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    By Antonya English, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    This is the first meeting between the schools. It also marks the final home game for the Gators (9-1) and the last time 18 seniors will play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida is trying to finish 7-0 at home. The Gamecocks' roster includes former Georgia RB Washaun Ealey, (left, playing against UF in 2009) who is coming off his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game. He has eight touchdowns in his past four games.

    Antonya English, Times staff writer

    WATCH OUT FOR …

    Florida starting QB Jeff Driskel is out with a sprained ankle so backup and fellow sophomore Jacoby Brissett takes over. They battled for the starting job through the season opener, and coaches and teammates said Brissett has been exemplary with his work ethic and staying prepared. Although Brissett doesn't have the mobility Driskel possesses, offensive coordinator Brent Pease said he won't drastically alter the offense. Although Division I-AA Jacksonville State (6-4) isn't an SEC-caliber team, how Brissett performs will be crucial because he might be called on against Florida State if Driskel's ankle doesn't heal enough to allow him to play last week.

    No. 7 Florida vs. Jacksonville State, 1, Pay-per-view, 620-AM


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    Brandon Wright, Times Correspondent
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    LITHIA

    Allen Ware tried to leave the game before.

    After a successful playing career at Armwood, Ware quit playing competitive soccer and attended Florida State. He dabbled in club, but had long since hung up his boots when he ran into one of his former Armwood teachers.

    "Her husband, Santiago Molina, coached high school up there and we started talking and he asked me to come out and help," Ware said. "I didn't realize how much I missed it."

    So Ware found his passion again, graduating from FSU in 1993 and returning to the area to coach the Plant City boys and girls teams over the next three years. Then in 1996, the Brandon boys job opened up.

    "So I took it," Ware said. "And it turned into 15 years."

    Ware became one of the most respected coaches in area soccer circles, leading Brandon to a 23-1-2 record and a state title in 2003.

    "It was a great year because those seniors knew what they wanted to do from the start," Ware said. "They told all the seniors to not buy class rings because they would get state ones. They were confident, without being cocky."

    But 2010 rolled around and Ware found himself dealing with issues off the field.

    "I was going through some personal things," he said. "I felt like I needed a change and I thought (the program) would do well with someone else coming in."

    Again Ware found himself on the outside of the game looking in. And again, Ware couldn't stay away long.

    "The job opened up at Newsome, and for this side of the county, it's a great position," he said. "I couldn't turn it down."

    Ware replaced Neil Rickmers, who coached the Wolves for the past three seasons. Senior Riley McChesney said that the two have different coaching styles.

    "I love coach (Rickmers) and he was a great guy to talk to who could relate to all of us," "Coach (Ware) is a lot more straightforward and technical."

    McChesney also said that despite the fact this group of seniors had exclusively dealt with Rickmers, the change in head coaches was welcome.

    "This is nothing against coach (Rickmers) because we all really liked him, but we had a disappointing year last year," he said. "It's a refreshing change and new start for us."

    So far the results have been positive for the Wolves. Newsome is off to a 4-2 start, with its two losses coming against area powerhouses Steinbrenner and Jesuit.

    "Right now the only person whose spot is secure is Ajay Sequiera," Ware said. "Other than that we are tinkering with things. But attacking is the strength of our team for sure."

    Sequiera has been on fire for the Wolves, notching 12 goals in their first six matches. The senior forward has scored a hat trick against Berkeley Prep and Gaither and posted five goals against Riverview last Wednesday. Sophomore Eric Lint is Sequiera's striking partner up top of the Wolves base 4-4-2 formation.

    "Ajay has a nose for the goal and is just fearless," Ware said. "Eric is proving to be a very nice complement to him up top."

    Although Ware is still figuring out the correct mix for the Wolves, Newsome will have its hands full reaching the playoffs in a district featuring Plant, Bloomingdale and Wharton, a team coached by his brother Scott.

    "I really missed coaching high school because I teach and I get to see the kids every day," Ware said. "In club you don't have them as much, so it's great to be back."

    Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@tampabay.com.


    Eve Edelheit   |   TimesEve Edelheit | Times

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    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    WATCH OUT FOR …

    USF's offense is missing key players because of injuries, so look for young replacements such as TE Sean Price, WR D'Vario Montgomery, both freshmen, and junior RB Marcus Shaw. Also expect to see Bulls WR Victor Marc in a direct-snap wildcat look to help offset the loss of Daniels' threat as a running quarterback.

    USF at Miami, 3, Sun Sports, 98.7-FM, 1010-AM, 1470-AM

    Who will the Bulls (3-6) turn to after losing senior QB B.J. Daniels to a season-ending injury? It'll either be redshirt freshman Matt Floyd's first career start or junior Bobby Eveld, left, who led USF to a win at Miami (5-5) in 2010. Miami's defense is vulnerable, having lost 41-40 to Virginia last week. If USF's defense can force turnovers, as it did in a 13-6 win against UConn, the Bulls could spoil the Hurricanes' final home game of the season. Miami freshman RB Duke Johnson has made big plays all season and will test the Bulls defense, as will QB Stephen Morris.

    Greg Auman, Times staff writer


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    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    USF defensive tackle Todd Chandler grew up in Miami in a family of Hurricanes fans, and even in his third year with the Bulls, he's still working to convert family members away from the hometown allure of The U.

    "I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with my uncle last night, and he was saying, 'It'd be good if y'all win, but it'd be good if y'all lose,' " said Chandler, one of several key Bulls returning home for today's game at Miami. "It's big. This is my first year back, and my family can actually come and watch me play football. They're coming to support me, so it's all love. They have USF shirts. (The Miami gear) has to stay home. They can't do that to me."

    When Bulls senior linebacker Sam Barrington announced the night before national signing day in 2009 that he had chosen USF over an offer from Miami, it came as a surprise to a large gathering of friends and family, some of whom showed up wearing Hurricanes gear. Senior cornerback Kayvon Webster committed to his hometown Hurricanes in September of his senior year, only to switch the morning of signing day, choosing the Bulls with a pair of high school teammates.

    Those were recruiting upsets — USF still seeks its first conference title, its first 10-win season, while Miami can woo recruits with national titles and dozens of former players in the NFL. The Bulls got a win at Miami in overtime two years ago and lost 6-3 to the Hurricanes last year in Tampa on a field goal as time expired. Each victory on the field helps the Bulls in the big recruiting battles that can hinge on such outcomes.

    "When you talk about the in-state rivalries, having the opportunity to win one of those games definitely starts to put you on par," coach Skip Holtz said. "Those three schools in the state (with Florida and Florida State), they've won conference championships and they've won national championships. We've talked about some of the goals here are to build this program to that level. If you have the opportunity to win on the field, it definitely can catapult (you in) the recruiting battle, which can speed the process up without a doubt. It's valuable."

    USF's other starting corner, George Baker, is from Miami, as are two of the Bulls' most productive defensive tackles in Chandler and fellow sophomore Elkino Watson. To pull recruits out of Miami, where the tradition of Hurricanes football is something players are immersed in from an early age, is something Bulls assistant Larry Scott has had consistent success with in recent years.

    "That's all they've grown up around, the University of Miami, the mystique. They were really young when they had all those really great teams," Scott said. "Playing high school football down there in the shadow of that stadium, you go 'God, one day I'd like to play for the University of Miami.' It's more of a challenge down there because it's a big deal to those kids. When one has the ability to say, 'As much as I loved them as a fan, that's not the right place and right fit for me,' that's an awesome thing."

    Watson grew up in Miami idolizing Hurricanes great Warren Sapp as "the quickest, best D-tackle I've ever seen," but he found more of a personal connection to the family atmosphere he saw at USF, even if playing there didn't carry as much prestige as the hometown team might have.

    "I have a lot of family that are UM fans, but they're going to be cheering for me," Watson said. "Growing up, that was one of the best schools in college football. I've been a Miami kid my whole life. Being recruited by (Miami) was a big honor for my parents, to let them know I could go to the University of Miami. But I decided to come to USF, because this is where my real home is."

    Miami has fallen from its dominant days of national titles, with a 5-5 record this season and the threat of looming NCAA sanctions from prominent off-field scandals. The Bulls have struggled to a 3-6 record, still clinging to hopes of a bowl game if they can win their final three regular-season games.

    The programs have played each year since 2009, but that series is scheduled to end next season in Tampa, giving USF a limited window to make the big gains that can come with a head-to-head victory.

    "It makes the kids see that the perception is that Miami is above the University of South Florida, but when you take the challenge and go head-to-head, it makes the kids say, 'Ooh, it's really not that big a difference as far as on the field,' " Scott said.


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    Brandon Wright, Times Correspondent
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    TAMPA

    Disappointed.

    Sad.

    How about shocked?

    "Yeah, shocked would be a pretty accurate description," Plant goalkeeper Kara Looby said. "It was pretty tough, especially for the seniors we had and everyone who had been around the program for a few years."

    Plant, a team that breezed through the regular season with barely a blemish, found itself on the wrong end of a district semifinal overtime loss to Bloomingdale. All the regular season wins, the No. 1 district seed and aspirations for a deep postseason run evaporated in the time it took for the deciding penalty kick to roll past Looby.

    "We didn't do what we needed to do," Plant coach Pam Smith said of the season-ending match. "So we ended up bowing out of the semis and now the challenge is figuring out what to do to prevent it from happening again."

    And so far in 2012, the Panthers appear to have put last year's bitter ending behind them. Plant has gotten off to a 4-0-1 start, including wins against Gaither and Steinbrenner and a draw against Newsome despite several players hampered with the flu.

    "The way the season ended was shocking and painful," Smith said. "It was something that hurt but all we've talked about since tryouts is making it right."

    Plant certainly has the pedigree and a wealth of experience on its side this year. The Panthers graduated just two players who saw significant playing time off last season's team while this year's version features 13 upperclassman, including seven seniors.

    "We're going to have a lot of spots to fill next season, that's for sure," Smith said.

    Looby, who will continue her soccer career at Georgia next season, may be the most important of all those seniors. Smith called her "excellent" and Looby is arguably the top area keeper.

    "She is very vocal back there and talks very well to her defense to keep them organized," Smith said.

    Despite all the Panthers experience, Looby has a freshman starting right in front of her at centerback. Emily Evangelista currently occupies the second most important defensive position on the field but Looby said the freshman has proven herself.

    "I'm not going to lie, at the beginning of the season I was a little nervous having someone I didn't know and was so young playing there," she said. "But she has done a great job there."

    Kendall Harmon, a junior who's already committed to Stetson, moves from the midfield to the backline this season. The Panthers also have one of the top area field players in Caroline Bado, who's committed to UCF. The 5-foot-7 center midfielder is a physical player with a nonstop motor.

    "She plays forward in club so she has that skill set, but she a big, strong girl who can go and get those 50/50 balls," Smith said. "She's a workhorse."

    Smith is still tinkering with her strikers but Nastasia Asgedom has given the coach plenty of reasons to keep her there, scoring in each of the Panthers' first four matches. Flagler commit Charsley Greiwe has paired with Asgedom to start the season.

    "Both of them can play forward or midfield and Nastasia might be our most versatile player," Smith said.

    Although Looby said the Panthers "have the skill and players" to get to the state championship game, getting out of the district tournament might again prove a potential stumbling block. The Panthers are joined by Newsome, Bloomingdale and Wharton in the wickedly tough 5A-7 district.

    "It's without a doubt the toughest district in the county," Smith said. "And I think it's the toughest in the state. We are in there with tremendous teams we're going to have our hands full."

    Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@tampabay.com.


    Eve Edelheit   |   TimesEve Edelheit | Times

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    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    For the second straight season, the play of QB Josh Freeman has changed the Bucs' fortunes. Over the past five games, he is 4-1 with 13 touchdowns, one interception and a rating of over 100 in each. But will the day come when he switches his NFL address?

    After this season, Freeman, 24, has one year left on the five-year, $26 million contract he signed as a rookie.

    If you are coach Greg Schiano, who inherited the 6-foot-6 passer from Kansas State, do you buy or sell Freeman as the Bucs' future? In other words, when does the organization approach his father/agent, Ron Freeman, with a proposal for a multiyear extension?

    "I wouldn't do anything during the season," said NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly, the former Redskins and Texans general manager. "No. 1, you've got a team here that's getting on a little bit of a roll. You've got a young quarterback. He's still learning how to handle the ups and downs with the league. It's a new offense, a new experience with the coaching staff. So let's not do anything to upset his concentration and preparation from week to week. There's plenty of time in the offseason. You have him under contract for another year. You have a franchise tag.

    "It's a tough one because they've (the current staff) only had him one year. I think it's a hard discussion in the offseason about whether to extend him or not. Let's play through the end of the season and let's have that discussion at that point in time."

    PRO BOWL SAFETY? Ronde Barber switched positions, but some things never change. He is among the league's most productive players and leads all safeties among fan votes for the NFC Pro Bowl team.

    "I have embraced (the position change)," Barber said. "It's a way to keep playing. Like I said at the beginning of the year, I love football. It's a different angle of the game. I'm enjoying it. I'm having a lot of fun doing it."

    Barber has played in five previous Pro Bowls but none since after the 2008 season. The Pro Bowl rosters are chosen based on voting by fans, coaches and players. Players and coaches vote in December, and rosters will be revealed Dec. 26.

    The 37-year-old Barber, who played cornerback for his first 15 seasons, leads the Bucs in interceptions with three, including one returned 78 yards for a touchdown. He also has 50 tackles, fourth on the team.

    DOUBLE TROUBLE: It's rare in college football to play a team twice in one season. That's just one of the challenges Schiano will experience in the NFL starting today against Carolina.

    The Bucs opened the season against the Panthers. And Schiano, the former Rutgers coach, had the upper hand in that precious little tape existed of the offensive and defensive scheme he planned to run in Tampa Bay.

    "I think it's especially significant this year because they didn't know anything," Schiano said of the Panthers. "They only speculated what we had done at Rutgers and what (defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan) had done at Miami. Now they've got nine games on video, so this is more like a first game for us because now they have what we've done.

    "(The Bucs do) a lot of things, when you look at their league rankings, very, very well; like top 10. And we have some issues on defense if you just look at the rankings in some areas. So we're going to have to really try to be better in those areas and see if we can't make improvements. Otherwise, we're going to have a tough time keeping that offense under control."

    Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud@tampabay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.


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    By Stephen F. Holder, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    124.7 (11th) 109.1 (15th)

    The Bucs beat the Panthers in the season opener in a game that didn't feel as close as the final score, 16-10, indicated. The Bucs have evolved a great deal since, opening up their offensive playbook with downfield throws the Panthers didn't see that day. The Bucs' balanced attack will create problems for Carolina, which hasn't fared well against high-octane offenses.

    Panthers' top offensive player

    It's still quarterback Cam Newton, right, pouty news conferences and all. While he seems to have work to do in the leadership department, he's still putting up big numbers, including 2,143 passing yards. The blight is his 10 interceptions.

    Panthers' top defensive player

    Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly, left, has been a wonderful addition, leading the Panthers with 88 tackles. He has become a consistent playmaker on a defense that was in sore need of one.

    What the Panthers do best

    They make plenty of big plays, tied for seventh in pass completions of 20 yards or longer with 31. (The Bucs have 32.)

    How you beat the Panthers

    Defensive success on early downs is key. The Panthers convert just 33.3 percent of their third downs, tied for 25th in the league.

    The Bucs must avoid …

    An early deficit would allow the Panthers to be judicious in their play-calling. And their ability to run and pass with success will position them for a win.

    Projected starters

    BUCS

    OFFENSE

    WR: Vincent Jackson

    LT: Donald Penn

    LG: Jeremy Zuttah

    C: Ted Larsen

    RG: Jamon Meredith

    RT: Demar Dotson

    TE: Dallas Clark

    WR: Mike Williams

    QB: Josh Freeman

    RB: Doug Martin

    FB: Erik Lorig

    DEFENSE

    LDE: Michael Bennett

    DT: Gerald McCoy

    DT: Roy Miller

    RDE: Daniel

    Te'o-Nesheim

    SLB: Adam Hayward

    MLB: Mason Foster

    WLB: Lavonte David

    CB: E.J. Biggers

    CB: Eric Wright

    SS: Mark Barron

    FS: Ronde Barber

    special teams

    PR: Roscoe Parrish

    KR: LeQuan Lewis

    PK: Connor Barth

    P/KO: Michael Koenen

    Panthers

    OFFENSE

    WR: Steve Smith

    LT: Jordan Gross

    LG: Amini Silatolu

    C: Geoff Hangartner

    RG: Jeff Byers

    RT: Byron Bell

    TE: Greg Olsen

    WR: Brandon LaFell

    QB: Cam Newton

    RB: Jonathan Stewart

    FB: Mike Tolbert

    DEFENSE

    LDE: Frank Alexander

    DT: Dwan Edwards

    DT: Ron Edwards

    RDE: Charles Johnson

    SLB: James Anderson

    MLB: Luke Kuechly

    WLB: Thomas Davis

    CB: Captain Munnerlyn

    CB: Josh Norman

    SS: Charles Godfrey

    FS: Haruki Nakamura

    special teams

    PR: Captain Munnerlyn

    KR: Armanti Edwards

    PK/KO: Justin Medlock

    P: Brad Nortman

    Prediction Bucs 28, Panthers 24

    Stat pack



    1 p.m., Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C. | TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line, O/U: Bucs by 1, 48

    Rushing yards

    passing yards

    total yards

    Rushing yards allowed

    passing yards allowed

    total yards allowed

    Bucs

    panthers

    80.1 (1st) 113.0 (16th)

    240.9 (15th) 225.2 (17th)

    321.3 (32nd) 231.9 (16th)

    365.6 (t12th) 334.3 (23rd)

    401.4 (31st) 344.9 (16th)

    Injury report

    BUCS — Questionable: T Jamon Meredith (ankle). Probable: WR Arrelious Benn (shoulder), DE Michael Bennett (shoulder), S Cody Grimm (hamstring), CB Eric Wright (Achilles), C Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder).

    Panthers — Out: DE Antwan Applewhite (hamstring). Probable: LB Thomas Davis (not injury related), WR Armanti Edwards (groin), DT Ron Edwards (not injury related), T Jordan Gross (not injury related), C Geoff Hangartner (knee), G Amini Silatolu (shoulder), WR Steve Smith (not injury related).


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    Times staff, wires
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Quotable

    "If we get to the point after USC that we're undefeated, I'll go on Oprah if I have to. Maybe I'll come back on Sirius. But for right now, quite honestly, I'm just going to worry about winning football games."

    Brian Kelly, Notre Dame coach, to Sirius radio on the campaign he'd wage for a spot in the national title game if the Irish, Oregon and Kansas State all remain undefeated; no word on if anyone's told him Oprah is no longer on TV

    Information from the Associated Press and Philadelphia Daily News was used in this report.

    Badgers star nears TD mark

    Needing just two touchdowns to become the all-time leader in major college football, Wisconsin RB Montee Ball, right, would like nothing more than to get the record today when the Badgers (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) host unbeaten Ohio State in Ball's final game at Camp Randall Stadium.

    "It's going to be extra special to do it at home, if it happens," he said. "It'd be ideal to break a record like that on home turf, in front of our fans."

    Ball has 77 career touchdowns after running for three scores against Indiana last weekend. That's two more than 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, and one fewer than current Division I-A record-holder Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio).

    "It's pretty exciting. We take pride in that and having him be able to have the opportunity to break the record," WR Jared Abbrederis said. "It's been awesome watching him."

    Johnny Football or John Heisman?

    No moment is too big for him. That's what first-year Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin had to say about redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel, a worthy successor to Ryan Tannehill.

    "He gives our players a sense that anything can happen," Sumlin said. "It's a contagious feeling."

    Ask Alabama. Manziel has put himself in the Heisman Trophy conversation, and his school launched a website to pump his campaign: johnnyfootball.aggieathletics.com. He might even be in line behind Kansas State senior QB Collin Klein.

    Who could have figured? But that's what happens if you beat the top-ranked reigning champions at their place. The Aggies (8-2) have already won more games than they did a year ago in the Big 12, when they were picked to finish second and ended up one game above .500. This year they were picked fifth in the SEC West.

    Manziel has been described as a faster, slightly taller version of Doug Flutie. Yet rivals.com only listed him as a three-star recruit. ESPN said he was the 78th-best QB in his class.

    He has thrown for 2,780 yards and 18 TDs, and run for 1,014 and 15, for a team that has the second-highest strength of schedule in Division I-A (its losses were at home against Florida and LSU, by a total of eight). He leads the SEC in rushing. When QB Tim Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore in 2007, he accounted for 4,181 yards and 55 TDs on a 9-4 Florida team.

    No freshman has ever won the Heisman. Three finished third: Georgia Tech's Clint Castleberry (1942), Georgia's Herschel Walker (1980) and Virginia Tech's Michael Vick (1999). Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson (2004) was a runner­up.

    ACC defenses, by the numbers

    ACC teams are giving up points and yards at their highest rate in more than a decade:

    26.2 Average points per game allowed this season, up 1.5 from a year ago.

    389.4 Yards per game allowed, up 20.4 from a year ago.

    1995 The last season ACC teams allowed more yards per game.

    118 Combined points in Georgia Tech's 68-50 victory over North Carolina last week, the highest scoring game in ACC history.

    242.9 Yards per game allowed by Florida State, the exception to the ACC's futility by ranking first in Division I-A.

    Enjoy every moment because it goes by quickly. • College football players hear that from coaches and former players from the moment they arrive on campus, yet somehow some Gator seniors said this week that it didn't hit home until now. • "Time flies fast when you're playing ball," WR Frankie Hammond said. "The four or five years I've spent here have gone by and the time is here. I've enjoyed it. It's been a great experience for me. But the time comes where we have to close that door and move on and another door opens for you. I think (it will be emotional) because a lot of us have poured our hearts into this program. To finally have it end and finally look at it from the outside in. It will be real emotional, just finally having that hit." • Today, Hammond and 17 others will stand on the field in uniform at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the final time. They are the veterans of a group that made one of the best turnarounds in school history, going from 3-5 in SEC play last season to 7-1. That four-game turnaround matches the 1954 (5-2 after 1-3-2) and 1980 (4-2 after 0-6) teams, and makes today more meaningful for the seniors. • "It's going to be fun," NT Omar Hunter said. "I remember getting here as a freshman, all the excitement I had my first game playing. I think it's going to top that (today). My last game in the Swamp, I'm definitely going to enjoy it. It's definitely going to be emotional."


    WILL VRAGOVIC   |   TimesWILL VRAGOVIC | Times

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    Times staff, wires
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    UCF at Tulsa, noon, FSN, 1350-AM

    Both are 6-0 in league play. It's the latest in the season that the division leaders in Conference USA have faced each other and the latest that division leaders have met without a conference loss. The Knights (8-2) can clinch the East Division with a victory and host the league's championship game on Dec. 1. Tulsa (8-2) can clinch the West Division with a victory and the chance to host the championship game if East Carolina loses at Tulane. UCF enters the game leading the conference in passing defense (191.6) and passing efficiency defense (110.7). The Knights are the top-ranked total defense in the league for the fifth consecutive season.

    Florida A&M vs. Bethune-Cookman at Orlando, 2, ESPN Classic

    The Wildcats (8-2, 7-0 MEAC) have clinched the league title but insist they won't overlook the Rattlers (4-6, 4-3). B-CU hopes to clinch a first-round bye in the Division I-AA playoffs and go 8-0 in conference play for the first time. The Rattlers beat North Carolina Central 22-21 last week under interim coach Earl Holmes after the retirement of Joe Taylor.

    Times staff, wires


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    By Dave Mistretta, Times Correspondent
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Time to go fishing: Weather conditions are ideal for fall action. We have been catching large kingfish for the past week. Many Thanksgivings have been the best kingfish action for the season. The weather is truly the dictator as to what the results will be. So far so good. The mild fronts have been sliding by with no punch at all. These weaker systems give anglers a chance to search for big fish.

    They are everywhere: All depths are holding fish. Reports of large kingfish have been coming in from the Skyway all the way out to the southern inside tip of the Middle Grounds (also known as the clover leaf). Many anglers fishing in 80 feet have consistently caught kings, too. My advice is to hit numerous spots in search of the toothy critters. Eventually, you will hit the jackpot.

    Helpful tip: Water temperatures above 70 degrees seem to have the most action. As you travel from shore, keep an eye on the temperature gauge. About 10 miles out, the temperatures come out of the 60s and reach the 70s out to the Middle Grounds. If the cold fronts continue to have no punch, expect a massive infiltration of the giant kings along our coast for the remainder of November.

    Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.


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    Times wires
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will not play this week because of concussions sustained Sunday.

    Rookie Nick Foles, who replaced Vick during the 38-23 loss to Dallas and practiced with the first team all week, makes his first start Sunday against the Redskins. Coach Andy Reid made the announcement Friday, confirming a decision that had been in the works since Monday.

    It was only because Vick had not completed the league-mandated concussion testing earlier this week that Reid did not officially rule him out until Friday. "He has too many symptoms for us to even exercise him," head trainer Rick Burkholder said.

    Cutler will miss Monday's game at San Francisco, leaving Jason Campbell to start.

    Ditka stroke: Hall of Famer Mike Ditka was resting comfortably at a Chicago hospital after suffering a minor stroke. The former tight end and coach, 73, will not make his regular appearance on Sunday's ESPN pregame show. "I feel good right now, and it's not a big deal," he told the Chicago Tribune.

    49ers coach back: San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh returned to work a day after having a minor procedure for an irregular heartbeat. "I'm fine," the 48-year-old said. "No limits. Going about everything as normal. Atrial flutter is something I've had for a while; most of my life."

    Fines: Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton was fined $25,000 for a hit on Colts QB Andrew Luck. Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali and Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes were also fined $25,000 for hits.

    Ref fined: Referee Tony Corrente was fined one game check by the league for uttering obscenities while leaving his microphone on during the Colts-Dolphins game on Nov. 4.

    Browns: Starting corner Joe Haden missed his second straight practice with an oblique injury. The former Gator will be a game-time decision.

    Colts: Corner Teddy Williams, who didn't play college ball, was promoted from the practice squad. He ran track at Texas-San Antonio and had a 9.9-second 100 meters. He spent last season on the Cowboys' practice squad.

    Dolphins: Starting linebacker Karlos Dansby said he has been playing with a torn biceps sustained Oct. 28 against the Jets and a dislocated finger that pops out "every other play."

    Jaguars: Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has missed three games with a sprained left foot, said he believes he will return this season: "Hopefully … in a couple of weeks."

    Jets: Punt returner and receiver Jeremy Kerley, who has team highs of 35 catches and 535 yards, did not practice because of a sore heel and hamstring but is expected to play Sunday.

    Patriots: Tight end Aaron Hernandez will miss his third game with an ankle injury, nfl.com reported.

    Raiders: Safety Tyvon Branch, who has started 57 consecutive games, practiced for the first time this week but is questionable with a neck injury.

    Redskins: Receiver Pierre Garcon, out four games with a torn toe ligament, and safety Brandon Meriweather, out all season with sprained knee ligaments, are expected to play Sunday.

    Steelers: Running back Rashard Mendenhall, out four games with an Achilles injury, is probable for Sunday. He had not been through a full practice in more than a month before doing so Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

    Concussions: Documents uncovered by ESPN and PBS show the league's retirement board paid at least $2 million in disability benefits to players for concussion-related injuries. The league, which is being sued by about 4,000 ex-players, maintains it knew of no substantive link between playing football and long-term brain damage. Among those getting payments was ex-Steelers center Mike Webster, who was diagnosed with brain damage in 1999. The league said the board is independent from it and the players union.


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    By Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    TAMPA — Bucs cornerback LeQuan Lewis said he can't put into words what Sunday's game-sealing interception meant to him.

    "It's humbling," he said.

    Lewis' humble path of perseverance is what makes the play — and his role with the Bucs — more impressive. He has been cut six times this year by four teams, including Tampa Bay in late October. He has lived out of hotels and bounced around a couple of practice squads.

    But for him, that beats being out of football, which is where Lewis, 23, was last season. Undrafted out of Arizona State and cut before Week 1 by the Titans, he worked odd jobs to stay afloat, including serving as a ticket runner for the California State Fair.

    On Sunday, Lewis is expected to be running back kickoffs for the Bucs and running down Panthers receivers as a reserve cornerback.

    "It's been a long journey," Lewis said. "I knew at some point, just waiting and being patient, I'd find somewhere, some place where I'd fit into their organization. And I finally think I may have found a home rather than keep bouncing around."

    As much as Lewis has been through, he keeps it all in perspective. Growing up in Compton, Calif., he used sports as a way out, he said, playing at two junior colleges before landing a scholarship at Arizona State. That's where he met his "hero," 5-year-old Kyle Oden of Mesa, Ariz.

    Kyle has a brain tumor caused by neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that disrupts cell growth in the nervous system and causes tumors to form. The boy is almost blind in his right eye. The Sun Devils adopted him as an honorary team member in 2010, including giving him a locker with a nameplate. Lewis visited Kyle at the hospital when he was going through chemotherapy and has kept in touch with his family since.

    Of the eight elastic wrist bands Lewis wears, each with an inspirational message, the green one that honors Kyle is one of the most meaningful to him.

    "Every time his mom (Brittney) sees me take a picture with it, or always sees it, she cries," Lewis said. "It's something I take with me. He's a little boy, and he's survived that. I can survive everything if he can. He's my hero."

    That helped Lewis keep the faith when the Raiders cut him in June. He believed he'd get another NFL call. The Jets brought him in during the preseason, waived him and re-signed him twice before placing him on their practice squad. Lewis was plucked off there by the Cowboys on Sept. 12, and he played in three games, including against the Bucs on Sept. 23.

    Lewis said he has learned a lot from practicing against receivers such as Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, as well as alongside Jets cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. "The game slowed down to me," Lewis said. "It didn't speed up at all."

    Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said instincts and straight-line speed are Lewis' signature traits. Lewis, who says he can run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash "easy," used that advantage returning kicks at Arizona State, including getting a 100-yard touchdown against Southern Cal in 2010.

    "I think I'm the fastest guy out there," Lewis said. "It's not cocky or anything. It's just the confidence in me. I don't think anyone can outrun me."

    Lewis, added to the Bucs' active roster last week, hopes he's done running around and can stay in one place. It helps his case when he makes plays such as his interception of Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers along the left sideline in the waning minutes of Sunday's 34-24 win.

    "That was amazing," he said. "I felt like I lifted my confidence and my team's confidence in me. It was a great opportunity, and I took it."

    Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.


    BRENDAN FITTERER   |   TimesBRENDAN FITTERER | Times

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    By Stephen F. Holder, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    TAMPA — When the season began, it could not have been predicted that so much of the Bucs' hopes for winning Sunday at Carolina could hinge on a player most had never heard coming into the year.

    But Tampa Bay's hard luck has made RG Jamon Meredith an important part of an offensive line hit hard by injuries. (Only LT Donald Penn plays the same position as in the opener.)

    That's why the sight of Meredith on the field Friday, two days after spraining his left ankle during practice, was a promising sign. Coach Greg Schiano said the former tackle now at the position formerly occupied by Davin Joseph could play against the Panthers if his improvement continues. Meredith is listed as questionable on the final injury report.

    "(He was) better than we anticipated he'd look," Schiano said, "so now it's really the next 48 hours to see how well he responds."

    The Bucs would turn to Roger Allen or Cody Wallace if Meredith can't play, Schiano said. The journeymen have played a combined five games.

    Wright update: CB Eric Wright (Achilles) returned after missing Thursday because of a personal matter. Schiano said the injury that kept Wright out of most of Sunday's game against the Chargers should allow him to play: "Unless he has a setback, he'll be ready to roll."

    NOT CLUTCH: The Panthers are 2-7, but five losses came by six points or fewer. That includes 16-10 to the Bucs in the season opener.

    "We just have to be able to finish games," rookie LB Luke Kuechly said. "We've played well throughout most of the game. Then we get to … the fourth quarter, and we're just not able to step over the line and finish a team."

    The Panthers host a Bucs team that will look different offensively than in the opener. The Bucs are averaging 37 points over their past five games and have been much more aggressive.

    "They're clicking right now," Kuechly said. "They're running the ball extremely well. Once you can run the ball well, your offense can open up. … The offensive line has been playing well. They're getting a lot of chunk plays. I think they're one of the top teams in the league right now as far as yards per play.

    "(RB) Doug Martin's been playing great. (QB) Josh Freeman's been playing great and is able to get the ball down the field to some of the wide receivers."

    And how do the Panthers plan to stop that?

    "You have to be able to stop the run," Kuechly said. "You have to make a team one-dimensional."

    ANOTHER SHOT: KR/WR Arrelious Benn (shoulder) practiced all week and is probable. But if the team opts not to use him as a kick returner, it will again turn to first-year player LeQuan Lewis, Schiano said. "I'm not sure change is the answer," he said. "Sometimes as a coach, you want him to have a second chance." Lewis struggled in his debut last week, mishandling one kick that the Bucs recovered.

    Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com.


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    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    By the time the Bucs lost their second Pro Bowl guard to a season-ending injury two weeks ago, you must admit, it looked pretty grim.

    Left tackle Donald Penn is the only starting offensive lineman playing the same spot as when training camp began. Jeremy Zuttah was forced to abandon his best position, center, and move to left guard.

    On the scoreboard and in the standings, the Bucs looked like a team about to be buried. Rest in pieces.

    But instead, Tampa Bay has thrived with an offensive line that has protected quarterback Josh Freeman and opened gaping holes for rookie running back Doug Martin.

    The Bucs rank third in the league in sacks allowed with 13 while Martin, who rushed for a club-record 251 yards and four touchdowns in the first game without injured left guard Carl Nicks, is in consideration for offensive rookie of the year.

    "It seems like we are rolling someone new in there every couple of weeks, which is unfortunate," coach Greg Schiano said. "I think it starts with (offensive line coach) Bob Bostad and (assistant) Steve Loney doing a great job coaching those guys. Then I think the players themselves … the vets that are left on the line with Jeremy Zuttah and Donald Penn really providing solid leadership and getting the guys together. They work hard.

    "I won't get into who, but there are guys in here at 6 in the morning with their coaches just watching extra tape and trying to learn the position, the ins and outs of it. It is not like they lucked into their performance. They have earned it."

    The shuffling by Bostad, a former Wisconsin offensive line coach, actually began at the end of the preseason, when Pro Bowl right guard Davin Joseph was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon. Ted Larsen, who had started 14 games at guard over the previous two season, replaced Joseph before he was benched after a 1-3 start.

    Enter Jamon Meredith, a 6-foot-5, 312-pound converted tackle who had spent time with the Packers, Bills, Lions, Giants and Steelers. Following the bye week, the Bucs benched Lar­sen for Meredith.

    "Nobody's putting any added pressure on me. It's just 'next man up,' " said Meredith, who is questionable for today's game at Carolina with a sprained left ankle sustained during practice Wednesday. "You come in, you play, and the offense keeps rolling. We miss Davin, especially his presence around here."

    Larsen returned to the lineup at center, the position he played at N.C. State, when the Bucs moved Zuttah to left guard.

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, who took over for Jeremy Trueblood after an ankle injury in Week 1, did not even play football until his senior season at Southern Miss. But the 6-9, 315-pound converted basketball player has been solid in pass protection while giving the Bucs more athleticism and thump in the run game.

    "Nobody is going to give us a chance," Dotson said. "You read stuff in the media about 'patched-up linemen' and all that crazy stuff. It makes you want to go out and show all the naysayers that say you can't do it."

    Zuttah, who played every offensive line position for Schiano at Rutgers, has made it all work. Although physically more suited for center, he returned to guard once two-time Pro Bowler Nicks went down.

    "I'm not going to sit here and tell you he was raring to do it, but he trusts us and figures, 'If that's the best thing to win,' " Schiano said.

    "What he did was go out and play a good game against great competition (at Oakland) and then he played another good game against great competition (against San Diego). And I think he improved from Week 1 to Week 2."

    Despite the line dance, Freeman hasn't blinked. His 98.2 passer rating is seventh in the league and his 8.3 yards per attempt first. Over his past five games, he has thrown 13 touchdowns and only one interception.

    The low sacks are the result of a combination of factors: Freeman's growing familiarity with the offense, a sound scheme by offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and Martin's ability to pick up blitzing linebackers

    "We've given up a number of sacks that I can say are my fault," Freeman said. "It's getting the ball out; not necessarily waiting on a route, but getting the ball out, checking the ball down. There are a number of things you get better at through the year. And in practice, we drill a lot of stuff, a lot of blitz drills, a lot of work as far as moving forward and getting the ball out.

    "It's been great because there have been times when we needed the O-line to protect for three or four seconds, and they've answered the bell. They've stepped up to the challenge and made it happen."


    DANIEL WALLACE   |   TimesDANIEL WALLACE | Times

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    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    HOMESTEAD — One thing's for sure, Jeff Gordon said, if he were a NASCAR fan and witnessed Sunday's mayhem in Phoenix, "I would tune in the following Sunday and see what happens."

    It was quite a scene. Gordon wrecked Clint Bowyer (a crash that also eliminated Joey Logano). The pit crews brawled. Bowyer had to be restrained after running to Gordon's hauler to continue the confrontation.

    And Gordon did not rule out Bowyer trying for payback during this Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400.

    "I'm pretty sure if they're having a good day, they're not going to mess with me," Gordon said Friday. "If they're having a really bad day and feel like they have nothing to lose, maybe they will."

    Gordon, fined $100,000 and docked 25 points by NASCAR, said he regretted the incident. He even said he considers Bowyer a friend, though the two have not spoken. Gordon spoke with Logano by phone. It did not go well.

    "Reached out for an apology and didn't get one and got hung up on," Logano said.

    That said, Gordon stood by his assessment that Bowyer, because of incidents between the two in Phoenix and prior, "needed to be dealt with." Gordon said he did not intend to wreck Bowyer, just "make his life really miserable."

    The seeds of the incident ran deeper than anyone knew.

    Gordon resented Bowyer wrecking him and teammate Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville in the spring when they led a race with owner Rick Hendrick looking at his 200th Sprint Cup victory.

    "I never hurt as bad in my life leaving the track as I did that day," Hendrick said. "It took me a week or so to get over it just because we had it in our grasp. So, I think that situation along with some other things that happened along the way, you now, you don't forget it."

    It all boiled over at Phoenix.

    "It just wasn't very smart of Clint to run into me coming off Turn 2 on the straightaway," Gordon said. "Almost cut my left tire down, and knowing that we had past history this year. ... What I regret most is the situation got escalated because I lost control of my emotions and that put me in a position to make a bad choice."

    On the plus side, "I don't think they're going to be messing with me for a while," the 41-year-old said of other drivers. "They realize the message was sent pretty clear."

    How Bowyer reacts to the message is the question.

    QUALIFYING: Logano, in the No. 20 Toyota, took the EcoBoost 400 pole at 176.056 mph, ahead of Marcos Ambrose (175.342) and points leader Brad Keselowski (175.092).

    Johnson, who trails Keselowski by 20 points and battled handling problems throughout practice, was 10th at 174.081 mph.

    "Position is irrelevant when you have a great team," Keselowski said. "Jimmie has a great team. He'll get up there."

    Tampa's Aric Almirola, in the No. 43 Ford, was fifth at 174.887.

    "We left something out there," he said. "We missed it just a little bit."

    WRECK REGRET: Elliott Sadler still is stewing over the wreck at Phoenix that allowed Ricky Stenhouse to break their tie atop the Nationwide series standings.

    "I still take the blame," Sadler said. "I could have done better."

    The loose-running Sadler triggered a three-car crash with Justin Allgaier and Cole Whitt that forced Sadler to the pits.

    He finished 22nd. Stenhouse was third and took a 20-point lead in the standings heading into today's finale.

    "It was a tough week," Sadler said. "It's been a long week because I felt like I put ourselves in a really big hole."

    Et cetera: Danica Patrick, 10th in the Nationwide standings, is set to establish the best finish by a female driver in a NASCAR series in today's Ford EcoBoost 300. The record is held by Sara Christian, who in 1949 was 13th in what is now Sprint Cup.


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    Times wires
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The NCAA extended Tennessee's probation by two years as part of additional penalties handed down Friday after the ruling that former football assistant coach Willie Mack Garza provided impermissible travel and lodging to a former prospect.

    Penalties include a public reprimand and censure plus a reduction in official visits, evaluation days and complimentary tickets to recruits on unofficial visits. This extends a probationary period that started in August 2011 and now runs through Aug. 23, 2015.

    Garza, who was on former coach Lane Kiffin's staff, received a three-year show-cause order. The show-cause penalty means that any school that hires him must prove to the NCAA that it is rules compliant. Garza resigned as Southern Cal's secondary coach two days before the Trojans started their 2011 season.

    The NCAA ruled Garza reimbursed talent scout Will Lyles for plane tickets and hotel expenses associated with an unofficial visit made by Lache Seastrunk and his mother in the summer of 2009. The visit occurred outside the permissible time period for prospects to make expense-paid visits. The NCAA classified Lyles as a booster because he arranged the trip.

    Seastrunk, a running back, eventually signed with Oregon and now plays for Baylor.

    "We will finally close the chapter on the prior actions of members of a previous coaching staff," athletic director Dave Hart said. "We have significantly strengthened our culture of compliance at Tennessee and we continue to do so. We disagree with additional penalties for a matter we believed should have been part of the previous case. We will now move forward."

    The penalties reduce the number of official visits the football staff can have for the 2012-13 academic year from 51 to 47. The school also can't provide complimentary tickets to recruits who make unofficial visits for the first two conference games in the 2013 season.

    Ex-Bull arrested: Former USF safety Kevin Verpaele, 32, was charged with solicitation of a minor after his arrest Wednesday in Satellite Beach, Florida Today reported. Verpaele, an assistant football coach at Viera High, remained jailed on a $35,000 bond.

    FIU 34, FAU 24: Richard Leonard returned a third-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to retake the lead and Jake Medlock followed with a one of his two touchdown passes as Florida International (3-8, 2-5 Sun Belt) overcame Graham Wilbert's 403-yard passing night for host Florida Atlantic (3-8, 2-5).

    Women's soccer: Tiffany McCarty scored in the second overtime as Florida State, a No. 1 region seed, turned away Texas Tech 3-2 to advance out of the second round of the NCAA tournament in Tallahassee. McCarty had scored in regulation to put FSU ahead 2-1, but Janine Beckie's second goal tied the score in the 88th minute. The Seminoles (18-3-0) face Texas A&M (18-4-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday. … Taylor Travis scored her first goal of the season and Florida, the No. 2 seed in the same region as FSU, shut out UCF 1-0 to advance in Gainesville. The Gators (19-4-1) play Notre Dame (14-5-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday.

    USF volleyball advances: J'beria Davis had 18 kills and the sixth-seeded Bulls upset third-seeded Notre Dame 25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19 to reach the semifinals of the Big East tournament in Milwaukee. The Bulls (17-13) face second-seeded Marquette (25-5) at 4:30 p.m. today.

    UF clinches: Florida (22-4, 16-1 SEC) clinched at least a share of the program's 20th SEC regular-season volleyball title, defeating LSU 3-1. UF can win the title outright Sunday against South Carolina.


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  • 11/16/12--20:03: Magic's surge sinks Pistons
  • Times wires
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — J.J. Redick scored 23, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 42.8 seconds left, and the Magic rallied to beat the Pistons 110-106 Friday night.

    Arron Afflalo scored 19 and Jameer Nelson added 13 points and 10 assists for Orlando, which had each of its starters score in double figures. Glen Davis had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Nikola Vucevic finished with 11 points and 13 boards.

    The Magic (3-5) began the day averaging just 88 points a game, but it scored 66 in the second half after trailing by as many as 13.

    Greg Monroe had 23 points for Detroit, which has dropped nine of its first 10 games. The Pistons were coming off a 94-76 victory at Philadelphia on Wednesday that ended a franchise-worst 0-8 start.

    Detroit had six players score in double figures, including each of its starters. Tayshaun Prince had 18 points, Kyle Singler scored 14 and Brandon Knight contributed 10 points and 12 assists.

    The teams traded baskets and the lead for most of the fourth quarter, but the Magic kept getting to the offensive boards and built a 101-97 advantage with 1:25 to go. Jason Maxiell's three-point play made it a one-point game, and Singler hit two free throws to put Detroit up 102-101 with 47.7 seconds to go.

    Redick then came off a screen to hit a 3, and Afflalo tied up Monroe to force a turnover at the other end. Davis made it a four-point game with a baby hook in the lane, and Redick clinched the game from the line.

    Detroit led 50-44 at halftime, then expanded the advantage early in the third by exploiting Prince's matchup with Afflalo. Prince dominated his former teammate in the post, scoring 10 in the first four minutes of the half.

    The Pistons built a 13-point lead, but Orlando rallied after Nelson gave a spirited pep talk during a timeout.

    The Magic closed to 75-71 at the end of the third and tied it at 85 on Redick's 3-pointer with 8:16 to play.

    Game highlights: Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin each scored 27, and the Thunder rolled to its sixth victory in seven games, 110-95 over the host Hornets. Oklahoma City shot 54 percent (40 of 74) and built leads as big as 30 in the first half and 34 in the second. Oklahoma City made 14 3-pointers, with Martin hitting six. … Jrue Holiday scored 26 as the 76ers beat the Jazz 99-93 to end a three-game home losing streak. … David West and George Hill each scored 15 as the host Pacers beat the Mavericks 103-83. … Former Gator David Lee had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the Warriors dominated inside during a 106-98 victory over the host Timberwolves.

    Statue for Abdul-Jabbar: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook has been captured in bronze for future generations to see outside Staples Center in Los Angeles. The nearly 16-foot-tall statue of the top scorer in NBA history was unveiled alongside statues of fellow Lakers greats Magic Johnson and Jerry West. Abdul-Jabbar is depicted in his signature goggles and the 1980s short-shorts. "Having lived my life and had the experiences I've had, I can understand now what a man like Lou Gehrig means when he considers himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," the 65-year-old Abdul-Jabbar said after revealing the statue under threatening clouds. "I'm glad we got here before the pigeons got to it."

    Absent Rocket: Houston first-round pick Royce White wrote on Twitter that properly treating his mental-health condition is more important than his NBA career. White has been absent from Houston's practices for almost a week and called the team "inconsistent" in how it was helping him deal with his anxiety issues and obsessive compulsive disorder. According to an ESPN report, he will meet with the Rockets on Monday to discuss his future. White posted on Twitter: "I'm not PLANNING to quit, but if its between my HEALTH and BASKETBALL, health takes precedence." The team has not commented beyond White is "not available" and the Rockets will continue to support him.

    Around the league: 76ers center Andrew Bynum said he suffered a "setback" in his return from a knee injury and a planned Dec. 10 return is now in question. He has a bone bruise on the right knee but now says his left knee has swelling. Bynum, who has yet to practice with the 76ers since being acquired in August, said: "I kind of have a mirror thing going on with my left knee. I don't know what's going on, but the doctors are saying pretty much that it's a weakened cartilage state." … Hornets GM Dell Demps agreed to a new multiyear contract extension but no details were released.

    Magic 110, Pistons 106

    ORLANDO (110): Afflalo 7-14 3-3 19, Davis 8-14 1-2 17, Vucevic 5-12 1-2 11, Nelson 4-11 4-4 13, Redick 7-13 6-6 23, Nicholson 3-8 0-0 6, Moore 3-6 0-0 6, McRoberts 3-4 0-0 7, Ayon 3-5 0-0 6, Harkless 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 44-89 15-17 110.

    DETROIT (106): Prince 7-11 4-4 18, Maxiell 5-10 1-1 11, Monroe 9-12 5-5 23, Knight 4-12 1-2 10, Singler 5-10 3-4 14, Stuckey 4-7 1-2 9, Drummond 5-6 0-0 10, Bynum 1-5 0-0 2, Maggette 3-8 1-2 7, Jerebko 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 44-82 16-20 106.

    Orlando 22 22 27 39— 110

    Detroit 25 25 25 31— 106

    3-Point GoalsOrlando 7-17 (Redick 3-7, Afflalo 2-4, McRoberts 1-1, Nelson 1-4, Moore 0-1), Detroit 2-8 (Singler 1-1, Knight 1-4, Bynum 0-1, Maggette 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOrlando 49 (Vucevic, Davis 13), Detroit 40 (Monroe 7). AssistsOrlando 27 (Nelson 10), Detroit 21 (Knight 12). Total FoulsOrlando 17, Detroit 18. TechnicalsDetroit defensive three second. A11,594.

    Pacers 103, Mavericks 83

    DALLAS (83): Marion 1-5 0-0 2, Brand 3-8 1-1 7, Kaman 4-12 0-0 8, Collison 3-10 4-4 10, Mayo 6-13 5-6 19, Carter 3-8 4-6 10, Beaubois 0-4 2-2 2, James 2-4 5-6 9, Murphy 2-5 0-0 4, Da.Jones 1-4 0-0 2, Crowder 2-3 0-0 4, Wright 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 30-81 21-25 83.

    INDIANA (103): George 4-11 2-2 11, West 5-9 5-8 15, Hibbert 5-15 4-7 14, Hill 5-7 4-6 15, Stephenson 5-9 0-0 12, Green 2-6 1-1 5, T.Hansbrough 3-7 2-5 8, Mahinmi 3-6 1-2 7, Young 6-11 0-0 14, Augustin 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Pendergraph 1-1 0-0 2, Plumlee 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 39-83 19-31 103.

    Dallas 24 25 18 16— 83

    Indiana 24 24 28 27— 103

    3-Point GoalsDallas 2-13 (Mayo 2-3, Beaubois 0-1, Murphy 0-1, Da.Jones 0-1, Crowder 0-1, Carter 0-3, Collison 0-3), Indiana 6-16 (Stephenson 2-3, Young 2-7, Hill 1-1, George 1-3, Green 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsDallas 56 (Kaman 10), Indiana 55 (Hibbert 8). AssistsDallas 16 (Collison 4), Indiana 23 (Hill 7). Total FoulsDallas 23, Indiana 15. TechnicalsCarter. A15,110.

    76ers 99, Jazz 93

    UTAH (93): Ma.Williams 1-4 0-0 2, Millsap 9-15 2-2 22, Jefferson 5-14 5-7 15, M. Williams 5-14 0-0 12, Hayward 3-6 1-2 8, Favors 3-8 2-3 8, Foye 2-7 0-0 5, Kanter 2-5 0-0 4, Tinsley 0-2 0-0 0, Carroll 6-6 4-4 17. Totals 36-81 14-18 93.

    PHILADELPHIA (99): Turner 5-11 0-0 11, T.Young 7-14 0-0 14, Brown 1-5 0-0 2, Holiday 10-21 4-4 26, Richardson 7-12 1-2 20, Allen 5-11 0-0 10, Hawes 2-5 0-0 4, Wright 0-2 0-0 0, Ivey 0-1 0-0 0, N.Young 3-5 4-4 12. Totals 40-87 9-10 99.

    Utah 20 23 21 29— 93

    Philadelphia 30 22 19 28— 99

    3-Point GoalsUtah 7-22 (Millsap 2-4, M. Williams 2-7, Carroll 1-1, Foye 1-3, Hayward 1-4, Ma.Williams 0-1, Tinsley 0-2), Philadelphia 10-18 (Richardson 5-7, N.Young 2-3, Holiday 2-4, Turner 1-3, Wright 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsUtah 43 (Jefferson 9), Philadelphia 54 (Richardson, T.Young, Allen 8). AssistsUtah 23 (Tinsley 6), Philadelphia 20 (Holiday 7). Total FoulsUtah 15, Philadelphia 19. A15,851.

    Thunder 110, Hornets 95

    OKLAHOMA CITY (110): Durant 9-12 5-6 27, Ibaka 7-9 1-1 15, Perkins 2-4 0-0 4, Westbrook 3-11 4-6 10, Sefolosha 3-6 2-2 11, Martin 9-17 3-3 27, Collison 1-1 0-0 2, Maynor 1-3 0-0 3, Thabeet 1-2 1-2 3, Jones 2-4 0-0 4, Jackson 1-1 0-0 2, Lamb 1-4 0-0 2, Liggins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-74 16-20 110.

    NEW ORLEANS (95): Aminu 3-7 3-4 9, Davis 4-14 0-0 8, Lopez 3-8 6-7 12, Vasquez 2-6 3-4 7, Rivers 4-8 0-0 9, Miller 1-2 1-1 4, Anderson 6-11 0-0 15, Mason 4-7 2-2 11, Smith 2-3 4-6 8, Roberts 3-9 2-2 9, Thomas 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 33-78 22-28 95.

    Oklahoma City 36 30 28 16— 110

    New Orleans 18 19 30 28— 95

    3-Point GoalsOklahoma City 14-29 (Martin 6-11, Durant 4-5, Sefolosha 3-6, Maynor 1-2, Lamb 0-1, Westbrook 0-4), New Orleans 7-12 (Anderson 3-3, Mason 1-1, Miller 1-1, Roberts 1-2, Rivers 1-2, Davis 0-1, Vasquez 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOklahoma City 43 (Thabeet, Durant 9), New Orleans 46 (Davis 11). AssistsOklahoma City 31 (Westbrook 12), New Orleans 23 (Vasquez, Roberts 7). Total FoulsOklahoma City 24, New Orleans 20. TechnicalsWestbrook, Vasquez. A15,458.

    Warriors 106, Wolves 98

    GOLDEN STATE (106): Barnes 8-15 2-2 18, D.Lee 8-15 2-3 18, Ezeli 2-2 0-0 4, Curry 7-12 3-3 17, Thompson 5-14 1-2 12, Biedrins 0-0 0-0 0, Landry 6-8 3-5 15, Jack 5-9 2-2 13, Jefferson 1-6 0-1 2, Green 0-1 3-4 3, Jenkins 1-3 2-4 4. Totals 43-85 18-26 106.

    MINNESOTA (98): Kirilenko 5-9 6-8 18, Williams 8-16 6-6 23, Stiemsma 1-3 3-4 5, Ridnour 3-11 2-3 9, M.Lee 0-2 0-0 0, Shved 8-17 3-4 22, Amundson 0-2 1-2 1, Howard 3-10 0-0 6, Cunningham 6-9 2-2 14. Totals 34-79 23-29 98.

    Golden State 22 31 29 24— 106

    Minnesota 27 23 19 29— 98

    3-Point GoalsGolden St. 2-15 (Jack 1-1, Thompson 1-6, Green 0-1, Jefferson 0-2, Barnes 0-2, Curry 0-3), Minnesota 7-18 (Shved 3-8, Kirilenko 2-3, Williams 1-2, Ridnour 1-4, Howard 0-1). Fouled OutCurry. ReboundsGolden St. 57 (D.Lee 13), Min. 44 (Williams 7). AssistsGolden St. 21 (Curry 6), Min. 19 (Shved 7). Total FoulsGolden St. 26, Minnesota 23. TechnicalsGolden St. defensive three second, Shved. A16,013.


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    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    TAMPA — Even before the outcome was clear, USF coach Stan Heath was in mad scientist mode Friday night, experimenting with different looks as he tried to find the best combinations for his team in an easy 78-59 win against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

    "I'm just trying to kind of put that puzzle together," Heath said after 10 Bulls played at least 12 minutes. "I don't totally know some of the new guys, what they can do. I can see the same way (point guard Anthony Collins) is trying to figure out who can catch what passes. There were times we showed great rhythm. … We can play better, but we played good tonight."

    Senior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led the Bulls with 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting, and Collins, limited by a calf injury, had 13 points and seven assists against one turnover. But the most entertaining experiment, especially for an announced Sun Dome crowd of 3,919, was Jordan Omogbehin, the 7-foot-3, 320-pound redshirt freshman who played 12 minutes and had six points in his first start.

    "Big Jordan, he's new and he's so big. He worked so hard over the summer to lose some of that weight," Fitzpatrick said. "To see him get out there and score a couple of baskets, it made me feel good."

    Another newcomer, freshman forward Zach LeDay, had eight points and seven rebounds, and he might start tonight against Loyola-Chicago as USF continues a stretch of four home games in five days. USF (1-1) led 72-43 before UMES (0-4) ended on a 16-6 run against Bulls reserves.

    After being outrebounded in an opening loss to Central Florida, USF held a 45-33 advantage on the boards.

    "The team is coming along. We're learning ourselves, trying to figure some things out," Heath said. "I thought we showed signs, defensively, of really locking down. ... I saw us moving in the right direction."


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    Times wires
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    HOMESTEAD — James Buescher started in the middle of the pack, barely cracked the top 10 and never even sniffed the lead.

    He caught a huge break when his Turner Motorsports teammate made contact with his closest competition, Ty Dillon.

    No doubt, Buescher felt fortunate to end up celebrating a championship in Victory Lane.

    "It wasn't pretty," he said. "It was a little messy, but we did it. … This is definitely the coolest thing I've ever done in racing."

    Buescher avoided trouble and finished 13th in the NASCAR trucks season finale Friday night, enough to win the championship by six points.

    Cale Gale won the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, edging Kyle Busch as both trucks sparked after hard contact approaching the finish line.

    "I got drove into the fence," said Busch, clearly upset with the outcome.

    "It was close. Ty was giving us a run for it," said Buescher, 22, who earned his first title in four full-time seasons. "I just about went in the fence myself, but I held it together and everything came our way."

    Dillon was in position to pull off an upset with three laps left — he was running second and just a point behind — but made contact with Kyle Larson. Both trucks hit the wall in Turn 4 and were mangled. Afterward, Dillon questioned whether Larson should have been racing so hard because he wasn't in the title hunt.

    Buescher was far enough behind Dillon and Larson that he could drive around the wreckage that also collected Ryan Blaney.

    Timothy Peters finished eighth and was second in points, six behind Buescher.

    "We were trying to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth, but it bounced off the wall," said Dillon, who finished 25th and dropped to fourth in points, with Joey Coulter third in the race and in points.

    FORMULA ONE: Points leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull had the fastest practice time at 1 minute, 37.718 seconds for Sunday's race at a new track in Austin, Texas, the first series race in America since the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last hosted F1 in 2007.


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    By Don Jensen, Times Correspondent
    Friday, November 16, 2012

    ST. PETERSBURG — The day was already special for Alex Hall.

    Besides celebrating the two-month birthday of son Bradley Alexander Hall on Nov. 10, the teenage manager-trainer for Red Oak Racing kennel was starting his first two greyhounds in a stakes finale, the $20,000 Fall Juvenile Stakes at Derby Lane.

    Hall had the race favorite, 5-2 choice Flying Observer, and the longest shot, 16-1 outsider Flying Soriano.

    "When I woke up (on race day), I didn't really feel like we had much of a shot," he said. "But when it came to weigh-in and with us having two (finalists), I thought we had more of a shot than everybody else."

    Flying Soriano proved Hall right, rallying to defeat Lily Rose (Floyd & Porter kennel) for his first title. It was the first time in the past 41 stakes finals at Derby Lane that a dog with the highest win odds had prevailed. The last one was 17-1 shot Hi Noon Rembrant (Nova) in the $20,000 Gold Trophy Juvenile in May 2009.

    But the story was Hall, 19, who joined Red Oak on July 13. The son of former Patriot kennel manager-trainer Victor Hall is one of the youngest trainers in the track's 87 years to win a stakes, Derby Lane spokeswoman Vera Rasnake said. He may be the youngest to win on his first attempt.

    Hall is part of the new age at Derby Lane. Five of the 16 trainers are younger than 30, and Hall is the only one who also runs an operation. Assisted by his girlfriend, Amanda Cardinal, and Bill Bryant, Hall has led Red Oak into second place in the win standings, behind defending champion Patriot. Red Oak has more than 60 greyhounds.

    Joining Hall for his historic feat was mother Jill Spicer, who traveled from Bonita Springs, where she is a kennel manager-trainer at Naples-Fort Myers. "She's my good-luck charm," he said.

    Flying Soriano, a 25-month-old male out of a litter by Flying Penske and Flying Snap Off, went into the Fall Juvenile on a 12-race losing streak. Hall entered him because Flying Soriano had more starts than most of his challengers, and he had finished second to track win leader Venus Espinosa (Patriot) on Aug. 21.

    "I thought Flying Observer would have a better shot to win (she finished sixth)," Hall said. "But in the kennel, Soriano was barking in the pen. I said, 'Well, he's feeling good today.' "

    Flying Soriano, who has 10 wins, made his first 47 career starts at 550 yards for owner Vince Berland of Abilene, Kan. Hall moved him to 660 Wednesday, and he finished sixth.

    "I'm not sure that he can go (longer), but you've got to try to make sure," Hall said.

    HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: There will be no live racing on Thanksgiving at Derby Lane, but the track will open at 10 a.m. for poker and 10:45 for simulcast wagering. A matinee-evening doubleheader is scheduled Friday.


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