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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Packers without Matthews, Perry vs. Bears

GREEN BAY - Once again tonight, the Green Bay Packers will have no Clay Matthews and no Nick Perry facing the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.  And as always, the coaches are looking to their replacements to step up and keep the defensive pressure on.

Linebackers' coach Kevin Greene says he's been impressed with sixth-round rookie Nate Palmer and undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba -- but he'd like them to start completing plays with a sack or a forced fumble.  Greene says both Palmer and Mulumba need to make some, quote, "splash" plays.  Greene is confident that both rookies are close to those "splash" plays -- and in the meantime, he says they're quote, "quietly doing a fine job."  Mulumba and Palmer have been rotating with Mike Neal in plugging the outside linebacker spots left for now by the injured Matthews and Perry.  Matthews was scheduled to have pins removed today from his broken thumb -- and there's a chance he can return for the Packers' next game on Sunday at home against Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, the Packers need a victory this evening to keep their half-game lead in the NFC North.  A loss would put Green Bay in a three-way tie for the lead with Detroit and Chicago, all at 5-3.


University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen says he'll need at least another day-and-a-half before he knows if any of his injured players can be in Saturday's home contest against BYU.  Senior linebacker Chris Borland missed last Saturday's win at Iowa, with a hamstring injury suffered two weeks before.  Receiver Jared Abbrederis injured a chest against the Hawkeyes.  Center Dallas Lewallen, linebacker Conor O'Neill, and tight end Brian Wozniak each had ankle injuries in the game.   Backup defensive end Tyler Dippel missed the Iowa game and went home to California to deal with a family emergency.  He'll reportedly miss the BYU contest for the same reason.  Andersen said this afternoon he's not sure about Dippel's playing status -- and for now, at least, it's secondary. 


A victory-and-a-tie over a national Top-15 squad did nothing to improve the Wisconsin men's hockey team's new ranking.  U.S. College Hockey Online ranked the Badgers this afternoon at No. 13, same as a week ago.  Mike Eaves' played Lake Superior State to a 3-3 tie before winning a shoot-out on Friday night -- and on Saturday, the Badgers crushed LSSU 8-1.  Both games were played in Madison.  The Badgers improved their record to 3-2-1.  Lake Superior State fell out of the ranks of the undefeated, dropping to 4-1-1.  They slipped from 12th place to 14th in today's new men's poll.   In the women's poll, Wisconsin is still ranked second by College Hockey Online.  The Badgers improved to 8-2 after sweeping Ohio State during the weekend.  The Buckeyes were 10th last week.  This week, they fell one spot away from a ranking.  Minnesota remains atop both the women's-and-men's polls. 


Former Milwaukee Bucks' guard Brandon Jennings has finally made his season debut for the Detroit Pistons.  He had 14 points, four steals, four assists, three rebounds, and two turnovers in the Pistons' 88-77 home win over the Boston Celtics yesterday.  Jennings missed Detroit's first two games and most of the pre-season with a broken jaw caused by a problem with a wisdom tooth.  Jennings was dealt to Detroit this summer for point guard Brandon Knight and forward Khris Middleton.  Knight injured his left hamstring in the pre-season -- and in last Wednesday's regular season opener, he strained his right hamstring.  He has missed two games for Milwaukee since then.  Bucks' coach Larry Drew is hopeful that the 21-year-old Knight can play on Wednesday night at home against Cleveland.


The UW-Green Bay men's basketball team will open its regular season this weekend, after winning an 82-39 exhibition tune-up at home against Viterbo of La Crosse yesterday.  The Phoenix opened the game on an 11-0 run, and never looked back.  Sophomore Greg Mays led the Phoenix with 12 points.  Senior center and NBA prospect Alec Brown had 10 points and 10 rebounds.  Green Bay out-shot Viterbo 52-to-41 percent, and they had a 57-to-25 edge on the boards.  Alex Diciaula scored 11 points for Viterbo, the only player on his team to score in double-figures.  Green Bay will host Northern Michigan in its regular season opener on Saturday afternoon.


The University of Wisconsin women's soccer team has earned its fifth straight Big Ten Conference tournament berth.  The Badgers are seeded sixth among the eight teams in the league tourney, to be played at Illinois.  Wisconsin will open on Wednesday against third-seeded Penn State.  The winner will play either Michigan or Iowa in Friday's semifinals.  The title match is set for Sunday.  The Badgers are 2-2-1 against Penn State in the last four seasons. UW wrapped up its regular season with a 2-0 win over Northwestern Saturday in Madison.


In men's soccer, Wisconsin took a 1-0 victory at Northwestern yesterday.  Nick Janus scored the only goal of the match.  Max Jentsch had three saves, as the Wisconsin goal-tender earned his second shutout of the season.  The Badgers improved to 3-2 in the Big Ten and 12-3-2 overall -- their highest victory total since 1995 with one regular season match left.


The Marquette University men's golf team is tied for third place after the opening round of the Wendy's Kiawah Classic in Hawaii -- and Wisconsin is 13th among the 18 participating schools.  The Golden Eagles scored a four-over-par 292 yesterday, the same as Presbyterian and Charleston Southern.  Radford began the day in second place at 291.  South Carolina was the first-round leader at 283.  The Badgers were at 17-over at 305.  Nick Nelson was Marquette's top individual after the first round at two-under-par 70.  Wisconsin's top player was Robbie Jacobson at even-par 72.  The three-round tournament is scheduled to run through Tuesday at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Turtle Point Golf Course on Hawaii's Kiawah Island.


The University of Wisconsin men's rowing team ended its fall season with a solid showing at the Head-of-the-Huron regatta in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  The Badgers took all of the top-three places in the Novice Eight race -- first and third in the Novice Four -- and third in the Varsity Eight.  Meanwhile, the Badger women competed in the inaugural Collegiate Small Boat Challenge in West Windsor, New Jersey.  It allowed the competitors to hone their skills in Olympic events which are not normally a part of NCAA regattas.  Badgers' senior open-weight rower Monica Whitehouse had the top finish.  She was third among 28 competitors in the women's single sculls.  Wisconsin's Anne Rauschert and Elizabeth Schoenfeldt took fourth in the women's pair.  The UW boat of Jennifer Kish and Alessandra Ruenger took in their "B" final and finished 10th overall.   


The UW-Stout men’s basketball team will have a pair of exhibitions against the higher NCAA Division II this week.  The Blue Devils will play at Winona State tonight, and at Minnesota-Duluth late Saturday afternoon.  A pre-season poll had Stout placing fourth this season in the WIAC, with Stevens Point, Whitewater, and Platteville in the one-two-and-three spots.  Stout went 11-5 in conference play a year ago, with a 20-7 overall mark.


Mike Johnston of Milwaukee tied for 19th at the national PGA Assistant Championship, which ended yesterday in Port Saint Lucie Florida.  Johnston, an assistant pro at the Naga-Waukee golf course, finished his 72 holes at five-over-293.  David Kemnitz of Blackwolf Run in Kohler missed the weekend cut, after shooting 157 for two rounds.  Frank Bensel of Purchase New York won the tournament by six strokes.  He finished at 10-under-278, fifteen strokes ahead of Johnson.