Georgia Sports News at 3:30 a.m. All times are Eastern.

NFL:

FBN--FALCONS-JACKSON RETURNS

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Steven Jackson practiced on Monday for the first time in almost a month, and Falcons coach Mike Smith said the running back is on schedule to be play in Atlanta's season opener against New Orleans. Jackson had not practiced since July 28, when he hurt his right hamstring. There was added concern because the running back missed four games with a left hamstring injury last season. Because it was the preseason, the Falcons took a cautious approach to Jackson's recovery. By Charles Odum. SENT: 621 words, photos.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:

FBC--SEC FRESHMAN RBS

LSU freshman running back Leonard Fournette's plans for this season don't include any false modesty. "My expectations for this year are to rush for 1,000 yards, be All-SEC, be All-America and be a Heisman Trophy candidate," Fournette said. The Southeastern Conference's recent history suggests at least the first goal is very much within reach. More than any other league, the SEC has become a place where a freshman running back can make an immediate impact. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 804 worsd, photos.

FBC--NC STATE-DOEREN

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State figures it's found a few more leaders this year. The Wolfpack hope they lead them to more wins. It's finally game week again for N.C. State, which has spent the past nine months putting all those losses during coach Dave Doeren's miserable first season in the past. All that matters now is getting ready for a Georgia Southern team making its FBS debut this weekend. By Joedy McCreary. SENT: 442 words, photo.

MLB:

THIS WEEK IN BASEBALL

Just about everything is going right for the Kansas City Royals these days. They've won 24 of their last 31 games to take over first place in the AL Central. Even the schedule seems to be breaking their way. The Royals played their last nine games against teams currently in last place — and they'll play 10 of their final 33 against last-place Minnesota, Texas and Boston. By Noah Trister. SENT: 759 words, photo.

The AP.