St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2015 · Page D004
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page D004

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D4  ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH M 2  FRIDAY  10.09.2015 SPORTS ASSOCIATED PRESS HOUSTON Matt Hasselbeck and Andre Johnson showed Thursday night that sometimes old guys can shine in what is certainly a young man’s league. The 34-year-old Johnson caught two touchdown passes from the 40-year-old Hasselbeck, the second for 2 yards in the fourth quarter, to help the Indianapolis Colts beat the Houston Texans 27-20. “You get over the age of 30 they kind of count you out,” Johnson said. “But we proved to people that we could still play.” Released by Houston in March after 12 seasons with the team, Johnson had six catches for 77 yards. That helped the Colts (3-2) extended their AFC South winning streak to an NFL-record 16 games. Hasselbeck was filling in for Andrew Luck, who missed his second straight game because of a shoulder injury. Hasselbeck’s performance was even more impressive given the fact that he was battling a bacterial infection that hospitalized him this week. He started feeling ill just before halftime Sunday in a victory over Jacksonville and didn’t start feeling better until Thursday night. “I honestly feel like this isn’t even real right now,” Hasselbeck said. Coach Chuck Pagano raved about Hasselbeck. “He was literally on his deathbed Monday/Tuesday and mustered up enough to come in Wednesday and practice,” Pagano said. “He was getting IVs and fighting a virus and the grittiest performance I’ve seen in a long, long time.” Brian Hoyer, who replaced Ryan Mallett for Houston (1-4) in the second quarter, threw a pass up for grabs that was intercepted by Mike Adams with less than 2 minutes left. Johnson extended the lead to 27-17 with the 2-yard reception with about 10½ minutes left. The Texans intercepted Hasselbeck’s pass in the end zone earlier in that drive, but the play was negated because of defensive holding on Eddie Pleasant. A second penalty, this one for pass interference, gave the Colts a fi rst down at the 1. Mallett got the wind knocked out of him on an illegal hit midway through the second quarter and was replaced by Hoyer. Mallett looked to be OK soon after that, but coach Bill O’Brien stuck with Hoyer. He finished with 312 yards passing with two touchdowns. Both of the TDs were to rookie Jaelen Strong and they came on his fi rst two NFL receptions. DeAndre Hopkins had 11 receptions for 169 yards for Houston. “We’re not happy obviously,” Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said. “But we’re going to go back to work and fi gure it out.” Texans running back Arian Foster, who was shaken up in the second quarter but returned after halftime, had 44 yards rushing and 77 yards receiving in his second game back after groin surgery. Old-timers boost Indy to victory Hasselbeck, Johnson combine on TD plays Colts 27, Texans 20 Indianapolis 10 3 7 7 — 27 Houston 0 10 7 3 — 20 First Quarter Ind: FG Vinatieri 48, 6:28. Ind: A.Johnson 4 pass from Hasselbeck (Vinatieri kick), 1:22. Second Quarter Ind: FG Vinatieri 42, 7:37. Hou: FG Novak 36, 2:08. Hou: Strong 42 pass from Hoyer (Novak kick), :00. Third Quarter Ind: Gore 3 run (Vinatieri kick), 13:02. Hou: Strong 11 pass from Hoyer (Novak kick), 4:03. Fourth Quarter Ind: A.Johnson 2 pass from Hasselbeck (Vinatieri kick), 10:28. Hou: FG Novak 49, 6:07. A: 71,732. Ind Hou First downs 22 24 Total Net Yards 323 444 Rushes-yards 30-110 28-82 Passing 213 362 Punt Returns 2-16 2-11 Kickoff Returns 2-74 0-0 Interceptions Ret. 2-48 0-0 Comp-Att-Int 18-29-0 31-41-2 Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 1-0 Punts 3-49.0 3-41.0 Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0 Penalties-Yards 7-65 13-125 Time of Possession 27:33 32:27 Rushing: Indianapolis, Gore 22-98, Tipton 2-9, Robinson 3-6, Hasselbeck 3-(minus 3). Houston, Foster 19-41, Blue 6-22, Hoyer 1-14, Polk 1-5, Mallett 1-0. Passing: Indianapolis, Hasselbeck 18-29-0-213. Houston, Hoyer 24-31-1-312, Mallett 7-10-1-50. Receiving: Indianapolis, A.Johnson 6-77, Hilton 5-88, Fleener 2-9, Allen 1-21, Dorsett 1-9, Robinson 1-6, Moncrief 1-3, Doyle 1-0. Houston, Hopkins 11-169, Foster 9-77, Mumphery 4-23, Strong 2-53, Polk 2-17, Blue 1-11, Graham 1-8, Fiedorowicz 1-4. Missed Field Goals: None. COLTS 27, TEXANS 20 Washington upends No. 17 USC Myles Gaskin ran for 134 yards and a fourth- quarter touchdown, and visiting Washington shut down No. 17 Southern California’s high-powered off ense throughout a 17-12 victory over the Trojans on Thursday night. Receiver Marvin Hall threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Perkins on a trick play early in the second half for the Huskies (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12), who beat former coach Steve Sarkisian in a defense- dominated meeting. Washington defeated a ranked team for the fi rst time under second-year coach Chris Petersen. Cody Kessler had two interceptions while passing for just 156 yards on a disastrous night for the Trojans (3-2, 1-2), the popular preseason pick to win the conference title. Instead, USC didn’t score a touchdown until Ronald Jones II’s short run with 12:02 to play. Washington’s defense then came up with two late stops, and the Trojans missed on a fi eld-goal try with 3:44 left. Jaydon Mickens caught a key third-down pass from Washington freshman Jake Browning with 2:10 to play, allowing the Huskies to run out the clock on their fi rst win in the Coliseum since 2010. Rumblings surround Maryland coach Maryland released a statement Thursday in response to a report that coach Randy Edsall will be fi red after this weekend’s game at No. 1 Ohio State. “Randy Edsall is our head football coach, and he’ll be on the sidelines Saturday against Ohio State,” a school spokesman said. Edsall said he is concentrating on the game. “My whole focus and concern is working with our student-athletes and making them the best people, best students, best athletes that we can be,’’ he said. “That’s all I’m worried about. I don’t read anything, see anything and I’m just more worried about playing Ohio State.” The Terps (2-3) have lost their past two games, against West Virginia and Michigan, by a combined 73-6 score. It doesn’t get any easier Saturday at the defending national champion Buckeyes, who beat the Terps 52-24 in College Park a year ago. Edsall is 22-33 with an 0-11 record against top 25 teams during his four-plus year tenure in College Park. Injury leads to South Carolina QB switch Freshman Lorenzo Nunez’s shoulder injury has led to the latest quarterback switch for South Carolina and coach Steve Spurrier. Spurrier said former walk-on Perry Orth will start against No. 7 Louisiana State on Saturday because Nunez had not practiced much this week after injuring his shoulder at Missouri. Orth, a junior, started at Georgia three weeks ago in a 52-20 loss. Nunez took over the following week and also started in a loss at Missouri. Connor Mitch, who began the season as the starter, remains out with a separated shoulder he sustained in a loss to Kentucky last month. Florida State’s Cook returns to practice Florida State running back Dalvin Cook practiced Thursday. The Seminoles’ standout sophomore was in shoulder pads and a helmet, and enthusiastically juked in between tackling dummies after the team’s stretching period. It is an encouraging sign for Cook, who has been considered “day-to-day” after pulling his hamstring against Wake Forest. FSU plays Miami Saturday night. From news services COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK BY MARK TUPPER Decatur Herald & Review CHAMPAIGN, ILL. At Illini basketball media day Thursday, coach John Groce didn’t wait long to get the bad news out of the way. “Leron Black will have surgery (today) and will be out four to six weeks, more than likely,” Groce said, delivering news of a setback to the junior power forward and the team’s MVP on the summer European trip. “It’s a meniscus tear. He’s probably had it for a while, honestly. He’s one tough dude and fortunately for us, this is a fairly quick deal.” Black showed a great deal of promise as a freshman last season, averaging 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds while fighting a tendency to foul. He had 13 rebounds in a victory over Purdue and scored 18 points in a victory over Coppin State. During the four-game tour of Europe in August, Black averaged 14.0 points and 11.8 rebounds. Black was in uniform and walking without a limp at the media day gathering Thursday. He said he felt fi ne but preferred not to talk specifi cally about the injury. “I’ll just try to rehab and get back as soon as possible,” the sophomore from Memphis said. “I know everything happens for a reason.” Groce also said point guard Jaylon Tate is out temporarily because of a concussion. The other injury news continues to center on the recovery of heralded freshman guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, who was recently cleared to resume basketball activities after dealing with a stress fracture in his leg. Coleman-Lands said he’s doing well and will be challenged to stay within the conservative rehabilitation plan the medical staff has laid out for him. “I have to be careful not to try to do too much,” he said. He said he plans to be on the floor for the season opener, on Nov. 13. “I’m optimistic I will be out there and I think I can contribute,” he said. The 2014-15 Illini team features five newcomers. The freshmen are Coleman-Lands, Aaron Jordan and D.J. Williams. There also is a pair of fth-year senior transfers. They are 6-foot-11, 275-pound center Mike Thorne, Jr., who last played at Charlotte, and 6-3 point guard Khalid Lewis from LaSalle. The goal, of course, is to reach the NCAA Tournament after a two-season absence. Illinois came close last season, but the season ended in great disappointment with consecutive losses to Purdue and Michigan and a 21-point loss to Alabama in the National Invitation Tournament. Groce and the players weren’t talking much about last season, with junior Malcolm Hill (Belleville East) saying, “Yeah, we probably ended that season bad, but we can’t really do anything about it now. I’m focused on this year and our goal is to get back into the tournament.” But Groce talked about the meaning of the letters on a new bracelet the players are wearing and much of that seemed to be a reference to what was missing from last year’s team. The letters are L.S.C.A., and they stand for loving each other (“the best teams love and play for each other,” Groce said), serving (“I want those guys to serve”), caring (“I want them to care at an extraordinary level”) and accept (“accept each other’s diff erences, because everyone is diff erent”). With the team’s best senior leader, Tracy Abrams, sidelined for the season because of a ruptured Achilles’ tendon, Groce said he has appealed to his juniors to step up their leadership. He has done so knowing vocal leadership does not come naturally to the main juniors, Hill and Kendrick Nunn. But Hill said he’s ready to accept Groce’s challenge. “Is it asking me to step outside of my comfort zone?” Hill asked. “If you asked me as a freshman, yes. But now, as a junior, I’m comfortable doing that. It’s not a problem.” EXHIBITIONS Illinois plays its exhibition opener Nov. 8 against Illinois- Springfield at the team’s November home away from home, the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfi eld. Illinois will play five games in Springfi eld while the current phase of the State Farm Center renovation project is completed. The fi rst game back in the State Farm Center will be Dec. 2, against Notre Dame. For the second straight year, Illinois’ other exhibition game will be one of the “secret scrimmages” allowed by the NCAA. Illinois will face Xavier in Indianapolis in a game that is closed to the public and media. Last year Illinois scrimmaged against Dayton, also in Indianapolis. Groce once coached at Xavier and is friends with Xavier head coach Chris Mack. Groce’s brother, Travis Steele, is Mack’s associate head coach. Illini forward Black out with injury Also, freshman Coleman-Lands continues recovery ASSOCIATED PRESS Illini forward Leron Black will have surgery for a torn meniscus and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks. > Exhibition 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8 vs. Illinois-Springfi eld > Regular-season 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 vs. North Florida (both at Springfi eld) As Missouri (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) gets ready to host No. 11 Florida (5-0, 3-0) for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. homecoming game, the tight end position continues to evolve for the Tigers. Even with Culkin out a few weeks, the offensive staff found multiple ways to get the most out of Echard and Reese against the Gamecocks. Before the Tigers lined up for a few kneel downs in the 24-10 win, Echard, a former walk-on and converted defensive lineman, lined up as a traditional attached tight end (14 snaps), H-back (13) and slot receiver (seven). Reese, a more natural receiver out of spread formations, played tight end (five snaps), H-back (nine), slot receiver (18) and flanker (one). As an extra blocker in the running game, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Echard was especially valuable in the Tigers’ best rushing performance of the season. With Echard saddled up next to an offensive tackle at tight end or stationed in the backfield as an H-back, Mizzou ran 20 times for 113 yards. Late in the first quarter, Echard sealed off Gamecocks linebacker T.J. Holloman with a crucial block to spring Ish Witter for a 17-yard run, his longest in a career-high 98-yard day. Echard was on the field for all three of Mizzou’s touchdowns: He ran a pass route out of the backfield on Lock’s first touchdown, blocked for Lock as an H- back on his second scoring pass and served as an extra offensive lineman on Witter’s 1-yard plunge out of a short- yardage formation that featured nine blockers. Echard also revisited his high school days as a wide receiver and caught his first college pass, a 6-yard grab on MU’s first possession. As a junior at Eureka High, Echard was a 170-pound wide receiver then packed on another 30 pounds to play along the defensive line as a senior. He came to Mizzou as a walk-on defensive end. But after his second year in the program, Echard made the coaches notice when he ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.59 seconds. “I think that really caught the attention of the coaches,” said Echard, a fifth- year graduate student. “They said, ‘OK, this guy can move. And he’s big. Let’s see if he can go out there, catch the ball and block.’” For the 2013 season, Echard moved to tight end and gradually found a role as an extra blocker in short-yardage situations. Last year, the coaches rewarded him with a scholarship and renewed it again this year. Blocking continues to be his specialty. “I always give the offensive linemen a lot of respect because blocking is ridiculously tough,” Echard said. “There’s not much to the technique but it’s about mastering the technique. I’m con dent this year that after all this preparation I’m finally getting the hang of it.” The same goes for Reese as a receiver. The 6-5, 250-pound redshirt sophomore set career totals against South Carolina with six catches for 47 yards, the most productive day for a Mizzou tight end in four years, going back to Michael Egnew’s All-Big 12 senior year in 2011. “He’s just very quick, a very smooth route runner,” Echard said of Reese. “That just allows him to get open, make those cuts and create that separation.” “He’s a guy that has great potential,” Pinkel added. “I didn’t think after he caught the ball he ran as well with it in the beginning (of the game) as he did in the end. At the very end, he started running with a punishing attitude. That’s what you have to do. He’s very capable.” Reese often hears that message from Pinkel. As Culkin’s backup last season, Reese managed just one 12-yard catch. This year, Pinkel expects much more. Through five games, the three tight ends have combined for 23 receptions for 199 yards, already the position’s most productive output since 2011. “Coach Pinkel’s big saying is ‘Do more,’” Reese said. “I know for a fact I can do more. It feels good to know they know I have the potential. But as a player I have to take the steps to reach that.” Dave Matter @dave_matter on Twitter dmatter@post-dispatch.com Tight ends play bigger roles MU FROM D1 THE (COLUMBIA, S.C.) STATE Missouri’s Clayton Echard (82) and Bud Sasser (21) celebrate a touchdown last season.

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