Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Three Packers will not play in Sunday's openerWisconsin Sports
-- Three Green Bay Packers will not play on Sunday against San Francisco in their season opener at Lambeau Field.
GREEN BAY - Three Green Bay Packers will not play on Sunday against San Francisco in their season opener at Lambeau Field.
Running back James Starks was officially declared as “out” today with his lingering turf toe. Corner Davon House is also out with an injured shoulder. And linebacker Jamari Lattimore is out a bad ankle. Only five other Packers are on the official injury report for the 49’ers game, and they’re all listed as probable. They are tight end Tom Crabtree, linebacker Robert Francois, nose tackle B.J. Raji, rookie safety Sean Richardson, and running back Alex Green. Green was held out of practice today as a precaution, as he gets over a torn ACL knee ligament from a year ago. The only player on the injury list who practiced fully today was Raji.
Cedric Benson will get the start at running back for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, when they host San Francisco in their regular season opener. Benson signed with the Packers in mid-August after Cincinnati cut him in the off-season, and no other team picked him up. He’s only had three weeks to study the Packers’ playbook – but neither Benson nor coach Mike McCarthy think it will be a problem. McCarthy says he’s confident that Benson knows the game plan. The veteran Benson says it all comes down to “just football,” and he’s excited about playing on Sunday and having the opportunity that the Packers have given him. The Packers took part in a light workout today to help prepare for their opener.
With the 49’ers in Green Bay this weekend, the team’s general manager had a chance to return to his Wisconsin roots during the week. Trent Baalke spoke to students at Laconia High School at Rosendale in Fond du Lac County. He graduated from there in 1982, and he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. Baalke reminded students that life is a journey, and the decisions they make along the way will have a major impact on their general direction later on. Baalke was named the NFL’s executive-of-the-year in 2011, after the 49’ers made it to the NFC Championship Game. He was given a contract extension in San Francisco through 2016.
Conference play begins tomorrow for 10-of-the-11 football teams in the Midwest Conference. Beloit College hosts defending champion Monmouth. Carroll hosts Ripon College in Waukesha. Lawrence of Appleton travels to Lake Forest. Saint Norbert entertains Knox College. Grinnell hosts Illinois College. And the league’s newest entry, Cornell, has a non-conference matchup against Coe College. Elsewhere, Wisconsin Lutheran hosts Olivet. Concordia-Mequon plays at Macalester. Maranatha Baptist is at Trinity Bible College in North Dakota.
Week-Two of the Wisconsin small college football season got underway last night, when UW-La Crosse lost at Division II Northern Michigan 24-6. Four other WIAC teams will have non-conference games tomorrow. UW-River Falls plays at No. 7 Saint Thomas in Saint Paul. No. 21st-ranked UW-Platteville is at home against Dubuque. UW-Stout plays Jamestown (N.D.) State at home in Menomonie and UW-Eau Claire hosts Saint John’s of Minnesota. Top-ranked Whitewater has the weekend off.
The Milwaukee Brewers will need to bring their “A”-game if they have any hopes of making the post-season. The Brewers were left for dead a month ago, as they dropped to 12 games below .500. But after winning 13-of-17, the Brew Crew is just three below the break-even point. And they can really gain some ground this weekend by playing well and beating the Saint Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. A three-game series begins tonight. Milwaukee is seven games behind the Cardinals and Atlanta for the two National League Wild Cards, with three other teams ahead of the Crew. Milwaukee is just 1-5 at Busch this year – but the Redbirds have only won three-of-their-last-nine contests. The Milwaukee bats have been hot lately, but they still struggle at times – like they did yesterday in a loss at Miami in which they went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Braun and Norichika Aoki provided the only offense for the Brewers with sacrifice flies. But otherwise, Braun’s been on a tear. He’s been hitting .404 in his last 11 games with three homers and 14 RBI’s. Aoki has a 10-game hitting streak, in which he’s batting .395 with 12 runs scored. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo starts for Milwaukee tonight against Cardinals’ veteran Kyle Lohse.
The Beloit Snappers and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will play their third-and-deciding games tonight in their respective Midwest League first-round playoff series. And if both teams win, it will be an all-Wisconsin matchup in the Western Division Finals. The Timber Rattlers avoided elimination in their West semi-final series last night, by shutting out Burlington 4-0 at Appleton. Clinton stayed alive with a 7-5 win at Beloit in 10 innings. Both series are now tied at a game-apiece, with both Game-Threes on Wisconsin soil tonight. Best-of-three finals in both divisions begin tomorrow night. The East finals are already set. Fort Wayne will host Lake County, after both won their first-round series last night.