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  • 11/24/12--18:36: Alabama wins West with rout
  • Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama left no doubt Saturday that it's tops in the state. Proving it's the best team in the SEC and, perhaps, the nation won't be nearly so easy.

    AJ McCarron threw four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy rushed for two to lead No. 2 Alabama to a 49-0 victory against Auburn and a berth in the SEC title game Saturday.

    With the most lopsided Iron Bowl since their 55-0 win in 1948, the Crimson Tide clinched the West Division and faces No. 3 Georgia in Atlanta for the conference championship. (It will be Alabama's eighth SEC title game but first against a team other than Florida.) The winner likely goes to the national title game.

    "To me, in all those games that I've been a part of, they are about as good as any game in the country other than the national championship game," Alabama coach Nick Saban said of the SEC title game.

    Auburn completed the worst season for any team within two years of winning an Associated Press national title in what might have been the last game for embattled coach Gene Chizik. University president Jay Gogue has said only he'll evaluate the program at season's end. That end came in a painful way.

    Alabama outgained the Tigers 483-163 and had 25 first downs to Auburn's seven. It could have been worse. Saban played reserves for much of the second half. In addition, the Tide lost a fumble inside the Auburn 10 and ran out the final seconds after getting to the 5.

    "I'm not going to go into all of the job situation with any questions," Chizik said. "This isn't about me. I've got a locker room of guys that are here that are very disappointed. That's my focus. I'm not going to entertain any of those questions. My focus is to be back in there with them."

    Chizak called the Tigers' performance "sad."

    "Obviously, that was a very disappointing loss, embarrassing loss to our state rivals," Chizik said. "It was obvious to everybody. It was a sad performance.

    "The Auburn fans, the Auburn alumni, don't deserve that."

    Auburn hasn't scored an offensive touchdown in the past two meetings since Cam Newton & Co. completed the rivalry's largest comeback in their last visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium two years ago. This one supplied another milestone of sorts.

    It's the first time Alabama has scored 40-plus points in two straight Iron Bowls on the heels of last season's 42-14 win, when Auburn managed to score on a kick return and fumble recovery.

    McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes for 216 yards in 21/2 quarters, including a pair of touchdowns apiece to Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood.

    Lacy ran 18 times for 131 yards, frequently pinballing off defenders from a defense that entered last in the SEC against the run.

    Auburn's Jonathan Wallace completed 5 of 14 passes with two interceptions against the nation's top scoring defense. He became only the third freshman quarterback to start an Iron Bowl for the Tigers and first since former Rays outfielder Gabe Gross in 1998.

    Alabama produced touchdowns on its first seven possessions until a fumble deep in Auburn territory ended the run. The Tide also converted its first 11 third downs.

    Auburn pushed the ball across midfield only once, making it to the Tide 41 in the first quarter before punting. The Tigers have been outscored by 129 points in their past three SEC games, all against Top 10 SEC opponents Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama.

    "We didn't take our foot off the gas," Lacy said.

    "We kept playing in the fourth quarter."

    Bulldogs easily remain in BCS title contention

    ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw two touchdowns as Georgia beat Georgia Tech 42-10 to keep its national title hopes alive.

    Gov. Nathan Deal presented the Governor's Cup to the Bulldogs after they beat the Yellow Jackets for the 11th time in 12 seasons. He congratulated both teams on a "great game" before turning to Georgia's players.

    "Keep up the good work," Deal said. "We're looking for a national championship."

    First is the SEC title game.

    "Atlanta. On to Atlanta. Alabama," receiver Malcolm Mitchell said. "On to the next game."

    Tech didn't put up much of a fight. Georgia returned the opening kickoff 47 yards. Four plays later, it was 7-0 on Todd Gurley's 3-yard run. Jackets running back Robert Godhigh fumbled at the Bulldogs 1 on the ensuing series. Soon after, it was 14-0 on Gurley's 1-yard run.

    Murray, a graduate of Tampa's Plant High, went 14-of-17 for 215 yards, becoming the first SEC quarterback to pass for more than 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

    "It was a pretty good thumping," Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "We could not slow them down at all, which has been a recurring theme the last few times we've played them."

    Tennessee 37, Kentucky 17: Tyler Bray threw for 293 yards and four touchdown for the host Vols in a matchup of teams that entered winless in conference play. Bray finished with 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns. Both are second in Tennessee history to Peyton Manning's 3,819 and 36 in 1997. The difference? Manning's Vols won the SEC title. "I thought we'd be going to a bowl game, but things didn't go our way this year," Bray said. "We didn't play well." Up 20-17 in the third, Bray hit Mychal Rivera for a 29-yard touchdown and Cordarrelle Patterson for a 21-yarder.

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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    Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    CORVALLIS, Ore. — After its 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford last week, running back Kenjon Barner figured there were three ways for Oregon to respond in the Civil War against Oregon State.

    "You can let it define you, destroy you or strengthen you," said Barner, who ran for just 66 yards in the loss. "With this team, every loss we've taken in the past, it's strengthened us; made us stronger. Looking back on Stanford, it was a loss. We knew what we had to do to get back on the winning track, and we did it."

    Barner led the charge, running for 198 yards and two touchdowns despite missing time for an undisclosed injury as the No. 5 Ducks routed the No. 16 Beavers 48-24.

    It was Oregon's fifth consecutive victory in the Civil War, which dates to 1894 and is the nation's seventh-most contested rivalry. It was the fourth time both teams were ranked for the game.

    The victory also kept the Ducks' faint national title hopes alive. But their hopes for reaching the Pac-12 title game ended when Stanford beat UCLA.

    Oregon scored on its first possession on quarterback Marcus Mariota's 42-yard keeper. The drive took just 1:46.

    The Beavers, who are 9-3 a season after going 3-9, trailed only 20-17 after Storm Woods' 2-yard touchdown run early in the second half. But it was all Ducks the rest of the way.

    De'Anthony Thomas, who ran for 122 yards and three scores while replacing Barner, scored on a 6-yard run. The Ducks capitalized on a fumble that led to Thomas' 29-yard touchdown. Barner returned with a 1-yard run, and Mariota hit B.J. Kelley with a 2-yard touchdown pass.

    While the Civil War is normally the season finale for both teams, Oregon State hosts I-AA Nicholls State in a matchup that was supposed to open the season but was put off when Hurricane Isaac bore down on the Colonels' Thibodaux, La., campus.

    "We don't have time to pout and feel sorry for ourselves," Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion said. "Nicholls State is going to come in here and try to beat us. I think it will be a good thing because I know everyone is hurting about this one, especially the seniors."

    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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    Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    BLACKSBURG, Va. — Placekicker Cody Journell psyched himself out the first chance he had to give Virginia Tech a late lead against Virginia, saying he was trying too hard to factor the swirling wind into his approach and sailing a 41-yard field goal try wide left.

    When the Hokies gave the junior another chance, he gave them the victory they desperately wanted.

    Journell kicked a 29-yarder with four seconds left, and the Hokies beat their in-state rival 17-14 Saturday to qualify for a bowl game for the 20th consecutive season and top the Cavaliers for the ninth straight time.

    "On the second one, I just tried to push it through the wind," Journell said.

    Cornerback Antone Exum set up the winning drive when he intercepted Michael Rocco at the Cavaliers 36 with 3:21 left. Exum brought it back to the 24, and Virginia inexplicably held on to two timeouts as the Hokies ran the clock down and positioned the ball. The Cavaliers used both timeouts to try to freeze Journell, but to no avail.

    "I felt that we were playing well defensively, and you just have to make a decision of how to save timeouts with seconds left on the clock or hope your defense gets a crack and causes a turnover or knocks them back a little bit," Virginia coach Mike London said of not using his timeouts. "He made it. Didn't make the first one, but he made the latter one."

    Logan Thomas ran for one touchdown and threw for another for the Hokies, who have also won 13 of the past 14 in taking command of a once-close rivalry. Thomas carried the ball 29 times for 89 yards, and at times he seemed to be using all of his 6-foot-6, 260-pound body to be as punishing as he could to would-be tacklers.

    "I always try to run the ball that way. We weren't moving the ball the way we wanted, and we're frustrated," he said. "I think they started getting worn down. They were in a fight, and we just kept bringing it to them all game long."

    Virginia led 14-7 after its first defensive touchdown of the season on a 16-yard fumble return by Brent Urban early in the third quarter but then came up short on a fake field-goal try later in the quarter that would have given them a 17-7 advantage. On the fourth-and-8 play, holder Jacob Hodges caught the snap and ran through the line but was stopped 2 yards short.

    VANDY 55, WAKE 21: Jordan Rodgers threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns and Zac Stacy ran for a season-high 180 yards and two scores for the visiting Commodores. Vanderbilt won its sixth straight game, its longest winning streak since 1955.

    N.C. STATE 27, BC 10: Mike Glennon threw three touchdowns and David Amerson returned an interception for a score for the host Wolfpack. Glennon threw two touchdowns to Tobais Palmer within 51 seconds late in the third quarter.

    UNC 45, MARYLAND 38: Bryn Renner tied a school record with five touchdown passes and Gio Bernard ran for 163 yards and a score for the host Tar Heels (8-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who blew the game open with a dominating third quarter.

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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    By Matt Baker, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    TALLAHASSEE — EJ Manuel acknowledged the cheers, but the Florida State quarterback kept his head down as he walked out of the lights of Doak Campbell Stadium for the last time of his polarizing career, leaving behind a performance that alternated between bad and valiant but ended in four dooming turnovers and a 37-26 loss to Florida.

    "My mistakes," Manuel said. "I will put it on myself."

    He faltered early on senior night. Coach Jimbo Fisher said Manuel missed a signal for his blockers on the Seminoles' fifth play from scrimmage. That helped the Gators pressure him into forcing a bad pass, which Gator safety Matt Elam intercepted.

    Manuel threw two more picks in the first 32 minutes, one on a poor read and another on an overthrow. That gave one of the most accurate passers in ACC history three interceptions for the second time in his career.

    "Turnovers is what hurt us tonight," Manuel said, "and that's on me. I can't blame anyone else."

    After his miscues helped UF to a 13-0 lead, Manuel led a comeback. He lobbed a 6-yard touchdown to tight end Nick O'Leary with 10:27 left in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 13-10.

    On his next drive, Manuel rolled outside untouched for a 1-yard touchdown that gave the 'Noles the lead, which they extended to 20-13 late in the third.

    "The crowd was back on our side," he said. "One more score, we feel like the game would have been over with."

    Instead, a Manuel miscue turned the game in the Gators' favor. After the Seminoles' lead was cut to three, Manuel tried to turn upfield. A thundering hit by linebacker Antonio Morrison knocked the wind out of Manuel — and FSU's sideline — and jarred the ball loose.

    UF recovered and Mike Gillislee's 37-yard touchdown run on the next play gave the Gators the lead for good with 11:01 left.

    "That's something he's done a great job of, taking care of the football," Fisher said. "Tonight he had four critical turnovers in the game."

    After the jarring hit, Manuel sat out the next series with an abdominal injury but returned and scrambled for a 22-yard score on the game's final play.

    But his 18-of-33 passing performance was the third-worst of his career, after an 8-of-16 showing against Duke last month and last season's 6-of-13 outing against UF.

    "It's tough," said Manuel, who threw for 182 yards and rushed for 54. "We lost the game. I wanted to finish strong."

    Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at


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  • 11/24/12--19:21: Sports in brief
  • Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012


    Mcilroy, Donald stay tied for lead in dubai

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy sank a short birdie putt on 18 Saturday to remain tied with Luke Donald for the lead after the third round of the PGA European Tour's season-ending World Championship.

    McIlroy bogeyed the first hole and missed several makeable birdie putts in the front nine. On the back he sank a 30-foot eagle putt on 14 to go with three birdies for 6-under 66. Donald also had 66, and the two were tied at 17-under 199.

    McIlroy played well overall despite another rough night with a fever, he said. He said after Round 2 he began feeling ill Thursday and thought he had sunstroke. "I guess the adrenaline keeps you going when playing," he said.

    Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Charl Schwartzel (67) were three shots back. Marc Warren, who started the day tied with McIlroy and Donald, shot 72.

    Winter sports

    Tired Vonn 21st in return from illness

    Tina Maze of Slovenia won her second straight World Cup giant slalom, and four-time World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn finished 21st at Aspen, Colo., in her return after missing time with an intestinal illness.

    Vonn was 10th after the first run, but drained by her illness, she didn't have anything left for the second pass through the challenging course.

    "I didn't have the energy I needed to really be competitive," the American said. "I'm just happy to be racing again."

    Figure skating: Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu added the men's free skate win to his world-record short program win to claim the NHK Trophy title in Sendai, Japan. American Ross Miner was third. Japan's Mao Asada won the women's title; American Mirai Nagasu was third. Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White won in ice dancing; American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani were third. In the pairs short program, Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig, who train at Manatee County's Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, were sixth among seven. Americans Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were third.

    cross-country skiing: Kikkan Randall became the first American to make the podium in a 10-kilometer freestyle World Cup event when she finished third in the season opener at Gallivare, Sweden.

    Et cetera

    Autos: Lewis Hamilton won the pole position for today's Formula One season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paolo (10:30 a.m., Speed). Points leader Sebastian Vettel starts fourth and title challenger Fernando Alonso seventh. Hamilton set a lap of 1 minute, 12.458 seconds, .055 in front of McLaren teammate Jenson Button.

    Soccer: Manchester United fought back to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-1 to reclaim the lead in the English Premier League.

    Baseball: Cardinals third baseman David Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP, was okay after crashing his SUV into a tree while trying to avoid a deer in Wildwood, Mo., a St. Louis suburb, Thursday.

    Track and field: Usain Bolt won the governing body's World Athlete of the Year award for the fourth time after defending his 100- and 200-meter gold medals at the Olympics. American sprinter Allyson Felix took home the women's award; she won the 200 Olympic gold.

    Boxing: Ricky Hatton, 34, hastily retired again after a knockout loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko in a welterweight bout at Manchester, England, Hatton's first fight in 31/2 years.

    Times wires

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    By Antonya English, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    TALLAHASSEE — His teammates call him one of the biggest offensive weapons on the team. Now they'll have to call him the best kicker to have played at Florida.

    With his 45-yard field goal with 6:53 remaining in the second quarter, senior K Caleb Sturgis broke former Gator Jeff Chandler's record for career field goals made (67). Sturgis had three field goals in a game for the fifth time this season. Sturgis is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award.

    Florida coach Will Muschamp calls Sturgis "the best kicker in the country."

    INJURY UPDATE: It's been a tough season for junior LB Jelani Jenkins. Earlier this year, he broke his thumb vs. Tennessee and missed 2½ games before returning against LSU and playing in a cast. On Saturday night, he injured his right foot. Jenkins, who had an interception in the game, was in a boot and on crutches after the game, but the severity of the injury was unknown. Senior RB Mike Gillislee injured his ribs with 9:07 remaining in the game.

    SENIOR CELEBRATION: For Florida's seniors, especially on defense, the win was extra special. It was that group Muschamp labeled as "soft" following last year's loss.

    "It was probably the biggest win of my career," senior NT Omar Hunter said. "I haven't enjoyed a game this much in my entire life."

    MAJOR IMPACT: In a game with so many different plays that swung the momentum, Marcus Roberson may have had one of the biggest plays of the game for the Gators. It was his 50-yard punt return of FSU P Cason Betty that set up the 14-yard pass from Jeff Driskel to Quinton Dunbar with 7 minutes remaining in the game that gave the Gators a 10-point lead.

    "I was just lucky enough to get great blocking on the play, and then I got down the sidelines," said Roberson, who also had a spectacular interception down the sideline with 13:03 remaining in the third quarter.

    PENALTY PRONE: The Gators are still struggling with penalties, something Muschamp said they continue to try to address. Florida was penalized 12 times for 101 yards, including 8 for 85 yards in the third quarter.

    DOUBLE DUTY: Sophomore Loucheiz Purifoy started at RB and at CB, becoming the first Gator to start both ways since Keiwan Ratliff played at CB and WR against FSU on Nov. 30, 2002.

    FINAL WORD: "At the end of the day, you want to be in the conversation. And we're in the conversation. And you want to have the opportunity to play in the big game. But regardless, I'm very proud of our team, the resolve and the improvements we've been able to make." — Muschamp on the Gators being in the mix for the national title this late in the season.


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    Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Arkansas won't keep Smith

    Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long wasted little time in bringing the John L. Smith era to a close. Long said in a statement released by the university Saturday that Smith will not return next season as coach. Long met with the interim coach a day after the Razorbacks' season-ending 20-13 loss to LSU and told him the school "would be making a change in leadership within our program." The former Michigan State and Louisville coach was hired away from Weber State in April to replace the fired Bobby Petrino and signed to a 10-month contract. Long says that once a new coach is hired Smith will be reassigned as a consultant through the end of his deal on Feb. 23, 2013.

    KILL SIDELINED AGAIN: Another seizure kept Minnesota coach Jerry Kill off the sideline for the second half of the game against Michigan State. Athletic director Norwood Teague said Kill was resting comfortably, and was cleared to go home, without a hospital stop. Kill has a history of seizures; this was his third this season.

    'Tailback' of the day

    Northwestern senior Bo Cisek, a defensive lineman who has seen limited action in his career (going into Saturday he had one tackle, and that came in 2010), lined up in the backfield and got two carries in the waning moments of a 50-14 rout of Illinois on senior day. He fared about as well as one might expect from a player listed at 6 feet 2, 290 pounds — he lost 2 yards on his first carry and fumbled on the second, with Illinois recovering.

    Comeback of the day

    In the final home game of his injury-plagued days at Purdue, former Plant High QB Robert Marve threw for a career-high 348 yards and four TDs in a 56-35 win over Indiana. Marve, a transfer from Miami, has been playing on a torn left ACL, his third major knee injury at Purdue.

    Players of the day

    Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky: The junior ran for 230 yards, including the winning 21-yard touchdown, in a 25-24 win over North Texas. Andrews leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,979 and could pass Barry Sanders' single-season record of 3,250, set with Oklahoma State in 1988, if the Hilltoppers go to a bowl.

    Montee Ball, Wisconsin: The senior running back set an NCAA record with his 79th career touchdown in the first quarter against Penn State. His 17-yarder broke a tie with Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio), set in 1999. Ball tied the record last week against Ohio State.

    Landry Jones, Oklahoma: The senior quarterback set school records for completions (46) and attempts (71) and passed for 500 yards in a 51-48 overtime victory over Oklahoma State. Jones also broke the Big 12 career passing mark held by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell.

    James Lark and Cody Hoffman, BYU: Lark, a senior quarterback, was 34 of 50 passes for 384 yards and six touchdowns; five of those TDs went to Hoffman, a junior receiver, in a 50-14 victory over New Mexico State.

    Bacarri Rambo, Georgia: The senior safety forced a fumble at the Georgia 1 to end Georgia Tech's first possession and had his 16th career interception, tying former Miami Dolphin great Jake Scott's school record.

    Number of the day

    20 Consecutive years of bowl eligibility for Virginia Tech after Saturday's last-second victory over Virginia; when the Hokies accept their bid they'll own the third-longest current bowl streak behind Florida State (31 including this season), and Florida (22)


    "You start working on the next year. You start working on the great game at the end of November. You start thinking about what you can do."

    Michigan coach Brady Hoke, already thinking about next year's game against Ohio State after his Wolverines lost 26-21 in Columbus

    Times wires

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    By Matt Baker, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's deflating fourth quarter overshadowed a strong night from junior defensive end Bjoern Werner.

    The NFL draft prospect had 31/2 sacks, his second-best output of the year. His 13 sacks on the season tied Alonzo Jackson (2002) for the sixth-best season in school history.

    Werner also made a game-changing play in the third quarter, immediately after the Seminoles cut Florida's lead to 13-10. He swooped in when UF's Jeff Driskel and Mike Gillislee botched a handoff and returned the fumble 9 yards to the Gators 19. That set up a touchdown run by QB EJ Manuel that gave FSU its first lead.

    STOOPS INTERVIEWS WITH UK: FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops interviewed for the vacant head coaching job at Kentucky, reported Saturday evening. Stoops has said he would like to be a head coach eventually, but was not available for comment after the game, per FSU policy.

    HOPKINS MOVES UP: K Dustin Hopkins moved into third place in NCAA Division I-A history with 456 career points after booting two extra points and field goals of 50 and 53 yards. He also tied Georgia's Billy Bennett for the all-time I-A lead with 87 field goals.

    SLOW START: FSU's scoreless first quarter was its worst statistical output of the season. UF held the Seminoles to 44 yards, the fewest FSU totaled in a quarter since mustering only 35 in last season's Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame.

    TANK TAKEN OUT: Standout DE Cornellius Carradine left with an injury in the third quarter. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher did not have details or an update of the injury immediately after the game. Carradine led the 'Noles and tied a career high with 11 tackles and added 1.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.

    BREAKING GROUND: FSU had a ceremonial groundbreaking of its new indoor practice facility Saturday morning. Construction of the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility is scheduled to begin after next week's ACC championship game and the facility is scheduled to be open by August.

    THIS AND THAT: Former Alonso High lineman Demonte McAllister tied a career high with five tackles, all in the first half. … The announced attendance of 83,429 was the 15th largest in Doak Campbell Stadium history. … FSU's loss was Fisher's first defeat to one of the Seminoles' in-state rivals. The 'Noles had won their last five games against UF and Miami.

    Matt Baker can be reached at

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    By Gary Shelton, Times Sports Columnist
    Saturday, November 24, 2012


    In the end, the stadium that had broken so many of their dreams was silent as a cemetery. The scattered fans who remained sat stone-faced, their arms folded, their eyes staring blankly at the field.

    And it was not enough.

    For the first time in weeks, the maligned Gators offense had had its way with a highly ranked opponent, scoring 37 points, shredding the No. 1 rushing defense in America with 244 yards on the ground.

    That was not enough, either.

    Once again their defense had overpowered an opponent. FSU was supposed to have one of the most explosive offenses in the country, remember? That was before Florida pulled the plug.

    And still the Gators wanted more.

    It was only moments after the conclusion of the Gators' most improbable, most unexpected season, and already coach Will Muschamp was talking about the national championship. His team had just beaten its archrival on the archrival's turf in convincing fashion, and still Muschamp wanted a new foe to conquer. Anyone, he said. Anywhere.

    Maybe, just maybe, this is why the Gators program has come so far so fast. As good as this season has been, as surprising as the progress has been, it still isn't enough for this guy.

    "We shot ourselves in the foot too many times in Jacksonville (in losing to Georgia)," Muschamp said. "Or we would be sitting here undefeated. That's the bottom line. Our resume speaks for itself. You see where we have played, who we have played and the quality of football teams we've beaten."

    How can Florida fans not wince today as they remember the six turnovers against Georgia? Three turnovers, the Gators could have survived. Four, they still might have won. Even with five, they had a shot. It was the sixth that did them in. Instead, the winner of the SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia will get one of the BCS title-game slots. Notre Dame will get the other.

    The thing is, Florida had seldom looked more like a contender than it did in beating the Seminoles on Saturday. Remember how shaky the Gators looked against Louisiana-Lafayette? Remember how punchless the offense had seemed for a month? There were those who suggested that, as the No. 4 team in the BCS standings, Florida was vastly overrated.

    Not anymore. This was a different Gators team. It wore down an FSU defensive front that had allowed only 70 yards per game rushing, on average. It harassed quarterback EJ Manuel into three interceptions and a fumble. It dominated time of possession.

    Put it this way: If you still think the Gators have offensive limitations, FSU should be grateful. Otherwise, the Gators might have scored 60. As it was, the Seminoles could not stop the Gators' rushing attack.

    "We had a lot of confidence coming in here and being able to run the ball," Muschamp said. "We've run it well versus better defenses."

    If that sounds like a dig at the ACC, well, maybe it is.

    "(The Seminoles) don't face too many two-back power running teams in their league," Muschamp said. "They play a lot of that one-back stuff. You better learn to fit the counter and the power when you play Florida."

    FSU couldn't, and that's sure to vex Seminoles fans today. Even after FSU rallied from a 13-0 deficit to take the lead in the third quarter, it couldn't keep up on either offense or defense.

    As it turns out, it won't be the North Carolina State loss that vexes the FSU fans this winter. It will be the Florida loss.

    Maybe this time it will be FSU coach Jimbo Fisher who wonders about his team's toughness. If you remember, Muschamp did that after last year's FSU game when he suggested his team was soft.

    No one says that anymore about the Gators. These days they dare to suggest Muschamp has repaired the program Urban Meyer once pronounced as broken.

    Surprise. That isn't enough for Muschamp, either.

    "I wouldn't say we're fixed," he said. "At the University of Florida, we're about winning championships. We're about going to Atlanta (for the SEC title game). Until you start accomplishing some goals …

    "Everyone wants to talk about we've arrived and we're back. Hell, we haven't won a championship. Until we do, I have a hard time saying we're back."

    Odd. This year the Gators were more than anyone expected.

    Muschamp? He wanted more. Of course he did.

    Listen to Gary Shelton weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on 98.7-FM the Fan.


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    Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The only thing Urban Meyer lost during his first season at Ohio State was his cool — at the end of the last game.

    Carlos Hyde ran for 146 yards and the No. 4 Buckeyes shut out No. 20 Michigan in the second half — forcing three turnovers along the way — for a 26-21 win Saturday that completed a 12-0 season.

    Meyer got emotional in the final seconds, embracing his players. Too emotional, he said.

    "I've got to keep a little more composure, I guess," he said sheepishly. "In the coaching manual, I think it's Chapter 13. It says, 'Keep cool.' I lost it there for a couple of minutes."

    Meyer took over a program that went 6-7 last season. A month after his hiring, the NCAA banned it from the postseason for this season. But it became the first Buckeyes team to go unbeaten since the 2002 national title team and first team on probation to go unbeaten since Auburn went 11-0 in 1993.

    "You get all the wins you can, especially against the Team Up North, especially at home on top of that," Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller said.

    Ohio State still has a shot at finishing No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll. But it needs to be the nation's only unbeaten team then get help from voters.

    "At this point in time, Ohio State can go and play with anybody in America," Meyer said. "I wouldn't say that five weeks ago. But you've seen the growth."

    Michigan's Denard Robinson had a brilliant first half. The former quarterback now a running back scored on a 67-yard run. He totaled 122 yards on 10 carries but lost 2 yards on his four carries after halftime.

    Devin Gardner was 11-of-20 for 171 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, for the Wolverines. Michigan ran 26 plays for 219 yards in the first half but only 21 for a net of 60 in the second.

    "We know the reason we lost the game," Robinson said. "We had three turnovers in the second half. That's not acceptable."

    Sooner QB throws 71 times in OT win

    NORMAN, Okla. — Landry Jones threw for 500 yards and three touchdowns, and Brennan Clay scored on an 18-yard run in overtime to give No. 14 Oklahoma a 51-48 win against No. 22 Oklahoma State.

    Jones set school records with 46 completions and 71 attempts.

    "What more do you want from the guy? The guy was, again, fabulous," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "He threw the ball all over. He threw it well, throwing bullets everywhere."

    Jones' backup and short-yardage specialist Blake Bell forced overtime with four seconds left on a 4-yard keeper on fourth and 1. The Cowboys settled for a field goal. Then Clay ended the first Bedlam series game to go to overtime on the Sooners' second play, breaking two tackles to reach the end zone.

    In his final home game, Jones had his second straight 500-yard passing game to surpassed Texas Tech's Graham Harrell to become the Big 12's career passing leader. The senior also became the first Division I-A quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns four times.

    "God blessed me so much to be able to go out like this," Jones said. "There's no better way to go out.

    No. 11 Stanford 35, No. 15 UCLA 17: Stepfan Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns as the visiting Cardinal clinched a berth in the Pac-12 title game. Stanford, which has three consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time, needed to win to clinch the North after Oregon beat Oregon State earlier in the day. Up 21-10 in the third, the Cardinal scored twice in 13 seconds. Taylor scored on a 1-yard run four plays after an interception. Alex Debniak forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that Usua Amanam returned 11 yards for a score.

    No. 25 Utah St. 45, Idaho 9: Chuckie Keeton threw two touchdowns for the host Aggies, who won their first outright conference title since the Rocky Mountain Athletic in 1936. Utah State, which also won 10 games for the first time in the program's 116-year history, is the final champion of the WAC. The conference no longer will play football after this season due to defections, including Utah State to the Mountain West. "We definitely know we did something big," said senior cornerback Will Davis, who had an interception for the fifth consecutive game and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. "But I don't know if we understand the significance."

    Around the nation

    Penn St. 24, Wisconsin 21 OT: Sam Ficken made a 37-yard field goal then Kyle French missed a 45-yarder to give the host Nittany Lions the win. The Badgers' Curt Phillips hit Jeff Duckworth for a 4-yard touchdown with 18 seconds left to force overtime.

    N'western 50, Illinois 14: Kain Colter threw three touchdowns for the host Wildcats. The Illini have lost 14 consecutive Big Ten games.

    Mich. St. 26, Minn. 10: Le'Veon Bell ran for 266 yards for the visiting Spartans, who became bowl eligible.

    Purdue 56, Indiana 35: Running back Akeem Shavers scored on catches of 73 and 26 yards and a run of 4 yards in a fourth-quarter span of 4½ minutes for the host Boilermakers.

    Baylor 52, Texas Tech 45 OT: Glasco Martin scored on a 4-yard run in overtime then the Bears, who missed a field goal at the end of regulation, held in Arlington, Texas.

    San Diego St. 42, Wyoming 28: Adam Muema rushed for 255 yards and four touchdowns for the visiting Aztecs, who clinched a share of their first Mountain West title since 1998.

    SMU 35, Tulsa 27: The host Mustangs made a last-second goal-line stand to become bowl eligible for a school-record fourth consecutive season.

    Houston 40, Tulane 17: Crawford Jones threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns as the host Cougars closed 70-year-old Robertson Stadium with a rout.


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    Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    MIAMI — Ray Allen took a pass from LeBron James and made a 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds left, and the Heat rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 1:52 to beat the Cavaliers 110-108 on Saturday night.

    James finished with 30 points for the Heat, which remained perfect at home despite leading for only 2 minutes, 29 seconds. Chris Bosh scored 23, Dwyane Wade added 18 and Allen finished with 17, 15 in the fourth quarter, for the Heat, which lost Shane Battier in the third quarter to a sprained right knee.

    Cleveland had a chance at the lead, but Wade blocked Jeremy Pargo's jumper with 3 seconds left, and Allen added a free throw to stretch the lead to two. Cleveland got the rebound with 0.6 seconds left but never got anything near the rim.

    The Heat was down 108-101 with 1:58 left, then scored the final nine points.

    The Heat found a way to survive and move to 6-0 at home, on a night where Cleveland went 14-for-31 from 3-point range.

    Battier landed awkwardly while defending at the rim, then eventually went to the locker room. A few minutes later, the Heat called Battier's injury a slight right knee sprain.

    Wizards still winless after double-OT effort

    WASHINGTON — Byron Mullens scored 27, Ramon Sessions had 20 and Ben Gordon added 19 as the Bobcats earned their seventh win of the season and kept the Wizards winless with a 108-106 double-overtime victory.

    Last season, the Bobcats went 7-59 in the lockout-shortened season, the lowest winning percentage in NBA history, but they have already equaled that victory total in their 12th game.

    Washington fell to 0-11 despite the spark supplied by Nene, who energized the Wizards during most of his 29 minutes. Martel Webster had 21 points for Washington and Nene scored 19.

    The Bobcats appeared to have won the game in the first overtime, but Chris Singleton was fouled by Charlotte's Jeff Taylor as he attempted a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds to play. Singleton made the first, missed the second and converted on the third for a 99-all tie.

    Game highlights: Kevin Durant scored 37, Russell Westbrook had 30 and the Thunder beat the host 76ers 116-109 in overtime. Philadelphia has lost two in a row after winning three straight. … Jeff Teague had 19 points and 11 assists, Zaza Pachulia added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the host Hawks won their fifth straight game, 104-93 over the Clippers. Blake Griffin scored 22 for the Clippers, who have lost a season-high three consecutive games after winning six in a row.

    Around the league: Andrew Bynum's debut with the 76ers is on hold again, with GM Tony DiLeo saying the All-Star center is out indefinitely with no timetable for his first game. Acquired from the Lakers in a four-team trade before the season, Bynum had been recovering from a bone bruise on his right knee and the 76ers were hoping he would be cleared to return to basketball activities by Dec. 10. But he injured his left knee while bowling two weeks ago.

    Heat 110, Cavaliers 108

    CLEVELAND (108): Gee 4-8 3-5 12, Thompson 6-7 1-2 13, Varejao 2-9 6-7 10, Pargo 4-13 6-8 16, Waiters 5-14 3-4 16, Zeller 2-6 1-2 5, Gibson 4-9 1-1 11, Casspi 4-6 3-4 15, Miles 4-7 0-0 10. Totals 35-79 24-33 108.

    MIAMI (110): James 10-16 8-9 30, Battier 3-5 0-0 9, Bosh 6-11 11-13 23, Chalmers 1-3 2-2 4, Wade 6-15 6-10 18, Haslem 1-1 0-0 2, Allen 6-11 2-3 17, Cole 1-3 0-0 2, Miller 2-4 0-0 5, Anthony 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-69 29-37 110.

    Cleveland 29 30 20 29— 108

    Miami 26 22 29 33— 110

    3-Point GoalsCleveland 14-31 (Casspi 4-4, Waiters 3-9, Miles 2-4, Pargo 2-4, Gibson 2-7, Gee 1-2, Varejao 0-1), Miami 9-19 (Allen 3-5, Battier 3-5, James 2-5, Miller 1-3, Chalmers 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsCleveland 43 (Varejao 15), Miami 51 (Bosh, Wade 7). AssistsCleveland 21 (Pargo 7), Miami 21 (James 5). Total FoulsCleveland 29, Miami 25. A20,064.

    Bobcats 108, Wizards 106, 2OT

    CHARLOTTE (108): Kidd-Gilchrist 5-10 0-0 10, Mullens 9-15 4-5 27, Haywood 1-2 0-0 2, Walker 3-17 6-8 12, Taylor 3-6 4-6 12, Gordon 6-13 3-4 19, Sessions 6-14 9-11 21, Diop 0-0 0-0 0, Warrick 0-2 2-2 2, Williams 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 34-83 28-36 108.

    WASHINGTON (106): Beal 3-12 4-4 13, Vesely 1-1 0-1 2, Seraphin 3-10 0-0 6, Livingston 3-4 2-2 8, Crawford 4-15 1-1 9, Ariza 0-3 2-2 2, Singleton 3-11 7-10 13, Price 1-5 0-0 2, Nene 8-13 3-4 19, Webster 4-10 10-12 21, Okafor 4-9 3-3 11. Totals 34-93 32-39 106.

    Charlotte 25 25 22 20 7 9— 108

    Washington 24 27 21 20 7 7— 106

    3-Point GoalsCharlotte 12-28 (Mullens 5-11, Gordon 4-6, Taylor 2-3, Williams 1-3, Sessions 0-2, Walker 0-3), Washington 6-27 (Webster 3-8, Beal 3-9, Ariza 0-3, Price 0-3, Crawford 0-4). Fouled OutGordon, Kidd-Gilchrist, Taylor, Singleton. ReboundsCharlotte 55 (Kidd-Gilchrist, Mullens 8), Washington 68 (Singleton 12). AssistsCharlotte 20 (Walker 8), Washington 21 (Crawford 6). Total FoulsCharlotte 33, Washington 28. TechnicalsGordon. A13,077.

    Thunder 116, 76ers 109, OT

    OKLAHOMA CITY (116): Durant 10-22 15-17 37, Ibaka 8-12 2-3 18, Perkins 1-4 1-2 3, Westbrook 11-23 6-6 30, Sefolosha 2-7 1-2 6, Martin 2-9 1-1 6, Collison 5-6 4-4 14, Thabeet 0-1 2-2 2, Maynor 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 39-88 32-37 116.

    PHILADELPHIA (109): Turner 10-17 6-7 26, T.Young 13-23 3-3 29, Allen 3-4 2-2 8, Holiday 3-11 0-0 6, Richardson 5-7 0-0 13, Brown 1-4 0-0 2, N.Young 4-10 0-0 9, Hawes 3-6 1-3 7, Wright 3-8 0-0 9, Wayns 0-1 0-0 0, Wilkins 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 45-91 12-17 109.

    Oklahoma City 29 21 35 13 18— 116

    Philadelphia 21 28 30 19 11— 109

    3-Point GoalsOklahoma City 6-21 (Westbrook 2-5, Durant 2-6, Martin 1-5, Sefolosha 1-5), Philadelphia 7-20 (Richardson 3-5, Wright 3-7, N.Young 1-3, Turner 0-2, Holiday 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOklahoma City 52 (Ibaka 9), Philadelphia 53 (T.Young 15). AssistsOklahoma City 21 (Westbrook 9), Philadelphia 31 (Holiday 13). Total FoulsOklahoma City 20, Philadelphia 28. TechnicalsPhiladelphia defensive three second. A19,611.

    Hawks 104, Clippers 93

    L.A. CLIPPERS (93): Butler 1-6 0-0 3, Griffin 9-17 4-6 22, Jordan 4-8 0-2 8, Paul 5-12 8-8 19, Green 3-5 0-0 7, Bledsoe 4-10 2-2 12, Barnes 2-5 0-0 6, Crawford 3-8 5-5 12, Odom 0-2 0-0 0, Hollins 1-1 0-0 2, Turiaf 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 32-75 21-25 93.

    ATLANTA (104): Smith 7-9 2-3 17, Horford 5-11 0-1 10, Pachulia 7-9 5-7 19, Teague 7-14 4-5 19, Korver 2-7 2-2 8, Morrow 3-8 2-2 9, Johnson 2-5 0-0 4, Williams 5-9 6-6 18, Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Petro 0-2 0-0 0, Jenkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-75 21-26 104.

    L.A. Clippers 24 17 19 33— 93

    Atlanta 21 30 34 19— 104

    3-Point GoalsL.A. Clippers 8-19 (Bledsoe 2-3, Barnes 2-5, Green 1-1, Crawford 1-2, Butler 1-3, Paul 1-3, Odom 0-2), Atlanta 7-17 (Williams 2-4, Korver 2-7, Smith 1-1, Morrow 1-1, Teague 1-4). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsL.A. Clippers 41 (Griffin 11), Atlanta 48 (Pachulia 12). AssistsL.A. Clippers 19 (Griffin, Paul 7), Atlanta 26 (Teague 11). Total FoulsL.A. Clippers 22, Atlanta 18. TechnicalsBarnes, Griffin. A16,024.

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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    Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    LOS ANGELES — Theo Riddick rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown and Kyle Brindza made five field goals as No. 1 Notre Dame secured a spot in the BCS championship game with a 22-13 victory over USC on Saturday.

    The Irish will go for their first national title since 1988 Jan. 7 in Miami and likely face the winner of the SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia.

    Up 16-10, the Irish had a chance to blow it open after linebacker Manti Te'o intercepted his seventh pass of the season on the second play of the second half. But Brindza missed a 34-yard field goal. He made a 33-yarder late in the third to extend the lead to 19-10.

    The Trojans had to settle for a field goal with 9:20 left — a few moments after coach Lane Kiffin called a timeout right before a play that ended with Marqise Lee catching a pass on the goal line.

    Brindza made it 22-13 with a 19-yarder with 5:58 left. But Lee caught a 53-yard pass on the next snap, and two pass interference penalties set up a first down at the 1.

    The Trojans didn't score.

    They failed on three runs against a defense that has allowed just 11 rushing touchdowns over its past 30 games. Then Max Wittek, starting for the injured Matt Barkley, threw an incompletion.

    "They've had a great goal-line defense all year," Kiffin said. "They've done that to everybody down on the goal line. It's just so hard to score touchdowns versus them. When the ball is on the 2-inch line, you'd think you could score touchdowns."

    For the game, USC had six carries for 3 yards in goal-to-go-situations. For the season Notre Dame has allowed minus-28 yards rushing in goal-to-go situations.

    "It doesn't matter where the ball is," Te'o said. "We're going to protect the end zone at all costs."

    USC has lost four of its past five games. And its five losses overall are the most by a preseason No. 1 team since Mississippi went 5-5-1 in 1964. It also will be the first preseason No. 1 to finish out of the Top 25 since that same Mississippi team.


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    Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    CLEMSON, S.C. — Backup quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for three touchdowns, Jadeveon Clowney had 4½ sacks and No. 13 South Carolina won its fourth straight over 12th-ranked Clemson 27-17 Saturday as Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier became the school's victories leader.

    Thompson got the call because Gamecocks starter Connor Shaw sprained his left foot last week against Wofford. The sophomore made the most of it with touchdown passes of 13 and 6 yards to Bruce Ellington and 34 yards to Ace Sanders.

    The Tigers were grounded by Clowney, the standout defensive end who set South Carolina's single-season record with 13 sacks.

    "We were very fortunate again," Spurrier said. "It seems like when we play Clemson, they don't play very well."

    Spurrier won his 65th game in eight seasons, surpassing Rex Enright for the most by a South Carolina coach. Spurrier is the second coach to top the victories list at two SEC schools (Florida, South Carolina), joining the late Bear Bryant (Alabama, Kentucky).

    The Gamecocks finished with 10 victories for a second straight season, a program first.

    "That's sort of neat that it came against our instate rival," Spurrier said. "It's interesting some of my other so-called big numbers came against Georgia. To have this as No. 65 makes it special. The (game) ball's worth keeping, put it that way."

    Clemson's offense and quarterback Tajh Boyd never got on track. The Tigers went in first in the ACC and sixth in the country with 535 yards a game. They finished with 328 in this one, 165 over the final three quarters.

    Boyd was 11-of-24 for 183 yards and two crushing interceptions, the last setting up Thompson's clinching TD throw to Ellington with 4:17 to.

    When it was over, South Carolina's players started their fans in the chant, "Four In A Row! Four In A Row!"

    VA. TECH 17, VIRGINIA 14: Cody Journell kicked a 29-yard field goal with four seconds left, and the host Hokies beat their in-state rival to qualify for a bowl game for the 20th consecutive season and top the Cavaliers for the ninth straight time. Cornerback Antone Exum set up the winning drive when he intercepted Michael Rocco at the Virginia 36 with 3:21 left. Exum brought it to the 24, and Virginia inexplicably held on to two timeouts as the Hokies ran the clock down and positioned the ball. The Cavaliers used both timeouts to try to freeze Journell, to no avail.

    VANDY 55, WAKE 21: Jordan Rodgers threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns and Zac Stacy ran for a season-high 180 yards and two scores for the visiting Commodores. Vanderbilt won its sixth straight game, its longest winning streak since 1955.

    N.C. STATE 27, BC 10: Mike Glennon threw three touchdowns and David Amerson returned an interception for a score for the host Wolfpack. Glennon threw two touchdowns to Tobais Palmer within 51 seconds late in the third quarter.

    UNC 45, MARYLAND 38: Bryn Renner tied a school record with five touchdown passes and Gio Bernard ran for 163 yards and a score for the host Tar Heels.

    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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    By Antonya English, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    TALLAHASSEE — His teammates call him one of the biggest offensive weapons on the team. Now they have to call him the best kicker to have played at Florida.

    A 45-yarder with 6:53 left in the first half marked senior Caleb Sturgis second field goal of the game and 68th overall, surpassing the school record Jeff Chandler set from 1997-2001. Sturgis, one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, made three field goals in a game for the fifth time this season.

    Florida coach Will Muschamp calls Sturgis, whose 69th field goal came during the fourth quarter, "the best kicker in the country."

    Injuries: It has been a tough season for junior LB Jelani Jenkins. Against Texas A&M on Sept. 8, he broke his right thumb and missed 2½ games before returning against LSU wearing a cast. Saturday, he injured his right foot. Jenkins, who had an interception in the game, was in a boot and on crutches after the game. The severity of the injury was unknown. … Senior RB Mike Gillislee injured his ribs with 9:07 remaining in the game and did not return.

    SENIOR CELEBRATION: For Florida's seniors, especially on defense, the win was extra special. It was that unit Muschamp labeled "soft" following last season's home loss to Florida State.

    "It was probably the biggest win of my career," senior NT Omar Hunter said. "I haven't enjoyed a game this much in my entire life."

    MAJOR IMPACT: In a game with so many different plays that swung the momentum, Florida's Marcus Roberson might have had one of the biggest. His 50-yard punt return set up the 14-yard pass from Jeff Driskel to Quinton Dunbar with 7:00 remaining in the game that gave the Gators a 10-point lead.

    "I was just lucky enough to get great blocking on the play," said Roberson, who also had a interception 2:57 into the third quarter. "And then I got down the sidelines."

    PENALTY PRONE: The Gators are still struggling with penalties, something Muschamp said they continue to address. They were penalized 12 times for 101 yards, including eight for 85 yards during the third quarter.

    DOUBLE DUTY: Sophomore Loucheiz Purifoy started at running back as well as cornerback, becoming the first Gator to start both ways since Keiwan Ratliff played cornerback and receiver against Florida State on Nov. 30, 2002.

    FINAL WORD: "At the end of the day, you want to be in the conversation. And we're in the conversation. And you want to have the opportunity to play in the big game. But regardless, I'm very proud of our team; the resolve and the improvements we've been able to make." — Muschamp on the Gators being in the mix for the national title.


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  • 11/24/12--20:08: Duke makes statement
  • Times wires
    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Quinn Cook scored 11 of his 15 in the final 7:46, including No. 5 Duke's last eight, and the Blue Devils beat No. 2 Louisville 76-71 Saturday night in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

    Neither team led by more than four over the final 10 minutes until Cook's second free throw with 6.7 seconds left made it 76-71.

    The sophomore point guard had six assists and four turnovers against Louisville's pressure defense. He was 4-of-8 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line.

    It was the first meeting between Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville's Rick Pitino since Christian Laettner's shot beat Kentucky, then coached by Pitino, in the 1992 NCAA Tournament region final.

    Mason Plumlee had 16 points for Duke (6-0). Peyton Siva had 19 points for the Cardinals (5-1), and Russ Smith added 17.

    Center Gorgui Dieng didn't suit up for Louisville because of a left wrist injury.

    Down 52-41, the Cardinals rallied, going ahead 59-58 on Siva's 3-pointer, their first lead since 90 seconds into the game.

    Cook followed with a 3 to put the Blue Devils back ahead. Louisville tied it for the last time at 61 on Chane Behanan's 15-foot jumper before Seth Curry hit a 3-pointer.

    NO. 13 MISSOURI 68, VCU 65: Phil Pressey had 11 points, eight assists and two huge shots in the final two minutes for the Tigers (5-1) in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

    NO. 18 UNLV 82, IOWA ST. 70: Freshman Anthony Bennett scored 22 for the Runnin' Rebels (3-1) in the consolation game of the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas.

    NO. 19 MEMPHIS 52, N. IOWA 47: Chris Crawford had 18 points for the Tigers (3-2), who bounced back after consecutive losses in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

    CHARLESTON 63, NO. 24 BAYLOR 59: Willis Hall scored six in a row to break a tie, and the Cougars upset the host Bears (4-2) to beat a ranked team for the first time since an overtime home victory over No. 9 North Carolina on Jan. 4, 2010.

    MIAMI 77, DETROIT 62: Durand Scott, back from a six-game suspension, and Shane Larkin scored 15 each to lead the host Hurricanes (3-1).

    FAMU 69, PRESBYTERIAN 55: Jamie Adams had 23 points, seven steals and five assists for the Rattlers (1-5), who used two big runs to pull away at the Las Vegas Invitational.

    VALPO 77, B-CU 64: Ryan Broekhoff scored a career-high 30 against visiting Bethune-Cookman (2-4) in a Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic region final.

    ECKERD 72, CLARK ATLANTA 70: Jerrick Stevenson had 21 points, including a dunk with six minutes left that put the Tritons (2-0) ahead for good at the Eckerd Classic.

    TAMPA 58, P.R. BAYAMON 50: Da'Markco Foster had 17 points and Anthony Griffis 15 as the Spartans (4-0) pulled away at the Eckerd Classic.

    WINSTON-SALEM 63, SAINT LEO 57: Wakefield Ellison had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Rams, who put away the Lions (3-1) with a late 9-0 run.

    BRANDEIS 80, BABSON 69: Former St. Petersburg High standout Gabriel Moton, a junior point guard, had 28 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double double for the Division III Judges in Waltham, Mass.


    FSU 73, NO. 17 VANDY 59: Leonor Rodriguez led five players in double figures with 16 points for the Seminoles (5-0) at the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico. The Commodores (3-3) lost their third straight.

    UF 80, N. IOWA 63: Freshman Carlie Needles scored 14 to lead five players in double figures for the Gators (5-1), who won their third straight in the second day of the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas.

    ECKERD 73, N. GEORGIA 45: Liga Vente had 18 points and Krystal Charles had nine rebounds as the host Tritons (3-1) romped.

    NO. 2 UCONN 91, NO. 14 PURDUE 57: Breanna Stewart scored 17 for the Huskies (5-0), who never trailed the Boilermakers (5-1) en route to the championship of the Paradise Jam tournament in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

    NO. 6 PENN ST. 85, CAL-NORTHRIDGE 73: Maggie Lucas scored 23 as the Lions (5-0) overcame a 17-point first-half deficit to win the Cal State Northridge tournament.

    NO. 11 CAL 72, G'TOWN 56: Layshia Clarendon scored 20 to lead the Golden Bears (5-0), which won the Cal Classic title for the eighth time in the past 10 years.

    NO. 13 OKLA. 100, OREGON 61: Aaryn Ellenberg scored a season-high 27 for the Sooners (4-1), who made 17 of a school-record 38 3s at the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu.

    NO. 15 TEXAS 94, CENTRAL CONN. ST. 58: Chassidy Fussell had 22 points to lead the host Longhorns (4-0).

    NO. 25 UNC 85, LA SALLE 55: Waltiea Rolle had 15 points and 12 rebounds to pace the host Tar Heels (5-0).

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    TAMPA — There were a lot of Buccaneer players and coaches kicking themselves after Sunday's close-but-no-Hav-A-Tampa loss to the Falcons.

    What seemed to bother them most? All the field goals they asked Connor Barth to kick — and perhaps one they shouldn't have — in a 24-23 defeat before 54,400 at Raymond James Stadium.

    Start with coach Greg Schiano, who decided to let Barth try a 56-yard field goal trailing by a point with 3:30 remaining and having all three timeouts. After running back Michael Turner put the Falcons ahead with his 3-yard touchdown run with 7:55 to play, the Bucs faced fourth and 7 from the Atlanta 38.

    "There were a lot of thoughts," Schiano said. "There were thoughts of pinning (Atlanta) down. There were thoughts of going for it on fourth down. There were thoughts of, 'We've made a field goal longer than that, from that exact spot on the field. And the wind was coming from the (pirate) ship.' "

    Barth's attempt was short and wide right.

    By the time Tampa Bay got the ball back, there were only eight seconds remaining. After a 9-yard catch by tight end Dallas Clark, Josh Freeman's Hail Mary from his 47 fell incomplete.

    The Bucs (6-5), whose four-game win streak was snapped, hoped Sunday would end more happily than the seven quiet rides home after the past eight games against the Falcons (10-1).

    But Matt Ryan passed for 353 yards, including an 80-yard bomb to Julio Jones, who beat cornerback Leonard Johnson in the third quarter. Jones finished with six catches for 147 yards.

    It was Ryan's 21st winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime since entering the league in 2008, including the fourth against the NFC South rival Bucs.

    "We've got to turn field goals into touchdowns," left tackle Donald Penn said. "We didn't do that. The fact of the matter is we're a better team than them, and we know that."

    But losses Sunday by Seattle and Minnesota kept Bucs in a three-way tie for the sixth and final NFC wild-card spot. If the playoffs began today, that spot would go to Seattle over Tampa Bay because of a better conference record (4-4 compared with 3-5).

    "The main issue was just not scoring enough," quarterback Josh Freeman said. "It's a matter of driving down and going off the field with three points rather than seven."

    Freeman and the offense were kicking themselves for failing to capitalize on a pair of turnovers. Safety Ronde Barber recorded his 47th career interception, picking off Ryan in the second quarter with the Bucs trailing 10-7. On first down from the Atlanta 31, Freeman pitched a lateral to receiver Mike Williams, who passed 28 yards to Vincent Jackson to the Falcons 3.

    But running back Doug Martin ran for 2 yards on first down, Freeman threw incomplete on a play-action pass and former Gator linebacker Mike Peterson tackled Martin for a 3-yard loss on third down, forcing Barth's 22-yard field goal, the first of his three on the day.

    Martin, who was held to 50 yards on 21 carries, scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run to give the Bucs a 20-17 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.

    And on the next series, cornerback E.J. Biggers sacked Ryan, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy at the Atlanta 36.

    But once again, the Bucs could not take full advantage, settling for Barth's 48-yard field goal.

    Even so, the defense could have made the 23-17 lead stand up. But safety Ahmad Black was called for holding on third and goal from the 5 after Ryan chucked one over the head of receiver Harry Douglas.

    "I think the ball was thrown out of bounds," Black said. "There was no possible way at all, even if I didn't touch him, he was going to catch that ball. Am I supposed to just look at him and stare at him the whole time? I don't know."

    Even with the miscues, the Bucs had a chance to win on the 56-yard attempt by Barth, who kicked a career-best 57-yarder earlier this season against Washington.

    "The reason we did it was my confidence in Connor that he was going to make it," Schiano said. "That's the kind of kicker I think we have.

    "Just one of those missed opportunities. Not easy. It's not like every day he has to hit a 56-yarder and we call it a day. That's a tall order, but we have one of the best kickers in the National Football League."

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


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    By Dave Walker, Times Correspondent
    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    What's hot: Thanksgiving typically is when fish transition from summer to colder weather. Fall is fickle for Tampa Bay, so anglers must adapt. Speckled trout are cooperating in the mid to upper bay area, but most trout have been undersized (yet still fun to catch on ultralight gear). They can be found in pot holes adjacent to grass flats and residential canals, and will continue to thicken as the water chills.

    Tips: Most game fish won't exert the effort to nail a live sardine when they can easily slurp up a slow, live shrimp. Patience is crucial. Weather and drastic water temperature drops can complicate strategy.

    What's next: As the water temperatures drop quickly, look for fish to hang around residential canals and docks, where fishing requires patience because of the many snag opportunities when dealing with multiple dock lines or barnacle- and oyster-encrusted pilings.

    Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531, email or visit

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    By Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    TAMPA - There was a sense of frustration in the Bucs lockerroom following a 24-23 loss to the first-place Falcons Sunday afternoon, with left tackle Donald Penn saying "we should have won."

    "I know we outplayed them," Penn said. "We're a better team than them - it didn't show. They made one or two more plays, and that made the difference...

    "We should have won that game, plain and simple. I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you. We should have won that game. We didn't, so back to the drawing board on Monday. We're a great football team, we're going to build. We lost this game, but there's still a lot of football to play."

    The loss was particularly stinging considering the opportunity, with the Bucs (6-5) riding a four-game winning streak and hoping to help their playoff hopes against the Falcons (10-1).

    "It's a different team out there, definitely," Penn said. "Everybody sees it. Last year has nothing to do with this year. It doesn't mean nothing. We've got a lot more football to play and we just got to get this behind us. I can't tell you anything besides that's a tough a-- loss. I'm telling you, it (stinks) right now, it (stinks) right now. It really does. That's as easy as I can sum it up for you. It really (stinks) right now."

    Falcons veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez noted the Bucs are a much-improved team, and was happy to thwart their rival's momentum.

    "We're going against a good team," Gonzalez said. "They won four in a row, they were hot. Everybody was saying they were the hottest team in the NFC South, and they probably were. But for us to be able to come in here, in this type of environment and stop the momentum. And really, I thought honestly we could have played a little better. When you win close games like that, it's only a positive..

    "(The Bucs) are absolutely improved. They've always played hard. I give them that, always been physical. They've got on a roll the last month. And we knew that coming in. We read the papers, we watch ESPN and all that stuff. Some people didn't pick us to win today, that's fine with us. Just got to keep going out there, keep the nose to the grinder and not worry about it. I give them a lot of credit, they played us very tough today."

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  • 11/25/12--14:59: Bengals 34, Raiders 10
  • Times wires
    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Bengals stay hot; Raiders' skid at 4

    CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton threw for three touchdowns for the Bengals and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 129 yards and a touchdown against the league's most generous defense.

    Green-Ellis had runs of 48 and 39 yards — the longest of his career — to set up scores as Cincinnati won its third straight.

    Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer, returning to Cincinnati for the first time since he was traded last year, was 19-of-34 for 146 yards with four sacks and an interception. He was booed by the smallest crowd of the season at Paul Brown Stadium (56,503). "You obviously hear it," he said.

    Oakland has lost four straight, giving up 169 points. "I'm just really tired of losing," safety Mike Mitchell said. "It's going from anger to sadness to … I don't know."

    During a fourth-quarter fight, Oakland defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and end Lamarr Houston ended up on top of Cincinnati offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth. They all were ejected. "They were probably looking for a fight because they weren't doing much on the field," Whitworth said.

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    Times wires
    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    SAO PAULO — Sebastian Vettel found himself spinning just after the start, watching as other cars whizzed past. His Formula One title hopes seemed to be drifting away.

    It was only the start of Vettel's problems Sunday in what he called the toughest race of his career. But he overcame all of them and claimed the only prize that mattered: his third straight championship title.

    Vettel shook off a first-lap crash and other difficulties to finish sixth at the Brazilian Grand Prix, good enough to protect his lead over Fernando Alonso and become F1's youngest three-time champion at age 25.

    "Everything that could go wrong went wrong," said Vettel, whose 13-point lead became a three in the end.

    Jenson Button of McLaren won at Interlagos, with Alonso second and Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa third. Seven-time world champ Michael Schumacher, F1's most successful driver, finished seventh in his final race after 19 seasons.

    But they were all overshadowed by Vettel, who had to overcome a poor start, the early crash, a damaged car, a broken radio, a botched pit stop and pouring rain.

    "Just look at the stuff that went wrong. It was for sure the toughest race," Vettel said.

    Vettel was in last place before he could turn his car around. But he worked his way up despite a slightly damaged car and no radio.

    Vettel is the first driver with three titles in a row since Schumacher won five from 2000-04. The only other driver to win at least three consecutive championships was Juan Manuel Fangio from 1954-57.

    Schumacher, 43, bid farewell to the sport, lapping the track before the race with a flag that read "Thank You." He leaves with the most wins (91), poles (68), fastest laps (77) and most podium finishes (155).

    EAST BAY: AJ Maddox won the Sprints feature at Gibsonton late Saturday for the second straight week. Other winners: Dan Darnell in Florida Old Time Mods, Stephen Hohlbaugh in Outlaw Fours, and Brett Calonge in Bombers.

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