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MSU-West Plains Grizzly Basketball
The Grizzly Basketball team (2-0) will host Trinity Valley Community College (TX) at 7 p.m. Friday in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.
Everyone is encouraged to bring building materials or usable tools for Habitat for Humanity as part of the team’s community service project for the night.
The game sponsor is Shoe Factory Lofts.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, visit http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb. 

sports_photoThe Missouri State football program will hit a crossroads this weekend. The Bears have suddenly caught fire, winning three games in a row by double digits.

At 4-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, MSU is tied with Illinois State (a team the Bears have already beat) for third place in the league. A win at Southern Illinois this weekend would give the Bears their most league wins since 1990, which was also the last time MSU made the FCS playoffs.

It’s been a roller coaster season that began with an 0-4 start in the non-conference schedule, followed by losing two of the first three MVFC games.

But somehow, some way, the Bears are on the upswing/

MSU has finally found some offense to go with its stellar defense, and the results have been three straight convincing wins. Their game this Saturday will have long-term and short-term implications.

A win, and the Bears keep their slim hopes for the p-word (I can’t bring myself to type it and jinx it) alive. The Bears would be 5-6 overall and 5-2 in the MVFC, with a regular season finale at home the following week against last-place Northern Iowa.

You wouldn’t think a .500-level record would be good enough to get into the FCS playoffs, but the Bears have a few things working to their advantage.

For one, they play in what’s usually viewed as one of the toughest conferences in the FCS. Generally, the MVFC sends multiple teams to the playoffs. That at-large bid may be a pipe dream with a 6-6 overall record, but at least at 6-2 and alone in third place, the Bears would have chance.

In speaking with the media this week, Allen said: “If we can get this one (at Southern Illinois), then we’re coming home and might be playing for something pretty specially. So we gotta make sure they know that, but also stay in the mindset that it’s one game at a time.”

So, you mean to say MSU’s season might not be over after playing Northern Iowa on Nov. 16?

“(Players) understand that,” Allen said. “We’ve made sure of that.”

The FCS playoffs also expanded from 20 to 24 teams for the 2013 season. While it may have been bleak to get a bid two or three years ago, the Bears could land in one of those new playoff spots.

Here’s a recap of how many MVFC teams have made the playoffs in the last five years. Keep in mind, between 2010-2012, there were 10 at-large spots available. There are 13 at-large spots this year.

• 2012 – League champ: North Dakota State; At-large: Illinois State, South Dakota State
•  2011 – League champ: North Dakota State; At-large: Northern Iowa
• 2010 – League champ: Northern Iowa; At-large: North Dakota State, Western Illinois
• 2009 – League champ: Southern Illinois; At-large: South Dakota State *16-team playoff, 8 at-large spots
• 2008 – League champ: Northern Iowa; At-large: Southern Illinois *16-team playoff, 8 at-large spots

In the interest of full disclosure, the easy case against the Bears’ playoff chances would be that none of those at-large teams in the last five years had a .500-level record. That just makes the Bears’ early season struggles all the more frustrating.

If they don’t somehow pull a loss from the jaws of victory against Murray State, Central Arkansas and South Dakota, they’re at least 6-4 and a near-lock for the playoffs if they win out.

Let’s play along and say the Bears win their last two games, defy the odds, and squeak into the playoffs with one of the last at-large bids.

Suddenly, your head coach goes from the hot seat to the contract-extension seat. Allen will have given the Bears their most league victories and first playoff appearance in over 20 years. He also would go into 2014 in the final year of his contract.

You have to bring him back for 2014 and let the contract play out, but now do you reward him with an extension? Does one improbable late-season run into a playoff spot outweigh seven seasons of average-to-above average football?

It would be hard for Allen to go on the recruiting trail, coming off a breakthrough playoff appearance for the school, and try to land players while they know his contract will be up after their first season at MSU.

That contract extension depends on if the Bears can win at Southern Illinois, then return home and beat Northern Iowa (something Allen has never done at MSU.) Past history would tell us that this is the classic MSU sports scenario where we slightly get our hopes up, only to be let down.

If they lose one or both of the next two games, we could see a lot of changes with MSU football before next season. A “lame duck” situation would not be ideal for anyone.

Still, it’s a refreshing change that basketball season is about to start and the football Bears still have something to play for.

(West Plains)- The West Plains Zizzers hosted the Rolla Bulldogs Friday night during their Homecoming Celebration and had no problem taking out the Bulldogs 42-21.

The voice of the Zizzers Travis Smith has your West Plains Friday Night Football Follow-Up:

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Once again the final score of the night was 42-21, the Zizzers defeating the Rolla Bulldogs. The win during Game 9 takes the Zizzers regular season record to 7-2 for the year. Next week you will find the Zizzers at home as they take on their first game of District play.

 

1076004_1399192303631154_1995887383_n(Salem)- The Cabool Bulldogs traveled for their final game of the regular season to take on the Salem Tigers. The Bulldogs played a great game, but it was the Tigers who took the win 32-14.

The voice of the Bulldogs Brad McNew has your Cabool Friday Night Football Follow-Up:

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Once again the Bulldogs lost to the Salem Tigers 32-14 which leaves their regular season record at 4-5; a major improvement from their total losing seasons the last two years. Next week you can find the Bulldogs at home as the face off against the Thayer Bobcats in District play.

 

WS FB 02-500x500(Willow Springs)- Friday night the Willow Springs Bears took on the Ava Bears at home. In the Battle of the Bears, Willow Springs didn’t even get a chance and were defeated by the Ava Bears 61-20.

The voice of the Bears Larry Spence has your Willow Springs Friday Night Football Follow-Up:

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Once again the Willow Springs Bears fell hard on the field to the Ava Bears losing the game 61-20, giving them a final regular season record of 3-6 for the year.

Liberty_Eagles_Logo(Mountain View)- The Liberty Eagles took on the Houston Tigers for their final game of the regular season and upgraded their season record to 8-1 for the year when they won 55-6.

The voice of the Eagles Dave Quinn has your Liberty Friday Night Football Follow-Up:

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Once again the Eagles defeated the Houston Tigers 55-6 in Game 9 of the season. Next week you will find the Eagles…..

San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum covers up as it starts to rain during batting practice before Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum covers up as it starts to rain during batting practice before Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Lincecum walked silently through the bustling clubhouse before Saturday’s workout and stuck his left arm straight out as he passed Jean Machi’s locker, offering a friendly fist bump to the reliever.

No words necessary.

Lincecum, so far an unused reliever this postseason, is doing everything he can to stay involved in the San Francisco Giants’ latest World Series run after he was such an important part of the previous two.

Ask anybody, and it’s a little bit freaky not seeing The Freak on that familiar October stage. A two-time NL Cy Young Award winner relegated to the back of the bullpen.

Lincecum hasn’t pitched since Sept. 28, though he has thrown warmup tosses and kept his routine to ensure he’s ready for his next chance – and manager Bruce Bochy hinted he very much expects to use the right-hander against the Royals.

“I’m just trying to keep that flow in my emotional state, as well,” Lincecum said. “Just kind of stay positive and just take every day for what it is. Every day in the playoffs is pretty special.”

Even if he’s left watching and waiting for his turn.

Lincecum pitched the 2010 Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas. In 2012, he moved to the bullpen for the playoffs and emerged as a reliable reliever when San Francisco won another title.

After landing a new $35 million, two-year deal last October, Lincecum tossed his second no-hitter in less than a year June 25 against San Diego. He went 12-9 with a 4.74 ERA in 26 starts, ending a run of three straight years with a losing record.

His teammates understand this can’t be easy for the guy once nicknamed “Franchise.”

“I do everything I can do to encourage him on a daily basis because at some point in time (his) number could be called and it’s going to be in a big spot. It’s the World Series now,” said Jake Peavy, the Game 2 World Series starter. “We believe in Timmy Lincecum. He’s done amazing things, he’s as big-time as anybody and has had tremendous playoff starts as a starter, tremendous playoff experience out of the bullpen.”

The Giants’ 10th overall draft pick in 2006 who was in the big leagues by the following May, an inconsistent Lincecum lost his rotation spot in late August and was replaced by Yusmeiro Petit. Lincecum won his last two outings pitching out of the bullpen, including his 100th career victory Sept. 25 against the Padres.

Even Bochy considers Lincecum, knowing how much he wants to contribute – and how much Bochy wants him to get that opportunity, when the moment is right.

In the NL Division Series and NLCS, Lincecum was the only player on the 25-man roster not used.

“He’s just an unbelievable teammate, he’s so selfless that it inspires each and every one of us,” right fielder Hunter Pence said. “He’s also a big-game pitcher. He has that flair for the spectacular. You’ve seen it with two no-hitters where he lifts us up through some of our tough times and you’ve seen it in the postseason. ”

Lincecum didn’t even enter the 18-inning Game 2 division series win at Washington. Bochy said he would have used him but plans changed once the Giants took the lead.

“Timmy’s done a lot for us, I’ll start with that,” Bochy said. “When you get in the postseason, there is probably going to be a guy, maybe two who doesn’t get a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean he might not play a key role. … I think about Timmy, trust me, the fact he hasn’t been in there because I haven’t forgotten what he’s done or what he could do for us. So far it’s worked out well. But still, I’d like to get him to be part of it.”

Lincecum is still among the fan favorites, and that was evident when a long line of people waiting to see him weaved around a corner and down the hallway for FanFest at AT&T Park last Feb. 1.

When the 2013 season ended, Linecum wasn’t sure he would even be back in orange and black. Instead of testing free agency, he stuck with the only team he has known and the comfort of remaining in a place he belongs and knows so well.

“I feel great,” Lincecum said. “It’s just about staying that way. … I don’t think there’s any way to kind of lose it at this time of the year. Everybody’s kind of, whatever’s left in the tank you’re going to pour it on that field whenever you get a chance. I just try to be myself, keep a light mood. Along with that grind, we celebrate our small accomplishments.”

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez celebrate after defeating against the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game 4 of the American League baseball championship series Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals advance to the World Series. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez celebrate after defeating against the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game 4 of the American League baseball championship series Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals advance to the World Series. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Buck Showalter knew he was in trouble when the seventh inning rolled around and his Orioles were trailing the Kansas City Royals in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series.

Three innings later, Baltimore’s season was over.

In each game of the series, the three-headed monster of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and All-Star closer Greg Holland had slammed the door on the Orioles. They did it again in the clincher, a 2-1 victory that propelled Kansas City into the World Series after a 29-year absence.

Game 1 is Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants.

“That’s one of the biggest reasons they’re playing here,” Showalter said of the “Big Three.”

The Royals had one of the stingiest bullpens in baseball this season, but the back end was especially dominant. Herrera, who usually handles the seventh inning, had a 1.41 ERA in 70 games. Davis, the eighth-inning guy, had a 1.00 ERA in 71 appearances. And Holland had a 1.44 ERA while saving 46 games, one shy of his franchise record set just last season.

They were at their best in sending the Royals to the World Series, too.

Herrera pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings against Baltimore, allowing just two hits. Davis went five scoreless innings, also giving up two hits. Holland was the only one to give up a run, but he still managed to save all four games, joining Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat since the ALCS went to a best-of-seven format.

“At the end of the game,” Royals starter Jason Vargas said, “we like our chances.”

All three relievers have four-seam fastballs that approach 100 mph, and all three have a devastating secondary pitch. Herrera has a lightning-quick two-seamer, Davis’s new cutter has been dynamic, and the vicious slider that Holland can unleash leaves hitters waving at air.

But that’s where the similarities end. The three of them took very different paths to reach this point, key cogs in a perfectly tuned strikeout machine.

Herrera exploded onto the scene two years ago, a fireballer who never seemed to quite know where his fire balls were headed. What little command he had finally failed him last season, and he was banished to the minor leagues, where he was able to rein everything in.

Since returning to the Royals, the 24-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic has been solid. At one point this season, he had a streak of 30 consecutive scoreless appearances.

“He’s meant so much to this team over the last few years,” Holland said. “He’s tough.”

Just about as tough is Davis, who at one point was considered an after-thought in the trade that brought staff ace James Shields over from Tampa Bay in December 2012.

The Royals tried to use him as a starter, but for some reason he couldn’t get on track. So almost out of desperation, they sent him back to the bullpen, where he’d had success in Tampa Bay. Everything suddenly clicked. By the time the Royals were climbing into contention last season, Davis had become a lock-down eighth-inning reliever.

His electric stuff had the Royals thinking about starting him again. But a season-ending injury to Luke Hochevar in spring training scuttled that plan, and Davis was turned loose in the bullpen. He began mowing down hitters at a record-setting rate.

Davis didn’t allow a run from April 23-June 25, a streak of 20 appearances and 22 1-3 innings. It took 43 appearances, 45 1-3 innings and 179 batters before he allowed an extra-base hit. When Holland sustained a minor injury late in the season, Davis closed out three games.

“He’s a guy that just comes in and goes right after you with his stuff,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s a guy that’s a tremendous competitor.”

In that respect, he’s a bit like Holland, who has come out of nowhere to become one of the game’s top closers. He was drafted by the Royals in the 10th round out of Western Carolina, and was in the big leagues three years later. But after scuffling during that first-call up, Holland proved he belonged in his first full season, eventually taking over the ninth inning.

He never gave it up, compiling a 1.86 ERA in 246 games over the last four seasons.

No wonder Showalter and every other opposing manager have learned the best chance of beating the Royals is to beat their starters. If they have the lead by the seventh inning, the chances of mounting a comeback against their “Big Three” aren’t very good.

“Just get us through six in the ballgame and we can turn it over to the bullpen guys,” Yost said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in everybody we’ve got down there. Our offense has a lot of confidence in everybody we’ve got down there, too, because they know, hey, look, let’s keep it close, let’s get it to the bullpen, and if we can take a lead and get it to the bullpen, odds are we’re going to be celebrating a victory at the end of the day.”

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 1988, file photo, Toronto Blue Jays' Tony Fernandez, left, reacts after he was hit on the head by a pitch by New York Yankees' Dave Eiland as umpire Don Denkinger stands nearby at Yankee Stadium in New York. Denkinger made a controversial call during the 1985 World Series which helped the Kansas City Royals eventually win the series. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine, File)

FILE – In this Aug. 11, 1988, file photo, Toronto Blue Jays’ Tony Fernandez, left, reacts after he was hit on the head by a pitch by New York Yankees’ Dave Eiland as umpire Don Denkinger stands nearby at Yankee Stadium in New York. Denkinger made a controversial call during the 1985 World Series which helped the Kansas City Royals eventually win the series. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Of course Don Denkinger plans to watch the World Series. He always does. He’ll tune in to root for the umpires, check out familiar faces on the Giants and Royals, and see how Kansas City is looking these days.

Chances are he’ll see himself, too.

“Nobody wants to have the call that I did in the World Series,” Denkinger told The Associated Press this weekend from his winter home in Arizona. “But I did. And now it’s part of history.”

All these years later, Denkinger’s miss at first base remains the signature moment from the last time the Series was in town, back in 1985. Not Bret Saberhagen throwing a clinching shutout or George Brett getting a bunch of hits.

Nope, Denkinger’s call stands from Game 6 – and sticks with the umpire who was a part of several memorable moments during a distinguished 30-year career.

“I’m not tired of talking about it. I mean, it happened,” he said. “I just know that if the same thing happened now, they’d get it right on replay and it’d be over with.”

San Francisco and Kansas City open on Tuesday night, and it’s a good guess a replay or two of his mistake will be shown sometime during the telecasts.

Denkinger didn’t have the cushion of an instant-replay review on that October night when the St. Louis Cardinals took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning at Royals Stadium, just three outs away from the championship.

Pinch-hitter Jorge Orta led off with a slow bouncer to the right side. First baseman Jack Clark ranged wide to field the ball, and flipped a high throw to reliever Todd Worrell covering the bag.

Orta was still in the air on his final stride when the ball beat him by a half-step. Denkinger recounted he was standing too close to the play – by the time he saw Worrell catch the ball and looked down, Orta’s foot was on the base. Denkinger ruled him safe.

“I wish I would’ve gotten it right,” he said. “But I didn’t.”

The rest, as Denkinger said, is part of baseball lore.

The Cardinals argued to no avail, then made a couple of misplays that led to Kansas City scoring twice to win.

Denkinger was the plate umpire for Game 7 and the Royals romped 11-0, with pitcher Joaquin Andujar and manager Whitey Herzog getting ejected while fuming over the previous day’s events.

Denkinger received threatening notes in the offseason, and the FBI investigated. The next spring, he was back to umpiring and, to this day, is reminded of what went wrong.

“I’m guessing that if it had been Cardinals-Royals this year, I’d be getting a lot of calls,” he said.

In all, he worked the World Series four times. He was the plate umpire for the famed Game 7 duel in 1991 when Jack Morris pitched all 10 innings to lead Minnesota over Atlanta 1-0. Denkinger also had the plate for the Bucky Dent home run playoff game in 1978 between the Yankees and Red Sox.

Denkinger retired after 1998, and now splits the year between his native Iowa and Arizona. He’s been married more than 50 years, and was in the hospital this week with wife Gayle when she needed a stent.

In recent seasons, Denkinger had spoken out that replay technology would benefit Major League Baseball.

Along with getting more calls right, replay has helped umpires avoid the stigma of being “Denkingered,” as some of them have said. Meaning nowadays, a wrong call gets corrected by an umpire in the replay booth, and the games go on without attaching an umpire’s name to the miss.

“I think replay has worked great,” he said. “I could’ve used it back then.”

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith looks to throw a pass against the San Diego Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith looks to throw a pass against the San Diego Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Alex Smith knows Qualcomm Stadium well, from teaming with Reggie Bush to lead Helix High to consecutive San Diego Section championships to throwing five touchdown passes against San Diego State for Utah in its BCS-busting season of 2004.

Smith earned his first NFL victory at the aging concrete bowl in Mission Valley on Sunday, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 23-20 victory against San Diego that snapped the Chargers’ five-game winning streak.

“There might be something to it. I’m definitely comfortable here,” Smith said. “I’ve played a lot here – high school, college and as a professional. I think it had more to do with executing out there for sure.”

That, he did. Smith completed three straight passes for 43 yards on the drive capped by rookie Cairo Santos’s winning 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.

Just like that, the Chiefs made the AFC West a three-team race.

Coming off their bye, the Chiefs (3-3) pulled within 1 1/2 games of San Diego (5-2). The Denver Broncos (4-1) hosted San Francisco on Sunday night. Had the Chiefs lost, they would have dropped three games behind San Diego.

“I think this team is in a good place mentally,” Smith said. “We took this challenge on, and we had two weeks to get ready with the bye week. We took it on as a challenge with no one giving us a chance. We felt like coming into this game, we were a couple plays away from being 4-1. This was an opportunity for us to kind of show what we’re made of, show the country. I feel like we’re in a good place and we’ll keep going.”

Coach Andy Reid, in his second season with the Chiefs, improved his career record in games following a bye week to 14-2 (.875), the most victories of any NFL head coach in games following a bye week.

“I don’t think there’s a secret to it,” said Reid, who compiled most of that post-bye magic while coaching Philadelphia. “When we have good players and good coaches, good things happen. I’ve been lucky enough to be in those situations.”

The Chargers flunked their sternest test in a month and lost for the first time since a defeat at Arizona in the season opener.

Jamaal Charles scored once and gained 95 yards to give him 6,113 for his career, moving him to the top of Kansas City’s career list. He passed Priest Holmes, who had 6,070.

“That was my first time winning here,” Charles said. “That was big, it was a big win. That’s a good team, they have a great defense, great quarterback on their side. That was an amazing game to pull off today. The team fought with will and we went out there to play a great game.”

Charles weaved in and out of traffic to score on a 16-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Former teammate Brandon Flowers leveled him a yard into the end zone, too late to keep the Chiefs from tying it at 7.

Flowers later left the game with a concussion.

“Flowers put a big hit on me, but I’m thankful that I got up healthy,” Charles said.

The Chargers, facing an established quarterback for the first time in four games, allowed Smith to complete 19 of 28 passes for 221 yards.

Now they travel to face the Broncos.

“When you win five in a row, losing stinks,” San Diego’s Philip Rivers said. “We have to handle it right and get ready to go to Denver on Thursday night and not let this thing go to two in a row.”

Rivers was 17 of 31 for 205 yards and two touchdowns. After setting an NFL record with five straight games with a passer rating of 120 or better, he tumbled to 83.4.

Smith had given the Chiefs a 20-14 lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass to fullback Anthony Sherman with 14:50 left.

Sherman broke a tackle inside the 10 and scored to cap an 11-play, 70-yard drive. On the previous play, a holding call against Chargers cornerback Richard Marshall nullified a sack of Smith and gave the Chiefs a first down at the 11.

The Chargers got to the Kansas City 6 before Rivers threw two straight incompletions and San Diego had to settle for Nick Novak’s 24-yard field goal to close to 20-17.

Novak kicked a 48-yarder to tie the game with 1:57 left.

Novak has 31 straight field goal conversions, breaking John Carney’s team record of 29 set in 1992-93.

Antonio Gates caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Rivers just before halftime. It was the 67th career TD pass from Rivers to Gates, the most in NFL history from a quarterback to a tight end.

St. Louis Rams' Stedman Bailey, left, is congratulated by teammates after running a punt back 90 yards for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

St. Louis Rams’ Stedman Bailey, left, is congratulated by teammates after running a punt back 90 yards for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Special teams brought down the Seattle Seahawks.

Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 100 yards and pass for 300 yards, and the Seahawks had a huge statistical advantage over the St. Louis Rams.

The effort was wasted because Seattle was burned for three big plays and couldn’t climb out of an early hole in a 28-26 loss on Sunday.

Coach Pete Carroll couldn’t help but admire the tricks the Rams pulled.

“Some unbelievable cool things that they were able to do on special teams and it made a big difference,” Carroll said. “We have work to do.”

Wilson had 106 yards on seven carries, including a 19-yard TD run. He was 23 for 36 for 313 yards passing, with Doug Baldwin stepping up and catching seven passes for 123 yards and a TD, and six others had at least one reception.

“I really don’t want to run, to be honest with you,” Wilson said. “I’m trying to throw it all the time and keep my eyes down the field.”

The 100-yard game was Baldwin’s third in four seasons counting the postseason. Baldwin confirmed reports he’d scuffled with receiver Percy Harvin, traded to the Jets on Friday for a conditional draft pick.

“Yes, it is true,” Baldwin said. “However, when you deal with somebody 12 or 14 hours out of the day, you’re going to have issues and conflict.”

Wilson said discussion of locker-room strife was “nobody’s business.”

“Our locker room is our locker room, and we keep everything in-house,” the quarterback said. “He fought hard for us. Like I said, I wish nothing but the best for Percy.”

The Seahawks were prepared for a fake punt, just not on fourth-and-3 from the St. Louis 18 when Johnny Hekker passed for a first down that helped run out the clock. Hekker is also the holder and has one career TD pass for the go-ahead score in a victory over Seattle in 2012.

“They’re a big fake team on the special teams,” special teamer DeShawn Shead said. “We was on high alert. They just executed.”

Stedman Bailey had a 90-yard touchdown on a trick return that fooled the Seahawks into thinking another player was going to catch the punt, and Benny Cunningham’s 75-yard kickoff return out of the end zone on a squibbed kick that had the Seahawks counting on a touchback set up an early touchdown for the Rams (2-4).

The Rams won for just the third time in 19 games against Seattle after somehow recovering a fumble by Tre Mason in the final minute. The Seahawks’ Richard Sherman had the ball after it popped out of Cory Harkey’s grasp, but Harkey apparently grabbed it back in the scrum

NFL spokesman Michael Signora said the play was reviewed by the league and that there was “no evidence of a clear recovery by either St. Louis or Seattle.”

“I thought we had the ball,” Wilson said. “But I guess not.”

Hekker was a high school quarterback and is 4 for 5 for 60 yards and a touchdown in three seasons. He also serves as the emergency quarterback.

The Seahawks (3-3) have lost two straight for the first time since the middle of the 2012 season.

Seattle outgained the Rams 463 yards to 272. Baldwin’s’ 9-yard reception cut the deficit to two with 3:18 to go, but the Rams were able to run out the clock after Hekker’s completion to Cunningham on fourth-and-3.

Wilson was sacked three times by St. Louis, which trailed the NFL with just one in the first five games. Robert Quinn’s got his first of the season; Quinn led the NFC with a franchise-record 19 sacks last year.

The Rams led by at least two touchdowns at home for the third straight game and Bailey’s punt return made it 21-3 midway through the second quarter. They couldn’t hold on the first two times, coughing up a 14-0 advantage last Monday night against the 49ers, and a 21-point cushion against Dallas in Week 3.

On his tricky TD, Bailey had clear sailing past a stunned Seahawks sideline after an excellent fake by Tavon Austin drew most defenders to the opposite side of the field. Austin sold it well, staggering under the imaginary ball.

“They hokey-dokeyed us,” punter Jon Ryan said. “In that situation, we’re at the 50-yard line, that ball is going to the left 100 percent of the time, so I’ll leave it at that.

“I’m screaming, but too little too late.”

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Giants defensive starters Cullen Jenkins and Jon Beason are out of New York’s game against the Dallas Cowboys because of injuries sustained in the first half.

Jenkins, the left defensive tackle, sustained a calf strain Sunday. Middle linebacker Beason left the game because of a toe injury.

The Giants said after halftime that both players were out for the rest of the game. X-rays on Beason’s toe were negative.