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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

NFL locals: Inspired Frankie Luvu helps Panthers earn first win of season

Frankie Luvu #49 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after blocking a pass during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at Bank of America Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Charlotte.   (Getty Images)
By Taylor Newquist The Spokesman-Review

Frankie Luvu (Washington State) did all he could to keep the Houston Texans out of the end zone. When that didn’t work, he still managed to keep points off the board.

The Carolina Panthers linebacker made a crucial pass deflection on a two-point conversion Sunday, making Eddy Pineiro’s late field goal a game-winner in a 15-13 victory over the visiting Houston Texans at Bank of America Stadium.

Luvu stole the spotlight on multiple occasions from the dueling starting quarterbacks, Carolina’s Bryce Young and Houston’s C.J. Stroud, the first and second picks of the 2023 NFL draft, respectively.

Luvu had ample reason to do so, with his mother Ia visiting from American Samoa to watch him play in the NFL for the first time.

Luvu led the Panthers (1-6) with 12 tackles (two for loss), a sack and two pass deflections.

Luvu made his most important play of the game during a long Texans (3-4) drive midway through the third quarter. The Panthers, leading 12-7, made a goal -line stop on second down, and Luvu stuffed running back Damian Pierce on third down. Stroud scored a quarterback sneak the next play, but Luvu swatted away the two-point attempt to keep Houston from going up by three.

Luvu, who became an American citizen during the offseason, was highlighted during the Fox broadcast and said he hopes to help his parents become citizens soon.

• There was a local-to-local connection in Arlington, Texas.

Brett Rypien (Shadle Park) took over at quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams in the second half of a 43-20 blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Rams QB Matthew Stafford exited in the third quarter with an injured thumb. Rypien came in and completed 5 of 10 attempts for 42 yards, including a 5-yard pass to Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington).

Kupp had a second consecutive game with under 30 receiving yards (five receptions for 21 yards). It’s the first time Kupp has been held to under 30 yards in back-to-back weeks since Sept. 21, 2017 – the second and third games of his career. Before last week, Kupp hadn’t had less than 30 yards when he played a full game since Oct. 18, 2020.

Kendrick Bourne’s (EWU) day started strong and ended early.

Bourne opened the scoring for the New England Patriots with a 24-yard touchdown reception during a 31-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Bourne had a team-high three receptions for 36 yards, before exiting with a knee injury. He will undergo a MRI Monday for a diagnosis.

Bourne has flashed this season after a down 2022-23. He leads the Patriots in receptions (34), yards (370) and touchdowns (three).

Gardner Minshew (WSU) and the Indianapolis Colts are coming back down to earth.

After starting 3-0 in games he played this season, the Colts lost their third straight with Minshew under center, 38-27 to the visiting New Orleans Saints.

Minshew led the Colts to scoring drives on four of six possessions in the first half, but Indianapolis struggled to move the ball after that with three punts and an interception in the second half.

Minshew completed 23 of 41 attempts for 213 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

• Arizona safety Jalen Thompson (WSU) had six tackles and a pass defense during a 31-24 loss to the visiting Baltimore Ravens.

• Atlanta linebacker Kaden Elliss (Idaho) had eight tackles during a 28-23 loss to the host Tennessee Titans.