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BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 7) – Cayden Carter looks to make history on Thursday, night four of the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s, while Jeff Aikey looks to add to his legacy.The Deery Brothers Summer Series headlines the program at Boone Speedway this evening. Already qualified for Modified and Stock Car main events, Carter looks to qualify for a third championship event by making the Late Model grid.Aikey, meanwhile, aims to run his record string of Late Model championships to five and career total to seven.Qualifying continues for both Modifieds and Stock Cars, with the top four finishers in each of two features for the two divisions advancing to the middle row of their respective Saturday championship events.
35-0 sure looks pretty on the scoreboard, but who said it was easy?Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, the Wisconsin Badgers dispatched the Oregon State Beavers by that score, prolonging the frenzy that struck Madison in late June once a certain transfer quarterback announced his decision to play for UW. Russell Wilson was once again brilliant against the Beavers, completing 17-of-21 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns. Montee Ball continued his stellar beginning to the 2011 season as well, gaining 118 yards on 18 carries (6.6 yards per) and adding two rushing touchdowns. Nick Toon joined the party as well, equaling his career-high with seven catches that went for 69 yards and one touchdown.Oh, and the defense pitched a shutout.Oregon State, saddled by injury (freshman running back sensation Malcolm Agnew didn’t make the trip to Madison after suffering a hamstring injury in week 1) and the lack of a concrete solution at quarterback (the Beavers alternated Sean Mannion and Ryan Katz for much of the game – sometimes even in the middle of series), certainly made it look easy for Wisconsin.But the truth is, the Badgers not only endured, but thrived in a game where injury struck and a supposedly inferior Beavers squad made it very tough on the UW offense in the early going. Wisconsin gained four first downs in the opening quarter, but the Badgers gained just three rushing yards on 10 carries and led only 7-0. Wilson was 6-for-7 in that quarter, though clearly the running game had yet to be opened up.UW’s offense picked up in the second quarter, as the Badgers entered halftime leading 21-0 with 209 yards of total offense. But by that point, top cornerback Devin Smith had injured his left foot and Pat Muldoon suffered a right shoulder injury. Both players did not return, and Smith was later seen on crutches with a thick wrap extending from his foot all the way up to his knee. Head coach Bret Bielema said after the game that x-rays on Smith were negative, though there is no timetable for his return. No update was given on Muldoon.Despite the defense already playing without starting outside linebacker Kevin Claxton (fractured wrist), Smith’s injury was initially the most concerning given how well UW’s defense was handling OSU. The Beavers converted just two first downs in the first quarter, and Smith had one of the Badgers’ six pass breakups in the first 12 minutes – an absolutely absurd number. Along with other top cornerback Antonio Fenelus, Smith made Wisconsin’s secondary the early story of the game.“[The cornerbacks] make my job easier on the back end,” free safety Aaron Henry said. “I didn’t have too many tackles that I was in on because guys were making the tackle.”But with how well Smith’s replacement, Marcus Cromartie, played, most of the concern was quickly alleviated. Cromartie, a redshirt junior, finished third on the team with seven tackles and picked up where Smith left off with stellar pass coverage. At halftime, OSU’s top three receivers had combined for just seven catches and 81 yards.“[Cromartie] did a great job going in there and replacing Devin Smith,” Fenelus said. “We always tell Cro he’s one play away, and [Saturday], obviously, he kept showing up and he had a great game.”Cromartie entered the game Saturday listed as Smith’s backup on the Badgers’ depth chart, though he knew there was a specific role he would fill against the Beavers.“I had a big role for the nickel this game, and then Devin went down,” Cromartie said. “[Defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Chris] Ash has this ‘next man’ mentality kind of deal, and he coached me every day like I’m a one. So I went in there prepared.”As ready as he was for Oregon State, Cromartie’s every down reps that came following Smith’s injury were the ultimate preparation. With Smith’s status unknown for the near future, Cromartie is in line to gain significant playing time that will decide how well UW’s defense can hold up without Smith. Behind him, two freshmen cornerbacks, Darius Hillary and Peniel Jean, make up essentially the rest of the team’s depth.As long as the veterans like Fenelus and himself stay on the field, Cromartie is confident in the cornerbacks the Badgers will put on the field.“All the corners, we all push each other to be the best players we can,” Cromartie said. “I felt like when it came to fall camp, nobody knew who was going to be a one or a two; we just competed as if we were the backups.”Mike is a senior majoring in journalism. Like how the Badgers responded Saturday? Let him know on Twitter @mikefiammetta and be sure to follow @bheraldsports for all the latest Badgers news. You can also listen to Mike on WSUM 91.7 FM’s Student Section, Mondays from 4-6 p.m. CT.
MORE: Get the latest NFL odds & betting advice at Sportsbook ReviewBetween Seahawks vs. 49ers, Vikings vs. Cowboys, Rams vs. Steelers, Bills vs. Browns, Panthers vs. Packers and even Giants vs. Jets, Week 10 in the NFL is nothing if not intriguing. We hope it’ll be equally successful when it comes to predictions.Here are our Week 10 NFL picks straight up, all the way through the Monday night game in San Francisco.NFL picks, predictions for Week 10Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Oakland RaidersThursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime VideoBefore it shifted in LA’s favor, this game opened as a pick ’em with good reason. Neither the 4-4 Raiders nor the 4-5 Chargers are expected to keep up with the Chiefs in the AFC West, but both are still contenders for a wild card. Los Angeles entered the season with higher expectations, and coming off consecutive refreshing wins, Anthony Lynn’s bunch is starting to look like the team many expected it to be. Quietly, the Chargers have a top-10 scoring defense. That will be the key against a good-but-not-unstoppable Raiders offense.Prediction: Chargers 23, Raiders 17Baltimore Ravens (-10) at Cincinnati BengalsSunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBSThe tale of this tape is simple. The Bengals have the NFL’s worst rush defense, and the Ravens have the league’s best running game. Cincinnati also has one of the league’s worst offenses, and we have no reason to believe the switch to Ryan Finley at quarterback will matter against a Baltimore defense that just handled Tom Brady and New England with relative ease. The Bengals are the healthier team coming off their bye and will have home field, but neither advantage will matter.Prediction: Ravens 28, Bengals 14Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (-2)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBSThe Browns need to win this game. Yet, they needed to beat the Broncos, too, and we all know what happened in Denver. Cleveland has hit a new low point this season, which is why it opened as a favorite at home against a team that has four more wins; oddsmakers are assuming the Browns will put up a fight with their season on the line. But this also is a chance for the Bills to earn a statement win with one of if not the NFL’s best defense.Prediction: Bills 24, Browns 20Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-12 1/2)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FoxWe’re surprised Dan Quinn reached Week 10 without getting fired; Falcons owner Arthur Blank evidently concluded during the bye week that the players’ respect for the head coach outweighs such a disappointing first half of the season. The second half begins with a matchup against a rival that happens to be arguably the best team in the NFL. Atlanta, on the heels of some coaching personnel tweaks, will be fired up and motivated to pull off what would be a stunning upset in New Orleans. But that’s the only advantage the Falcons have, and it’s not enough. The Saints, remember, are fresh off their bye week, too.Prediction: Saints 30, Falcons 21New York Giants (-1 1/2) at New York JetsSunday, 1 p.m. ET, FoxFor a matchup of two teams that are so bad, Giants vs. Jets is about as interesting as it gets. Part of the reason is the ineptitude that’s engulfing Gang Green; many in New York already want coach Adam Gase fired after the embarrassment in Miami, and a loss to the team’s NFC counterpart could do the trick. The Giants are bad defensively, and the Jets could simply beat them with Le’Veon Bell. But why would they do that?Prediction: Giants 20, Jets 14Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans (TBD)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBSThis spread is a late arrival thanks to the doubt surrounding Patrick Mahomes’ status. The Chiefs very well might get the return of their MVP quarterback against the Titans, but even if they don’t, Matt Moore’s steady play is sufficient for a win in Tennessee. Tyreek Hill — a problem for all teams, to be fair — will be impossible for the Titans’ banged-up secondary to contain. On the other side, a vulnerable KC run defense will focus on containing Derrick Henry just like it did against Dalvin Cook.Prediction: Chiefs 27, Titans 21Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FoxThe Cardinals and Buccaneers were the most impressive losers in the NFL last week, with Arizona nearly upsetting San Francisco and Tampa Bay taking Seattle to overtime. So neither team’s record is reflective of its confidence. Both of these defenses tend to struggle, but the Bucs have been solid against the run, and the Cards can’t match up against Tampa’s receivers. Bruce Arians will get a satisfying win against his former team.Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Cardinals 28Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-2 1/2)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBSThis is the Bears’ first NFC North game since their 16-6 win over the Vikings in late September. That feels so long ago. Chicago, loser of four straight games, is on the verge of a total collapse, and if Matt Nagy’s team isn’t already there, a home loss to Detroit might do the trick. As bad as the Bears’ offense has been, in theory, it should produce against the NFL’s second worst defense in terms of yards allowed. Chicago’s bigger problem in this game is the Lions’ top-five offense against a suddenly imperfect Bears defense.Prediction: Lions 26, Bears 24Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-10 1/2)Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBSThe Dolphins need to take it easy with that winning stuff; they no longer have the inside track for the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft after their victory over the somehow equally inept Jets. Fortunately they draw the Colts, who with or without quarterback Jacoby Brissett should have no problem against what is still the league’s worst scoring defense. Indianapolis needs to get back on track in the playoff hunt following its loss in Pittsburgh. This is the perfect chance.Prediction: Colts 27, Dolphins 17Los Angeles Rams (-3 1/2) at Pittsburgh SteelersSunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FoxThis is the first leg of a tricky two-week stretch for the Steelers, who after facing the defending NFC champions Sunday have to go to Cleveland on a short week to play a desperate rival on a Thursday night. Los Angeles and Pittsburgh are close to equal defensively, so the difference will be a Rams offense that, aside from Brandin Cooks, is at full strength coming out of a bye week. Good coaching will allow the Steelers to keep it close, but a late Greg Zuerlein field goal will be the difference. (Also, Aaron Donald tends to play well at Heinz Field.)Prediction: Rams 23, Steelers 20Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-5)Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FoxThe Panthers probably wish the Packers would have waited an extra week to receive their wake-up call. Green Bay was embarrassed in Los Angeles, and against a leaky Carolina defense that has been relying on turnovers, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Co. are set up for a convincing rebound back at Lambeau. Cam Newton was in Green Bay last week getting his foot examined, but he won’t be there Sunday to help Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers pull off the upset.Prediction: Packers 31, Panthers 21Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (-2 1/2)Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBCIn theory, this game between two NFC contenders should be close, which is bad news for the team that has a quarterback with an 0-10-1 record when trailing in the fourth quarter with his current squad. That’s Kirk Cousins, who has earned his reputation as a player who wilts in big, prime-time games. A Sunday night in Dallas, a spot in which Dak Prescott typically thrives, certainly qualifies. With both teams facing stingy defenses, the Cowboys will make more big plays.Prediction: Cowboys 28, Vikings 24 Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-6)Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPNSomewhat lost in the shadow of Russell Wilson’s MVP-caliber play this season has been a shaky Seahawks defense that’s allowing 25.6 points per game. While Seattle represents San Francisco’s biggest test yet, the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team this season won’t have to deal with much resistance at home Monday night. Wilson, meanwhile, will need to be more magical than usual against a defense that can get to him without blitzing. He’ll get his share of highlights, but they won’t be enough.Pick: 49ers 26, Seahawks 17 The NFL schedule in Week 10 presents a handful of games that will be anything but difficult to watch, with some intriguing matchups highlighting the slate on Sunday and Monday. Yet, as usual, it includes some games that are difficult for picks and predictions.Based on the opening lines for Week 10 at Sportsbook Review, six games opened with point spreads of four points of fewer. Those toss-ups, thankfully, are balanced by a handful of relatively easy picks; the Ravens, Saints and Colts opened as double-digit favorites over the Bengals, Falcons and Dolphins, respectively.