VALPO ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE: Valparaiso has announced a schedule that includes nonconference dates with seven teams that finished with at least 19 wins a season ago, including Final Four participant Notre Dame, and 10 teams that reached the postseason in 2012-2013.
Valpo will open Nov. 5 at the Athletics-Recreation Center with an exhibition game against St. Joseph's College. The regular season will tip off Nov. 10 when Valpo travels to Saint Louis. The Crusaders go to Illinois on Nov. 14 and make a trip to Notre Dame two days later before playing their first regular-season home game Nov. 21 versus IUPUI. Valpo will open Horizon League play Jan. 9, when it hosts Youngstown State.
LOCKE, PIRATES BEAT CUBS: Jeff Locke allowed three hits over seven innings to earn his first victory in nearly two months, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cubs 3-1 on Thursday night.
Locke (10-5) struck out five and walked one to help the Pirates win their fourth straight as they try to catch first-place St. Louis in the NL Central. Mark Melancon worked out of a two-on, none-out jam in the ninth for his 14th save.
Chris Rusin (2-4) gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings for the Cubs.
PATRIOTS BEAT JETS IN UGLY OFFENSIVE GAME: Tom Brady threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Dobson on the game's first series before both offenses played as sloppily as the second-half weather, and the New England Patriots got by the New York Jets 13-10 on Thursday night.
Brady had trouble connecting with his rookie-filled receiving corps, while Jets rookie Geno Smith was repeatedly sacked when he took too much time to throw.
The Patriots (2-0) managed just nine first downs and 234 yards after leading the NFL in points and yards last season.
The Jets (1-1) cut the lead to 13-10 on Bilal Powell's 3-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third quarter. But Smith threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, two to Aqib Talib and one to Alfonzo Dennard.
BEARS QB CUTLER FINALLY COMFORTABLE: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler might be showing signs he's a different player this season. What is certain is that he's a less frustrated, healthier and better-protected player in new coach Marc Trestman's system.
Cutler showed signs of leadership and determination in last Sunday's 24-21 comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals, something critics frequently pointed out he has lacked. More important, heading into Sunday's game against Minnesota at Soldier Field, he is so far — after one game — unsacked behind an offensive line that was a huge question mark entering the season.
"We had two new guys on the right side, four new guys in general," Cutler said Thursday about his offensive line. "As we progressed through the game, I got more comfortable.
"Marc got more comfortable calling plays and being able to trust them. Even looking at the film on Monday there were times whenever I was moving around or I could have stepped up and I didn't, that's just gaining trust in those guys and not only throughout a game but throughout a season I'm going to get more and more trust with them."
TRIPUCKA, NOTRE DAME'S QB IN 1948, DIES: Frank Tripucka, who led Notre Dame to a 9-0-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in 1948, has died. He was 85.
His son, Kelly Tripucka, a former Notre Dame basketball standout, said his father died of congestive heart failure at his home in Woodland Park, N.J.
Before becoming the starter, Tripucka was a backup to Heisman Trophy winner John Lujack, who led the Irish to back-to-back national championships. As a senior, he completed 53 of 91 throws for 660 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Irish won all their games except a 14-14 tie with USC.
Tripucka was the ninth pick overall by Philadelphia in 1949. He played for the Eagles, the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Cardinals, the Dallas Texans and the Denver Broncos.
Tripucka was the first quarterback for the Broncos and the original No. 18 in Denver. His number was retired until 2012 when he gladly and graciously allowed Peyton Manning to wear it.
HAWKS BEGIN PRACTICE: Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin says he senses a different feeling in the Blackhawks' locker room as he begins his second stint with the team.
Khabibulin said Thursday after practice at Notre Dame that he senses the team has more confidence, a swagger. He says it's probably natural after winning two Stanley Cups in four years.
Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Kane says starting training camp in South Bend, 100 miles from Chicago, gave the opening practice a different feel. He says it was exciting to be at Notre Dame. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says he could feel the mystique.
Most of the squad went Wednesday to watch football team practice.
Around the horn
Purdue Calumet volleyball coach Natalie Shadowen is the featured guest on "Purdue Calumet Sports Insight" at 5:30 p.m. today on WJOB-AM (1230). ... Lance Armstrong has returned his 2000 Olympic bronze cycling medal, the latest fallout from his confession to using performance-enhancing drugs.