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  • 11/11/12--19:31: Seahawks 28, Jets 7
  • Times wires
    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Seattle even makes shot put pass work

    SEATTLE — From across the locker room, the shouts toward Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson were clearly heard.

    "Golden is coming for your job!"

    Wilson isn't the only one throwing touchdowns for the Seahawks. Even receivers like Golden Tate are getting in on the fun.

    Wilson tossed two scores before Tate's shot put TD pass to Sidney Rice late in the fourth quarter capped Seattle's rout of the Jets.

    Tate's 23-yard duck to Rice was punctuated by the receiver taking a bow to three sides of CenturyLink Field.

    Marshawn Lynch added 124 yards rushing, topping 1,000 yards for the season.

    "It's hard to get 1,000 yards in this league. I'm happy for Marshawn. He congratulated me, and I'm like, 'No, congratulations to you.' That's just the kind of guy he is," Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. "He understands it takes all 11 guys to run the ball in this league."

    And the 3-6 Jets keep sliding.

    "I don't know how many more losses you can spot somebody before you think they make the playoffs," coach Rex Ryan said.

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  • 11/11/12--19:39: 49ers 24, Rams 24, OT
  • Times wires
    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Rams, 49ers blow shots to break tie

    SAN FRANCISCO — Two typically reliable kickers missed. Penalties doomed both sides. And a furious, thrilling finish to regulation ended with a dud in overtime: a tie.

    San Francisco and St. Louis played the NFL's first tie game in four years as both teams missed overtime field goals.

    "I don't think I've ever been in a game like this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "…We had a number of chances to put the game away. And, unfortunately, we didn't."

    Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yarder, but the Rams were penalized 5 yards for delay of game — which holder Johnny Hekker said was his fault. Zuerlein tried again from 58 and missed wide right with 2:42 left in OT.

    San Francisco's David Akers missed wide left on a 41-yard try that could have sealed it earlier. His 33-yarder with 3 seconds left in regulation forced OT after Rams QB Sam Bradford threw a 2-yard touchdown to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining.

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    Times staff, wires
    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Greg Schiano, Bucs coach:

    "You usually don't win a game when the time of possession is the way it was — 36 and change and 23 and change. It's hard to win that way, but again some of those plays that made it that way were a blocked punt for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown. Certainly the defense was out there for a long time today, but they bowed their neck and made a play when they needed to."

    Schiano, on a difference in his team:

    "I don't think we're playing that differently. I think what's happened is we've worked through, we've built cumulative receptions in what we do, we're more comfortable with it and it's given us a chance to make (plays) because the line is so fine between doing it and not doing it. Right now we're tending to be on the other side of the line, which is good."

    Josh Freeman, Bucs QB:

    "We just kept grinding away and the defensive score and the special teams score kind of threw them out of a rhythm from the point of trying to sit back. They kind of pushed the envelope a bit, allowed us to get on top and one of those kind of sealed the deal."

    Tiquan Underwood, Bucs WR, on the third-quarter scoring drive:

    "Whenever you come out of halftime, make your adjustments, and put a good drive together and put points on the board, that's just a good feeling to get the second half going."

    Norv Turner, Chargers coach:

    "If you give up a blocked punt for a touchdown, and you give up an interception return for a touchdown, you are going to put yourself in jeopardy in terms of winning the game."

    Pat Yasinskas, ESPN.com NFC South blogger:

    For a young team with a rookie NFL head coach in Greg Schiano, it is hugely significant to be over .500 in the second half of the season. A week or two ago, it was easy to look at the Bucs and say they were a team that could be on target for the playoffs next season. Now, you have to start wondering if the Bucs can make the playoffs this season.

    Josh Alper, Profootballtalk.com:

    The win leaves the Bucs at 5-4 and very much alive in the NFC playoff race. Their schedule isn't easy — two games with the Falcons, road trips to Denver and New Orleans — but they've got a shot to make a run at the postseason.

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    By Stephen F. Holder and Joe Smith, Times staff writers
    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Keeping it clean

    The Bucs offense didn't rack up 300 yards (279) and didn't have the ball a ton (23 minutes, 19 seconds). But it was a model of efficiency with no turnovers and no penalties.

    Josh Freeman now has four consecutive games without an interception (against 13 touchdowns) and has just five this season (after 22 last season).

    "Turnovers are the No. 1 factor for wins and losses," Freeman said. "You look at every win, every loss. The team that wins the turnover battle is pretty substantial."

    The Bucs are plus-11 in turnovers this season, including two interceptions of Philip Rivers on Sunday. And after Tampa Bay hurt itself by committing 14 penalties last week against Oakland, it committed just one Sunday (a 5-yard hold against FS Ronde Barber).

    "You need to come back with a game like that," TE Dallas Clark said. "So to come back and just hone in on the dumb penalties, that's, obviously, a big help."

    Freeman became the first Buc to throw two or more touchdowns in five consecutive games since during the 2002 Super Bowl season. He extended his streak with a touchdown pass to 12 games dating to Dec. 17. And with a 137.5 on Sunday, he became the first Buc to have five consecutive games with a passer rating above 100.

    Pair gets redemption and TD

    Dekoda Watson said he and fellow Bucs linebacker Adam Hayward had been in the doghouse for hitting punters while trying to block punts. Watson's came during a loss to Dallas, Hayward's during last week's win against the Raiders.

    So it was especially gratifying Sunday when the two teamed up for a momentum-swinging punt block and touchdown in the second quarter.

    "Lord knows, we needed it," Watson said, smiling. "Both of us."

    On the play, the speedy Watson came free off the left edge to knock down Mike Scifres' punt. Hayward scooped it up and returned it 29 yards for the touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 17-14 lead.

    "I give all the credit to Dekoda. He does what he does best: blocks punts," Hayward said. "When I saw the ball was live, I just picked it up. All I was thinking was, 'Don't get caught!' I was trying to move as fast as I could. It didn't look fast, but it felt fast."

    Credit also should go to some pregame scheming by the Bucs. They saw a weakness in the Chargers special teams and exploited it with some late movement. They had E.J. Biggers, covering a gunner near the sideline, sprint toward the line of scrimmage just before the snap and blitz off the left edge, next to Watson. That forced Corey Lynch, a former Buc, to make a quick decision of whom to block. He picked the wrong player, taking on Biggers and allowing Watson to come in clean inside.

    "It's something that was routine that didn't go the way we wanted to," Chargers S Darrell Stuckey said. "You have to stay in tight and block inside out and let the outside guy (Biggers) go because he won't have time to get there."

    It was the first blocked punt of Watson's career and Hayward's first touchdown. And it also was the first punt block for a touchdown by the Bucs since Ronde Barber pulled one off on Nov. 8. 2009. Said Watson, a former Florida State standout: "It's been a long time coming."

    Martin runs, catches and blocks

    Doug Martin's 251-yard rushing game against Oakland last week made him the talk of the NFL. And it drew the attention of the Chargers, who had an extra defender, FS Eric Weddle, in the box most of the game.

    But while Martin didn't have a big day (68 yards on 19 carries), he had two key catches and some big blitz pickups.

    "He's the all-around guy," Bucs TE Dallas Clark said. "He's the real deal. He's special in his ability to not be one-dimensional."

    Said LT Donald Penn: "He's probably the MVP of the team."

    On the Bucs' first drive, Martin caught a pass in the flat and went 42 yards down the right sideline. That helped set up Clark's 3-yard touchdown catch. Then with the Bucs trying to close out the game, Martin made a leaping 8-yard grab to pick up a first down and allow them to run another minute off the clock.

    "Doug has great hands," QB Josh Freeman said. "He's small. So it's kind of hard to throw it to him. Other than that, he does an awesome job."

    Martin's 605 total yards broke the NFL record for a three-game span (593 by the Bears' Walter Payton in 1977). And his 858 yards over the past five games are the most by a rookie since Edgerrin James in 1999 for the Colts.

    "It's a combination of will to run and size," Chargers S Darrell Stuckey said of the 5-foot-9, 215-pound first-round pick out of Boise State. "He's just like a lot of great backs that were his size. He kind of hides behind those linemen or finds that small crack in the line and hits that seam. It's one of those things where it's going to take a defense to figure it out and stop it."

    Deja vu for the secondary

    Two weeks in a row, the story has been the same for the Bucs secondary. After giving up 414 passing yards at the Raiders, it allowed Philip Rivers to dice it for 337. But there is another parallel between the games: The secondary came up with big plays that slammed the door.

    While CB E.J. Biggers again struggled and the Bucs attempted to make do without starting CB Eric Wright (he missed most of the game with a foot injury), corners Leonard Johnson and LeQuan Lewis made interceptions to thwart San Diego threats during the second half. Last week, interceptions by Biggers and S Ahmad Black helped seal a victory.

    Johnson returned his 83 yards for a touchdown, tilting the momentum of the game. Lewis, who has been with five teams and was playing just his fifth game (second for Tampa Bay) since going undrafted out of Arizona State in 2011, made his first career pick with 3:19 left. That allowed the Bucs to ice the game with a Connor Barth field goal.

    The Bucs continue to live dangerously. They entered the game with the NFL's worst pass defense at 321.1 yards per game. And it went up with Sunday's 337. But the Bucs also have 15 interceptions, third-most in the NFL, offsetting some of the big yardage they've allowed.

    "There are certain things that we haven't done as well as we would like. But we've made plays," coach Greg Schiano said. "Leonard with the interception for a touchdown and then, at the end of the game, (Lewis) making a play to put it on ice.

    "Sure, we'd like to be doing things better, and we will. It's not from a lack of effort. It's not from a lack of want-to. We just have to get everything clicking together."

    Optimistic about Black

    Bucs LB Quincy Black, who sustained a neck injury, was taken to a local hospital for observation, but the team is optimistic he will make a full recovery.

    "I think he's going to be okay," coach Greg Schiano said. "We just have to work through some things."

    Black dropped Chargers RB Ryan Mathews for a 2-yard loss during the third quarter, but the helmet-to-helmet blow caused Black to drop to the turf.

    Black, 28, showed movement in his extremities and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was carted off the field, which allayed Schiano's concerns. Less than two years ago, Schiano was in a similar situation that did not end as favorably. As coach at Rutgers, he saw Eric LeGrand paralyzed during a game.

    "I thought about it immediately, when a guy goes down and he's still," Schiano said. "The good thing was Quincy immediately moved his right arm. So that was a relief. Now it's a matter of being really careful. And I think the medical people did a great job. As someone who's supported efforts to do that, it was a really great job by the medical people to take every precaution."

    Black's neck was stabilized on the field, and he was later strapped to a backboard and loaded onto a stretcher. All the while, players from both teams looked on.

    It was then that Black gave them a reason for optimism.

    "He looked at us, and he said, 'Guys, I'm all right,' " DT Gerald McCoy said. "We heard him. So when we heard that, we were like, 'Let's go.' We said instead of sitting here thinking about it, let's use it as motivation. With one of our family members down, let's stand up for him. That was him saying, 'Go do your thing.' "

    Mathews also was concerned.

    "We're competing and everything, but you don't want to see anything happen like that," he said. "We are all professionals, and we are all trying to make a living off of this. And to see someone go down like that, it (stinks). I'm going to pray for him."

    Black, a third-round pick in 2007 out of New Mexico, is having one of his better seasons. Though he played only in the base defense, he had a game-high two tackles-for-loss Sunday, including the takedown of Mathews.

    Jackson gets last laugh

    If you thought WR Vincent Jackson (below) seemed a bit more motivated for Sunday's game, it's probably because of the opponent.

    The clues were everywhere: from his excited run out of the tunnel during pregame introductions to a postgame celebration during which he climbed practically into the stands to the elation of nearby fans.

    It's no secret Jackson had hard feelings toward the Chargers. He played seven seasons for them but never got the lucrative contract extension he sought (even holding out in 2010).

    But Jackson found what he wanted in Tampa, agreeing to a five-year deal worth $55.55 million in March. And Sunday, with the Bucs' win over the Chargers and the outpouring of emotion from their star receiver, Jackson seemed to get the last laugh.

    Not that he was willing to admit it.

    "It seems like I've been here so much longer than I have," Jackson said. "I feel so at home in red now. It didn't feel that uncomfortable.

    "Seeing those guys on the other side, of course, brought back some memories. Seeing (TE Antonio Gates and QB Philip Rivers), I had great relationships with those guys, and I wish them the best. But when we get out there between the chalk and it's time to play, obviously, we have to do our jobs."

    On a day when the Bucs offense wasn't the juggernaut it was the previous four games, Jackson still impacted the game. He caught a team-high five passes for 59 yards, including a 31-yard deep out that helped set up Tiquan Underwood's 15-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.

    That helped the Bucs get a victory and allowed Jackson to get even.

    "He was excited," QB Josh Freeman said. "I'm really happy that we were able to get this win, for the team's sake and then also for Vincent's sake."

    Quick hits

    • Strangest call of the game: snapping the ball directly to RB D.J. Ware on third and 3 from the Chargers 21 during the second quarter. Ware fumbled the high snap, and the Bucs had to settle for a field goal.

    • Facing fourth and 1 at midfield midway through the third quarter, QB Josh Freeman picked up 4 yards on a sneak. Tampa Bay scored a touchdown two plays later.

    • Rookie LB Lavonte David led the Bucs with 14 tackles, the third time this season (and second straight game) he has recorded 10 or more. He leads the team with 81.

    • Mike Williams' 54-yard reception during the third quarter was his second-longest nonscoring play and third longest overall of the season.

    • Chargers QB Philip Rivers has committed 40 turnovers since the start of last season, most in the NFL during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

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    Times wires
    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    AVONDALE, Ariz. — When the fighting stopped, the oil had dried and the last of the wrecked cars had been towed away, Brad Keselowski found himself on the brink of a first Sprint Cup title for himself and team owner Roger Penske. Only he wasn't in a celebratory mood.

    He entered Sunday's AdvoCare 500 race at Phoenix International Raceway trailing five-time champion Jimmie Johnson by seven points and had the better car all day. And moments after Keselowski raced his way into the lead, a blown tire caused Johnson to crash and take his car to the garage for repairs.

    It helped Keselowski, who finished sixth, to a 20-point lead in the Sprint Cup's Chase for the Championship heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he will clinch the title with a finish of 15th or better.

    "I wanted to take the points lead by winning a race and not relying on a failure," he said.

    Johnson's misfortune was a dramatic and stunning turn in the most chaotic race of the year.

    "I'm more just disappointed in the quality of racing that we saw," Keselowski said. "I thought it was absolutely ridiculous, and I was ashamed to be a part of it."

    Kevin Harvick ended a 44-race losing streak by beating Kyle Busch on a pair of late restarts.

    Harvick crossed the finish ahead of a melee of crashing cars, a chain reaction caused in part because NASCAR failed to throw a caution when Danica Patrick was spun on the restart. Others slid in oil into Patrick's wrecked car.

    "There was oil all over it. Ray Charles could see that," second-place finisher Denny Hamlin said.

    But the carnage was the final exclamation point in a sequence triggered by four-time champion Jeff Gordon. He intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer, and that led to a brawl in the garage.

    Gordon said he retaliated for several weeks of on-track contact from Bowyer, so he slowed until Bowyer came around, then slid down the track when Bowyer tried to get around him. Both cars, along with Joey Logano, wrecked and were out.

    After Gordon climbed from his car in the garage, one of Bowyer's crew members grabbed him from behind, prompting Gordon's team to run over. A melee involving about two dozen ensued, with some on the ground brawling as security tried to break it up.

    "Things just got escalated over the year, and I'd just had it," Gordon, 41, said. "Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me, and he got into me on the back straightaway and pretty much ruined our day. I've had it, fed up with it, and I got him back."

    Bowyer sprinted to join in and made it onto the platform of Gordon's hauler but was stopped there by NASCAR officials.

    "It makes us all look like a bunch of (idiots)," Bowyer, 33, said. "It's pretty embarrassing. For a four-time champion and what I consider one of the best this sport's ever seen to act like this is pretty ridiculous."

    Asked if he planned to retaliate in the future, Bowyer said, "We just have to see."

    Both drivers and their crew chiefs were called to NASCAR's hauler for a meeting as police officers stood outside. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the situation would be looked at further.

    "We should have more fights," Harvick said. "They're not always fun to be in, sometimes you're on the wrong end, but fights are what made NASCAR what it is."

    Keselowski, who was criticized by other drivers for racing Johnson hard on restarts last week, believes there's a double standard at work. "These guys just tried to kill each other," he said. "You race hard, and I get called an (expletive) for racing hard … and I see (stuff) like that, and it's just (ticked) me off."

    NHRA: Antron Brown became the first African American driver to win a major auto racing title when he finished atop the Top Fuel season standings after the Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif. Brown lost in the opening round of eliminations and had to wait until the final, when Tony Schumacher lost in a photo finish to Brandon Bernstein. Jack Beckman won his first Funny Car season title, and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also secured classification crowns. Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Johnson (Pro Stock), and Andrew Hines (Motorcycle) won Sunday's event finals.

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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  • 11/11/12--20:13: NFL news and notes
  • Times wires
    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Around the league


    Three starting quarterbacks — Philadelphia's Michael Vick, above, Chicago's Jay Cutler and San Francisco's Alex Smith — were knocked out of their games Sunday with concussions.

    Vick was hit by Cowboys LB Ernie Sims in the second quarter of a 38-23 loss to Dallas. Vick threw a 2-yard touchdown to Clearwater's Riley Cooper in the first quarter.

    Smith scrambled and started to slide before turning his back, and Rams LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar barreled into his neck area with 1:10 left in the first quarter of a 24-24 tie against St. Louis.

    Cutler took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Texans LB Tim Dobbins late in the first half. Dobbins was called for unnecessary roughness. Cutler stayed in the game for the rest of the half but Jason Campbell entered to start the third quarter.

    BILLS: They set a team record with 35 first downs. That was also the most ever allowed by New England.

    BRONCOS: Peyton Manning threw his 420th touchdown to move into a tie for second place on the NFL's all-time list with Dan Marino. He trails only Brett Favre (508). … DE Elvis Dumervil left with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.

    DOLPHINS: The 37-3 loss was their worst at home since a 48-3 defeat against Kansas City in 1968.

    GIANTS: WR Domenik Hixon suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter.

    PANTHERS: According to profootballtalk.com, owner Jerry Richardson put out a statement regarding speculation linking the team with Los Angeles. It read in part: "It has always been my desire that the Carolinas would be the home of our Panthers. Nothing has changed."

    PATRIOTS: G Logan Mankins left in the third quarter with a left ankle injury and wore a walking boot afterward.

    RAIDERS: Their 55 points allowed tied the team record set in 1961 (against the Houston Oilers in the AFL) and matched in '81 (against San Diego). … Injured RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson were inactive.

    RAMS: CB Janoris Jenkins, a former Florida player, and WR Chris Givens were inactive after breaking unspecified team rules. No other details were announced.

    SAINTS: Fox and ESPN reported that the league gave the team written permission to negotiate with coach Sean Payton on a new deal. His last contract extension was reportedly nullified by the league.

    TITANS: Chris Johnson became the first rusher to gain 100 yards against Miami in the past 23 games, with 126 yards.

    VIKINGS: S Mistral Raymond, a former USF standout, returned after missing six games with a right ankle injury.

    Times wires

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  • 11/11/12--20:39: Bucschargers

  • Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Sprint cup

    Brawl, new Chase leader: Just a day of racin'

    From left, Bowyer and Gordon crash sets off fight; Keselowski on top. 9C

    Monday, November 12, 2012 , Section C | 


    NFC SOUTH W L T PCT. div. next
    Falcons 8 1 0 .889 1-1 vs. Cardinals
    Bucs 5 4 0 .556 1-1 at Panthers
    Saints 4 5 0 .444 2-1 at Raiders
    Panthers 2 7 0 .222 1-2 vs. Bucs

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  • 11/11/12--20:46: Texans 13, Bears 6
  • Times wires
    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    CHICAGO — The Texans kept taking the ball away from the Bears. Then, they took their quarterback out of the game.

    Arian Foster finished with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown catch, and the Texans intercepted Jay Cutler twice before knocking him out of the game with a concussion (see notebook) on their way to a 13-6 victory over the Bears on Sunday night.

    In a showdown between two of the NFL's best, the Texans beat the Bears at their own game in a matchup of teams who both entered 7-1. Houston had four takeaways in the game.

    The Texans entered ranked third in the league in total defense, the Bears fifth.

    Foster was the only reliable offensive weapon on either side, particularly in the first half when he ran for 85 yards and made a sprawling catch for a 2-yard touchdown from Matt Schaub to put Houston ahead 10-3.

    Otherwise, neither team got much going on a soggy night. The Texans did just enough, and now they're tied with Atlanta for the league's best record after the Falcons were upset by New Orleans.

    Schaub threw for just 95 yards and was picked off twice by Bears cornerback Tim Jennings. Andre Johnson had just four catches for 35 yards with Charles Tillman on him. Former Bears safety Danieal Manning helped set the tone early, forcing a fumble by tight end Kellen Davis on Chicago's first play from scrimmage and picking off Cutler later in the first quarter.

    Cutler completed just 7 of 14 for 40 yards with two interceptions in the first half, and backup Jason Campbell threw for 94 yards in the second.

    Brandon Marshall managed 107 yards receiving but also dropped a pass in the end zone. Matt Forte never got going for the Bears, running for 39 yards.

    There were offsetting penalties on the play that knocked Cutler out of the game. The quarterback got called for an illegal forward pass because he was beyond the line of scrimmage. He got drilled by Dobbins, who was called for unnecessary roughness.

    Cutler stayed in and the drive ended with his second interception. Cornerback Kareem Jackson picked off a pass intended for Marshall in double coverage at the Houston 27. Cutler was in for the final drive of the half, but Campbell started the third quarter.

    Robbie Gould kicked a 24-yard field goal late in the third but missed a 48-yarder early in the fourth that would have made it a one-point game.

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    TAMPA — Linebacker Quincy Black walked out of St. Joseph's Hospital on Sunday night after an evaluation for a neck injury, but it is unclear when he might be able to run back into the Bucs' defensive huddle.

    Black, 28, was carted off the field after tackling running back Ryan Mathews in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-24 victory over the Chargers.

    Coach Greg Schiano said Monday Black had no spinal cord damage and has "full function," but is experiencing complications with his left arm and will have further tests. Schiano all but ruled Black out for Sunday's game at Carolina.

    "Overall, he's going to be okay," Schiano said. "But it's serious and how much time that means? We're going to have to see."

    Black has use of his left arm but doctors believe there could be nerve damage and are waiting for the swelling to go down before ordering further tests, according to his agent, Marc Lillibridge.

    "It's not like he's not using that left arm," Lillibridge said. "They expect it to all come back and time should help it heal, but they got some tests they want to finish. They don't know exactly what it is yet, because there's trauma to the area."

    Black remained on his back for several minutes following the helmet-to-helmet collision with Mathews, who was not injured. Black's head and neck were immobilized but he gave a thumbs-up to teammates.

    Schiano was the coach at Rutgers when defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered two fractured vertebrae, a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed following a tackle on special teams in a game against Army in Oct. 2010.

    "Because of what I've been through with Eric, I was a little relieved because I saw him move his right hand," Schiano said. "That was later when he gave the thumbs up, but I saw him move it on the field. Because initially, when I saw him still, I was very worried. … Totally different situation. He was fine, looked me in the eye, talked, speaking, totally different than when that happened before."

    "The spine is fine. … But I do know that it needs some further tests to get right to the bottom of it and there's some really smart, good doctors that are working on it right now for Quincy which makes me feel good that we're going to get him the best care and get the best solution and get him back to being well."

    If Black misses games, the Bucs have some depth at linebacker. Veteran Adam Hayward, who returned a blocked punt for a touchdown against the Chargers, replaced him Sunday and recorded two tackles. Dekoda Watson is listed as Black's strongside backup on the depth chart and rookie Najee Goode can play there as well.

    On Monday, teammates were relieved to learn Black is expected to recover.

    "Whenever you see a guy drop like that, and after such a hard hit, too, it's scary as hell," said defensive tackle Gary Gibson, who played at Rutgers. "It's one of those things you never want to see on your team or anybody else's team. Especially for me, being close to Rutgers after what happened to Eric LeGrand, it's just really scary.

    "What they were telling us on the field was that everything we're doing is precautionary. It was one of those things where it wasn't like he couldn't move his legs or anything like that. So that at least put us at ease."

    Schiano added that he did not think the injury was career-threatening.

    "I hope not, I don't know enough yet," Schiano said.

    He said Black was in good spirits when he visited him at the hospital Sunday night.

    "He'd just been through a lot of tests, but he was okay. He's a grown man, a mature guy and he knows there's something — it's not a little thing — but I think he'll be fine."


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    By Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    They're all a bunch of pinheads. All of them. Everyone associated with the NHL, that is.

    Owners. Players. League executives. Union officials. The whole lot. Heck, at this point, even the Zamboni drivers are off our Christmas list.

    These blockheads are about to take a sport that barely registers in this country anyway, pack it into a crate and chuck it over a cliff. For the first time since this NHL lockout started 59 days ago, it really does feel like the season is in jeopardy.

    Until now, when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wagged his finger, it seemed like a negotiation ploy. When union boss Donald Fehr pounded his fist, it seemed like a publicity stunt. When anyone spoke out about the labor mess or games were canceled, it felt like more posturing meant to rattle the other side.

    But not now. This feels real. This feels scary.

    "I don't see a path to an agreement here," Fehr said over the weekend.

    "I don't know where we go from here," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

    I don't believe much that comes out of the mouths of those two, but I believe that. Here's a look at what has happened, what is happening and what will happen next.

    What has happened

    After months of hemming and hawing, the union and the owners finally seemed on the path to a settlement when they met most of last week. But not only wasn't a deal reached, the two sides couldn't even agree on how much progress was made.

    "You think there's traction,'' Lightning forward Marty St. Louis said, "and all of a sudden it's gone.''

    Some suggested the talks went well. Most suggested they did not. One report said Friday's session ended with the sides snapping at one another and no closer to a deal than when this whole thing started.

    Here's part of the problem: both sides act like we care, as if their little news conferences and emails and leaked memos sway our opinion and put pressure on the other guy. They need to realize that we don't care who is right or wrong. We don't care who wins or loses. Most don't understand or even care to learn what the differences are.

    We don't give a hoot about revenue sharing or salary caps or whether or not the players are "made whole.'' We don't care about free agency or rookie pay scales.

    We care about two things: when will a deal be struck and when will the season start?

    What is happening now?

    In a word: nothing.

    The sides barely spoke Sunday and did not talk formally Monday because Hockey Hall of Fame inductions. Ironic, eh? On a day when hockey celebrates some of its greatest players, a superstar such as St. Louis is thinking about heading off to Europe because his league is shut down.

    "I'm caught in between,'' St. Louis said. "I want to go, but I feel, geez, it might be close. But, nope, two days later, nope, we're far. … It's tough.''

    What will happen next?

    If you look back at the history of labor talks, there's often a pattern. A long silence is interrupted by furious talks. Momentum is gained. A deal appears close. Then there's a blowup and the sides storm away from the table. Finally, they reconvene to strike a deal at the last minute.

    Well, we're just about at the last minute. A deal must be struck soon to salvage a season.

    "I think there's a process that has to be done and you try not to read too much into one meeting,'' Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "We were there and we were talking, but it is frustrating. We want to play. We want to get this done. We want a deal that's fair for everybody.''

    But getting there appears improbable because Bettman and Fehr have their enormous egos in the way. They don't care about the other side. They don't care about sponsors. They don't about networks. And they care even less about fans, who are about to go from angry to apathetic, if they're not there already.

    Final thought

    The only way this thing gets done is if Bettman and Fehr walk away, at least for now. There's too much animosity. Neither man trusts the other. Both are more concerned with their reputations than what is best for hockey.

    The NFL hasn't lost a game to a labor dispute in the past 20 years. The NBA has lost 504.

    Meantime, Major League Baseball has lost 938 games in addition to the 1994 postseason — all while Fehr was running the MLB players' union. And, no sport has lost more games over the past 20 years than the NHL — an incredible 1,698, all on Bettman's watch.

    How can we trust that the two men half responsible for the biggest labor messes in North American sports over the past two decades are the right negotiators to hammer out this deal?

    Kick them out of the room. Lock the doors. Put their second-in-commands in charge of the talks. It's our only hope.

    Until then, don't bug us until you have a deal or cancel the season. Frankly, we don't care which.

    Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

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    By Antonya English, Times Staff Writer
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    GAINESVILLE — Florida sophomore QB Jeff Driskel will likely miss Saturday's home finale against Jacksonville State because of a sprained ankle he suffered against Louisiana-Lafayette.

    "We'll try to get him on the field Wednesday," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "If he can't go by then, certainly we'll go with Jacoby (Brissett). We have all the confidence in the world Jacoby will play well. "

    Driskel was injured in the third quarter Saturday. Brissett took over, going 6-of-8 for 64 yards and one touchdown.

    Driskel is wearing a walking boot. "That's a precautionary," Muschamp said. "That's what we always do with any sprained ankle. They're wanting to see how the swelling (goes). I feel like we'll see Wednesday what he can do or if he can do anything."

    PERCEPTION VS. REALITY: Alabama's loss to Texas A&M Saturday began a BCS frenzy, with coaches stating their case for better rankings. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, whose team is generating weak computers rankings, said Monday he believes the system of choosing the nation's top teams needs to be changed, relying more on the human element. Fisher acknowledged he voted the one-loss Seminoles No. 4 on his coaches ballot this week.

    Florida is No. 6 in the BCS standings. Yet the Gators aren't generating much buzz among the one-loss teams despite being 3-1 vs. teams ranked in the BCS Top 10, best among top 10 teams. Asked if the Gators are getting proper respect, Muschamp said he can't worry about the outside perception, but it's a concern.

    "Unfortunately, in our profession, sometimes perception becomes reality," he said. "I don't apologize for being 3-1 and the only team in the BCS Top 10 that has that record, and a better record than anyone else, and has a tougher schedule than anyone else in the country. So, I don't know what else you need to do.

    "As far as our players are concerned, we continue to focus on Florida and what we need to do to be successful: that's preparation for Jacksonville State this weekend. You look at our record, you look at our schedule and what we've accomplished this year, we've had a hell of a year."

    PURIFOY HONORED: Florida sophomore DB Loucheiz Purifoy was named the SEC co-special teams player of the week, sharing the honor with Missouri K Andrew Baggett. Purifoy blocked a punt and Jelani Jenkins returned it 36 yards for a touchdown with two seconds left in the Gators' 27-20 come-from-behind win over Louisiana-Lafayette. In the previous week's victory over Missouri, Purifoy blocked a 25-yard field goal.

    WILBEKIN, PRATHER OUT: Florida will be without starting PG Scottie Wilbekin and backup F Casey Prather when it hosts Wisconsin on Wednesday night. Wilbekin remains suspended for unspecified reasons, and Prather has headaches and other symptoms from two concussions suffered in nine days.

    "I think there's still information that I have to gather," coach Billy Donovan said of Wilbekin, who was suspended Thursday. "As of right now, I am not playing him against Wisconsin, unless something, the things I'm able to find out this week change."

    Donovan said Wilbekin is not banned from the practice facility but has not practiced with the team since the suspension. Wilbekin has worked out with a UF assistant coach and lifted weights. "He's still part of our team and our family and those kind of things," Donovan said.

    Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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    By Joel Anderson, Times Staff Writer
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    On his first visit to the Citrus Bowl, Quentin Williams spent a good bit of time absorbing the scene around him and two teammates from Jefferson High School.

    There was the stadium, filled nearly to capacity with more than 60,000 fans. There was music, the smell of smoked meats and one of college football's most celebrated halftime shows. And many of the same things — possibly with more people, he said — were going outside the stadium.

    Williams resolved to return.

    And he did, as a senior at Jefferson two years ago, then a promising redshirt freshman with Bethune-Cookman last year.

    Saturday, Williams takes center stage as starting quarterback for the Wildcats. The record-breaking Jefferson alum will lead Bethune-Cookman into the annual Florida Classic against Florida A&M after the best game of his fledgling college career.

    After being a spectator for three years, Williams is the main event.

    "It was a great atmosphere and the fans put so much pride into the game," Williams said. "But it's different being a part of the team, with all eyes on you."

    Williams has earned that attention, guiding the Wildcats to six wins in seven starts and helping them clinch their first outright MEAC championship in 10 years following Saturday's 49-7 win at Savannah State.

    In that victory, Williams completed 9 of 12 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 113 yards on 11 carries. He showcased his multitude of gifts: accuracy, arm strength and preternatural shiftiness for someone who is not exactly swift.

    Williams took the starting job midway through the Wildcats' 38-10 loss at Miami in the third game of the season and has strengthened his hold since.

    He has completed 61 percent of his passes for 838 yards and nine touchdowns, with two interceptions, and has rushed for 363 yards and three touchdowns. If Williams had more passes, his efficiency rating of 152 would rank 10th in Division I-AA.

    "He can operate our offense at a high level," B-CU coach Brian Jenkins told the Daytona Beach News-Journal this year. "I just see this young man getting better and better."

    Back home, it all sounds familiar to the coach who placed the ball and an uncommon amount of trust in Williams for three years in high school.

    "I think they're finding out how good he is," said Mike Fenton, former head coach at Jefferson and now offensive coordinator at Tampa Catholic. "I actually thought he would step right in and start. But what he's doing now reminds me a lot of what he did with us his sophomore year."

    Coming off a solid but unspectacular year as the freshman starter on junior varsity, Williams won the starting job over former Bucs quarterback Doug Williams' son. Fenton was then in his second year as Jefferson coach, inheriting a program that had lost record-setting quarterback Stephen Garcia. He was looking for someone to run his zone-read offense.

    Fenton quickly realized Williams could be the one, recalling a practice the previous year when the freshman came up to the varsity at the end of the season.

    "He threw the ball and fit it into such a tight little area with such velocity," Fenton said. "It was the sweetest thing you'd ever seen in your life."

    Fenton looked at offensive coordinator Jeremy Earle. They said nothing and broke into grins.

    "That's when it started," Fenton said.

    Three years later, Williams had broken state records for career passing yards and passing touchdowns set by Tim Tebow. His career culminated with a senior year that included 4,300 yards passing yards, 840 rushing, 61 touchdowns and the school's first state championship.

    Williams, of course, remembers those days fondly. He was at the center of a virtually unstoppable offense that included three receivers who went to major colleges.

    "We had some really good times," he said.

    For most recruits with that kind of resume, offers to bigger schools are inevitable. Not for Williams.

    Concerns about his height — at 6 feet and 190 pounds, he's not the typical 6-3, pro-style gunslinger — scared off a number of D-I colleges. Fenton remembered the time a coach from Purdue came to campus and expressed reservations about offering a scholarship to Williams.

    Fenton had Williams meet with the coach after class.

    "The coach looked at him, shook his hand and offered him on the spot," Fenton said. "He said, 'He's bigger than (former Purdue star) Drew Brees right now.' "

    But Williams remained committed to Bethune-Cookman, a historically black college in Daytona Beach that was the first to offer him a scholarship. Williams was loyal to a school that had educated a number of family members, was only 150 miles away and had an improving program and wide-open offense under Jenkins.

    Those memories from his time at the Florida Classic didn't hurt either.

    "It's been a good experience," Williams said.

    Joel Anderson can be reached at janderson@tampabay.com.

    Bethune-Cookman UniversityBethune-Cookman University

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    By Stephen F. Holder, Times Staff Writer
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    TAMPA — The Bucs have put themselves into a conversation few expected to be having around these parts.

    With three straight wins and 5-4 record, the Bucs are legitimately in the NFC playoff picture. Just don't expect the Bucs to participate in the dialogue.

    "You guys (media) take care of that," coach Greg Schiano said. "I don't need to. (The players) are very aware of what's at stake and what could potentially be. … What you can control is what happens out there on the practice field, what happens in the meeting room, how we prepare."

    One season removed from a stretch of 10 consecutive losses, the Bucs could be playing pivotal games as this season winds down. If the playoffs started today, Tampa Bay would be half a game out of the second wild-card spot behind the 6-4 Seahawks and Vikings. The Packers (6-3) would grab the first wild card.

    The Bucs are followed by a quartet of 4-5 clubs — the Saints, Cardinals, Lions and Cowboys — all of whom have displayed weaknesses and inconsistencies.

    The Bucs' remaining schedule is challenging. It includes two games against the Falcons, and trips to Denver and New Orleans. But playing for tangible goals would provide inspiration that was missing in 2011.

    "Winning three games in a row is definitely momentum for us and gives us motivation to go out there and do what we do," RB Doug Martin said. "We're right where we want to be."

    Said Schiano: "If you keep (preparing well) in each one-game season, you're going to win your share and then look up at the end and see if it's good enough. My whole thing is, we'll judge it when it's over. Right now, we're in it. Just keep moving forward."

    WRIGHT INJURY: The Bucs have been winning with a secondary that is giving up a disconcerting amount of yardage.

    With top CB Eric Wright missing most of Sunday's game after re-injuring his Achilles, things remain shaky in the defensive backfield.

    Schiano said the team felt confident Wright was ready to return after practicing. He had missed practices the previous week because of the Achilles but had not missed any games.

    His status is unclear.

    "It's a continuation of what he was dealing with," Schiano said. "He practiced last week, so I really thought he was going to be fine. But then he re-tweaked it. He played well up until he did it. He had a nice (tackle for loss) and it was good to have him going."

    When Schiano got word from team trainer Todd Toriscelli that Wright was out, Schiano said: "Let's keep going. It changed things. Compliments to the guys who jumped right in there and played. That's what you have to do."

    The defense has offset its league-worst average in passing yardage with 15 interceptions, third-most in the NFL.

    TIGHTENED UP: The Bucs committed 14 penalties Nov. 4 in the win at Oakland, but on Sunday had one penalty for 5 yards.

    "Obviously that was a problem the week before," Schiano said. "That was something we talked about as a team. We always work on it but there was a special emphasis. That was a marked improvement."

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    By Dave Zalewski, Times Correspondent
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    What's hot: This fall's kingfish run has been disappointing. We have encountered small schools in most of the usual spots (shipping channel and artificial reefs). The majority caught have been on hardware — trolling spoons and plugs behind Nos. 1, 2 and 3 planers at a speed of 6 knots, which lets us cover more structure than slow trolling live baits. But three species have more than compensated. Spanish mackerel, barracuda and gag grouper have provided drag-pulling action most days. Spanish mackerel have left the near shore because of dirty water and are on mid-water artificial reefs, like South County, Indian Shores, Rube Alyn and Veteran's. Barracuda are feeding heavily on the mackerel and blue runners on these reefs and cannot resist a slow-trolled blue pulled over the high profile structures.

    Tip: Gag grouper season is closed for harvesting, but there is no restriction for catch and release. Most grouper trolling is along the shipping channel in 30-35 feet. Targeting these depths in the gulf will produce great results using No. 3 planers, with large broken backed gold plugs with small lips, large blue spoons, or large curly-tailed jigs. Trolling speed should be 5 knots when seeking grouper.

    Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

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    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Monday, November 12, 2012


    USF women at Clemson

    When/where: 7; Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C.

    Radio: 1010-AM

    Records: USF 1-0, Clemson 0-1

    Notable: It sounds difficult, going to Clemson, but the Tigers went 6-22 last season and lost their opener to Presbyterian. … Clemson's top two scorers were freshmen Danaejah Grant and Jonquel Jones, with 14 and 13 points, respectively. … USF struggled for the first half of Saturday's opener against Stetson but ended the game on a 33-10 run, sparked by a defense that forced 26 turnovers and won 70-48. … The Bulls got 18 points from returning senior guard Andrea Smith, who missed last season recovering from ACL surgery. … Coach Jose Fernandez was pleased with his team's big edge in rebounding, especially 13 boards from forward Tahira Johnson.

    Greg Auman, Times staff writer

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    Times wires
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    The Big East will compete with four conferences that have not had BCS automatic-qualifying status for a guaranteed spot in the lucrative marquee bowl games when the new postseason system starts in 2014.

    That group of five conferences just won't have a bowl of its own.

    The conference commissioners decided Monday during a meeting with university presidents in Denver that the new four-team playoff will rotate through six games as planned.

    In September, a proposal was put forth to add a seventh game that would match the best team from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference against a Pac-12 or Big 12 team when it did not host a semifinal.

    But television networks weren't all that interested in paying more than $20 million a year more for a game that could feature low-profile teams. So the commissioners created a guaranteed bid to give the so-called group of five a place in the top games.

    "This gives us an opportunity to compete," Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said. "That's what we want."

    LEACH DENIES ABUSE: Washington State coach Mike Leach denied his players are subjected to any type of abuse, as alleged by star receiver Marquess Wilson, who quit the team Saturday. Leach said "there is no truth" to the accusations and described Wilson as a disgruntled player.

    COACH CONTRITE: Tommy Tuberville took full responsibility for losing his cool with a Texas Tech graduate assistant along the sideline Saturday. The third-year coach called his actions "unfortunate" and said he apologized to Kevin Oliver, who works with special teams.

    EAST CAROLINA: Coach Ruffin McNeill said former starting quarterback Rio Johnson is transferring.

    HOUSTON: Cornerback D.J. Hayden was discharged from a Houston hospital six days after taking a hit in practice that tore a major vein that feeds the heart.

    LOUISVILLE: Junior running back Senorise Perry will miss the rest of the season with a torn right ACL.

    MICHIGAN ST.: Offensive tackle Fou Fonoti, out for the season with a foot injury, said he plans to take a medical redshirt and return next season.

    TENNESSEE: Sophomore linebacker Curt Maggitt will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

    WEST VIRGINIA: Junior receiver Ivan McCartney left the team for personal reasons.

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  • 11/12/12--19:12: Concussions striking QBs

  • Monday, November 12, 2012

    Next week's Monday Night Football showcase could feature a quarterback matchup of journeyman Jason Campbell of the Bears vs. untested Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers. Not exactly the creme de la creme of the NFC.

    Why? Concussions.

    Chicago's Jay Cutler and San Francisco's Alex Smith, whose teams will meet on ESPN, both stayed in Sunday's games for several plays after what appeared to be head-rattling hits. Smith even threw a TD pass while playing with blurred vision, coach Jim Harbaugh said.

    "It's a reminder that you've got to err on the side of caution," said Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, co-chairman of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee, who was not familiar with the particulars of Sunday's injuries. "The question that I would ask is: Why did Mr. Smith not report this to his team physician, and say, 'Hey, I've got blurred vision, is that a problem?' … We have to educate the medical teams to be really conservative."

    The league looked into both cases — and Philadelphia's Michael Vick, the third quarterback concussed Sunday — and was satisfied that proper protocol was followed. Vick was diagnosed with a "pretty significant" concussion, the Eagles said.

    BILLS: Running back Fred Jackson is out with a concussion, suffered Sunday against the Patriots. New England linebacker Brandon Spikes delivered the hit, flexed his arm, then yapped at Jackson and several teammates late in the fourth quarter. "Yeah, he'll get his," running back Tashard Choice said Monday. "I don't like to see nobody get hurt, and then on top of that (Spikes) making fun of him while he's on the ground."

    BRONCOS: An MRI exam on pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil's left shoulder showed no tear. Coach John Fox said the injury was a muscle strain. … The league said Trindon Holliday's 76-yard punt return against Carolina should have been ruled a touchback, not a touchdown. Replays showed Holliday prematurely celebrating by flipping the ball before he crossed the goal line.

    CHIEFS: Defensive end Glenn Dorsey (calf) went on injured reserve and defensive back Neiko Thorpe was added.

    JAGUARS: They signed former linebacker Greg Jones. Jacksonville now has two players named Greg Jones; the linebacker joins the fullback, a nine-year veteran out of Florida State.

    PACKERS: Starting offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (hip) was placed on injured reserve.

    PANTHERS: Special teams coordinator Brian Murphy was fired and assistant special teams coach Richard Rodgers was promoted to coordinator.

    STEELERS: Rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, a fourth-round draft choice, was released without playing a game. He was suspended two weeks without pay last month following a run-in with police. Receiver David Gilreath was added to the 53-man roster.

    TEXANS: Defensive line coach Bill Kollar didn't return from Chicago with the team because of a possible blood clot. He missed Sunday's game at the Bears after experiencing shortness of breath; a team trainer sent him to a hospital.

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    Times wires
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher apologized Monday for using the term "retarded" in response to a question about his team's ranking in the BCS standings.

    After being asked about FSU (9-1) being 10th in the BCS behind three two-loss SEC teams, he asked "how retarded is it?"

    Hours later, he apologized.

    "That's not the way I think," Fisher said. "It was a poor choice of words. I didn't mean to offend anyone in any way."

    The word "retarded" and its variations are considered hurtful to many and was targeted by the Special Olympics a few years ago to end its use. Many on social media reacted negatively to Fisher's word choice.

    The Seminoles are No. 10 in the AP poll. They have one win over a ranked team, Clemson, and two over lower division schools. A road defeat to a four-loss North Carolina State team is also hurting FSU in the computer portion of the BCS ratings.

    Fisher said during his weekly news conference that he believes only coaches are capable of picking the country's best teams and that the current system "stinks."

    Associated Press

    USF: QBs battle on

    TAMPA — After a week of open competition, USF coach Skip Holtz said he likes the ongoing battle between redshirt freshman QB Matt Floyd and junior Bobby Eveld for the starting nod Saturday at Miami, but isn't ready to name a starter.

    "I've met with both of them. I think it's a very healthy competition going on between the two," said Holtz, who had Floyd as the top backup and Eveld redshirting until B.J. Daniels' season-ending ankle injury Nov. 3 against Connecticut. "Bobby is in the mind-set that, if this team needs me, I'm ready to play. … I think he's really excited about the opportunity if he gets to play, but I don't think Matt's going to go away slowly."

    Holtz mentioned Eveld's advantage in experience, having led the Bulls to an overtime win at Miami in one of his two career starts; Floyd has seen only limited playing time in three home games this season. "That's something you have to put into the equation," Holtz said.

    KICKOFF SET: USF's game at Cincinnati on Nov. 23 was been set for a 7 p.m. kickoff, with national TV broadcast on ESPN.

    Greg Auman, Times staff writer

    UM: LB looks good

    CORAL GABLES — Miami LB Denzel Perryman has a good shot at playing Saturday against USF. Coach Al Golden said Perryman "is going to be ready" after Monday's brief walkthrough practice. He was listed as co-starter outside alongside Gionni Paul after missing last week's game with an ankle injury.

    GONE: The school fired longtime equipment manager Bobby Revilla. School officials said they could not comment on why.


    UCF: LB commits

    Mario Mathis, an outside linebacker from Thomasville (Ga.) High, committed to the Knights, said his high school coach, Richard Marsh. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder gives UCF its 13th commitment for 2013. Mathis was headed to Mississippi before a torn ACL required surgery this past offseason. Marsh said Mathis played all of last year on the torn ligament and, post-surgery, played in all 10 games this season.

    Orlando Sentinel

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    Times wires
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Pau Gasol read about it on Twitter, while Dwight Howard got a midnight message on his BlackBerry. They shared Lakers fans' surprise, trepidation and anticipation.

    Just when everybody thought the Lakers were getting back together with Phil Jackson, they switched course in the middle of the night and named Mike D'Antoni as the replacement for fired coach Mike Brown.

    Players reacted with excitement and bewilderment Monday to the decision to bypass Jackson, the 11-time champ (five with L.A. before retiring in 2011) who discussed the job at his home Saturday and apparently wanted to return.

    "It has been crazy, but all this stuff will just make this team stronger," said Howard, who had been looking forward to playing for Jackson. "Management had to do what they felt is best for the team, and we as players have got to find a way to win."

    D'Antoni hadn't been cleared to travel Monday after undergoing knee replacement surgery this month. The Lakers are optimistic the former Knicks and Suns coach will arrive in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

    Two Lakers who supported both Brown and Jackson weren't available to weigh in. Steve Nash, who masterfully ran D'Antoni's offense in Phoenix, was getting treatment on his injured leg; Kobe Bryant left the workout early.

    D'Antoni, 61, who got a three-year deal worth $12 million, runs a pick-and-roll offense tailor-made for Nash and Howard. He is close to Bryant, whom he coached with the U.S. national team.

    Jackson issued a statement implying he was essentially offered the job after meeting with owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. Jackson said after a handshake, he thought he had until Monday to decide, but was awakened by a midnight call from Kupchak.

    "I didn't solicit or ask for the opportunity. … I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job. The decision is of course theirs to make," Jackson said. "I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker fans who endorsed my return."

    The Lakers framed the choice of D'Antoni as strictly a basketball matter, that a team that stumbled to a 1-4 record while trying to assimilate a Princeton offense would also struggle with Jackson's triangle offense, which can take months to master. With several players in their 30s, and Howard approaching free agency, the Lakers need an immediate turnaround.

    Reports indicated Jackson wanted too much — a stake in ownership, final say on personnel, permission to skip some road games. Kurt Rambis, who worked under Jackson and is friendly with him, called the reports "categorically false."

    Kupchak said D'Antoni was "the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward."

    around the league: A 92-90 loss to the visiting Thunder left the Pistons with an 0-8 record, the worst start in franchise history. Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 33 and keyed a fourth-quarter comeback for Oklahoma City. … Former Gator Chandler Parsons scored a career-high 25 in the host Rockets' 113-110 loss to the Heat. … 76ers center Andrew Bynum will miss at least five more weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee and may not play until early January. … Lakers point guard Steve Blake, starting while Steve Nash is out injured, will miss tonight's game against the Spurs with a minor abdominal strain. The remaining point guards are Darius Morris and Chris Duhon.

    Heat 113, Rockets 110

    MIAMI (113): James 14-26 5-8 38, Battier 2-3 0-0 6, Bosh 10-14 4-4 24, Chalmers 1-5 1-1 4, Wade 8-18 3-7 19, Allen 3-7 0-0 8, Haslem 5-6 0-0 10, Cole 1-6 0-0 2, Lewis 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 45-89 13-20 113.

    HOUSTON (110): Parsons 8-17 4-4 25, Patterson 8-14 1-2 17, Asik 4-8 11-14 19, Lin 3-8 1-2 9, Harden 6-17 9-11 22, Morris 3-4 0-0 8, Delfino 3-10 0-0 8, Douglas 1-2 0-0 2, T.Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-80 26-33 110.

    Miami 25 31 26 31— 113

    Houston 19 33 33 25— 110

    3-Point GoalsMiami 10-21 (James 5-8, Battier 2-3, Allen 2-5, Chalmers 1-3, Cole 0-1, Wade 0-1), Houston 12-34 (Parsons 5-10, Morris 2-3, Lin 2-6, Delfino 2-7, Harden 1-6, Douglas 0-1, Patterson 0-1). Fouled OutMorris. ReboundsMiami 54 (James, Bosh 10), Houston 48 (Asik 14). AssistsMiami 26 (Wade 7), Houston 25 (Lin 6). Total FoulsMiami 24, Houston 20. TechnicalsHouston defensive three second. A18,041 (18,023).

    Celtics 101, Bulls 95

    BOSTON (101): Pierce 4-13 2-2 10, Bass 5-6 6-6 16, Garnett 6-15 3-3 15, Rondo 10-16 0-0 20, Terry 5-10 2-2 13, Sullinger 1-2 0-0 3, Wilcox 2-2 3-3 7, Lee 2-3 0-0 4, Green 3-7 0-0 7, Barbosa 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 41-81 16-16 101.

    CHICAGO (95): Deng 11-20 3-5 26, Boozer 7-14 1-3 15, Noah 6-10 5-5 17, Robinson 3-7 4-4 11, Hamilton 3-8 2-2 8, Teague 1-4 3-4 5, Mohammed 0-1 0-0 0, Belinelli 2-6 0-0 5, Gibson 1-4 2-4 4, Butler 0-0 4-4 4. Totals 34-74 24-31 95.

    Boston 33 25 24 19— 101

    Chicago 27 19 24 25— 95

    3-Point GoalsBoston 3-16 (Sullinger 1-1, Green 1-2, Terry 1-5, Lee 0-1, Barbosa 0-2, Rondo 0-2, Pierce 0-3), Chicago 3-9 (Robinson 1-2, Deng 1-3, Belinelli 1-3, Teague 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoston 37 (Rondo 9), Chicago 50 (Deng, Noah 11). AssistsBoston 28 (Rondo 10), Chicago 24 (Robinson 7). Total FoulsBoston 24, Chicago 15. A21,712 (20,917).

    Jazz 140, Raptors 133 3OT

    UTAH (140): Ma.Williams 6-9 4-6 17, Millsap 11-16 9-10 34, Jefferson 9-20 5-6 24, M. Williams 6-16 2-2 17, Hayward 4-11 2-2 12, Tinsley 0-1 0-0 0, Favors 6-12 3-6 15, Foye 4-7 8-9 20, Kanter 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 46-93 34-43 140.

    TORONTO (133): McGuire 2-3 1-2 5, Bargnani 5-17 8-9 19, Valanciunas 3-3 4-4 10, Calderon 8-16 2-2 20, DeRozan 16-33 4-7 37, Lucas 3-6 0-0 7, Davis 2-4 0-0 4, Johnson 5-8 1-3 11, Kleiza 7-16 3-3 20, Ross 0-1 0-0 0, Gray 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 51-108 23-30 133.

    Utah 26 26 30 22 11 10 15— 140

    Toronto 28 29 30 17 11 10 8— 133

    3-Point GoalsUtah 14-26 (Foye 4-6, Millsap 3-4, M. Williams 3-7, Hayward 2-6, Ma.Williams 1-1, Jefferson 1-2), Toronto 8-24 (Kleiza 3-7, Calderon 2-4, Lucas 1-3, Bargnani 1-4, DeRozan 1-6). Fouled OutFoye, Johnson, Kleiza. ReboundsUtah 60 (Jefferson 17), Toronto 60 (Johnson 14). AssistsUtah 30 (M. Williams 14), Toronto 31 (Calderon 17). Total FoulsUtah 26, Toronto 31. TechnicalsMillsap, Calderon. A18,230 (19,800).

    Thunder 92, Pistons 90

    OKLAHOMA CITY (92): Durant 8-22 10-10 26, Ibaka 4-9 3-3 11, Perkins 0-2 1-2 1, Westbrook 11-25 11-15 33, Sefolosha 0-2 2-2 2, Collison 1-2 0-0 2, Martin 2-8 8-8 13, Maynor 1-3 0-0 2, Thabeet 0-0 2-2 2, Lamb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-73 37-42 92.

    DETROIT (90): Prince 4-12 3-5 12, Maxiell 5-10 3-6 13, Monroe 7-14 3-4 17, Knight 2-13 2-2 8, Stuckey 7-13 4-6 19, Jerebko 1-6 1-1 3, Bynum 2-7 1-1 5, Drummond 2-3 0-0 4, Singler 3-5 1-2 9. Totals 33-83 18-27 90.

    Oklahoma City 25 20 17 30— 92

    Detroit 23 28 22 17— 90

    3-Point GoalsOklahoma City 1-10 (Martin 1-4, Sefolosha 0-1, Durant 0-2, Westbrook 0-3), Detroit 6-17 (Singler 2-3, Knight 2-8, Prince 1-1, Stuckey 1-3, Jerebko 0-2). Fouled OutSingler. ReboundsOklahoma City 59 (Westbrook 10), Detroit 51 (Maxiell 7). AssistsOklahoma City 10 (Westbrook 4), Detroit 22 (Knight 6). Total FoulsOklahoma City 20, Detroit 28. TechnicalsOklahoma City defensive three second 3. A12,784 (22,076).

    Bucks 105, 76ers 96

    MILWAUKEE (105): Harris 4-5 2-2 10, Ilyasova 1-5 0-0 2, Dalembert 4-5 0-0 8, Jennings 12-21 5-5 33, Ellis 8-20 1-1 18, Dunleavy 4-6 3-5 13, Sanders 1-2 0-0 2, Udoh 2-5 3-3 7, Udrih 3-4 0-0 6, Daniels 2-7 2-2 6. Totals 41-80 16-18 105.

    PHILADELPHIA (96): Turner 3-8 2-4 8, T.Young 4-6 3-4 11, Allen 0-2 0-0 0, Holiday 10-18 4-4 25, Richardson 8-16 1-2 20, Hawes 3-11 0-0 6, Wright 5-12 0-0 14, Ivey 2-6 0-0 5, N.Young 2-6 2-2 7. Totals 37-85 12-16 96.

    Milwaukee 34 28 21 22— 105

    Philadelphia 26 24 33 13— 96

    3-Point GoalsMilwaukee 7-20 (Jennings 4-9, Dunleavy 2-3, Ellis 1-5, Harris 0-1, Daniels 0-1, Ilyasova 0-1), Philadelphia 10-24 (Wright 4-9, Richardson 3-8, N.Young 1-1, Holiday 1-2, Ivey 1-3, Hawes 0-1). ReboundsMilwaukee 55 (Sanders 9), Philadelphia 38 (T.Young 7). AssistsMilwaukee 25 (Jennings 8), Philadelphia 22 (Holiday 6). Total FoulsMilwaukee 19, Philadelphia 14. TechnicalsPhiladelphia delay. A15,086 (20,328).

    0 0

    Times wires
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Cody Zeller and his teammates were not themselves Monday night.

    The 7-foot center had an excuse: He was sick. His teammates looked like they caught the same bug until they found a remedy at halftime.

    Zeller, Remy Abell and Jeremy Hollowell turned the game with a second-half run as No. 1 Indiana (2-0) pulled away for an 87-61 victory over North Dakota State in the first round of the Progressive Legends Classic.

    "Your fundamentals, your technique, all your experiences, all those things are really, really important, but there's nothing bigger than energy and toughness. It's got to be there constantly," Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

    Abell, a sophomore, made all five shots including three 3-pointers to finish with a career-high 14 points. Hollowell, a freshman, scored 14 in 19 minutes, and freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell was strong on defense.

    NO. 5 MICHIGAN 91, IUPUI 54: Trey Burke scored 22 and Glenn Robinson III added 21 for the host Wolverines (2-0) in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

    NO. 17 MEMPHIS 81, N. FLORIDA 66: Tarik Black had 18 points and seven rebounds for the host Tigers, who overcame a sluggish start in their season opener.

    NO. 18 UNLV 92, N. ARIZ. 54: Freshman Anthony Bennett had 22 points and seven rebounds to lead the host Rebels in their season opener.

    NO. 20 NOTRE DAME 84, MONMOUTH 57: Garrick Sherman had 22 points and seven rebounds for the host Irish (2-0).

    TOURNEY SITES: Madison Square Garden will host the East Region in 2014. The other region sites will be Anaheim, Calif., Indianapolis and Memphis, Tenn. Orlando will host second- and third-round games. The Final Four will be at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

    AP POLL: Connecticut, which lost Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun and five underclassmen after last season, entered at No. 23. FSU fell out from 25th. Indiana remained No. 1.


    NO. 13 VANDY 62, LIPSCOMB 45: Jasmine Lister had 24 points and hit 6 of 10 3-pointers for the visiting Commodores (1-1).

    NO. 14 W. VA. 60, BOSTON U 57: Ayana Dunning had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to help the visiting Mountaineers (2-0) hang on.

    NO. 23 MIAMI 69, RICHMOND 63: Michelle Woods had a career-high 20 points and Krystal Saunders hit a 3-pointer with 17.9 seconds left to lift the visiting Hurricanes (2-0).

    AP POLL: Baylor remained a unanimous No. 1. No. 19 Texas and No. 25 Georgetown replaced Georgia Tech and DePaul.

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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