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Rams start fast and finish fast, beat Bears 42-21

Sunday, 24 November 2013 23:49 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Long brothers were part of a first-half tussle, and the St. Louis Rams pushed the Chicago Bears around most of the day.

Tavon Austin's 65-yard touchdown run - his fourth straight this season from beyond midfield - jump-started a 21-point first quarter and the defense made some big plays, too, in a 42-21 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Coming off their bye, the Rams (5-6) followed up a 30-point rout of Indianapolis in front of their largest crowd of the season, about half of them clad Bears orange. Late scores by rookie backup running back Benny Cunningham and defensive end Robert Quinn helped finish off the Bears (6-5), who remained tied for the NFC North lead.

Josh McCown passed for 352 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for Chicago, which had won four straight in the series. The Bears had a 62-yard punt return for touchdown by Devin Hester nullified by a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.

The Longs - Chicago guard Kyle and St. Louis defensive end Chris - lined up close to each other all day and were the focal point of one skirmish in the first half. After McCown threw an incomplete pass to fullback Tony Fiammetta in the second half, Fiammetta and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson squared off, causing players from both teams to rumble.

Kyle Long raced down the field get to Rams end William Hayes, and had him down before his big brother intervened. Chris Long, who had taken the play off, raced off the sideline to corral Kyle Long and drag him from the fight to the sideline.

Cunningham's 9-yard run with 3:05 to play plus a 2-point conversion pass from Kellen Clemens to Isaiah Pead put the Rams up 35-21. Quinn stripped McCown on a sack and then scooped up the ball on a 31-yard return just before the 2-minute warning.

The Bears had first-and-goal at the 4 on their opening drive of the second half trailing 24-14 and got nothing when coach Marc Trestman decided against a field goal and Michael Bush was thrown for a 4-yard loss by Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

All of the Rams' home games have been televised locally. But Sunday's attendance of 66,024 was nearly 10,000 more than the previous best.

Cunningham rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries, most of it in the second half after Stacy was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. Johnson and guard Chris Williams also left following blows to the head.

McCown's passing yardage total was the third-best of his career and most since 2005.

The Rams stunned the Bears with two big plays and two touchdowns before the first capacity crowd of the year, with about a 50-50 home-road mix and orange jerseys everywhere, could settle in.

Austin's 65-yard run gave them points on their opening possession the first time all year and Stacy's 1-yard run capitalized on a lost fumble by Matt Forte at the 7 for a 14-0 cushion with 12:36 to go in the first quarter.

Jared Cook added a 6-yard catch from Clemens late in the first for a 21-7 cushion, offsetting Martellus Bennett's 7-yard reception from McCown.

The Rams totaled 29 points in the first quarter during the first 10 games before surging against a defense that been on the upswing, allowing an average of 20 points the last three games.

Elliott has 33 saves in Blues' 6-1 win over Stars

Saturday, 23 November 2013 23:23 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Brian Elliott made 33 saves in only his fifth start of the season and the St. Louis Blues got goals from six players in their third straight win, a 6-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

St. Louis (16-3-3) has won five of six and is off to the fastest start in franchise history.

Dallas had its six-game road winning streak snapped.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock recorded his 621st win, moving him into sole possession of eighth place in career wins.

Vladimir Sobotka, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes, Derek Roy, Chris Stewart and T.J. Oshie scored for the Blues, who have won six of their last seven against the Stars.

Elliott, the backup to Jaroslav Halak, he stopped the final 26 shots in improcving 4-0-1.

Brenden Dillon scored for Dallas, which fell to 8-6 on the road.

No. 8 Missouri beat No. 24 Mississippi 24-10

Saturday, 23 November 2013 23:22 Published in Sports

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The Missouri Tigers might not have a roster full of superstars.

But as a collective they're an awfully tough bunch to beat, and the Tigers are now one victory away from playing for a Southeastern Conference championship in just their second season in the league.

Henry Josey rushed for two touchdowns, Marcus Murphy added another and No. 8 Missouri rolled to a 24-10 victory over No. 24 Mississippi on Saturday night.

"To say I'm proud of my football team and my staff would be an understatement," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "They battle every time they play. They prepare well and focus at a very high level."

The Tigers strolled into a hostile environment at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and never flinched, jumping out to a 17-3 lead by halftime for the relatively easy victory.

Now the big one awaits for the Tigers (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference). The Tigers host Texas A&M next weekend, with a win clinching the SEC's East Division title.

James Franklin completed 12 of 19 passes for 142 yards and an interception in his first start since a shoulder injury caused him to miss four games.

"I thought he did an outstanding job," Pinkel said. "The guy hadn't played in six weeks and there was a lot of pressure on him to play well."

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Ole Miss (7-4, 3-4). Bo Wallace threw for 244 yards and an interception, but was battling an illness for much of the game and struggled during the second half.

Donte Moncrief caught six passes for 115 yards, but dropped what would have been a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Ole Miss made three trips to the red zone, but managed just three points.

"It's impossible to beat a top 10 team when you get in the red zone and don't score touchdowns or points," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "... If you don't score some points in the red zone against that team you aren't going to win."

It's the fourth 10-win season for Missouri in the past seven years and was coach Gary Pinkel's 100th win with the Tigers.

The Tigers' used a deep running back rotation to slowly wear down the Ole Miss defense. Josey had most of the big plays, but Russell Hansbrough and Murphy combined for 99 more yards, helping Missouri shorten the game in the second half with time-consuming drives.

Missouri jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter after a blistering eight-play, 72-yard drive that took less than three minutes. Andrew Baggett added a 33-yard field goal and Murphy scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter as the Tigers took a 17-3 halftime lead.

The Tigers finished with 485 total yards, including 260 on the ground.

"We're just a focused team," Missouri linebacker Andrew Wilson said. "The coaches did a good job keeping us focused. We had a great gameplan. We knew what we had to do."

Franklin — making his first start since suffering a shoulder injury Oct. 12 — completed 7 of 7 passes for 89 yards in the first half.

The Ole Miss offense had a few opportunities to match Missouri, but kept blowing opportunities in the red zone. The litany of errors included two false start penalties, one blocked field goal attempt and several unsuccessful running plays.

But the Rebels regrouped in the third quarter, pulling within 17-10 on the opening drive of the second half on I'Tavius Mathers' 45-yard run. The sophomore bounced off a few would-be tacklers and then dashed down the left sideline, outrunning a pair of Mizzou defenders into the end zone.

The momentum was short lived. Missouri responded with an 86-yard touchdown drive that ended on Josey's second touchdown of the night and the Tigers had a 24-10 lead.

Bo Wallace completed 20 of 28 passes for 172 yards and an interception in the first half, but didn't start the second half because he was sick. Wallace and backup Barry Brunetti split snaps in the second half, but neither had much success.

Moncrief had a productive night, but his dropped pass in the end zone was a microcosm of the Rebels' frustrating night. Ole Miss could have cut Missouri's lead to 24-17 with eight minutes remaining, but instead turned the ball over on downs one play later and Missouri went on to its third straight victory.

 

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