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AROUND THE HORN

Big Ten still talking

The Big Ten presidents were presented a comprehensive plan Sunday to conduct a fall football season, but a final decision is still to come.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that the full Council of Presidents and Chancellors heard from all the subcommittees of the conference’s Return to Competition Task Force over 2 1/2 hours. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not making its return to competition plans public.

The person said the meeting broke up without the presidents and chancellors voting and with no set plans for them to reconvene.

Still, if they act quickly Big Ten football could kickoff as soon as the weekend of Oct. 17.

The medical part of the presentation focused on what has changed since the conference postponed its entire fall sports season on Aug. 11 because of COVID-19 concerns and how football could be played safely. The emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, not available when university leaders decided to pull the plug on the season looms large.

If the Big Ten can start by late October, an eight-game season and conference championship game in mid-December is still possible. That schedule could set up Big Ten teams to be part of the College Football Playoff.

Stewart registers ace

BELOIT — Mark Stewart of Salem aced the 130-yard No. 6 with a pitching wedge on Saturday at the Alliance American Legion Scramble at Westville Lake.

It was his first hole-in-one.

Playing partners were Vinnie Polverine of Homeworth, John Tafe of Homeworth and Josh Kuntzman of Homeworth.

Thiem thrills at U.S. Open

NEW YORK (AP) — At a U.S. Open unlike any other, Dominic Thiem constructed a comeback the likes of which hadn’t been seen in 71 years.

After dropping the opening two sets against Alexander Zverev on Sunday at a nearly empty Arthur Ashe Stadium — fans were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic — Thiem slowly but surely turned things around for a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory across more than four hours to earn his first major championship.

The 27-year-old from Austria is the first man to win the American Grand Slam tournament after trailing 2-0 in sets in the final since Pancho Gonzalez did it against Ted Schroeder in 1949 at an event then known as the U.S. Championships.

Not only that, but in a fitting finish to an unprecedented two weeks, this match was decided by a fifth-set tiebreaker, something that had never happened in the final.

When it ended on a groundstroke flubbed by Zverev, a weary Thiem collapsed on his back way behind the baseline. Zverev — who himself came within two points of the victory — walked around the net to offer a handshake and hug to his pal, two gestures rarely spotted in this era of social distancing.

Thiem had come in 0-3 in Grand Slam finals, but always came up against Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in those others. This time, he was the favorite and came out jittery, but eventually worked his way out of that, while Zverev went from cool and confident to passive and pushed around.

Burrow falls in debut

CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Burrow ran 23 yards for a touchdown in his NFL debut and put the Bengals in range for a dramatic, last-minute win. Instead, he ended up like so many Cincinnati quarterbacks before him, wondering what the heck just happened.

They lost a game Cincinnati-style: Chargers 16, Bengals 13.

The Heisman Trophy winner and national champion from LSU threw an interception on a shovel pass to thwart one late scoring chance, and he watched as Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard field goal — Bullock’s calf cramped — with 2 seconds left Sunday, clinching the Chargers’ win.

There were no fans at Paul Brown Stadium, which might have been for the best.

“I made too many mistakes to win the game,” Burrow said.

The only rookie quarterback to start the first week of the season got a rough introduction to the NFL. Without a preseason, Burrow was taking his first snaps in a game.

A line anchored by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III pestered him and held him to 23 of 36 passing for 192 yards with three sacks and a costly interception. Burrow overthrew open receivers John Ross and A.J. Green for what would have been touchdowns.

Still, he had a chance for the dramatic win.

He moved the Bengals to the LA 23-yard line in the closing minutes and made a rookie mistake, forcing a shovel pass that Ingram picked off.

“I missed A.J. on a deep ball, I missed John on a deep ball, I threw the interception — that just can’t happen,” Burrow said.

With no timeouts, he moved the Bengals into range one last time, but Green was called for pushing off in the end zone and Bullock missed his kick well to the right.

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