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Missouri wakes up, beats Arkansas State, 41-19

Saturday, 28 September 2013 23:07 Published in Sports

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — James Franklin orchestrated two lengthy touchdown drives and added another score on the ground in the second half to help Missouri break open a 41-19 win over Arkansas State in wet conditions Saturday night.

Missouri scored 21 points in the final quarter to finish their nonconference schedule with a 4-0 record, playing their remaining eight games in the Southeastern Conference where they went 2-6 in their inaugural season a year ago.

Franklin led drives of 94 and 87 yards after his team trailed 16-14 with 11:31 remaining in the third quarter. The Tigers failed to convert any of their four third-down opportunities and only possessed the ball for 9:12 in the first half.

Adam Kennedy tied a school record with 37 completions for 308 yards and J.D. McKissic caught a school-record 15 receptions for 117 yards for Arkansas State (2-3). Julian Jones added 136 receiving yards on 10 catches for the Red Wolves, who lost consecutive games in the same season for the first time since 2010 despite gaining 425 yards.

Bryan Davis kicked a 33-yard field goal with 7:31 left in the game to pull his team within 27-19 but it couldn't get closer. He also converted from 41, 21 and 44 yards and has made all seven of his attempts this season.

Missouri looked sluggish in the first half after running 97 plays in a 45-28 win at Indiana last week. The team only ran 25 in the opening 30 minutes Saturday, but Franklin got things going in the third with a 13-yard pass to L'Damian Washington on a third down at Missouri's 36-yard-line to keep the team on the field. After Franklin ran for 18 yards to the Arkansas State's 17-yard-line, he found Washington in the corner of the end zone from five yards out for a 20-16 lead.

Missouri held the Red Wolves to a 3-and-out on their subsequent possession before Franklin flipped the ball to Henry Josey for a 1-yard touchdown run with 13:25 remaining for a 27-16 advantage.

Franklin then scampered for a 9-yard score and Marcus Murphy added a 3-yard run after an E.J. Gaines interception to finish the scoring. The Tigers finished with 495 yards of offense, including 239 rushing yards and 256 through the air.

Missouri played most of the game without senior cornerback Randy Ponder, who became the second Tiger this season to be ejected for targeting with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter. Ponder led with his helmet in a tackle on McKissic, resulting in a 15-yard penalty that gave the Red Wolves the ball at the Missouri 39-yard-line and set up a 21-yard field goal by Davis for a 6-0 lead.

Arkansas State looked like it would take the halftime lead when it drove 95 yards to the Missouri 2-yard-line within the final minute. But the Tigers stuffed David Oku twice, setting up a 3rd-and-1 situation. With no timeouts and 14 seconds remaining, Kennedy threw to Oku well behind the line of scrimmage for a 22-yard loss after being pressured by Markus Golden. Time elapsed, and Missouri escaped with a 14-13 lead.

Jackson loses 18th, Cardinals beat Cubs 6-2

Saturday, 28 September 2013 21:59 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Edwin Jackson would like to throw 2013 out, please, and prove he's worth it to the Chicago Cubs for the next three years.

Jackson leads the majors with 18 losses after making an early exit due to mild side discomfort in a 6-2 setback to the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

"It's just a crazy year, man," Jackson said. "If I had the answer I would have changed it a long time ago.

"It's just one of those years, you just forget it, but you still learn from it."

Jackson (8-18) was tagged for six runs on eight hits in 2 2-3 innings and finished with a 4.98 ERA. He said tightness kept him from full extension on his pitches.

The Cubs signed Jackson, who has a career record of 78-89, to a four-year, $52 million free agent deal last winter. This season ended a run of five consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins.

"A lot of people want to throw one season away in their career," manage Dale Sveum said. "It's over and it's just time to start from scratch in spring training."

Adam Wainwright earned his 19th victory in a tuneup for the NL division series opener and the Cardinals showed no letup a day after clinching the divison with their fifth straight win.

Matt Holliday homered for the second day in a row and Yadier Molina drove in two runs for St. Louis (96-65), which entered the day tied with Atlanta for the NL lead in wins.

The start time was moved up three hours to avoid a forecast of later storms. The Cardinals mailed vouchers to all ticket holders, whether they attended or not, for a game in 2014. The crowd of 42,520 was a few thousand shy of a sellout.

Wainwright (19-9) allowed two hits in shutout 5 1-3 innings and tied for the league lead in victories with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who lost his last scheduled start Wednesday in St. Louis.

According to STATS, Wainwright is the third Cardinals pitcher to lead the league in victories twice, also doing it with 19 wins in 2009.

Dizzy Dean (1934-35) and Mort Cooper (1942-43) are the other Cardinals pitchers to twice lead the league in wins. Bob Gibson did it once.

The Cubs averted a second straight shutout loss by scoring twice in the ninth against former St. Louis closer Edward Mujica.

Anthony Rizzo led off with a homer and Donnie Murphy had an RBI double against Mujica, who has allowed 18 hits in 7 1-3 innings with two blown saves this month and lost his job to rookie Trevor Rosenthal.

Seth Maness earned his first career save by getting Darwin Barney on a double-play ball.

The Cubs have lost 11 of 14, scoring two or fewer runs nine times in that stretch.

Wainwright got his sixth RBI of the season with a single off third baseman Donnie Murphy's glove in a four-run third.

Wainwright entered 1-6 with a 5.16 ERA at home against the Cubs. He's 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA at Wrigley Field.

Holliday hit his 22nd homer, a two-run drive in the first. The Cardinals broke away in the third when Holliday and Matt Adams drew one-out walks ahead of Molina's two-run double, and Pete Kozma had an RBI single.

NOTES: The Cardinals are giving Jake Westbrook (7-8, 4.67) a spot start in the finale and Joe Kelly will follow in relief in a postseason tuneup. The Cubs' Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33) is 0-1 in his last five starts but has had strong performances with no decision his last two times out. ... According to STATS, Jackson is among five pitchers since 2000 to throw a no-hitter and later lose 17 or more games. Also on the list are Ubaldo Jimenez last year, Derek Lowe in 2011 and Justin Verlander in 2008, all with 17 losses.

Fisher reflects on frustrating loss

Friday, 27 September 2013 22:51 Published in Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Just over 16 hours after a 35-11 loss to San Francisco, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher was finally able to come to grips with the setback.

Fisher angrily stormed out of Thursday's post-game news conference after just two questions. The 1-minute, 32-second briefing provided little insight into the team's dismal performance,

On Friday afternoon, after a night of sleep, Fisher was able to reflect on the sluggish effort that he called "frustrating."

"But we found out where our team is and what we need to do and where we need improve on," he said. "We've got a lot of work to do as a staff. Fortunately, we have some extra time, some extra days to get focused."

Fisher's club has dropped the last two games by a combined 66-18, marking the second-worst consecutive defeats in his 19-year head coaching career. Under Fisher in 2009, the Tennessee Titans lost to Indianapolis 31-9 and New England 59-0 in Weeks 5 and 6.

St. Louis (1-3) hosts Jacksonville on Oct. 6.

Thursday's loss to the 49ers took a physical toll as well. Safety T.J. McDonald broke his right leg and has been placed on the designated injured reserve list. He will be out at least six weeks, but could return to the team.

"We're fortunate that it will not have to be surgically repaired," Fisher said. "It is not season-ending."

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan and linebacker Will Witherspoon suffered hamstring injuries and are considered day to day.

Fisher felt the lack of a running game and the inability to stop the 49ers' rushing attack played major roles in the loss. Frank Gore tore through the St. Louis defense for 153 yards. Offensively, the Rams rushed 19 times for 18 yards.

"We'll get it fixed," Fisher said. "We've got to adjust our offensive philosophy to what's better suited for us right now, and that's to hand it off. And then everything else spins off of that."

Despite the rough start to the season, Fisher said his players are handling the adversity well.

"They're really good, they're going to be fine," he said. "They're better than (just) hanging in there."

Quarterback Sam Bradford hit on 19 of 41 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

"I thought he did the best he could considering the circumstances," Fisher said.

Bradford connected with Lance Kendricks on a 6-yard scoring toss with 5:44 left.

The Rams will get four days off and return to practice Tuesday. Fisher is hoping the time off will help his players get things turned around

"I know they're excited to get away and come back and prepare for our next opponent," he said.

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