Last week in sports: 12/21 through 12/27


Kyusung Gong | Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, shoots over Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020.

By Kyle Mathas

DeKALB — Whether it was crazy bowl games or big NFL games with playoff implications, this week in sports has been eventful. 


On Christmas Day, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings, which helped the Saints clinch the NFC South division. Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards, and running back Alvin Kamara ran for six touchdowns in the win over the Vikings. He is the second back to rush for six touchdowns, joining Ernie Nevers who set the record in 1929 as a member of the Chicago Cardinals. 

There were three games Saturday. In the first game, quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Detroit Lions in a blowout. They also clinched a playoff spot as a wild card team.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) crosses the goal line on a touchdown carry in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. (Brett Duke | Associated Press)

The San Francisco 49ers upset the Arizona Cardinals. This would help the Chicago Bears attempt to get in as the final team in the playoffs. 

In the final game of the night, the Miami Dolphins defeated the Las Vegas Raiders by a game winning field goal. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick came into the game in place of Tua Tagovailoa and led the Dolphins down on a game winning drive. 

On Sunday, the New York Jets upset the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were hoping to clinch a wild card spot in the playoffs but gave the Jets their second win in a row. The Pittsburgh Steelers mounted a comeback and defeated the Indianapolis Colts to end their three game losing streak. 

The Chicago Bears defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not only did this help the Bears take the final wild card position in the playoffs heading into the final game of the season, but it put the Jaguars solely in control of the number one pick in the NFL draft and a chance to draft Clemson University junior quarterback Trevor Lawerence. 

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Los Angeles Rams helping the Seahawks in their push for the number one seed in the NFC conference. 

On Sunday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Tennessee Titans in a snowy game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 231 yards in his race against Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the Most Valuable Player award.  


Bowl Games

Bowl games in college football began this week with some great games. Brigham Young University defeated the University of Central Florida in the Boca Raton Bowl, ending BYU’s season with one loss. The University of Memphis defeated Florida Atlantic University in the Montgomery Bowl. 

The University of Louisiana defeated the University of Texas San Antonio in the First Responder Bowl where UTSA made a comeback but couldn’t finish it off. Liberty University upset Coastal Carolina University in the Cure Bowl with a game winning field goal in overtime. This gave Coastal Carolina their first loss of the season. 


NCAA Basketball

In college basketball this week, Texas Tech University defeated the University of Oklahoma by two points, and third-ranked University of Kansas defeated the seventh ranked University of West Virginia. The University of Wisconsin defeated Michigan State University to remain on top of the Big Ten Conference. The University of Gonzaga defeated the University of Virginia in a top-25 matchup Saturday to remain undefeated.

Wisconsin’s D’Mitrik Trice, left, drives against Michigan State’s Thomas Kithier during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. Wisconsin won 85-76. (Al Goldis | Associated Press)

Some of the biggest upsets this week was North Carolina State University defeating 17th-ranked University of North Carolina, 23rd-ranked Ohio State University upsetting 11th-ranked and undefeated Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota upsetting fourth-ranked University of Iowa. 

The men’s basketball team lost to Toledo University Tuesday. Huskies guard Trendon Hankerson led the Huskies with 16 points but the Huskies were outmatched in the contest. 


Women’s NCAA basketball

There were no NIU women’s basketball games this past week. 



The NBA season started this week with the Brooklyn Nets defeating the Golden State Warriors, and the Los Angeles Clippers defeating the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night. 

On Christmas day, the Miami Heat defeated the New Orleans Pelicans. The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Boston Celtics with Nets Forward Kevin Durtant and guard Kyrie Irving combining for 66 points. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks with Lakers forward Anthony Davis scoring 28 points and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic scoring 27 points. 

Finally, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Denver Nuggets with Nuggets center Nikola Jokic’s 24 points not being enough for the win. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard exited the game after being elbowed in the mouth.

Kawhi Leonard was injured in the Christmas day win over the Denver Nuggets and was not able to play in their Sunday game against the Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers lost by 51 points. The Clippers faced the largest halftime deficit in NBA history, 77-27.

Houston Rockets’ James Harden controls the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in Houston, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Carmen Mandato | Associated Press)

Houston Rockets guard James Harden was spotted in a strip club before the season started without a mask on. He was fined $50,000 for the incident that went against NBA league guidelines to protect the health of the players during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rockets opening game was postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Rockets organization. 


NHL News

The NHL season for 2021 will begin on Jan. 13 with a 56-58 game season at best, according to the NHL. 


Upcoming NBA

Upcoming NBA games this week include the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers playing Monday. This would be a rematch to the first round series of the NBA playoffs back in the NBA bubble in September. 

The Milwaukee Bucks will play the Miami Heat Tuesday. This is a rematch of the second round playoff series in the bubble where the Heat defeated the Bucks in five games. 

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers will play the Memphis Grizzlies in a matchup between Lakers forward LeBron James and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. 


NCAA Bowl Games

Tuesday, Oklahoma State University will play the University of Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl. It will be a matchup between two top-25 teams. 

Wednesday, the University of Florida will play the University of Oklahoma in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in Arlington, TX. This will be the first of six college football New Year’s Six Bowl Games.  

Friday, the University of Georgia will play the University of Cincinnati in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta, GA. The University of Notre Dame will play the University of Alabama in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA  and Ohio State University will play the University of Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New orleans, LA. The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl games are both college football playoff semifinal games.

A sign promoting the Rose Bowl Game is seen outside the Rose Bowl Stadium Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. No. 13 Southern California became the sixth Pac-12 team to opt out of a bowl game Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 citing a recommendation from team doctors and discussions with players. (Ringo H.W. Chiu | Associated Press)

Saturday, the University of Oregon will play Iowa State University in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl, and Texas A&M University will play the University of North Carolina in the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, FL. 


Upcoming college basketball games

In College Basketball, Seton Hall University will play the University of Xavier in the Big East Conference Wednesday. 

Saturday, the University of Texas will play the University of Kansas in a top 10 Big 12 conference game. The University of Iowa will play Rutgers University and Duke University will play Florida State University.