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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Sam Bradford is done for the season, and the chances on this being the year the St. Louis Rams post their first winning season in a decade changed dramatically.

They insist the season is far from over.

Coach Jeff Fisher told players to keep their chins up on Monday, referencing a book by an inspirational speaker as a rallying point for the final nine games.

"We're going to see a lot of people step up," defensive end Chris Long said. "And we're going to see a lot of people step up that you might not expect."

One of them needs to be Kellen Clemens, who'll be making his 13th career start in eight seasons next Monday night against the Seahawks.

Clemens has been the backup the past two years and was with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with the Jets, too, so he knows the scheme.

Plus, he's the only other quarterback on the roster.

"Somebody's got to play," Clemens said. "So I'll go out there and do the best job I can and try to help this team win some games," Clemens said.

Bradford will have season-ending surgery for a torn ligament in his left knee after getting hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-15 loss at Carolina that dropped the Rams to 3-4.

The Rams feared the worst on the return flight and on Monday announced results of an MRI.

Surgery will be done in the next 2-3 weeks once the swelling goes down and Fisher was confident Bradford would make a complete recovery in time for next season.

"Very disappointing," middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "I thought he was putting up a strong season. It's a long grind now for him."

The Rams will be auditioning quarterbacks this week but Fisher said they won't make a trade, which means Clemens is likely set for his first extended opportunity since he made eight starts in 2007 for the Jets.

At his regular day-after news conference, Fisher did his best to dismiss all rumors and said he wasn't "at liberty" to discuss any names. One potential name is Austin Davis, released at the end of training camp.

"There's a lot of speculation out there, everybody's talking and everybody knows more than we do right now OK?" Fisher said. "Trust me, we have a process in place and we're going through that process."

Clemens pointed out the coincidence that his first game with the Rams was a Monday night loss at Seattle in December 2011, days after signing a free agent deal. He did not play against the Seahawks but then started the final three games of a 2-14 season, all losses.

"It's a different team, it's a different set of opponents, different everything," Clemens said. "I am excited for the opportunity."

Bradford tore his anterior cruciate ligament when he landed on his knee after being shoved out of bounds by safety Mike Mitchell. Teammates feared the worst once they saw him carted off the field and on crutches in the locker room.

Bradford has 14 touchdown passes and just four interceptions this season. Still, he has his detractors, critics who insist he has not measured up to the billing of a No. 1 overall pick.

"He was playing very, very well, not only yesterday but was just improving weekly," Fisher said. "The challenge is obvious in this world when you have an impact player go down.

"He was off to a great start, so it's unfortunate but he'll be back. He's our quarterback."

In his fourth season out of Oklahoma, Bradford has been nudging his way up the ladder, among the top half of the league's best quarterbacks. He's been taking charge and minimizing mistakes - exactly what the youngest team in the NFL needed.

Bradford threw for 255 yards and a score Sunday, with one interception and two sacks. He has thrown a touchdown pass in 11 consecutive games. St. Louis had won its previous two games, with Bradford throwing three TD passes in each.

Bradford is no stranger to injuries. He missed six games with a high left ankle sprain in 2011. He had season-ending shoulder surgery in 2009 when he was at Oklahoma.

Monday, 21 October 2013 22:15
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A couple of Missouri Tigers are collecting awards after an impressive win.

Quarterback Maty Mauk was named the SEC Freshman Player of the Week and  Michael Sam won Defensive Player of the Week, after the Tigers beat the Florida Gators 36-17. Mauk filled in for the injured James Franklin and threw for 295 and a score. Michael Sam recorded three sacks against the Gators, bring his season total to 9--the second most in the nation.

The undefeated #5 Mizzou Tigers face SEC rival South Carolina on Saturday.

 

Monday, 21 October 2013 14:26
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rosters turn over so quickly these days, the St. Louis Cardinals used only seven players from their 2011 World Series roster in this year's NL championship series.

The NL champions got contributions from 20 rookies this season, many in starring roles on a team that led the NL with 97 wins and then reached the World Series for the second time in three years.

General manager John Mozeliak sees little commonalities, pointing out the '11 team sneaked into the postseason as the second wild card and this year's team that until now has had the home-field advantage.

"The good story line is you've got two teams that have the best records in the game matching up in the World Series," Mozeliak said. "And I think that's nice. A lot of times, that doesn't work out."

Lance Lynn is the only pitcher left from two years ago, joined against the Dodgers by position players Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso, David Freese, Matt Holliday and Jon Jay. Cleanup man Allen Craig, sidelined by a foot injury since early September, is expected to join them in the Series and would open as the DH.

The first time Craig would have to play first base is Game 3 Friday in St. Louis, and everyone's optimistic especially given those extra rehab days. Craig's .454 average with runners in scoring position led the majors, and aside from the Cardinals' clinching 9-0 rout of the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS, the offense has struggled without him.

"He could be the difference," Molina said. "I'm happy to have him back."

When the Cardinals were swept by Boston in the 2004 Series, Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal were in middle school.

Wacha was a first-round selection in June 2012 - the Cardinals' compensation pick for losing Albert Pujols to the Angels in free agency - scaled the system quickly and has been phenomenal in the postseason at 3-0 with an 0.43 ERA. He's been to Fenway Park once before, as a sophomore at Texas A&M playing for a college all-star team but didn't play.

"It's unbelievable, just the history," Wacha said. "It's Fenway, it's an amazing ballpark and I just really look forward to getting to play there."

St. Louis worked out Sunday after a day off to savor the NL pennant. They leave for Boston on Tuesday, and just a handful have firsthand experience of the ill-fated 105-win team that got swept by the Red Sox.

"That was one of the toughest experiences in my baseball career," said manager Mike Matheny, who shared catching duties with Molina that year. "You don't forget that."

Matheny said the feeling was similar to the nausea he felt as a rookie manager in the 2012 postseason when the Cardinals took a 3-1 NLCS lead over the Giants and then got walloped three straight times, in his words "getting our lunch handed to us."

"It's a lot like what happened last year as we were standing in the rain watching San Francisco celebrate," Matheny said. "Could we have done anything different? I don't know. But it sure left a sharp bite."

Ace Chris Carpenter was sidelined before that postseason with the first occurrence of a nerve injury that knocked him out all of this season. Carpenter still suits up but in a ceremonial role as a de facto bench coach.

Mozeliak was assistant GM under Walt Jocketty in `04 and remembered everything seeming rushed. The Cardinals beat the Astros in the NLCS, took batting practice at Fenway the next afternoon and then took the first of four lumps.

Off the field, manager Tony La Russa took issue with distant lodging and the "bar food" offered when they arrived at the hotel.

Molina was a 21-year-old rookie in 2004. This year, he's in the conversation for MVP.

"Back then I was just a kid trying to learn," Molina said. "I have a lot more experience."

Carpenter is among four players from '11 that are still with the team but won't be on the roster. Shortstop Rafael Furcal (elbow) also has been out the entire season, Jaime Garcia is rehabbing from midseason shoulder surgery and Jake Westbrook was rarely used the final month coming off elbow and back woes.

Putting Craig on the roster could come at the expense of rookie Kolten Wong, one of the team's top prospects and the likely second baseman of the future.

"We don't have that many extra guys around here that we'd be jostling around what our roster's going to look like," Matheny said.

Matheny announced Adam Wainwright, a 19-game winner who was injured in 2011, and Wacha as the starting pitchers for Games 1 and 2, but didn't go further. Joe Kelly and Lynn are likely to go in Games 3 and 4, given Mozeliak anticipates rookie 15-game winner Shelby Miller will stay in the bullpen for emergency long relief duty.

Miller has pitched just one inning in the postseason and threw to Craig on Sunday.

 

"I think right now where he's at, I think he'll still be probably used as insurance," Mozeliak said.

Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:32
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Florida State, Baylor and Missouri took big steps forward as The Associated Press college football poll got extensive makeover following losses by five top-10 teams.

Alabama is still No. 1, Oregon still two and Ohio State fourth, but otherwise there was much movement.

Florida State moved up two spots to No. 3 after its 51-14 win at Clemson.

The Crimson Tide received 55 first-place votes from the media panel. Oregon got three first-place votes and Florida State received two. The Seminoles received first-place votes for the first time since Sept. 2, 2002.

Missouri went from 14 to fifth, its best ranking since 2008. No. 6 Baylor jumped to its highest ranking since 1980.

Miami is No. 7, followed by Stanford, Clemson and Texas Tech at No. 10.

No. 21 UCF is ranked for the first time since the final 2010 poll after handing Louisville its first loss of the season.

Louisville, one of those five top-10 teams to lose, along with Clemson, UCLA, LSU and Texas A&M, slipped to 10 spots to No. 18.

A week after the Southeastern Conference set a record with eight ranked teams, five ranked SEC teams lost, knocking two out of the rankings. Florida and Georgia dropped out for the first time this season after each lost for the third time.

Auburn made the biggest move up this week, jumping 13 spots to No. 24 after beating Texas A&M 45-41 at College Station, Texas. The Tigers have their best ranking since winning the 2010 national title.

No. 24 Michigan and No. 25 Nebraska moved back into the rankings this week.

Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:30
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins taunted him during Sunday's NFL game by making derogatory comments about his wife.

Smith said that's why he spent extra time celebrating in the end zone — he even pointed at Jenkins — after beating him for a 19-yard touchdown reception in Carolina's 30-15 win.

"When you embarrass people you rub it in their face," Smith said.

The wide receiver went further using profanity.

"I don't play them games. And if I see him on the street, I'm going to bust him in the mouth," he said with an expletive.

Smith had five catches for 69 yards.

 
Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:28
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers appear to have found their stride.

While the St. Louis Rams' season is suddenly in a state of flux following a knee injury to Sam Bradford.

Newton turned in his second straight quality start, completing 15 of 17 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown and the Panthers defeated Rams 30-15 in a heated game Sunday that included several fights and personal foul penalties.

In the past two games, Newton is 35 of 43 for 464 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions as the Panthers (3-3) have won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

"I feel like I am progressing," said Newton, who is 16-22 as an NFL starter.

Newton said he believes he's making better decisions, although he chided himself for taking sacks on two plays that essentially ended drives.

"I've got to throw the ball away," Newton said. "Just give my guys a chance and when we do that, it's exciting to watch. Anytime I have got an opportunity to give a dink or dunk to these guys, they make the big plays."

Steve Smith caught five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown and Mike Tolbert scored his third touchdown rushing of the season.

The Rams, meanwhile, are concerned about their franchise quarterback.

Bradford was scheduled to have an MRI on his left knee after the team landed in St. Louis. He was injured in the fourth quarter when he landed on it after being shoved out of bounds by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Bradford "was in significant pain on the sideline" but the team wouldn't speculate on how long he'll be out.

"I'm not going to deal with hypotheticals until I find out what's going on with him," Fisher said.

Before losing their quarterback, the Rams (3-4) lost their cool.

They were flagged for five personal foul penalties and defensive end Chris Long was ejected from the game for throwing a punch after one fracas involving more than a dozen players.

Long admitted after the game he lost control of his emotions and said he apologized to his teammates.

"Having to watch the rest of the game in the locker room was probably one of the low points of my career," Long said. "I can't let that happen again. ... I need to be stronger than that. I play this game with a lot of emotion. I won't change that. I can't let people provoke me."

Mitchell, a free agent pickup, was instrumental in the Carolina win.

He not only had eight tackles and two forced fumbles, but also goaded offensive lineman Harvey Dahl and wide receiver Brian Quick into unnecessary roughness penalties.

"We wanted to do a better job of being more mature, being the more composed team," Mitchell said. "We had the game in hand and we could tell by the way they were playing that they wanted to get somebody cheap, try to get us a penalty, something like that. We weren't going to give it to them. We just needed to stay disciplined."

The Panthers were flagged for two personal fouls.

It was a rough day all around for Bradford.

Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn intercepted the former No. 1 draft pick on the game's first play and returned it 45 yards for a score. Bradford also had a long TD pass to Tavon Austin called back on a penalty, and Quick dropped a pass in the end zone.

The Panthers' third-ranked defense forced three turnovers and had four sacks.

The Rams threatened to tie the game early, but failed to convert on fourth-and-goal from the 1 when Bradford was pressured into an incompletion.

The Rams scored on the next play when Eugene Sims tackled Mike Tolbert in the end zone for a safety — the first points surrendered by the Panthers in the opening quarter all season.

After the teams traded field goals, the Panthers took a 17-5 lead just before halftime on a 1-yard plunge by Tolbert.

Down 20-5, Bradford connected with Quick on a 73-yard completion, setting up a short TD pass to Zac Stacy to trim Carolina's lead to eight.

But Carolina came right back as Newton drove Carolina 72 yards, hitting Steve Smith for his 800th career reception, a 19-yard touchdown for a 27-12 lead.

The Panthers have a chance to get above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2008 season when they travel to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton's steady play is a big reason for the team's optimism moving forward.

"He has done a great job," Rivera said. "You talk about things that he does and his reads and learning to go through his progressions the right way. ... When you see him doing those types of things to give us a chance to win, you know that he has matured."

Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:25
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — No James Franklin, no problem for Missouri.

Maty Mauk threw for 295 yards in his first career start and Andrew Baggett converted five field goals to help the No. 14 Tigers defeat No. 22 Florida 36-17 on Saturday and open a two-game lead in the Southeastern Conference East Division.

With Franklin watching on the sideline in street clothes, Mauk put any doubts to rest about whether he was ready on the first play of the game with a 41-yard pass to L'Damian Washington and then a 20-yard toss to Bud Sasser for a 7-0 lead just 22 seconds in.

Coach Gary Pinkel said Saturday was the toughest situation he's ever had to put in a quarterback, especially against a defense only allowing 235.3 yards per game. But the opening drive helped ease the stress on Mauk, who said he was determined to throw the ball downfield on the opening play.

"He looked like a seasoned veteran out there," Pinkel said.

Missouri (7-0, 3-0) outgained the Gators 500-151 and became the first conference opponent in 14 games to score at least 21 points against them. The Tigers bullied Florida (4-3, 3-2) at the line of scrimmage, sacking quarterback Tyler Murphy six times and flushing him out of the pocket throughout the game.

The Tigers knocked off their second consecutive ranked opponent for the first time since 1973 and will face No. 11 South Carolina next week at home. The Gamecocks lost at Tennessee 23-21 on Saturday.

"This team is resilient, coming back from where we were last year," Washington said. "I told Coach Pinkel, 'We've got to stop talking bowl games around here. Let's talk BCS, let's talk national championships.'"

Florida is off before facing Georgia on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville.

Mauk entered the game having only thrown six passes this season, but three of those came in the final quarter of a 41-26 win at Georgia last week after Franklin suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out at least two more games. Mauk completed 18 of 36 passes Saturday, including three for 37 yards or more down the sideline.

The 6-foot, 200-pound redshirt freshman capped the scoring with 6:30 remaining on a 17-yard scramble, prompting the 67,124 in attendance to perform the "Gator Chomp."

"Backup quarterback?," center Evan Boehm asked. "Maty would be starting anywhere else."

Mauk also made a few ill-advised throws, as Brian Poole intercepted a pass with 3:34 left in the first half and almost had another in the same quarter but dropped it.

Murphy completed 15-of-29 passes for 92 yards and an interception for the Gators as he tried to escape Missouri's defensive line all game. Freshman Kelvin Taylor, son of former National Football League running back Fred Taylor, ran for 74 yards on 12 carries in his fifth career game.

Murphy thought he had time on some of his missed throws despite absorbing three sacks from SEC-leader Michael Sam and one apiece from Kony Ealy, Matt Hoch and Shane Ray.

"They did a good job covering, but we're got to find ways to make plays," Murphy said. "I have to find ways to get guys the ball."

The Gators only gained 61 yards in the first half — including nine rushing — but used six runs to drive 70 yards and pull within 23-17 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter. Missouri answered with a 33-yard field goal by Baggett following a 50-yard run by Henry Josey, who ran for 136 yards on 18 carries.

Baggett also converted from 19, 28, 39 and 43 yards to tie the school record in makes in a single game, as Missouri far exceeded the 13 points per game Florida allowed this season entering the matchup, the second-fewest in the SEC. In addition to Mauk's 295 passing yards, the Tigers added 205 on the ground and had 24 first downs.

"This is not a very good football team, and certainly not today," Gators' coach Will Muschamp said. "I am pretty disappointed that we have not made more positive strides offensively at this point of the season."

Florida earlier narrowed its deficit to three on a 100-yard kickoff return by receiver Solomon Patton on the first play of the second half, but the Tigers responded with a 75-yard drive finished by a 6-yard scamper by Josey for a 20-10 advantage.

Florida drove 22 yards to the Missouri 28-yard line with 58 seconds left in the second quarter on its longest drive of the first half before Ealy burst through the line and forced Murphy to fumble on a sack. Missouri recovered to squelch the threat and end the half up 13-3.

Saturday, 19 October 2013 19:44
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Carlos Beltran, Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals are going to the World Series - not even Clayton Kershaw could stop them this year.

Beltran and the Cardinals stunned the Dodgers' ace with a four-run third inning, Wacha was again magnificent on the mound and St. Louis advanced to its second World Series in three seasons by roughing up the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the NL championship series Friday night.

Wacha, a rookie, was selected MVP of the series after throwing 13 2-3 scoreless innings and beating Kershaw twice in the NLCS.

Matt Carpenter sparked St. Louis' big third inning with a one-out double on the 11th pitch of his at-bat. Beltran singled him home and the Cardinals quickly removed all the suspense surrounding a team that squandered a 3-1 series lead in the NLCS last fall against San Francisco.

"I'm so happy right now. We did it as a team," Beltran said. "We fought hard, we worked hard all season long and thank god we're here."

Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday at the winner of the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals won their 19th NL pennant and will be trying for their third title since 2006, last winning in 2011.

The glamorous Dodgers, with the second-highest payroll in baseball at $220 million, failed to reach the World Series for the first time since winning it all in 1988.

After losing Game 5 in Los Angeles, the Cardinals turned to Wacha once again. The right-hander was even better in outpitching Kershaw for the second time this series.

It was 52 degrees at game time, a 23-degree drop from the Kershaw-Wacha matchup in Game 2 six days earlier, and Kershaw never warmed up.

The top NL CY Young Award candidate was knocked out of a start for the first time this season without finishing the fifth.

Beltran had three hits and drove in two runs while facing Kershaw and made a spectacular catch in right field, helping him advance to the World Series for the first time in his 16-year career.

Perhaps showing the Cardinals weren't stressed by the possibility of a second straight postseason meltdown, Games 1 and 5 starter Joe Kelly had a post-national anthem staredown against Dodgers reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke that was broken up by a fed-up home plate umpire Greg Gibson after several minutes.

Kelly blinked first, all in good fun but, when it counted, St. Louis wouldn't budge.

The Cardinals jumped on Kershaw in the third, batting around. After Wacha grounded out, Carpenter doubled in a gritty at-bat. Beltran singled him home for the game's first run. With two outs, Yadier Molina added an RBI single, Shane Robinson drove in two runs with a single in his first career postseason start after replacing slumping Jon Jay - and advanced to second base on Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig's first of two errors in the Cardinals' big innings.

The Cuban defector also struck out twice and was booed heartily. Hanley Ramirez, a last-minute addition to the Dodgers' lineup, went 0 for 3 while playing with a broken rib.

Kershaw needed 48 pitches, the most pitches of his career in one inning, in the third. He took exception one pitch in particular, complaining to plate umpire Greg Gibson after Matt Adams' full-count walk loaded the bases.

The Dodgers bench also was vocal after the call on a pitch that may have been an inch or two low of the strike zone.

The Cardinals knocked Kershaw out in a five-run fifth. Adams doubled in a run to chase Kershaw. Wacha drove in one with a fielder's choice grounder and Carpenter had a sacrifice fly

Wacha has a minuscule 0.43 ERA in three postseason starts, one of the gems in Game 4 of the division series to keep the Cardinals alive. In his last regular season start and the NL Central up for grabs, he no-hit the Nationals for 8 2-3 innings.

"There's not anything you can't say about him," Kelly said of Wacha. "He's just going out there and pitching his butt off right now and as you can see he's just a pretty damn good pitcher."

Beltran was the star of the Cardinals' 3-2, 13-inning Game 1 victory, driving in all three runs plus making a throw to keep it tied in extra innings.

Kershaw was charged with seven runs on 10 hits in four-plus innings. The lefty led the majors in ERA the last three years but has lost five straight starts against St. Louis.

None of his starts this year were shorter than five innings and the most runs he allowed was five, on two occasions. The four-run fourth was his worst since July 24, 2012, at St. Louis, when Kershaw yielded eight runs in 5 2-3 innings.

The Dodgers didn't have much of a chance again Wacha.

Carl Crawford led off the game with an infield hit but was erased on Mark Elllis' double-play ball. A.J. Ellis doubled to start the sixth and didn't advance.

 

NOTES: Cardinals Hall of Fame SS Ozzie Smith threw the first pitch. ... Beltran has a .331 career postseason average.

Friday, 18 October 2013 23:18
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams ran only 41 plays last week while riding a wave of turnovers to an easy win at Houston.

Still, Sam Bradford found a way to get almost everyone involved, with nine players combining for 12 receptions and three running backs getting touches.

Bradford is off to his best start of his career. Through six games, he is sixth in the NFC in completions (126) and tied for fourth in the NFL with 13 touchdown passes.

After a humbling 35-11 loss to San Francisco, the Rams were 1-3. In the last two weeks, Bradford has thrown three touchdown passes in each game, both wins. The Rams have outscored their last two opponents 72-33 to improve to 3-3.

Coach Jeff Fisher is happy with Bradford's play.

"Been great. No mistakes," Fisher said. "There's only two quarterbacks, I think, in the NFC that have more touchdown passes than he and one is (Cowboys QB Tony) Romo and the other's (Saints QB Drew) Brees. He's got 13 and they've got 14, so he's coming on. He enjoys what he's doing. He's managing the thing and practicing well. His feet are excellent right now in the pocket, so he's playing well."

Against Houston, the Rams scored 38 points while running just 42 offensive plays. Bradford threw just 16 passes with no interceptions against the Texans. He finished with a 134.6 passer rating, the highest of his career for a single game.

There's more to it than Bradford: The Rams have been using multiple tight end sets and the running game has benefited. Rookie running back Zac Stacy started for the second consecutive game. Against Jacksonville, Stacy gained 78 yards on 14 carriers. He followed that with 79 yards on 18 carries against Houston.

The balanced attack is a welcome one for the Rams, who missed departed Steven Jackson early this season.

"You've seen the past two weeks just having some balance between the run game and the pass game, I think it's led us to be more efficient," Bradford said. "We've kept defenses off balance with what we're doing. I think it's been really good for all aspects of our game."

Distributing the ball to different receivers shows growth for Bradford, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. Bradford has been sacked just 13 times, none by Houston.

Throwing to multiple receivers also shows the Rams have depth, Schottenheimer said.

"We have a lot of weapons. We use a lot of different personnel groupings. We mix and match the pieces pretty well," Schottenheimer said. "Again, he just shows his ability to go through progressions. He's willing to take what the defense gives him."

The receivers know that. The ball can come at any time to any one depending on what the defense does.

"I think that shows how much Sam knows and that he can read the defense," Austin Pettis said. "I think he is playing really well, absolutely. You wouldn't really know that because of his demeanor."

There are six receivers who have caught 12 or more passes. Twelve different players have caught a pass this season. Six receivers have caught touchdown passes. Tavon Austin leads the receivers with 24 catches. Pettis has 23 receptions and a team-high four touchdowns. Tight end Jared Cook has 22 catches.

"Sam is doing a good job spreading it around," Cook said. "Everybody is getting some balls which is a good thing and making plays when needed."

Notes: RB Stacy (chest) and DE Chris Long (thigh) both returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's workout.

Thursday, 17 October 2013 23:15
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Growing up in Ohio, Maty Mauk stood on the sideline at Kenton High School watching older brother Ben star at quarterback while father Mike coached the Wildcats to consecutive state championships in 2001 and 2002.

Football ran in the family, and Maty jumped right in. At Kenton with his dad still the coach, he broke national prep records in passing yards (18,932), touchdown passes (219), completions (1,353) and total offense (22,681).

The gaudy numbers led to a scholarship to play quarterback at Missouri, where Mauk hoped he would have the opportunity to play in pressure situations. Last Saturday would probably qualify as one, when the redshirt freshman trotted unexpectedly onto the field with a two-point lead in the fourth quarter at Georgia.

Mike Mauk says he wasn't nervous as he watched from the stands of Sanford Stadium with his wife, Gwyn, and nearly 93,000 others. He wasn't surprised, either, when his son and protege led two touchdown drives to stave off the Bulldogs' comeback and win 41-26.

"It's something that ever since he's been a young kid starting to play athletics — you enjoy competition, you enjoy playing against the best," said Mike Mauk, who with his wife travels to all of the Tigers' games. "That's what competitors enjoy doing."

Maty Mauk figures to be involved in more of these situations as he leads No. 14 Missouri (6-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) into its game Saturday against No. 22 Florida (4-2, 3-1) in place of James Franklin, who sprained his right shoulder at Georgia and is out for at least three weeks. At 6 feet and 200 pounds, Mauk gives up 2 inches and 30 pounds to Franklin, but he likes to run, so he says don't expect anything different in the team's play calling.

"Last year, I kind of struggled," Mauk said. "I didn't know as much. But now I know that playbook like the back of my hand, man."

He'll be surrounded by a physically and statistically healthy offense, one that's producing 45.7 points and 515.7 yards per game. Mauk started practicing with the first string this week after taking "mental reps" with it all season.

Teammates told him to just be confident in himself and to not try to do too much. Even former Missouri quarterback and current Kansas City Chiefs backup Chase Daniel requested Mauk's phone number to pass along some advice.

"He's probably going to make some mistakes like all kids do," coach Gary Pinkel said. "But the big thing is you don't want him to be a robot out there. You want him to do what he does and play quarterback the way he plays quarterback."

Quarterbacks coach Andy Hill said not much fazes Mauk, who has a "cool demeanor" that likely arose out of the trials and successes he went through in high school. Occasionally, however, that attitude can lead him astray.

In just his first few weeks on campus in August 2012, police arrested Mauk on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident on a scooter. Mike Mauk said that incident turned into a growing opportunity for his son, who communicates with his parents almost daily.

Regardless, the elder Mauk says he's proud of Maty and everything he's been able to accomplish since the day he was born. That's why the quarterback's parents still make every effort to watch their son play, and will do so again — this time with older brother Ben — Saturday in Columbia.

"He likes people, enjoys being around people," Mike Mauk said. "And sometimes, maybe he's got his guard down too much. But at the same time, I think he's learned some things and situations that have occurred that have helped make him a better person. That's what most of us go through in our lives."

Thursday, 17 October 2013 23:13
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UPDATE: Missing So. County teen home safe

UPDATE: Missing So. County teen home safe

   A South County teen who had been the subject of an Endangered Person Advisory is home safe.      St. Louis County Police had issued the advisory ...

Railroad work delays drivers in Kirkwood

Railroad work delays drivers in Kirkwood

   Drivers on Kirkwood Road are used to waiting for the train, but that wait is a little longer today.      Union Pacific crews are making a critica...

GOP lawmakers introduce term limits bill

GOP lawmakers introduce term limits bill

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Republican leaders have introduced a proposal that would force statewide officers to serve a two-term limit.    Sena...

Kane leads Blackhawks past Blues, 4-3 in OT

Kane leads Blackhawks past Blues, 4-3 in OT

   CHICAGO (AP) - Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Wednesday night to e...

SLFD battles two-alarm home fire

SLFD battles two-alarm home fire

   Fire fighters are working to keep a two-alarm fire in north St. Louis from spreading to adjacent homes.      The blaze broke out in 5000 block of...

UPDATE: 3 American doctors killed by Afghan hospital guard

UPDATE: 3 American doctors killed by Afghan hospital gu…

   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Police in Afghanistan say a security guard has opened fire in a Kabul hospital, killing three foreigners and wounding one other person. ...

Camilla's brother dies in NY of head injury

Camilla's brother dies in NY of head injury

   NEW YORK (AP) — The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, are "utterly devastated" by the death of her brother, who fell outside a hotel bar and suffered a head in...

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