Morning Box Score

Cubs Clip Cards, Clinch Crown
As we mentioned yesterday, the Cubs defeated the Cardinals 5-4 and claimed their second consecutive NL Central division title. A bases loaded single by Alfonso Soriano that was misplayed in left field cleared the bases and Ted Lilly later executed a suicide squeeze perfectly to add another run later. Lilly pitched seven innings to earn his 16th win and Kerry Wood closed out the ninth for his 32nd save. Said Lou afterward:

"I understand. In the two years that I've been here, I have shared, I have heard the frustrations of all these Cub fans. What the heck can you do? You can't relive the past. You've got to look at the present, and you've got to look toward the future."

Amen, Lou.

Sox Slip To Royals
With a chance to extend their lead to 3.5 games in the AL Central, the Sox slipped up as they lost to the Kansas City Royals 5-2. Gavin Floyd gave up all five runs in 6 and 1/3 innings. Alexei Ramirez provided the lone offensive spark for the Sox, knocking a two-run homer in the eighth. In spite of the loss, a Twins loss to Tampa Bay left the Sox lead at 2.5 games and cut the Sox magic number to six. Ozzie wasn't happy about the way the team played, saying, "All of a sudden, we started the game and we know Minnesota lost and we could have a pretty interesting night. But we have to win, not worry about how Minnesota played."

Michigan State Eases Past Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish were handed their first loss of the year by Michigan State in East Lansing, 23-7. Notre Dame Jimmy Clausen had over 240 yards passing, but threw two interceptions,the Irish ground game was held to a measly 16 net yards, and Notre Dame kicker Brandon Walker missed two field games.

Northwestern Outlasts Ohio
For the first time in 46 years, the Northwestern Wildcats have started a season 4-0 after beating Ohio 16-8 on Saturday. Northwestern QB CJ Bacher struggled, throwing four interceptions, but three field goals by kicker Amado Villarreal helped the Wildcats secure the win.

Northern Illinois Routs Indiana State
Northern Illinois had six different players rush for positive yardage as they racked up 285 yards on the ground in their 48-3 rout of Indiana St. Chad Spann led all rushers with 73 yards and a touchdown and Montell Clanton got the most carries (10) for 61 yards and a touchdown of his own. Even the defense got in on the act: NIU's defense had three interceptions, including one by Bradley Pruitt that was returned 54 yards for a touchdown.

And Auburn fell to LSU in their annual grudge match, 26-21, which makes me a sad panda this morning.

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