NCAA

Stafford's score on bootleg gives Detroit 7-0 lead

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Stafford's score on bootleg gives Detroit 7-0 lead

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Mike Daniels returned a fumble 43 yards and the Green Bay Packers have cut Detroit's lead to 14-10 at halftime Sunday night.

Snow fell in Green Bay for much of the day, and the ball simply slipped out of Matthew Stafford's hand as he brought his arm back. The rookie defensive end pounced on it and rumbled in for the score, his second fumble recovery of the season and first to be returned for a touchdown.

The Packers had a chance to take the lead when cornerback Sam Shields, who had missed the last six games with an ankle injury, picked off Stafford on the next drive. The 32-yard interception return gave Green Bay the ball at its 45, but a false start call backed up the Packers and they were forced to punt.

Stafford is 13 of 16 for 101 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 4-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game.

While Packers coach Mike McCarthy likes to say that all division games are big, this one got even bigger with Chicago's loss to Minnesota earlier in the day. If Green Bay wins Sunday night and then beats the Bears next week in Chicago, the Packers would clinch the NFC North.

Beating the Lions may have seemed like the easy part, considering Detroit hasn't won a game in Wisconsin since 1991. The 21-game winning streak - it includes one playoff game - is the longest in the NFL. Detroit had also lost its last four, the last three by a total of nine points.

But the Packers were playing with only four defensive linemen with Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson both inactive, and Detroit wasted no time taking advantage of it. Bringing in big tackle Riley Reiff as another blocker, the Lions rushed for 117 yards in the first half, including Stafford's 4-yard bootleg that gave the Lions a 7-0 lead after the game's first drive.

The Packers looked as if they'd match the Lions, getting to the Detroit 12 when Aaron Rodgers threw a 21-yard pass to Randall Cobb as he fell. But two plays later, Lawrence Jackson sacked Rodgers and forced a fumble. Jackson recovered it, and Stafford connected with Kris Durham for a 27-yard catch to set up his 3-yard TD pass to Tony Scheffler two plays later that gave Detroit a 14-0 lead.

The Packers finally found their groove, however. Rodgers hit No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings, playing in just his second game after surgery to repair a torn muscle in his abdomen, for a 27-yard gain that put the Packers at the Detroit 35. A holding call backed them up, and Rodgers overthrew John Kuhn on third-and-6 from the Detroit 31. Mason Crosby showed more signs he is finally coming out of his slump, making a 49-yard field goal to cut Detroit's lead to 14-3.

It was his longest field goal since he made a 48-yarder at St. Louis back on Oct. 21. He'd had two misses from 50 yards and beyond since then.

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VCU loses fourth consecutive game to St. Louis

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VCU loses fourth consecutive game to St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Javonte Perkins had 25 points as Saint Louis topped VCU 80-62 on Friday night.

Hasahn French had 18 points for Saint Louis (19-8, 8-6 Atlantic 10 Conference). Terrence Hargrove Jr. added 11 points. Jordan Goodwin had 10 points.

Marcus Santos-Silva had 11 points for the Rams (17-10, 7-7), who have now lost four consecutive games. De'Riante Jenkins added 10 points.

Saint Louis plays Saint Joseph's at home on Wednesday. VCU faces UMass on the road on Wednesday.

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Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with reporters after the team's victory over the Wizards Friday night, praising Bradley Beal, who was snubbed from All-Star consideration this season despite averaging nearly 30 points-per-game.

The Cavaliers held the Wizards to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Thompson said their main focus was neutralizing Beal.

"The Wizards are really good offensively when they are making their runs," Thompson said postgame. "Bradley Beal is an All-Star in our league. One of the top-three two-guards in our league right now, so we were just trying to make it tough for him."

Beal finished the night with 26 points, but struggled from the floor. Beal shot 9-for-28 from the floor and the Cavaliers' stingy defense was clearly a factor.

Beal and the Wizards will have a chance to get back on track on Sunday night at Capital One Arena when they host the Chicago Bulls for the final time this season.

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