NFL SCOREBOARD

Indianapolis 44 Las Vegas 27

Chicago 36 Houston 7

Tennessee 31 Jacksonville 10

Denver 32 Carolina 27

Kansas City 33 Miami 27

Dallas 30 Cincinnati 7

Arizona 26 NY Giants 7

Tampa Bay 26 Minnesota 14

Seattle 40 NY Jets 3

Green Bay 31 Detroit 24

LA Chargers 27 Atlanta 17

Washington 23 San Francisco 15

Philadelphia 24 New Orleans 21

Buffalo 26 Pittsburgh 15

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL – TOP 25

#4 Michigan State 109 Oakland 91

#3 Iowa 106 Northern Illinois 53

#11 West Virginia 87 #19 Richmond 71

#25 Michigan 62 Penn State 58

#22 Ohio State 67 Cleveland State 61

#23 Arizona State 71 Grand Canyon 70

Indiana 87 N. Alabama 52

Wright State 85 Bowling Green 67

Northeastern 78 Massachusetts 75

Youngstown State 79 Binghamton 65

UNCA 90 High Point 84 OT

Marshall 81 Ohio 67

Milwaukee 71 Western Michigan 63

Jacksonville 60 South Carolina State 58

Winthrop 107 USC-Upstate 77

Kent State 92 Northern Kentucky 73

Vanderbilt 84 Mississippi Valley 41

Loyola Illinois 71 Illinois Chicago 66

Maryland Baltimore 66 Coppin State 49

Troy 61 Central Baptist 44

California 72 San Francisco 70

New Mexico 72 Rice 61

Cal Poly 75 San Jose State 71

Boise State 70 Weber State 59

Montana State 114 Yellowstone Christian College 74

Washington State 69 Portland State 60

Cal State Fullerton 94 San Diego Christ 70

Mercer 77 Georgia Southern 75

Jacksonville State 73 Tennessee Tech 67

Seattle 89 NW. University 40

Georgetown 97 St. John’s 94 OT

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Stanford 83 California 38

Georgia Tech 82 #22 Notre Dame 67

#4 North Carolina State 75 Boston College 69

#9 Kentucky 88 Samford 54

#13 Arkansas 105 Central Arkansas 58

#11 UCLA 73 USC 52

#25 Gonzaga 58 Montana 51

#24 DePaul 76 Loyola Illinois 67

#10 Texas A&M 77 Abilene Christian 59

Pittsburgh 80 Clemson 71

Florida State 69 Virginia 51

Villanova 48 Drexel 46

Milwaukee 59 Green Bay 51

South Florida 85 Stetson 43

Tennessee Tech 68 Jacksonville State 66

Alabama 78 Mercer 61

TCU 83 Middle Tennessee 77

Wright State 73 Detroit 43

Xavier 70 Wofford 64

Purdue 79 Bowling Green 73

North Florida 93 Edward Waters 35

Massachusetts 63 St. John 61

Florida Gulf Coast 70 Central Florida 57

Buffalo 85 Akron 77

Georgia State 93 LIFE 49

Vanderbilt 80 Chattanooga 78

Colorado State 85 Denver 62

Old Dominion 73 South Carolina Upstate 39

Howard 63 George Washington 53

St. Joseph’s PA 72 Lincoln PA 64

Northern Kentucky 62 Robert Morris 50

Albany 71 Seton Hall 66

Bradley 79 Northern Illinois 71

Oakland 81 Illinois Chicago 55

Tulsa 69 Oklahoma State 62

Marquette 64 Belmont 61

Alabama Birmingham 70 Grambling State 62

Charleston Southern 66 Western Carolina 56

Southern Illinois 67 SE. Missouri State 51

Oklahoma 52 Texas State 40

Utah State 68 UTEP 65

William & Mary 60 Navy 51

Nevada 62 Sacramento State D3

Illinois State 85 Western Illinois 55

Arizona State 64 San Diego 55

Auburn 74 South Alabama 66

St. Peters 45 Iona 38

West Virginia 85 James Madison 54

Washington State 74 Idaho 55

San Francisco 102 Fresno State 93 2OT

Utah State 68 UTEP 65

NBA PRE-SEASON

Atlanta 116 Orlando 107

Brooklyn 119 Washington 114

Detroit 99 New York 91

Chicago 104 Houston 91

LA Lakers 131 LA Clippers 106

Sacramento 121 Portland 106

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL THIS WEEK

NCC

Friday, Dec. 18
Lafayette Jeff at Logansport, 7:30 pm
Marion at Kokomo, 7:30 pm
McCutcheon at Harrison, 7:30 pm
Central at Anderson, 7:30 pm
Richmond at Tech, 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Anderson at Zionsville, 7:30 pm
Connersville at Richmond, 7:30 pm
Delta at Central, 7:30 pm
Bishop Dwenger at Marion, 7:30 pm
Tech at Cathedral, 7:30 pm
Washington at Lafayette Jeff, 7:30 pm
Logansport at Maconaquah, 7:30 pm
Mississinewa at Kokomo, 6 pm

NCC STANDINGS

CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Lafayette Jeff1-  06-  080.845.835.0Won 6
Marion1-  02-  074.556.018.5Won 5
McCutcheon1-  02-  061.057.04.0Won 2
Tech1-  02-  368.479.8-11.4Lost 1
Logansport0-  03-  165.048.816.3Won 3
Central0-  00-  250.586.5-36.0Lost 3
Harrison0-  12-  170.050.319.7Won 1
Anderson0-  11-  256.358.0-1.7Lost 2
Richmond0-  11-  264.068.3-4.3Lost 2
Kokomo0-  11-  351.862.0-10.3Won 1

TEC

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Knightstown at Seton Catholic, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Northeastern at Blackford, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 16
South Adams at Winchester, 7:30 pm
Thursday, Dec. 17
Hagerstown at Centerville, 7:30 pm
North Decatur at Lincoln, 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Cowan at Tri, 7:30 pm
Eastern Hancock at Knightstown, 7:30 pm
Northeastern at Shenandoah, 7:30 pm
Winchester at Union County, 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Lincoln at Eastern Hancock, 7:30 pm
Centerville at Rushville, 7:30 pm
Hagerstown at Monroe Central, 7:30 pm
Tri at Union City, 6 pm, ppd.
Union County at Knightstown, 7:30 pm

TEC STANDINGS

CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Northeastern1-  04-  073.044.029.0Won 4
Lincoln1-  02-  266.569.0-2.5Won 1
Tri0-  01-  156.556.00.5Won 1
Knightstown0-  00-  132.053.0-21.0Lost 9
Union County0-  00-  152.071.0-19.0Lost 9
Winchester0-  00-  245.047.5-2.5Lost 3
Hagerstown0-  00-  341.058.7-17.7Lost 4
Union City0-  11-  347.552.8-5.3Lost 1
Centerville0-  10-  329.054.0-25.0Lost 6

MEC

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Randolph Southern at Union (Modoc) © , 6 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Blue River at Daleville © , 7:30 pm
Christel House at Union (Modoc), 7:30 pm
Cowan at Tri, 7:30 pm
Eastern Hancock at Knightstown, 7:30 pm
Monroe Central at Lapel, 7:30 pm
Northeastern at Shenandoah, 7:30 pm
Randolph Southern at Seton Catholic, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Wes-Del at Wapahani © , 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Alexandria at Wapahani, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Lincoln at Eastern Hancock, 7:30 pm
Daleville at Wes-Del © , 7:30 pm
Hagerstown at Monroe Central, 7:30 pm
Shenandoah vs. Leo, 3:30 pm, Grace College
TBA at Union (Modoc), TBA, Union

MEC STANDINGS

CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Shenandoah1-  03-  072.745.727.0Won 11
Blue River1-  03-  153.557.5-4.0Won 2
Monroe Central1-  02-  256.554.52.0Won 2
Wes-Del1-  14-  267.858.09.8Lost 1
Eastern Hancock0-  02-  065.056.09.0Won 2
Wapahani0-  02-  259.349.89.5Won 1
Randolph Southern0-  00-  150.071.0-21.0Lost 2
Cowan0-  11-  247.349.7-2.3Won 1
Daleville0-  11-  257.054.72.3Lost 2
Union (Modoc)0-  10-  240.099.0-59.0Lost 6

EASTERN INDIANA

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Beech Grove at Rushville, 7:30 pm
Cincinnati LaSalle (Ohio) at East Central, 7:30 pm
Madison at South Dearborn, 7:30 pm
Thursday, Dec. 17
Batesville at Milan, 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Greensburg at Jennings County, 7:30 pm
Rushville at Lawrenceburg © , 7:30 pm
South Dearborn at Connersville © , 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Centerville at Rushville, 7:30 pm
Connersville at Richmond, 7:30 pm
East Central at Batesville, 2:30 pm
Franklin County at Greensburg © , 7:30 pm

EASTERN INDIANA STANDINGS

CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Lawrenceburg1-  02-  052.542.010.5Won 2
Connersville1-  02-  146.042.04.0Won 2
Franklin County1-  02-  356.453.23.2Lost 1
Greensburg0-  02-  085.062.023.0Won 20
South Dearborn0-  01-  069.052.017.0Won 1
East Central0-  02-  170.763.77.0Won 1
Batesville0-  10-  347.362.7-15.3Lost 4
Rushville0-  20-  443.063.8-20.8Lost 10

PIONEER

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Bethesda Christian at International, 6:30 pm, ppd.
Knightstown at Seton Catholic, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Thursday, Dec. 17
Indiana Deaf at International, 6 pm
Liberty Christian at Blackford, 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Anderson Prep at Liberty Christian, 7:30 pm
Central Christian at Bethesda Christian, 7:30 pm
Randolph Southern at Seton Catholic, 7:30 pm, ppd.
University at Pendleton Heights, 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Greenwood Christian at Bethesda Christian, 6:30 pm
Shortridge at International, 6:30 pm
Burris at New Castle, 7:30 pm
Cristo Rey at Central Christian, 7 pm
Traders Point at University, 7:30 pm

PIONEER STANDINGS

North Division
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
University1-  03-  254.851.03.8Won 1
Seton Catholic0-  01-  150.568.0-17.5Won 1
Burris0-  02-  456.367.2-10.8Won 1
Anderson Prep0-  00-  253.566.5-13.0Lost 12
Liberty Christian0-  14-  268.559.88.7Lost 1
South Division
CONFAGOADAAMStreak
Bethesda Christian0-  03-  070.734.336.3Won 3
Greenwood Christian0-  02-  254.561.8-7.3Won 1
International0-  00-  00.00.00.0Won 3
Central Christian0-  00-  150.056.0-6.0Lost 2
Park Tudor0-  00-  144.050.0-6.0Lost 2

HOOSIER HERITAGE

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Pendleton Heights at Guerin Catholic, 7:30 pm
Yorktown at Jay County, 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Greenfield at Yorktown © , 7:30 pm
Jay County at Delta, 7:30 pm
New Castle at New Palestine © , 7:30 pm
University at Pendleton Heights, 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Delta at Central, 7:30 pm
Franklin Central at New Palestine, 7:30 pm
Mount Vernon at Southport, 7:30 pm
Burris at New Castle, 7:30 pm

HOOSIER HERITAGE STANDINGS

Delta1-  03-  047.037.39.7Won 12
New Palestine1-  03-  166.856.510.3Won 3
Mount Vernon0-  03-  177.062.814.3Won 3
New Castle0-  01-  248.357.0-8.7Won 1
Shelbyville0-  01-  248.753.0-4.3Lost 2
Pendleton Heights0-  00-  00.00.00.0Lost 8
Yorktown0-  12-  155.051.33.7Won 1
Greenfield0-  13-  255.851.24.6Won 1

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL

NCC

Monday, Dec. 14
Northmont (Ohio) at Richmond, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Decatur Central at Tech, 7:30 pm
Harrison at Brownsburg, 7:30 pm
Lafayette Jeff at McCutcheon, 6:30 pm
Noblesville at Anderson, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 16
Kokomo at Taylor, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Logansport at McCutcheon, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Central at Richmond © , 7:30 pm
Thursday, Dec. 17
Benton Central at Lafayette Jeff, 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Lafayette Jeff at Logansport, 6 pm
Marion at Kokomo, 6 pm
Central at Anderson, 6 pm
Richmond at Tech, 6 pm

NCC STANDINGS

Anderson3-  04-  460.847.513.3Won 2
Harrison2-  04-  080.036.543.5Won 4
McCutcheon1-  03-  258.250.47.8Lost 1
Richmond1-  12-  338.040.8-2.8Lost 1
Kokomo1-  24-  446.150.1-4.0Lost 3
Central0-  01-  452.058.6-6.6Lost 1
Tech0-  11-  415.658.0-42.4Lost 3
Lafayette Jeff0-  10-  425.562.0-36.5Lost 5
Marion0-  10-  624.774.0-49.3Lost 8
Logansport0-  21-  430.255.0-24.8Lost 2

TRI-EASTERN CONFERENCE

Monday, Dec. 14
Knightstown at South Decatur, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Blackford at Union City, 7:30 pm
Winchester at Union City, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Wednesday, Dec. 16
Randolph Southern at Lincoln, 7:30 pm
Union County at Tri, 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Cowan at Tri, 6 pm
Eastern Hancock at Knightstown, 6 pm
Hagerstown at Centerville, 6 pm
Union City at Lincoln, 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Centerville at Blue River, 7:30 pm
Morristown at Tri, 7:30 pm
Northeastern at Hagerstown, 1:30 pm
Waldron at Knightstown, 1:30 pm
Winchester at Union County, 7:30 pm

TEC STANDINGS

Winchester2-  05-  164.336.228.2Won 4
Northeastern1-  04-  069.041.827.3Won 4
Union County1-  07-  147.835.312.5Won 3
Tri1-  03-  359.344.814.5Lost 2
Union City1-  14-  459.551.38.3Lost 1
Lincoln1-  12-  629.348.8-19.5Lost 4
Centerville0-  11-  625.354.0-28.7Won 1
Hagerstown0-  22-  536.341.9-5.6Lost 4
Knightstown0-  21-  528.063.3-35.3Lost 3

MEC

Monday, Dec. 14
Wes-Del at Alexandria, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Blue River at Daleville, 7:30 pm
Frankton at Wapahani, 7:30 pm
Lapel at Eastern Hancock, 7:30 pm
Randolph Southern at Shenandoah, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 16
Randolph Southern at Lincoln, 7:30 pm
Wes-Del at Union, 6 pm
Thursday, Dec. 17
Monroe Central at Lapel, 7:30 pm
Shenandoah at Daleville, 7:30 pm
Wapahani at Cowan © , 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Christel House at Union, 6 pm
Cowan at Tri, 6 pm
Eastern Hancock at Knightstown, 6 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Centerville at Blue River, 7:30 pm
Daleville at Wes-Del, 6 pm
Randolph Southern at Central, 1 pm

MEC STANDINGS

Blue River4-  08-  071.937.934.0Won 8
Daleville1-  02-  538.054.9-16.9Lost 4
Eastern Hancock3-  17-  355.641.514.1Won 2
Shenandoah2-  17-  364.542.721.8Won 4
Randolph Southern2-  13-  336.235.01.2Won 1
Cowan2-  25-  345.438.17.3Won 1
Union0-  23-  339.540.8-1.3Lost 1
Wapahani0-  21-  344.047.3-3.3Lost 1
Monroe Central0-  20-  628.570.2-41.7Lost 7
Wes-Del0-  33-  633.348.8-15.4Won 1

EASTERN INDIANA

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Franklin County at Batesville, 7:30 pm
Lawrenceburg at Connersville, 7:30 pm
North Decatur at Greensburg, 7:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 18
Batesville at Greensburg, 7:30 pm
Franklin County at Oldenburg, 6 pm
South Dearborn at Connersville, 6 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
East Central at Batesville, 7:30 pm
Greensburg at South Ripley, 3:30 pm
Rushville at Lawrenceburg, 1:30 pm

EASTERN INDIANA STANDINGS

Greensburg3-  03-  061.336.325.0Won 3
Lawrenceburg2-  06-  250.932.118.8Won 1
East Central1-  06-  061.242.318.8Won 6
Rushville1-  16-  451.043.67.4Lost 1
Connersville0-  13-  433.649.7-16.1Won 2
Batesville0-  12-  533.949.4-15.6Lost 1
Franklin County0-  24-  644.650.2-5.6Lost 1
South Dearborn0-  20-  729.468.1-38.7Lost 8

HOOSIER HERITAGE

Monday, Dec. 14
Lawrence Central at Pendleton Heights, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Delta at Yorktown, 7:30 pm
Greenfield at Shelbyville, 7:30 pm
New Castle at Hamilton SE, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Wednesday, Dec. 16
Yorktown at Mississinewa, 7:30 pm
Thursday, Dec. 17
Fishers at Pendleton Heights, 7:30 pm
Hamilton Heights at Delta, 7:30 pm, ppd.
Jay County at New Castle, 7:30 pm
New Palestine at Franklin Central, 7:30 pm
Saturday, Dec. 19
Delta at Greenfield, 1:30 pm
Franklin at Shelbyville, 2:30 pm
Mt. Vernon at North Central, 1:30 pm
New Palestine at Mt. Vernon, noon

HOOSIER HERITAGE STANDINGS

New Palestine4-  07-  250.838.312.4Won 5
Pendleton Heights3-  04-  360.649.910.7Lost 1
Shelbyville1-  14-  456.551.15.4Won 1
Mt. Vernon0-  03-  251.040.011.0Lost 1
Yorktown0-  14-  160.439.820.6Won 3
Delta0-  23-  544.851.0-6.3Lost 1
Greenfield0-  22-  732.844.0-11.2Lost 2
New Castle0-  20-  638.861.8-23.0Lost 12

COLLEGE FOOTBALL AP POLL

1Alabama (10-0)1550 (62)1
2Notre Dame (10-0)14822
3Ohio State (5-0)14053
4Clemson (9-1)13884
5Texas A&M (7-1)12865
6Cincinnati (8-0)12487
7Indiana (6-1)11408
8Iowa State (8-2)105910
9Coastal Carolina (11-0)99411
10Georgia (7-2)96812
11Florida (8-2)9406
12Oklahoma (7-2)90213
13USC (5-0)77416
14BYU (10-1)72414
15Northwestern (6-1)69115
16North Carolina (8-3)63120
17Louisiana (9-1)56617
18Iowa (6-2)50219
19Miami (FL) (8-2)4549
20Tulsa (6-1)40818
21Texas (6-3)22723
22Liberty (9-1)18422
23Buffalo (5-0)18324
24North Carolina State (8-3)137NR
25San Jose State (6-0)124NR

Others: Oklahoma State (83) , Marshall (47) , Boise State (12) , UCF (11) , Washington (9) , Army West Point (9) , Auburn (8) , TCU (3) , Appalachian State (1)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHES POLL

RankSchoolVotesPrev
1Alabama (10-0)1548 (60)1
2Notre Dame (10-0)1481 (2)2
3Clemson (9-1)14033
4Ohio State (5-0)13814
5Texas A&M (7-1)12925
6Cincinnati (8-0)12137
7Indiana (6-1)10889
8Iowa State (8-2)106511
9Georgia (7-2)103810
10Oklahoma (7-2)93312
11Florida (8-2)9126
12Coastal Carolina (11-0)88413
13USC (5-0)79815
14Northwestern (6-1)77914
15North Carolina (8-3)62620
16BYU (10-1)61616
17Iowa (6-2)52618
18Louisiana (9-1)51017
19Miami (FL) (8-2)4888
20Tulsa (6-1)36519
21Liberty (9-1)19421
22Oklahoma State (7-3)189NR
23North Carolina State (8-3)18524
24Texas (6-3)17623
25San Jose State (6-0)127NR

Others: Buffalo (102) , Auburn (45) , Army West Point (35) , Boise State (30) , Marshall (29) , Washington (22) , Colorado (17) , Missouri (17) , Nevada (10) , Wisconsin (8) , SMU (7) , Oregon (6) , Utah (4) , TCU (1)

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RPI RANKINGS

RankSchoolRPIPrev
1Gonzaga 3-00.84583
2Tennessee 2-00.84175
3Mercer 5-00.82352
4Michigan 5-00.74709
5Houston 4-00.73558
6Maryland 4-10.73346
7Florida State 3-00.7222NR
8Baylor 4-00.71634
9West Virginia 5-10.706410
10UCF 1-10.706323
11Clemson 5-00.702512
12Villanova 5-10.701913
13UConn 3-00.700820
14Georgia State 3-10.699314
15Texas 5-10.691617
16Pacific 2-10.690221
17Southern Illinois 3-00.689815
18Missouri 5-00.688611
19Xavier 7-00.675716
20San Diego State 5-00.668619
21Boise State 3-10.6683NR
22Penn State 3-10.667725
23Alabama A&M 1-00.66671
24Louisville 4-00.664824
25Cincinnati 2-20.6508NR

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NET RANKINGS

1Gonzaga 3-0()1
2Kansas 6-1()2
3Dayton 3-1()3
4San Diego State 5-0()4
5Baylor 4-0()5
6Duke 2-2()6
7Michigan State 5-0()7
8Louisville 4-0()8
9BYU 6-2()9
10Florida State 3-0()10
11Creighton 4-1()11
12Oregon 4-1()12
13Villanova 5-1()13
14Arizona 5-0()14
15Seton Hall 4-3()15
16Ohio State 4-0()16
17West Virginia 5-1()17
18Maryland 4-1()18
19Butler 1-0()19
20Houston 4-0()20
21Kentucky 1-4()21
22Texas Tech 6-1()22
23Wisconsin 4-1()23
24Michigan 5-0()24
25Colorado 2-1()25

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RPI RANKINGS

1Alabama A&M 1-00.87502
1Utah Valley 1-00.8750NR
3Kentucky 5-00.82524
4Florida State 1-00.81603
5Delaware 3-00.79715
6Syracuse 4-00.78656
7North Carolina State 5-00.77837
8Stanford 3-00.776211
9Arizona 4-00.76748
10Baylor 3-10.755510
11Georgia Tech 3-10.75529
12Bowling Green 4-00.747922
13Washington State 1-00.745012
14Saint Louis 2-00.7423NR
15Nebraska 3-00.741913
16Missouri State 3-10.739714
17Utah 2-10.734015
18Louisville 5-00.733316
19Oregon 4-00.726517
20Georgia 5-00.726018
21Rice 3-00.715321
22South Carolina 4-10.713519
23Ohio 2-00.709525
24Milwaukee 4-10.704524
25Wake Forest 4-10.7020NR

NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE

AFC

SEEDTEAMDIVISIONRECORD
1Chiefs (y)West12-1
2Steelers (x)North11-2
3BillsEast10-3
4TitansSouth9-4
5BrownsNorth9-3
6ColtsSouth9-4
7DolphinsEast8-5

x = clinched playoff berth
y = clinched division title
z = clinched first-round bye

The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs have opened up a lead atop the AFC. On the strength of a gutty win over the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ two-game losing streak, the Chiefs have taken a step toward locking up home-field advantage and the conference’s only first-round bye.

Just two weeks ago, many wondered whether the Steelers would go undefeated. Now Pittsburgh has lost its grasp of the AFC’s top seed, and the team could fumble away the division, too. The Steelers’ AFC North-lead could drop to one game by the end of Week 14, depending on the outcome of Monday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

The Buffalo Bills impressed in prime time for the second straight week, handing the Steelers their second loss of the season on Sunday night. As a result, the Bills now own a two-game AFC East lead with just three weeks left.

Derrick Henry’s latest monster performance ensured the Tennessee Titans will remain atop the AFC South for another week. The Titans returned to the win column largely thanks to King Henry’s 222-yard day, increasing the team’s chances of winning the division to 58%, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The Browns are peaking at the right time. They’ve won four straight and cast a tall shadow behind the Steelers in the AFC North race. The Browns sit in the first wild-card spot and can improve their standing with a victory over the Ravens.

The Indianapolis Colts won perhaps the biggest game with playoff ramifications on Sunday. Their victory over the Las Vegas Raiders helped the Colts improve their wild-card chances and remain on par with the Titans in the AFC South.

The Dolphins are in danger of falling out of a playoff spot. With a hard-fought loss against the Chiefs, Miami dropped one position in the AFC standings. The Dolphins have important matchups with the New England Patriots, Raiders, and Bills coming up.

In the hunt

SEEDTEAMDIVISIONRECORD
8RavensNorth7-5
9RaidersWest7-6
10PatriotsEast6-7

Baltimore ended a three-game losing streak last week and will need to defeat the Browns on Monday to get back in the playoff picture. The Ravens won the first matchup 38-6 in Week 1.

The Raiders are likely suffering from a case of deja vu. Las Vegas lost five of its final six games last season and missed the playoffs. A year later, the Raiders have dropped three of four and are fighting for their playoff lives.

The Patriots are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2008. New England finishes the campaign with only AFC East matchups, starting with a trip to Miami in Week 15, a place that has caused the Patriots problems in the past.

NFC

SEEDTEAMDIVISIONRECORD
1Packers (y)North10-3
2Saints (x)South10-3
3RamsWest9-4
4WashingtonEast6-7
5SeahawksWest9-4
6BuccaneersSouth8-5
7CardinalsWest7-6

x = clinched playoff berth
y = clinched division title
z = clinched first-round bye

There was a big shakeup in the NFC on Sunday. The New Orleans Saints‘ nine-game winning streak came to an end, and the Green Bay Packers capitalized. The Packers hold the top seed in the conference thanks to their win over the Detroit Lions and the Saints’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Green Bay holds the tiebreaker with its victory over New Orleans in Week 3.

It’s shaping up to be an exciting three-week race for the only bye in the NFC.

The Los Angeles Rams still hold the NFC West lead after blowing out the Patriots on Thursday, though they didn’t create any distance from the Seattle Seahawks or Arizona Cardinals, who each scored easy wins on Sunday.

The Washington Football Team is in the driver’s seat for the NFC East’s playoff spot. Washington has won four of its last five and gained some separation from the New York Giants, who own the tiebreaker.

Though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t move up in the standings, they took a big step toward ending their 12-year playoff drought with an important win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. That dropped the Vikings from seventh to eighth and improved Tampa Bay’s chances of reaching the postseason to 96%, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The team that improved its playoff chances the most this week was Arizona. The Cardinals vaulted the Vikings for the final wild-card spot and are a game up on their closest competitors. Arizona owns a 54% shot at making the postseason.

In the hunt

SEEDTEAMDIVISIONRECORD
8VikingsNorth6-7
9BearsNorth6-7
10LionsNorth5-8
1149ersWest5-8
12GiantsEast5-8

The Packers clinched the NFC North, and the other three teams in the division are on the outside, looking in. The Vikings and Chicago Bears will go head to head in Week 15, with the loser being all but eliminated from the postseason hunt.

The Giants’ and San Francisco 49ers’ slim playoff hopes took a hit thanks to their losses and Washington’s victory.

NFL NEWS: SEVEN FROM SUNDAY

The GREEN BAY PACKERS defeated Detroit, 31-24, and in combination with Minnesota’s Week 14 loss, clinched their second-consecutive NFC North division title.

The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat Miami, 33-27, to clinch their fifth-consecutive AFC West division title.

With two games remaining this week, there have been 39 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win this season, the most through Week 14 in NFL history.

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS clinched a playoff berth with Miami’s loss on Sunday.

Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 393 yards while wide receiver TYREEK HILL had two touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing) and tight end TRAVIS KELCE had eight receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ Week 14 win.

Mahomes, who had 4,031 passing yards in 2019 and 5,097 passing yards in 2018, has 4,208 passing yards this season and became the third player with at least 4,000 passing yards in three of his first four seasons in NFL history, joining PEYTON MANNING and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO.

Mahomes has 26 career games with at least 300 passing yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (26 games) for the most by a player in his first four seasons in NFL history. Mahomes’ 14 career games with at least 350 passing yards are the most by a player in his first four seasons in NFL history.

Mahomes has six consecutive games with at least 315 passing yards, tied with DREW BREES (six consecutive games from 2012-13) and RICH GANNON (six consecutive games in 2002) for the most consecutive games with at least 315 passing yards in NFL history.

Hill, currently in his fifth season, has 14 career games with at least two touchdowns, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer LANCE ALWORTH (14) for the second-most such games by a wide receiver in his first five seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (18 games) has more.

Kelce has 25 career games with at least 100 receiving yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer KELLEN WINSLOW SR. (24 games) for the third-most by a tight end in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ (31 games) and ROB GRONKOWSKI (29) have more.

Kelce, who had 1,336 receiving yards in 2018 and 1,229 receiving yards in 2019, has 1,250 receiving yards this season and is the first tight end with at least 1,200 receiving yards in three seasons in NFL history.

Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON passed for four touchdowns with one interception for a 122.6 rating while safety JAMAL ADAMS registered one sack in the Seahawks’ 40-3 win against the New York Jets.

Wilson has 15 career games with at least four touchdown passes, tied with PEYTON MANNING (15) for the second-most by a quarterback in his first nine seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (16 games) has more.

Wilson has 35 career games with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 100-or-higher, surpassing PEYTON MANNING (34 games) for the most such games by a quarterback in his first nine seasons in NFL history.

Adams, who has a career-high 8.5 sacks this season, surpassed ADRIAN WILSON (eight sacks in 2005) for the most sacks by a defensive back in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT passed for 243 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 95.4 rating while wide receiver KEENAN ALLEN had nine receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers’ 20-17 win against Atlanta.

Herbert, who has 25 touchdown passes this season, is the fourth rookie with at least 25 touchdown passes in NFL history, joining BAKER MAYFIELD (27 touchdown passes in 2018), PEYTON MANNING (26 in 1998) and RUSSELL WILSON (26 in 2012).

Allen, appearing in his 99th career game, has 623 receptions and surpassed ANTONIO BROWN (622 receptions) for the most receptions by a player in his first 100 career games in NFL history.

Making his first career start, Philadelphia rookie quarterback JALEN HURTS passed for 167 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions and added 106 rush yards in the Eagles’ 24-21 win over New Orleans.

Hurts joins LAMAR JACKSON (119 rushing yards in Week 11, 2018) as the only quarterbacks with at least 100 rushing yards in their first career start in NFL history.

Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ 31-10 win at Jacksonville.

Henry is the first player in NFL history with four career games with at least 200 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Henry has seven career games with at least 170 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (seven games) for the third-most such games in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (11 games) and JIM BROWN (nine) have more.

Henry, who rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns in Week 6 and rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns in Week 12, is the fifth player with three games of 175-or-more rushing yards and two-or-more rushing touchdowns within a single season in NFL history, joining JAMAL LEWIS (2003), JOE MORRIS (1986), Pro Football Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (2006) and RICKY WILLIAMS (2002).

Henry has recorded at least 100 rushing yards in nine consecutive road games, the second-longest streak in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer BARRY SANDERS (10 consecutive games from 1996-97) has a longer streak.

Jacksonville rookie running back JAMES ROBINSON had 83 scrimmage yards (67 rushing, 16 receiving) on Sunday against Tennessee.

Robinson has 1,361 scrimmage yards this season, surpassing DOMINIC RHODES (1,328 scrimmage yards in 2001) for the most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie in the common-draft era.

Robinson, who has 1,035 rushing yards this season, is the fourth undrafted rookie to record 1,000 rushing yards in the common-draft era, joining DOMINIC RHODES (1,104 rushing yards in 2001), PHILLIP LINDSAY (1,037 in 2018) and LEGARRETTE BLOUNT (1,007 in 2010).

Green Bay wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS had seven receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown in the Packers’ 31-24 win at Detroit.

Adams has recorded a touchdown reception in eight consecutive games, tied for the third-longest streak within a single season in the Super Bowl era. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (12 games in 1987) and A.J. GREEN (nine games in 2012) have longer streaks.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN passed for 224 yards on Sunday. Ryan, who has 54,846 passing yards in his 13-year career, surpassed PEYTON MANNING (54,828 passing yards) for the most passing yards by a player in his first 13 seasons in league history.

Three players recorded a defensive touchdown of at least 75 yards – Washington’s KAMREN CURL (76 yards), Dallas’ ALDON SMITH (78 yards) and the Los Angeles Rams’ KENNY YOUNG (79 yards) – in Week 14, marking the first time since Week 6 of the 2012 season that there were three defensive touchdowns of at least 75 yards in the same week.

Along with Curl, Washington rookie defensive lineman CHASE YOUNG had a 47-yard fumble return for a touchdown on Sunday. It marks the fifth time since 1970 that a team has had two different rookies record a defensive touchdown in the same game and the first since the BALTIMORE RAVENS in Week 8, 2006.

​Arizona linebacker HAASON REDDICK had a career-high five sacks with three forced fumbles in the Cardinals’ 26-7 win at the New York Giants.

Reddick is the first player with at least five sacks and three forced fumbles in a single game since VONNIE HOLLIDAY (five sacks and three forced fumbles) in Week 16 of the 2002 season.

COLTS NFL NEWS

T.Y. Hilton caught two touchdown passes from Philip Rivers, Jonathan Taylor rushed for a career-best 150 yards and two scores, and the Indianapolis Colts solidified their spot in the AFC playoff race with a 44-27 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Rivers passed for 244 yards and Taylor had a key 62-yard TD run for the Colts (9-4), who racked up 456 total yards while scoring on seven of their first eight drives in their fourth victory in five games.

Safety Khari Willis clinched the win with a 53-yard interception return for his first career touchdown with 5:22 to play. Indianapolis stayed securely in one of the conference’s wild-card spots and remained atop the AFC South alongside Tennessee, which has a better divisional record for now.

Derek Carr passed for 316 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Raiders (7-6), who have lost three of four after a strong start to their relocation season. Foster Moreau and Nelson Agholor made TD catches in the first half, but the offense couldn’t keep up while Indianapolis marched up and down the field to little resistance.

Rivers, the longtime Chargers quarterback, made his 29th career start against the Raiders and beat them for the 19th time, both the most by any opponent in Raiders history. The Colts are now closing in on their second playoff berth in three years, and their first with the 39-year-old veteran at the controls.

Rivers isn’t the only quarterback picking apart this Raiders defense down the stretch, however: Las Vegas has given up 150 points in its last four games, with embattled defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s unit yielding an average of 399 yards per game in that stretch.

Only a last-second comeback against the winless Jets has prevented coach Jon Gruden’s team from going 0-4 since its 6-3 start to the season.

Both offenses started superbly at new Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders dropped to 2-4.

BENGALS NFL NEWS

 Andy Dalton was good enough in his return to Cincinnati, tossing two touchdown passes and helping lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 30-7 win over the Bengals on Sunday.

Cincinnati greatly contributed to the cause of its longtime quarterback, who was playing in Paul Brown Stadium for the first time since he was cast aside by the team before the season. The Bengals fumbled the ball away on their first three drives, one fumble returned for a touchdown, and leading to 17 first-half points by the Cowboys (4-9). That was all they needed.

The homecoming for Dalton, the starting quarterback for the Bengals for nine seasons, was the storyline leading up to a game between two injury-plagued teams whose seasons are all but lost.

Dalton was serviceable, going 16 for 23 for 185 yards, as the Cowboys stayed in contention in the weak NFC East. He threw an 11-yard, second-quarter touchdown to Amari Cooper, and hit Tony Pollard for a 7-yard score with 2:00 left in the game.

The Bengals (2-10-1), whose offense has struggled mightily since quarterback Joe Burrow was lost to a knee injury on Nov. 22, got in a hole early and couldn’t dig themselves out.

On the first Cincinnati drive, running back Giovani Bernard fumbled for the first time in 830 carries, leading to a Dallas field goal. The Bengals were driving on the next series when running back Trayveon Williams’ fumble was recovered by linebacker Aldon Smith and returned 78 yards for a touchdown.

On Cincinnati’s third drive, receiver Alex Erickson lost the handle after a hand-off. The recovery by Jaylon Smith set up a 53-yard Dallas drive capped by the Dalton-to-Cooper TD pass.

Cincinnati got within 10 at the end of the first half when Brandon Allen threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green, but that was it.

Greg Zuerlein added two second-half field goals for Dallas.

BEARS NFL NEWS

Mitchell Trubisky threw three touchdown passes to outplay Deshaun Watson in their first meeting since they entered the NFL, and the Chicago Bears snapped a six-game losing streak with a 36-7 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

David Montgomery ran for an 80-yard touchdown on Chicago’s first play from scrimmage, helping the Bears stopped their worst skid since the 2002 team dropped eight in a row to match a franchise record. The Bears (6-7) sacked Watson seven times, including a safety by Khalil Mack, to tie a career high for the Texans quarterback.

General manager Ryan Pace’s decision to draft Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 when he could have gone with Watson or Patrick Mahomes drew even more attention than usual during the week. But on Sunday, Chicago’s quarterback delivered.

Trubisky buried the Texans (4-9) in the first half, throwing for three TDs as the Bears grabbed a 30-7 lead.

Facing one of the NFL’s worst defenses, he completed 24 of 33 passes for 267 yards. He posted a 126.7 rating in his third start since returning to the lineup with Nick Foles (hip and glute) injured.

Montgomery tied the fourth-longest run in franchise history and finished with a season-high 113 yards on 11 carries.

Allen Robinson caught nine passes for 123 yards, matching a season high and giving him 1,027 for the season. It’s the second straight year he has reached 1,000 yards.

NFL NEWS

Don’t think safety Jordan Poyer and other members of Buffalo’s secondary didn’t notice Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster dancing on the Bills logo at midfield during pregame warmups on Sunday night.

Come the fourth quarter, after Levi Wallace intercepted Ben Roethlisberger to essentially seal Buffalo’s 26-15 victory, it was the Bills’ turn to break out into a dance along their sideline.

“It was tight energy. The song playing. We felt the momentum of the game swing,” Poyer said, before noting a TikTok video of Smith-Schuster posted on social media.

“I ain’t going to lie, seeing them dancing on our logo pregame, that turns you up a little,” he added. “You come and play with a little extra fire. We were hyped up on the sideline. We had a big win and we were having fun.”

Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes, safety Taron Johnson returned an interception 51 yards for a score, and the Bills (10-3) inched closer to claiming their first AFC East title since 1995 and third playoff berth in four seasons. Buffalo can clinch both as early as Monday night if Baltimore loses to Cleveland.

Smith-Schuster and the Steelers weren’t asked about the dance – something the receiver does before most every game – afterward.

Then again, they have other concerns after dropping consecutive games in six days following a 23-17 loss to Washington, and falling a game behind the AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs (12-1).

The AFC North-leading Steelers (11-2) were still able to clinch their first playoff berth in three years before kickoff by virtue of the Miami Dolphins’ 33-27 loss to Kansas City earlier in the day.

“We’ve lost two. We’re facing some adversity. But we’re not hitting the panic button,” Roethlisberger said.

NFL NEWS

Derrick Henry ran for 215 yards and two touchdowns, his best performance in five trips to his hometown area, and the Tennessee Titans dominated Jacksonville 31-10 on Sunday and handed the Jaguars a 12th consecutive loss.

It was Henry’s fourth game with at least 200 yards and two scores, setting an NFL record that he previously held with Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Henry also topped the century mark for the ninth consecutive road game, leaving him one shy of the NFL mark set by Sanders over the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

Enjoying a big performance about 25 miles from his hometown of Yulee was something new for Henry. He hadn’t reached triple digits rushing in any of his four previous games in Jacksonville. He managed just 13 yards as a rookie in 2016, followed by outings of 92, 57 and 44 yards in front of friends and family.

He didn’t even need a full half to surpass all those outings Sunday against the Jaguars (1-12).

Henry had 170 yards on 17 carries in the first 30 minutes, including a 36-yard touchdown run. He added a 47-yard scamper early in the third as the Titans (9-4) started to pull away.

Tennessee scored 17 points in less than four minutes spanning the second and third quarters. Following’s Henry’s first score, the Titans forced a punt and quickly moved into position for Stephen Gostkowski’s 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

Tennessee got the ball to start the third and piled on, with Ryan Tannehill finding tight end Geoff Swaim for a 5-yard score.

Mike Glennon threw an interception on the ensuing possession, and the rout was on. Malcolm Butler picked off Glennon’s pass, and Henry found the end zone five plays later to give the Titans at least 30 points for the fifth consecutive week.

AFC South-leading Tennessee clinched its fifth consecutive winning season and moved a step closer to securing a playoff berth.

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone benched Glennon following his fourth turnover (plus a safety) in six quarters and turned to Gardner Minshew for the first time since Week 7. Minshew missed several weeks with a right thumb injury, but even after being deemed fully healthy, he remained on the bench behind Glennon.

Minshew immediately led Jacksonville to a touchdown, capping his first drive in nearly two months with a 5-yard throw to Keelan Cole. It was too little too late.

NFL NEWS

Drew Lock threw for 280 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, Diontae Spencer returned a punt 83 yards for his first career score and the Denver Broncos held on to beat the Carolina Panthers 32-27 on Sunday.

Lock connected on touchdown throws of 49 and 37 yards to rookie KJ Hamler and also threw scoring strikes to Nick Vannett and Tim Patrick to help the Broncos snap a two-game losing streak.

The Broncos (5-8) sacked Teddy Bridgewater four times, including one by Dre’Mont Jones on Carolina’s final possession in which the Panthers turned the ball over on downs.

Teddy Bridgewater threw for 283 yards in the loss for the Panthers (4-9), who have lost seven of their last eight.

Mike Davis’ second touchdown run of the game with with 3:26 left cut Denver’s lead to 32-25 and the Panthers lined up for an apparent onside kick.

But instead, Joey Slye squib-kicked the ball down the field and Carolina pinned Denver at the 7. They forced a quick three-and-out to get the ball back with 2:48 left in the game — plenty of time to pull out a victory.

But the Broncos held when Curtis Samuel was tackled well short of the first down marker on a fourth-and-8 pass play underneath the coverage.

Hamler, the team’s second-round draft pick, twice beat veteran cornerback Rasul Douglas for touchdowns.

The Broncos took advantage of a big special teams play and some costly Carolina penalties to take a 13-7 lead at halftime.

Spencer, activated from reserve/COVID-19 list this week, gave the Broncos an early 6-0 lead when he received a punt, sidestepped one tackler and raced 83 yards for a touchdown.

The Panthers took a 7-6 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Davis, but two defensive penalties on the ensuing drive proved costly. Brian Burns was flagged for roughing the passer on a third-down incompletion and linebacker Jermaine Carter penalized for taunting after a run stop near the goal line setting up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Lock to Vannett for the 13-7 lead.

NFL NEWS

 Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs overcame a 30-yard sack, four turnovers and a 10-point deficit Sunday to clinch their fifth consecutive AFC West title by beating Miami 33-27 on Sunday.

Mahomes was picked off three times, his first multi-interception game in more than two years, but threw for 393 yards and two scores to help the Chiefs (12-1) earn their eighth consecutive victory.

Tyreek Hill ran through the Dolphins’ secondary and behind it, scoring on a 32-yard run and a 44-yard reception when Mahomes hit him in stride at the goal line.

Travis Kelce had eight catches for 136 yards and a touchdown, Mecole Hardman scored untouched on a 67-yard punt return, and Kansas City’s defense was stout against Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins’ injury-riddled offense. Chris Jones sacked the rookie for a safety for a 30-10 lead.

Kansas City reached 12 wins for the third consecutive season, the longest streak in club history, and has the best 13-game record in franchise history. The Chiefs set a team record with their 10th road win in a row.

The Dolphins (8-5) hurt their playoff prospects by losing for only the second time in the past nine games.

Tagovailoa passed for 316 yards and two scores to Mike Gesicki, but also threw his first career interception, which came on his 154th attempt on a long pass that deflected off receiver Jakeem Grant.

That was the Dolphins’ lone turnover, while their defense kept coming up with the ball. Xavien Howard made an interception for the fifth game in a row, and Mahomes’ interception total for the season rose to five.

The Kansas City QB also was tripped up by Jerome Baker on a 30-yard sack, the NFL’s longest in five years.

But the Chiefs mounted touchdown drives of 75 and 72 yards in the second quarter to take a 14-10 halftime lead, and then used their superior speed to pull away. It was the Chiefs’ second consecutive comeback at Hard Rock Stadium, where they won the Super Bowl in February.

Tagovailoa led touchdown drives of 80 and 75 yards to cut the margin to six points with 4:25 left, before the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker kicked a 46-yard field goal with a minute left. After a Miami field goal, the Chiefs recovered an onside kick to seal the win.

NFL NEWS

Haason Reddick had a franchise-record five sacks and three forced fumbles as the Arizona Cardinals spoiled the return of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and moved back into an NFC playoff spot with a 26-7 victory over New York on Sunday.

Kyler Murray added a touchdown pass as Arizona (7-6) snapped a three-game skid and ended a four-game winning streak that had moved the Giants (5-8) to the top of the NFC East.

Mike Nugent came off the practice squad and added his first four field goals in more than a year, and Kenyan Drake scored on a 1-yard dive as Arizona won for only the second time in six games.

The Cardinals finished with eight sacks. Reddick broke the team mark of 4 1/2 by Curtis Greer on Dec. 18, 1983 against the Eagles

Murray went 24 of 35 for 244 yards and ran 13 times for 47. DeAndre Hopkins had nine catches for 136 yards.

While Murray was the catalyst of an offense that produced 390 total yards, the defense and special teams made major contributions. The Cardinals limited New York to 159 yards in making Jones’ return from a one-game absence with a hamstring injury miserable.

Jones finished 11 of 21 for 127 yards and two fumbles, including one lost on the opening series. He was sacked six times before leaving late for Colt McCoy.

New York’s only score game on a 1-yard run by Dion Lewis on its opening possession of the second half, cutting the deficit to 20-7.

The Cardinals capitalized on great field position in taking a 13-0 halftime lead against the offensively inept Giants. It could have been more.

Murray threw a 7-yard pass to Arnold to cap a 21-yard possession set up by a lost fumble by Lewis on a kickoff return.

Nugent, subbing for the injured Zane Gonzalez, kicked field goals of 34 and 37 earlier. The first one was set up by a 24-yard punt return by Christian Kirk to the Giants 38.

Drake scored to extend the lead to 20-0 on the opening drive of the second half.

New York’s defense had forced the Cardinals to turn over the ball on downs after a sack. But a forced fumble and return by former Giant Markus Golden gave Arizona a first-and-goal at the New York 9.

Veteran Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald was back after missing two games with COVID-19. He had two catches to extend his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 254.

NFL NEWS

Tom Brady threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bolster their playoff hopes with a 26-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Brady tossed TD passes of 48 yards to Scotty Miller and 2 yards to Rob Gronkowski to rebound from losing two straight home games entering Tampa Bay’s bye. Ronald Jones had a 1-yard TD run and Ryan Succop kicked field goals of 18 and 48 yards.

The Bucs (8-5) lost three of four games to division title contenders leading into last week’s bye, including a pair of 27-24 losses at home to the Rams and reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs. They entered Sunday holding the sixth playoff spot in the NFC, with the Vikings (6-7) nipping at their heels after winning five of six following a 1-5 start.

Tampa Bay sacked Kirk Cousins six times, the last producing a fumble that ended any chance of a rally in the closing minutes. Cousins finished 24 of 37 passing for 225 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Dalvin Cook rushed for 102 yards on 22 carries, but Minnesota chances were undermined by another poor performance by kicker Dan Bailey, who missed an extra point and three field goals.

Slow starts hindered the Bucs in those losses to the Rams and Chiefs. This time, Brady shrugged off a scoreless opening quarter with help from Bailey and a trio of costly of penalties on the Vikings’ defense. Minnesota was flagged for pass interference in the end zone twice to set up Jones’ touchdown run and Succop’s 18-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

Brady launched two of Tampa Bay’s three first-half scoring drives after Bailey missed field goals of 49 and 54 yards.

Miller’s long TD catch wiped out the 6-0 lead the Vikings took on Cook’s 14th touchdown rushing. Jones’ TD finished a drive aided by a penalty on Minnesota safety Harrison Smith for lowering his helmet to initiate contact on a tackle, and a flag thrown against cornerback Jeff Gladney for interfering with receiver Mike Evans in the end zone.

Gronkowski’s TD in the third quarter increased Tampa Bay’s lead to 23-6. Cousins trimmed Minnesota’s deficit to 23-14 with a 14-yard scoring pass to Irv Smith Jr. and a 2-point conversion throw to Justin Jefferson. That was as close as the Vikings could get.

Brady was 15 of 23 without an interception. He improved to 15-4 in 19 regular-season starts following a bye.

NFL NEWS

Russell Wilson threw four more touchdowns passes to give him a new career-high with 36 for the season before finally resting in the fourth quarter, leading the Seattle Seahawks to a 40-3 rout of the New York Jets on Sunday.

Seattle (9-4) rebounded exactly as it hoped after last week’s surprisingly poor offensive performance in its loss to the New York Giants, and stayed even with the Los Angeles Rams on top of the NFC West.

Wilson threw touchdowns to Freddie Swain and DK Metcalf in the first half, and added TD tosses to Will Dissly and David Moore in the third quarter. It was his fifth game this season with at least four TD passes. Metcalf commandeered a TV broadcast camera as part of his TD celebration after catching a 5-yard TD in the second quarter, his 10th of the season.

Wilson finished 21 of 27 for 206 yards and checked out late in the third quarter, giving way to former Jets QB Geno Smith for his first action since joining Seattle last season. Wilson’s only mistake was a forced throw in the first half on which Marcus Maye made a terrific juggling interception.

Wilson had played every snap of the previous 49 games for Seattle. The last time he wasn’t under center was Week 15 of 2017 when Seattle lost 42-7 to the Rams at home. His previous career high in TD passes came in 2018.

It was also a rare blowout for Seattle. The Seahawks had just one win by more than 14 points in the past two seasons. It was Seattle’s largest victory since a 58-0 win over Arizona in 2012.

For the Jets, it was another miserable day in their forgettable season. Days after firing defensive coordinator Gregg Williams after the collapse at the end of last week’s loss to Las Vegas, the Jets (0-13) showed little resistance on defense and little excitement on offense as they lost their franchise-record 13th straight.

And even when the Jets had chances to score, Sergio Castillo struggled. After kicking a 45-yarder on New York’s opening drive, Castillo missed attempts of 37, 41 and 43 yards in the first half.

New York did extend its streak of scoring on its opening drive to seven straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL and longest in franchise history. That was about the only bright spot.

The Jets became the ninth team since the merger to start a season with 13 straight losses. Three of those went on to have winless seasons.

Sam Darnold was 14 of 26 for 132 yards.

NFL NEWS

Aaron Rodgers ran for a tiebreaking score in the third quarter and threw three touchdown passes and the Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions 31-24 Sunday and clinched the NFC North title.

The Packers (10-3) knocked Matthew Stafford out of the game with a rib injury in the fourth quarter and went on to win their third straight game and second straight division championship. The Packers clinched the division with the win and Minnesota’s loss to Tampa Bay earlier in the day.

The Packers’ win combined with the Saints’ loss in Philadelphia gives Green Bay the top seed in the NFC. The teams are both 10-3, but the Packers beat the Saints earlier this season.

The Lions (5-8) scored first and pulled into a tie late in the second quarter, but they simply couldn’t stop Rodgers.

The two-time MVP completed his first eight passes for 119 yards and two scores. Rodgers finished 26 of 33 for 290 yards, three TDs and did not throw an interception for a third straight game. He ran 6 yards, untouched, to put the Packers ahead 21-14 for his 30th career rushing TD to break Tobin Rote’s team record for a quarterback.

Green Bay receiver Davante Adams also broke a franchise record.

He extended his touchdown reception streak to eight games, turning a short pass from Rodgers into a 56-yard touchdown to pull into a 7-all tie in the first quarter. Adams broke the franchise record set by Hall of Famer Don Hutson, who had a pair of seven-game streaks in the 1940s. He finished with seven catches for 115 yards and Green Bay tight end Robert Tonyan had his ninth TD reception of the season.

Stafford went toward the team’s locker room in the fourth, returned to the field to throw some passes, then retreated out of view again.

Chase Daniel replaced Stafford and led a drive that ended with Matt Prater’s 32-yard field goal with 1:49 left to pull the Lions within seven points. The Lions’ comeback hopes were dashed when the ensuing onside kick didn’t go 10 yards and Rodgers completed a pass to convert a third down on his final possession.

Detroit opened the game with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by Stafford’s 1-yard shovel pass to T.J. Hockenson.

Rodgers responded with the TD pass to Adams. He also threw a 14-yard TD pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s back shoulder to put the Packers ahead 14-7 in the opening minute of the second quarter.

Detroit rookie D’Andre Swift scored on a 3-yard run to tie the game at 14 late in the first half.

Rodgers directed a 14-play possession and took advantage of penalties to open the second half and his 6-yard run gave Green Bay a 21-14 lead. The Packers ran 21 plays in the third for 143 yards while the Lions had just three snaps on offense and gained just 4 yards.

Kerryon Johnson scored on a 2-yard run with 6:30 left in the game to end a 13-play drive and cut Detroit’s deficit to 28-21.

Green Bay made it a two-score game with 3:30 remaining on Mason Crosby’s 57-yard field goal.

NFL NEWS

Michael Badgley hit a 43-yard field goal as time expired and the Los Angeles Chargers rallied for a 20-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Los Angeles got the ball on its 26 after Michael Davis picked off Matt Ryan’s pass intended for Calvin Ridley. Justin Herbert completions of 15 yards to Hunter Henry and 25 yards to Tyron Johnson to get into Badgley’s range. After Kalen Ballage’s 1-yard run, Badgley came on and split the uprights for the second game-winning kick of his career.

Herbert was 36 of 44 for 243 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Austin Ekeler had 146 scrimmage yards (79 rushing, 67 receiving) as Los Angeles (4-9) snapped a two-game losing streak.

Ryan completed 21 of 32 passes for 224 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Calvin Ridley, who went over 1,000 receiving yards for the season, had eight receptions for 124 yards and a score. The Falcons (4-9) were without four starters, including star wide receiver Julio Jones.

After Rayshawn Jenkins picked off a pass intended for Ridley in the end zone, LA went 80 yards in 13 plays, which was capped off by Herbert rolling right and throwing a 12-yard strike to Johnson to even it at 17 in the third quarter.

Atlanta went three-and-out on its opening possession before scoring on its next three drives on Ridley’s 39-yard touchdown catch, Younghoe Koo’s 45-yard field goal and Laquon Treadwell’s 9-yard touchdown for a 17-10 halftime lead.

NFL NEWS

Jalen Hurts gave the Philadelphia Eagles more than just a spark. He helped deliver a victory.

Hurts ran for 106 yards and threw for 167 and one touchdown, Miles Sanders had 115 yards rushing and a pair of scores and Philadelphia beat the New Orleans Saints 24-21 Sunday.

The Eagles (4-8-1) snapped a four-game losing streak and stayed within reach in the woeful NFC East.

The Saints (10-3) had won nine in a row and were 8-0 over the past two seasons without Drew Brees before running into the inspired Eagles. The loss dropped the Saints to the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind Green Bay, but they already have secured a playoff berth.

Hurts was 17 of 30 in his first career start after replacing Carson Wentz. He fumbled late in the fourth quarter. The 2019 Heisman Trophy runner-up began the season as the third-string quarterback. He was elevated to back up in Week 2 and took a few snaps each week until Wentz was benched during a 30-16 loss at Green Bay last Sunday.

Taysom Hill was 28 of 38 for 291 yards, two TDs, one interception and was sacked five times by Philly.

Sanders brook loose for an 82-yard TD run in the second quarter, giving the Eagles a 17-0 lead. It was the fourth-longest run in franchise history. Sanders has three runs of 70-plus yards since October. He had a 74-yard TD run against Pittsburgh and a 74-yard run against Baltimore.

The Saints had 98 total yards in the first half before they got going on their first possession of the second half. Alvin Kamara ran in from the 5 to cap a 65-yard drive and cut Philadelphia’s lead to 17-7.

Philadelphia lost cornerback Darius Slay and safety Rodney McLeod on the same play before Kamara scored. Both were blitzing on the play.

The Saints took advantage on the next drive when Hill fired a 37-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders, who beat Kevon Seymour, playing his first game for the Eagles.

New Orleans had a chance to take a lead, but Philadelphia’s defense came through. On fourth-and-2 from the Eagles 42, Josh Sweat strip-sacked Hill and Javon Hargrave recovered. Philadelphia again kept it on the ground and Sanders ran in from the 1 to make it 24-14.

The Eagles were trying to run out the clock when Hurts fumbled near midfield. Hill connected with Jared Cook on a 20-yard TD pass to get the Saints within 24-21 with 1:29 left.

But Philadelphia recovered the onside kick.

Hurts tossed a 15-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery on fourth-and-2 to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. Jeffery had two catches in four games this season before hauling in Hurts’ back-shoulder throw to give Philadelphia a rare lead.

After Duke Riley intercepted Hill’s pass that bounced off Kamara’s hands, Jake Elliott kicked a 44-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead. It was only the fourth pick this season for Philadelphia.

Will Lutz missed a 45-yard field goal wide right in the first quarter.

NFL NEWS

Rookies Chase Young and Kamren Curl scored defensive touchdowns and Washington grabbed sole possession of first place in the NFC East after a gritty 23-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Washington (6-7) has won four straight games and is one game ahead of the New York Giants, who lost to the Arizona Cardinals 26-7 earlier Sunday. It is Washington’s first four-game winning streak since 2016.

Washington can thank its young, impressive defense for this win. The team took a 13-7 lead at halftime after Young scooped up a fumble, shook off a tackle and ran 47 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown with 1:11 left in the second quarter. It was Young’s first professional touchdown.

Even at 264 pounds, the No. 2 overall pick easily outran the San Francisco offense into the end zone, palming the football in his left hand as he cruised past the pylon.

Curl delivered Washington’s next huge moment on the final play of the third quarter. He snagged a pass from Nick Mullens and ran 76 yards the other way for a 23-7 advantage. Curl was the team’s seventh-round pick this year.

Washington is the first team to get defensive touchdowns from two rookies in the same game since the Rams against the Texans in 2013.

The game was in Arizona because of coronavirus restrictions in the 49ers’ home county of Santa Clara. The 49ers (5-8) have lost five of their past six games.

The 49ers pulled within 23-15 on a 6-yard pass from Mullens to Kyle Juszczyk and a 2-point conversion with 10:18 left. San Francisco had four more offensive possessions but never seriously threatened.

Washington won without scoring a touchdown in a road game for the first time since 1992. The team’s offense was limited after Alex Smith’s right leg injury caused him to miss the second half.

Dwayne Haskins, the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft, replaced Smith. The 23-year-old Haskins was the team’s starter at the beginning of the season but benched after four games.

Haskins wasn’t particularly good, but didn’t have to be, completing 7 of 12 passes for 51 yards. He kept Washington out of trouble. The defense did the rest.

San Francisco couldn’t get much going after taking a 7-0 lead. Mullens completed 25 of 45 passes for 260 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Brandon Aiyuk caught 10 passes for 119 yards.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS

Illinois fired coach Lovie Smith on Sunday with a game left in its ninth consecutive losing season.

Smith became Illinois’ first Black head football coach when he was hired by athletic director Josh Whitman in March 2016. The longtime NFL coach went 17-39 in five seasons at the school.

Smith’s original deal was for six years and $21 million, but he received a two-year extension through 2023 after Illinois went 4-8 in his third season.

Whitman praised Smith’s integrity and “unshakeable leadership,” especially this season during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nonetheless, based on extensive evaluation of the program’s current state and future outlook, I have concluded the program is not progressing at the rate we should expect at this advanced stage in coach Smith’s tenure,” Whitman said in a release. “To achieve our competitive objectives, I believe new leadership of the football program is required.”

The Illini made one postseason appearance under Smith, losing 35-20 to California in the Redbox Bowl in 2019. They were 6-4 last season after a thrilling comeback victory at Michigan State, but then dropped their last three games.

The slide continued into this year, with Illinois losing its first three by a combined 117-45 score. It is 2-5 after it was pushed around in a 28-10 loss at Northwestern on Saturday, allowing 411 yards rushing in its sixth straight loss in the series against the in-state Wildcats.

The school said offensive coordinator Rod Smith was elevated to acting head coach.

The Big Ten is scheduling one more game for its teams next week, but the opponents for the teams not playing for the conference championship had not yet been revealed.

While the 62-year-old Smith flopped with the Illini, he could attract some interest from NFL teams looking for help on the defensive side of the ball.

Smith spent nine seasons as the head coach of the Chicago Bears, leading the team to three NFC North titles, a Super Bowl appearance and an 81-63 record. He also went 8-24 in two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he was hired by Illinois.

He coached linebackers for the Bucs from 1996-2000 and served as the Rams’ defensive coordinator from 2001-03.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS

Auburn has fired coach Gus Malzahn, who led the Tigers to the national championship game in his first season but could never replicate that success.

Athletic director Allen Greene announced the firing on Sunday, a day after the Tigers finished the regular season with a 24-10 victory over Mississippi State. They’re 6-4 in a pandemic-shortened season of all Southeastern Conference opponents, getting blown out by highly ranked teams Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M.

They were also upset by a struggling South Carolina, which wound up firing coach Will Muschamp during the season.

“After evaluating the state of the Auburn football program, we’ve decided that it was time to make a change in leadership,” Greene said in a statement. “We appreciate everything that Gus did for the program over the last eight seasons. We will begin a search immediately for a coach that can help the Auburn program consistently compete at the highest level.'”‘

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will be interim coach. Auburn will owe Malzahn a $21.45 million buyout for the remaining four years of a seven-year, $49 million deal.

The school must pay half of that within 30 days.

Malzahn went 68-35 in eight seasons and was 39-27 against SEC opponents. He led the Tigers to an SEC title in 2013, his first season, losing to Florida State in the national championship game.

Auburn said Greene recommended the firing to President Jay Gogue after conducting a “thorough analysis” of the program.

Known for his up tempo, spread-like offenses, Malzahn was offensive coordinator in 2010 when quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to the national title. He called offensive plays for much of his tenure, but he struggled to develop other passers, including Jarrett Stidham and Jeremy Johnson.

Current starter Bo Nix was a prized recruit but has been inconsistent in his two seasons and hasn’t appeared to progress much as a

sophomore. Other quarterbacks have transferred, including Malik Willis (Liberty), Joey Gatewood (Kentucky) and Woody Barrett (Kent State).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL NEWS

The first top-10 shakeup in more than a month pushed Coastal Carolina to No. 9 in The Associated Press college football poll on Sunday.

Alabama was a unanimous No. 1, followed by Notre Dame, Ohio State, Clemson and Texas A&M as those teams held their spots for a sixth straight week.

Surprising losses by Florida and Miami shuffled the rest of the top 10. No. 6 Cincinnati and No. 7 Indiana each moved up one spot and No. 8 Iowa State jumped two.

Then come the unbeaten Chanticleers (11-0), the first Sun Belt Conference team to crack the AP’s top 10.

Georgia landed at No. 10 ahead of Florida at 11. The Gators dropped five spots after losing in bizarre and dramatic fashion to LSU in the fog Saturday night.

Miami plummeted 10 spots to No. 19 after getting blown out by North Carolina. The Tar Heels moved up four spots to No. 16.

POLL POINTS

Alabama has now been ranked in 211 consecutive polls, matching Florida State (1989-2001) for the second-longest streak in poll history.

The Crimson Tide will likely move into second all by themselves after the Southeastern Conference championship game next week. To pass Nebraska’s record of 348 consecutive poll appearances from 1981-2002, Alabama will need about eight more seasons in the Top 25.

IN-N-OUT

This pandemic altered-season has helped create some opportunities for teams that have not been ranked in a while – or ever before, like Coastal Carolina – to get into the Top 25.

No. 25 San Jose State is this week’s upstart. The Spartans improved to 6-0 and earned a spot in the Mountain West title game for the first time with a second-half rally against Nevada on Friday night.

The last time San Jose State was ranked was 2012, when the Spartans moved into the rankings after the regular season was complete and finished No. 21 in the final poll.

Also moving back into the rankings was No. 24 North Carolina State (8-3). The Wolfpack completed their season last week.

Falling out were Colorado, which lost for the first time this season, and Wisconsin, which lost for the third time and finally got the boot.

CONFERENCE CALL

ACC – 5 (Nos. 2, 4, 16, 19, 24)

SEC – 4 (Nos. 1, 5, 10, 11).

Big Ten – 4 (Nos. 3, 7, 15, 18).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 8, 12, 21).

American – 2 (Nos. 6, 20).

Sun Belt – 2 (Nos. 9, 17).

Pac-12 – 1 (No. 13).

MAC – 1 (No. 23).

Mountain West – 1 (No. 25).

Independent – 2 (Nos. 14, 22).

CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND

Nine of the 10 FBS conference championship games will feature at least one ranked team and six will match Top-25 teams. Conference USA is the only one with no ranked teams.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 11 Florida, SEC championship.

No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Clemson, ACC championship.

No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Northwestern, Big Ten championship.

No. 20 Tulsa at No. 6 Cincinnati, American championship.

No. 8 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Oklahoma, Big 12 championship.

No. 17 Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 9 Coastal Carolina, Sun Belt championship.

Washington at No. 13 Southern California, Pac-12 championship.

No. 23 Buffalo vs. Ball State, MAC championship.

Boise State vs. No. 25 San Jose State, Mountain West championship.

BALL STATE FOOTBALL NEWS

Injured Ball State RB Caleb Huntley Departs for Draft Prep

MUNCIE, Ind. — Ball State senior running back Caleb Huntley announced today he is opting out of the remainder of the 2020 season.

Huntley has missed the past three games to injury after rushing for 437 yards and six touchdowns in the first three games for the Cardinals’ MAC West Division championship team. He will begin preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Huntley finishes his career seventh on Ball State’s all-time rushing list with 2,902 yards and 10th in school history for rushing touchdowns with 21. He ran for 100 yards in his final seven games in a BSU uniform.

Head Coach Mike Neu on Caleb Huntley:

“Caleb is a tremendous young man who has been selfless, hard-working and totally team-oriented since his arrival four years ago. He is a huge part of this senior class that has led the turnaround in our program and made Cardinals everywhere so proud. Caleb was on pace for a remarkable senior season before he was sidelined by injury, but his name will still go down in the record books among a distinguished line of running backs to come through Ball State. No one has been more disappointed to miss these past several weeks than Caleb, but our team has rallied in his absence and will continue to do so. Caleb has a bright future ahead of him, and we look forward to watching him achieve his goals. He leaves as a champion, and he will always have a place in the Ball State family. We wish him all the best.”

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Forget, for just a moment, the career game from guard Armaan Franklin, and consider the social media spotlight finding Trey Galloway.

Specifically, it found the Indiana freshman’s driving, one-hand dunk that rocked North Alabama Sunday afternoon.

It was among the highlights of the Hoosiers’ 87-52 victory and once again showed why Galloway, a former Indiana all-state player out of Culver, is perhaps the team’s best attack-the-basket player.

“Trey did a good job,” coach Archie Miller said. “He’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time.”

Galloway can do more than drive, of course. He hit a three-pointer, scored 11 points (on 5-for-6 shooting) and grabbed two rebounds.

Fans or not, Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been good to Galloway. He had 13 points, two rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in the season-opening win over Tennessee Tech.

It also was a big day for the rest of IU’s highly regarded freshman class. Fellow guards Khristian Lander (10 points, four rebounds, three assists) and Anthony Leal (four points, three rebounds, three assists), plus forward Jordan Geronimo (four points, four rebounds, one steal) all set career highs.

“We have a deep team,” Leal said. “We all have high aspirations. We’re all ready to make the most of the time we get.”

Added Lander: “It’s building confidence and feeling more comfortable during the game.”

Miller said he had wanted to give the freshmen more playing time, but a challenging early schedule made that difficult.

On Sunday, difficulty turned into opportunity.

“All four guys did a good job,” Miller said. “We’re trying to develop our team and gain more confidence for those guys. It was a point of emphasis to get more time for them.

“I was very happy for Anthony. He’s done a great job of understanding our system. He can help us. We are going to depend on him.

“Khristian just needs more experience. He’s like your youngest son. As a parent, you keep an eye on him. He’s going to be special. He just has to grow up. As he does, you’ll see more range on his shot and more play making.

“Jordan is fantastic. You can see some of the high-level athleticism he brings. He adds value to the defense.

 “All four are very important to what we’re doing. It was a good opportunity for a lot of guys to get in the mix and get some confidence. As they get better, our team has a chance to develop as a complete group.”

Then there was Franklin, the sophomore who continues his recent all-around high-level play.

He ripped North Alabama for career-high totals in points (19) and three-point baskets (five). He added five assists and four rebounds while shooting 7-for-12 from the field (5-for-7 on three-pointers).

“It was about stepping in and getting a rhythm,” he said. “It’s starting to come together. I’m trying to be a complete player.

“I am always looking to be aggressive and take what the defense gives me. I wanted to knock down shots and set give my teammates looks.”

Mission accomplished.

“Armaan continues to evolve as a player,” Miller said. “He’s worked hard. I think this is the Arman we’ll be used to seeing from now on, being able to consistently knock down open shots. He’s turned into a terrific player for us.”

Forward Trayce Jackson-Davis added 15 points and seven rebounds.

IU’s Big Ten prospects likely will depend on shooting, rebounding and limiting turnovers. On Sunday, the Hoosiers were solid in overall shooting (50 percent), three-point shooting (39 percent) and rebounding (47-34 edge), but had 18 turnovers (11 in the first half) that led to 17 North Alabama points.

“The 11 turnovers in the first half was unacceptable,” Franklin said. “At halftime, Coach reminded us to take care of the ball. He said once we do that, we’ll get easy looks.”

Miller has emphasized taking good shots, and taking them in rhythm, which means being in good catch-and-shoot position.

That took hold in the second half with guard Rob Phinisee connection on a pair of three-pointers, and Franklin making three. Lander hit two. Leal had one.

They helped the Hoosiers to a season-high 13 three-point baskets on 33 attempts.

Miller said he’s not concerned about the volume (North Alabama’s zone gave them a lot of open looks), but the quality.

“As long as it’s in rhythm and a shot we talk about, take it,” he said. “I told our guys, if we start developing that catch and shoot rhythm, we’re a tough cover.”

Turnovers and shooting struggles hindered IU early. It opened 1-for-6 from the field, 5-for-9 from the line, for a 7-2 lead. Solid defense held North Alabama to 1-for-7 shooting, with the only basket a goaltend on Jackson-Davis.

In the first 10 minutes, North Alabama was 3-for-18 from the field with three turnovers, yet trailed just 15-7.

Offense was needed, and Jerome Hunter delivered with a three-pointer. Lander followed with a pair of free throws. Jackson-Davis added three free throws to wrap up 12-0 run.

As the first end wound down, IU had Galloway, Lander and Geronimo in with Al Durham and Jackson-Davis.

The result – a shot-clock violation.

But Geronimo got a steal and buzzer-beating basket for a 40-24 halftime lead.

The Hoosiers’ three-point shooting got going with Phinisee and Franklin to boost the lead to 56-34 eight minutes into the second half.

North Alabama was finished.

“Because of their versatility,” North Alabama coach Tony Pujol said, “they are better defensively. And offensively it seems like they have a lot of complimentary pieces around Trace. They have a number of guys who can hurt you on any given night.”

The Hoosiers end their abbreviated non-conference play with next Saturday’s Crossroads Classic matchup against Butler at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Then comes Big Ten action, starting with Northwestern on Dec. 23.

“We’ve played a good schedule,” Miller said. “The competition from this point forward will be as tough as it gets.”

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Buckeyes Top Cleveland State; Enter Big Ten Play 5-0

Zed Key powers for 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State won its fifth consecutive game to open the season, 67-61, Sunday afternoon over Cleveland State University (0-3) at Value City Arena. Duane Washington Jr. hit five of six free throws in the final 43 seconds and led the Buckeyes with 17 points. Freshman Zed Key came off the bench to record his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The game was Ohio State’s first since the news Friday that sophomore forward E.J. Liddell, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder through its first four games, would be out indefinitely with a non-COVID-19 related illness.

“A lot of fouls. It was a really physical game and give Cleveland State credit: they were more physical than we were the whole game,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said after the game on the Ohio State Sports Network. “They really played as if they didn’t care if someone fouled out.

“This will be a great learning experience for us because we have another physical team [Purdue on Wednesday] and a physical league upcoming. We’ll have to turn the page quickly.”

C.J. Walker added 16 points and a team-high three assists for the Buckeyes. Cleveland State, which played seven players off the bench, was led in scoring by D’Moi Hodge with 14 points and Chris Greene added 12.

Ohio State led by only seven at the break, 31-24, as an aggressive and inspired Cleveland State team stayed close by working the ball inside and outscoring the home team, 18-10, in the paint. Walker led the Buckeyes with nine points in the half and Key contributed five rebounds – two of them offensive – and a blocked shot.

Ohio State extended the lead to 11 early in the second half, but the Vikings chipped away and reduced the margin to one, 38-37, behind a 9-1 scoring run with Greene contributing seven consecutive points at one juncture.

A Justin Aherns “three” stopped the run and gave the Buckeyes a 41-37 lead at the 13 minute mark.

Another “three,” this time by Walker, a blocked shot by Key followed by a steal by Key and then a “three” by Jimmy Sotos gave the Buckeyes some breathing room at 47-39 with 8:49 left to play.

The Vikings kept it close, though. A Key offensive rebound led to a bucket from close in to put the Buckeyes back up by eight with six minutes to play. Key scored again from inside with just over two minutes to play to give the Buckeyes a 62-55 lead. Key then grabbed what would ultimately be a game-clinching defensive rebound with the Buckeyes up by six, 62-56 with 43 seconds left to play.

“I thought Zed was critical for us tonight,” said Holtmann.

Washingon closed out the scoring for Ohio State by hitting five consecutive free throws in those waning seconds.

Aherns scored six points in his first start since his freshman season of 2018-19. Musa Jallow continued his five play since returning from injury with six rebounds off the bench and four points.

Ohio State opens Big Ten play Wednesday, Dec. 16, on the road against Purdue before a game Saturday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland against North Carolina as part of the CBS Sports Challenge.