NCAA

Packers clinch NFC North with 21-13 win over Bears

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Packers clinch NFC North with 21-13 win over Bears

CHICAGO (AP) The Green Bay Packers have better things to do than trash talk with the Chicago Bears.

Like win the NFC North.

And a few other titles, perhaps.

The Packers delivered the ultimate comeback to the yapping Bears on Sunday, a 21-13 victory that gave Green Bay its second straight NFC North title and put a serious dent in Chicago's playoff hopes. Aaron Rodgers connected with James Jones on all three touchdowns, and Clay Matthews continued his dominance of Jay Cutler with two more sacks as the Packers won their sixth straight against their archrivals.

``Step one is done,'' Matthews said. ``We just have to continue this thing rolling all the way to the playoffs.''

The Packers are assured of a home playoff game and, at 10-4, are still in the running for the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Not bad for a team that began the year 2-3.

``I think this team is playing the right way right now,'' Rodgers said. ``We have two games left in the regular season. We want to be peaking at the right time because those are the teams that make the deep runs.''

The Bears, meanwhile, are going to need help to get into the playoffs after dropping five of their last six games. It's a stunning slide for a team that began the year 7-1.

``We're down, but we're not out,'' Cutler said. ``We need to remind the guys that there are two games left, and there's a lot of football left. We've got to get back together. We've got to piece this thing back together - however we do it.''

Running their mouths off clearly isn't the way to go.

Packers vs. Bears is the NFL's oldest and fiercest rivalry, and the Bears cranked up the heat when Brandon Marshall and Lance Briggs ripped their neighbors to the north earlier in the week. Marshall was particularly passionate, saying he'd never disliked a team as much as he did the Packers and that Sunday's game was ``personal.''

Rather than get drawn into the fray, the Packers saved their response for the field.

``We don't try to trash talk,'' Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields said. ``When we get on the field we trash talk, but not in the paper. We let our actions show on the field.''

Marshall scored Chicago's only touchdown, but finished with 56 yards on six catches, his fewest totals in a month. Cutler had another dismal day against the Packers, throwing an interception that led to the game-winning touchdown. He's been picked off 17 times by the Packers, including 10 in his last five games.

The Bears managed only 67 yards the entire second half, and Alshon Jeffery was whistled for offensive pass interference three times - yes, three - in the final 16 minutes of the game.

``Everybody involved in this offense should be held accountable, even if that means jobs,'' said Marshall, who struggled to compose himself as he spoke before cutting short his postgame interview. ``It's been this way all year. There's no excuse. We still have two games left. There's still hope, but at the same time, we need to be held accountable.''

The Packers piled almost 400 yards on Briggs and his buddies, and turned a 7-0 deficit into a 14-7 lead over the last 4:19 of the second quarter thanks to a pair of Rodgers-to-Jones TDs sandwiched around a Casey Hayward pick.

``That was important. That was really important,'' Rodgers said of the 14-point swing. ``We couldn't them get up a couple scores and get into what they wanted to do, which it looked like they wanted to run (Matt) Forte a lot. Getting ahead of them kind of took them out of some of that stuff.''

The Packers made it 21 unanswered points on the first drive of the second half. In another third-and-long situation, Rodgers threw incomplete to Jermichael Finley - the guy Bears linebacker Lance Briggs had dubbed ``an idiot'' after the Packers' tight end said he thought Chicago would be better without injured Brian Urlacher.

But Green Bay got a second chance when Chris Conte was called for pass interference. After a delay of game penalty, Rodgers found Jones for a 6-yard score.

It was Jones' first three-touchdown game and the fourth multiple-TD game of his career.

The Bears had chances to get back into it. Green Bay's Mason Crosby missed two more field goals, and Charles Tillman forced a fumble by Ryan Grant that Nick Roach recovered. Chicago got a big break on the next play when Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett hauled Alshon Jeffery down right in front of the end zone - and right in front of an official. The pass interference penalty gave Chicago the ball at the Green Bay 1.

But the Bears could only get a 34-yard field goal by Olindo Mare out of it after the first of Jeffery's pass interference penalties.

``We're just getting started,'' coach Mike McCarthy said. ``We feel that way as a football team, not trying to be arrogant, (but) we feel there's a lot better football in front of us. It was an extremely important game for everybody involved today, but we fully expected to come in here and win this thing.''

NOTES: Matthews has eight sacks of Cutler in eight games. ... The Bears sacked Rodgers three times, with Peppers and Corey Wooton each being credited with 1 1/2. ... Despite two more misses by Crosby, his 11th and 12th this year, McCarthy said the Packers will not be looking for a new kicker. ``We're not changing kickers. Write that down right now,'' McCarthy said. ``He's our guy.''

Mercer @ North Carolina: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

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Mercer @ North Carolina: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Mercer (4-7) heads to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels (4-6) for an afternoon matchup live on NBC Sports Washington.

How to watch Mercer vs. North Carolina

Who: Mercer vs. North Carolina

When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington

Live Stream: NBC Sports Washington

Weather: 59 degrees, rain.

UNC full 2019 football schedule

Week 1: Sat Aug. 31 vs South Carolina: W 24-20

Week 2: Fri, Sep 13 @ Wake Forest: L 24-18

Week 3: Sat, Sep 21 vs Appalachian State: L 34-31 

Week 4: Sat, Sep 28 vs Clemson: L 21-20 

Week 5: Sat, Oct 5 @ Georgia Tech: W 38-22 

Week 6: Sat, Oct 19 @ Virginia Tech: L 43-41 

Week 7: Sat, Oct 26 vs Duke: W 20-17 

Week 8: Sat, Nov 2 vs Virginia: L 38-31

Week 9: Thu, Nov 14 @ Pittsburgh: L 34-27 OT 

Week 11: Sat, Nov 23 vs Mercer 3:30 PM 

Week 12: Sat, Nov 30 @ NC State 7:00 PM

Hokies sink record 21 3-pointers in win over Delaware State

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Hokies sink record 21 3-pointers in win over Delaware State

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young offered a simple explanation for his team’s record-setting performance Wednesday.

“All coaching,” he said, jokingly. “All coaching."

Nahiem Alleyne scored 20 points and the Hokies hit a school-record 21 3-pointers en route to an easy 100-64 victory over Delaware State on Wednesday.

Alleyne hit 7 of 11 from the floor, including five 3-pointers, and Jalen Cone added 17 points to help the Hokies (5-0) extend their home nonconference winning streak to 28 consecutive games. The freshmen guards led a balanced Virginia Tech attack in which nine players scored – and seven of them hit at least one 3-pointer.

“This offense is built on making 3s, but also they want us to drive more and get to the paint and get to the foul line more,” Alleyne said. ???But if we’re open, we’re going to take it.”

John Crosby led Delaware State (0-5) with 19 points.

The Hornets jumped out to a 7-0 lead, hitting three of their first five shots from the floor. But the Hokies found their shooting stroke and scored the next 11 points, never trailing again. The Hokies hit eight 3-pointers in the first half in grabbing a 45-27 halftime lead, and then they blew the game wide open in the second half, hitting 13 3s and scoring 55 points.

“We have a number of kids that can shoot the ball,” Young said. “I empower them. When the leather hits your hands, let ’er rip. If you’re open and in rhythm, and it’s a practice shot … we have a number of kids that shoot the ball well. I didn’t think we took a bad shot. I thought they were rhythm shots and good shots.”

Virginia Tech also set an ACC record with its 21 3-pointers. The Hokies hit 21 of their 37 3-point attempts, with Alleyne, Cone and Isaiah Wilkins hitting five each. Virginia Tech shot a season-best 56.5% (35 of 62) from the floor.

“They shot the cover off the ball,” Delaware State head coach Eric Skeeters said. “You think you did a good job of guard and rotate and switch and getting out to them, and then ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ … They played like an ACC team to their credit.”

TIP-INS

Delaware State: The Hornets could have one of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's better players in Crosby, who transferred from Dayton and sat out last season. The senior, who has scored in double figures in every game, wasn't intimidated at playing against an ACC opponent and showed an ability to create his own shot. If he continues to play well, he could lead the Hornets to a better finish than many expect. They were picked to finish 10th in the 11-team MEAC.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies finally were able to get Wilkins going after a slow start to the season. Wilkins, one of their more experienced players, was shooting just 34.8% (24 of 69) and had made just two 3-pointers coming into the game, but he scored 15 points in what marked his best outing of the season by far.

HOKIES READY FOR STEP UP

Virginia Tech hasn’t played a Power 5 school since its season-opening win over Clemson, and two of its past four games have been against teams picked in the bottom half of the MEAC (Delaware State and Coppin State). But the young Hokies – with just one senior on the roster – take a serious step up on the competition ladder when they face No. 3 Michigan State on Monday in the first round of the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.

“We go out there with a good basketball team,” Young said. “We’re going to improve. It’ll be a far different scout, a far different prep than what we’re accustomed to. They’re unlike anything that we’ve played to this point, but the time has come. The time has come to play somebody really, really good. It will test everything we have done with them through this point in the season, and I look forward to seeing them compete again.”

UP NEXT

Delaware State: The Hornets play at East Tennessee State on Saturday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play No. 3 Michigan State in Hawaii as part of the Maui Invitational on Monday.

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