at Whitewater, going 45-0 in three years with the defending Division III national champion Warhawks.
Steve Stricker of Madison is still at No.10 in the new World Golf Rankings released this morning. Stricker tied for 54th at The Barclays, the first of four events in the PGA Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs. But Stricker only fell six points in the Fed-Ex standings to 16th, and he’s still in fairly good shape as he advances to the Deutsche Bank Championship near Boston on Labor Day weekend. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson remains at Number-49 in the World Rankings. He dropped to 39th in the Fed-Ex standings – and although he missed the cut at The Barclays, Wilson still moves on to the Deutsche tournament. The Top-100 in the Fed-Ex point totals advanced to the next round. Madison’s Jerry Kelly was eliminated, after finishing the Fed-Ex Series at Number-122. Kelly dropped 11 points to 180th in the World Rankings. The Top-Five golfers in the world held steady over the last week – Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, and Webb Simpson, in that order.
Former UW-Stevens Point star Jordan Zimmermann took the loss for the Washington Nationals yesterday, when they fell at Philadelphia 4-1. Zimmermann, a right-hander from Auburndale, gave up three runs on five hits and three walks in five innings. His record fell to 9-8. Cliff Lee won his first home game in almost a year for the Phillies.
Former University of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson was named yesterday as the starter for the Seattle Seahawks’ regular season opener on September ninth at Arizona. Coach Pete Carroll named Wilson yesterday over ex-Packer Matt Flynn, who left Green Bay with the hopes of becoming a starter and getting out from Aaron Rodgers’ shadow. But Wilson has been nothing short of spectacular in the pre-season. In three games, the third-round draft pick has completed 35-of-52 passes for 464 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. And last Friday night against the Kansas City first-stringers, Wilson completed 13-of-19 for 185 yards, two scores, and a passer rating of 134.8. He also ran for 58 yards – and has 150 rushing yards and a TD in all three pre-season contests. Carroll said Wilson earned the job not only during the games, from the challenges he has faced on the practice field. The coach said Wilson is so prepared, he does not seem like a first-year player. Flynn sat out last Friday night’s game with a sore elbow. The Seahawks’ third quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson, is in the process of being traded to Buffalo.
The Marquette University men’s soccer team is 2-0 for the first time in 12 years, after winning at UW-Green Bay 1-0 Sunday. Eric Pothast scored the game’s only goal in the 30th minute. The Phoenix dropped to 1-1.
The UW-Milwaukee men edged Northern Kentucky 2-to-1 at home. Laurie Bell scored the game-winner on a penalty kick in the second half. The Panthers improved to 1-1. UW-Madison won at Memphis Friday 4-3.
In women’s collegiate soccer, Wisconsin blanked Loyola, Ill. 4-0 Sunday in Madison. Kodee Williams had a goal and an assist for Wisconsin, which has still not given a goal on defense this season. The Badgers are 3-0 for the first time since 2005. UW-Milwaukee lost to Miami, Fla. 4-2 on a rainy Sunday afternoon at home. The Hurricanes out-shot the Panthers 15-11, at Milwaukee’s record dropped to 1-2-1. The Marquette women’s match at Saint Louis was called due to thunderstorms with almost 40 minutes left in the second half. The Golden Eagles were up 1-0. But because 70 minutes had not been played, the game and its statistics won’t count.
The Marquette University volleyball team lost the title match of its own tournament yesterday, three games to one to Northwestern. Stephanie Holthus led the Wildcats with 18 kills, as Northwestern improved to 2-0. Freshman Erin Lehman had 14 kills for Marquette, which fell to 1-1.
UW-Green Bay lost a pair of matches yesterday in the Green Bay Country Inn-and-Suites tournament. The Phoenix were swept by Northern Michigan 3-0. And UW-Green Bay then fell to Auburn in the final match 3-0. The Phoenix went 1-2 during the weekend. The University of Wisconsin lost the final game of the University of South Florida Invitational 3-1 to Creighton to go 2-1 over the weekend in Tampa.
In the Midwest League…
Beloit 11, Cedar Rapids 8
Peoria 7, Wisconsin 3
Clinton 7, Quad Cities 6 in Game-One
Clinton 10, Quad Cities 1 in Game-Two
Kane County 4, Burlington 0
Bowling Green 11, South Bend 5
Lansing 5, Fort Wayne 1
West Michigan 5, Dayton 3
Lake County 4, Great Lakes 3