Weekday Morning Sports – Friday 9/9/16

95.7 & 1400 WSJM Sports     @wsjmsports     wsjmsports.com     Friday, September 09, 2016

NFL – National Football League – Week 1
Last Night
Denver Broncos 21, Carolina Panthers 20

Broncos 21, Panthers 20 – Super Bowl champs open with encore victory
The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos escaped an opening night loss when Carolina kicker Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with four seconds left to give the Broncos a 21-20 win over the team they beat in last February’s Super Bowl 50. Trevor Siemian, Peyton Manning’s successor finished 18 of 26 for 178 yards, one TD and two interceptions.

Sunday
Chicago Bears at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m.
Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts, 4:25 p.m.         WSJM Sports/WCSY-FM        2:30 p.m.

NFL – Cutler sees big potential for Bears offense as season starts
Jay Cutler can envision bigger things for the Chicago Bears’ offense. It just might take some time.  The Bears will step onto the field with a decidedly different cast when they open the season at the Houston Texans on Sunday. “The talent level is definitely there,” Cutler said. “We’ve improved in a lot of different areas. How it is going to go on Sunday, I mean we’re confident and I’m sure they are confident as well. This group I think has the potential to get better and better each and every week.” The Bears certainly had plenty of room to grow coming off a last-place finish in the NFC North at 6-10. They go into their second season under coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace with an overhauled defensive front seven and no shortage of new players on offense. They added a major one this week when they signed three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton after he was a surprise cut by Green Bay. That had to make Cutler a happy man. After all, a quarterback who in the past took more than his share of big hits behind weak lines in Chicago now has two elite guards in Sitton and Kyle Long. That can’t hurt with J.J. Watt staring at them this week.

NFL – Colts, Lions looking for fast starts
Andrew Luck is tired of talking about the Indianapolis Colts’ sluggish starts. It’s time to fix it.   At training camp, coach Chuck Pagano changed the practice routine to emphasize the need to be ready from the moment they hit the field, to play faster and to get more physical. On Sunday, the Colts will find out if they’ve found a solution.  “Coach has done a great job of getting us to start aggressive and physical in practice,” Luck said. “Guys have taken it upon themselves to make sure we are ready to go in practice, and we have to translate it into the game.”  Perhaps nobody is more eager for the season opener against Detroit to arrive. Luck struggled early last season, then missed the last seven games with a lacerated kidney. He hasn’t made a regular-season start since November 8th.

MLB – Major League Baseball
Yesterday
Cubs, White Sox, and Tigers were off

Tonight
Baltimore (Kevin Gausman 7-10) at Detroit (Michael Fulmer 10-6), 7:10 p.m.   98.3 The Coast, 6:45
Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester 15-4) at Houston (Joe Musgrove 2-3), 8:10 p.m.
Kansas City (Yordano Ventura 10-9) at Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon 6-8), 8:10 p.m.

MLB – Former big league pitcher endorses Maine’s `Wrigley Field’
A retired Major League Baseball pitcher is embracing a Wrigley Field replica that’s being constructed in Maine. Lee Smith was on hand Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony held by the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville for the refurbished Purnell Field. The former player considered one of the greatest relief pitchers of all time says the field reminds him of home. Fran Purnell Wrigley Field will be a youth baseball-sized replica of Wrigley Field, which is home to the Chicago Cubs, when it’s completed by spring of next year. It will join Oakland’s Harold Alfond Fenway Park as only two turf fields licensed by Major League Baseball in the country. It will continue to carry the name of Fran Purnell, who coached youth baseball in Waterville for more than 45 years.

NCAA Football
Saturday
Central Florida at #5 Michigan, 12:00 p.m.             WSJM Sports/News/Talk 94.9 WSJM 11:00 p.m.
Central Michigan at #22 Oklahoma, 12:00 p.m.
Nevada at #18 Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m.                      WSBT 96.1 FM & 960 AM / Sunny 101.5, 2:30
North Carolina Central at Western Michigan, 7:00 p.m.
Eastern Michigan at Missouri, 7:30 p.m.
Michigan State (Bye)

NCAA Football – Big Ten – Illinois OKs six-year, $21 million contract for Smith
University of Illinois trustees have approved a contract with football coach Lovie Smith that will pay him at least $21 million over six years. They approved initial terms for Smith after he was hired in March that were backloaded to pay him $10 million in salary over his final two years. The final contract now moves $2 million of that money to earlier years in his contract.

NHL – Patrick Kane selected US alternate captain
A year after Patrick Kane’s career appeared in jeopardy because of a sexual assault claim, the Chicago Blackhawks star was named one of the alternate captains for the United States for the World Cup of Hockey. U.S. and Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella knew Kane’s reputation but did not know him before the Americans’ training camp opened Monday in the Ohio city.

World Cup of Hockey – North America blanks Europe 4-0
Nathan MacKinnon scored on a third-period penalty shot for his second goal of the game in Team North America’s 4-0 victory over Team Europe in a World Cup of Hockey exhibition game. MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Johnny Gaudreau scored in a 4:43 span of the second period for the team made up of Canadian and U.S players age 23 or under as of Oct. 1. Matt Murray made 23 saves. The teams will meet again Sunday night in Montreal.

Tennis – US Open – Williams out at US Open
Serena Williams was upset in the U.S. Open semifinals for the second straight year 6-2, 7-6 (5) by 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. The loss prevents Williams from earning her seventh championship at Flushing Meadows and 23rd major title overall, which would both have been Open-era records. Pliskova plays Germany’s Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s U.S. Open women’s final.

Golf – Castro jumps on top
Roberto Castro has fired a 7-under 65 to take the clubhouse lead in the opening round of the BMW Championship.  His only bogey of the day came on the final hole.  That leaves him a shot in front of Brian Harman in the third of the four FedEx Cup playoff tournaments.  The round was held up for 3 1/2 hours due to inclement weather. They will resume the first round this morning, but more bad weather is in the forecast for Indiana.

NCAA Basketball – Armed Forces Classic moved to University of Hawaii campus
The fifth annual Armed Forces Classic has been moved to the University of Hawaii campus to allow more fans to attend. The November 11th doubleheader pitting Arizona against Michigan State and Kansas against Indiana was originally scheduled to be held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Previous editions of the classic have been played in Germany, South Korea, Puerto Rico and Japan.

MWL – Midwest League Baseball – Playoffs – Round 1 (Best of Three)
Last Night
South Bend Cubs 6, West Michigan Whitecaps 2                                    Series tied 1-1
Great Lakes Loons 15, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1                                GL Leads series 1-0

Tonight
West Michigan Whitecaps at South Bend Cubs, 7:35 p.m.                       Series tied 1-1
Great Lakes Loons at Bowling Green Hot Rods, 7:35 p.m.                      GL Leads series 1-0

MHSAA – High School Sports
Last Night
Girls Volleyball
Lake Mich. Catholic 3, Howardsville Christian 0
Michigan Lutheran 3, Grace Christian 0
Otsego 3, Edwardsburg 2
Paw Paw 3, Sturgis 1

Boys Tennis
St. Joseph 8, Kalamazoo Central 0
Mattawan 7, Lakeshore 1

Boys Soccer
Portage Northern 5, St. Joseph 0
Mattawan 3, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix 0
Portage Central 1, Niles 0
Dowagiac 5, Vicksburg 1
Howardsville Christian 6, Michigan Lutheran 1

Tonight
Football – All Games at 7:00
SMAC – Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference
Portage Northern (1-1) at St. Joseph (2-0)                                95.7 and 1400 WSJM Sports, 6:30 p.m.
Lakeshore (2-0) at Portage Central (2-0)                                  97.5 Y Country
Niles (2-0) at Goshen Fairfield (IN) (1-2)
Mattawan (0-2) at Gull Lake (0-2)
Kalamazoo Central (0-2) at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (0-2)
Battle Creek Central (0-2) at Battle Creek Lakeview (1-0)

Independent
Benton Harbor (2-0) at Muskegon Heights (1-1)                         News/Talk 94.9 WSJM

Wolverine
Plainwell (1-1) at South Haven (1-1)                                         Superhits 103.7 Cosy-FM
Dowagiac (1-1) at Three Rivers (1-1)
Sturgis (1-1) at Paw Paw (2-0)
Allegan (0-2) at Vicksburg (1-1)
Edwardsburg (2-0) at Otsego (0-2)

SAC – Southwestern Athletic Conference
Watervliet (1-1) at Coloma (0-2)
Decatur (0-2) at Eau Claire (0-2)
Hartford (0-2) at Schoolcraft (2-0)
Gobles (2-0) at Galesburg-Augusta (2-0)
Fennville (2-0) at Kalamazoo Hackett (1-1)
Martin (1-1) at Marcellus (1-1)
Delton-Kellogg (1-1) at Constantine (1-1)
Saugatuck (2-0) at Bloomingdale (0-2)
Lawton (2-0) at Bangor (0-2)

BCS – Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph Conference
Lake Michigan Catholic (2-0) at Brandywine (1-1)
Cassopolis (2-0) at New Buffalo (2-0)
Centreville (0-2) at River Valley (0-1)
White Pigeon (0-2) at Bridgman (1-1)
Wyoming Kelloggsville (1-1) at Buchanan (0-1)
Mendon (1-1) at Comstock (0-2)
Parchment (1-1) at Bronson (0-2)
Berrien Spring (1-1) (Bye Week)

8 Man Football
Michigan Lutheran (0-2) at Covert (0-2)

Saturday
8 Man Football

Grand Travers Academy (1-1) at Lawrence (2-0), 3:00 p.m.