Friday State Sports Briefs: Packer fans still buzzing about fake field-goalWisconsin Sports
-- Fans are still buzzing about the fake field goal attempt on 4th-and-26 last night that gave the Green Bay Packers their first touchdown, en route to their 13-point home win over Chicago.
GREEN BAY - Fans are still buzzing about the fake field goal attempt on 4th-and-26 last night that gave the Green Bay Packers their first touchdown, en route to their 13-point home win over Chicago.
The Bears have gotten the best of the Packer special teams’ units over the years – but not last night. Coach Mike McCarthy said the team’s been working on the play for two-or-three years. And he gave punter Tim Masthay and tight end Tom Crabtree the option of pulling the trigger. Crabtree said the Bears’ defense was set up perfectly for it. So when Mason Crosby was about to kick a 45-yard field goal, holder Masthay shoveled the ball to Crabtree – who had a wide open running route to score a 27-yard touchdown. Bears’ safety Charles Tillman said his team was prepared to block the kick – and had they pulled it off, he said it would have been a game-changer in Chicago’s favor. McCarthy said the play was not only meant to throw off the Bears – it was meant to fire up the players on his own sideline, who were still stung from last Sunday’s season-opening loss to San Francisco. McCarthy called it the “big play of the game.” It was the first touchdown pass by a Green Bay punter since 1972, when Ron Widby threw a 68-yard strike to Dave Davis against the former Houston Oilers. The Packers are now 1-1. They’ll play at Seattle a week from Monday night.
The Packers had almost twice as many total yards as Chicago last night – and two rookies helped make that possible. Defensive end Jerel Worthy started in place of the injured C.J. Wilson, and was credited with three tackles, including one sack. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels had his first career sack in the fourth quarter of his NFL debut. First-round outside linebacker Nick Perry started, but Erik Walden played most of the game in that spot in his first action since his one-game suspension last weekend. Walden and Clay Matthews shared one of the Packers’ seven sacks of Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler. And Walden drilled Cutler in the second half, forcing a bad pass that was intercepted by Charles Wilson. Walden said it was just good to be playing – and he’ll look to improve a week from Monday night at Seattle.
After a bye last weekend, the top-ranked UW-Whitewater football team will host Buffalo State tomorrow. The Warhawks are 1-0 after crushing Washington of Saint Louis on the road, 34-0. It was Whitewater’s 46th straight win, continuing the longest streak in all of college football. A win tomorrow will tie the Warhawks with Oklahoma for the third-longest winning streak in NCAA history. Mount Union, who’s ranked second in Division-Three, is the only team to have longer win streaks – 55 ending in 2003, and 54 ending in 1999. Four other WIAC teams are also in action tomorrow. La Crosse plays at Oshkosh. Stevens Point travels to Dubuque. And UW-Stout is at home against North Central.
Conference play resumes tomorrow in the Midwest Conference. Saint Norbert plays at Ripon College. Carroll travels to Knox. Lawrence of Appleton hosts Beloit. And Lake Forest plays at Grinnell. Carroll and Illinois College are both 2-0 overall, and they’re 1-0 in the league along with Saint Norbert, Monmouth, and Lake Forest. Meanwhile, teams in the Northern Athletics Conference will play opponents from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association in a “Challenge Series.” Three Wisconsin schools are taking part. Concordia-Mequon hosts Trine. Lakeland College is at home against Kalamazoo. And Wisconsin Lutheran hosts Adrian. In other action, Carthage hosts Wartburg in Kenosha.
The Milwaukee Brewers can tie a team record for the longest home winning streak, with a victory tonight over the New York Mets. The Brewers have won nine straight games at Miller Park. The team record is 10 in a row, set in July of 1979. Milwaukee has won 18-of-its-last-23 games overall, and has only lost two-of-its-last-19 at Miller Park. Those losses were both at the hands of Philadelphia in mid-August. As it turns out, the Phillies have revived themselves nicely as well. The Phils are only four games behind Saint Louis for the second National League Wild Card spot – and the Brewers are just three-and-a-half back, after being out by 12-and-a-half games on August 19th. First baseman Travis Ishikawa said he thought the Crew dug an inescapable hole – but he was wrong. The Brewers have not missed a beat after first baseman Corey Hart injured his left foot last Sunday. Ishikawa has filled in nicely – and he hit a three-run double in Wednesday night’s Milwaukee win over Atlanta. Hart hopes to return this weekend. Center-fielder Carlos Gomez, the team’s leader in stolen bases with 32, is day-to-day after he bruised a quad muscle on Wednesday. Rookie right-hander Mike Fiers will start for the Crew tonight against Mets’ southpaw Jonathan Niese.
It’s a travel day in the Midwest League Championship Series. The best-of-five set is tied at one-game apiece, after the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers lost to Fort Wayne yesterday, 5-1 near Appleton. Colin Rea pitched a career-high seven innings, giving up just two hits – the only hits Wisconsin got all day. Nick Ramirez belted a solo homer for Wisconsin’s only run. Former UW-Milwaukee starter Chad Pierce took the loss, giving up three runs in seven innings. The rest of the series will be played at Fort Wayne, starting with Game-Three tomorrow night. Fort Wayne is going for its second Midwest League title in four years, while the Timber Rattlers are going for their first crown since 1984 – when they were the Appleton Foxes.
Former UW-Milwaukee first baseman Paul Hoenecke is one of 16 players to be named as the minor league players-of-the-month. The 22-year-old Hoenecke led the Arizona League with a .406 batting average in August. He had 18 extra-base hits including 13 doubles, and he drove in 20 runs last month – the second-most in his league. The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Hoenicke in the 24th round in June.