WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: 49ers end Packers' season again
For the second year in a row, the Green Bay Packers were ushered out of the playoffs by San Francisco. Phil Dawson booted a 33-yard field goal as time expired, to give 49'ers a 23-to-20 Wild Card victory in what was the seventh coldest game in Lambeau Field history. It was five-above at kickoff, with a wind-chill of 10-below. The Packers blew two opportunities near the end which could have given them a victory. They failed to score a touchdown after having first-and-goal at the nine-yard-line, settling for a 24-yard Mason Crosby field goal which tied the game. The 49ers were then able to run the clock down to zero with their final drive. But early in that drive, Green Bay rookie corner Micah Hyde leaped to intercept a pass from Colin Kaepernick, and it went right through his hands. Kaepernick then converted a 3rd-and-10 with a 17-yard pass to Michael Crabtree. The Niners' quarterback also had an 11-yard scamper on another third-down play with just over a minute left. Kaepernick ended up with 98 rushing yards to go with 227 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Aaron Rodgers -- in his second game back after a broken collarbone -- never left the pocket during the first quarter and appeared cautious for the most part after that. He was sacked four times, in the Packers' third loss in their last four playoff games following their 2010 Super Bowl title.
He completed 17-of-26 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown to Jordy Nelson -- who was Green Bay's leading receiver with 62 yards on seven catches. Eddie Lacy ran for 81 yards on 21 carries. John Kuhn scored the Packers' final touchdown from a yard out. It was Kuhn's fifth straight playoff game with a score, tying a Green Bay record set by Dorsey Levens. Also, Crosby's two field goals and two extra points gave him 74 on the season -- a new Green Bay record. Packers' corner Sam Shields and outside linebacker Mike Neal both left early with knee injuries. 49'ers corner Carlos Rogers missed the game with an injured hamstring, ending 53 consecutive starts. San Francisco won its seventh straight game, and will be at Carolina in next weekend's divisional round. The Packers lost their fourth straight to the 49'ers over the past two years -- and coach Mike McCarthy said it "hurts." The Packers ended their season at 8-8-and-1.
The Packers and the N-F-L are looking into a report that rookie left tackle David Bahktiari returned for a play, after he was checked out for a concussion late in yesterday's playoff loss to San Francisco. League policy requires players to follow a long diagnosis protocol once they're suspected of having concussions. But Fox T-V sideline reporter Pam Oliver said Bahktiari took part in an extra point attempt after he got hurt late in a drive in which John Kuhn scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 12:06 left. Bahktiari then went to the locker room, where he was diagnosed with the concussion.
The Wisconsin men's basketball team matched its best start in school history with a 75-to-71 home victory over Iowa last night. The fourth-ranked Badgers rallied in the second half, as the Number-22 Hawkeyes blew an 11-point halftime lead. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery was ejected for bumping an official midway through the second half, with his team leading by two. McCaffery was upset about a no-call at one end, and a foul called against the Hawkeyes at the other end -- and he exploded as a T-V timeout was just beginning. The coach was first hit with a technical -- and after he bumped an official, he got the boot. Wisconsin scored five straight points after that to take the lead for good. The Badgers are now 2-and-0 in the Big Ten and 15-and-0 overall, matching the 1912 and 1914 teams for the best start in team history. Ben Brust scored 19 points for the Badgers. Roy Devyn Marble scored 27 for Iowa, which dropped to 1-and-1 in the conference and 12-and-3 overall. Wisconsin and Iowa are now at 79-and-79 in their all-time series. The Badgers host Illinois on Wednesday night.
The U-W Milwaukee women's basketball team won at Nebraska-Omaha yesterday, 68-to-48. The Panthers came back from 11 points down in the first half. Omaha was then held without a field goal for eight minutes stretching across both halves. Milwaukee went up by 11 with 7:12 left and never looked back. Angela Rodriguez led U-W-M with 19 points, six assists, and three steals. Ericka House scored 18 points for Nebraska-Omaha, which lost its first home game and fell to 8-and-6 after a 6-and-0 start. U-W Milwaukee improved to 4-and-9. They'll open Horizon League play on Saturday at U-W Green Bay.
Alyson Dudek of suburban Milwaukee was named yesterday to the U-S Olympic women's short-track speed-skating team for next month's Games in Russia. Dudek, of Hales Corners, was part of the U-S bronze-medal three-thousand-meter relay team in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. But the U-S relay team did not qualify this time -- so the American delegation was limited to three members instead. It's the smallest U-S women's team since short-track skating was introduced in the Olympics in 1996. Jessica Smith and Emily Scott are the other team members. Smith won both of the women's one-thousand meter finals -- and she'll skate in three individual events in Sochi. The U-S short-track team ended its trials yesterday near Salt Lake City.