State Sports Roundup: Ball uncertain for conference openerWisconsin Sports
-- Wisconsin might have to open its conference schedule without Montee Ball.
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin football team might have to open its conference schedule without Montee Ball.
The senior running back left in the second quarter of Saturday’s 37-26 win over Texas-El Paso with a head injury. Ball ran for 40 yards and a touchdown – and the coaches must decide this week whether Ball will ready for this Saturday night’s Big Ten opener at Nebraska. Redshirt freshman Melvin Gordon from Kenosha had eight carries for 112 yards. Junior James White ran 15 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Badgers’ coach Bret Bielema said his team will be comfortable at the running back spot, even if Ball is not ready to play against the Cornhuskers. Wisconsin moved up one place to 23rd in the USA Today coaches’ poll after its win over El Paso. The Badgers are eight places out of the Top-25 in the A-P media poll. Both Wisconsin and Nebraska are 3-1 after their non-conference schedules.
The UW-Whitewater football team remains at No. 4 in the new national Division III poll from D3football.com The three-time defending national champion Warhawks are 2-1, after beating UW-Stevens Point 34-7 on Saturday. UW-Platteville moved up three spots in the new poll to No. 13. The Pioneers crushed Eau Claire 49-19 last Thursday night. UW-Oshkosh makes its first appearance at No.21. The Titans are 3-0 after a 70-9 pasting of Alma. Whitewater bounced back after a one-point upset loss to Buffalo State the previous week. Buffalo State dropped out of the Top-25 after being 19th a week ago. Mount Union, Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Linfield remain first, second, and third. All three are at 3-0.
Matt Kenseth of Cambridge took 14th in the second race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kenseth remains 11th among the 12 drivers competing for the season title after yesterday’s Sylvania-300 in Loudon New Hampshire. He dug a hole for himself on Friday as he qualified 25th. Kenseth is ahead of only Jeff Gordon in the Chase standings, and he’s 45 points behind new leader Jimmie Johnson with eight races left. Kenseth said he got everything he could from his car yesterday, after he lost a shock absorber last week in the opening Chase event near Chicago. Kenseth figured that he had about a “10th place car,” which is quote, “a little better than we usually do” at New Hampshire. Paul Menard of Eau Claire was the state’s top finisher in the race in the 12th spot – and he remained 16th in the season point standings. Travis Kvapil of Janesville placed 31st yesterday, and he remains 30th for the year. Kelly Bires of Mauston had problems with his brakes on his opening lap at Loudon, and he took 43rd-and-last. Denny Hamlin won the event.
Steve Stricker of Madison finished 20th in the Fed-Ex Cup season point standings, after he struggled at The Tour Championship. Stricker fired a three-over-par 73 for the third straight day – and he finished at six-over-286 in the last of four PGA Playoff events. Stricker placed 22nd for the weekend at East Lake near Atlanta. Brandt Snedeker won the tournament at 10-under-270. And he won the 10-million-dollar Fed-Ex Cup prize, plus another one-point-four million for winning the Tour Championship. Stricker, meanwhile, heads to Chicago as a member of the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup which starts on Friday.