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Mark Dantonio: 'Looking Forward to' Nebraska


Football Texture/iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- Michigan State (10) will get all they can handle from Nebraska (19) on Saturday night.

The Cornhuskers come into the game at 5-0 and Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio said he’ll make sure his team is ready for a fight.

"[I'm] really looking forward to the opportunity," Dantonio said on Monday. "[We had a] great football game last year [with] a lot riding on the game.  Really one of the reasons you probably come...[to] a place like Michigan State and play in a conference like this is to have these type of games."

Michigan State got the best of Nebraska last year, but Dantonio said Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong has more experience coming into this game.

"This year he's more experienced," Dantonio said of Armstrong. "That's his only loss that he's had on him since he's been a starting quarterback was last year. And I'm sure he wants some of those plays back."

"So, I think he's much more experienced, much more confident as a playmaker, much more in control of the offense and he is the guy this year, whereas last year he was a guy who, initially, it was Martinez and then the other guy and then it was him," he continued. "I think he's the guy in charge and there's confidence that goes along with that and a sense of ownership. I think that's a positive for any football program."

Nebraska is looking to go 6-0 for the first time since 2001.  Head coach Bo Pelini doesn't believe last year's loss will be a factor.

"You can look at it two ways: you can look at it that we gave it to them, or you can look at it from their standpoint that they took it,'' Pelini said. "We need to play better, cleaner, to have a chance to win the football game. I don't want to take away and say we should have won the football game, that's sort of a cop out."

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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Les Miles: Excited to Play Auburn


Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Another chapter of the storied rivalry will resume on Saturday when Auburn (5) will host Louisiana State University (15).

LSU comes into the game at 4-1 and 0-1 in the SEC.

Tigers head coach Les Miles is looking forward to going up against Auburn. "Anytime that you line up against a top?5 opponent and you're looking forward to playing your best, this will be great competition," he said Monday. "I don't think there is a person in our building that's not excited about the opportunity to go down and play very well at Auburn."

Auburn sits at 4-0 and the offense is averaging 42.3 points per game.  

Miles said his defense will have to be on their A-game on Saturday. "Cameron Artis-Payne is rushing for 117 yards as a running back," he said of the Auburn offense.  "[They have] a quality group of receivers, D'haquille Williams, [with] 23 receptions, 357 yards and 3 touchdowns lead their receiving core, and, again, they're big and fast and can go get it."

LSU quarterback Brandon Harris will get the start and has completed 73.3 percent of his passes and has thrown six touchdowns so far this season. Miles is confident he can produce in the game.

"There is some 'ad?lib' to his game that's very, very positive, and he's a guy that is really fast and a guy that can really throw the ball," Miles said of Harris. "You put him in a quality position to extend a play, some good things can happen."

Kickoff from Jordan-Hare Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Eastern.

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Carson Palmer Gets Second Opinion on Injured Shoulder


Scott Boehm/Getty Images(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer missed practice Wednesday to get a second opinion on his injured throwing shoulder.

“He threw a bunch last Thursday and Friday and then regressed," Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said. "So we’re hoping we can find out why.”

Palmer is dealing with a nerve problem in his right shoulder, and those throwing sessions caused swelling around the nerve.

Despite the issue, Arians hasn't ruled Palmer out of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos, saying that if Palmer returns to practice by Friday, there is a chance he can start.

"We need to see two good days or a day-and-a-half of his full-speed delivery and not a soft toss," Arians said. "He's got to be back to full tilt."
 
If Palmer doesn't start, Drew Stanton will take his place.


Stanton has started the previous two games for the Cardinals, completing 51.6% of his passes for 411 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

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Cardinals Will Use Wacha out of Bullpen to Start NLDS


Scott Boehm/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha will start the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bullpen, Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny announced Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Wacha, who was the NL Championship Series MVP last season, has been dealing with a shoulder injury this season that caused him to miss 11 weeks.

"He's been progressively getting better, but it's a tough time to try and continue to work on things," Matheny said of Wacha. "But we like him. We like him in any situation, and we explained to him that there is the potential that that could change over time. He's got to stay ready, be available in the 'pen, and if we're fortunate enough to move forward, things could be different."

While Wacha did make four September starts, Matheny felt the youngster would be best suited starting the series in the pen. "It's been a challenge for him with the injury that he had and the time that he took. He's made great adjustments, but right now we have to go with the guys who we believe are going to give us the best shot."


The Cardinals also announced their starting rotation for the series. Adam Wainwright will start Game 1 (Friday), followed by Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Shelby Miller.

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Manning Closing in on Touchdown Record


Steve Nehf/The Denver Post(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is closing in on history.

The 38-year-old is one touchdown pass away from 500 for his career. If and when he reaches that milestone, Manning will become the second quarterback in NFL history to throw more than 500 touchdowns, the other being Brett Favre, who threw a record 508.

Manning will get his chance to reach the 500 plateau Sunday when the Broncos (2-1) host the Arizona Cardinals (3-0).

"It's greatness," Broncos head coach John Fox said. "When somebody reaches that kind of statistic in their career, it's pretty remarkable."

Throughout his 17 NFL seasons, Manning has averaged 2.053 touchdown passes per game.

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Bumgarner Twirls Gem, Sends Giants into NLDS


Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- Madison Bumgarner pitched a complete game shutout to help the San Francisco Giants stop the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 in the National League Wild Card game Wednesday night.

Bumgarner continued his road dominance, winning his 12th game of the season away from home, allowing four hits and one walk, while striking out 10.


The Giants got on the board in the fourth when Brandon Crawford belted a grand slam off Pirates starter Edinson Volquez. "The last thing on my mind was probably hitting a home run," Crawford said. "I was just trying to hit something good enough to get Pablo (Sandoval) home, and I figured that would probably be good enough for Madison."

 
Volquez pitched five innings allowing five hits, five runs, three walks, while striking out three in the loss.

Brandon Belt knocked in three runs and got on-base four times in the win.

The Giants advance to the National League Division Series where they'll take on the Washington Nationals. Game 1 is Friday in Washington.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 10/1/14


Hemera/Getty Images

 (NEW YORK) -- MLB: National League Wild Card: San Francisco Giants 8 - Pittsburgh Pirates 0 (Giants advance)

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NASCAR's Chase for Sprint Cup Continues at Kansas


BananaStock(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) – The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship continues this Sunday afternoon with the running of the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It’s the fourth race in the 10-race Chase.

Following last week’s race at Dover, the field was whittled down from 16 to 12 drivers.  Advancing to the second round is Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne.

A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola have been eliminated from the Chase.

After the sixth race in the Chase, the field will be cut to eight drivers and then four following the ninth.

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Bears Sign CB Teddy Williams off Cardinals' Practice Squad


Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(LAKE FOREST, Ill.) -- The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Teddy Williams off of the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad on Wednesday, and waived linebacker Terrell Manning.

The 26-year-old Williams will bring versatility to the Windy City, having seen time on offense, defense and special teams in 10 games over two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2012) and Cardinals (2013).

Williams did not play football during his college career at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He was a four-time All-American sprinter with the Roadrunners. Williams came into the NFL in 2010 as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys.

Manning appeared in two games with the Bears this season.

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Arizona Expecting a Loud Eugene Crowd on Thursday Night


Banana Stock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Arizona Wildcats (4-0) travel to Oregon to play the Ducks (4-0) on Thursday night.

Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez will have his team prepared for their explosive offense.

"You just do the best you can," Rodriguez said of the loud Eugene crowd.  "The communication is the biggest thing you have to prepare for.  It'll be louder; I think our veterans know that, we just have to do a great job of communicating."

Rodriguez says last year’s 42-16 win over Oregon won’t mean a thing come kickoff.

"There's so much at stake," Rodriguez said.  "I don't know if last year's game will be any extra motivation, I think sometimes that's overplayed a little bit.  I think once the ball's kicked off, whatever happened last year is in the past."

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota breaks down the Wildcats defense: "It's definitely different when they're playing a 3-2 stack." He added, "It's harder to communicate, identify gaps, it's definitely tough."

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