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Wisconsin Sports Briefs: Packer defense looking to rebound against Eagles…

The Green Bay defense is looking to make a big recovery on Sunday, when the Packers host Philadelphia.

The Packers gave up 442 total yards in their Monday night home loss to Chicago. That's the most since the first week of the season, when they gave up 494 yards in a loss at San Francisco.

Green Bay had a four-game winning streak when Aaron Rodgers went down. The offense then struggled to the point in which the defense spent 33 tiring minutes on the field.

That followed a solid four-game stretch in which Green Bay's total defense rose from the 28th-best in the NFL to No. 11.

The Packers only allowed an average of 15 points in those four contests, despite the absences of starting outside linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews. Both are expected to return on Sunday from fractures.

Outside linebacker Mike Neal was limited at yesterday's practice with a knee injury. Coach Mike McCarthy said Neal was "just a little beat up."

Defensive end Ryan Pickett was also limited with a bad knee.

Lacy steps up

It was hard not to notice that Eddie Lacy stepped up his running attack for the Green Bay Packers, right after quarterback Aaron Rodgers left the game on Monday night.

The rookie running back from Alabama had all but 20 of his 150 rushing yards after Rodgers left in the first quarter of the loss to Chicago with a broken collarbone.

Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said it was evident that Green Bay's running game needed to make a bigger contribution the second after Rodgers went down.

Lacy obliged, as he forced nine Bears' defenders to miss tackles. That's according to Pro Football Focus, which said the Packers forced 38 missed tackles during all of last season. Lacy had almost a quarter of that total in one night.

A lot has been said of how Lacy and James Starks have given the Packers their best running game in years. They hope to continue it on Sunday, when the Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles.

A Green Bay victory would keep the Packers in a tie for the NFC North lead. Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit are all 5-3. The Bears and Lions face each other on Sunday.

Abbrederis and Borland to return

Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis and linebacker Chris Borland will both start Saturday when the 21st-ranked Badgers host Brigham Young.

The senior Abbrederis had a rib injury in last week's victory at Iowa. Borland has been out for almost two weeks with a hamstring injury suffered in a win at Illinois. Both practiced full-tilt Thursday.

Center Dallas Lewallen will miss Saturday's game after he hurt his right leg six days ago at Iowa.

Redshirt freshman Dan Voltz will make his second start at center.

Backup defensive end Tyler Dippel could also play. He's been away all week with a family emergency, but he was expected to return to the UW campus Friday.

Both teams come into this contest at 6-2 overall.

The Badger defense will have the challenge of facing a no-huddle offense which averages almost 90 plays a game. The Cougars are 14th in the country with almost 259 rushing yards each week.

Badger women defeat UW-Stevens Point

The Wisconsin women's basketball team won its second and final exhibition game Thursday night, 80-51, at home over Division III UW-Stevens Point. The Pointers led by as many as seven in the first half, but the Badgers went on a 22-10 run to take a 12-point lead at the break.

Wisconsin then outscored the Pointers 39-22 in the second half. They outshot Stevens Point 56 to 39 percent for the game.

Michala Johnson led Wisconsin with 18 points. Kaitlyn Jacobs led the Pointers with 11.

The Badger women will open their regular season on Sunday at home against Drake.

High school volleyball

Menomonee Falls will play Sun Prairie and Neenah will go against Westosha Central Friday night in the Division 1 semifinals at the girls' state high school volleyball tournament.

All four teams advanced after Thursday night's quarterfinals at the Resch Center near Green Bay.

Neenah had the only shutout of the night, eliminating Wausau East in three sets while converting 68-percent of its attacks.

Sun Prairie needed the maximum five sets to top Appleton North with a 15-13 score in the final set.

Menomonee Falls advanced three sets to one over Milwaukee Pius.

Westosha Central also took four sets to eliminate Muskego.

Play begins Friday in three other divisions. Semifinals are up first in Division 4. Wausau Newman plays Hilbert, and Clayton takes on North Crawford.

The Division 3 semifinals are set for early Friday afternoon. Auburndale goes against Racine St. Catherine and Eau Claire Regis plays Brodhead.

In the Division 2 semis late Friday afternoon, Oconto Falls battles East Troy and Madison Edgewood faces Altoona.

Title matches are set for Saturday in all four divisions. None of last year's champions returned.