Fire

NCAA Week 2: Huskies get first win; ISU stays unbeaten

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NCAA Week 2: Huskies get first win; ISU stays unbeaten

Huskies route Tennessee-Martin

DEKALB, Ill. -- Jordan Lynch ran for three touchdowns and threw for another score to lift Northern Illinois to a 35-7 win over Tennessee-Martin on Saturday night.

It was the 16th consecutive home victory for the Huskies (1-1), the defending champions of the Mid-American Conference. NIU lost to Iowa 18-17 last week at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Lynch had a 31-yard TD pass to Martel Moore and ran for scores of 1, 32 and 4 yards.

Jamal Womble scored on a 2-yard run on the Huskies' first drive and Leighton Settle ran for 106 yards for NIU, which led 21-0 at halftime. Lynch finished with 60 yards rushing and 214 yards passing.

Tennessee-Martin scored early in the fourth quarter on Derek Carr's 7-yard pass to Corey Jordan. Quentin Sims caught 10 passes for 152 yards for the Skyhawks (1-1), who won at Memphis last week - their first victory over an FBS school.

Box score Complete recap

Dunn leads Redbirds past E. Michigan

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Darrelynn Dunn continued a hot start to the season with 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Illinois State dominated the second half Saturday en route to a 31-14 victory over Eastern Michigan.

Dunn ran for 4-yard scores midway through the third quarter and with 1:08 left in the game as the Redbirds (2-0) outscored Eastern Michigan 21-0 after halftime. Dunn, a senior, has 256 yards rushing through two games, surpassing his 2011 total of 247.

Matt Brown added a 22-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Harden and finished with 155 yards passing, and Jonathon Miller ran for a 58-yard score.

For the second straight week, Alex Gillett was the offense for the Eagles (0-2). He threw for 145 yards and a touchdown to Garrett Hoskins and added a rushing score, but was intercepted three times. Through two games, Gillett has accounted for all six of Eastern Michigan's touchdowns.

Box score Complete recap

Western Illinois defeats Indianapolis

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) Josh Hudson and Nikko Watson ran for touchdowns and Martinez Davis returned an interception for a score as Western Illinois defeated Indianapolis 27-17 on Saturday.

Davis picked off Chris Mills and returned the ball 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Leathernecks (2-0) a 24-14 lead in the third quarter. Western Illinois intercepted Mills four times, including twice in the fourth quarter.

Hudson was 14 of 20 passing for 140 yards with an interception. Caulton Ray ran for 99 yards on 19 attempts.

Klay Fiechter rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries for the Greyhounds (0-2), and Mills threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Mar'quone Edmonds in the third quarter to make the score 24-17. But Indianapolis, a Division II school, got no closer.

Box score Complete recap

Salukis can't stop Miami (OH)

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) Zac Dysert passed for 226 yards and a touchdown and two Pat Hinkel interceptions led to Miami (Ohio) scores as the RedHawks defeated Southern Illinois 30-14 Saturday.

Dysert, who completed 28 of 36 with no interceptions, started the scoring for Miami (1-1) with his 50th career touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Andy Cruse in the first quarter. Cruse caught a career-high 12 passes for 60 yards.

The Salukis (0-2) answered by driving 71 yards in 10 plays, scoring on Mika'il McCall's 1-yard run. But on their next possession, Hinkel intercepted Kory Faulkner's pass at the SIU 24 and returned it for a touchdown and a 14-7 Miami lead.

After the RedHawks added a third-quarter field goal, Hinkel intercepted Faulkner again to put Miami at the SIU 27. A defensive holding penalty moved the ball to the 12 and Jamire Westbrook ran it in to make it 24-7 after three quarters.

Box score Complete recap

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Joao Meira spills the first news of the Fire's offseason

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USA TODAY

Joao Meira spills the first news of the Fire's offseason

The wait to find out which players have their options picked up or declined by the Fire might still be a couple weeks, but the first news of a player move in the Fire's offseason came via Twitter.

Defender Joao Meira announced he won't be returning to the club in 2018.

Meira signed with the Fire just before the start of the 2016 preseason after being out of contract in Europe. The Portuguese center back signed a one-year deal with a club option for the second year.

After he played 28 matches with 26 starts in 2016, the Fire picked up his option. He became even more of a fixture at center back in 2017, beating out Jonathan Campbell for the other starting spot alongside Johan Kappelhof. Meira played in 30 regular season matches and made 27 starts, finishing fourth on the team in minutes played (2,412).

That Meira won't be back isn't a major surprise for a few reasons. First, he was out of contract. He was one of two players, along with Bastian Schweinsteiger, on the Fire's roster that the team had no control over for 2018. On top of that, the 30-year-old had made it clear that he wanted to be closer to his home and family in Portugal.

Meira's departure leaves a gap at the center back position for the Fire. Kappelhof, who enters the third year of a three-year guaranteed deal in 2018, and Campbell, who will likely have his club option picked up, enter as the only healthy center backs in 2018. Christian Dean was added in August via trade, but is coming off a broken foot, an injury that has plagued him before. His status for the start of the 2018 season is unclear.

Grant Lillard, a potential homegrown signing and a senior at Indiana, could compete for time at center back next season. He is one of the top rated players in the country for the Hoosiers, which are the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. While Lillard could step in from a numbers perspective and would add size to the Fire's back line (Lillard is 6-foot-4), he wouldn't be able to replace Meira's ability on the ball. Meira wasn't as effective of a defender as Kappelhof, but was arguably the best passer among the Fire's center backs and helped alleviate pressure at times.

This also opens up an international spot on the Fire's roster. The Fire went over the alloted total last season, but were able to put John Goossens and Jorge Bava on the disabled list to clear room. Meira's exit gives a bit more flexibility in that department.

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents. 

That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?

The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room). 

So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure. 

Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return. 

“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”

If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length. 

Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16