Banyard is Saints’ top rusher again, but Pats take win

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Joseph Banyard was the leading rusher again for the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, but his 27 yards on seven carries weren’t enough to keep the New England Patriots from eaking out a 7-6 victory.Banyard, who recently signed a three-year con-tract with the Saints as a rookie free agent after starring at Sweetwater High School and the Uni-versity of Texas-El Paso, also caught a six-yard pass and recorded one tackle on defense. For the season, Banyard has 12 rushes for 45 yards, plus two receptions for three yards and three tackles. He had a season-high nine-yard gain on Thursday. The first scheduled roster cut for the Saints to 80 players is Aug. 28, with a final cut to the 53-player limit scheduled Sept. 2.The Saints will host the Washington Redskins in their season opener on Sept. 9.Banyard — who played for Sweetwater for three years from 2005-07 — was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jackson-ville Jaguars in late April before being waived a few weeks later. However, he got a second chance in June after an impressive performance at the Saints’ minicamp. Harrell tries to solidify No. 2 spot in loss to San DiegoSAN DIEGO — Former Texas Tech star Graham Harrell, trying to solidify his spot as the No. 2 quarterback with the Green Bay Packers behind Aaron Rodgers, had some bad misses early but hit Randall Cobb on a 23-yard pass that set up a 3-yard touchdown between the two in the closing seconds of the first half of a 21-13 exhibition loss Thursday to the San Diego Chargers. Harrell finished 15 of 27 for 135 yards.“We did some good things at times and then we went through some rough patches,” Harrell said. “Hopefully, we will get better.”