Sunday, September 30, 2007

Massacre at the Meadowlands

By Greg Wiley
The Phanatic Magazine

Osi Umenyiora recorded a franchise- record six sacks and Giants linebacker Kawika Mitchell returned a fumble for a touchdown, as New York defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 16-3.

Mathias Kiwanuka added three sacks and Justin Tuck had two more for the Giants (2-2), who tied the NFL mark for most sacks in a game with 12. Umenyiora passed the franchise's single-game record for sacks that was held by Pepper Johnson, who had 4 1/2 on November 24, 1991, and fell one short of the NFL record of seven set by former Kansas City linebacker Derrick Thomas on November 11, 1990.

Eli Manning went 14-of-26 passing for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception for New York, which has won two straight to move to the .500 mark for the season. Plaxico Burress caught the lone offensive touchdown for New York, which had its defense step up for a second straight week.

The Giants defense, under first-year coordinator and former Eagles coach Steve Spagnuolo, has seemed to find themselves after a horrid start to the season. New York, which allowed 97 points through the first 10 quarters of the season, has responded since the second half of last week's 24-17 win over Washington.

After holding the Redskins without a point in the second half, New York held Philadelphia off the board until early in the fourth quarter of this game.

Lost in the career-game by Umenyiora, was that fellow defensive end Michael Strahan became the Giants' all-time sack leader with 133 1/2, passing Hall-of- Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor's previous mark of 132 1/2.

The Giants defense also bested the former franchise mark of nine sacks that was last accomplished on August 31, 1997 also against the Eagles at Giants Stadium.

McNabb spent most of his night scrambling. After throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns in Week 3's 56-21 dismantling of the Detroit Lions, McNabb ended this game just 15-of-31 passing for 138 yards for the Eagles (1-3), who have dropped three of four games to fall into the basement of the NFC East.

To make matters worse, the Eagles had to play without starting running back Brian Westbrook, who missed the game because of an abdominal injury suffered against the Lions.

Correll Buckhalter started in place of Westbrook and had a solid game, running for 103 yards on 17 carries and catching four passes for 35 yards. But the absence of Westbrook was evident as the Giants pressed and pressured Philadelphia's offense without its safety valve.

Umenyiora took Eagles left tackle Winston Justice to school. Making his first-career start at left tackle, Justice was replacing injured starter William Thomas.

The Giants got the only points of the first half when Manning hit Burress with a nine-yard touchdown pass 3:51 into the second quarter.

New York later had a chance to add points, but Manning was picked off at the Philadelphia eight-yard-line by Omar Gaither, who returned it to the Giants' 43 with 1:17 left in the half.

The Eagles failed to get any points out of the drive, allowing New York to go into the locker room with the seven-point lead.

In the second half, New York won the field position battle in the early stages, as Philadelphia started its second possession on its own one-yard-line and third possession on its own four.

The Giants finally turned the field position into points when Lawrence Tynes booted a 29-yard field goal with 2:03 left in the third quarter for a 10-0 lead.

Then, the defense turned a Philadelphia miscue into a touchdown. After taking the snap, McNabb turned for a handoff to Buckhalter only to have fullback Thomas Tapeh inadvertently knock the ball out of his hands. Mitchell fell on the ball, got up before being touched down and scampered 17 yards into the end zone.

The point after attempt by Tynes hit the left upright, and New York found itself with a 16-0 lead. Tynes also missed a 34-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter.

Philadelphia finally got on the board with 12:51 left in the game when David Akers booted a 53-yard field goal, ending the Giants scoreless streak at five quarters.

'Yo Adrian!' A Real-Life Cliché Story

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

Karma comes in all shapes and sizes. Though there’s still quite a long way to go for cumulative retribution, the Phillies have certainly been finding some yangs to the yins of the past lately.

A generation before me endured the miseries of 1964 and Black Friday. A generation before that experienced 35 consecutive campaigns without a postseason – most of them featuring losing records.

Before this decade, I was privy to viewing one winning season out of 17. The one – 1993 – was, of course, an extremely memorable one, one that captured the city’s heart, one of the most captivating and endearing non-championship-winning squads in Philadelphia sports history.

It was also the last time we as Phightin Phans got to experience an extended October of not needing to create reasons to route for another team.

Until now.

Okay, this next statement is cliché, perhaps soon to be a hackneyed depiction expressed proudly at water coolers throughout the Delaware Valley over the next several days. But it fits, so here goes:

The 2007 Phillies are a real-life Rocky story.

Yes, maybe it was because I made a stop at the art museum today, but the metaphor really seems to apply. And here’s why: Like the Italian Stallion, this is a flawed team – make no mistake about that. From a coach whom the players love but makes maddening in-game moves to a pitching staff that can give you so much indigestion, they could be spokesmen for Alka Seltzer, juggernauts these Phils ain’t.

Also, like Mr. Balboa, their chance at glory appeared to have passed. Many of us seem to have conveniently forgotten about the Firesale of ’06, when we shipped away key contributors, including All-Star and alleged Gold Glover Bobby Abreu, for the equivalent of a pair of dirty socks. We forget about Pat Gillick’s plea for patience, to hold out til ’08 and maybe we’ll turn this around.

Furthermore, the Phillies, like our favorite southpaw, just kept getting knocked down, many fan – including some of us here at The Phanatic - resigned to throwing in the towel, only to bounce back up. No Ryan Howard for a month? No problem. Same deal with Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and a couple closers? We’ll find a way.

The pitching equivalent to Acid Reflux? We’ll just score more runs.

(Oh, and Rocky was from Philly. But you knew that.)

Before this season began, I wrote a column entitled, “Ten Reasons to Be-Leery,” a counterpoint to all the optimism from my colleagues that I just couldn’t understand. The ironic part is this: Many of my “reasons” to be skeptical came to fruition – and yet it still didn’t matter!

In the end, Rocky – like our last group of gritty warriors 14 years ago – lost the fight but won our hearts. Being that we’ve already overcome our version of Apollo Creed (The Amazin’ Mess –er, Mets), and being that this team has already defied common logic of what comprises a championship-caliber squad, there’s no reason not to assume that maybe we’re witnessing the makings of a Rocky II script, instead.

On the evening that Rock of Love’s Bret Michaels gets to decide which glorified groupie will become his “destiny,” perhaps Philadelphia’s latest version of just that will give us “Something to Believe In.”

(For those under 20, it’s a Poison song. Bret Michaels was in Poison. Look it up. It works.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Maryland upsets Rutgers

By Greg Wiley
The Phanatic Magazine

Keon Lattimore and Leon Ball combined to run for 214 yards and three touchdowns as the Maryland Terrapins went to Rutgers Stadium and defeated the 10th-ranked Scarlet Knights, 34-24.

Lattimore totaled 124 yards and a score on the ground and Ball added 90 yards and two touchdowns for the Terps (3-2), who scored 13 straight second-half points to go-ahead for good and come away with the upset.

Chris Turner filled in for injured starter Jordan Steffy in the second half and completed 14-of-20 passes for 149 yards for Maryland, which ended a two- game slide. Steffy played the first half before leaving after taking a hit to the head on the final drive of the second quarter. He ended 4-of-8 passing for 70 yards with a touchdown.

Ray Rice ran for 97 yards and a touchdown for Rutgers (3-1), which lost for the first time in four games this season. Mike Teel completed 25-of-44 passes for 310 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for the Scarlet Knights, who had a chance to escape with the win only to come up empty in the final minutes.

Trailing by 10 points, 27-17, Rutgers got back into the game by answering a Maryland TD drive with one of its own. Teel marched his team 77 yards on 11 plays with Rice capping the possession with a one-yard TD burst with 4:41 to play.

Maryland then turned the ball over on downs with 2:34 left, but Rutgers failed to move the ball, going four-and-out from its own 21-yard-line with Teel getting sacked at the 14 on the final play.

On the next snap, Ball ran in to again increase the Terps' lead to 10 points, 34-24.

Tiquan Underwood had eight catches for 101 yards with a score for the Scarlet Knights, who had a 10-game home winning streak halted.

Rutgers started the scoring when Jeremy Ito connected on a 29-yard field goal 4:03 into the game.

Maryland eventually took the lead when Ball capped a five-play, 80-yard drive that bridged the first and second quarter with a 19-yard TD run.

Then, after holding the Rutgers offense, Steffy connected with Darrius Heyward-Bey on a 15-yard TD pass to increase the lead to 14-3.

Heyward-Bey ended with five catches for 59 yards.

However, Rutgers rallied over the final minutes of the half. First, Teel hit Tim Brown with a 20-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left and then after a three-and-out by the Terps, Teel hit Underwood with a seven-yard scoring pass to send the Scarlet Knights into halftime with a 17-14 edge.

Obi Egekeze missed a pair of field goal attempts in the half, first from 51 yards out and the second from 39 yards, but he did hit field goals from 26 yards and 37 yards in the third quarter to put Maryland in front, 20-17 with 3:43 left in the third quarter.

The Terps, who made the QB switch to Turner to start the second half, then went ahead 27-17 in the fourth quarter. Lattimore ended a nine-play, 58- yard drive with a two-yard TD burst. The key play of the drive was a 27-yard completion from Turner to LaQuan Williams on 3rd-and-12 that brought the ball down to the Rutgers two-yard-line.

Illinois stuns Penn State

By Sean Pollard
The Phanatic Magazine

Arrelious Benn ran a kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown and also caught a pass for a score, as the resurgent Fighting Illini upset 21st-ranked Penn State, 27-20.

Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries for Illinois (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten), which beat a ranked opponent for the first time in six years.

Quarterback Juice Williams completed 11-of-24 passes for 120 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions and also ran for 37 yards before he was replaced by Eddie McGee, who threw three incomplete passes but broke free for a huge 53-yard run in the fourth quarter.

"Juice was forcing it," said Illinois head coach Ron Zook. "He made some errant passes. It's not as if he can't do it because he can. I told (assistant coach Mike Locksley), 'Let's try to get a spark here. Let's get Eddie in.' I'm not saying we're in a two-quarterback system. I don't even want to get into that. But (Eddie McGee) came in and did exactly what we wanted him to do. I thought in the second half, we were backed up on our end of the field for the whole half until he got in."

Penn State signal caller Anthony Morelli threw for 298 yards and a touchdown but threw three second-half interceptions.

Austin Scott rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown and Rodney Kinlaw added 66 yards on the ground for the Nittany Lions (3-2. 0-2), who suffered their second straight loss following last week's 14-9 setback to Michigan.

"I don't have the slightest idea." said Penn State head coach Joe Paterno when asked where the loss leaves the team. "I'm going to have to go back and look at the tapes, spend some time with the players and staff and go from there."

After Jason Reda's 33-yard field goal with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter pushed the Illinois lead to seven, Penn State put together one last drive into Illini territory.

Morelli's 47-yard completion to Derrick Williams brought the Nittany Lions to the Illinois 31-yard line. A three-yard run by Scott on 3rd-and-1 then gave Penn State a first down on the 19-yard line, but the drive stalled from there.

Faced with a 4th-and-13, Morelli avoided the Illini rush and ran for an apparent first down before he coughed up the ball. Penn State recovered the loose ball, but well short of the first down marker.

The Nittany Lions did get the ball back with 47 seconds remaining, but Kevin Mitchell picked off Morelli near midfield to ice the game.

Penn State struck first on Kevin Kelly's 26-yard field goal on the Nittany Lions' opening possession, but Benn ran back the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to put Illinois on top.

"The kickoff return team executed the blocks, and I just finished it," said Benn. "I was just hitting the holes hard and taking it to the house."

The Illini then forced a Penn State three-and-out and Mendenhall's two-yard touchdown run off the option made it 14-3.

Penn State answered on its next possession, driving the length of the field on three plays. After Kinlaw's seven-yard run, Morelli hooked up with Jordan Norwood for a 42-yard reception to the Illinois 24-yard line. Morelli then found Williams open in the right corner of the end zone to bring Penn State within 14-10 with less than a minute left in the first quarter.

Nittany Lions cornerback Justin King picked off Juice Williams in the end zone on the Illini's next drive, but Kinlaw gave the ball right back when he fumbled on Penn State's 39-yard line.

Mendenhall followed with a 10-yard burst before Williams connected with Benn on a 29-yard score that made it 21-10 Illinois. Benn broke several tackles on his way to the end zone, as the Nittany Lions attempted to strip the ball away from the versatile wideout.

"I'm catching the ball and saying to myself, 'I will not be denied,'" said Benn. "I just went up the middle because it was blocked that way and got into the end zone."

Morelli hit Norwood for a 43-yard reception to the Illini seven-yard line on Penn State's ensuing possession and Scott, relegated to the backup role, took it the rest of the way to make it 21-17 with just under nine minutes to play in the half.

Kelly had a chance to pull Penn State closer right before the half, but his 51-yard attempt sailed wide right.

Reda's 47-yard field goal to start the third quarter put Illinois up 24-17, but a bad throw by Williams led to Tony Davis' interception at the Illini 22- yard line.

Penn State had a 1st-and-goal on the six-yard line, but Illinois stopped Kinlaw on three consecutive runs and the Nittany Lions had to settle for Kelly's 20-yard field goal that made it 24-20.

A short punt by Anthony Santella on the Illini's next possession coupled with a 15-yard penalty set Penn State up at the Illinois 27-yard line, but the Nittany Lions came up empty as Jeremy Leman picked off an ill-advised Morelli pass on the two-yard line. Andrew Quarless dropped a sure touchdown two plays before.

Penn State then marched down to the Illinois 19-yard line on its next possession, by Vontae Davis made an impressive interception of Morelli along the sideline with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

McGee then took over for Williams and his 53-yard scamper set up Reda's 33- yard field goal.

NHL Finally in Tune with Illegal Hits; Doesn't Go Soft on Downie

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

While all of Canada railed endlessly for the better part of 48 hours at the spectacularly vicious hit Flyers forward Steve Downie unleashed on Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond Tuesday night, my attention turned to the stance the NHL would take as its resolve was tested once again.

As the Eastern portion of the Dominion vilified Downie like a cross between a puppy killer and Josef Mengele, rational thought focused on the impending punishment he’d receive in short order.

Once again, league disciplinarian Colin Campbell didn’t disappoint. He levied a 20-game suspension on Downie for his actions on Friday. It is the second such severe penalty Campbell has handed down, after giving Islanders enforcer Chris Simon a 20-game ban for a blatant elbow on the Rangers’ Ryan Hollweg last March.

As for the hit itself, it was an eye-catcher. Had Downie not leapt forward or he not presented his elbow and forearm cocked and ready, it was a collision tailor-made for watching and re-watching and for debate on the greatest hits in Flyers history.

However, the fact remains that Downie came into the league from juniors with a reputation for recklessness, stupidity and a mean streak bordering on bigotry. McAmmond was already a tragic figure across Canada for absorbing the equally-purposeless elbow Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger threw at his head in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals back in June.

Then, the club raised holy hell that Pronger was suspended for one whole game; now I expect their anger will be sated because the league already set a precedent with the Simon incident followed by a videotape over the Summer outlining exactly what would produce a sentence of this length.

There are three messages sent by this latest ruling. One is that the NHL is finally serious about clarity in their explanations of why certain actions merit such penalties. Two, is that the NHL will act quickly and decisively based on the rules to hand out lengthy punishments.

The other is that it is imperative for players allow a lot more thought in the heat of battle.

Not only will Downie’s services be lost for 20 games whenever he’s listed on the Flyers’ roster, but his presence there also serves as a salary cap hit to the club. Therefore, Downie will cause Flyers GM Paul Holmgren to get more creative than he’d like with personnel movements because of the penalty.

It is a huge step in the right direction. All the league needs now is to find a way to anchor the nets like they were up until the mid-1980’s, and maybe these Mack trucks on thin blades won’t go hurtling themselves wantonly across the ice at high speed.

Unlike the continual restrictions on fighting, which is a misdirected crusade undertaken by lawyers intent on whitewashing the sport, the heavy penalties on head hits are finally right on the mark. Concussions and broken bones as a result of hits where the victim cannot defend or brace himself are a greater harm to the game than bloody knuckles and mangled faces.

I’m hoping all would-be rabble-rousers looking to cement a reputation take heed. I’m hoping Steve Downie can harness his unbridled passion into a workable NHL-style game. I’m certainly hoping Dean McAmmond remains the same gritty player he’s been through his 14-year career when he recovers.

I’m also hoping Campbell and the rest of the NHL keep up the good work. No matter how much money a player makes or loses, at the deepest level it hurts his spirit and pride most when he is forced away from the ice and when his actions negatively affect his team.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Painkillers, somas killed ex-wrestler

An autopsy showed former pro wrestler Brian "Crush" Adams died after ingesting a mixture of prescribed medications.

Toxicology tests on Adams revealed a combination of buprenorphine (an an opiate-based painkiller), carisorpdol (somas), chlordiazepoxide and alprazolam (an anti-anxiety medication).

Dr. Leszek Chrostowki of the Hillsborough County Medical Examiners Office ruled the death to be an accidental overdose of the combined effects if the four medications. Adams had no steroids in his system at the time of his death.

The 44-year-old Tampa resident died August 13.

Trio of key Giants ruled questionable

By Greg Wiley
The Phanatic Magazine

New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Burress has missed practice all week with a serious right ankle sprain. He went to see a specialist earlier in the week and is likely a game-time decision for the 1-2 Giants.

On a positive note, running back Brandon Jacobs, who was expected to miss at least four weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee that was suffered in Week 1, is listed as questionable. He participated in full practice Friday.

That's good news, because his backup Derrick Ward is also questionable with an ankle injury, but his outlook might not be as positive. Ward missed practice on Friday after going through limited practice on Thursday.

New York head coach Tom Coughlin, though, expects Ward to be ready to play.

Flyers' Downie suspended 20 games

Philadelphia Flyers rookie Steve Downie was suspended 20 games by the NHL for his hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond on Friday. The hit resulted in a concussion for McAmmond and knocked him out of action indefinitely.

The incident occurred at 2:39 of the second period when Downie hit McAmmond behind the net. Downie was assessed a match penalty on the play under Rule 21 for deliberate injury of an opponent and was automatically suspended.

Downie will miss the first 20 regular season and/or playoff games when he reaches the Flyers' 23-man roster.

Eagles Friday injury report - Thomas doubtful; BWest 50-50

Out: TE L.J. Smith (groin)

Doubtful: CB Lito Sheppard (knee), T William Thomas (knee)

Questionable: S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB William James (finger), RB Brian Westbrook (abdomen)

Probable: K David Akers (quadricep), LB Stewart Bradley (hand), S Sean Considine (knee), QB A.J. Feeley (hand), DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder), LB Matt McCoy (ankle)

Practice Report
Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday TE L.J. Smith (groin)
Thursday TE L.J. Smith (groin)
Friday TE L.J. Smith (groin)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB Lito Sheppard (knee), T William Thomas (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (abdomen)
Thursday S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB Lito Sheppard (knee), LB Takeo Spikes (other), T William Thomas (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (abdomen)
Friday S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB Lito Sheppard (knee), T William Thomas (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (abdomen)

Limited Participation in Practice
Friday CB William James (finger)

Full Participation in Practice
Wednesday K David Akers (quadricep), LB Stewart Bradley (hand), RB Correll Buckhalter (ankle), S Sean Considine (knee), QB A.J. Feeley (hand), DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder)
Thursday K David Akers (quadricep), LB Stewart Bradley (hand), S Sean Considine (knee), QB A.J. Feeley (hand), DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder)
Friday K David Akers (quadricep), LB Stewart Bradley (hand), S Sean Considine (knee), QB A.J. Feeley (hand), DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder), LB Matt McCoy (ankle)

Are you ready for

By Michael Rushton
The Phanatic Magazine

Who would have thought after a poor start, a rash of injuries, many early holes and a few let-down games sprinkled in for good measure, the Phillies would be where they are heading into play on Friday?

Of course, this season has not been without its joys: beating the Mets again and again, Howard's deep bombs, the re-emergence of Pat Burrell, and of course, the erasing of many of those early holes.

The only drawback is at this point, tied for the lead in the National League East with three games to play, anything less than a playoff appearance would be a failure. The Phils are too close with their fate in their own hands to blow it now.

So, as the club heads into a HUGE weekend set with the Nationals, lets take a look at some highlights that got us here.

Offensive MVP: Jimmy Rollins

Sure, the club hit a bit of a skid when Chase Utley went down, Howard brings the game-changing bat to the table and Cole Hamels had a heck of a run before getting hurt, but none of those players have brought a complete game to the table like Rollins.

In fact, I believe he should be the MVP of the whole league.

He's gone 30/30, has been a terror on the basepaths, and most importantly, he gave the club a "we are going to win this thing attitude" from day one of this season.

Pitching MVP: Kyle Kendrick

This thing could have came unglued a long time ago until an unknown rookie was called up from Double-A. All Kendrick is done is win, going 10-4 with a 3.87 earned run average through 20 no-one-saw-coming starts.

Kendrick has earned a spot in the rotation for next year as a back-end starter (which is what he is) because of his ability to keep the Phillies in every game he starts while eating up effective innings.

Most underrated move: Hiring Davey Lopes to coach first

In Rollins, the Phillies have always had speed, but felt they lacked enough to win games. Hence, players like Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn were brought in, and Lopes has been the guy to put that all together.

Philadelphia is fifth in the majors in stolen bases with 135 and have a pair of players with over 30 on the season in Rollins and Victorino. Those two have totaled 75 swipes between the two of them and have been caught just nine total times. Bourn, meanwhile, is 18-for-19 in stolen base attempts this year.

But its not just the speed guys. Remember when Jayson Werth stole second and third off Billy Wagner back on August 30 to plate the tying run in an eventual 11-10 victory that completed the four-game sweep? That never happens in 2006.

Turning point: Four-game sweep of Mets

If the Phillies do something special this year, every commemorative DVD released about it will begin with this series. The sweep, which occurred from August 27-30, pulled Philadelphia within two games and got the club officially inside the Mets' heads.

Where it could have gone wrong: Losing five of seven after the sweep

By the end of this stretch, Philadelphia had fallen six games back of the Mets, and the here-we-go again mentality had returned. Instead, the club rebounded.

How does this end: Phils make the postseason

What makes me nervous is that many "experts" are picking the Phillies to make the postseason via a division title. Favorites never win. However, the Philllies are playing good and hard. They are not just getting lucky, they are seizing the moment.

The club knows if they sweep the Nats, they are guaranteed at least a shot to play for the postseason.

It is all in their own hands.

Michael Rushton can be reached at

Wanna see the Phils: No shot

- Courtesy of the Phillies

All tickets for the Phillies' three-game weekend series with the Washington Nationals are sold out Phillies, John Weber, Vice President, Sales & Ticket Operations, announced.

Ticket windows at Citizens Bank Park opened at 9 a.m. this morning and within 45 minutes, all remaining tickets were sold for the 7 p.m. game tonight, 3:55 p.m. game tomorrow and Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday, 1:35 p.m. start. Sunday was actually sold out in advance of this morning.

A total of 500 standing room tickets for each game will go on sale each day. Today, the SRO will go on sale at 4 p.m.; tomorrow, 1 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. SRO tickets will be limited to two per person.

With tonight's sellout crowd, the Phillies will surpass three million for the third time in club history: 3,250,092 in 2004 and 3,137,674 in 1993.

Flyers injury update

By Michael Rushton
The Phanatic Magazine

With the regular season on the horizon for the Philadelphia Flyers, the club is trying to sort out how its recent string of injury will affect its opening-day roster.

Forward Scottie Upshall had successful surgery on his left wrist in Baltimore on Thursday. According to general manager Paul Holmgren, he is expected to miss approximately six weeks.

The Flyers did get good news on forward Joffrey Lupul. It was feared that he also seriously injured his wrist, but instead was diagnosed with a sprained wrist. He is expected to miss just three to five days.

Finally, center R.J. Umberger had surgery on his left small finger and will miss two weeks, while defenseman Randy Jones is day-to-day with a hip flexor.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Eagles Thursday injury report

Out: TE L.J. Smith (groin)

Did Not Participate In Practice

Wednesday: S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB Lito Sheppard (knee), T William Thomas (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (abdomen)
Thursday: S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB Lito Sheppard (knee), LB Takeo Spikes (personal reasons), T William Thomas (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (abdomen)

Full Participation in Practice

Wednesday: K David Akers (quadricep), LB Stewart Bradley (hand), RB Correll Buckhalter (ankle), S Sean Considine (knee), QB A.J. Feeley (hand), DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder)

Thursday: K David Akers (quadricep), LB Stewart Bradley (hand), S Sean Considine (knee), QB A.J. Feeley (hand), DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder)

Flyers assign 18 players to Phantoms

The Philadelphia Flyers assigned the following players to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms on Thursday:

Forwards (9)
Josh Beaulieu, Frederik Cabana, Triston Grant, Kyle Greentree, David Laliberte, Jon Matsumoto, Gino Pisellini, Darren Reid, Denis Tolpeko

Defensemen (5)
Oskars Bartulis, Martin Grenier, Lars Jonsson, Ryan Parent, Jussi Timonen

Goaltenders (4)
Rejean Beauchemin, Jeremy Duchesne, Martin Houle, Scott Munroe

Millersville football players reinstated

Nine Millersville University football players were reinstated after a university review into an alleged sexual assault was closed.

A 19-year-old woman and several witnesses reported the alleged assault during an off-campus party on September 2. Lancaster police dropped the investigation, however, when the woman no longer wanted to cooperate.

"Millersville University concluded its Student Code of Conduct review and, based on evidence presented, determined that no further action can be taken," the university said.

Giants' Burress week-to-week with serious ankle sprain

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

An orthopedic specialist confirmed that New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress has a serious right ankle sprain.

On the recommendation of team physician Russell Warren, Burress visited Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina Wednesday to have his ankle re-examined.

"Dr. Anderson confirmed our findings, which is that Plaxico has a serious sprain to his right ankle," Giants vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes said.

"Following the exam, Dr. Anderson conferred with Dr. Warren and it was determined that at this point, we will continue the course of treatment and therapy that we have used since Plaxico reinjured the right ankle when he was stepped on during the Green Bay game. Plaxcio will continue his modality therapy, and we will explore all options regarding the most appropriate shoes, orthotics and braces."

Burress originally suffered the setback in training camp and his ankle has continued to bother him throughout the young season.

In three games this year, Burress has caught 15 passes for 262 yards and five touchdowns. His five TDs tie him with New England's Randy Moss for most in the NFL.

"The best prescription for this injury is rest, and as a result, Plaxico's practice time for the immediate future will be limited," Barnes added. "For the time being, we will continue to evaluate Plaxico's injury on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis."

The Giants host the Eagles on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Umberger breaks finger, Upshall fractures wrist

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren updated the team's injury situation after a very physical 4-2 loss in Ottawa last night.

"Defenseman Randy Jones sustained a right hip flexor injury and will be out of action through the weekend. We are hoping to get him back on the ice probably next week," Holmgren said.

"Right Wing Joffrey Lupul sustained a left wrist injury and we will know more once he is examined by a specialist tomorrow.

"Forward R.J. Umberger sustained a broken pinky finger on his left hand. He will require surgery, which will take place tomorrow, and will be out of action for seven to 14 days.

"Left wing Scottie Upshall sustained a fractured left wrist, which will require surgery. He will have the surgery tomorrow and will be out of action for four to six weeks.

"Both Umberger and Upshall will be having surgery tomorrow in Baltimore, Maryland by Dr. Tom Graham. Lupul will be examined by Dr. Graham tomorrow and we will have a better feel for where he is after that examination."

Eagles Wednesday injury report; Smith out

Out (Definitely Will Not Play)
Wednesday TE L.J. Smith (groin)

Did Not Participate In Practice
Wednesday S Brian Dawkins (neck), CB Lito Sheppard (knee), T William Thomas (knee), RB Brian Westbrook (abdomen)

Full Participation in Practice
Wednesday K David Akers (quadricep), LB Stewart Bradley (hand), RB Correll Buckhalter (ankle), S Sean Considine (knee), QB A.J. Feeley (hand), DE Jevon Kearse (shoulder)

Westbrook is NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Running back BRIAN WESTBROOK of the Philadelphia Eagles was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the third week of the 2007 season (September 23-24).


  • Westbrook scored three touchdowns and became the seventh player since the 1970 merger to record 110+ rushing yards and 110+ receiving yards in the same game as the Eagles defeated the Detroit Lions 56-21. Westbrook set a career-high with 221 scrimmage yards, rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns while adding five catches for 111 yards and another score. Philadelphia’s 56 points were the most scored by the team in the regular season since 1953, when the club downed the Chicago Cardinals 56-17.

In his sixth season from Villanova, this is Westbrook’s first career Offensive Player of the Week Award. Westbrook was named the NFC Special Teams Player of Week 7 in 2003.

Vick tests positive for marijuana

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting court documents show that suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick tested positive for marijuana and will face stricter release conditions from a federal court judge...

That NFL drug testing program is cutting edge -- isn't it?

Eagles, Westbrook resolve pay dispute

Adam Schefter of The NFL Network is reporting that the Eagles and running back Brian Westbrook reached an agreement regarding a $3 million dollar overpayment from last season.

Westbrook has already given back nearly $1 million and the Eagles will withhold a large portion of the running back's $2 million base salary this season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Flyers Assign Claude Giroux to Gatineau

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have returned forward Claude Giroux to his Canadian Hockey League team, the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey.

"We were very pleased with Claude's training camp," said GM PaulHolmgren in making the announcement. "He is an outstanding, young player in our organization. The feeling amongst us, from a physical standpoint, was that he wasn't quite ready yet. In this case, it is better for Claude and better for the organization that he goes back and plays one more year of junior hockey.

"The strides that he has made in one year are tremendous. He was a good player for us in training camp and he just needs a little more time to develop physically."

Giroux, 19, was scoreless in two preseason games with the Flyers. Giroux, the Flyers' first round pick (22nd overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, recorded 48 goals and 64 assists for 112 points and 49 penalty minutes in 63 regular season games for Gatineau last season. He was first on Gatineau in goals (48, sixth in the QMJHL) and points (112, fourth in the QMJHL).

He also appeared in five regular season games for the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, posting two points (1G,1A) and six penalty minutes.

In addition, the team announced that it released forwards Adam Henrich and Brad Schell. Each was invited to Training Camp on a try-out basis.

This Week in College Football History

-Courtesy of the National Football Foundation and College Football Foundation


Oct. 6, 1990: Colorado benefits from the famed "Fifth Down Game" in Columbia, Mo., with a game-ending touchdown run by Buffaloes' QB Charles Johnson to edge Missouri 33-31. Confusion reigns in the final seconds as CU is granted a fifth down for Johnson's TD on a "fifth-and-goal" play, and Colorado closes 11-1-1 and claim a share of the national title.


Oct. 2, 2004: Rice and San Jose State play the highest-scoring regulation game in college history as the Spartans edge the Owls 70-63 with a 28-point fourth quarter flurry. There are 19 touchdowns and 1,100-plus yards of total offense in the melee.Oct. 3, 1992: No. 24 Mississippi State bottles up Florida's All-SEC RB Errict Rhett en route to knocking off No. 13 Florida 30-6 in Starkville, Miss. State scores 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in a rare Thursday night SEC contest.

Oct. 4, 1940: Ten years to the day of the opening of Notre Dame Stadium, "Knute Rockne All- American' premiers in South Bend. The feature-length film, starring future NFF Gold Medal recipient and U.S. President Ronald Reagan as George Gipp and Pat O'Brien as coach Knute Rockne, is part of the NFF College Hall of Fame's Hollywood Huddles exhibit.Oct. 5, 1996: Florida A&M edges Hampton 59- 58 in six overtimes at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind. The game takes just over five hours to complete.

Oct. 6, 1951: NFF Hall of Fame member Hugh McElhenny of Washington returns a punt for an NCAA-record-tying 100 yards against Southern California in a 20-13 victory by the Trojans.Oct. 7, 1916: Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland (Tenn.) 222-0 in the most one-sided game in college football history.

Oct. 8, 1977: Texas defeats Oklahoma 13-6 as first-year head coach Fred Akers outduels NFF Hall of Fame mentor Barry Switzer of OU in a defensive struggle. 2007 NFF Hall of Fame inductee DB Johnnie Johnson clinches the win with a fourth-down tackle of Sooners' QB Thomas Lott to end a potential game- winning drive.

Gillick's all but gone

Phillies general manager Pat Gillick doesn't plan to remain with the team after his three-year contract expires following next season.

"This is it for me," Gillick said in Tuesday's Philadelphia Daily News. "I'll fulfill my contract. It's time to think about doing some other things in life."

Go crazy...the Phils are going to the Series?

By John Gottlieb
The Phanatic Magazine

Even I can't believe I'm about to write this, but don't make plans on Wednesday, October 21 because the Phillies are going to the World Series.

It was about a month ago right here that I wrote that the Phillies were done. Caput. Dead as a door knob. They were just waiting to play out the remaining 30-some odd games before another disappointing offseason.

The Phils dealt with more injuries to significant players than any other team in the league, but the loss of their ace Cole Hamels was just too much too overcome. How could a team lose its only bona fide pitcher and still be right in the thick of things. Baseball is unpredictable but there was no way the Phillies could hang on.

I rescind everything I wrote that day. The Phillies did the same thing last month that they've been doing the whole season. Getting decent enough starting pitching, dealing with their inefficiencies in the bullpen, playing good defense, and hitting the cover off the ball.

I said it Saturday during Johns on Sports, and now I'll write it here...the Phillies are the team that nobody in the National League wants to play.

Does any other team in baseball have four MVP candidates that will finish in the top 15?

Philadelphia opens the night tied for the Wild Card lead with the Padres, who lost two-thirds of their starting outfield on Sunday and are trying to Chris Young back on track.

The Pads are on their way down and will be on the outside looking in when Sunday's games are over.

Arizona is so young that we are all waiting for the bubble to burst. It hasn't happened during the regular season, but this team will be dealing with just as much pressure as the larger market clubs.

The Phillies own the Mets this year and there is nothing to suggest that that is going to change in the postseason. Philly wins at home and at Shea, so playing four games in Flushing shouldn't be intimidating.

Chicago seems like it could be the real deal, but we all know how this fairy tale ends. It culminates with Steve Bartman, Leon Durham, or Brant Brown. The Cubbies are 10-18 this season against the Mets, Phillies, D'backs and Padres. The Rockies are the only other team with a puncher's chance and the North Siders are 5-2 against Colorado.

READ IT HERE: The Phillies are going to the World Series!

They've scored the second-most runs in baseball with 861, almost 50 more than the Rockies, who are second in the NL. They are tied with Colorado (1,513) for the most hits in the Senior Circuit. Philadelphia is second in the Majors with 202 homers, third with 822 runs batted in, third with a .355 on-base percentage, and second with .458 slugging percentage.

The point is that they're offense has kept them in it all season and it will continue to do so. However, they'll have to weasel their way out of some jams since their pitching staff is near the bottom of the standings with a 4.79 ERA.

Every team in the NL is hoping beyond hope that the Padres edge out the Phillies.

I'm sure there's more than American League team that knows the Phillies are talented enough to make the World Series very interesting. It would be real difficult to win their first series in almost 30 years, but the Phils can push this to six games.

Get ready Philadelphia. The Phils are going to take you on an improbable ride to the World Series.

They'll at least be a distraction before the Eagles, Sixers and Flyers go on to live up to their expectations.

For those of you heading up the Turnpike

Due to the construction of the new stadium in the Meadowlands, the parking situation has drastically changed for fans. They have lost over 5,000 parking spaces. The Giants have outlined the changes and you can view them by clicking the link...

Monday, September 24, 2007

College Football weekly news and notes

-Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

On-Campus Salutes Held Last Weekend for Thompson and Hillgrove

2007 College Football Hall of Famer Anthony Thompson of Indiana and 2007 NFF Chris Schenkel Award winner Bill Hillgrove of Pittsburgh were honored on their respective campuses last weekend.

Two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Anthony Thompson was honored last Saturday as Indiana hosted Illinois. Thompson was joined on the field by his family, IU athletics director Rick Greenspan and IU President Michael McRobbie. He received a standing ovation and was interviewed live by the Big Ten Network.

Bill Hillgrove, 37-year play-by-play announcer for University of Pittsburgh football, was honored during the Pitt-UConn game last weekend. Pitt President Mark Nordenberg and interim athletics director Donna Sanft also joined Hillgrove during the on-field presentation.

NFF News

NFF College Hall of Fame members Georgia Tech's George Morris (also longtime NFF chapter president and executive director of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award), Virginia's Joe Palumbo, and North Carolina's Harris Barton (also a former NFF Scholar-Athlete) are among 12 greats chosen as the 2007 ACC Football Championship Game Legends Class. Other members of the class include Duke's Clarkston Hines, Florida State's LeRoy Butler, Boston College's Pete Mitchell, Clemson's Jerry Butler, NC State's Dennis Byrd, Maryland's Dick Shiner; Miami's (Fla.) Jim Kelly, and Virginia Tech's Antonio Freeman.

"Football Fridays" returned to the College Football Hall of Fame last week when Notre Dame hosted Michigan State. The events include autograph sessions with Hall of Famers and other football celebrities as well as marching band performances on the Gridiron Plaza, football team visits, tailgate parties, live music, and much more. The next "Football Fridays" weekend in South Bend is Boston College at Notre Dame on Oct. 12-14. For more information, please go to www.collegefoot

Longtime Auburn associate athletics director and NFF member Buddy Davidson was honored with a reception after the Auburn-New Mexico State game last weekend. Davidson recently retired after 50 years at the university and has seen 567 straight Auburn games dating back to 1957.

The NFF Nebraska Chapter honored seven Huskers for outstanding achievements at its annual awards weekend last Friday and Saturday in Lincoln. Jason Peter, Eric Anderson, Donta Jones, Erik Wiegert, Tyrone Legette, Kevin Ramaekers, and Adolph Wenke won Football Pioneer Awards along with Brad Fults (Chadron State), Ruben Mendoza (Wayne State), and Webster VanValkenburgh (Hastings). The chapter also presented its Clarence Swanson Memorial Award to Joe Silverman of Lincoln and the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award to former Husker assistant coach George Darlington.

Two-Minute Drill

Ohio State set a school record with its 22nd consecutive regular-season victory, breaking the previous mark of 21 from 1967-69. The Buckeyes also honored its 1942 national championship team on its 65th anniversary at halftime of their game against Northwestern last Saturday... Southern California is 62-6 in its last 68 games for the best FBS 60-plus-games' mark since Nebraska was 60-3 from 1993-97. The Trojans extended their Pac-10 Conference home winning streak record to 35 games after topping Washington State last week... Cincinnati is No. 24 in this week's AP poll for its first national ranking since Oct. 25, 1976... Rutgers has achieved its second Top 10 ranking in school history at No. 10 in AP and ESPN USA TODAY this week... Texas (97 victories) and Boise State (94) are 1-2 in total NCAA FBS triumphs since 1998... Oklahoma has been rated No. 1 in the all-time Associated Press poll survey (1936-2007) by researcher Robert Lemieux of McDaniel (Md.) College by an average of most appearances in the weekly polls. The Sooners have appeared in 68 percent of all the polls with an average position of 7.18. Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, and Ohio State compose the top five out of a total of 94 current FBS members that have been ranked at least once over 72 seasons.

Harvard organized additional police patrols and special parking shuttles for safety at last Saturday's first-ever home night game against Brown... Arkansas State has added Penn State in 2008 and Nebraska in 2009 to its future schedules. Both games will be on the road... Indiana football student-athletes met with and signed autographs for the "Special Spectators" area youth program at recent home contests... Kentucky is holding its annual charitable Wildcats Can Defeat Hunger canned food drive for area pantries on Sept. 21-30. The Wildcats also are 4-0 with a SEC win included for the first time since 1950. Arkansas is participating with the SEC's Together We Can campaign to fight hunger over the same dates... San Jose State is wearing a "BW" logo on its helmets and on shirts of the SJSU coaching staff to memorialize late Spartans' alumnus Bill Walsh... TCU set a season sales record last week with 14,468 (and counting)... Notre Dame and Adidas supplied 75,000 white towels for Hannah & Friends and (Notre Dame's Web site) during the ND-Michigan State game on Sept. 22 with the slogan "Tradition Never Graduates - Notre Dame Football" and logos of Adidas, Hannah & Friends, and 1954 UCLA national championship team standout John Peterson was honorary captain for the Bruins' game last Saturday vs. Washington. His '54 UCLA head coach was NFF College Hall of Fame member Henry "Red" Sanders... Wisconsin director of athletics Barry Alvarez is the guest speaker for the Oct. 9 Boys & Girls Club of Janesville, Wis., annual Steak & Burger Banquet... Former Northeastern State (Okla.) director of athletics Jack Dobbins received the NSU Community Service Award for 60 years of dedication to Northeastern during "Come Home to the Dome" Homecoming activities at Northeastern last weekend... North Dakota has chosen Betty Ralston and Steve Brekke as co- acting athletics directors to fill in for Tom Buning, who is on a leave of absence... Texas Tech named Ruffin McNeill interim defensive coordinator... SkyWest Magazine featured an article on the "top games to watch across SkyWest Country this season." Some of the games listed include this weekend's UCLA-Oregon State match-up and next weekend's Hawaii-San Jose State tussle... Montana "super fans" Dico and Kristy Dicomitis pledged their matrimonial vows on August 31 in a Grizzlies-themed wedding, which coincided with Collegiate Licensing Company's College Colors Day. CLC helped arranged for school fight and theme songs, cheerleaders, color-coded dresses and apparel, and a stadium location for the wedding... The Hoover Presidential Museum will show the Iowa-Indiana game Sept. 29 on the big screen in the Museum's Figge Auditorium. President Hoover was the 1960 recipient of the Gold Medal, the NFF's highest honor.

Florida Atlantic trustees approved a $62 million, 30,000-seat football stadium on campus to be completed before the 2010 season... Cal Poly attracted a school-record 11,075 overflow crowd for its 2007 home opener against Weber State at renovated Alex G. Spanos Stadium... Louisiana- Lafayette is nearing completion on the second indoor practice facility for a FBS school within Louisiana... Ohio State played its 500th game at Ohio Stadium last Saturday... Columbia debuted its new Lion Store for apparel and game-day goodies last Saturday at Lawrence Wien Stadium at Baker Field.

The Sept. 15 Kentucky-Louisville contest posted a record 1.84 national rating for ESPN Classic... CSTV and Cox Sports will televise several Rhode Island athletics' outings exclusively. CSTV also signed an agreement with Armed Forces Network to carry live or taped accounts of six games involving U.S. service academies worldwide this season... The Big Ten Network will air "The Big Ten's Great Football Games" series starting Tuesday with two classic confrontations featured weekly... GamePlan Technologies of Omaha, Neb., has announced an interactive networking program among schools to link as many as 19 sports, including football... Oklahoma and Sooner Sports Properties have extended their broadcast and promotions' agreements through 2017... Nissan and ESPN The Magazine began their second Gridiron Blowout Tour with ultimate tailgate experiences and other amenities at the Alabama- Georgia game last Saturday. The 10-city tour will end at the Texas-Texas A&M tussle in College Station on Nov. 23... State Farm Insurance has signed a three-year pact to sponsor the SMU- TCU State Farm DFW Duel - Battle for the Iron Skillet from 2007-09.

NFF College Football Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Emmitt Smith joined former CBS football sideline reporter and Miss America Phyllis George in the charity benefit "Dancing With a Vision" last Thursday in Dallas. Staubach also addressed Oklahoma State's squad before the Cowboys won their Big 12 opener 49-45 over Texas Tech... The Mobile Press-Register has named the late College Football Hall of Famer Reggie White of Tennessee as the top defensive lineman for its 75-year Southeastern Conference Anniversary series... Famed Louisville RB Howard Stevens had his jersey honored at the UL-Syracuse tilt last weekend... Former Alabama standout Freddie Roach is hosting the Freddie Roach Golf Classic to benefit (all proceeds) Alabama football alumnus Victor Ellis, who is fighting cancer. The fundraiser will be at Tuscaloosa's Woodland Forrest Country Club on Friday, Oct. 5, and will be a four-man scramble. Kentucky LB Terry Clayton is the second nominee for the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award announced at the end of the year. The senior was left almost completely deaf after a serious case of chicken pox at age five. He walked on to the Wildcats' football team and is an honor-roll student and kinesiology major. Clayton also regularly visits the Kentucky School for the Deaf, which he once attended, to encourage the students... 2006 NFF Hall of Famer Rich Glover (Nebraska) has taken over the Jersey City (N.J.) Dickinson High School football program... 2003 NFF Chris Schenkel winner and iconic Georgia broadcaster Larry Munson, who turns 85 this week, missed his second UGa game since 1966 when Georgia edged Alabama last Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Munson decided in July 2007 to work only Bulldogs' home games in '07.

Garrard "Buster" Ramsey, 87, a 1978 inductee into the NFF College Hall of Fame from William & Mary, on Sept. 16 in Chattanooga, Tenn... Sam Houston (Texas) HS football student-athlete Quintarick Wilson died on Sept. 15 after a shooting in Arlington.

Tyson pleads guilty to DUI; drug charges

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession and driving under the influence in Maricopa County Superior Court Monday.

The case stems from an early morning arrest on December 29 of last year.

Tyson was stopped by police after his car nearly hit a sheriff's vehicle after leaving a nightclub. Police searched Tyson and his vehicle and found cocaine on his person and in the car.

Tyson originally pleaded "not guilty" in the case but changed his plea under an arrangement with prosecutors.

The former champ will be sentenced on November 19 and faces six months for the DUI and 45 months for the drug charge.

Westbrook has abdominal strain

By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine

Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook was diagnosed with an abdominal strain Monday.

Westbrook left Sunday's 56-21 win against the Detroit Lions in the third quarter with what was originally described as a rib injury.

After setting up a 1st-and-goal in the third quarter with a five-yard run, Westbrook went to the sidelines and later headed to the locker room.

Before leaving the game he had 14 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he also had five catches for 111 yards and a score.

It was just the seventh time in NFL history that a player recorded 110-plus yards rushing and 110-plus yards receiving in the same game.

Westbrook's availability for the Eagles' next game against the New York Giants will be determined later this week.

"We'll know better in the next day or two," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "Right now he's pretty sore."

Gruden to Eagles?

Pro Football Talk is reporting that Jon Gruden is interested in the Eagles job -- since it's regarded in league circles as a 50-50 proposition that current coach Andy Reid will resign in January.

Birdseed; Eagles - Lions

*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, today's game marked the first time in NFL history that two players had 200+ yards receiving in the same game (whether they were opponents or teammates). The Eagles Kevin Curtis registered 221 yards on 11 catches, while the Lions Roy Williams posted 204 yards on 9 catches … Curtis’ 221-yard outing was the 2nd-highest single-game performance in franchise history. (Hall of Fame WR Tommy McDonald had 237 yards vs. the Giants on December 10, 1961)

*The 56 points scored tied for the second-most in Eagles regular-season history and were the most scored by Philadelphia in the regular season since a 56-17 win over the Chicago Cardinals on October 25, 1953 (The Eagles scored 58 points in an NFC Wild Card victory over Detroit in 1995) … The Eagles scored touchdowns on each of their first five possessions en route to a team record 42 first-half points.

*The Eagles defense recorded nine sacks of Lions Jon Kitna, which is tied for the second-highest single-game total in franchise history. Three Eagles - Trent Cole (3), Brodrick Bunkley (2), and Juqua Thomas (2) - recorded 2+ sacks in the same game for the first time in team history (The NFL began compiling sacks in 1982).

*Donovan McNabb completed a career high 80.8% of his passes (21 of 26) for 381 yards and 4 TDs for a perfect 158.3 QB rating, also a career high. His 381 yards were the third-best total of his career and the 6th best total in team history. It was the 7th time he fired four TDs in a game and the 3rd time he’s completed over 80 percent of his passes. He completed 18 consecutive passes during the game, his second-longest streak since completing an NFL record 24 consecutive passes over two games in 2004.

*According to Stats, Inc., Brian Westbrook became the 7th player in NFL history to record 110+ yards rushing and 110+ yards receiving in the same game joining:

Kansas City’s Priest Holmes (11/24/02 vs. Sea) 197 rush 110 rec 307 total
Dallas’ Herschel Walker (12/14/86 vs. Phi.) 122 rush 170 rec 292 total
Minnesota’s Darrin Nelson (11/13/83 vs. GB) 119 rush 137 rec 256 total
San Diego’s Lionel James (9/22/85 vs. Cin) 127 rush 118 rec 245 total
Cincinnati’s Essex Johnson (9/30/73 vs. SD) 121 rush 117 rec 238 total
St. Louis’ Ottis Anderson (11/18/84 vs. NYG) 111 rush 112 rec 223 total

Westbrook became the first Eagle to rush for two touchdowns in the first quarter since Charlie Garner did so at San Francisco on October 2, 1994 … Westbrook set a career high with 221 total yards from scrimmage and tied a career high with 3 total touchdowns.

*The Eagles defense held the Lions to just 39 yards rushing (12 rushes), the lowest total permitted since holding the Chargers to 21 yards on 22 carries on 10/23/05. The Eagles have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 6 straight regular season games.

*For the first time in team history, the Eagles featured a 100-yard rusher (Brian Westbrook – 110 yards), a 200-yard receiver (Kevin Curtis - 221 yards), and a 300-yard passer (Donovan McNabb – 381 yards) in the same game. It was the 8th such occurrence in team history in which the Eagles had a 100-yard rusher, 100-yard receiver, and a 300-yard passer. McNabb threw for 302 yards, while Westbrook ran for 101 yards and caught passes for 113 yards on October 22, 2006 at Tampa Bay.

*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, WR Kevin Curtis and RB Brian Westbrook became the first pair of teammates in NFL history to score three touchdowns in the same half.

*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Donovan McNabb’s perfect QB rating of 158.3 with 26-or-more pass attempts was the fifth such occurrence in the NFL since the passer rating system was implemented in 1973. The others:

Ken O’Brien, NYJ vs. Sea 11/02/86 32 attempts
Chris Chandler, Hou vs. Cin 9/24/95 26 attempts
Kurt Warner, StL vs. SD 10/01/00 30 attempts
Kerry Collins, NYG vs. Ind 12/22/02 29 attempts

*McNabb’s Movin’ on up … With 22,885 career passing yards, McNabb moved past Randall Cunningham (22,877) and into 2nd place on the club’s list. He trails Ron Jaworski (26,963) by 4,078 yards … With 3,364 career pass attempts, McNabb moved past Randall Cunningham (3,362) into 2nd place on the club’s all-time list. He trails Ron Jaworski (3,918) by 554 attempts.

* Three Eagles running backs – Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter, and Tony Hunt – each scored rushing touchdowns in the same game for the 2nd time in team history. Ollie Matson, Earl Gros, and Izzy Lang each reached the end zone on December 12, 1965, vs. Pittsburgh … The last time an NFL team accomplished this feat was December 10, 2006, when Jacksonville RB’s Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Alvin Pearman each scored vs. Indianapolis.

*Starting for the first time in his five-year NFL career for an injured Brian Dawkins, S Quintin Mikell recorded his first career sack while adding a fumble recovery.

*DE Trent Cole currently leads the NFL with 5 sacks. His career-high 3.5 sacks vs. the Lions was the 7th multiple-sack game of his 34-game career … Westbrook leads the NFL with 514 total yards from scrimmage (291 rushing, 223 receiving) … DT Brodrick Bunkley recorded the first two sacks of his NFL career … DE’s Jevon Kearse and Darren Howard each played in their 100th regular season game yesterday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Will the real Birds please stand up; Eagles rout Lions

By Eric Redner
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Eagles finally broke out of their offensive slump as the team scored 42 points in the first half and Donovan McNabb threw four touchdown passes in a 56-21 win over the DetroitLions at Lincoln Financial Field.

McNabb went 21-of-26 for 381 yards and his favorite target of the day was Kevin Curtis, who had a career day with 11 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles (1-2), who had scored only one offensive touchdown in their first two games this season.

Curtis had 205 reception yards in the first-half alone, which tied an NFL record for first-half yards set by Buffalo's Lee Evans last year against Houston. The record for most yards in any half is by Irving Fryar, who had 221yards.

Equally impressive in the offensive outburst was Brian Westbrook. He had 14carries for 110 yards and two scores and added five receptions for 111 yards and one score for Philadelphia, which has won its last four regular-season games against Detroit. Westbrook left the game in the third quarter with a rib injury and was taken to the locker room for x-rays.

Philadelphia's defense limited the Lions to just 39 yards rushing and sacked Jon Kitna nine times for a total of 53 yards lost.

The Eagles were wearing the yellow and blue uniforms of the Frankford Yellow Jackets in honor of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the franchise.

Kitna went 29-for-46 with a career-high 446 yards and two touchdowns with an interception while Roy Williams had nine catches for 204 yards and a score for the Lions (2-1), who were looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1980.

Philadelphia's 42 first-half points set a new team record. The previous high was 35 points set on three different occasions. Also, the 63 combined points from the two teams in the first half was the second highest in NFL history.

Also, the 56 points scored was the most for the Eagles in a regular-season game since they reached the mark against the Chicago Cardinals on October 25,1953. The Eagles scored 58 points against the Lions in their NFC Wild Card win on December 30, 1995.

After stopping the Lions on the first possession of the game, the Eagles got the ball back near midfield and wasted no time taking the lead. On the fourth play of the drive, Westbrook took the hand off, cut out around the left end,broke a tackle and raced into the end zone on a 25-yard score for a 7-0 lead a bit over three minutes into the game.

However, the Lions wasted no time responding. On the next possession, the Eagles appeared to have the Lions contained as they stopped Tatum Bell on consecutive carries, but on 3rd-and-13, Kitna found Williams on a short crossing pattern on the right side and the receiver caught the ball and took it 54 yards to the Philadelphia 23. After McDonald's 21-yard catch to setup1st-and-goal, Kevin Jones punched it in to tie the game with 9:07 to play.

Philadelphia drove right back down the field to again take the lead. On 3rd-and-7, McNabb connected with Reggie Brown on a 19-yard play. Deep in Lions territory, Westbrook took the ball around the right end on a 12-yard run for a1st-and-goal at the five-yard line and on the next play Westbrook went through a huge hole at the left side, knocked back Kenoy Kennedy and just stretched the ball over the goal line as he dropped the ball. Detroit asked for the play to be reviewed to see if Westbrook fumbled before crossing the goal line, but the call on the field was allowed to stand.

The Eagles again forced a three-and-out from Detroit, and on the first play of possession McNabb went deep to Curtis who caught the ball over the middle and took it into the end zone on a 68-yard play for a 21-7 lead with 3:04 left in the first.

Philadelphia continued to pour it on in the second quarter. After getting the ball back late in the first, a seven-play, 78-yard drive was capped off when McNabb faked a pitch to Westbrook and found Curtis in the left corner of the end zone for a 28-7 lead with 12:45 left in the second.

The Eagles weren't done yet as after another Detroit three-and-out, McNabb found a wide open Curtis in stride along the left sideline and he took it into the end zone on a 43-yard play for a 35-7 lead with 11:32 left in the second.

However, the Lions responded with a pair of touchdowns to get back into the contest.

On 3rd-and-15, Kitna laid up a pass for Calvin Johnson and the rookie leaped up and made a 39-yard catch between two Eagle defenders. Two plays later, Kitna hit Shaun McDonald in the right flat and McDonald took it between two defenders and just got the ball into the end zone to make it a 35-14 game.

Philadelphia drove the ball down the field on the next touch, but Corey Smith swiped McNabb's arm causing the ball to come loose and Detroit recovered the ball. On the second play, Kitna connected with Williams on a short pass and the receiver raced past the Eagle defense and took the ball into the end zone on a 91-yard play to make it a 35-21 game with 5:01 left in the first half.

The Eagles, though, responded on the next drive as McNabb tossed the ball to Westbrook on a screen play and the running back broke several tackles on his way to a 43-yard touchdown play and a 42-21 lead heading into the locker room.

After stopping Detroit on the first possession of the second half,Philadelphia padded its lead. An 11-play, 63-yard drive was capped off on a one-yard touchdown run up the middle from Correll Buckhalter for a 49-21advantage with 2:24 left in the third quarter. The drive ate up over six minutes.

Tony Hunt's first career touchdown came on a one-yard dive into the end zone with 7:27 to play in the contest to give the Eagles a 56-21 advantage.

Penn State falls to 21 in AP Poll; Rutgers 10th

The AP Top 25

By The Associated Press

The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll,
with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sept. 22,
total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one
point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:
Record Pts Pvs
1. Southern Cal (43) 3-0 1,601 1
2. LSU (22) 4-0 1,580 2
3. Oklahoma 4-0 1,456 4
4. Florida 4-0 1,417 3
5. West Virginia 4-0 1,388 5
6. California 4-0 1,263 6
7. Texas 4-0 1,196 7
8. Ohio St. 4-0 1,193 8
9. Wisconsin 4-0 1,030 9
10. Rutgers 3-0 1,008 11
11. Oregon 4-0 944 13
12. Boston College 4-0 927 14
13. Clemson 4-0 807 15
14. Kentucky 4-0 708 21
15. Georgia 3-1 631 22
16. South Carolina 3-1 586 12
17. Virginia Tech 3-1 568 17
18. South Florida 3-0 539 23
19. Hawaii 4-0 471 19
20. Missouri 4-0 401 25
21. Penn St. 3-1 337 10
22. Alabama 3-1 265 16
23. Arizona St. 4-0 206 —
24. Cincinnati 4-0 164 —
25. Nebraska 3-1 134 24
Others receiving votes: Purdue 73, Miami 72, Michigan St. 60,
UCLA 27, Michigan 21, Texas A&M 21, Arkansas 10, Kansas 6, Florida
St. 5, UCF 4, Connecticut 3, Virginia 2, Tennessee 1.

Nit Notes

-Couresty of Penn State University

- The Nittany Lions had their six-game winning streak snapped. Penn State has won 25 of its
last 31 games overall.

- Michigan’s Mike Hart carried the ball a career-high 44 times, breaking the record by a Penn State opponent of 42 carries, previously set by Indiana’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis in 2003.
- The Penn State defense permitted only three drives above 40 yards, forced two turnovers and limited Mike Hart to 3.5 yards per carry. Ten Nittany Lions recorded a tackle for loss.

- The Penn State defense has allowed eight touchdowns in the past 10 games, three of which were by Buffalo in the fourth quarter after the Lions took a 31-3 third quarter lead.

- The Nittany Lions were 3 of 4 in the Red Zone. For the season, the Lions are 20 of 22 (90.9) in the Red Zone, with 14 touchdowns and six field goals.

- Penn State’s first scoring drive of 11 plays, 69 yards in 5:25 was its longest of the season for yards and time of possession and tied for the longest in number of plays.

- Junior cornerback Lydell Sargeant grabbed his second career interception late in the first half, returning it 31 yards to the PSU 37. Sargeant made a career-high 10 tackles (seven solo), including a tackle for loss.

- Junior linebacker Sean Lee made a game-high 12 tackles for the second consecutive game and was one of 10 Nittany Lions that made a minus-yardage play.

- Senior All-America linebacker Dan Connor made nine stops, with a TFL, to increase his career tackle to total to 312, four away from passing Brian Gelzheiser for third place.

- Sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans made a career-high nine stops, including a game-high four tackles for minus-eight yards.

- Sophomore defensive end Jerome Hayes made a career-best six stops (five solo), with a TFL.

- Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu made a career-high four hits, with three tackles for minus-nine yards.

- Nine Nittany Lion defenders tied or broke their career-high for tackles: Sargeant, Evans, Hayes, Ogbu, Saf Mark Rubin (5 tkls), DE Josh Gaines (4 tkls, 1 sack), DT Jared Odrick (4 tkls, 2 TFL), Chris Baker (3 tkls), DT Phil Taylor (2 tkls, 1 TFL).

- Junior placekicker Kevin Kelly was 3 of 3 on field goals. He moved into second place on the school career field goal attempts list with 65. Craig Fayak (1990-93) is the leader with 80. Kelly’s 44 field goals are good for fourth place on the Penn State career list, trailing only Fayak (50), Travis Forney (47) and Brett Conway (45).

- Junior wideout Deon Butler made three catches against Michigan, giving him 97 in his career, moving him into eighth place on the school list.

- Junior wideout Jordan Norwood made three catches vs. the Wolverines, giving him 91 in his career, moving him into sole possession of 11th place. Freddie Scott is 10th with 93 receptions.

- The Nittany Lions remain on the road next week, visiting Illinois at 11:00 a.m./12:00 p.m. ET. The Fighting Ilini defeated Indiana, 27-14, on Saturday to improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten. The contest will air on the Big Ten Network, the Penn State Sports Network and, the official home of Penn State Athletics.

Dawkins out for Birds

By Eric Redner
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Eagles will be without tight end L.J. Smith, safety Brian Dawkins and cornerback Lito Sheppard for Sunday's game against Detroit.

Smith underwent surgery Friday to clean out scar tissue surrounding his injured groin. In the offseason, he had a sports hernia surgery, but strained his groin during training camp. He has posted just 26 yards on four receptions over the Eagles' first two games. Taking Smith's place against the Lions will be veteran Matt Schobel and rookie Brent Celek.

On the defensive side, free safety Brian Dawkins, who suffered a neck stinger while tackling Todd Yoder and was forced out of Monday's game, will be sitting out the contest along with cornerback Lito Sheppard, who is missing his second straight game with a knee injury.

Quintin Mikell will start in place of Dawkins while Will James is taking Sheppard's spot.

In some good news, though, for Philadelphia, running back Brian Westbrook will play in the game.


Eagles Inactives: QB A.J. Feeley (3rd QB), FS Brian Dawkins, CB Lito Sheppard, LB Matt McCoy, G Scott Young, DT LaJuan Ramsey, DE Victor Abiamiri, TE L.J. Smith.

LionsInactives: QB Dan Orlovsky (3rd QB), RB Aveion Cason, RB T.J. Duckett, LB Anthony Cannon, G Stephen Peterman, G Manny Ramirez, DE Kalimba Edwards, CB Tony Beckham

Rutgers-Maryland to kickoff at 3:30 on ABC

-Courtesy of Rutgers University

The Big East Conference announced that Saturday’s game between No. 11 Rutgers and Maryland will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. (et) on ABC.

It marks the first ABC broadcast from Rutgers Stadium since 2004 when the Scarlet Knights defeated Michigan State 19-14 on Sept. 4. In all, it will mark the fourth time in Rutgers history ABC will televise a game from Rutgers Stadium.

The Scarlet Knights made one appearance on ABC last season with a 21-16 season-opening victory at North Carolina.

Rutgers (3-0) was idle over the weekend. The Scarlet Knights could vault into the top-10 in this week’s rankings, which will be released later today.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bowling Green uses strong second half to down Temple

Two costly turnovers to start the second half proved to be too much to overcome as Temple dropped a 48-35 decision to Bowling Green Saturday afternoon at Doyt L. Perry Stadium. The Owls (0-4, 0-2) and Falcons (3-1, 1-0) were deadlocked, 21-21, at intermission, but the Falcon defense scored twice in the third quarter to give the home team a lead it would not relinquish.

The 35 points scored by Temple is the most the team has scored since a 38-7 win over Florida A&M on Sept. 18, 2004. It is also the most against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since a 44-36 win at Middle Tennessee State (10/4/03). More >>

Horror in Ann Arbor; Penn State loses 9th straight to Michigan

By Sean Pollard
The Phanatic Magazine

Mike Hart rushed 153 yards on a career-high 44 carries with a fourth-quarter touchdown, as the Michigan Wolverines continued their dominance against Penn State with a 14-9 victory over the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions at The Big House.

Hart recorded his 23rd 100-yard rushing game, breaking the school mark previously held by Anthony Thomas.

Rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett completed 16-of-29 passes for 170 yards and ran for a touchdown for the Wolverines (2-2, 1-0 Big Ten), who have won nine straight against Penn State dating back to 1996.

Anthony Morelli was ineffective for the Nittany Lions (3-1, 0-1), completing 15-of-31 passes for 169 yards with a first-quarter fumble that led to Michigan's first touchdown.

One week after scoring 45 points against Buffalo, Penn State managed just three Kevin Kelly field goals. Rodney Kinlaw rushed for 69 yards on 12 carries, while Austin Scott carried the ball nine times for 35 yards.

After Kelly's 29-yard field goal brought Penn State within 7-6 with just 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Wolverines embarked on a 15- play, 77-yard scoring drive that ate up over six minutes of the clock.

The Nittany Lions stopped Hart twice inside their own six-yard line, but a pass interference call on Andrew Quarless on 3rd-and-goal gave Michigan new life. One play later, Hart bulled his way across the goal line to make it 14-6 Michigan with just under nine minutes remaining.

Kelly's 38-yarder brought Penn State back within 14-9 with just over six minutes to play, but Michigan was unable to run the clock down to under two minutes thanks to two key third down conversions by Mallett.

Penn State eventually got the ball on its own 13-yard line with 1:28 remaining. However, left with no timeouts, the Nittany Lions turned the ball over after four straight incompletions by Morelli.

After the teams traded punts to start the game, Brandon Graham sacked Morelli, forcing the Penn State QB to fumble and Chris Graham grabbed the loose ball to give Michigan possession on the Nittany Lions' 10 yard line.

The Wolverines wasted little time taking advantage of the turnover, as Mallett ran it in himself to give Michigan the lead.

Morelli led Penn State into Michigan territory on its following possession, but the drive stalled at the Wolverines' 31-yard line and Penn State was forced to punt.

The Nittany Lions got on the board in the second quarter thanks to an 11-play, 69-yard drive that culminated with Kelly's 28-yard field goal. Michigan had a chance to get the points right back, but kicker Jason Gingell pushed his 29- yard attempt wide right.

Michigan marched right back down the field on its next possession, but Lydell Sargeant picked off Mallett right before halftime.

Penn State made it down to the Michigan 11-yard line on its first possession of the second half but Scott fumbled for the third time in the last two games.

Mallett, however, gave the ball back to Penn State when he fumbled a snap.