NFL

Buffalo 38 New England 9

UPDATED NFL SCHEDULE

Sunday, January 3, 2021
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills1:00 PMCBS
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals1:00 PMCBS
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns1:00 PMCBS
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions1:00 PMFOX
New York Jets at New England Patriots1:00 PMCBS
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants1:00 PMFOX
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers1:00 PMFOX
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers4:25 PMFOX
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears4:25 PMFOX
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos4:25 PMCBS
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans4:25 PMCBS
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts4:25 PMCBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs4:25 PMFOX
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams4:25 PMCBS
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers*4:25 PMFOX
Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles8:20 PMNBC
*State Farm Stadium, Arizona
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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

MONDAY’ S GAMES
Evansville Bosse66Washington61 
Franklin County61Indianapolis Scecina54 
Indianapolis Cathedral80Fort Wayne Luers51 
Indianapolis Manual45Purdue Poly North40 
Lafayette Jeff103Faith Christian53 
Edinburgh Tournament
South Decatur73Jac-Cen-Del71 
Hagerstown39Hauser38 
Edinburgh65South Putnam41 
Indianapolis Lutheran60North White50 
Jac-Cen-Del70Hauser41 
North White67South Putnam40 
South Decatur78Hagerstown57 
Indianapolis Lutheran55Edinburgh49 
King’s Academy Classic
Bloomington Lighthouse63Columbus HomeSchool62 
Madison ChristianLiving Water HomeSchool3:00 pm
King’s Academy51Bloomington Lighthouse40 
Columbus HomeSchoolMadison Christian6:00 pm
Lakeland Christian Tournament
Bethany Christian65Lakeland Christian60 
Adams Central79Granger Christian29 
Lakeland Christian76Clinton Christian50 
Covenant Christian (DeMotte)53Granger Christian43 
Bethany Christian77Clinton Christian42 
Adams Central52Covenant Christian (DeMotte)47 
Michigan City Tournament
New Prairie80Westville38 
Michigan City77South Bend Clay58 
Perry-Spencer Classic
Corydon Central67Tell City52 
South Spencer64Perry Central59 
Wabash Valley Tournament
Kouts80Terre Haute South61 
Terre Haute South62Cloverdale47 
Bloomington South56South Vermillion35 
Sullivan61Northview54 
Edgewood49West Vigo36 
Greencastle63Parke Heritage51 
Linton-Stockton64Terre Haute North63OT
Terre Haute North65North Central (Farmersburg)60 

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

MONDAY’ S GAMES
Brownsburg58Franklin Central25 
Elkhart62Jimtown17 
Evansville Central61Evansville Harrison37 
Hammond Noll75Lighthouse CPA59 
Highland49River Forest27 
Indianapolis Tindley63Purdue Poly Englewood24 
Noblesville59Avon52 
Northview44South Vermillion31 
Parkway (Ohio)45South Adams36 
South Putnam62Owen Valley36 
Springs Valley54Perry Central39 
Tecumseh61Lanesville46 
Wapahani82Union (Modoc)25 
Wayne Trace (Ohio)40Woodlan35 
Winamac44Logansport33 
Lakeland Christian Tournament
Granger Christian50Central Christian25 
Bethany Christian66Lakeland Christian26 
Covenant Christian (DeMotte)65Granger Christian53 
Clinton Christian50Lakeland Christian38 
Covenant Christian (DeMotte)67Central Christian19 
Bethany Christian75Clinton Christian21 
Lebanon Tournament
Hamilton Heights39Perry Meridian17 
Lowell48Decatur Central38 
Western42Franklin County28 
Lebanon51Lafayette Jeff34 
Perry Meridian52Decatur Central39 
Hamilton Heights52Lowell30 
Martinsville Tabernacle Classic
Bethesda Christian72Bloomington Lighthouse15 
Martinsville Tabernacle71Bloomington Lighthouse47 
Trinity Lutheran Tournament
Trinity Lutheran64Indianapolis Chatard60 
Brownstown Central37Edgewood36 
Indianapolis Chatard63Edgewood41 
Brownstown Central56Trinity Lutheran43 

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Gonzaga 88 Northern Arizona 58

Maryland 70 #6 Wisconsin 64

#21 Minnesota 81 #17 Michigan State 56

Binghamton 75 Maryland Baltimore County 69

New Hampshire 53 Hartford 51

Stony Brook 71 UMass Lowell 74

Monmouth 97 Canisius 69

New Jersey Tech 81 Vermont 80 2OT

Drake 73 Indiana State 66

Southern Miss 74 Loyola LA 54

Cal State Northridge 66 New Mexico State 63

Evansville 84 Southern Illinois 72

Loyola Chicago 86 Illinois State 55

UC Irvine 73 Cal Santa Barbara 69

Troy 88 Carver College 35

Colorado State 75 Fresno State 53

Northern Iowa 85 Missouri State 75

Arizona 88 Colorado 74

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#9 Texas A&M 112  Northwestern State 26.

#23 Gonzaga 65 Loyola Marymount 62

Stony Brook 60 UMass Lowell 44

LaSalle 75 Coppin State 49

Vermont 65 New Jersey Tech 45

Binghamton 65 Maryland Baltimore County 60

Hartford 53 New Hampshire 50

Air Force 94 Portland State 65

BYU 70 San Francisco 46

Tennessee 77 Lipscomb 52

Portland 74 Pepperdine 64

UC Irvine 69 Cal Santa Barbara 56

Santa Clara 51 San Diego 49

NBA

Atlanta 128 Detroit 120

Memphis 116 Brooklyn 111 OT…. Desmond Bane six points, three rebounds

Utah 110 Oklahoma City 109

Denver 124 Houston 111

Portland 115 LA Lakers 107

AP MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL

1. Gonzaga

2. Baylor

3. Kansas

4. Villanova

5. Houston

6. Wisconsin

7. Tennessee

8. Texas

9. West Virginia

10. Iowa

11. Creighton

12. Missouri

13. Texas Tech

14. Rutgers

15. Illinois

16. Michigan

17. Michigan State

18. Florida State

19. Northwestern

20. Duke

21. Oregon

22. Minnesota

23. Virginia

24. Virginia Tech

25. Ohio State

AP WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL

  1. Stanford
  2. Louisville
  3. North Carolina State
  4. Connecticut
  5. South Carolina
  6. Arizona
  7. Baylor
  8. Oregon
  9. Texas A&M
  10. Arkansas
  11. UCLA
  12. Mississippi State
  13. Kentucky
  14. Maryland
  15. Northwestern
  16. Michigan
  17. Ohio State
  18. DePaul
  19. Texas
  20. Indiana
  21. South Florida
  22. Syracuse
  23. Gonzaga
  24. Missouri State
  25. Michigan State

Others receiving votes: Georgia 33, North Carolina 27, South Dakota State 24, Oregon State 20, Iowa State 12, Tennessee 10, Arizona State 8, Rutgers 6, Iowa 6, Wake Forest 4, Georgia Tech 4, Rice 3, Alabama 2

ASSOCIATED PRESS AP ALL – AMERICA FOOTBALL TEAM

The 2020 AP All-America team:

FIRST TEAM

Offense

Quarterback – Mac Jones, junior, Alabama.

Running backs – Najee Harris, senior, Alabama; Breece Hall, sophomore, Iowa State.

Tackles – Brady Christensen, junior, BYU; Alex Leatherwood, senior, Alabama.

Guards – Aaron Banks, senior, Notre Dame; Wyatt Davis, junior, Ohio State.

Center – Landon Dickerson, senior, Alabama.

Tight end – Kyle Pitts, junior, Florida.

Receivers – DeVonta Smith, senior, Alabama; Elijah Moore, junior, Mississippi.

All-purpose player – Travis Etienne, senior, Clemson.

Kicker – Jose Borregales, senior, Miami.

Defense

Ends – Rashad Weaver, senior, Pitt; Tarron Jackson, senior, Coastal Carolina.

Tackles – Daviyon Nixon, junior, Iowa; Darius Stills, senior, West Virginia.

Linebackers – Zaven Collins, junior, Tulsa; Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, senior, Notre Dame; Joseph Ossai, junior, Texas.

Cornerbacks – Patrick Surtain II, junior, Alabama; Shaun Wade, senior, Ohio State.

Safeties – Talanoa Hufanga, junior, Southern California; Brandon Joseph, redshirt freshman, Northwestern.

Punter – Pressley Harvin III, senior, Georgia Tech.

SECOND TEAM

Offense

Quarterback – Kyle Trask, senior, Florida.

Running backs – Jaret Patterson, junior, Buffalo; Javonte Williams, junior, North Carolina.

Tackles – Liam Eichenberg, senior, Notre Dame; Christian Darrisaw, junior, Virginia Tech.

Guards – Cain Madden, junior, Marshall; Kenyon Green, sophomore, Texas A&M.

Center – Tyler Linderbaum, sophomore, Iowa.

Tight end – Hunter Long, junior, Boston College.

Receivers – Jaelon Darden, senior, North Texas; Jonathan Adams Jr., senior, Arkansas State.

All-purpose player – Kadarius Toney, senior, Florida.

Kicker – Cade York, sophomore, LSU.

Defense

Ends – Jaelen Phillips, senior, Miami; Patrick Jones, senior, Pitt.

Tackles – Alim McNeil, junior, North Carolina State; Haskell Garrett, senior, Ohio State.

Linebackers – Mike Rose, junior, Iowa State; Nik Bonitto, sophomore, Oklahoma; Nick Bolton, junior, Missouri.

Cornerbacks -Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, sophomore, TCU; Ahmad Gardner, sophomore, Cincinnati.

Safeties – Trevon Moehrig, junior, TCU; James Wiggins, senior, Cincinnati.

Punter – Lou Hedley, junior, Miami.

THIRD TEAM

Offense

Quarterback – Trevor Lawrence, junior, Clemson.

Running backs – Michael Carter, senior, North Carolina; Mohamed Ibrahim, junior, Minnesota.

Tackles – Darian Kinnard, junior, Kentucky; Samuel Cosmi, junior, Texas.

Guards – Ben Cleveland, senior, Georgia; Tommy Kraemer, senior, Notre Dame.

Center – Creed Humphrey, junior, Oklahoma.

Tight end – Charlie Kolar, junior, Iowa State.

Receivers – Dyami Brown, junior, North Carolina; Ty Fryfogle, senior, Indiana.

All-purpose player – Avery Williams, senior, Boise State.

Kicker – Jake Oldroyd, sophomore, BYU.

Defense

Ends – JaQuan Bailey, senior, Iowa State; Kayvon Thibodeaux, sophomore, Oregon.

Tackles – Christian Barmore, sophomore, Alabama; C.J. Brewer, senior, Coastal Carolina.

Linebackers – Zion Tupuola-Fetui, junior, Washington; Micah McFadden, junior, Indiana; Dylan Moses, senior, Alabama.

Cornerbacks – Greg Newsome, junior, Northwestern; Eli Ricks, freshman, LSU.

Safeties – Kyle Hamilton, sophomore, Notre Dame; Tykee Smith, sophomore, West Virginia.

Punter – Jake Camarda, junior, Georgia.

COLLEGE BOWL SCHEDULE

Cheez-It BowlMiamiOklahoma StateDec. 29
Alamo BowlTexasColoradoDec. 29
Duke’s Mayo BowlWake ForestWisconsinDec. 30
Music City BowlMissouriIowaDec. 30
Cotton BowlFloridaOklahomaDec. 30
Armed Forces BowlMississippi StateTulsaDec. 31
Liberty BowlWest VirginiaTennesseeDec. 31
Arizona BowlSan Jose StateBall StateDec. 31
Texas BowlArkansasTCUDec. 31
Peach BowlCincinnatiGeorgiaJan. 1
Citrus BowlNorthwesternAuburnJan. 1
Rose Bowl (CFP semi)AlabamaNotre DameJan. 1
Sugar Bowl (CFP semi)ClemsonOhio StateJan. 1
Gator BowlNC StateKentuckyJan. 2
Outback BowlIndianaOle MissJan. 2
Fiesta BowlIowa StateOregonJan. 2
Orange BowlTexas A&MNorth CarolinaJan. 2

Four bowl games were canceled late on Sunday: the Military Bowl, Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Independence Bowl, and Birmingham Bowl.

COLLEGE WRESLTING POLL

  1. Iowa
  2. Penn State
  3. North Carolina State
  4. Nebraska
  5. Ohio State
  6. Arizona State
  7. North Carolina
  8. Pittsburgh
  9. Virginia Tech
  10. Lehigh
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. Princeton
  13. Minnesota
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Purdue
  16. Northern Iowa
  17. Army
  18. Cornell
  19. Campbell
  20. Illinois
  21. Iowa State
  22. Michigan
  23. Missouri
  24. Stanford
  25. Rutgers

BILLS TROUNCE PATRIOTS

The Buffalo Bills put a cherry atop the changing of the guard in the AFC East.

A week after unseating the Patriots as division champions, Buffalo became the first AFC East team in two decades to sweep New England in a season series with a 38-9 victory Monday night.

Josh Allen passed for four touchdowns to help the Bills stay in the mix for the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

The Bills (12-3) last swept the Patriots in 1999. The last division opponents to sweep the Patriots were the Jets and Dolphins in 2000. The Patriots’ 19 straight seasons without losing both games to a divisional opponent was an NFL record. New England (6-9) will finish with its first losing record since coach Bill Belichick’s first season in 2000.

Allen was 27 of 36 for 320 yards. He now has 34 touchdown passes, surpassing Jim Kelly to set a franchise single-season record. With his eighth 300-yard game, he also surpassed Drew Bledsoe’s single-season team record of seven.

“We’ve got one game left. And all that, it’s cool, the records, this and that,” Allen said. “But the plan is to get to 13-3 and give ourselves a chance in the playoffs. It doesn’t mean much if we can’t get it done.”

Stefon Diggs had nine catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns, setting a Bills single-season record for receiving yards.

“I’m new to this team so I’m basking in (the) ambience of everybody,” Diggs said. “I’ve got a young quarterback who’s balling.”

The Patriots struggled to move the ball for most of the night with running back Damien Harris out for the second straight game with an ankle injury. Cam Newton had a touchdown run but was just 5 of 10 for 34 yards passing before being pulled in the third quarter for backup Jarrett Stidham.

Newton’s 34 yards passing are the fewest by a Patriots starting quarterback since 1993.

GOFF OUT OF SEASON FINALE

Jared Goff will miss the Los Angeles Rams’ regular-season finale against the Arizona Cardinals after undergoing surgery on his right thumb.

Goff could return a week later if the Rams make the playoffs, coach Sean McVay said Monday night.

John Wolford will take his first NFL snaps as Goff’s replacement when the Rams (9-6) host the Cardinals on Sunday. Los Angeles will clinch a playoff spot with a victory, or if the Chicago Bears lose to Green Bay.

“John has done a great job preparing himself all year,” McVay said. “You watch him work, and the way he’s prepared, I know there’s confidence in him with his teammates. He’s put himself in a good position where he could come in and lead the offense.”

The Rams also will be without leading rusher Darrell Henderson, who is headed to injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Rookie running back Cam Akers may be able to return from his own high ankle sprain after missing just one game, McVay said.

Rookie Bryce Perkins will be in uniform as a backup quarterback Sunday, and Los Angeles also plans to re-sign veteran Blake Bortles, who spent last season as Goff’s backup before moving this season to Denver, where he was on the practice squad.

Wolford has spent the past two seasons with the Rams after a solid season in the Alliance of American Football. The Wake Forest product was the third-stringer behind Goff and Bortles last season before moving up to the No. 2 job this year, but he hasn’t played for the Rams.

“We feel great” with Wolford in charge, center Austin Blythe said. “We have the utmost confidence in John to go out and perform. It’s still our offense. We’re still going to call the same plays. Nothing is going to change from our standpoint (or) attitude-wise. It just comes down to execution.”

HASKINS CUT BY WASHINGTON

Washington released 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins on Monday, less than 24 hours after he committed three turnovers in a loss to Carolina and in the aftermath of another violation of pandemic protocols.

Haskins started in place of injured quarterback Alex Smith despite being disciplined for breaking COVID-19 rules by partying with several people without a mask. He was fined $40,000 and stripped of his captaincy, but coach Ron Rivera opted to stick with Haskins because Smith was still injured and he didn’t have another established QB on the roster.

“My time with the WFT has unfortunately come to an end,” Haskins tweeted. “I thank the team & fans for the opportunity to play for the team I grew up rooting for. I take full responsibility for not meeting the standards of an NFL QB & will become a better man & player because of this experience.”

Rivera said Monday morning either Smith or Taylor Heinicke would start the regular-season finale at Philadelphia with the NFC East title on the line. It was clear Rivera was done with Haskins, whom he had shuffled to the bottom of the depth chart for the second time this season.

“Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can dig your way back out of it,” Rivera said. “I hope he learns from these experiences. Hopefully, they’ll make him stronger and they’ll help him and, hopefully, when he gets his next opportunity, he’ll make the best of it.”

Haskins was 14 of 28 with two interceptions and a fumble against the Panthers before being benched for Heinicke, who hadn’t played in the NFL since 2018. Rivera was asked what he’d like to see from Haskins in the next week and responded, “Just improvement.”

That will have to come elsewhere. He has some tools to succeed in the pros, but hasn’t been able to put it all together in 16 appearances.

“You watch his talent, and you see the arm,” Rivera said. “That’s the thing that I think is his most redeeming quality as a quarterback, which I think is probably the most important thing.”

MIAMI  STAYS WITH TAGOVAILOA AS STARTER

With one more win by the Miami Dolphins, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be playoff-bound for the first time in his 16-year career.

He might not play, though.

After pulling off a FitzMagic trick Saturday night to beat the Las Vegas Raiders, Fitzpatrick returns to standby mode this week. Tua Tagovailoa remains Miami’s starting quarterback heading into Sunday’s high-stakes regular-season finale at Buffalo.

By beating the Bills, the Dolphins (10-5) would clinch only their third playoff berth since 2001, and Fitzpatrick is trying to end a personal postseason drought. He has thrown 5,054 passes for eight teams, all in the regular season.

“I am well aware that I’ve never been to the playoffs, I promise you,” the 38-year-old Fitzpatrick said. “And we would love nothing more than to get there.”

WHAT’S WORKING

Coach Brian Flores’ two-quarterback system is working, even if he recoils from that label.

“The label is we’re going to do what we’ve got to do to win,” Flores said.

Fitzpatrick came off the bench in the final 10 minutes Saturday to throw for 182 yards, including a desperation heave he completed in the final seconds even though his face mask was being jerked. The pass and penalty netted 49 yards to set up a field goal for a 26-25 victory.

Fitzpatrick replaced Tagovailoa, who threw for only 94 yards on 22 attempts. The rookie improved to 6-2 as a starter but has now been benched twice in the fourth quarter, stirring plenty of debate about whether he deserves the No. 1 job in January – or next season.

“He has played fairly well,” Flores said. “People may disagree, but we’ll just agree to disagree in that instance.

“It’s not based off of one game or one quarter. There are a lot of practices that people don’t see, meetings that people don’t see, walk-throughs that no one sees. Everyone wants to make a judgment and try to make a decision for us about what we should do without all of that information.”

CLEVELAND EXPECTS PLAYERS TO RETURN

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said some of the players who missed Sunday’s loss because of COVID-19 protocols will be eligible to return to practice Thursday as Cleveland prepares to play Pittsburgh with a playoff spot riding on the outcome.

The Browns (10-5) were beaten 23-16 by the New York Jets, who took advantage of Cleveland being without its top four wide receivers, including leading target Jarvis Landry, starting left tackle Jedrick Wills and two linebackers after they were placed on the COVID list.

They’ll be able to return this week as long as they test negative, Stefanski said.

Sunday’s loss – which came after a whirlwind 24 hours – put the Browns in jeopardy of missing the postseason and in a win-or-miss situation this weekend against the Steelers, who clinched the AFC North title and could rest some players in the season finale.

Cleveland’s trying to end a playoff drought stretching to 2002, the NFL’s current longest dry spell.

Landry was ruled ineligible along with receivers Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge after they had come in close contact with starting linebacker B.J. Goodson, who tested positive for the virus and will also miss the Pittsburgh game.

Wills was kept out Sunday because he was showing COVID symptoms. He had been placed on the COVID list last week after close contact with someone outside the organization and then activated on Saturday.

Also, rookie linebacker Jacob Phillips was ruled out after having close contact with Goodson.

Stefanski said none of the six has tested positive.

The players had spent time together in the recovery pool area inside the team’s facility, which wasn’t a violation. However, it was deemed as high-risk close contact by the league and necessitated them being held out of Cleveland’s biggest game to date this season.

Stefanski wouldn’t say if the players had skirted team safety guidelines, but said he addressed the situation with the offending players.

“We absolutely have to learn from this,” he said.

Stefanski is also hopeful starting right guard Wyatt Teller will practice on Wednesday. He’s missed the past two games with a sprained ankle, and the Browns missed him Sunday when they only rushed for 45 yards. Rookie Nick Harris made his first career start in Teller’s spot.

Harris injured his knee against the Jets and is day to day along with linebackers Sione Takitaki and Tae Davis.

BALTIMORE FINED FOR COVID VIOLATIONS

The Baltimore Ravens were fined $250,000 by the NFL for violating COVID-19 protocols, a person with direct knowledge of the punishment told The Associated Press on Monday.

The team was not docked draft picks for the violations, which led to a coronavirus outbreak and the rescheduling of the Ravens’ Thanksgiving night game against Pittsburgh.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discipline has not been announced.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Monday that the team had been fined for the violation of protocol.

“We respect the league’s process and discipline process, and we accepted the discipline,” said Harbaugh, who was wearing a mask during his weekly Zoom interview the media.

In Baltimore’s outbreak, 23 players wound up on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list, with several coaches and team personnel also affected. The game with the archrival Steelers eventually was played the following Wednesday, and the Ravens’ matchup with Dallas was moved to Dec. 8 in a rare Tuesday game.

The Ravens suspended strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders for failing to report coronavirus symptoms and for not following protocol within the facility.

Saunders returned to work last week, according to Harbaugh, who added, “Beyond that, really, I have no comments on it. We never comment on internal discipline at all, whoever it might be, and we’re just moving forward.”

In the wake of the virus outbreak at the team training facility, team president Dick Cass addressed the issue in a statement issued on Dec. 5.

“Despite our best efforts, the protocol is only as effective as our weakest link,” Cass said. “With a dangerous virus like this, everyone must comply with the protocol to avoid infecting many. We now know that not everyone at the Ravens followed the protocol thoroughly.”

Cass said four strains of COVID-19 were discovered at the team facility. Three were contained, the fourth was not.

“We cannot undo what has occurred. But, we can do our best to learn from what has happened and be vigilant moving forward to ensure that it does not happen again,” Cass said. “As the recent experience has shown us, this virus does not need a large opening to spread within an organization, and 99% compliance is not a passing grade when dealing with this virus.”

Four other teams this year have been fined for multiple protocol violations. The Las Vegas Raiders lost a sixth-round selection in 2021 and were fined $500,000, while the New Orleans Saints were stripped of a seventh-rounder and fined $500,000.

New England and Tennessee previously were fined $350,000 but did not have a draft choice taken away.

The Ravens’ fine was first reported by NFL Network.

CARDS QB MURRAY MAY MISS GAME VS. RAMS

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is uncertain for his team’s crucial Week 17 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams due to a lower leg injury, head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced Monday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff is also in danger of missing the regular-season finale after breaking his thumb on his throwing hand.

The 9-6 Rams, 8-7 Cardinals, and 8-7 Chicago Bears are fighting for the remaining two wild-card spots.

Chicago will earn its way into the playoffs if they beat the Green Bay Packers next Sunday. If the Bears are victorious, then the Cardinals-Rams game winner will also make the postseason. If Chicago loses and Arizona wins, then both the Rams and Cardinals will head to the playoffs.

Arizona’s backup quarterback is Chris Streveler, while Los Angeles has John Wolford.

Murray, the 2019 No. 1 overall pick, has put together a strong sophomore campaign. He’s thrown for 3,884 yards and 26 touchdowns against 12 interceptions, adding 816 yards and 11 scores on the ground.

GORE OUT THIS WEEK; COULD END CAREER

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase announced Monday that running back Frank Gore has a lung contusion and won’t play in Sunday’s season finale against the New England Patriots, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

As a result, the 37-year-old Gore’s NFL career could be over after 16 seasons.

The veteran’s longevity at a position where most players fail to land significant roles after turning 30 is unprecedented, and he’ll finish near the top of many career rushing ranks.

Gore joined the Jets on a one-year deal in May. Following the Le’Veon Bell trade, he operated as Gase’s lead back for a handful of games.

The five-time Pro Bowler led New York with 187 carries and 653 rushing yards this season, chipping in with two touchdowns on the ground.

Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine, and Josh Adams will presumably split backfield duties versus the Patriots.

Gore has yet to comment on whether he intends to continue his career.

FLORIDA WILL BE WITHOUT TOP FOUR RECEIVERS IN BOWL GAME

No. 10 Florida will be without its top four pass catchers in the Cotton Bowl against eighth-ranked Oklahoma.

Receivers Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney announced Monday they are skipping the game in Arlington, Texas, to prepare for their NFL futures. Fellow receiver Jacob Copeland announced he won’t make the trip after testing positive for COVID-19. All-American tight end Kyle Pitts opted out of the bowl hours after the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Their absences leave Florida trying to replace four guys who combined to catch 174 passes for 2,778 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2020. Justin Shorter, Xzavier Henderson and Trent Whittemore are expected to get extra playing time in their place.

Grimes, a 6-foot-4 senior from Fort Lauderdale, thanked coaches for allowing him to transfer from Ohio State in December 2017 and thanked teammates for “the bonds I have created along my journey.” He added that “playing football at the highest level in the NFL has been my lifelong dream.”

Toney, a 6-foot senior from Mobile, Alabama, thanked his family and both coaching staffs for helping him during his time in Gainesville. He said, “I cannot imagine another program better preparing me for the next step in my career.”

Grimes and Toney already accepted invitations to play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, another chance to impress NFL executives. They also are expected to attend the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Grimes had 38 receptions for 589 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He finished his college career with 100 catches for 1,464 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Toney was at his best this season, finishing with 70 catches for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also ran 19 times for 161 yards and a score. He ended his college career with 1,590 yards receiving, 715 yards rushing and 16 total touchdowns.

Pitts is expected to be a top-15 draft pick, and Grimes and Toney also could go in the early rounds.

Grimes has a rare combination of size, speed and body control, and he probably would have had better numbers had Florida not had a deep group of pass catchers that included Pitts and Toney this season and Van Jefferson, Tyrie Cleveland, Freddie Swain, Josh Hammond, Pitts and Toney in 2019.

Toney might not be quite as fast as Grimes, but he’s one of the shiftiest players in the country.

BALL STATE BOWL GAME NOTES VS. SAN JOSE STATE

(BALL STATE SI)

(RV) BALL STATE (6-1, 5-1 MAC) CARDINALS H: 3-0 | A: 2-1 | N: 1-0 | Streak: Won 6 Head Coach: Mike Neu (5th year)

(#19) SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (7-0, 6-0 MWC) H: 5-0 | A: 2-0 | N: 0-0 | Streak: Won 8 Head Coach: Brent Brennan (4th year)

BALL STATE NOTES:

Mid-American Conference champion Ball State meets undefeated Mountain West Conference champion San Jose State in the Offerpad Arizona Bowl. San Jose State is ranked No. 19 in the AP Top 25, No. 20 in the Coaches Poll and No. 22 in the College Football Playoff Rankings, while Ball State is receiving votes in the latest AP and Coaches polls. The Cardinals are making their 10th bowl appearance — their first since the GoDaddy Bowl after the 2013 season — and seeking for the program’s first bowl victory. Ball State, also MAC West Division champion for the first time since 2008, handed previously unbeaten and 23rd-ranked Buffalo its first loss in the MAC Championship Game to claim the Cardinals’ first overall conference championship since 1996. It was the program’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2012 (at No. 23 Toledo). The Cardinals now go for back-to-back wins over ranked teams for the first time ever. In the MAC title game, Ball State limited the nation’s top scoring (51.8 points) and rushing (344.6 yards) team to 28 points and 134 yards on the ground. The Cardinals held Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson, the nation’s leader at 205 yards per game, to 47 yards on 18 carries.  Fifth-year head coach Mike Neu brought BSU’s sixth MAC title to his alma mater. Neu quarterbacked the Cardinals’ MAC championship and Las Vegas Bowl team in 1993 and was also part of BSU’s league championship and California Raisin Bowl team in 1989.  Ball State placed 12 players on the 2020 All-MAC teams, led by ILB Brandon Martin as the league’s co-defensive player of the year. Martin was one of four first-team selections for the Cardinals, joined on the first team by WR/KR Justin Hall, SAF Bryce Cosby and OLB Anthony Ekpe. BSU placed five on the second team in QB Drew Plitt, OL Curtis Blackwell, OLB Christian Albright, CB Antonio Phillips and P Nathan Snyder. The Cardinals had three on the third team in WR Yo’Heinz Tyler, ILB Jaylin Thomas and RB Caleb Huntley.

This is the first-ever meeting between the teams. Ball State will face the top defensive team it has seen this season. San Jose State ranks 13th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 17.9 points per game. On offense, the Spartans feature QB Nick Starkel who leads the MWC in pass efficiency (161.7) while throwing for 1,906 yards and 16 touchdowns in seven games. The Ball State and San Jose State programs have taken similar trajectories over the past four years to become conference champions … Year BSU SJSU 2017 2-10 (0-8) 2-11 (1-7) 2018 4-8 (3-5) 1-11 (1-7) 2019 5-7 (4-4) 5-7 (2-6) 2020 6-1 (5-1) 7-0 (6-0) The matchup is the first bowl game to feature two female athletic directors — Ball State’s Beth Goetz and San Jose State’s Marie Tuite — and a female bowl director — Kym Adair. There are 11 female ADs at the FBS level (four in the MAC).

Ball State is playing its first game against the Mountain West Conference since the league began operations in 1999. BSU played three of the league’s teams — all in bowl games — before the formation of the MWC. The Cardinals squared off with Fresno State in the 1989 California Raisin Bowl, Utah State in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl and Nevada in the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl. Ball State was originally scheduled to play a Mountain West opponent this season, but the Cardinals’ home game with Wyoming was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Five of San Jose State’s 10 bowl appearances have come against MAC teams. The Spartans are 3-2 in those games, most recently defeating Bowling Green in the 2012 Military Bowl.

SAN JOSE NOTES:

(SAN JOSE STATE SI)

#19/#20-San José State record: 7-0. The Spartans won the Mountain West Football Championship defeating Boise State, 34-20, at Sam Boyd Stadium, in Las Vegas, Nev. The game was the Spartans’ third after a two-week absence due to COVID-19 issues with opponents Fresno State for November 21 and Boise State on November 28. San José State has wins in its last eight games dating back to the 17-16 victory over Fresno State to conclude the 2019 season. San Jose State opened its restart with a 35-24 win at Hawai’i on December 5. The Spartans have their first winning season since 2012 when the team finished with an 11-2 win-loss record. Since then, the 2013 squad with a 6-6 record was the only San José State team at the .500 mark. Ball State record: 6-1. Most recently, the Cardinals defeated Buffalo, 38-28, in the Mid-American Conference Championship game on December 18. Ball State has a six game winning streak. San José State head coach Brent Brennan: Finishing his fourth season as the Spartans’ head coach. Named the 2020 Mountain West Coach of the Year and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region 5 Coach of the Year. Is also a finalist for the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and the Maxwell Club’s George Munger National Coach of the Year awards. Has a major college coaching record of 15-29, all at San José State. Brennan returned to San José State for 2017 after six seasons as a receivers coach at Oregon State. He was a Spartan assistant coach during the 2005 through 2010 seasons. He is 0-0 as a head coach against Ball State. Ball State head coach Mike Neu: Completing his fifth season as the Cardinals’ head coach. Has a major college coaching record of 21-34, all at Ball State. He is 0-0 as a head coach against San José State. Series history: These teams are meeting for the first time in football. Bowl history: San Jose State is playing in its 11th bowl game and is making its first appearance in a bowl since winning the 2015 AutoNation Cure Bowl. The Spartans have a 7-3 record.

NOTRE DAME ALL-AMERICANS

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Notre Dame senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and senior offensive lineman Aaron Banks were named to the Associated Press All-America First Team, as graduate student offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg was named to the second team and graduate student offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer and sophomore safety Kyle Hamilton claimed third-team honors. 

First Team

Aaron Banks

Banks has racked up 30-career starts and was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance vs. Clemson (11/7). Selected to the preseason All-ACC Team, Banks is part of an offensive line that leads the ACC and ranks eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time and winning the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

The 2020 Butkus Award winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Owusu-Koramoah is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the nation. Also a finalist for the Bednarik Award and Bowden Trophy, and semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, Owusu-Koramoah was also a finalist for the Nagurski Award. The senior has totaled 56 tackles (38 solo), 11.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, one interception, three PBU, two FR and three FF on the season. 

Second Team

Liam Eichenberg

Totaling 37-consecutive starts on his career, Eichenberg has been tabbed as one of the best linemen in the country, being named a finalist for the Outland Trophy and recipient of the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy. He was twice named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week, and is a member of an offensive line unit that has been named a finalist for the 2020 Joe Moore Award. 

Third Team

Kyle Hamilton

A Bednarik Award semifinalist, sophomore Kyle Hamilton ties for the lead on the Irish defense with 56 tackles (45 solo) in 2020. Along with a 14-yard interception vs. Clemson in the ACC Championship, he has posted five PBUs, 3.5 TFL and two QB hits.

Tommy Kraemer

Returning to the field in 2020 after a season-ending injury in 2019, Kraemer has totaled 38-career starts and has produced at a high level, even after missing a game due to injury. Named ACC Offensive LIneman of the Week at Boston College, Kraemer is a member of a unit that helps move the chains at a high level on third down. The Irish lead the ACC and rank ninth in the FBS in third down conversion percentage with a remarkable 49.3 success rate.

NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL

Owusu-Koramoah Tabbed as Finalist for Bowden Trophy

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Notre Dame senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has been named one of three finalists for the 2020 Bobby Bowden trophy, honoring the college football player who best embodies the “student-athlete,” combining athletics, academics and faith. 

The 2020 Butkus Award winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Owusu-Koramoah has totaled 56 tackles in 2020, which leads the Irish, while also leading the team with 11.0 tackles-for-loss. He has been responsible for forcing multiple turnovers, including an interception, two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles this season. He has added three pass breakups.

Against Syracuse, Owusu-Koramoah noted five tackles, 0.5 TFL, one FF, one FR and two PBU. He forced a fumble on the opening drive of the first half for his third forced fumble of the season (fifth of his career). He recovered another fumble, forced by the Irish, for his second FR of the season and fourth of his career, which led to a Notre Dame touchdown drive.

His first-career interception came at Pitt, setting up a Notre Dame touchdown drive. In the win over then-No. 1 Clemson, Owusu-Koramoah posted nine tackles (seven solo), 0.5 sack, 2.0 TFL, one forced fumble and the fumble recovery touchdown, which was the first score of his career. Three plays later, he forced a Clemson fumble, which was also recovered by the Irish. For his performance, he was named player of the week for the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award, and ACC Linebacker of the Week. 

Owusu-Koramoah ranks 11th among all FBS players with two fumble recoveries this season. He ranks tied for fifth among all ACC players in forced fumbles (0.27 per game).

To add to his resume, Owusu-Koramoah is a finalist for the Bednarik Award and a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, and was also a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy. 

Off the field, Owusu-Koramoah is a leader in his communities, using his platform to speak to many groups. He has spent time speaking at the juvenile detention center in South Bend, as well as multiple church youth groups in the area. When he returns home to Virginia, he speaks with local high school football teams, including his alma mater, Bethel High School. 

NBA RATINGS DOWN AS EXPECTED

The NBA ratings slump is not abating, even as the league’s schedule improves.

Lakers-Rockets averaged a 1.85 rating and 2.92 million viewers on the season premiere of ABC’s NBA Saturday Primetime, down 10% in ratings and 14% in viewership from the same matchup last year (2.05, 3.39M) and down 30% and 35% respectively from Warriors-Rockets in 2018 (2.6, 4.47M).

The double-digit decline is especially notable given LeBron James was healthy and the Lakers 33-8 entering the game, while James was injured and the Lakers 25-21 a year ago.

Ratings and viewership were the lowest yet for the season premiere of NBA Saturday Primetime, which debuted in 2016.

Despite the lower numbers, the game delivered the sixth-largest audience of the NBA season. The Lakers have played in six of the top nine.

Earlier in the day, Clippers-Pelicans averaged a 1.0 and 1.47 million — down 29% in both measures from last year (Thunder-Sixers: 1.4, 2.06M) and down 43% and 47% respectively from 2018 (Thunder-Cavaliers: 1.8, 2.79M).

Shifting to Martin Luther King Day, Lakers-Celtics averaged 2.02 million viewers on TNT — up 5% from last year (Rockets-Sixers: 1.92M) but down 57% from Warriors-Cavaliers two years ago (4.68M).

Boston’s blowout win declined 24% from last season’s first meeting between the rivals, which took place in February (2.64M), and 25% from their first meeting two seasons ago, which took place in November (2.70M).

Later in the night, Warriors-Blazers averaged 1.21 million — down 51% from Warriors-Lakers last year (2.47M) and down 38% from Rockets-Clippers in ’18 (1.94M). The Pelicans-Grizzlies matinee averaged 651,000, down 2% from the same matchup last year (665K) and down 37% from Lakers-Grizzlies in ’18 (1.04M).

In other action, ESPN averaged 1.12 million for Blazers-Mavericks (-19%) and 968,000 for Bulls-Sixers (-6%) last Friday night.

While the NBA’s ratings this season have no doubt been affected by a weak early schedule and a rash of injuries — particularly to Golden State’s stars and Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson — it is increasingly apparent that ratings would be down regardless.

SIXERS PLAYERS FINED FOR TWEET ABOUT HARDEN

The NBA fined Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey $50,000 on Monday for a since-deleted tweet about Houston’s James Harden that violated the league’s anti-tampering rule.

A tweet was posted to Morey’s account Dec. 20 in commemoration of the anniversary of another tweet he had sent commemorating Harden breaking Calvin Murphy’s record for most assists as a member of the Rockets. Morey was with the Rockets at that time.

The tweet from this year was deleted. Typically, teams are prohibited from discussing players under contract to other teams and the NBA has warned clubs that it can be considered tampering.

Harden has been mentioned in trade talks for several weeks.

A tweet by Morey in 2019 led to major problems for the NBA and its relationship with China. He posted support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. NBA games were not shown on CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, for one year after that since-deleted tweet.

DINWIDDLE TEARS ACL

Spencer Dinwiddie will have surgery to repair a partially torn ACL in his right knee, an early blow to a Brooklyn Nets team that hoped it had left its injury troubles behind.

Dinwiddie was hurt Sunday in Charlotte during the third quarter of the Nets’ first loss of the season. The Nets said Monday the guard’s surgery was scheduled for next week and further updates would be provided afterward.

Dinwiddie excelled in a reserve role for the the Nets in the past but had been in the starting lineup for the first three games under Steve Nash, averaging 6.7 points.

Though his numbers are down this season with more firepower around him, Dinwiddie remains valued for the numerous roles he has played on the Nets since arriving in 2016.

“He means a lot. When Spencer is going he can’t be stopped,” center Jarrett Allen said. “His offensive game, he’s going downhill and creating shots for others. Even off the court, everybody loves having Spencer around and his energy and personality is great for the locker room.”

Dinwiddie averaged a career-best 20.6 points last season, beginning the season as a reserve but moving into the starting lineup when Kyrie Irving was hurt to help Brooklyn reach the playoffs. Irving and Kevin Durant have returned this season and led the Nets to two blowout victories in their first two games.

But they couldn’t complete a comeback Sunday in Charlotte, falling 106-104 after Dinwiddie was hurt in the third quarter. They are back home Monday to host the Memphis Grizzlies.

MORANT HURT IN GRIZZLIES WIN

Ja Morant could barely stand, needing a wheelchair to take him from the court area after spraining his left ankle.

Having already lost their first two games, now the Memphis Grizzlies had lost the NBA Rookie of the Year and their best player.

“A moment like that can really test you, but our guys just kept on fighting,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins.

And Morant was there to watch them.

The Grizzlies earned their first victory of the season, outlasting the short-handed Brooklyn Nets 116-111 in overtime Monday night.

Morant was hurt late in the first half when he leaped to block a shot by Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and landed on the Nets forward’s foot. Morant immediately hopped off the floor, then laid on the floor in pain before being wheeled to the back of the arena.

He rejoined his teammates on the bench in the second half with his foot in a walking boot, offering energy and support to carry them through a tense finish.

“He’s a team player. He loves his squad,” teammate Dillon Brooks said.

Morant watched Brandon Clarke score the go-ahead basket on a follow shot with 41 seconds left in overtime before the Grizzlies put it away with free throws.

Morant averaged 36 points in the two losses, scoring a career-high 44 in the season opener, but the Grizzlies found enough offense without him Monday.

“Unbelievable display of resiliency by our group,” Jenkins said.

Kyle Anderson scored a career-high 28 points and Brooks added 24 for the Grizzlies. Clarke had 16 points and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

BLAZERS SHOOT PAST LAKERS

Damian Lillard scored 21 of his 31 points in the second half, and CJ McCollum had 20 points and 11 assists in the Portland Trail Blazers’ 115-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

“Hopefully we can build on it,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “We realize that we can be a good team. We just beat the defending champs, and they’re a great team.”

Gary Trent Jr. matched his career high with seven 3-pointers while scoring 28 points in the Blazers’ second straight win over the Lakers at Staples Center.

“It makes us just a little bit more confident to be coming on the road and continuing to grow, continuing to build on our effort,” Lillard said. “We’re just getting more comfortable with each other, and we’re bringing our energy.”

LeBron James had 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the NBA champions, who finished 2-2 on their season-opening homestand. Dennis Schroder added 24 points, but the Lakers’ streak of 59 straight victories when taking a lead into the fourth quarter was snapped.

Trent went 10 of 14 from the field while finishing two points off his career high in an impressive response after playing less than six minutes in Portland’s win over Houston last Saturday.

“I would assume any young player who was coming off the kind of season he had last season would expect to be in the rotation for more than six minutes,” Lillard said. “When that happened, I was like, `Let’s see how he responds.’ I think it says a lot about him that he came out and had this type of performance. It speaks to how tough he is mentally and how locked in he is to this season.”

Los Angeles kept it close with strong games from James and Schroder, who clearly relishes his matchups with Lillard. But their teammates largely struggled on the second night of a back-to-back.

“We were kind of stuck in mud a little bit,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I don’t know (why). We just had trouble sustaining that intensity.”

UTAH GETS RARE WIN AT OKC

Donovan Mitchell hit a go-ahead layup with 7 seconds left and finished with 20 points, lifting the Utah Jazz over the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-109 on Monday night.

Bogan Bogdanovich scored 23 points and Mike Conley added 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Jazz, who ended a 17-game losing streak in regular season road games against the Thunder, including games in the NBA’s Orlando bubble last season. Utah’s last win in Oklahoma City came on Oct. 31, 2010.

“We tightened it up down the stretch,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “You have to get stops to win. They played hard. I don’t feel like we played our best, but that’s the challenge, to figure out how to win when you don’t have your best game. We hope we can take this and build on it and keep getting better.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who hit a game-winning shot in the Thunder’s season-opening win in Charlotte, missed a driving layup in heavy traffic at the buzzer. He had 23 points and seven assists, while Luguentz Dort led the Thunder with a career-high 26 points.

“We had a shot there at the end, which is all you can ask for,” said the Thunder’s Al Horford, who scored 11 points. “There was a lot of positive. It was just too bad we couldn’t finish the game.”

An 8-0 run by Oklahoma City to start the fourth quarter put the Thunder up 95-86, and they led 100-93 after a drive by Darius Bazley with 7:32 left. Utah answered with 11 straight points – the final six by Mitchell – to go ahead 102-100 with 5:10 left.

Dort’s 3-pointer with 1:05 left gave Oklahoma City a 109-108 lead. Both teams traded empty possessions before Mitchell’s game-winning basket. Mitchell scored the Jazz’s final 12 points.

GONZAGA AND BIG 10 DOMINATE AP TOP 25

It’s hard to decide who has been more dominant in men’s college basketball this season: Gonzaga or the Big Ten Conference.

The Bulldogs remained the clear-cut No. 1 on Monday, earning 62 of 64 first-place votes in The Associated Press poll after their latest win over a Top 25 foe, while the Big Ten placed nine teams in the poll, with Wisconsin and Iowa in the top 10.

Gonzaga blitzed then-No. 16 Virginia 98-75 on Saturday for the most lopsided win over a ranked team in the Mark Few era, giving the Bulldogs a poll-record fourth win over a Top 25 team in a team’s first seven games of a season. Kansas, Iowa and West Virginia also have fallen to Corey Kispert & Co., all of them on neutral floors.

“They’re so potent offensively,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said. “They’re so well-coached. They have such talent. Our lack of athleticism showed. They have such athletic guys, and they’re veterans in all spots, I think.”

Second-ranked Baylor received the other two first-place votes and the Jayhawks remained No. 3 after their rout of then-No. 7 West Virginia. Villanova and Houston each moved up a spot after Iowa’s overtime loss to Minnesota.

After that? Well, it pretty much reads like the Big Ten standings.

The sixth-ranked Badgers began a run of Top 25 teams from the league, jumping three spots after wins over Nebraska and then-No. 12 Michigan State. The Hawkeyes dropped from fourth to 10th while surprising Rutgers began a run of four more Big Ten teams at No. 14 – Illinois, Michigan and the Spartans were right behind the Scarlet Knights.

No. 19 Northwestern and No. 21 Minnesota were newcomers to the poll and Ohio State rounded out the Top 25.

“You look at our schedule, this is a heck of a week for us from an energy standpoint,” said Wildcats coach Chris Collins, whose team is ranked for the first time since Nov. 13, 2017. “To have to play Michigan State, at Indiana, then come home and play a real tough Ohio State team and to win all three games, it shows a lot about the grit of our team.”

The league’s newcomers will have their hands full over the next couple of weeks.

Northwestern’s next five games begin with trips to Iowa and Michigan, a home game against Illinois, a trip to Ohio State and the return game against the Hawkeyes. In fact, eight of their next nine are against ranked opponents.

Minnesota, whose lone loss came to Illinois and which was last ranked on Dec. 4, 2017, plays its next six against Top 25 teams: Michigan State, at Wisconsin, Ohio State, at Michigan, at Iowa and the Wolverines at home.

“We’re a pretty motivated team,” Golden Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “We just talked about what Illinois did to us and we didn’t get negative or lose hope. It was one game and we had to get back to work, which is what we did. We didn’t even watch film on it. We addressed it and moved on … and we beat a team that people think can go to the Final Four.

“We’ll turn the page and look towards the next one,” he added. “We’re not a get too-high-or-too-low-type of program.”

BIG 12 BONZANZA

While the Big Ten leads the way in quantity, the Big 12 just might lead in quality. Baylor and Kansas are joined by No. 8 Texas and ninth-ranked West Virginia to give the league four teams in the top 10. No. 13 Texas Tech isn’t far behind.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Tennessee climbed one spot to No. 7 ahead of its game Wednesday night at No. 12 Missouri, which climbed two spots after remaining unbeaten last week. Creighton also rose two spots to No. 11 after beating then-No. 22 Xavier.

REST OF THE POLL

Florida State was the best-ranked team from the ACC at No. 18. Duke held steady at No. 20, and Virginia tumbled to No. 23 with Virginia Tech right behind, giving the conference four teams squeezed into the Top 25.

No. 21 Oregon was the only team from the Pac-10. The Ducks climbed four spots after pushing their winning streak to six.

FALLING OUT

Xavier was the first team outside the Top 25, falling four places after its loss to Creighton. North Carolina was the biggest loser, tumbling from No. 17 out of the poll after the Tar Heels lost a close game at North Carolina State.

ON THE DOORSTEP

San Diego State has been hanging around just outside the Top 25 for weeks, but the Aztecs won’t have a chance to help their cause until playing Nevada on Jan. 7 – they had two games against UNLV this weekend postponed. Arkansas (8-0) and Georgia (7-0) also are making a push toward joining SEC brethren Tennessee and Missouri in the Top 25.

THIS WEEK IN BIG 10 FOOTBALL

• Five Big Ten schools were selected for bowl competition this year, highlighted by a berth in the College Football Playoff for Ohio State.

• Ohio State was selected to compete in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 3 by the College Football Playoff selection committee and will take on second-seeded Clemson. The winner of that semifinal will advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship against either No. 1 Alabama or No. 4 Notre Dame on Jan. 11 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

• Ohio State was crowned Big Ten Champion after its 22-10 win against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game presented by Discover on Dec. 19 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was the Buckeyes’ 39th Big Ten title and fourth in as many years. 

• The Buckeyes are the first team to claim four consecutive Big Ten Championship titles. A complete statistical recap of this year’s Big Ten Championship Game can be found on Page 7.

• Bret Bielema was named as the 26th Illinois Head Football Coach on Dec. 19. A native of Prophetstown, Illinois, Bielema has 24 years of collegiate coaching experience and compiled a 12-year record of 97-58 (.626) as head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas. From 2006-12 Bielema was the head coach at Wisconsin, where he led the Badgers to three Big Ten championships (2010-12), six consecutive bowl games and a 68-24 record (.739). Bielema then spent five seasons as head coach at Arkansas from 2013-17. After inheriting a depleted roster and enduring a difficult first season, he led the Razorbacks to three consecutive bowl games, including victories against Texas in 2014 and Kansas State in 2015.

• A total of 582 Big Ten football student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, the conference announced Dec. 10. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be on a varsity team (as verified by being on the official squad list as of Nov. 1 for fall sports), have been enrolled full time at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Among this year’s football honorees, 12 had unblemished GPAs: Illinois’ Christian Bobak, Doug Kramer and James McCourt; Indiana’s Nicholas Grieser; Iowa’s Matt Fagan; Michigan’s Ren Hefley and Carlo Kemp; Minnesota’s Connor Olson and Bailey Schoenfelder; Nebraska’s Garrett Hustedt; Ohio State’s Harry Miller, and Wisconsin’s Matt Henningsen.

BIG 10 MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota Earn Weekly Men’s Basketball Honors

Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu and Minnesota’s Marcus Carr named Co-Players of the Week;

Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson named Freshman of the Week

Co-Player of the Week

Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
G – Jr. – 6-5 – Chicago, Ill. – Morgan Park (Ill.) – Major: Communication

  • Averaged 30.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game in Illinois’ wins over Penn State and Indiana.
  • In the team’s 69-60 win over Indiana, became the first Illini player in 23 years to register back-to-back 30-point games and is now just one of five players in the country to record back-to-back 30-point games this season. Earlier this season, scored 36 points at Missouri (Dec. 12) and is one of just three players in the NCAA to notch three 30-point games this season.
  • Scored 11 points during a 14-0 second-half run against Indiana that flipped a five-point deficit to a nine-point lead.
  • Currently averaging 24.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game and is the only player in the country averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. According to Illinois, only three players have posted 20-6-5 for an entire year dating back to 1992-93: Memphis’ Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway in 1993, Morehead State’s Ricky Minard in 2004, and Ohio State’s Evan Turner in 2010.
  • Earns the third Player of the Week accolade of his career; was also a two-time Freshman of the Week honoree in 2018-19
  • Last Illinois Player of the Week: Ayo Dosunmu (Dec. 14, 2020)

Co-Player of the Week

Marcus Carr, Minnesota
G – Jr. – 6-2 – Toronto, Ontario – Montverde Academy (Fla.) – Major: Human Resource Development

  • Scored 30 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed three rebounds in Minnesota’s win over then-ranked No. 4/No. 5 Iowa. Shot 9-for-16 (.563 pct.) from the field, including 6-of-13 (.461 pct.) from three-point range. Registered a 30-plus point performance for a second-straight game after scoring 32 in last week’s win over Saint Louis (Dec. 20).
  • Hit a game-tying three-pointer with five seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. Also hit a three-point shot with 31 seconds left on the clock to pull Minnesota to within 78-81 of Iowa.
  • Has now scored over 1,000 career points in three seasons (221 in 2020-21 with Minnesota, 478 in 2019-20 with Minnesota and 320 in 2017-18 with Pittsburgh).
  • Ranks third in the country in scoring (24.6 ppg), trailing only Iowa’s Luka Garza (28.8) and Alabama A&M’s Jalen Johnson (26.0). Leads the country in made free throws (61) and ranks fourth in the nation in total field goals made (69). Also ranks 10th in the nation in total assists (56).
  • Earns the first Player of the Week accolade of his career.
  • Last Minnesota Player of the Week: Daniel Oturu (Jan. 13, 2020)

Freshman of the Week

Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

C – 7-1 – Alexandria, Va. – DeMatha Catholic (Md.) – Major: Undecided

  • Scored 13 points, grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds and blocked two shots in Michigan’s win at Nebraska to help the Wolverines stay undefeated on the season (7-0). Registered a double-double and snagged 10-plus rebounds for the second time this year.
  • Became the first Wolverine to record 15 rebounds since 2019 when Jon Teske grabbed 15 boards vs. Gonzaga (Nov. 29, 2019).
  • Has now scored in the double digits in all seven of Michigan’s games and ranks second on the team with 15.3 points per game. Leads the team in total rebounds (59), rebounds per game (8.4) and blocked shots (12), while ranking second on the Wolverines in field goal percentage (.694) (min. of 15 attempts).
  • According to College Basketball Reference, ranks eighth in points per game (15.3), fifth in rebounds per game (8.4) and eighth in blocks per game (1.7) among all NCAA freshmen.
  • Earns the third Freshman of the Week accolade of his career.
  • Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Hunter Dickinson (Dec. 14, 2020)

AAC BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Tyson Etienne, So., Guard, Wichita State

Etienne led the Shockers with 25 points in an overtime road win at USF on Tuesday night (Dec. 22). The sophomore guard also matched career highs with six rebounds and four assists.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK

Caleb Murphy, Guard, USF

Murphy had one of his best games yet for the Bulls, recording 14 points, dishing out six assists and grabbing three rebounds in USF’s close overtime loss to Wichita State on Dec. 22.

HONOR ROLL

Keith Williams, Sr., Guard, Cincinnati

Williams recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Bearcats in a close away defeat at UCF on Dec. 22.

Brandon Mahan, Sr., Guard, UCF

Mahan averaged 19.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in a 1-1 week for the Knights. The senior guard scored 25 points with 10 rebounds against Cincinnati on Dec. 22.

Jayden Gardner, Jr., Forward, East Carolina

Gardner pulled in another double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds in a 10-point win for the Pirates against Tulane on Dec. 22.

Quentin Grimes, Jr., Guard, Houston

Grimes helped lead the Cougars to a 2-0 week by averaging 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals.

Austin Richie, Jr., Guard/Forward, Tulsa

Richie averaged 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in a 2-0 week for the Golden Hurricane. He secured 14 points and four rebounds in the conference win over Memphis on Dec. 21.

BIG 10 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Iowa and Rutgers Earn Big Ten Weekly Women’s Basketball Awards

Hawkeyes’ Clark and Scarlet Knights’ Guirantes share latest conference honors

Co-Player AND Freshman of the Week

Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Fr. – G – West Des Moines, Iowa – Dowling Catholic – Major: Undeclared

• Recorded her first career triple-double on Dec. 22 with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the Hawkeyes’ win over Western Illinois

• Posted the 10th triple-double in program history (tying for the second-most by one school in NCAA Division I history) and the first by an Iowa student-athlete since March 27, 2015 (Samantha Logic vs. Baylor in NCAA Sweet Sixteen at Oklahoma City)

• Had the first triple-double by a Big Ten freshman since Dec. 19, 2017, when Nebraska’s Kate Cain (22 points/14 rebounds/11 blocks) did so against Florida Atlantic

• Earns the third Big Ten Player of the Week award of her career

• Last Iowa Player of the Week: Caitlin Clark (Dec. 14, 2020)

• Collects the fourth Freshman of the Week award of her career

• Last Iowa Player of the Week: Caitlin Clark (Dec. 14, 2020)

Co-Player of the Week

Arella Guirantes, Rutgers

Sr. – G – Bellport, N.Y. – Bellport – Major: Global Sports Business (Master’s)

• Registered her first career triple-double on Dec. 23 with 17 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists in a win over Manhattan

• Tallied the third triple-double in program history and first by a Scarlet Knight since Feb. 8, 2011, when Khadijah Rushdan (13 points/10 rebounds/10 assists) pulled off the feat against Pittsburgh

• Joined Clark in posting the first triple-doubles on consecutive days in Big Ten women’s basketball history; the Big Ten also has three of the five triple-doubles recorded by NCAA Division I student-athletes this season (Indiana’s Grace Berger had one on Nov. 25 against Eastern Kentucky)

• Earns the fourth Big Ten Player of the Week award of her career, and the second this season

• Last Rutgers Player of the Week: Arella Guirantes (Dec. 21, 2020)

Big Ten Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll

Jaelynn Penn, Sr., G, IND: Collected a season-high 19 points, five rebounds, team-best four steals and three assists in the Hoosiers’ win at Big Ten foe Minnesota on Dec. 23

Julia Ayrault, So., G, MSU: Finished just shy of a double-double in Michigan State’s Dec. 22 win over Oakland, logging 14 points (6-8 FG) and nine rebounds in only 20 minutes of action

Kayana Traylor, Jr., G, PUR: Registered her second consecutive 20-point game on Dec. 23 in a conference win over Nebraska, winding up with 21 points and seven assists 

EAST CAROLINA VS. WICHITA STATE GAME POSTPONED

IRVING, Texas – The American Athletic Conference has announced that the men’s basketball game between East Carolina and Wichita State scheduled for Dec. 30 in Wichita, Kan., has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases and the ensuing contact tracing of student-athletes at East Carolina. 

The game will be rescheduled at the first opportunity when both teams are available prior to Feb. 21, which is the date of the second scheduled game between the Pirates and Shockers in Greenville, N.C. Should an opportunity not arise before Feb. 21, the teams will play on back-to-back days Sunday and Monday, Feb. 21-22, in Wichita. 

The game on Feb. 21 is scheduled for a Noon Eastern (11 a.m. Central) start and will air on ESPNU. The rescheduled game will air on ESPN+ with a game time to be determined at a later date.

LUNDQVIST TO HAVE OPEN HEART SURGERY

Henrik Lundqvist said Monday he’s scheduled for open-heart surgery after tests revealed a heart condition that kept him from continuing to play goal in the NHL.

Lundqvist wrote on Twitter that he’s set to have an aortic valve, aortic root and ascending aortic replacement. He did not say when.

“(The) last three weeks my focus has shifted from training camp and the upcoming season to my health and what I can and can’t do,” Lundqvist said in announcing the operation. “We all have our mountains to climb. Staying positive here and set on the road to recovery.”

A physical after signing with the Washington Capitals led to further tests and his decision not to play this season. Washington general manager Brian MacLellan says Lundqvist has had a heart issue all along that he managed and the team expected it to be the same.

“Our trainer, Jason Serbus, did an unbelievable job,” MacLellan said last week. “Our doctors, the cardiologists, the specialists, it kept getting deeper and deeper. As we went that far, Henrik got a lot more knowledge of what his situation is and where it’s going and what his risk levels are.”

It’s unclear what changed for the 38-year-old after playing 15 seasons with the New York Rangers. When he revealed Dec. 17 he wouldn’t be playing this season, the Rangers said: “We have no doubt Henrik Lundqvist will face this challenge with the same fierce determination and grace that made him one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game of hockey and an inspiration to all of us.”

The Rangers bought out Lundqvist after last season, and he signed a $1.5 million, one-year contract to continue chasing the Stanley Cup with rival Washington. The Swedish native said the Capitals “checked every box,” and MacLellan called it a perfect fit before tests showed his risk level was “not acceptable” to keep playing.

“I think we’re grateful, everybody’s grateful that he went down that road, that our medical staffs, that our trainer pushed him down that road and explored it more,” MacLellan said. “I think the result is good that he’s very aware of where his health is at. Everybody’s a little disappointed that we couldn’t see what we could’ve done with him in the lineup.”

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

NEW YORK – Time and fortune finally ran out on professional football’s Cinderella team, the Giants, yesterday at Yankee Stadium. And so it was that the Baltimore Colts, with a 23-17 victory, won the championship of the National Football League. With a couple of minutes to go in the fourth period, the Giants seemed to have the triumph in their grasp. But with seven seconds to go, Baltimore tied the score at 17-17 on a field goal. Then, in a sudden-death overtime period, the Baltimore team coached by Weeb Ewbank fashioned the winning touchdown after 8 minutes 15 seconds. The excitement generated by football’s longest game left most of the 64,185 spectators limp. Aside from an experimental exhibition contest, it was the first sudden- death game (with victory going instantly to the first team to score) in the league.

Alan (The Horse) Ameche, who had plunged for a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter, drove over from the 1 for the tally that crushed the New Yorkers. Ameche was a hero, but he was not the hero. The 15,000 fans who had made the trip from Baltimore could have pointed to any one of a number of outstanding Colts. Johnny Unitas was the man who engineered the dynamic offensive that moved the visitors from the shadow of defeat to the glory of their ultimate success. Then there was Steve Myrha, who kicked a 20-yard field goal at 14:53 of the fourth quarter. Not to be ignored was the spectacular pass-catching of Ray Berry, the end, who captured twelve of Unitas’ aerials for a gain of 178 yards. The receptions and yardage were championship play-off records.

The Giants, too, had their share of standouts in what was easily the most dramatic, most exciting encounter witnessed on the pro circuit in many a season. Some voiced the opinion that it was the “greatest game I’ve ever seen.” Among those who expressed that sentiment was Bert Bell, the commissioner of the N.F.L.

The Giants, after it appeared that they had fumbled away their chance for the championship, stormed back from a 14-3 deficit at the half. With the 37-year-old Charley Conerly turning in a magnificent job of passing and quarterbacking, the New Yorkers made an almost incredible comeback. Mel Triplett scored on a dive from the 1 for the Giants’ third-period touchdown. A 15-yard aerial from Conerly to Frank Gifford accounted for the touchdown that moved the Giants ahead early in the fourth quarter. It was fitting that Gifford, who carried Baltimore’s Milt Davis over the goal line on his back, recorded the 6-pointer. Two fumbles by Gifford were recovered by the Colts and led to two Baltimore touchdowns earlier in the game.

When the visitors put the ball in play on their final drive in regulation time, they were 86 yards from the goal. Behind by 17-14, they had 1 minute 56 seconds to go the distance. Unitas missed with a toss to L.G. Dupre, losing four seconds. Then he hit Lenny Moore with an 11-yarder at the cost of 22 seconds. Another aerial failed, but the next, to Berry, was good for 25 yards. Then, twice in succession, it was Unitas to Berry for 16 and 21 yards. Suddenly the Colts were on the 13 yard line. The seconds continued to tick away. When Myrha put his toe to the ball on the 20 and sent the ball through the uprights, only seven seconds remained. Then the first official overtime period in N.F.L. history began, and little more than eight minutes later it was over on Ameche’s final plunge.

The 1958 championship, which came to be called the Greatest Game Ever Played, was a watershed for the N.F.L. Though by no means a minor sport before, pro football lacked baseball’s mass appeal. Now, with network television coming of age, football’s popularity and fortunes soared. In the end it was one game and one touchdown that changed everything.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1878       In Havana, the first game is played in the Professional Baseball League of Cuba, later to be known as the Cuban League, when hometown Habana edges its rivals from suburban Almendares, 21-20. The winning team is led by player-manager Esteban Enrique Bellan, who will become the first Latino to appear in the major leagues, playing for the Troy Haymakers and the New York Mutuals of the National Association from 1871 to 1873.

1932       The Boston Braves reacquire Shanty Hogan when they purchase the catcher traded away four years ago to the Giants for $25,000. The slow-footed, but gifted defensive backstop lost his spot in the New York lineup at the end of the season when new player-manager Bill Terry, who replaced the legendary John McGraw in early June, elected to build the team around speed and pitching.

1933       Babe Ruth loses an opportunity to manage the Reds when Jacob Ruppert refuses to release his 38 year-old outfielder. The Yankee owner still viewed the aging superstar, who batted .301 with 34 home runs and 103 RBIs last season, as an asset to the team.

1969       The New York Times reports Curt Flood will challenge the reserve clause by suing major league baseball. The Cardinals’ outfielder’s case, which will ultimately be appealed unsuccessfully in the U.S. Supreme Court, will pave the way for the players to overturn baseball’s reserve clause in their attempt to gain free agency.

1973       Philip G. Epstein, an American screenwriter, best known, along with his identical twin, Julius, and Howard Koch, for writing the 1942 Academy Award-winning screenplay for Casablanca, welcomes his fraternal twin grandsons into the world. In twenty-eight years, the 60-second younger brother of Paul, Theo, will become the youngest GM in the history of major league baseball when the Red Sox hired him in 2002.

1977       Melissa Ludtke, female Sports Illustrated sportswriter, files suit against major league baseball, the Yankees, and New York City officials for denying her access to the locker room to interview players during the World Series. In September, a federal judge will rule that the Bronx Bombers can no longer enforce an MLB policy that bans female reporters the locker rooms on the grounds it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, by giving an unfair advantage to males.

2002       Sending a huge dust cloud down the Ohio River, Cinergy Field, formerly known as Riverfront Stadium, is imploded with 1,275 pounds of explosives. The former home of the Reds was the site where Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth’s career home run record on Opening Day in 1974, and Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record in 1985.

2003       The Angels announced their ballpark will now be known as Angel Stadium of Anaheim. In 1997, their 41 year-old home originally known Anaheim Stadium was renamed Edison International Field.

2005       Agreeing to a $60 million, five-year contract, Indians free agent Kevin Millwood (9-11, 2.86) joins the Rangers’ new and improved rotation as the ace the team has been seeking. The 31 year-old right-hander, who had the lowest ERA in the American League last season, will anchor a staff which also includes newcomers Vicente Padilla (9-12, 4.71) and Adam Eaton (11-5, 4.27), acquired from the Phillies and Padres, respectively.

2005       In an attempt to permit Cuba to participate in the 16-team World Baseball Classic, Venezuela offers to host the Group C teams in place of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and suggests the finals be played in Canada, rather than in San Diego’s Petco Park. The changes of venue would mean Castro’s charges would avoid playing on U.S. soil and not be subject to the U.S. Treasury Department regulations, which ban the team due to American trade and financial embargoes.

2009       Mark DeRosa, a veteran .275 hitter, signs a $12 million, two-year deal with the Giants. The 34 year-old versatile infielder, who was traded by Cleveland to the Cardinals at the end of June, will most likely play first or third base and hit fifth behind cleanup batter Pablo Sandoval.

2009       The Mets and Jason Bay, a former farmhand, agree to a four-year deal worth approximately $66 million that includes a vesting option for a fifth year for an additional $14 million. The 31 year-old outfielder joined the organization as a minor leaguer in 2002 when Omar Minaya, then the general manager of the Expos, traded the Class A pull hitter to New York, who shipped him four months later to San Diego as part of an undistinguished deal.

2012       Ruth Ann Steinhagen, the Chicago woman whose near-fatal 1949 shooting as a 19 year-old of former Cubs first baseman Eddie Waitkus, dies anonymously at the age of 83. Her crime, the inspiration for the book and movie The Natural, put a spotlight on ‘baseball Annies’, young, hero-worshipping females who relentlessly pursued major league ballplayers. Ruth Ann Steinhagen, the Chicago woman whose near-fatal 1949 shooting as a 19 year-old of former Cubs first baseman Eddie Waitkus, dies anonymously at the age of 83. Her crime, the inspiration for the book and movie The Natural, put a spotlight on ‘baseball Annies,’ young, hero-worshipping females who relentlessly pursued major league ballplayers.

WORLD SERIES HISTORY

Boston Red Sox (4) vs Chicago Cubs (2)

In the wake of America’s entry into World War 1, the U.S. government called for a shortened season (ending on Labor Day) as well as an accelerated Series to take place immediately after. The perennial Fall Classic was temporarily transformed into a “Late-Summer” version and ran from September 5th to the 11th. In the first of many, the 1918 season was the first to show the effects of wartime on baseball. Many of the league’s elite players were called up to serve their country and the overall quality of teams suffered as a result. Still, America’s national pastime carried on smartly while helping to raise money (and the spirits) of concerned citizens everywhere. More than just a game, baseball would serve this role time and time again for many years to come.

Despite their thinning line-ups, Boston’s Beantown Bombers had dominated the American League on the way to their fifth World Series appearance. With an undefeated post-season record of 4-0 (they had won as both the Red Sox and the Americans) they were primed and ready for #5. With an elite pitching staff including Carl Mays, “Sad” Sam Jones and “Bullet” Joe Bush, not to mention the multi-talented Babe Ruth, Ed Barrow’s team had won the shortened American League pennant race with a 75-51 record. Ruth split time between the outfield and the mound for the first time in his young career and managed to toss thirteen wins, bat .300 and hit a league leading eleven home runs. Their National League rivals, the Chicago Cubs were returning to the big show with an impressive 84-45 tally and an equally promising group on the mound. “Hippo” Vaughn had led the National League with twenty-two victories and was backed up by Claude Hendrix with tweny wins and Lefty Tyler with nineteen.

The Cubs opened Game 1 at Comiskey Park, home of the cross-town rival White Sox, rather than their own Weeghman Park (later named Wrigley Field) due to it’s larger seating capacity. Trading ballparks was not that unusual back in the day, as the Red Sox had chosen Braves Field over their own Fenway Park for their previous two Series appearances. Babe Ruth continued to build on his post-season legacy by extending his consecutive scoreless innings from thirteen to twenty-two against “Hippo” Vaughn in a 1-0 victory. Lefty Tyler managed to even it up the following day by throwing a six hit, 3-1 decision. Vaughn returned for revenge in Game 3 backed by his teams newfound momentum, but fell short after losing a 3-1 heartbreaker to Carl Mays.

A well-rested Ruth returned to the mound for Game 4 and increased his scoreless streak to a record twenty-nine consecutive innings with a 3-2 win that also featured a great performance at the plate. The Babe had delivered the winning hit as well with a huge two run triple in the fourth. Boston was now up three games to one. Vaughn finally had his revenge in Game 5 tossing a five hitter and blanking the Red Sox with a 3-0 triumph, but it would be all the Cubs could muster. Game 6, would be their last stand as Mays buried the hatchet in the form of a three hit 2-1 triumph that ended the Series and crowned his franchise as five-time World Champions.

Boston’s grand finale almost didn’t take place as the game was delayed due to a heated players debate over gate receipts. Series shares would be reduced drastically because, for the first time, all first-division clubs shared in the revenue.

Without a doubt, pitching was easily the most notable statistic of the 1918 Series. Boston’s pitchers had combined for an impressive 1.70 ERA and Chicago’s boasted an even better 1.04. Neither team scored more than three runs in a game and there wasn’t a single homerun in all six. The victorious Sox batted a miserable.186 and the losing Cubs swung a lowly .210.

BASEBALL’S BEST: LEFTY GROVE

Lefty Grove may have been baseball’s greatest all-time pitcher. He was certainly its most dominant. No one matched his nine ERA titles, and his .680 winning percentage (300-141) is the highest among 300 game winners (eighth best overall). After winning 111 games in a minor-league career that delayed his major-league debut until he was 25, Grove led the American League in strikeouts his first seven years, pitched effectively in hitters’ parks (Shibe Park, Fenway Park) and starred in three World Series. Few if any pitchers threw tantrums on a par with the 6’3”, 190-pound Lefty, who did everything big. He even led all pitchers by striking out 593 times as a batter.

In his three World Series (1929 through 1931), Grove went 4-2, with a 1.75 ERA, 36 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings and two saves. In these same seasons, he was 79-15 in regular-season play. It was the high-water mark for both Grove and the Philadelphia Athletics, though neither seemed to be drowning in 1932 when the second-place A’s won 94 games and Grove went 25-10. Used extensively in relief the next season and totaling an exhausting 275 1/3 innings, Grove still had a 24-8 record and led the league with a .750 percentage and 21 complete games, but his strikeouts declined from 188 to 114. As the A’s finished third in 1933 with a 79-72 record, the word went around the league that Grove’s arm had gone south on him.

Grove won three more ERA titles in the next four years while winning 17, 17, 14, and 15 games and mellowing in his behavior. That is not to say he was a model citizen.  Grove had no respect for Red Sox manager Joe Cronin and wasn’t above saying so.  In one unforgettable instance, Cronin ordered Grove to walk Hank Greenberg with two outs, a man on second and the Sox leading the Tigers, 4-3, in the top of the ninth.  After grudgingly complying, Grove gave up three straight singles to trail, 6-4, at inning’s end.  Leaving the field, Grove threw his glove into the stands, ripped off his uniform and smashed one of Cronin’s bats before heading into the clubhouse.  Amazingly, Boston won when Wes Ferrell, pinch-hitting for Grove, hit a three-run homer.  When the happy winners told the steaming Grove the news, he silently rolled a bottle of wine over to Ferrell.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: HECTOR WILLIAM COWAN

Caspar Whitney picked the first All-America team in 1889. The Princeton Tigers dominated that team, placing three backs and tackle Hector Cowan on Whitney’s first unit. Yale’s legendary Pudge Heffelfinger, who played against Cowan on several occasions, remembered, “He had the strongest shoulders and arms I’ve ever been up against and his stubby legs drove like pistons when he carried the ball. Hector could carry a couple of tacklers on his back, yet he was plenty fast in the open.” Pudge should have known him well, for Cowan and his crewmates handed Heffelfinger his first loss when they stopped the Elis, 10-0, in 1889. Cowan was captain of the Orange and Black that season, leading his team to a perfect ten-game mark. During Cowan’s five varsity seasons at Princeton, the Tigers compiled a 44-3-1 record.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME: JAMES WORTHY

As a 6’9″, 225 pound forward, “Big Game James” Worthy was at his very best when a game was on the line. Along with teammates Sam Perkins and Michael Jordan, Worthy helped power Coach Dean Smith’s Tar Heels to the 1982 NCAA Championship. He was named to the 1982 All-American team, the same year he was named Most Outstanding Player in NCAA Final Four. Worthy was selected Number 1 by Los Angeles in the 1982 NBA Draft and went on to help the Lakers win NBA Titles in 1985, ’87 and ’88. He was the NBA Finals MVP in 1988, seven-time NBA All-Star from 1986-92 and named One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

NBA HALL OF FAME: BOB LANIER

With a sweeping left-hand hook and a dominating inside presence, Bob Lanier was one of the most feared big men of his era. Opposing centers had to keep a watchful eye on Lanier because he had an equally impressive outside game. His sweet shooting touch from the perimeter placed him in a rarified class of being a true inside/outside force. This ability, combined with his single-minded determination to win, helped Lanier lead tiny St. Bonaventure University to the 1970 NCAA Final Four. Lanier still holds school records for scoring (27.6 ppg) and rebounding (15.7 rpg). During his 14-year NBA career with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, he was a model of consistency averaging double figures in points and rebounds for his career. The number one draft choice of the Detroit Pistons, Lanier was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie team in 1971 and earned MVP honors for his 24-point, 10-rebound performance at the 1974 NBA All Star Game.

NFL HALL OF FAME: HERB ADDERLY

Adderley was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 1961 NFL draft, the 12th overall pick.[1] He began his professional career as a halfback on offense, but was later switched to defense because the Packers already had eventual Hall of Fame runners in Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor. Adderley was first moved to cornerback to replace injured teammate Hank Gremminger against Detroit on Thanksgiving and made an interception that set up the game-winning touchdown.

In 1962, the move became permanent and Adderley went on to become an all-NFL selection five times in the 1960s. Packers coach Vince Lombardi remarked, “I was too stubborn to switch him to defense until I had to. Now when I think of what Adderley means to our defense, it scares me to think of how I almost mishandled him.”

Adderley recorded 39 interceptions in his nine seasons with the Packers. He held the Green Bay records for interceptions returned for touchdowns in a career (seven, tied with Darren Sharper, broken by Charles Woodson), and holds the record for interceptions returned for touchdowns in one season (three, in 1965).

Adderley started for the Packers from 1961–69, then played three seasons (1970–72) with the Dallas Cowboys. While with the Packers, he won rings for five NFL championships and wins in the first two Super Bowls. Adderley was a factor in the Super Bowl II win over the Oakland Raiders, intercepting a pass by Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica in the fourth quarter and returning it 60 yards for a touchdown to put the game away. It was the first Super Bowl touchdown scored on an intercepted pass.

Adderley had a strained relationship with Phil Bengtson by the end of the latter’s second and penultimate year as Packers head coach. He accused Bengtson of keeping him off the Pro Bowl team in 1969 and requested to be traded. After a holdout and two weeks before the start of the regular season, he was sent from the Packers to the Dallas Cowboys for Malcolm Walker and Clarence Williams on September 1, 1970. He became a vital cog in its “Doomsday Defense,” assisting the Cowboys to a Super Bowl appearance in V and a win in VI.

Adderley admired Packer head coach Vince Lombardi, but not Tom Landry of the Cowboys. Benched during the middle of the 1972 season,[11] Adderley was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in the summer of 1973. He opted not to report and retired on August 7, after a dozen seasons in the NFL.

Along with the Patriots’ Tom Brady, and two Packer teammates, offensive linemen Fuzzy Thurston (Colts) and Forrest Gregg (Cowboys), Adderley is one of only four players in pro football history to play on six world championship teams. However, in a revised edition of Instant Replay, a memoir by Packer teammate Jerry Kramer, Adderley is quoted as saying, “I’m the only man with a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl ring who doesn’t wear it. I’m a Green Bay Packer.”

In his 12 seasons, Adderley recorded 48 interceptions, which he returned for 1,046 yards and seven touchdowns, an average of 21.8 yards per return. He also recovered 14 fumbles (returning them for 65 yards) and returned 120 kickoffs for 3,080 yards and two scores.

NFL STANDINGS

East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Buffalo Bills1230.8000.04453496-1-06-2-09-2-05-0-05 W
Miami Dolphins1050.6672.03782825-3-05-2-07-4-03-2-02 W
New England Patriots690.4006.02983394-3-02-6-05-6-02-3-03 L
New York Jets2130.13310.02294291-7-01-6-01-10-00-5-02 W
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xyz-Kansas City Chiefs1410.9330.04523246-1-08-0-010-1-04-1-010 W
Las Vegas Raiders780.4677.04024472-6-05-2-05-6-03-2-03 L
Los Angeles Chargers690.4008.03464054-4-02-5-05-6-02-3-03 W
Denver Broncos5100.3339.02924142-5-03-5-04-7-01-4-02 L
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Pittsburgh Steelers1230.8000.03942887-1-05-2-09-2-04-1-01 W
Baltimore Ravens1050.6672.04303005-3-05-2-06-5-03-2-04 W
Cleveland Browns1050.6672.03843975-2-05-3-06-5-02-3-01 L
Cincinnati Bengals4101.3007.53083863-4-01-6-14-7-01-4-02 W
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Tennessee Titans1050.6670.04504015-3-05-2-07-4-04-1-01 L
Indianapolis Colts1050.6670.04233485-2-05-3-06-5-03-2-01 L
Houston Texans4110.2676.03464232-5-02-6-03-8-02-3-04 L
Jacksonville Jaguars1140.0679.02924641-7-00-7-01-10-01-4-014 L
 
National Football Conference
East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Washington Football Team690.4000.03153153-5-03-4-04-7-03-2-02 L
Dallas Cowboys690.4000.03764504-4-02-5-05-6-02-3-03 W
New York Giants5100.3331.02573382-5-03-5-04-7-03-2-03 L
Philadelphia Eagles4101.3001.53203983-3-11-7-04-7-02-3-02 L
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Seattle Seahawks1140.7330.04333487-1-04-3-08-3-03-2-03 W
Los Angeles Rams960.6002.03542895-2-04-4-08-3-02-3-02 L
Arizona Cardinals870.5333.04033494-4-04-3-06-5-02-3-01 L
San Francisco 49ers690.4005.03533641-6-05-3-04-7-03-2-01 W
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Green Bay Packers1230.8000.04743537-1-05-2-09-2-04-1-05 W
Chicago Bears870.5334.03563353-4-05-3-06-5-02-3-03 W
Minnesota Vikings690.4006.03934403-5-03-4-04-7-03-2-03 L
Detroit Lions5100.3337.03424821-6-04-4-04-7-01-4-03 L
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-New Orleans Saints1140.7330.04493306-2-05-2-09-2-05-0-01 W
x-Tampa Bay Buccaneers1050.6671.04483284-3-06-2-07-4-03-2-03 W
Carolina Panthers5100.3336.03433692-5-03-5-04-7-01-4-01 W
Atlanta Falcons4110.2677.03693702-6-02-5-02-9-01-4-04 L
 

X – Clinched Playoff Spot,  Y – Clinched Division,  Z – Clinched Home Field Advantage

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia21.6671-01-11-02-12-11 L
Brooklyn22.5000.51-11-11-01-12-22 L
New York12.3331.01-10-10-11-21-21 W
Boston12.3331.01-10-10-11-21-22 L
Toronto02.0001.50-10-10-22 L
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Cleveland301.0002-01-01-03-03-03 W
Indiana301.0002-01-01-03-03-03 W
Milwaukee12.3332.01-00-20-21-21 L
Detroit03.0003.00-10-20-10-20-33 L
Chicago03.0003.00-30-10-20-33 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Orlando301.0001-02-03-03-03-03 W
Atlanta301.0001-02-02-03-03 W
Miami11.5001.51-00-10-10-11-11 W
Charlotte12.3332.01-10-11-11-21 W
Washington03.0003.00-20-10-20-30-33 L
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Minnesota21.6671-01-11-01-12-11 L
Utah21.6670-12-02-12-12-11 W
Portland21.6671-11-00-12-12-12 W
Oklahoma City11.5000.50-11-00-10-11-11 L
Denver12.3331.01-21-21-21 W
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
LA Clippers21.6670-12-01-02-12-11 L
Phoenix21.6671-01-11-12-12-11 W
Sacramento21.6671-11-01-12-12-11 L
LA Lakers22.5000.52-20-12-22-21 L
Golden State12.3331.01-21-21 W
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
New Orleans21.6671-01-11-01-02-11 W
San Antonio21.6671-01-11-11-12-11 L
Dallas12.3331.01-21-21-21 W
Memphis12.3331.00-21-00-10-11-21 W
Houston02.0001.50-20-20-22 L