Here is the latest Illinois sports news from The Associated Press:
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State and Northwestern have plenty of room for improvement entering their matchup this weekend. Two years ago, these teams combined for 94 points, and last season, they threw for over 800 yards. This year, the 20th-ranked Spartans and Wildcats have been hit by key injuries, and it’s not clear if they’ll be able to produce another shootout.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Patrick Kane scored 38 seconds into overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators in the opener for both teams. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook also scored, and Cam Ward stopped 22 shots.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears rolled into their bye with their most lopsided victory in six seasons and sole possession of the NFC North lead for the first time in five years. For a team long buried at the bottom of the division, it’s a different look.
UNDATED (AP) — Some of the Big Ten’s top defenses stick to old-school principles in this era of high-scoring, pass-happy offenses. The best ones are big, stout and focused first on stopping the run. The conference has three of the top seven run defenses and four of the top 18 in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Six of the league’s 14 teams are in the top 50.