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TOP STORY

Packers clinch playoff berth with win over BuccaneersSubmitted: 12/21/2014
TAMPA - Nothing Aaron Rodgers does as a quarterback surprises the Packers.

The NFL's top-rated passer shrugged off the flu and played most of Sunday with a strained left calf, leading Green Bay to a 20-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - clinching at least a wild-card playoff berth.

The win set up a showdown with Detroit for the NFC North title next Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers threw for 318 yards and one touchdown and Eddie Lacy scored on a 44-yard run for the Packers (11-4), who rebounded from a loss to Buffalo that cost them sole possession of first place in the division.

"I'll be OK for next week. I hurt my calf pretty good, but the training staff helped me kind of get through it," Rodgers said, adding he was injured on Green Bay's second offensive possession.

"It got really tight about halftime. Came in and got a little treatment, it loosened up just a tad, but it was still pretty tight. I was able to move in short segments in the pocket, which was all I needed to do today."

Lacy finished with 99 yards rushing on 17 attempts. Jordy Nelson caught a 1-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and had nine receptions for 113 yards, while Rodgers completed 11 throws to Randall Cobb for 131 yards.

"I've obviously been with Aaron the whole time. You see him do things on the football field, as far as making plays and this and that. I think the last couple of days, you see the kind of warrior he is," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He battled whatever illness he's had the last couple of days and then goes out and strains his calf the first or second series. He didn't want to come out. Really a gritty performance by Aaron."

As for the showdown with the Lions (11-4), McCarthy added: "We've won six out of seven games, so I'd like to classify that as playing a lot of solid football, that's for sure," McCarthy said. "We'll clean this game up tomorrow; we'll be on it. We'll also start on Detroit. I like where we're at, and I really like this football team. I feel good about the offense, defense and special teams."

Rodgers rebounded from the only game this season in which he's failed to throw for a touchdown, completing 31 of 40 passes without an interception. He threw 24 yards to Nelson on third-and-13 to extend the drive that produced Lacy's long TD run, and a 19-yard completion to Nelson set up Rodgers' 36th TD pass of the year with 2:45 remaining.

"I battled the flu the past couple of days pretty bad, and that's why I was surprised I hurt my calf because I hydrated like no other (week)," Rodgers said. "I was drinking a ton of water before the game."

"Unfortunately, the calf kind of gave up on me there. But it was a good win for us. The defense played great. Offensively, it wasn't pretty, but we had enough points to win."

The Bucs (2-13) have lost five straight and remain in contention for the first overall pick in the 2015 draft. Their sputtering offense was held to a season-low 109 net yards; Josh McCown was sacked seven times and intercepted once; and Doug Martin was held to 17 yards rushing on 10 attempts.

"We picked the worst possible time to play our worst (offensive) game," Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said. "We'd liked to have fought them a lot harder than we did. I think the guys tried to play hard. Defensively we hung in there and kept them out of the end zone a lot. But it's hard to win games when you put up that kind of offensive production, which was very little."

The Bucs kept it close with a solid if not particularly flashy defensive performance. They forced Rodgers' fourth turnover in two weeks with Michael Johnson's sack-fumble, and a goal-line stand denied the Packers points in the third quarter after Lacy gained 5 yards on first down to the Bucs 1. Lacy and John Kuhn were stopped for no gain on the next two plays, then Rodgers threw an incompletion in the end zone on fourth down.

Nevertheless, the Packers wound up with 431 yards total offense.

McCown, meanwhile, was 12 of 26 for 147 yards. Mike Evans had four receptions for 49 yards and Vincent Jackson had three for 60 yards, moving both of them to the brink of 1,000-yard seasons.

"To see the defense and the way that it played, it's frustrating, man," McCown said. "You can't do that (the offensive performance). We've got to be better than that."



Story By: Associated Press

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 LOCAL SPORTS
Central Wisconsin girls' hockey ties Onalaska 1-1Submitted: 12/20/2014

WAUSAU - The Central Wisconsin Storm played host to the Onalaska Hilltoppers Saturday.

Both teams played some outstanding defense in this one.

Central Wisconsin's Katelyn Ramthun scoops around the goal.

She tries the reverse shot, but Onalaska's goalie is all over it.

The Hilltoppers clear it out.

A couple possessions later, the Storm are back on the offensive.

They try the sniper shot from out deep.

Onalaska won't budge.

The Storm are able to corral the miss.

They shoot it around the boards trying to look for a decent shot.

Jamie Henrickson gets the shot off, but Onalaska still won't let anything through.

The Storm come back with a head of steam.

A 2-on-1 rush with only one Hilltopper to beat.

Henrickson dishes to Kelly Knetter but the shot is still no good.

That's the way it went for the entire game.

This thriller went down to the wire, and it ended in a very fitting 1-1 tie.

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Northern Edge girls' hockey hosts CFMSubmitted: 12/20/2014

ANTIGO - Northern Edge welcomed in Chippewa Falls-Menomonie to Antigo Saturday.

This one was a fairly close battle.


Neither team had the upper hand early.

Northern Edge's Lauren Smith gets it up top to Katie Detert.

She takes the long range slapshot, but CFM comes up with the save.

Still 0-0 at this point.

Northern Edge playing some nice defense of their own.

CFM pokes it away from two defenders.

They take it up left side and take the shot, but Gracie Lenzner bats it away with the glove.

Northern Edge comes right back down the ice.

Detert goes coast to coast.

She slices through a couple defenders into the middle lane.

She puts up the shot and it's good.

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Rhinelander defeats AntigoSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander defeats Antigo 36-32.

Rhinelander's Brandon Reinthaler scored 14 points.

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Lakeland takes down Medford 48-39.Submitted: 12/19/2014

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MEDFOD - Lakeland takes down Medford 48-39.

Meford will play Ashland on December 23rd.

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Merrill holds off Wausau West 48-32.Submitted: 12/19/2014

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MERRILL - Merrill holds off Wausau West 48-32.

Merrill will play Waupaca next on December 20th.

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Barry Alvarez happy with coaching staffSubmitted: 12/18/2014

MADISION - The Wisconsin Badgers will keep their defensive coordinator under the new head coach.

The Dave Aranda lead defense ranked 4th in total defense in 2014.

Barry Alvarez seems happy with how the staff is forming.

That's after Gary Anderson left for Oregon State.

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Chequamegon's Isaac Weik wins wrestling matchSubmitted: 12/18/2014

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EDGAR - Fans in Central Wisconsin could catch a top ten wrestling showdown between two wrestlers in Edgar Thursday night.

Chequamegon's #10 ranked Isaac Weik faced Edgar's #8 ranked Alex Lemanski.

Neither wrestler could get the pin, but Weik ended up with the five to three victory.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS
Packers prepare for BuccaneersSubmitted: 12/20/2014

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers want to put last week's disappointing loss to Buffalo behind them.

They will rebound with an away game against the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Chryst takes Wisconsin football head coach jobSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Paul Chryst is coming home to coach Wisconsin.

The school made it official on Wednesday, hiring Chryst away from Pittsburgh. The announcement ended days of speculation following the surprising departure of Gary Andersen for Oregon State.

Chryst is a former Wisconsin offensive coordinator and a Madison native. He leaves the Panthers after going 19-19 in three seasons, returning to his hometown and alma mater.

The 49-year-old Chryst had two prior stints as an assistant coach for the Badgers. Most notably, he was part of the Wisconsin staff from 2005-11, helping the Badgers to five double-digit victory seasons and two Rose Bowls.

He was coordinator in 2011 when the high-scoring Badgers featured quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball.

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Bills snap Packers win streakSubmitted: 12/14/2014

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Bacarri Rambo intercepted two Aaron Rodgers passes and Marcus Thigpen scored on a 75-yard punt return, leading the Buffalo Bills to a stunning 21-13 upset over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Defensive end Mario Williams also forced Rodgers to fumble, which led to running back Eddie Lacy being tackled in the end zone for a safety with 1:51 left. Dan Carpenter hit all three field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder in the second half to help keep Buffalo (8-6) in the AFC playoff picture.

The Bills were also have their first eight-win season since going 9-7 in 2004.

The Packers (10-4) had a five-game win streak snapped, blowing an opportunity to get closer to their sixth consecutive playoff berth.

Rodgers finished 17 of 42 for 185 yards, and two interceptions.

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Gary Andersen steps down as head coach at University of WisconsinSubmitted: 12/10/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin Badgers fans got a big surprise early Wednesday afternoon.

Head Coach Gary Andersen told the team he is stepping down to take the head coaching job at Oregon State University.

He called UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez Wednesday morning with the news.

Alvarez says the news caught him off guard.

Andersen reportedly took the Oregon State job for family reasons.

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Packers defense will use Falcons game to growSubmitted: 12/09/2014

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GREEN BAY - The Packers game unexpectedly turned into a nail biter Monday night.

They went into halftime up 31-7 and held on for a 43-37 win.

Atlanta's Julio Jones ended the game with 259 receiving yards.

That made up more than half of Atlanta's total yards.

"Hitch, a little hitch in the step but you know all wins ain't going to be pretty," said Packers Cornerback Tramon Williams. "We was hoping it was man, in the first half we was hoping but it didn't happen that way. We had to fight all 60 minutes."

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Packer offense keeps rollingSubmitted: 12/09/2014

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay offense scores, scores, and scores.

They have scored more touchdowns and points this year than any team in the NFL.

That offense played a major part in Monday's 43-37 victory over the Falcons.

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Badgers fall to Duke in Big Ten/ACC clashSubmitted: 12/04/2014

MADISON - Tyus Jones scored 22 points, Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 and No. 4 Duke shot 65 percent to beat No. 2 Wisconsin 80-70 on Wednesday night in a highly anticipated matchup of college basketball heavyweights.

With 17 points, Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky outscored Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor (13 points) in a test for the two of the nation's top big men.

But it was another touted freshman, Jones, who helped open things up for the Blue Devils (8-0) in the second half. The lightning-quick guard beat defenders into the lane and added two 3-pointers.

Jones followed a transition layup with an assist on Amile Jefferson's jumper to cap a 6-0 run that gave Duke a 69-60 lead with about 3 minutes left against the Badgers (7-1).

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  WJFW TV-12 Sports Team