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Steelers stock up, stock down following loss to Chargers: Receivers shine, but usual suspects doom Pittsburgh

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The Steelers had every reason to pack it in after falling behind by 17 points near the end of the third quarter Sunday night against the Chargers. Pittsburgh was without several key players on defense, and it had never rallied from 17 or more points in the fourth quarter during their previous 230 games being in that situation. 

History was almost made. Sparked by Miles Killebrew’s blocked punt, the Steelers rallied to score 27 of the game’s 34 points to take a 37-34 lead with 3:24 left. But just when it appeared that Pittsburgh would leave Los Angeles with a win, Justin Herbert exploited a mistake made by the Steelers’ secondary that resulted in the game-winning score. The Steelers fought but ultimately fell, 41-37, to drop to 5-4-1. And while they lost their first game in 49 days, the Steelers are still very much alive and well in the AFC playoff race. 

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Let’s take a look at which players saw their stock go either up or down during Sunday’s game. 

Roethlisberger, who missed practice all week after testing positive for COVID-19 last Saturday, had his first three-touchdown performance of the season. He threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter on Sunday night that included a game-tying score to Pat Freiermuth with 4:23 remaining. After a slow start to the season, Roethlisberger has nine touchdowns and no interceptions over his last five games. 

Stock down: Offensive line

The unit regressed for a third consecutive week. Specifically, the interior of Pittsburgh’s line continues to struggle to open up holes for Najee Harris, who finished the game with just 39 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Pittsburgh’s 55 rushing yards on Sunday night was the third-lowest output of the season and the lowest total since the Steelers’ Week 4 loss to the Packers

Stock up: Diontae Johnson/Chase Claypool 

Pittsburgh appears to have found its next great receiving duo. Johnson, who was motivated to atone for his fumble in overtime during last week’s tie against Detroit, caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night. His 10-yard touchdown pass cut Pittsburgh’s deficit to four points near the end of his first half. His 32-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter set up Roethlisberger’s touchdown pass to Eric Ebron that made it a one-score game. 

Claypool, who missed last week’s game with a toe injury, caught five passes for 93 yards against the Chargers. Down 27-10, Claypool’s 28-yard grab on a third-down play jump-started the Steelers’ late-game comeback. 

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Stock down: Inside linebackers 

Like the offensive line, the stock continues to be down for the Steelers’ inside linebackers. Led by Joe Schobert and Devin Bush, the group failed to make enough plays against Austin Ekeler and Herbert, who ran for a combined 140 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. It’s been a trying season for Bush, who failed to get off of a block on Ekeler’s first touchdown run. He also lost his one-on-one matchup against Ekeler on a 17-yard gain that occurred one play before Hebert’s game-winning touchdown pass to Mike Williams

Stock up: Cam Heyward 

It was a frustrating night for the Steelers’ Pro Bowl defensive lineman, who spent most of the night fighting through double teams. But Pittsburgh’s defensive captain still found a way to make a big play late in the game. With the Steelers trailing by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Heyward batted a pass from Herbert that was picked off by Cam Sutton. The pick set up Roethlisberger’s game-tying pass to Freiermuth. 

Stock down: Defensive line

While Heyward continues to enjoy one of his best seasons, he cannot mask Pittsburgh’s lack of depth on the defensive line. The unit, which has been without Stephon Tuitt all season and Tyson Alualu since the second week of the season, has struggled to stop the run in recent weeks. The line has played a big part in the defense surrendering 524 rushing yards over the past three games. Pittsburgh allowed 159 yards on 26 carries against the Chargers, a week after yielding 229 yards on the ground. 

Stock up: Eric Ebron

A year after catching 56 passes and five touchdowns, Ebron entered Sunday night’s game with just nine receptions in seven games this season. Ebron had his most productive game of the season against the Chargers, as he caught each of his three targets that included his first touchdown of the season. The Steelers would be wise to utilize Ebron more down the stretch, particularly in the red zone. 

Stock down: Red zone offense 

Speaking of the red zone, the Steelers continued to struggle in that department. Pittsburgh, which ranked 18th in the NFL in red zone efficiency coming into the game, had to settle for two field goals on two of their seven drives inside the Chargers’ 20-yard-line. They came away with no points after getting to the Chargers’ 5-yard-line on their second drive of the game. The Steelers nearly came up empty following Killebrew’s blocked punt. Instead of giving the ball to Harris, Pittsburgh attempted two passes along with an unsuccessful running play for Claypool that lost two yards. After getting a reprieve on a pass interferences penalty on fourth-and-goal, the Steelers finally turned to Harris, who leapt over the line and into the end zone. 

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Stock up: AFC North

Other than the Steelers, the rest of the division came away with wins on Sunday. The Browns squeaked past the visiting Lions, 13-10. The Bengals ended a two-game losing skid by getting a win over the Raiders in Las Vegas. The Ravens, despite playing without Lamar Jackson, defeated the Bears in Chicago and stayed atop the division at 7-3. But while the Bengals — Pittsburgh’s next opponent — moved ahead of the Steelers by a half-game in the AFC North division standings, the Steelers stayed ahead of the 6-5 Browns by virtue of their .550 winning percentage. 

Stock down: Officiating 

Sunday’s officials missed a blatant unnecessary roughness penalty committed against Harris that led to Harris leaving the game with seven minutes remaining. Harris was drilled in the head after failing to come down with a pass from Roethlisberger. Harris was not mentioned as part of Mike Tomlin’s post game injury rundown, so he should be fine for the Steelers’ upcoming game against the Bengals. 





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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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