DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Lions are leaning on their defensive line to help the franchise bounce back from a poor season that made its recent playoff appearance look like it might've been a fluke. Defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are potentially big, strong and talented enough to crush pockets. And, the team's new defensive ends, first-round pick Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, Jason Jones and Israel Idonije seem set up to have success. The Lions, though, will need more than a dominant defensive line to make this season more than 2011 - when they snapped an 11-year playoff drought - and less like last year's 4-12 flop that finished with an eight-game skid. They need more on offense from quarterback Matthew Stafford and new arrival Reggie Bush.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Fifth-year senior Andrew Maxwell will be Michigan State's starting quarterback for Friday night's opener against Western Michigan. Coach Mark Dantonio praised all four candidates for the job Tuesday, including sophomore Connor Cook and freshmen Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry. All are listed as first-team quarterbacks, with their names separated by "OR" on the weekly depth chart. But Dantonio said he was giving Maxwell the start. Maxwell started all 13 games as a junior and completed 234 of 446 passes for 2,606 yards and 13 touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions but just six in the last 25 halves of a disappointing 7-6 season. Cook came on to direct a game-winning drive against TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Michigan State will kick off against Western Michigan Friday night at Spartan Stadium at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
DETROIT (AP) - Coco Crisp and Daric Barton each drove in two runs, and the Oakland Athletics beat Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers 8-6 on Monday night. Cabrera hit his 43rd homer, bolstering his pursuit of another Triple Crown, but Barton had a tiebreaking RBI single in Oakland's two-run sixth inning. Crisp also had a solo homer during his three-hit performance. A.J. Griffin (11-9) allowed four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, but managed to win for the first time since July 29. The right-hander was 0-2 with a 3.47 ERA in his previous four starts.
NEW YORK (AP) - Miguel Cabrera hit a mammoth homer, Rick Porcello enjoyed a happy homecoming and the Detroit Tigers polished off a three-game sweep of the New York Mets with an 11-3 victory Sunday. Andy Dirks put Detroit ahead with a two-run shot, and the AL Central leaders improved to 12-5 in interleague play. They have won 34 of 49 overall, the best mark in the American League since July 2. Porcello pitched seven innings of four-hit ball before the Tigers broke it open with a seven-run ninth. Dirks drew a bases-loaded walk during the outburst, which included RBI singles by Victor Martinez and Ramon Santiago. Travis d'Arnaud hit his first major league homer for the Mets, who have scored five runs during a four-game slide. They were outhit 33-7 in the final two games of the series. Dillon Gee lost for only the third time in 16 starts.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions have released defensive end Ronnell Lewis, safety Chris Hope, cornerback Myron Lewis and wide receiver Cody Wilson. The Lions made the moves Sunday. Detroit drafted Lewis in the fourth round last year and he played sparingly as a rookie. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges after an arrest at an Oklahoma bar in April. Lewis became expendable because the Lions drafted defensive ends Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah fifth overall and Devin Taylor in the fourth round this year, signed Jason Jones and Israel Idonije and re-signed Willie Young. Hope signed with the Lions in June after he started 113 games in the regular season and seven postseason games over 11 seasons with Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Atlanta.
Port Huron Northern at Cros-Lex--6:30 p.m. broadcast on 97.7 WTGV-FM
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DETROIT (AP) - Reggie Bush had five catches for 103 yards to help the Detroit Lions rout the New England Patriots 40-9 on Thursday night. The Patriots' first-team offense, which was precise and efficient in the first two games of the exhibition season, was anything but in preseason game No. 3. Tight end Zach Sudfeld and running backs Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen lost fumbles and Tom Brady threw an interception in four of New England's first five possessions. The other possession was a three-and-out that ended with Zoltan Mesko's punt. Brady played four series in the first two preseason games combined, completing 18 of his 20 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in two victories. But in a half of work Thursday at Ford Field, he was 16 of 24 for 185 yards and the second-quarter interception by Detroit cornerback Chris Houston. Detroit starter Matthew Stafford also played the entire first half, and helped lead Detroit's first team to a better showing than it had in its first two exhibition efforts. The starters played seven series in those games - a win over the Jets and a loss in Cleveland - and managed only a pair of field goals. Stafford finished 12 of 25 for 166 yards.
DETROIT (AP) - Chris Herrmann's second RBI double of the game broke an eighth-inning tie and helped the Minnesota Twins to a 7-6 win over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. With two out, Herrmann lined a ball into the right-center field gap. Center fielder Austin Jackson got a bad break on the ball, and just missed while attempting a shoestring catch. Doug Bernier scored from second to give the Twins the lead. Jared Burton pitched a scoreless eighth, and Glen Perkins got through the middle of the Tigers order in the ninth for his 30th save in 33 chances. Casey Fien earned the win. Bruce Rondon took the loss. Detroit had trailed 6-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, but rallied to tie it on Jackson's three-run homer. That allowed Justin Verlander to extend his unbeaten streak against the Twins to 11 starts, despite allowing six runs and 10 hits in seven innings.
DETROIT (AP) - Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson isn't playing in the Lions' exhibition game against the New England Patriots. Johnson also missed last week's game in Cleveland, largely as a precaution. The Lions didn't provide details before Thursday night's game at Ford Field about why Johnson was sitting out. The team again most likely wanted to rest its most talented player, who has been bothered by a bruised knee. Johnson, who had a league-leading 122 receptions for an NFL-record 1,964 yards last season, caught three passes in Detroit's preseason opener on Aug. 9 against the New York Jets. Patrick Edwards is starting in Johnson's place. Johnson will begin the season needing 1,338 yards to pass Herman Moore (9,174) for the most receiving yards in Lions history.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio says he cannot reveal which of the four quarterbacks competing for the Spartans' starting job will take the first snap in the opener. Dantonio says he "can't let the cat out of the bag" before telling the winning candidate he has won the job. Senior Andrew Maxwell held the starting role all of last season, completing 53 percent of his passes for 2,606 yards and 13 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Dantonio then declared an open competition at the position prior to the start of fall camp, referring to it as a four-way race as recently as Monday. Sophomore Connor Cook, redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry are in the mix as well and Dantonio spoke highly of Terry coming off a standout scrimmage performance Saturday.