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MADISON, Wis. — Graham Mertz threw five touchdown passes to match the Wisconsin record in a commanding first career start and the No. 14 Badgers beat Illinois 45-7 on Friday night to open the pandemic-delayed Big Ten football season.

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The Bears will go on the road for the second time this season, headed for Atlanta and a Sunday game against the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Falcons remain three-point favorites as the Bears look to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2013.

Gale Sayers, the dazzling Chicago Bears running back and kick returner whose injury-shortened career made him the youngest player ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Wednesday after a years-long decline in health that included dementia. He was 77.

In his statement announcing Billy Donovan as the 21st head coach in Chicago Bulls history, vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas emphasized the success Donovan enjoyed throughout his basketball career.

The National Football League is tough. On the field? Absolutely. The MASH Unit after Sunday was epic considering the amount of very good players deemed out for the year.

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball issued a 60-game schedule Tuesday night that will start July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus following months of acrimony.

The Chicago Bears made 13 of their assistant coaches available to the media this week, a Zoom Q&A binge that offered progress reports on key players and insight into the team’s plans for 2020. The virtual interview sessions provided an introduction to new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor…

The Cubs home opener usually starts shortly after Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg throw ceremonial first pitches to the delight of fans from all generations.

Whenever opening day rolls around, I get wistful for the days when the late, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mike Royko would present his annual Cubs quiz.

Major League Baseball has made no formal announcement regarding the status of the London Series, but an England-based newspaper reported Thursday that the two-game series between the Cubs and Cardinals has been canceled.

SPRINGFIELD – One month ahead of the tipoff of March Madness, Illinois lawmakers – backed by a pair of NBA brothers – are renewing a push to allow college athletes to profit from the use of their name and likeness.

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Joey Logano’s promising start to the afternoon fell apart with a slow, helpless slide though the field at ISM Raceway. Now he won’t have the opportunity to defend his NASCAR title at Homestead.

WASHINGTON – In the rush of the passing seasons, sports memories fade like photographs left in sunlight. But before memories of the 2019 World Series are bleached by time, let us hope that one episode from Tuesday’s sixth game will be indelible. A nation that now more than ever needs a remin…

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nick Bonino had a natural hat trick, Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for his second consecutive shutout and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Tuesday night.

SPRINGFIELD — On the same day a bill allowing college student-athletes to profit from the use of their name or likeness passed an Illinois House committee Tuesday, the governing body that oversees most collegiate athletics took steps toward allowing such activity at a national level.

WASHINGTON — It was merely the first inning, yet fans kept rising out of their seats to applaud or yell or twirl their red towels, to chant “Let’s go, Nats!” and “M-V-P!” and various players’ names, enjoying every moment of a seven-run outburst that would, eventually, propel their city to it…

BOSTON (AP) — Everybody seems to be having fun when the kids in a new public service announcement are just playing football, until one boy is thrown to the ground and the background music turns ominous.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It is odd to classify a victory on a 1-mile concrete oval in Delaware as the biggest win of Kyle Larson’s career. Maybe he is among those who count their greatest triumphs on dirt, in sprint cars, venues far away from NASCAR’s glitz and glamour.

Still within what he calls a 24-hour window to remain “pissed off” following a loss, Matt Nagy sifted through the details Monday morning with optimism for what lies ahead for the Bears while also acknowledging his “dark side” came out.

CHICAGO — Matt Carpenter homered in the 10th inning against Craig Kimbrel in the All-Star closer’s return, and the St. Louis Cardinals regrouped after blowing a late lead to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 Thursday night.

MONTEREY, Calif. — Josef Newgarden, clad head-to-toe in solid black, was the last championship contender to arrive at an IndyCar event already underway. He climbed the stairs, saw challenger Alexander Rossi bogged down in interviews and spread his arms wide as he made his entrance.

President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former NBA basketball player and coach Bob Cousy, of the Boston Celtics, during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump presented 91-year-old basketball legend Bob Cousy with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday, praising the Boston Celtics star as “one of the all-time greats in the history of sports.”

ST. LOUIS — Dakota Hudson and two relievers combined on a one-hitter, and Paul DeJong homered to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 Monday night in a series opener between NL Central contenders.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A new quarterback, upgrades throughout the offense and a revamped defense — all of it has led to optimism at Illinois, where coach Lovie Smith heads into his fourth season.

CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA suspended DePaul men's basketball coach Dave Leitao for the first three games of the regular season Tuesday, saying he should have done more to prevent recruiting violations by his staff.

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