******THE SCOREBOARD******

INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL MONDAY SCHEDULE

CHICAGO PERSPECTIVES (ILL.) VS. GARY 21ST CENTURY (7-3)

DETROIT RENAISSANCE (MICH.) VS. HAMMOND NOLL (6-4)

DETROIT WESTERN (MICH.) VS. HAMMOND CENTRAL (10-1)

LINCOLN PARK (ILL.) AT HAMMOND MORTON (3-7)

ST. FRANCIS DESALES (ILL.) VS. BOWMAN ACADEMY (3-7)

GIBSON COUNTY CLASSIC

NORTH POSEY (4-5) AT WOOD MEMORIAL (3-4)

WHITE RIVER VALLEY (4-5) AT PRINCETON (5-3)

MOUNT CARMEL (ILL.) VS. BARR-REEVE (4-4)

BARR-REEVE (4-4) AT GIBSON SOUTHERN (1-7)

WHITE RIVER VALLEY (4-5) VS. NORTH POSEY (4-5)

MADISON COUNTY TOURNAMENT

ALEXANDRIA (5-4) AT LIBERTY CHRISTIAN (4-5)

ELWOOD (3-5) AT FRANKTON (4-5)

LAPEL (3-7) AT ANDERSON PREP ACADEMY (0-7)

PENDLETON HEIGHTS (2-7) AT ANDERSON (4-3)

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL MONDAY

CHICAGO BUTLER (ILL.) VS. HAMMOND NOLL (4-8)

EVANSVILLE NORTH (10-4) AT EVANSVILLE MATER DEI (6-8)

NORTH MIAMI (9-3) AT ARGOS (6-6)

SHENANDOAH (5-8) AT UNION (MODOC) (6-6)

VINCENNES LINCOLN (8-6) AT LINTON-STOCKTON (12-2)

GIBSON COUNTY CLASSIC

SULLIVAN (10-5) AT GIBSON SOUTHERN (9-3)

EDGEWOOD (3-9) AT PRINCETON (6-6)

MOUNT CARMEL (ILL.) VS. BARR-REEVE (8-5)

SULLIVAN (10-5) AT WOOD MEMORIAL (9-4)

BARR-REEVE (8-5) AT GIBSON SOUTHERN (9-3)

MOUNT CARMEL (ILL.) AT PRINCETON (6-6)

EDGEWOOD (3-9) AT WOOD MEMORIAL (9-4)

MADISON COUNTY TOURNAMENT

LAPEL (9-5) AT ANDERSON PREP ACADEMY (7-6)

ELWOOD (1-14) AT FRANKTON (10-3)

PENDLETON HEIGHTS (7-7) AT ANDERSON (4-10)

NORTHVIEW TOURNAMENT

PARKE HERITAGE (11-3) VS. GREENCASTLE (9-4)

TERRE HAUTE NORTH (6-10) AT NORTHVIEW (10-3)

WEST VIGO (3-10) VS. SOUTH VERMILLION (0-12)

CLAY CITY (3-10) VS. CLOVERDALE (0-12)

INDIANA SRN BASKETBALL POLLS

BOYS

4A

  1. BEN DAVIS 12-0
  2. PENN 7-1
  3. CATHEDRAL 6-1
  4. NOBLESVILLE 7-2
  5. WESTFIELD 6-1

ALSO GETTING VOTES: JENNINGS COUNTY 10-0, HARRISON 10-0, CENTER GROVE 10-1, BROWNSBURG 10-1, HAMMOND CENTRAL 10-1, HOMESTEAD 9-1.

3A

  1. MISHAWAKA MARIAN 10-1
  2. NORTH DAVIESS 9-2
  3. NORTHWOOD 8-2
  4. NORWELL 9-2
  5. WEST NOBLE 7-1

ALSO GETTING VOTES: SCOTTSBURG 9-1, LAKE STATION 8-1, PERU 8-1, OAK HILL 8-1, EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL 7-1, WOODLAN 10-2, TIPTON 9-2, SB WASHINGTON 9-2

2A

  1. LINTON STOCKTON 10-1
  2. FW BLACKHAWK 10-1
  3. SOUTH SPENCER 10-1
  4. UNIVERSITY 7-1
  5. EASTERN HANCOCK 8-3

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: SOUTHWESTERN HANOVER 10-0, TAYLOR 9-0, COVENANT CHRISTIAN 9-1, EASTERN PEKIN 9-1, WAPAHANI 8-1, PRAIRIE HEIGHTS 7-1, UNIVERSITY 7-1

1A

  1. BLOOMFIELD 10-2
  2. FOUNTAIN CENTRAL 8-2
  3. ORLEANS 8-1
  4. EVANSVILLE CHRISTIAN 6-4
  5. BETHESDA 7-1

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: TRI 7-1, LAKELAND CHRISTIAN 8-2, TRADERS POINT CHRISTIAN 7-2

GIRLS

4A

  1. SB WASHINGTON 17-0
  2. ZIONSVILLE 15-0
  3. HAMILTON SE 15-1
  4. BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE 14-4
  5. FW NORTHRUP 11-1

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: VALPO 14-1, FW NORTHRUP 11-1, NORTHRIDGE 16-2, COLUMBIA CITY 14-2, FISHERS 13-2, HUNTINGTON NORTH 11-2, LAWERENCE CENTRAL 13-3

3A

  1. TWIN LAKES 16-0
  2. INDIAN CREEK 16-0
  3. NORWELL 13-2
  4. MISHAWAKA MARIAN 12-4
  5. JAY COUNTY 13-1

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL 15-0, BELLMONT 13-1, CASCADE 12-1, COLUMBIA CITY 14-2, DANVILLE 13-2, FAIRFIELD 12-2, HAMILTON HEIGHTS 11-2, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 13-3, SCOTTSBURG 12-3

2A

  1. NORTH KNOX 17-1
  2. BLACKFORD 14-0
  3. CENTRAL NOBLE 15-0
  4. FOREST PARK 13-2
  5. CARROLL FLORA 15-2

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: SEEGER 14-1, PIONEER 13-2, ANDREAN 12-2, LINTON STOCKTON 12-2, EASTBROOK 10-2, LAKE STATION 10-2, EASTERN HANCOCK 12-3

1A

  1. LANESVILLE 15-2
  2. TRI 14-0
  3. TRINITY LUTHERAN 13-3
  4. CASTON 15-0
  5. BETHANY CHRISTIAN 11-2

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: CLINTON CENTRAL 12-2, ROCK CREEK ACADEMY 12-2, NE DUBOIS 11-2, FAITH CHRISTIAN 14-3, DEMOTTE CHRISTIAN 12-3, BLUE RIVER 12-3

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#11 UCLA 74 WASHINGTON 49

ELSEWHERE

BUTLER 80 GEORGETOWN 51

MURRAY STATE 78 EVANSVILLE 61

INDIANA STATE 68 VALPARAISO 50

MICHIGAN 81 MARYLAND 46

PENN STATE 83 IOWA 79

PROVIDENCE 74 DEPAUL 59

MISSOURI STATE 52 DRAKE 49

SMU 92 TULSA 67

TEMPLE 70 CINCINNATI 61

WASHINGTON STATE 81 USC 71

TULANE 96 MEMPHIS 89

COMPLETE SCOREBOARD: http://hosted.stats.com/cbk/scoreboard.asp?conf=-1&day=20230101

TOP 25 WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#4 INDIANA 74 NEBRASKA 62 OT

#5 NOTRE DAME 85 BOSTON COLLEGE 48

#7 VIRGINIA TECH 68 #13 NORTH CAROLINA 65

#9 LSU 88 VANDERBILT 63

OREGON STATE 77 #10 UCLA 72

#11 UTAH 61 WASHINGTON 53

ILLINOIS 90 #12 IOWA 86

#17 OREGON 73 USC 45

#24 ARKANSAS 71 KENTUCKY 50

#6 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 56 SYRACUSE 54

ELSEWHERE

PURDUE 73 WISCONSIN 61

IUPUI 85 WRIGHT STATE 69

MURRAY STATE 67 VALPARAISO 48

DUKE 63 LOUISVILLE 56

TENNESSEE 89 ALABAMA 76

VILLANOVA 77 XAVIER 49

ST. LOUIS 86 VCU 83 OT

CLEMSON 60 WAKE FOREST 59

FLORIDA STATE 99 GEORGIA TECH 58

MIAMI FLORIDA 74 PITTSBURGH 67

FLORIDA 55 TEXAS A&M 48

DRAKE 87 BRADLEY 58

DAYTON 71 GEORGE MASON 66

NORTHERN IOWA 74 ILLINOIS STATE 64

MISSOURI 62 AUBURN 56

NEW MEXICO 70 AIR FORCE 58

OLE MISS 61 MISSISSIPPI STATE 50

COMPLETE SCOREBOARD: http://hosted.stats.com/wcbk/scoreboard.asp?conf=-1&day=20230101

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE

MONDAY, JAN. 2

NO. 22 MISSISSIPPI STATE VS. ILLINOIS — RELIAQUEST BOWL (TAMPA, FLORIDA) | 12 P.M. | ESPN2

NO. 17 LSU VS. PURDUE — CITRUS BOWL (ORLANDO, FLORIDA) | 1 P.M. | ABC

NO. 10 USC VS. NO. 16 TULANE — COTTON BOWL (ARLINGTON, TEXAS) | 1 P.M. | ESPN

NO. 8 UTAH VS. NO. 11 PENN STATE — ROSE BOWL (PASADENA, CALIFORNIA) | 5 P.M. | ESPN

SUNDAY, JAN. 8

FCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (FRISCO, TEXAS) | 2 P.M. | ABC

MONDAY, JAN. 9

CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA) | ESPN

NFL WEEK 17

SUNDAY, JANUARY 01, 2023

NY GIANTS 38 INDIANAPOLIS 10

ATLANTA 20 ARIZONA 19

DETROIT 41 CHICAGO 10

JACKSONVILLE 31 HOUSTON 3

KANSAS CITY 27 DENVER 24

NEW ENGLAND 23 MIAMI 21

NEW ORLEANS 20 PHILADELPHIA 10

TAMPA BAY 30 CAROLINA 24

CLEVELAND 24 WASHINGTON 10

SAN FRANCISCO 37 LAS VEGAS 34 OT

SEATTLE 23 NY JETS 6

GREEN BAY 41 MINNESOTA 17

LA CHARGERS 31 LA RAMS 10

PITTSBURGH 16 BALTIMORE 13

BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/fb/scoreboard.asp

MONDAY, JANUARY 02, 2023

BUFFALO BILLS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS (MON) 8:30P (ET) 8:30P ESPN/ABC

NBA

DENVER 123 BOSTON 111

WASHINGTON 118 MILWAUKEE 95

MEMPHIS 118 SACRAMENTO 108

BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nba/scoreboard.asp

NHL

CAROLINA 5 NEW JERSEY 4

NY RANGERS 5 FLORIDA 3

OTTAWA 3 BUFFALO 1

SAN JOSE 5 CHICAGO 2

SEATTLE 4 NY ISLANDERS 1

BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nhl/scoreboard.asp

TOP NATIONAL HEADLINES

*****NFL*****

NFL NEWS: SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 17

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played during the 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET windows on Sunday, January 1, the 17th week of the 2022 season.

The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS defeated Carolina, 30-24, and clinched the NFC South division title in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.

The NEW YORK GIANTS defeated Indianapolis, 38-10, and clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2016.

Four teams – BALTIMORE, the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, MINNESOTA and the NEW YORK GIANTS – have clinched playoff berths after missing the postseason last year. Since 1990 – a streak of 33 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

CLOSE GAMES: With two games yet to be completed in Week 17, there have been 113 games decided by a touchdown (six points) or less and 191 games within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter this season, both the most such games in a single season in NFL history.

COMEBACKS: SAN FRANCISCO (10-point deficit) and TAMPA BAY (14-point deficit) each overcame deficits of 10-or-more points to win on Sunday and there have been 50 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win or tie this season, the most such games in a single season all-time.

ATLANTA defeated Arizona with a field goal as time expired in regulation and San Francisco defeated Las Vegas in overtime in Week 17. There have been 61 games this season decided by a game-winning score in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, the most such games in a single season in NFL history.

Atlanta, KANSAS CITY, San Francisco and Tampa Bay each came back to win after trailing in the fourth quarter and there have been 80 games this season in which a team has come back to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter, the most such games in a single season all-time.

Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 328 yards and three touchdowns, including two to running back JERICK MCKINNON, while tight end TRAVIS KELCE had seven receptions for 43 yards in the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over Denver.

Mahomes, who has 5,048 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes this season and had 5,097 passing yards with 50 touchdown passes in 2018, joins DREW BREES (five seasons) and TOM BRADY (two)  as the only players in NFL history to total at least 5,000 passing yards in multiple seasons.

Mahomes joins DREW BREES (2011-12) as the only players ever with two career seasons of 5,000 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes.

Kelce, who has 104 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards this season, has three career seasons with at least 100 receptions and three career seasons with at least 1,300 receiving yards, both the most by a tight end in NFL history. No other tight end all-time has more than one such season of each.

Kelce recorded his 96th career game with at least five receptions, tied with ANTONIO GATES (96 games) for the third-most such games by a tight end in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY GONZALEZ (139 games) and JASON WITTEN (130) have more.

McKinnon is the first running back since 1970 to record a touchdown reception in five consecutive games.

McKinnon has eight touchdown receptions this season, tied for the fourth-most by a running back in a season in the Super Bowl era. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (nine touchdown receptions in 2001), CHUCK FOREMAN (nine in 1975) and LEROY HOARD (nine in 1971) have more.

Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY completed 34 of 45 attempts (75.6 percent) for 432 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 127.3 rating while wide receiver MIKE EVANS had 10 receptions for 207 yards and three touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 30-24 win over Carolina.

Brady has 11 career games with at least 400 passing yards and three touchdown passes, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers PEYTON MANNING (11 games) and DAN MARINO (11) for the second-most such games in NFL history. Only DREW BREES (12 games) has more.

Brady has 131 career games with at least 300 passing yards, including the postseason, tied with DREW BREES (131) for the most such games including the playoffs in NFL history.

Brady has 477 completions and surpassed DREW BREES (471 completions in 2016) for the second-most completions in a season in NFL history. Brady set the single-season record with 485 completions in 2021.

Brady is the first player in NFL history to complete at least 30 passes in five consecutive games and the first player ever with at least 30 completions in 10 games within a single season.

Evans has 1,124 receiving yards in 2022 and is the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first nine seasons.

Evans is the third player ever with at least 1,000 receiving yards in nine consecutive seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (11 consecutive seasons from 1986-96) and TIM BROWN (nine consecutive seasons from 1993-2001).

Evans has five career games with at least 180 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions, tied with TYREEK HILL (five games) for the most such games in NFL history.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT had two touchdown passes with a 119.9 rating while running back AUSTIN EKELER had four catches, 161 scrimmage yards (122 rushing, 39 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Chargers’ 31-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Herbert has 44 career games with a touchdown pass, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (44 games) for the most such games with at least one touchdown pass by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.

Ekeler has 103 receptions this season, the third-most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history. Only CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY (116 receptions in 2019 and 107 receptions in 2018) has more.

Ekeler has 1,567 scrimmage yards with 18 scrimmage touchdowns (13 rushing, five receiving) this season and joined PRIEST HOLMES (2002-03) as the only undrafted players with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in consecutive seasons in the common-draft era.

Ekeler has 7,105 scrimmage yards in his career and joined ARIAN FOSTER (8,350 scrimmage yards) and PRIEST HOLMES (7,143) as the only undrafted players with at least 7,000 scrimmage yards in their first six seasons in the common-draft era.

San Francisco rookie quarterback BROCK PURDY recorded 284 passing yards and two touchdown passes while running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY had six catches, 193 scrimmage yards (121 rushing, 72 receiving) and one rushing touchdown in the 49ers’ 37-34 overtime win at Las Vegas.

Purdy is the fifth rookie quarterback ever to win each of his first four career starts, joining BEN ROETHLISBERGER (won first 13 starts in 2004), MIKE KRUCZEK (first six in 1968), VIRGIL CARTER (first four in 1968) and PHIL SIMMS (first four in 1979).

Purdy became the seventh rookie in the Super Bowl era with at least two touchdown passes in five consecutive games and the first since JUSTIN HERBERT (2020).

McCaffrey has 439 receptions and surpassed ROGER CRAIG (434) for the most receptions by a running back in his first six seasons in NFL history.

Detroit rookie defensive lineman AIDAN HUTCHINSON had a half sack, interception and fumble recovery, rookie linebacker JAMES HOUSTON had three sacks and a forced fumble and rookie defensive lineman JOSH PASCHAL had two sacks in the Lions’ 41-10 win over Chicago.

Hutchinson, who has 7.5 sacks this season, and Houston (eight sacks) are the first pair of rookie teammates each with at least seven sacks since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Hutchinson is the first rookie since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, with at least seven sacks (7.5) and three interceptions (three).

Houston is the first player with eight sacks in his first six career games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

With Houston and Paschal, it marked the fourth game in which rookie teammates each recorded multiple sacks in the same game since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. The three other occurrences were October 4, 1987 (Chicago’s JIM ALTHOFF and SEAN MCINERNEY), November 11, 2001 (Buffalo’s KENDRICK OFFICE, TYRONE ROBERTSON and AARON SCHOBEL) and December 20, 2009 (Green Bay’s BRAD JONES and CLAY MATTHEWS).

Additional notes from Sunday include:

New Orleans defensive end CAMERON JORDAN had three sacks and a forced fumble in the Saints’ 20-10 win over Philadelphia.

Jordan has 8.5 sacks this season and is the sixth player since 1982 to record at least seven sacks in 11 consecutive seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers REGGIE WHITE (14 consecutive seasons), CHRIS DOLEMAN (13), JOHN RANDLE (12) and DERRICK THOMAS (11), as well as ROBERT MATHIS (11).

Green Bay cornerback KEISEAN NIXON had a 105-yard kickoff-return for a touchdown while safety DARNELL SAVAGE had a 75-yard interception-return for a touchdown in the Packers’ 41-17 win over Minnesota.

The Packers became the first team with a 100-yard kickoff-return touchdown and a 75-yard interception-return touchdown in the same game since MINNESOTA in Week 11 of the 2016 season.

Minnesota safety JOSH METELLUS recorded a blocked punt on Sunday and became the first player since 1995 (ANTHONY MARSHALL) to block a punt in consecutive games.

PHILADELPHIA recorded seven sacks on Sunday and lead the NFL with 68 sacks this season, tied with the 1985 NEW YORK GIANTS (68 sacks) for the fourth-most sacks by a team in a season in NFL history. Only the CHICAGO BEARS (72 sacks in 1984 and 70 sacks in 1987) and MINNESOTA VIKINGS (71 sacks in 1989) have more.

Linebacker HAASON REDDICK (16 sacks), defensive end BRANDON GRAHAM (11), defensive tackle JAVON HARGRAVE (11) and defensive end JOSH SWEAT (11) each have at least 10 sacks this season and the Eagles are the first team with four players each with at least 10 sacks in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

NEW ENGLAND defeated Miami, 23-21, as defensive back KYLE DUGGER registered a 39-yard interception-return for a touchdown.

The Patriots joined the 2002 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (Weeks 2-5) as the only teams since 2000 with a defensive touchdown in four consecutive games within a single season.

Chicago quarterback JUSTIN FIELDS rushed for 132 yards on Sunday.

Fields has 1,143 rushing yards this season and surpassed MICHAEL VICK (1,039 rushing yards in 2006) for the second-most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Only LAMAR JACKSON (1,206 in 2019) has more.

Fields has four career games with at least 100 rushing yards, tied with RUSSELL WILSON (four games) for the third-most such games by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Only LAMAR JACKSON (12 games) and MICHAEL VICK (10) have more.

Fields has three games with at least 100 rushing yards this season and is the fourth quarterback with at least three games of 100-or-more rushing yards in a season in the Super Bowl era, joining LAMAR JACKSON (five games in 2019), MICHAEL VICK (three in 2004 and three in 2006) and RUSSELL WILSON (three in 2014).

Denver quarterback RUSSELL WILSON totaled 249 yards (222 passing, 27 rushing) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) in Week 17.

Wilson, who has 305 touchdown passes and 26 rushing touchdowns in his career, is the sixth player in NFL history with at least 300 touchdown passes and 25 rushing touchdowns, joining TOM BRADY, DREW BREES, Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY, AARON RODGERS and Pro Football Hall of Famer FRAN TARKENTON.

Wilson has 4,948 rushing yards and surpassed RANDALL CUNNINGHAM (4,928) for the third-most rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history. Only MICHAEL VICK (6,109 rushing yards) and CAM NEWTON (5,628) have more.

Las Vegas quarterback JARRETT STIDHAM, in his first career start, passed for 365 yards and three touchdowns while wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS had 153 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions on Sunday.

Stidham joined MIKE WHITE (Week 8, 2021) as the only quarterbacks since 1950 with at least 350 passing yards and three touchdown passes in their first career start.

Adams has five games with at least 100 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions this season and is the fifth player in NFL history with five such games within a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers RANDY MOSS (seven games in 2007), LANCE ALWORTH (five in 1966), DON HUTSON (five in 1942) and TERRELL OWENS (five in 2001).

KOO KICKS SHORT FIELD GOAL, FALCONS EDGE ARIZONA 20-19

ATLANTA (AP) Desmond Ridder is still searching for his first touchdown pass three games into his career.

Getting his first win, however, felt pretty good.

“We obviously know that we can’t be in the playoffs this year,” Ridder said, “but one thing we talk about is that we want to finish these last two games strong, finish it for something good for the future.”

Ridder helped set up Younghoe Koo’s 21-yard field goal on the final play, lifting the Falcons over the Arizona Cardinals 20-19 on Sunday to end a four-game skid.

In a matchup of teams eliminated from playoff contention, Ridder was 19 of 26 for 169 yards and no interceptions. It was his third start as he auditions for a starting job next season.

“You can’t take anything for granted,” Ridder said. “This is one thing, obviously, that I do not take for granted. Coming out here next week, this will obviously be the last game of my rookie season. We’re not taking any of these games for granted, any of these plays for granted.”

The Falcons (6-10) improved to 5-8 in one-possession games. They were 7-2 in such games last season.

The Cardinals (4-12), playing with their fourth starting quarterback in four weeks, have lost six straight and eight of nine. David Blough completed 22 of 40 passes for 222 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions filling in for Colt McCoy, who is sidelined with a concussion.

“I’m the fourth quarterback in four weeks,” Blough said. “I get it. It’s not an ideal situation. It’s not ideal for anybody. (Coach Kliff Kingsbury) does an unbelievable job of not flinching and helping me get up to speed and just be able to go out and operate. We came up short.”

Ridder drove Atlanta 72 yards in 12 plays in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. The Falcons reached the red zone with 1:49 to play and ticked down the clock to set up Koo’s game-ending kick.

Ridder nearly had his first career TD pass before Cordarrelle Patterson dropped the ball in the end zone in the fourth.

Tyler Allgeier and Patterson combined for 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 29 carries.

Arizona went up 16-14 on Matt Prater’s 36-yard field goal in the third and 19-17 with 4:57 remaining on Prater’s 57-yarder.

The Falcons took a 7-3 lead early in the second on Allgeier’s 5-yard TD run, but Ridder soon lost a fumble to Leki Fotu on a snap at the 11-yard line, and the Cardinals converted for a touchdown to make it 10-7 on Trey McBride’s short touchdown catch.

Atlanta later went for it on fourth-and-two from the 9 before Ridder’s pass bounced in front of Drake London in the end zone, but he got a reprieve when Richie Grant blocked and recovered a punt at the 5. Patterson ran in for the score, and the Falcons led 14-13 at halftime.

“It was some good situational stuff for Desmond,” Atlanta coach Arthur Smith said. “It continues to pay off. I thought we executed in some critical situations. Obviously there’s a lot of things we need to clean up. We had the fumble down there. The blocked punt kind of balanced it out, I guess.”

STILL GETTING IT DONE

Arizona defensive end J.J. Watt sacked Ridder early in the third quarter and now has 10 1/2 this season. Watt, 33, is a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year and a five-time All-Pro who is retiring after the season. It marks his sixth season with at least 10 sacks.

INJURIES

The Cardinals lost linebacker Isaiah Simmons (leg), receiver Robbie Anderson (back) and defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter (knee) in the first half. Simmons returned to the game, but the others did not. Running back James Conner (shin) left in the second half. Falcons fullback Keith Smith (concussion symptoms) left late in the second quarter but returned in the second half. Allgeier walked off the field with an undisclosed injury early in the fourth but returned. Running back Avery Williams was ruled out in the fourth with a foot injury.

LOOKING AHEAD

The teams began the game ranked high in 2023 draft positioning with Arizona No. 4 and Atlanta No. 6.

NO COMMENT

Smith sidestepped questions about practice squad player Cameron Batson, who was arrested over the weekend after an altercation with police.

“We put out the statement, and I’m gonna let that stand,” the coach said.

Smith wouldn’t even say if Batson was still on the roster.

“I’m just gonna go with the statement. We’ll leave it at that.”

QUICK TURNAROUND

Not long after No. 1 Georgia held off No. 4 Ohio State in a game that ended at a little after midnight, personnel at Mercedes-Benz Stadium worked through the night to get the field ready.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: At San Francisco next Sunday.

Falcons: Host Tampa Bay next Sunday

LIONS ROUT BEARS 41-10 AND TAKE PLAYOFF HOPES TO GREEN BAY

DETROIT (AP) Jared Goff has played nearly mistake-free football for two months and his decision-making, along with a much-improved defense, has put the Detroit Lions in a position that seemed unfathomable at the end of October.

Goff threw three touchdown passes, including two in the first half to Brock Wright, and Detroit routed the Chicago Bears 41-10 on Sunday to remain in the chase for an NFC wild card.

The Lions (8-8) have won seven of nine to give themselves a shot at earning a postseason spot for the first time since 2016 going into their regular-season finale at Green Bay.

“It’s where we want to be, playing in the last game of the season that means something,” said Goff, who was 21 of 29 for 255 yards and did not throw an interception for an eighth consecutive game.

Detroit won just three games in 2021 during coach Dan Campbell’s debut and started 1-6 this season, testing his leadership and the faith ownership had in him.

Campbell never wavered, publicly or privately, and his reward is having a playoff berth possibly at stake against the Packers.

“It’s just so special,” he said. “It’s as good as it can get.

“I mean, seriously, you get to go to historic Lambeau – where the tops in this division has been Green Bay for years – to go earn your right, potentially.”

Chicago will close the season, mercifully, with a chance to have the No. 1 pick in the draft.

The Justin Fields-led Bears (3-13) took two leads in the opening quarter before collapsing and losing a franchise-record ninth straight game.

“We got off to a good start with the first two drives, but after that it wasn’t good enough,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “We didn’t come out for the second half ready to play football.”

Goff completed passes to 10 teammates and an 11th, rookie receiver Jameson Williams, ran 40 yards on a reverse early in the third quarter to set up Jamaal Williams’ 15th rushing score that gave Detroit a three-touchdown lead.

Jamaal Williams had a career-high 144 yards rushing on 22 carries and D’Andre Swift added 117 yards from scrimmage and two scores.

On the other side of the ball, rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson got the better of Fields by forcing two turnovers in the first half.

Fields started strong, running for 105 yards in the first quarter alone and throwing a 13-yard touchdown to Cole Kmet, before Hutchinson recovered his fumble and picked off a pass in the second quarter.

Fields finished with 132 yards rushing, giving him 1,143 this year. With one game left, he has a chance to break the single-season NFL quarterback rushing record of 1,206 yards set by Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson in 2019 during his MVP season.

When Detroit shut down Fields’ ability to run for the final three quarters, he was in trouble. Fields was 7 of 21 – completing a season-low 33.3% of his passes – for 75 yards and was sacked a season-high seven times.

“There were some plays where I tried to make something out of nothing and ended up taking a sack,” he said.

INSTANT IMPACT

Hutchinson became the first defensive lineman with three interceptions since the Bears’ Richard Dent in 1990. He’s the first lineman in NFL history to have three picks as a rookie.

Detroit rookie James Houston has five sacks, matching Von Miller (2011) and Santana Dotson (1992) for the most in the first six games of an NFL career.

INJURIES

Bears: OGs Michael Schofield III (knee) and OL Teven Jenkins (neck) were injured during the game while WR Dante Pettis and DB Jaylon Jones were evaluated for concussions.

Lions: RB Justin Jackson (ribs) and S DeShon Elliott (shoulder) were inactive.

UP NEXT

Bears: Close the season at home against the Vikings next weekend.

Lions: Play the Packers on the road next weekend.

JAGS ROUT TEXANS 31-3 TO END 9-GAME SKID VS. HOUSTON

HOUSTON (AP) With so much on the line next week, it would have been easy for the Jacksonville Jaguars to overlook the lowly Houston Texans on Sunday.

It was clear from the start they were not looking ahead to their showdown with the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South crown.

Travis Etienne ran for 108 yards and a touchdown before halftime, Tyson Campbell returned a fumble for a score and the Jaguars snapped a nine-game skid against Houston by routing the Texans 31-3 for their fourth straight victory overall.

Jacksonville (8-8) is in first place in the AFC South and would win the division for the first time since 2017 with a victory at home over slumping Tennessee next Sunday in the regular-season finale. The Titans (7-9) have dropped six straight.

“It was a unique situation in a game that, sure, it might not have meant a whole lot,” coach Doug Pederson said. “I don’t think I’ve been in a situation where you have a game like this heading into a game for everything. I tell you, it’s a credit to the guys in the locker room, the coaches just to stay focused.”

Trevor Lawrence threw for 152 yards, but played just one possession in the second half, and Etienne didn’t carry the ball after halftime with the Jaguars up 28-3 in what would be the team’s first win over Houston since 2017.

“It was a big win for us,” Lawrence said. “A lot of distractions around this week and knowing what’s in store for next week, and I thought we handled our business today.”

The Jaguars were up by 21 at halftime and a 3-yard run by Snoop Conner made it 28-0 early in the third quarter.

The Texans (2-13-1) snapped a nine-game losing streak with a win over Tennessee last week but struggled in all areas Sunday against Jacksonville to leave them without a home win for the first time in franchise history.

“When you play like that, it’s not going to happen. We’re not going to win,” coach Lovie Smith said. “So there’s nothing else to really say on that.”

Davis Mills threw for 202 yards, but couldn’t get the Texans in the end zone and fumbled the ball Campbell returned for the touchdown.

Veteran receiver Brandin Cooks was surprised the team played so poorly Sunday after looking much better in recent weeks.

“No doubt,” he said. “Just because I feel like we had that momentum. … There’s definitely been strides. So to come out here and kind of revert to what we was putting out there at the beginning of the season is definitely disappointing.”

Houston was stopped on fourth-and-1 from its 45 on the first possession to give Jacksonville great field position on its first drive. The Jaguars took a 7-0 lead when JaMycal Hasty scored on a 5-yard run.

Jacksonville made it 14-0 when Etienne dashed 62 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Rookie Jalen Pitre had a shot to stop him at the line, but missed the tackle and Etienne simply outran the rest of Houston’s defenders for the score.

“When I broke, there was nobody there. … It felt really great to be out there and get my sprint on,” Etienne said.

The defense got in on the scoring when Josh Allen sacked Mills on Houston’s next possession and forced a fumble which was scooped up by Campbell and returned 12 yards for a TD to make it 21-0. It was the first touchdown of his career.

Desmond King intercepted Lawrence after that, but the Texans came up empty when Mills threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-5 from the 10.

Houston finally got on the board when Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 56-yard field goal made it 28-3 with about six minutes left in the third quarter.

Riley Patterson extended the lead to 31-3 with a 53-yard field goal with about six minutes remaining.

C.J. Beathard took over after Lawrence went out and threw for 29 yards and was picked off by Pitre, who leads the Texans with five interceptions this season.

KIRK’S MILESTONE

Jacksonville’s Christian Kirk had 21 yards receiving to give him a career-high 1,009 this season, making him the fifth player in franchise history with a 1,000-yard receiving season.

“There’s a reason why he had the numbers he does, and it’s because of his work ethic,” Pederson said. “He’s been great for the room and great for our team.”

UP NEXT

Jaguars: Host the Titans next Sunday.

Texans: Visit the Colts next Sunday.

SLUGGISH CHIEFS BEAT BRONCOS FOR 15TH STRAIGHT TIME, 27-24

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Patrick Mahomes moved into the rarest of company Sunday, joining Tom Brady and Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks with multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons, and the Chiefs overcame another sloppy start to beat the Broncos for the 15th consecutive time and stay alive for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

So everything must be good in Kansas City, right?

“There’s not a lot satisfying for me,” Mahomes said shortly after the 27-24 victory.

There was the pick he threw in the end zone and the mechanics that went awry in the second half. There was the fumbled punt return that led to a Denver touchdown, a sloppy snap on a point-after attempt and even a blocked field goal.

Yet the Chiefs (13-3) still managed to escape a 17-13 third-quarter deficit and rally for their fourth consecutive win.

“When I don’t have my best stuff and guys step up and we still win football games,” said Mahomes, who nevertheless finished with 328 yards passing and three touchdowns, “that’s a good thing.”

Jerick McKinnon had two touchdown catches while Blake Bell and Isiah Pacheco also scored for the Chiefs, who began the day tied with Buffalo for the best record in the AFC; the Bills play Cincinnati on Monday night.

“We’ll watch it,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said with a smile.

For a while the Broncos (4-12) looked as if they might cap a chaotic week that began with the firing of first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett in a stunning victory. But a late letdown by one of the league’s best defenses, an another interception from embattled quarterback Russell Wilson, resulted in the first loss for interim coach Jerry Rosburg.

“I saw players and coaches digging in to do all they could possibly do to win that game,” he said. “That all said, it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t good enough and I’m heartbroken for those guys because they deserve a win.”

Wilson threw for 222 yards and a touchdown while also running for a pair of scores, the second of them – after two costly penalties on the Kansas City defense – pulling Denver within 27-24 with 6:14 left in the game.

The Broncos got the ball back with just under four minutes to go, too, and picked up a quick first down. But the Kansas City defense stiffened near midfield, and Chris Jones sacked Wilson on fourth-and-2 to effectively end the game.

The Chiefs’ sluggish start against the downtrodden Broncos wasn’t all that surprising. They’ve habitually played down to the opposition, whether it was in their overtime win at Houston or their 34-28 victory over the Broncos three weeks ago.

But the Chiefs also have proven over the years their ability to strike quickly, and they did that after falling behind for the first time Sunday. Mahomes answered with long passes to Toney and McKinnon, a penalty on third down gave them a fresh set of downs, and McKinnon turned a screen pass into a touchdown reception for the fifth straight game.

That streak is the longest for an NFL running back since Bill Dudley of the Lions in 1947.

“If I would have told you I saw it was coming, nah,” McKinnon said, “but that’s what you put the work in the offseason for, when you’re opportunity comes you’re ready for the moment.”

The Chiefs struggled to maintain momentum after halftime, though, going three-and-out on their first three possessions. And the Broncos, with their third play-caller of the season in offensive coordinator Justin Outten, capitalized with a 63-yard touchdown drive that gave them a 17-13 lead late in the third quarter.

Then the Chiefs began looking like the Chiefs. And the Broncos like the Broncos.

Mahomes led the AFC West champs briskly downfield before hitting Bell from 17 yards for his first regular-season touchdown catch. And on the very next play, Wilson threw a wobbler under pressure that L’Jarius Sneed picked off, setting up McKinnon’s second touchdown catch of the day and his eighth in the past five games.

The Broncos scored in the fourth quarter to give themselves a chance before Kansas City put the game away.

“When you win and you don’t feel like you play you best ball, that’s a really good thing,” Mahomes said. “We have to find a way to, for four quarters, play our best football when we get to the playoffs. And I feel like we haven’t done that.”

STATS AND STREAKS

Mahomes improved to 11-0 against Denver, joining Andrew Luck (11-0 vs Tennessee) as the only QBs in the Super Bowl era with more than 10 wins and no losses against an opponent. … The Chiefs’ 15 straight wins over Denver is tied for the third-longest streak of any team against an opponent in NFL history. The Broncos have not won against the Chiefs since Sept. 17, 2015. … Wilson ran for 27 yards, giving him 4,948 for his career and passing Randall Cunningham for third among quarterbacks.

INJURIES

Broncos: RB Marlon Mack (hamstring) left in the first quarter and LG Dalton Risner (elbow) in the third. CB Damarri Mathis went into the concussion protocol in the second. LB Baron Browning (back) and DL D.J. Jones (knee) were inactive.

Chiefs: LG Joe Thuney (ankle) left late in the third quarter and WR Skyy Moore (hand) in the fourth. Sneed also hurt his hip on his interception return in the fourth.

UP NEXT

The Broncos conclude their season next Sunday against the Chargers.

The Chiefs visit the Raiders on Sunday in their regular-season finale.

DUGGER INT RETURN HELPS LIFT PATS OVER FADING DOLPHINS 23-21

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) His team clutching a two-point lead, the ball on the 1-yard line and the season in the balance, Mac Jones decided to improvise.

Facing third-and-goal, the Patriots quarterback looked to his left and saw a Dolphins defense guarding against a run and linebacker Duke Riley spread out covering Jakobi Meyers. Jones made eye contact with his receiver, took the snap and tossed a short fade where only Meyers could reach it. He did, falling into the end zone for a touchdown.

It may prove to be the play that saved the Patriots’ season.

Jones added another touchdown pass to Tyquan Thornton and Kyle Dugger intercepted Teddy Bridgewater and returned it 39 yards for a go-ahead TD late in the third quarter as the New England kept its playoff hopes alive by rallying to beat Miami 23-21 on Sunday.

“We made some big plays in some big moments and that’s what the NFL’s all about,” Jones said.

The Patriots (8-8) snapped a four-game losing streak to their AFC East rivals and can earn a playoff berth with a win at Buffalo next week. Jones finished 20 of 33 for 203 yards.

“We’re still alive,” center David Andrews said.

The Dolphins (8-8) entered with a chance to clinch a postseason berth with a victory and loss by the New York Jets at Seattle. Instead, Miami lost its fifth straight game and will need to win next week against the Jets and Buffalo to beat New England to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2016.

Miami played without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who’s in the concussion protocol for the second time this season. Bridgewater started in his place and was solid, completing 12 of 19 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown before leaving late in the third quarter with an injured right ring finger after being picked off by Dugger.

Bridgewater, who didn’t return, was replaced by Skylar Thompson. McDaniel thinks Bridgewater suffered the injury on the pick-6 trying to make a tackle. The team will wait to find out the extent of the injury over the next few days.

“We still have games to play,” McDaniel said. “We have one in particular against the New York Jets that we have to respond to.”

Thompson had an interception and a late TD pass to Mike Gesicki to trim the deficit to 23-21. He finished 12 of 21 for 104 yards.

“Our backs are against the wall,” Thompson said. “What this week comes down to is fighting. We’ve got to find a way to get into the dance.”

The Dolphins were already shorthanded, missing left tackle Terron Armstead (toe/pectoral muscle/knee/hip), cornerback Xavien Howard (knee), and linebacker Bradley Chubb (ankle/hand).

New England was without defensive backs Jalen Mills (groin), Jack Jones (knee) and Marcus Jones (concussion), along with wide receiver DeVante Parker and tight end Jonnu Smith, who both have concussions.

It left Jonathan Jones and Myles Bryant as the starters at cornerback, with practice squad elevation Tae Hayes providing support in certain sets as New England stuck mostly to zone.

The Dolphins mostly played it safe offensively, running the ball often, with Bridgewater sticking mostly to short and intermediate passing routes.

After exchanging touchdowns in the first half, the teams combined for six punts and a missed field goal by Miami. The Dolphins broke the stalemate in the the third quarter when Bridgewater capped a five-play, 41-yard drive with a 2-yard shovel pass to Raheem Mostert that made it 14-7.

Nick Folk cut into the lead on New England’s next series with a 49-yard field goal.

Miami was facing third down on the next drive when Bridgewater threw into traffic looking for Trent Sherfield. Dugger picked it off and returned it 39 yards for his TD. But Folk’s extra point banged off the upright, leaving the score at 16-14.

It was Dugger’s third score of the season. It marked the fourth straight week the Patriots have had a defensive score and their seventh of the season.

“Once I got my hands on the ball, I needed to score,” Dugger said. “To me, it’s not a surprise. It’s just something I’ve known the defense is going to fight.”

Bridgewater entered the medical tent for evaluation after the INT and was replaced by Thompson, who was picked off by Jonathan Jones.

Two series later, the Patriots went up 23-14 on Jones’ TD pass to Meyers.

“I don’t think we have the men in that locker room that have the character to quit,” safety Devin McCourty said. “We’ve got one more opportunity that we’re guaranteed.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE

The Patriots’ seven defensive touchdowns this season are the most in franchise history and most by any team since the 2017 Jaguars. New England beat Jacksonville that season in the AFC championship game.

INJURIES

Dolphins: S Jevon Holland visited the medical tent after leaving with an arm injury early in the second quarter. … OT Kendall Lamm left in first half with an ankle issue.

Patriots: LB Ja’Whaun Bentley jogged off on his own power after a collision in the third quarter. … Meyers left with a shoulder injury following this touchdown. … CB Jonathan Jones walked off on his own power after being shaken up late in the fourth.

UP NEXT

Dolphins: Host the Jets next Sunday.

Patriots: Visit the Bills next Sunday.

SAINTS WIN 20-10 IN PHILLY, DENY EAGLES TOP SPOT IN NFC

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Jalen Hurts held a clipboard, wore a headset and paced the sideline with the same the look of consternation on his face as furious Philly fans in the stands as their stress tightened in another Eagles loss without the franchise quarterback.

Hurts and the Eagles didn’t like what they saw – and now, fully healthy or not, the banged-up, show-stopping QB might have to come to the rescue with everything he helped build on the brink of unraveling with one game left in the season.

“If Jalen’s able to go,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said, “he’ll go.”

That’s bit of a reason to exhale after the Eagles lost their second straight without Hurts, putting their hopes of securing the NFC’s top seed in jeopardy. Marshon Lattimore returned an interception 11 yards for a late touchdown, and the New Orleans Saints beat Philadelphia 20-10 on Sunday.

The Eagles need to beat the New York Giants next week to secure the top seed. A loss by Philly and a win by Dallas would give the Cowboys the NFC East title. Hurts is recuperating from a sprained right shoulder.

“His health is the No. 1 priority,” Sirianni said.

The Giants can rest their starters after clinching a playoff berth with a 38-10 win over Indianapolis. The Eagles can’t rest easy at the thought of a third straight start by backup QB Gardner Minshew.

“We have everything we ever wanted in front of us,” Minshew said.

And yes, that’s true. But their prospects of beating the Giants – or doing anything in the playoffs – are cloudy without Hurts.

“I’m not anybody that’s ever going to hit a panic button,” Sirianni said.

But in Hurts’ case, how about breaking some glass in case of emergency?

The Saints (7-9) won their third straight game, an impressive late-season run under first-year coach Dennis Allen, but were later eliminated from playoff contention when Green Bay beat Minnesota. Taysom Hill had a 1-yard TD run in New Orleans’ surprising first half. Cameron Jordan had three sacks and set the Saints’ career record with 115 1/2.

“We found a way to close them out the last three weeks,” Allen said. “That’s been good to see. That’s the kind of team I think we can be.”

Andy Dalton, who threw for 204 yards, completed his first 13 passes, including a 58-yard reception by Rashid Shaheed. That play set up one of two field goals by Wil Lutz in the first half that gave the Saints a 13-0 lead.

Minshew had a pass intercepted by Lattimore, who had missed 10 straight games with an abdominal injury, late in the fourth. The backup QB finished 18 of 32 passing for 274 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his second straight start and showed no signs he could ably lead the Eagles on a postseason run should Hurts get hurt again.

Minshew connected with A.J. Brown for a 78-yard touchdown late in the third that made it 13-10 and temporarily woke up the crowd – which had voraciously booed the Eagles most of the game – and an inept offense. But Minshew failed to convert on a fourth-down dive late in the fourth that cost his team as much as his late pick.

The Eagles were shut out in the first half for the first time this season, and their 10 points was a season low.

“We just played terrible. That’s that,” wide receiver DeVonta Smith said.

The Eagles hadn’t allowed more than four sacks in a game this season but – playing without injured right tackle Lane Johnson – allowed five in the first half. The Eagles didn’t convert a first down until there were 12 seconds left in the half.

Even the play-calling was questionable. Instead of trying to help their backup QB by leaning a bit more on 1,000-yard rusher Miles Sanders, the Eagles gave him only two carries in the half.

Hurts seemingly solidified his MVP credentials without taking a snap. He most likely won’t win the award now, but the Eagles are significantly worse without the QB who tied a franchise record with 35 total touchdowns.

Eagles fans booed the team off the field and suddenly a team that expected to play two home games in the postseason is just trying get there with its confidence intact.

Jake Elliott kicked a 56-yard field goal for the Eagles.

“We never panicked or stressed or pressed,” Minshew said. “We just couldn’t make it happen.”

And the chances they can make it happen – that Super Bowl run that was in their grasp just three weeks ago – may be nonexistent without Hurts.

SACK HAPPY

The Eagles sacked Dalton seven times, their fifth consecutive game with six or more sacks – the longest streak by any team in the Super Bowl era.

They also became the first team to have four players with 10-plus sacks in a single season (Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Javon Hargrave and Brandon Graham) since individual sacks were first recorded in 1982.

INJURIES

Saints: OT Ryan Ramczyk suffered a hip injury.

Eagles: Sweat suffered a neck injury while trying to make a tackle but had movement in all his extremities. The Eagles said Sweat was taken to a hospital as a precaution. The defensive end, who has 11 sacks this season, pounded the ground with his hands before he was removed from the field on a stretcher in the first quarter.

UP NEXT

The Saints finish at home against Carolina next Sunday, with both teams playing only for pride.

The Eagles host the New York Giants next weekend with the No. 1 seed at stake.

BRADY, BUCS RALLY TO BEAT PANTHERS 30-24, CLINCH NFC SOUTH

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed back to the playoffs, confident they’re still capable of making this a special season.

Brady threw for 432 yards and three long touchdowns to Mike Evans, and Bucs (8-8) erased a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit for the second week in a row to clinch their second straight NFC South championship with a 30-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

“Every year you try to win the division and we won the division. It doesn’t matter how you win the division. My heart ain’t got much left in it, but it feels great,” coach Todd Bowles said. “We’re in one spot we need to be. We can’t get where we want to be unless we win the division. We won the division.”

Evans finished with 10 catches for 207 yards, scoring on receptions of 63, 57, and 30 yards and becoming the first player in NFL history to begin a career with nine consecutive seasons with 1,000-plus yards receiving.

The TDs were first for Evans since Oct. 2 – a stretch of 12 games – and hiked his season total to six after scoring 14 times in 2021 and 13 two years ago, when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl.

“We’ve battled through a lot of tough things this year,” Brady said. “Happy to win the division. It’s always tough to do it. NFL games are tough to win and we always figure out a way to keep them somehow exciting. I wish they wouldn’t be as exciting as we made them.”

The Panthers (6-10) led 14-0 early and 21-10 after Sam Darnold’s third TD pass of the day, 10 seconds into the fourth quarter.

It was all Bucs from there, with Evans beating cornerback C.J. Henderson for touchdowns twice and Darnold losing a fumble on a sack inside his own 10. That turnover set up Brady’s 1-yard TD sneak, which put the game out of reach with 1:58 left.

The Bucs can finish the regular season with a winning record by beating Atlanta on the road next weekend. As division champs, they are assured of beginning the playoffs with a home game in two weeks.

“The playoffs start a clean slate for everybody,” Bowles said. “You’ve got a three-game elimination tournament. Doesn’t matter where you are. … At least we know we’ll be in the games. We just have to cut down on the mistakes in order to win them.”

The Panthers, who had won four of six to climb back into playoff contention after firing coach Matt Rhule and trading star running back Christian McCaffrey, could have clinched their first NFC South title since 2015 by beating the Bucs and then winning at New Orleans.

Instead, they wound up missing the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Among the priorities entering the offseason will be determining the future of interim coach Steve Wilks, as well as Darnold, who will be an unrestricted free agent.

“Obviously we knew what we were playing for. … We were right there,” Darnold said. “At the end, we just couldn’t get it done.”

Darnold threw for 341 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also lost two fumbles while falling to 3-2 since becoming Carolina’s starter on Thanksgiving weekend.

A week after rushing for 320 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-23 victory over Detroit, the Panthers rode Darnold’s arm to their early 14-0 lead and were in complete control until Brady found Evans racing up the right sideline for 63-yard catch-and-run to get the Bucs going.

Two plays later, Darnold mishandled a snap in shotgun formation and compounded the mistake by whiffing when he tried to pick up the ball, leaving linebacker Devin White to recover the fumble at the Carolina 13.

Ryan Succop’s 22-yard field goal trimmed Tampa Bay’s deficit to 14-10 just before halftime, but the Bucs wasted an opportunity to pull closer – or possibly take the lead – when a 90-yard drive stalled inside the Panthers 10 and Succop had a 26-yard field-goal attempt blocked.

Darnold completed 23 of 37 passes with TDs of 17 yards to Tommy Tremble, 24 yards to D.J. Moore and 19 yards to Shi Smith, the last putting Carolina up 21-10. The Panthers, meanwhile, rushed for just 74 yards as D’Onta Foreman was limited to 35 yards on 13 carries and Chuba Hubbard was held to 20 yards on five attempts.

“Very frustrating. We worked hard to get to this position. Nobody was going to hand us anything or give us anything,” Foreman said.

“We fought hard. Nobody gave up. Everybody knew what the task was,” Foreman added. “Unfortunately that’s part of the NFL. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”

RING OF HONOR

Retired coach Bruce Arians, who helped recruit Brady before leading Tampa Bay to its second Super Bowl championship two years ago, was inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.

Arians is the latest addition to a select group that includes Hall of Famers Tony Dungy, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Lee Roy Selmon, as well as Ronde Barber, Mike Alstott, Doug Williams, Jimmie Giles, John McKay, Paul Gruber, Monte Kiffin and Malcolm Glazer.

INJURIES

Panthers: Played without top CB Jaycee Horn (broken wrist), leaving Henderson to try to cover Evans much of the day.

Buccaneers: CB Carlton Davis (shoulder) and LB Carl Nassib (pectoral) were inactive. Rookie RB Rachaad White left the game with what appeared to be a hand injury but returned in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Regular season finale at New Orleans next Sunday.

Buccaneers: At Atlanta next weekend.

WENTZ, COMMANDERS LOSE TO BROWNS, ELIMINATED FROM CONTENTION

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Fans booed Carson Wentz and chanted for Taylor Heinicke to no avail while it was becoming abundantly clear Ron Rivera’s quarterback change backfired on the Washington Commanders.

It snowballed so badly, it turned into a loss and the end of their playoff chances.

Wentz threw three interceptions after getting the starting job back, defensive miscues added up and the Commanders lost in embarrassing fashion Sunday, 24-10 to the Cleveland Browns, who had nothing to play for. Green Bay beating Minnesota eliminated Washington from playoff contention, something Rivera did not know was possible.

“We can be eliminated?” Rivera asked in his postgame news conference. “(If it happens), it’ll be disappointing.”

It has been a disappointing run to say the least for the Commanders (7-8-1), who are winless in their past four games after Wentz’s latest late-season letdown.

“I have high expectations for myself and this team, and we underperformed – I did, myself, as well,” said Wentz, who was 16 of 28 for 143 yards. “That’s not what I had in mind and what we had in mind as a team. Not the performance I envisioned. A lot of stuff I want back. Yeah, that was a tough one.”

The offense gained just 260 yards – 96 on Washington’s only touchdown drive – not exactly the spark Rivera was hoping for when he went back to Wentz. Fans making up the sparse crowd booed and chanted early on for Heinicke multiple times after Wentz missed open receivers or lobbed the ball into the hands of a Cleveland defender.

“I tried to be aggressive, tried to force a couple throws early, obviously, and kind of put us in a hole,” said Wentz, who similarly melted down with Indianapolis at this point last season when the Colts needed to win to get into the playoffs. “Then the rest of the way just didn’t make enough plays personally, as a team – the whole nine yards. I’m definitely kicking myself over some.”

Fans chanting, “Heinicke! Heinicke!” did not get their wish: Wentz remained in the game and struggled to move the ball beyond handing it to rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr., who rushed for 87 yards on 24 carries. Rivera said he contemplating going to Heinicke but decided against it once his team fell behind by 14 and he knew some downfield throws would be necessary.

“Yeah, I thought we might (see Heinicke) just because he was available and the other quarterback was struggling a little bit, but they stuck with him,” said Browns safety Grant Delpit, who had two of the interceptions. “We had a good game plan for him, and it worked out.”

The Commanders’ fourth-ranked defense allowed a handful of big plays, including a 46-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to Amari Cooper that became a touchdown when top cornerback Kendall Fuller missed an open-field tackle.

“We missed a couple of tackles,” Rivera said. “We missed a couple of them completely. You can’t miss tackles on good players.”

Watson also connected with Cooper on a 33-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter that sent fans to the exits.

The Browns (7-9) were already out of the race in the AFC but made good on tight end David Njoku’s expectation they’d “give the Commanders hell.” Cooper had three catches for 105 yards, Nick Chubb ran 14 times for 104 yards and Watson finished 9 of 18 for 169 yards and the TD passes to Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.

“That was definitely the potential of what the future can hold,” Watson said.

THE DRIVE

Washington’s highlight of the game was the 96-yard drive on 21 plays that chewed up 11:27 of clock in the second quarter. It’s one of just five 21-play drives in the NFL over the past decade.

GONE TO THE HOGS

The “Hogs” who paved the way to Washington’s three Super Bowl titles were honored before the game, with Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs and others from the franchise’s glory days in attendance. The Commanders also unveiled their new mascot, a hog named “Major Tuddy.”

The team said he is “a muscular 6-foot-5, 230-pound male hog with exaggerated features that are anatomically similar to the animal, including a large belly, snout and cloven hooves.”

INJURIES

Browns: RT Jack Conklin left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. … Coach Kevin Stefanski said CB Denzel Ward, who had the other interception off Wentz, had a shoulder injury.

Commanders: Pro Bowl DT Jonathan Allen went down with a knee injury in the second quarter and did not return. Rivera said Allen hyperextended the knee and would be evaluated further Monday. … CB Benjamin St-Juste and S Kam Curl were each inactive because of ankle injuries.

UP NEXT

Browns: Visit the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.

Commanders: Host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.

49ERS EDGE RAIDERS IN OT FOR 9TH CONSECUTIVE WIN

LAS VEGAS (AP) Robbie Gould made a 23-yard field goal with 6:53 left in overtime and the San Francisco 49ers extended their winning streak to nine games with a 37-34 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

The victory was especially important for the 49ers (12-4), who can clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a win against Arizona next week or a loss by Minnesota. San Francisco also has a shot at the No. 1 seed and a bye if Philadelphia loses to the Giants in Week 18.

San Francisco overcame a rare off day from what was the league’s top-rated defense entering the game. The 34 points were the most the 49ers have allowed since the Kansas City Chiefs beat them 44-23 on Oct. 23, which also was San Francisco’s most recent loss.

Christian McCaffrey helped make sure the Niners wouldn’t go down in defeat again, rushing for 121 yards and catching six passes for 72 yards. He surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the third season and has scored touchdowns in five consecutive games.

The loss eliminated the Raiders (6-10) from playoff contention. They have lost three of their past four games.

Las Vegas quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who replaced Derek Carr after the nine-year starter was benched earlier in the week, completed 23 of 34 passes for 365 yards. He joined Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes as the only QBs this season to throw three touchdown passes against the 49ers.

Stidham also threw two interceptions. Tashaun Gipson intercepted Stidham in overtime and returned it 56 yards to set up Gould’s short game-winning kick.

Stidham came out firing from the beginning, leading the Raiders to 10 points on their first two drives, the first time San Francisco has allowed an opponent to score on its first two series this season.

Niners quarterback Brock Purdy, however, matched Stidham’s play with two touchdown passes to put San Francisco ahead 14-10 early in the second quarter. It was the fifth game in a row Purdy has thrown multiple TD passes, the longest streak in 49ers history since Jeff Garcia put together an eight-game streak in 2001. Purdy finished 22 for 35 for 284 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.

But the Raiders took a 17-14 lead at halftime when Stidham threw a 4-yard fade pass to the left side of the end zone to Davante Adams, who leaped and somehow kept both feet inbounds. That play made Adams the eighth receiver in NFL history with at least three seasons catching 13-plus TD passes. Adams had seven catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Las Vegas took a 24-14 lead early in the third quarter when Stidham found a wide-open Adams for a 60-yard touchdown.

But then the Niners rallied.

The teams traded touchdowns before Gould had a chance to win the game in regulation for the 49ers. However, he missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired.

Brandon Aiyuk had nine catches for 101 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco.

INJURIES

49ers: G Aaron Banks (knee) and LB Dre Greenlaw (back) were injured.

Raiders: RB Josh Jacobs (hip) went into the locker room in the first quarter but returned in the second quarter. … LB Darien Butler (concussion) went out in the second quarter.

NOTES: Hunter Renfrow is the only player in Raiders history to catch a pass in each of his first 55 games. … The Niners have won five of the past six meetings with the Raiders.

UP NEXT

49ers: San Francisco tries to improve its playoff positioning Saturday or Sunday at home against the Arizona Cardinals.

Raiders: Final game of the season at home Saturday or Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

SEAHAWKS KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE WITH WIN, ELIMINATE JETS

SEATTLE (AP) Geno Smith threw two first-half touchdowns, Kenneth Walker III rushed for 133 yards and the Seattle Seahawks kept alive their postseason hopes with a 23-6 win Sunday that eliminated the New York Jets from playoff contention.

Seattle (8-8) snapped a three-game losing streak and ensured its Week 18 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams will be meaningful. The Seahawks must win and hope for a loss or tie by Green Bay against Detroit to reach the postseason.

Meanwhile, New York’s playoff hopes ended with a thud after its fifth straight loss and extended the longest active playoff drought in the NFL to a franchise-record 12 seasons. The Jets (7-9) last reached the postseason in 2011 and will finish with a losing record for the seventh straight season.

Smith’s numbers weren’t flashy, but he did enough to improve to 3-0 this season against his former teams. Smith finished 18 of 29 for 183 yards and added the Jets – the team with which he started his career – to the list of victories against former employers that already included wins over the Chargers and Giants.

Smith was especially good in the first half, throwing touchdowns of 12 yards to Colby Parkinson on the first possession of the game and 7 yards to Tyler Mabry early in the second quarter. Mabry’s touchdown was the first catch of his career.

Smith also hit big throws of 29 yards to Noah Fant and a 41-yard catch-and-run to DeeJay Dallas where Smith backhanded the pass scrambling away from pressure. The throw to Fant led to one of Jason Myers’ three field goals and the clever flick to Dallas led to Mabry’s touchdown, both coming in the first half.

The running game helped, especially with Tyler Lockett limited playing with a broken bone in his left hand and DK Metcalf held to one catch for 3 yards. Walker had the second-best game of his rookie season, including a 60-yard run on the first play of the game and Seattle’s 198 yards rushing was third-most this season.

Mike White returned at quarterback for the Jets after missing two games with fractured ribs but offensive success was fleeting for the Jets. White was 23 of 46 for 240 yards. He also threw two interceptions, including a careless throw on New York’s first possession that was picked off by Seattle safety Quandre Diggs.

New York was especially bad in the second half while picking up just six first downs – four of those on its final drive – and went three-and-out on three straight possessions. White was sacked four times and the Jets failed to run an offensive play inside Seattle’s 20 the entire game.

Greg Zuerlein hit a pair of 44-yard field goals for New York.

INJUIRES

Seahawks: Starting middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks was lost to a right knee injury suffered midway through the second quarter making a tackle along the sideline. Brooks had to be carted back to the locker room. … Offensive guard Phil Haynes also left in the second half with an ankle injury. … Right tackle Abraham Lucas and safety Ryan Neal were both inactive due to knee issues.

Jets: Lost safety Lamarcus Joyner after aggravating a hip injury in the first quarter. Joyner had missed the previous two games with a hip issue. … Starting right guard Nate Herbig was inactive because of an ankle injury.

UP NEXT

Jets: At Miami next weekend to end the season.

Seahawks: Host the Los Angeles Rams next weekend.

RODGERS, PACKERS ROUT VIKINGS 41-17, CONTROL PLAYOFF FATE

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score, and the Green Bay Packers continued their improbable playoff push by shutting down Justin Jefferson and the Minnesota Vikings in a 41-17 blowout on Sunday.

Keisean Nixon scored on a 105-yard kickoff return and Darnell Savage had a 75-yard pick-6 of Kirk Cousins – one of four turnovers by the Vikings QB – to help Green Bay build a 27-3 halftime lead. Aaron Jones rushed for 111 yards on 14 carries and A.J. Dillon had a 2-yard touchdown run as the Packers won their fourth straight.

Green Bay (8-8) will reach the playoffs if it beats division rival Detroit at home in its regular-season finale. A fourth straight postseason berth seemed out of the question after a 1-7 stretch dropped the Packers to 4-8, but they haven’t lost since and have benefited from favorable results around the league.

Green Bay’s latest bit of good fortune came earlier Sunday when Washington fell 24-10 at home to the Cleveland, putting the Packers in control of their postseason fate.

The Packers then took care of business by making life miserable for Cousins and Jefferson, the NFL’s leading receiver who was held to one catch for 15 yards. Jefferson had nine receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening 23-7 victory over the Packers.

Savage, Adrian Amos and Rudy Ford each intercepted passes by Cousins, while Kenny Clark recovered a fumble on a strip sack. The Packers converted each of Cousins’ turnovers into touchdowns.

Cousins went 18 of 31 for 205 yards for the NFC North champion Vikings (12-4). His only touchdown pass came in garbage time, a 47-yarder to Jalen Nailor that cut Green Bay’s lead to 41-10.

The Vikings’ Dalvin Cook was held to 27 yards on nine carries.

Rodgers went 15 of 24 for 159 yards with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan. Rodgers also scored Green Bay’s final touchdown on a 2-yard scramble.

After a blocked punt by Josh Metellus gave Minnesota first-and-goal at the 1 to help the Vikings take an early 3-0 lead, the Packers scored the next 41 points.

That outburst started with the big plays from Nixon and Savage. This marked the first time the Packers scored on an interception return and a kickoff return in the same game since a 31-23 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 30, 1967.

Nixon’s touchdown was the Packers’ first off a kickoff return since Randall Cobb’s franchise-record 108-yarder against New Orleans in 2011. Nixon had a 94-yard kickoff return in a 26-20 Christmas Day victory at Miami, but he left that game with a groin injury that kept him from practicing most of this week.

Green Bay also got a solid game from veteran kicker Mason Crosby, who went 2 of 2 on field-goal attempts, including a 56-yarder that the crossbar before bouncing through to close the first half.

INJURIES

The Vikings lost two of their starting offensive linemen to calf injuries in the first quarter: center Austin Schlottmann right tackle Brian O’Neill. Schlottmann was starting in place of Garrett Bradbury, who missed a fourth straight game with a back injury.

Chris Reed, who hadn’t played an offensive snap all season, took over for Schlottmann at center. Olisaemeka Udoh filled in at right tackle.

UP NEXT

The Vikings visit Chicago and the Packers host the Lions next weekend.

EKELER HAS 2 TDS, REACHES 100 CATCHES AS CHARGERS ROUT RAMS

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Austin Ekeler rushed for 122 yards, scored two touchdowns and became the fifth running back with 100 receptions in a season as the Los Angeles Chargers rolled to a 31-10 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams in a matchup of SoFi Stadium co-tenants.

Ekeler, who has an NFL-leading 18 touchdowns (13 rushing, five receiving), also had a career-best 72-yard TD run midway through the second quarter to extend the Chargers’ lead to 14-3.

It was the third 100-yard rushing game in Ekeler’s six-year career and his second this season. He had a career-high 173-yards in an Oct. 10 win at Cleveland.

Justin Herbert passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns as the playoff-bound Chargers won their fourth straight to improve to 10-6. Mike Williams had seven receptions for 94 yards, including a one-handed, toe-tapping 18-yard grab along the left sideline late in the second quarter.

It was the Rams’ 11th loss of the season, surpassing the 1999 Denver Broncos for most defeats by a defending Super Bowl champion.

Cam Akers had his second straight 100-yard game with 19 carries for 123 yards. Baker Mayfield was 11 of 19 for 132 yards.

The lone touchdown for the Rams (5-11) was a 23-yard run up the middle by Malcolm Brown to get them within 14-10 in the second quarter.

Ekeler scored on scored on consecutive possessions in the second quarter to give the Chargers a 14-3 lead. After having a 10-yard run off left guard to give the Bolts a 7-3 advantage, Ekeler patiently waited for a seam to develop on the right side of the line before going 72 yards.

Left guard Matt Feiler pulled to help create an opening while wide receiver Keenan Allen and tight end Donald Parham also laid key blocks before Ekeler broke into the clear.

EKELER’S MILESTONE

Ekeler became the fifth running back in NFL history to have a 100-reception season with his first catch, an 8-yard pass from Herbert on the Chargers’ opening possession.

Ekeler joins former Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Centers of Arizona, Matt Forte of Chicago and Christian McCaffrey as the only other players to achieve the feat. McCaffrey is the only running back with two 100-catch seasons.

THIRD QUARTER BREAKTHROUGH

The Chargers found the end zone in the third quarter for the first time in 11 games when Herbert connected with Gerald Everett for an 8-yard touchdown to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half.

Herbert – who completed 21 of 28 passes – came into the game without a TD pass in two straight games for the first time in his three-year pro career.

CENTURY MARK

Herbert’s 3-yard TD pass to Donald Parham early in the fourth quarter gave Herbert a combined 100 rushing and passing touchdowns. That ties him with Dan Marino for the most through the first three seasons of a career.

INJURIES

Rams: DB Nick Scott suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter but returned midway through the fourth.

UP NEXT

Rams: Conclude their season at Seattle next Sunday.

Chargers: Wrap up the regular season at Denver next Sunday.

STEELERS STILL ALIVE AFTER LAST-MINUTE 16-13 WIN OVER RAVENS

BALTIMORE (AP) A lot still has to go right for the Pittsburgh Steelers to make the playoffs.

After what happened this weekend, would you dare count them out?

Kenny Pickett threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Najee Harris with 56 seconds remaining, giving the Steelers a 16-13 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night and improbably keeping their postseason hopes alive entering the final week of the regular season.

“Really proud of those guys in that locker room,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “Another challenging week, hostile environment, prime time television on the road. But those guys didn’t blink.”

The Steelers (8-8) spent Sunday walking the elimination tightrope, but never quite falling off:

– Miami lost to New England. A win by the Dolphins would have knocked out Pittsburgh.

– The New York Jets lost to Seattle. If New York had won, it wouldn’t have totally eliminated the Steelers, but it would have left them needing the Jets and Dolphins to play to a tie next week for Pittsburgh to have any chance.

“They put our game at 8, so was able to see some of the stuff that was going on,” Harris said. “We saw that, but we didn’t want to pay attention to that too much. We just wanted to pay attention to what we had to do, and that was beat the Ravens.”

Pittsburgh trailed 13-9 and needed to go 80 yards to reach the end zone against a team that hadn’t allowed a touchdown at home since before Halloween. Against their rivals with the season on the line, the Steelers faced third-and-8 from the 10. Pickett scrambled away from pressure, and the rookie threw a perfect pass to Harris, who had slipped behind linebacker Roquan Smith along the left sideline.

“It was just kind of, extend the play a little bit,” Pickett said. “I just wanted to keep my eyes downfield and give one of our guys a shot.”

Pittsburgh can now make the playoffs by beating Cleveland next weekend – if Miami and New England both lose. Last year, the Steelers slipped into the postseason by beating the Ravens in overtime, and even then, they needed Indianapolis to lose to a Jacksonville team with the league’s worst record.

The playoff-bound Ravens (10-6) now need Buffalo to beat Cincinnati on Monday to keep their hopes of winning the AFC North alive. Baltimore allowed a touchdown at home for the first time in four games, and it was a costly one.

“It’s frustrating defensively because we preach finish,” safety Chuck Clark said. “Right there we didn’t finish and do what we had to do to get off the field. We’ve got to get off the field to help the whole team.”

Tyler Huntley threw a scoring pass to Isaiah Likely late in the first half for the game’s only other touchdown.

The Steelers need help to make the playoffs, but they have full control of another streak. They haven’t had a losing record since 2003 – and they never have under coach Mike Tomlin, now in his 16th season.

A penalty on Pittsburgh’s Cam Heyward led to the game’s first touchdown. With the score tied at 3 late in the second quarter, the Steelers stopped Baltimore on third down, but Heyward was called for unnecessary roughness while on top of the pile. Instead of settling for a field goal, the Ravens had a new set of downs at the Pittsburgh 7 with 11 seconds left.

On the next play, Huntley threw to his left to Likely at the goal line to put Baltimore up by seven.

The Ravens are 2-2 without quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was sidelined again with a knee injury. The passing game looked sharper Sunday than in some of Huntley’s previous action, but he was intercepted at the end of the game after the Steelers took the lead.

Baltimore had just 240 yards of offense.

“Very disappointed. Not one of our better performances at all,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Coaching staff. Start with that, start with me. Game plan, all of it. Not good enough. Very disappointing.”

Harris ran for 111 yards for Pittsburgh. J.K. Dobbins ran for 93 yards for Baltimore.

STATS AND FACTS

Harris became the first player all season to rush for 100 yards against the Ravens. Baltimore’s streak of 14 straight games outrushing the opponent came to an end. Pittsburgh won that battle 198-120. … The Ravens have lost just three times in 22 prime time home games under Harbaugh. … The last three games between Baltimore and Pittsburgh have ended 16-13, 16-14 and 16-13. The last six have been decided by five points or fewer. … The Steelers have won six of eight after a 2-6 start. Only Washington in 2020 and Cincinnati in 1970 have made the playoffs after starting 2-6.

INJURIES

Steelers LB Myles Jack left with a groin injury. … Pittsburgh CB James Pierre, who is a cousin of Jackson’s, sustained a concussion. … Baltimore WR Andy Isabella injured his thigh and T Morgan Moses injured his biceps.

UP NEXT

Steelers: Host Cleveland next Sunday.

Ravens: At Cincinnati next Sunday.

******NBA******

JOKIC HAS TRIPLE-DOUBLE, NUGGETS TOP CELTICS AFTER RIM DELAY

DENVER (AP) Nikola Jokic had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, and the hot-shooting Denver Nuggets beat the Boston Celtics 123-111 on Sunday night in a matchup of NBA conference leaders that was delayed about 35 minutes because a powerful dunk bent one of the rims.

Jokic hit 10 of 13 shots from the field and all eight free throws in his second straight triple-double and ninth of the season. Bruce Brown added 21 points for the Nuggets, who shot 57% from the floor and made 17 of 30 3-pointers.

“He’s my MVP. He should be the league’s MVP three times in a row,” Brown said of Jokic. “He’s doing everything for us. Without Jok, I don’t know where we’d be.”

Denver won for the 10th time in 12 games, snapped a six-game skid against Boston and opened a one-game lead in the Western Conference.

The Nuggets led by as many as 18 and waited out a long delay with 6:43 left as a crew struggled to re-level the rim after a dunk by Boston’s Robert Williams III.

“I didn’t know I did it until my teammates started blaming me,” Williams said. “I’ve never done that before.”

It took six workers, two ladders, a level, phone calls and eventually a crew member taking the rim off the backboard before it was fixed.

“There was no communication. They spent all that time trying to fix it but when we came back it still looked like it wasn’t even level, in my opinion. So we just wasted all that time,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said.

“That has an effect on the game. That’s how injuries and stuff happen. Luckily that didn’t (happen), but that wasn’t good. That whole process was handled poorly, in my opinion, and that had an effect as well. But luckily nobody got hurt.”

Players were allowed a brief warmup before play resumed, and then the Nuggets pulled away.

“Man, that was crazy,” Denver guard Bones Hyland said of the delay. “I’ve never been in a game with that before. We just tried to stay loose and finish the game out.”

Jaylen Brown scored 30 points and Jayson Tatum shook off a slow start to add 25 for Boston, which shot just 9 of 33 from 3-point range in the opener of a four-game trip. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Celtics, whose lead in the East was sliced to 1 1/2 games.

Bruce Brown started in place of Jamal Murray (sore knee) and went 4 of 6 on 3s. It was a familiar theme for the Nuggets, who entered as the NBA’s top 3-point shooting team. They are 34 of 58 from long distance over the past two games.

This one was billed as a matchup of top NBA MVP contenders Jokic and Tatum. And the crowd took notice.

A large number of Celtics fans started chanting “MVP! MVP!” when Tatum went to the foul line late in the second quarter. Nuggets fans loudly returned the favor moments later with their own MVP chant for Jokic when he went to the line.

In the end, Jokic showed it’ll be tough to wrestle the trophy from him.

MAZZULLA RETURNS

Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla was back after a two-game absence due to corneal abrasions in both eyes after he got hurt in a pickup game Tuesday. Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire led Boston to two wins.

“Our staff really stepped up,” Mazzulla said.

JOKIC THREE-PEAT?

Celtics great Larry Bird from 1984-86 was the last player to win three straight NBA MVP awards. Nuggets coach Michael Malone grew irritated before the game with the suggestion Jokic can’t do the same.

“If people’s reasons for not giving him the MVP is because he’s won two in a row, that’s lazy,” Malone said.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Jaylen Brown and Hyland drew technical fouls after a brief scuffle early in the fourth quarter. … Jaylen Brown hit his first four shots and had 12 points in the first 4:06.

Nuggets: Aaron Gordon, who had a monster overtime dunk to seal a Christmas night win over Phoenix, brought the crowd to its feet with a reverse alley-oop jam on a feed from Jokic near the end of the first half. Gordon had 18 points.

UP NEXT

Celtics: At Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.

Nuggets: At Minnesota on Monday night.

WIZARDS CRUISE PAST SHORT-HANDED BUCKS 118-95

MILWAUKEE (AP) Rui Hachimura had 26 points, Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 and the Washington Wizards defeated the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks 118-95 on Sunday night for their season-best fifth consecutive victory.

The scuffling Bucks played without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sat out due to left knee soreness. Antetokounmpo is averaging 38 points and 14.6 rebounds over his last six games, which included a 43-point, 20-rebound performance in Friday night’s win over Minnesota that snapped Milwaukee’s four-game losing streak.

Jrue Holiday also missed the game with an illness, and Khris Middleton sat out for the eighth consecutive game due to right knee soreness.

“Your objective is to dominate whoever is in front of you,” Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma said. “If guys aren’t playing, you’re supposed to beat those teams.”

Daniel Gafford had 17 points for the Wizards (17-21), who weren’t at full strength, either. They played without leading scorer Bradley Beal, who is dealing with left hamstring soreness.

Bobby Portis led Milwaukee with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jevon Carter had 14 points and Grayson Allen added 13 points and eight assists.

Washington led 34-17 after the first quarter, paced by Gafford’s 13 points, as the Wizards exploited a two-center lineup with Bucks big man Brook Lopez on the bench early with foul trouble.

“I was sticking with the flow of the game, having confidence and going up with the shots that I was taking,” Gafford said. “I felt comfortable taking those shots.”

Milwaukee shot 26% overall and just 3 of 14 from long range in the period, while the Wizards connected on half their shots.

“We took advantage whenever we had the chance,” Gafford said of the size advantage. “Whoever went to the basket, we got a bucket. They didn’t have too many shot blockers out there so we just attacked the basket.”

Washington had 72 points in the paint.

“That’s a little bit unusual, not the norm,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We usually protect the rim and protect the paint well.”

Two quick first-quarter fouls on Lopez caused problems for the Bucks.

“I think his early foul trouble threw us off a little bit,” Budenholzer said.

Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said his team’s effort on defense set the tone.

“We got the defense into the game early and that helped us get out to that lead,” he said.

The Wizards led by 26 in the second quarter and held a 68-50 advantage at halftime. Washington shot 57.4% in the first half, while Milwaukee connected on just 34.6% of its shots.

Washington remained easily in control throughout the second half as the cold-shooting Bucks failed to mount any sustained runs.

TIP-INS

Wizards: F Taj Gibson sat out a second consecutive game with left groin soreness. “We don’t want to push it to the point where this could be something that would last much longer than it should,” Unseld said. . Gafford, who came in averaging 7.1 points per game, scored Washington’s first eight points.

Bucks: G George Hill also missed the game due to illness. . Joe Ingles was assessed a first-quarter technical foul after exchanging words with Porzingis, who also received a technical. . Milwaukee lost for just the fourth time in 19 home games this season.

DISTANT MEMORY

With five consecutive wins, the Wizards have been able to get past a 10-game losing streak that started in November and stretched to mid-December. “By not overreacting, now we’re back and we’re putting some wins together,” Porzingis said. “We have some pretty good rhythm.”

UP NEXT

The teams face each other again Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

MORANT, JONES LEAD GRIZZLIES TO 118-108 VICTORY OVER KINGS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Ja Morant scored 35 points, Tyus Jones added 18 and the Memphis Grizzlies broke open a close game in the fourth quarter to beat the Sacramento Kings 118-108 on Sunday night.

Dillon Brooks added 15 for Memphis, while Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 14 and three blocks as the Grizzlies won their third straight. Morant added eight rebounds and five assists. Jones had eight assists and Steven Adams tied his career-high with 23 rebounds.

That total included a career-best 13 offensive rebounds.

“That’s where he is at, down in the trenches,” Morant said. “I don’t think anybody else is going to go down there and battle with him. He’s a man among boys.”

Adams didn’t quite get Morant’s references to battling in the trenches. “I don’t know what that means, but yeah, in the trenches. In the bloody trenches.”

De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 19 points, while Malik Monk scored 18 providing a spark off the Sacramento bench. Domantas Sabonis matched Monk’s 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

But Sacramento coach Mike Brown said his team didn’t play along the lines they discussed before the game. He wanted the Kings to make simple passes and work for open shots. Instead, he said the game sped up, leading to turnovers and eight blocked shots by Memphis.

“This team is really good at protecting the paint,” Brown said. “They’re long. They’re athletic. They do a great job of shrinking the floor, and you have to have patience offensively.”

In a closely played first half, Morant led the Grizzlies with 18 points enroute to a 59-58 advantage at the break.

The Grizzlies would manage to pull away in the fourth, building the lead to as many as 14 while outscoring the Kings 27-21 in the final frame. As usual, Memphis dominated the paint 64-44.

“This team, they struggle at the rim,” Adams said of the Kings. “They have no rim protection. So that was our main goal – attack the paint, attack the paint. That’s our goal in general. We’re a big point-in-the-paint team.”

TIP-INS

Kings: Won their two previous games over Denver and Utah by a one-point margin in each. … Are now 8-9 on the road. … Fox started his 340th game with Sacramento, tying him with Reggie Theus for 12th on the all-time franchise list. … Harrison Barnes grabbed his 4,000th rebound midway through the third quarter.

Grizzlies: The game was the first game in Memphis on New Year’s Day in franchise history. The Grizzlies have played four on the road on New Year’s Day and the only other home game to open the new year was in 1998 when the team was in Vancouver. … G Desmond Bane sat out the game – the second of a back-to-back – with injury management on a right big toe injury that kept him out 17 games. … John Konchar started in Bane’s spot.

PARITY MEANS BALANCE

Entering the night, Memphis was in third place in the Western Conference, and Sacramento was fifth, all part of a logjam at the top of the conference standings. Memphis was a game behind West-leading Denver, and Sacramento was 3 1/2 off the Nuggets’ pace. Utah, in 10th place, is only six games behind. Kings coach Mike Brown said it was representative of how the league is trending. “That’s why the league, in my opinion, is so close,” he said. “You look at the standings. This is the closest I’ve ever seen it in my 31 years.”

LAST WORD

“We just enjoy getting stops so we don’t have to play any more defense.” – Grizzlies center Steven Adams

UP NEXT

Kings: At Utah on Tuesday.

Grizzlies: At Charlotte on Wednesday.

*****NHL*****

SVECHNIKOV SCORES IN SHOOTOUT, HURRICANES BEAT DEVILS 5-4

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Andrei Svechnikov scored the shootout winner and Antti Raanta made 24 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the New Jersey Devils 5-4 for a franchise-best 11th straight win.

The first-place Hurricanes are 15-0-2 in their last 17 games and haven’t lost since Dec. 6 when they fell 4-3 at Anaheim in overtime. Carolina’s previous defeat in regulation time was Nov. 23.

Raanta improved to 10-2-2 this season. The 33-year-old Finnish netminder had shutouts in his previous two games at home, 4-0 against Florida and 3-0 over Chicago.

Both goaltenders made sterling saves in overtime including New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood denying Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin on a breakaway after the teams combined for five goals in a wild third period after Carolina led 2-1 after the second. Blackwood made 43 saves.

With the team’s playing four-on-four, New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt scored his second of the game and 14th of the season from between the circles at 13:48 of the third. That put New Jersey ahead 4-3 but Carolina’s Martin Necas knotted the contest for a fourth time with a power-play goal at 15:32.

Hurricanes forward Derek Stepan had scored his second goal of the contest and fourth of the season at 8:04 of the third to give Carolina a 3-2 lead but Devils captain Nico Hischier knotted the score 34 seconds later with his 16th goal.

Bratt had tied the game 2-2 at 6:15 of the third, beating Raanta from the left circle after Carolina entered the third with a 2-1 lead thanks to Sebastian Aho’s shorthanded goal late in the second.

Aho intercepted a mishandled clearing attempt by Blackwood and easily scored his 12th goal into the vacant net at 18:14.

Stepan had scored his first goal eight minutes into the second, finishing off a two-on-one rush with Stefan Noesen to break a scoreless tie. The 32-year-old former Rangers forward is in his second season with Carolina.

New Jersey’s Jack Hughes tied the contest at 16:18 of the second, sliding a backhand past Raanta for his team-leading 21st goal. Dawson Mercer and Erik Haula assisted.

The Devils were coming off a 4-2 road win at Pittsburgh on Friday.

New Jersey is 2-7-2 in their last 11.

NOTES: The victory was the 199th win for Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. . Carolina won the first meeting this season, 4-1 at home on Dec. 20. The teams meet again Jan. 10 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and March 12 in Newark . The Devils were without injured defenseman John Marino and New Jersey also scratched forward Alexander Holtz and defensemen Tyler Wotherspoon and Nikita Okhotiuk . The Hurricanes scratched defenseman Dylan Coghlan.

Up Next:

Devils: Visit Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

Hurricanes: Visit New York Rangers on Tuesday.

ZIBANEJAD NETS 2, RANGERS BEAT PANTHERS TO SNAP 2-GAME SLIDE

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Mika Zibanejad scored twice and the New York Rangers snapped a two-game skid with a 5-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Sunday night.

Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck and Artemi Panarin also scored for New York, which had gone 0-1-1 coming out of the holiday break. Jaroslav Halak finished with 32 saves for New York.

Nick Cousins, Sam Bennett and Eric Staal scored for the Panthers, who have lost their last two games and eight of the last 11. Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves.

Zibanejad scored his first goal on a power play at 14:36 of the first period and gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead with his second midway through the middle period.

That goal appeared to roust the Panthers, who scored twice in the period, yet trailed 3-2 going into the third.

“I thought we had a real good first period, real solid,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said. “We controlled the play, played the way we wanted to.”

Cousins put Florida on the board at 13:57 of the second before Kreider made it 3-1 at 15:44.

Bennett’s power-play goal with under a minute remaining in the second period gave the Panthers a lift and snapped an 0-for-9 drought with a man advantage dating to a loss at Carolina on Friday night.

Trocheck, who was drafted by, and spent his first seven NHL seasons with, the Panthers, gave the Rangers a two-goal cushion again when he tapped in a pass from Kreider on a power play at 1:38 of the third.

“It’s always nice to beat these guys,” said Trocheck, who ended with two points in the win. “I did not leave too long ago but in the COVID year, I played them eight times. So I have played them a ton already. It’s not as fresh as it was the first couple of times, but it is nice.”

Florida closed within a goal when Staal scored his fourth goal of the season just over a minute later.

Panarin restored the Rangers’ two-goal cushion at 10:04of the third, making it 5-3.

“I don’t think our game changed a whole lot playing from behind,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “We did not move the puck well, it was in the feet and it ended up in the back of our net a couple times. . (The Rangers) did not get a lot but they finished. They have good shooters there.”

NOTES: The Rangers had Alexis Lafreniere back in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch Friday night in Tampa. Lafreniere was on the third line with center Filip Chytil and Jimmy Vesey. . The three coaches on the New York bench had ties to the Panthers. Gerard Gallant was head coach in Florida for parts of three seasons (2014-16), along with assistant Mike Kelly. Gord Murphy was an original member of the Panthers as a defenseman and was also an assistant coach. . Florida had Zac Dalpe back in the lineup after playing Anton Levtchi the previous two games. Levtchi was returned to AHL Charlotte on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Rangers: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.

Panthers: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.

LUCCHINI SCORES 1ST, SENATORS END SABRES’ 6-GAME WIN STREAK

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Jacob Lucchini’s first NHL goal was the eventual winner as the Ottawa Senators beat Buffalo 3-1 Sunday night and snapped the Sabres’ six-game winning streak.

“It’s so hard to put into words, honestly,” said Lucchini, a 27-year-old center playing his fifth NHL game. “You just dream about it and it was so special and, obviously, the crowd with so many people. It was such an exciting game, so to have a positive impact like that was really, you know, important for me and good for our team.”

Lucchini was able to share the special moment with his mother, Sandy, who happened to be in town for the game.

The road to the NHL has been a long one for the native of Trail, British Columbia, and he hasn’t taken anything for granted.

While the goal was special for Lucchini, it was clear his teammates were just as excited as they raced to swarm him.

“It was unreal,” Senators captain Brady Tkachuk said. “It’s always special, not only for (Lucchini), but for everybody to be a part of a first NHL goal and see a dream come true. It’s amazing.”

Tim Stutzle scored twice for the Senators and Anton Forsberg, making his first start since Dec. 18, finished with 33 saves.

“I felt good out there. I didn’t feel like I haven’t played for a while, which is great,” Forsberg said.

As impressive as Stutzle has been offensively, the 20-year-old is being counted on defensively.

Stutzle was on the ice when the Sabres had a two-man advantage and for the final minutes of the game, when he managed to score an empty-net goal for his second.

“I just try to play my best and I try to play better defensively every day, and I think D.J. (Smith) trusts me in every situation so that’s really great to see,” Stutzle said.

Zemgus Girgensons scored for the Sabres. Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots.

Through their six-game run, the Sabres had scored 28 goals. This game marked the first in which they scored less than three.

“We’re used to scoring goals, and when that doesn’t happen, everyone gets, you know, `Oh my goodness, we didn’t score.’ But that’s going to happen,” Anderson said.

“You’re going to run into some bad luck or a hot goalie in some way, shape or form throughout the year. We can’t dwell on it. You just have to turn the page and look forward to the next one.”

Trailing 2-1 to start the third the Sabres pressed for the equalizer, but Forsberg was up to the challenge. Tage Thompson had a great chance at the halfway mark of the period, but his shot hit the post.

The Sabres took advantage of a bad line change when Mattias Samuelsson made a long pass to Girgensons, sending him in alone. He beat Forsberg with a wrist shot to tie the game at 1.

Midway through the period, Lucchini jumped on a loose puck in front and scored his first on a power play to make it 2-1.

In the opening minute of the game, Stutzle looked to pass to Tkachuk, but the puck bounced back in his direction and he quickly beat Anderson just 47 seconds in.

The Sabres finished the first with a two-man advantage, but were unable to capitalize and trailed 1-0.

“The 5-on-3 depicted everything,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “We complicated what should have been really simple. We had time and space. We just couldn’t even make a simple play. Those are unfortunate signs of fatigue.”

INTERESTING STAT

Drake Batherson needed one point to tie Marian Hossa for third-longest point streak in Senators history. His 12-game point run was the second-longest current streak in the league. But that came to an end Sunday. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid leads the league with 17 games.

NOTES: The Senators remain without defensemen Erik Brannstrom and Nikita Zaitsev. Buffalo’s Alex Tuch has 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in his last 19 games.

UP NEXT

Buffalo: At Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

Ottawa: Host Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

KARLSSON GETS FRANCHISE RECORD AS SHARKS BEAT BLACKHAWKS 5-2

CHICAGO (AP) Marc-Edouard Vlasic made his NHL debut way back in 2006. And even he is impressed with what fellow defenseman Erik Karlsson is doing right now.

“Every shift he’s creating something,” Vlasic said. “He’s dangerous every time he’s on the ice.”

Karlsson extended his point streak to a franchise-record 13 games, and the San Jose Sharks beat the lowly Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Sunday night.

Vlasic, Jonah Gadjovich and Alexander Barabanov scored in the second period for San Jose, which had dropped three in a row and six of seven overall. Timo Meier and Evgeny Svechnikov added third-period goals.

Karlsson had two assists, breaking the record he shared with San Jose forwards Rob Gaudreau (1992-93) and Jonathan Cheechoo (2005-06). The two-time Norris Trophy winner has two goals and 19 assists during his streak.

Patrick Kane and Sam Lafferty scored for Chicago in the opener of a seven-game homestand. The last-place Blackhawks have lost four straight and 12 of 13 overall.

“I think when one thing bad happens, we’re not ready, at this point, to turn the page and get back to what we were doing well,” first-year Chicago coach Luke Richardson said.

Chicago trailed 3-2 after two, but Meier cleaned up a rebound for his 21st goal 3:52 into the third period and Svechnikov helped put it away with his fourth with 7:05 left.

The crowd at the United Center booed after the final seconds ticked off. The Blackhawks dropped to 5-13-2 at home this season.

“I just think our battle level wasn’t as high as the other team for 60 minutes tonight,” Richardson said.

San Jose trailed 2-0 in the second before scoring three times in the last five minutes of the period.

“Just loved our perseverance and our mental toughness and how we responded,” Sharks coach David Quinn said.

Gadjovich was credited with his second of the season off a scramble in front at 15:12. Then Vlasic got his first goal since March 26 when Matt Benning’s centering pass went off his right skate and into the net at 15:53.

The 35-year-old Vlasic became the second NHL defenseman to score in his 1,200th game, joining Duncan Keith for Edmonton last season. Vlasic’s 77th career goal was initially waved off, but the officials ruled a replay review showed he redirected the puck instead of kicking it home.

“I knew I didn’t kick it in, so if I didn’t kick it in, then it should have been a good goal,” Vlasic said.

Barabanov then gave San Jose a 3-2 lead when he drove to the net and beat Petr Mrazek with a backhand. Barabanov also scored during Saturday night’s 5-2 loss at Dallas.

The outburst for San Jose occurred after offensively challenged Chicago scored twice in the second. Kane beat Kaapo Kahkonen from the slot after the goaltender broke his stick behind the Sharks net. Then Andreas Athanasiou made a great pass to Lafferty for the tap-in at 13:30.

HE’S BACK

Blackhawks defenseman Ian Mitchell skated in his first NHL game since Dec. 23. He replaced Caleb Jones in the lineup.

Mitchell, who turns 24 on Jan. 18, had been a healthy scratch. He was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2017 draft.

UP NEXT

Sharks: At Anaheim on Friday night.

Blackhawks: At home against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

KRAKEN SNAP 3-GAME SKID WITH 4-1 WIN OVER NY ISLANDERS

SEATTLE (AP) Eeli Tolvanen scored his first goal in a Seattle uniform since coming over from Nashville, and the Kraken halted a three-game winless streak on Sunday night by beating the New York Islanders 4-1.

Adam Larsson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Brandon Tanev also scored for the Kraken. Goalie Martin Jones made 18 saves for the Kraken.

Mathew Barzal scored for New York, the 100th goal of his NHL career in his 400th game. Ilya Sorokin saved 31 shots for the Islanders.

Tolvanen, who was claimed by Seattle off waivers from the Predators on Dec. 12, snapped a 1-1 tie at the 3:58 mark of the second period. At the top of the right circle, he took a pass from Vince Dunn and drilled a slapshot to the back left corner past Sorokin.

The goal, Tolvanen’s third of the season, came on a power play. That ended a seven-game 0-for-16 Kraken drought with the man advantage dating back to Dec. 11 in a 5-2 victory at Florida.

“That felt really good. It’s been a while since I played my last game, so it’s nice to get the first goal out of the way in the first one,” said Tolvanen, whose most recent contest was Nov. 19 against Tampa Bay. “It was a power play, so it’s just getting pucks on the net and shooting right away when you get it in the zone. They told me right before to shoot it as soon as I got it.”

Added Kraken coach Dave Hakstol, “The power play goal, you can’t teach that – that’s an ability that he has. He got all of that, and he beat a good goaltender on that play, and that’s a real skill that he possesses. I know he can do that.”

Larsson gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 9:53 of the first period with his fourth of the season, shoveling it in from the top of the crease after taking a pass from Ryan Donato.

Barzal tied it 1-1 at 17:30 of the first, reaching out in front of the left post to direct a pass from Casey Cizikas into the far side of the net, his ninth of the year.

Bjorkstrand tallied his fifth of the season for a 3-1 Seattle lead at 13:04 of the second, slapping in the rebound of a shot by Jamie Oleksiak. Tanev added an empty netter with 34.3 seconds left. It was his seventh goal.

Islanders coach Lane Lambert said getting just 19 shots was a simple matter of not executing.

“You can’t play the speed you want if you don’t execute cleanly,” Lambert said. “Give them credit – they filled good gaps all night, but we certainly didn’t execute the way we wanted to. When we did have the puck in the neutral zone, we turned it over instead of getting it in deep and establishing our forecheck.”

NOTES: Donato’s assist on Larsson’s first-period goal for Seattle gave him a point in seven of his last eight games. He also has a point in five straight home games, the longest such streak of his career. . Barzal reached his double milestone of 400 NHL games and 100 goals in the same city where he played four seasons of junior hockey (2013-17) with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . New York is now 5-1-0 against Pacific Division opponents. Sunday’s game in Seattle was the first of four straight on the road against Pacific teams, to be followed by stops this week in Vancouver (Tuesday), Edmonton (Thursday) and Calgary (Friday). . The Kraken play their next seven on the road.

UP NEXT

Islanders: Visit Vancouver on Tuesday night.

Kraken: Visit Edmonton on Tuesday night.

STARS SIGN VETERAN JOE PAVELSKI TO EXTENSION THROUGH 2023-24

FRISCO, Texas (AP) Veteran forward Joe Pavelski signed a one-year contract extension with the Dallas Stars on Sunday, months before he could have become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

The extension for the 2023-24 season has a base salary of $3.5 million, along with an additional $2 million in potential performance bonuses. The 38-year-old Pavelski currently is in his fourth season with Dallas and his 17th in the NHL.

Pavelski has appeared in all 38 games this season and is third on the team with 37 points (25 assists, 12 goals). His +23 rating is the best for the Stars and ranks second in the NHL.

“Joe continues to prove why he is one of the best players in the NHL, and we are fortunate that he will be part of our group for another season,” general manager Jim Nill said. “He embodies what it means to be a professional hockey player with his approach to the game both on and off the ice. Joe’s leadership in the locker room is invaluable and the level of respect that he has throughout the entire league speaks volumes to the man that he is.”

Pavelski spent the first 13 seasons of his career with San Jose before a $21 million, three-year deal in free agency with Dallas. Late last season after he was an All-Star for the fourth time, and just before the end of that initial deal, the Stars signed him to a $5.5 million extension for this season.

Since joining the Stars, he leads the team with 200 points, 122 assists, 38 power-play goals and his +62 rating in his 243 games. He has played in 34 playoff games for Dallas, with 16 goals and nine assists.

TOP INDIANA RELEASES

*****COLTS FOOTBALL*****

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Colts on Sunday were left to digest another loss, their sixth in a row and this one by a 38-10 margin to the playoff-bound New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

This is a team that, collectively, has never felt like its effort has been lacking. Practices have been spirited and competitive; players have spent countless hours preparing their minds and bodies in film and training rooms; coaches – especially on a short-staffed offensive side of the ball – have put in long hours trying to get this thing right.

And the results have been disheartening for everyone involved – because they’ve been the same for far too many games to stomach in a 4-11-1 season.

“Everybody kind of takes turns, so no one answer — wish there was,” interim head coach Jeff Saturday said. “It’s been season-long and obviously frustrating for everybody.”

Against the Giants, the Colts weren’t able to establish an offensive rhythm even after wide receiver Parris Campbell hauled in a 49-yard heave from quarterback Nick Foles in the first quarter. That deep completion resulted in the Colts’ only points until the late in the third quarter – a 23-yard Chase McLaughlin field goal, which gave the Colts an early lead but also represented the team’s season-long issues executing in the red zone.

From there, the Giants ripped off 31 unanswered points. Quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley powered a pair of extended scoring drives (11 plays, 71 yards; 9 plays, 64 yards), then late in the second quarter Landon Collins stepped in front of a Foles pass and took it for a 48-yard pick six.

After Foles sustained a scary-looking rib injury on a third down sack by Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, the Giants added a field goal at the end of the first half to extend their lead to 24-3.

“From a season-long perspective, just haven’t made enough plays,” Saturday said. Whether it’s you have a big play and a penalty brings you back, when the quarterback makes a throw, whether it’s turnovers, there’s been enough mistakes that you’re just not going to generate offense in the NFL.

The Colts got a burst of momentum out of halftime when cornerback Stephon Gilmore forced a fumble, which was recovered by safety Rodney McLeod Jr., on the first play of the third quarter. But the offense – with Sam Ehlinger in at quarterback for the injured Foles – went three and out, and McLaughlin missed a 44-yard field goal.

The Giants quickly marched 62 yards on six plays for a touchdown to go up 31-3. While Ehlinger did throw his first career touchdown – a six-yard strike to wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. – the Giants pulled most of their starters after Jones rumbled for a 10-yard touchdown to put New York up, 38-10, early in the fourth quarter.

“We practice hard, but effort and want-to has never been an issue in this building,” linebacker Zaire Franklin said. “Practicing hard in Week 17, we’re doing our best. All of it’s gotta translate to Sunday. You gotta take that confidence and that playmaking ability you have on the practice field and do it in the games. That comes from repetition, that comes from trusting yourself and trusting the situation.”

Saturday knew he had a challenge ahead of him when he accepted Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay’s offer to be the team’s interim head coach in early November. Teams don’t change coaches mid-season if things are going well, after all.

“I knew it was gonna be an uphill battle, I knew it was going to tough days and I feel for the guys,” Saturday said. “I feel for the players. These guys put a ton of work in and you want them to be successful, and you try to arm them with as much as you can to let them be successful. And unfortunately, we’re not making enough plays and they haven’t had the type of success I would’ve hoped for them.”

While digesting their Week 17 defeat, Colts players focused on the final opportunity for the 2022 version of this team to go out with a win. Campbell said the team feels “desperate” for a win at this point; several players noted what center Ryan Kelly did: “Nothing’s guaranteed in this league,” he said.

While the 2022 season has not been what anyone in the visiting locker room at MetLife Stadium expected it’d be, it’s not over yet. And there’s one more opportunity, next weekend against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium, for the players on this team and the coaches on the sideline to do what they were brought here to do: Win.

“The locker room, the team will not look the same next year,” Kelly said. “Go out there and leave it on the field.”

*****INDIANA PACERS BASKETBALL*****

Game Preview

If the last string of games are any indication, the Indiana Pacers are in for an exciting start to 2023.

Riding three straight wins, the Pacers (20-17) look to carry their positive momentum into the new year when they host the Toronto Raptors (16-20) on Monday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Last week, the Pacers topped the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers in Indianapolis. The Pacers, who have won five of their last six games — with the only loss coming to the Western Conference-leading New Orleans Pelicans — sit sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Each of the last three games, the Pacers have scored at least 129 points. During that stretch, they shot an outstanding 53.2 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from 3-point range.

Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton has been sensational as of late, scoring at least 23 points in each of the last three games — while also scoring 43 points on Dec. 23 and 33 points on Dec. 21 — on top of continuing to lead the league in assists (10.2 APG). In the fourth quarter against the Clippers, Haliburton came up clutch by scoring 18 points in the final frame.

Shooting guard Buddy Hield – the NBA leader in 3-pointers made (147) – has continued his hot shooting from deep, making at least five 3-pointers in three straight games, and center Myles Turner is coming off a 34-point performance against the Clippers.

It was a long December for the Raptors, as the team went 5-10 last month. The Raptors enter the game against the Pacers with a 113-104 win over the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 30.

Toronto has struggled on the road this year, with a record of 5-12, while the Pacers have a 12-7 record when playing at home.

Pascal Siakam, an All-NBA third team member last year and former All-Star, is the engine for the Raptors, leading his team in points (26.5), rebounds (8.3) and assists (6.7) this season.

Also of note, the Raptors’ O.G. Anunoby leads the NBA in steals with 2.2 per game while also putting up 18.6 points and collecting 5.8 rebounds per contest.

Toronto has been without some key players recently, as Fred VanVleet (18.5 points, 6.1 assists) and Precious Achiuwa (8.8 points, 7.0 rebounds) both missed time last week with injuries. VanVleet, a point guard, made the All-Star game last season.

Both teams should come out revved up, as the Pacers and Raptors are the top two teams in fastbreak points this season at 18.4 and 18.2 points per game, respectively.

The teams hustle on defense, as the Raptors have the most deflections per game (18.3) and the Pacers lead the NBA in loose balls recovered per game (5.5). The Raptors are also averaging the most steals per game (9.5).

Indiana and Toronto have already faced off once this season, with the Pacers posting a 118-104 victory at home on Nov. 12.

Both Siakim and VanVleet, members of the Raptors’ 2019 championship team, weren’t able to play in the previous game due to injury/illness.

Projected Starters

Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Buddy Hield, F – Andrew Nembhard, F – Aaron Nesmith, C – Myles Turner

Raptors: G – Gary Trent Jr., G – Scottie Barnes, F – O.G. Anunoby, F – Pascal Siakam, C – Christian Koloko

Injury Report

Pacers: Daniel Theis – out (right knee surgery), Kendall Brown – out (right tibia stress reaction)

Raptors: Fred VanVleet – questionable (back), Precious Achiuwa – questionable (ankle), Otto Porter – out (toe)

Last Meeting

Nov. 12, 2022: The Pacers put up 36 points in the fourth quarter while holding the Raptors to just 14 in the final frame to come away with a 118-104 win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Six Pacers scored in double figures on the night. Buddy Hield led the Blue & Gold with 22 points on five made 3-pointers while center Myles Turner posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

O.G. Anunoby led the Raptors with 26 points and Chris Boucher came off the bench and scored 19.

The Raptors were without Pascal Siakim in the game due to a right adductor strain and Fred VanVleet also missed the game due to a non-COVID illness.

Indiana outrebounded Toronto 61-49 and held the visitors to 39 percent shooting overall, including  20 percent from 3-point. The Blue & Gold made 41 of 82 field goal attempts and were 19-for-43 from beyond the arc.

Noteworthy

Haliburton leads all NBA guards in double-doubles with 19.

The Pacers are second in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 28.9 per game, and are third in bench scoring (41.3 per game)

Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin leads all bench players in scoring (minimum 20 games) with 17.7 per game.

Anunoby was on the Indiana University men’s basketball team from 2015-2017 before being selected by the Raptors with the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Pacers’ Oshae Brissett, Andrew Nembhard and Mathurin are all Canadian and Chris Duarte was born in Montreal.

Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

Tickets

The Pacers will wrap up a four-game homestand against Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors on Monday, Jan. 2 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

*****INDIANA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL*****

NO. 4/3 INDIANA PREVAILS IN OVERTIME TO BEAT NEBRASKA

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – No. 4 Indiana used a 14-0 run to close out the game and would prevail in its first overtime test this season in a 74-62 win over Nebraska on New Year’s Day.

KEY MOMENTS

Senior forward Mackenzie Holmes scored the first five points for Indiana (13-1, 3-1 B1G) as they traded buckets with Nebraska (10-5, 2-2 B1G). The Cornhuskers would hit the next three baskets from the field, gaining a 14-7 lead. Holmes would score another bucket followed up by an and one from junior guard Sydney Parrish bucket going into the media timeout, cutting the lead 14-12.

With 3:35 left to play, Nebraska would take a 22-19 lead going into the second.

IU would outscore Nebraska, 12-8, as senior guard Sara Scalia scored six straight points taking a 31-30 lead at the half.

Holmes would continue her dominance scoring five points to regain a 36-35 lead. Nebraska would go on a 6-0 run extending the lead, but Indiana would shut it down as they went on their own 7-0 run, hitting five free-throws for a 43-41 lead.

It was a tight fourth quarter with nine lead changes as the teams continued to trade buckets. A 3-pointer by Parrish and free-throws from junior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil would put the Indiana up 60-57 before Nebraska hit a couple of shots to tie the game up at 62 heading into overtime.

The Hoosiers shutout the Huskers, going on a 12-0 run in overtime. Parrish would get the crowd fired up after she nails a three from the right wing, 65-62.

Freshman guard Yarden Garzon would get it done on the defensive end with two blocked shots before going down the court to hit a pair of free-throws. She hit a baseline three to win the game, 74-62.

NOTABLE

Holmes recorded 11 of her 22 points in the first half.

Holmes recorded her third-straight game scoring over 20 points and fifth double double on the season.

Holmes also set her season high in blocks, finishing with five.

Four Hoosiers finished with double figure scoring (Holmes 22, Parrish 16, Moore-McNeil 13, Garzon 11).

Moore-McNeil recorded a new career high in steals, finishing with five.

Parrish made three of Indiana’s four 3-pointers.

Parrish recorded seven rebounds, three assists and two steals to go with her 16 points.

Indiana held Nebraska scoreless in the overtime quarter.

The Hoosiers have won their last three overtime games dating back to 2020 and improved to 16-14 all-time in overtime contests.

The Hoosiers recorded 26 points off 21 Cornhusker turnovers.

Indiana recorded 13 assists off 23 made field goals.

The Hoosiers outscored Nebraska in the paint 36-to-26.

Indiana shot 24-30 from the free-throw line for the game.

QUOTABLE

Indiana head coach Teri Moren

“Great crowd today on New Year’s Day. We needed every single one of those rear ends that were in the seats, we needed every one of them. We heard Hoosier nation in a big way, so we’re grateful once again. Give Nebraska credit. That’s a really good basketball team. I have a feeling that a lot of our big games are going to be a lot like that. There’s just a lot of talent from top to bottom. Night in and night out, if you’re not ready to play you’re always at risk of coming up short. I thought two really great teams were battling. We didn’t shoot well, I know that. We hit the shot we needed to hit, or we had to hit in overtime. Syd (Parrish) hit the big three that kind of got us going I thought. So excited we got to the free-throw line. That was one of the challenges I gave to our group. There’s so many times that we prep for other teams and we talk about being aggressive, rail drives, as I always tell them putting our ears back, pinning our ears back and attacking downhill and I thought we did a great job. Any time you can get to the free-throw line like we did today and shoot it at such a high percentage, that’s good stuff. I told them there’s different ways you can manufacture points, especially on nights when your shot’s not falling. I thought Yardon (Garzon) at the end and Sara (Scalia). I want to point out those two young ladies. I thought they were really really good defensively for us down the stretch of the fourth and in overtime. Sara rotated over and made a couple really big plays for us. So did Yardon. To keep them not scoring in overtime is a fantastic thing for us. Just really proud of the way we gutted it out. As we say to them all the time, we’re built for these moments. This is when your conditioning in the summer, all those Kevin workouts you do in the summer and all those workouts you do in preseason. This is when it shows up. You just try to outlast people because you’re in great shape. I thought Nebraska seemed a little tired at the end and I didn’t think we looked like that. Great win for us today.”

UP NEXT

The Hoosiers will resume action on Jan. 8 at Northwestern.

*****PURDUE MEN’S BASKETBALL*****

#1 PURDUE OPENS NEW YEAR WITH RUTGERS

GAMEDAY INFO

Monday, January 2, 2023

[1] Purdue (13-0, 2-0) vs. Rutgers (9-4, 1-1)

West Lafayette, Indiana | Mackey Arena (14,876)

TELEVISION: BTN | RADIO: Purdue Sports Network

ANNOUNCERS: Brandon Gaudin, Robbie Hummel

THE NOTES TO KNOW

• Purdue enters the 2023 calendar year with its toughest home game to date when Rutgers visits for a Monday night tip. The game was moved from noon to 7 p.m. ET, to account for the Purdue Football appearance in the Citrus Bowl that kicks off at 1 p.m. ET, in Orlando.

• Purdue enters the contest with a 13-0 record, done just three times in school history (2022-23, 2009-10, 1993-94). A victory will give Purdue a 14-0 start which will match the most wins to start a season without a loss in school history.

• Something to watch against Rutgers — Purdue enters the game with the fifth-best offense analytically according to KenPom. Rutgers enters the contest ranked third in defensive efficiency.

• Purdue is one of the last two unbeaten teams in the country, joined by New Mexico (14-0).

• Purdue’s 30 victories in the 2022 calendar year tied for the most in school history (2010 year — 30-7 record).

• Since the 2016-17 season, Purdue owns the Big Ten’s best record (83-34) by six-and-a-half games over Michigan State (77-41).

• The Boilermakers are 42-8 (.840) since the start of last season, the fifth-most wins in the country in that span (including 23-1 at home).

• Purdue has lost the first game of the calendar year at Mackey Arena in three of the last seven years (2016, 2017, 2022).

• For the second straight year, Purdue has been voted No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll. A year ago, Purdue was voted No. 1 on Dec. 6, for the first time in school history. Purdue becomes the first Big Ten program since Indiana (1974-75, 1975-76) to be ranked No. 1 in consecutive seasons.

• Purdue can claim America’s best resume, owning a nation’s-best four top-50 KenPom wins, all of them against teams ranked in the top 25. Three of the wins (Marquette was at home) have come away from Mackey Arena.

• In addition, Purdue owns a nation’s-best five quad-1 wins in the NCAA Net rankings. Only Arizona (5) and Kansas (4) have even four quad-1 wins.

• Appearing at No. 1 in this week’s AP Top 25, Purdue has been ranked in the top 5 in consecutive years for the first time since the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons. The Boilermakers have spent 17 of the past 27 AP polls ranked in the top 5. Only Gonzaga (22) has spent more time in the top 5 than Purdue since the start of last season. Purdue’s 24 appearances in the top 10 during that span are second behind Kansas (27).

• One year after ranking second in the country in rebound margin, Purdue leads the country in rebound margin (+12.7) this season. The Boilermakers are outscoring their opponents 180 to 76 in second-chance points (13.8 to 5.8 points per game).

• Purdue has made 229 free throws this season, while opponents have shot just 139. Purdue has made 129 more free throws (229 to 100) than its foes this season, the highest discrepancy in the country (Purdue +129, North Carolina +127, New Mexico +111, Denver +112).

• Purdue has held 25 straight opponents to 75 or fewer points, the third-longest streak in the country (North Texas 45, Houston 29).

• Purdue has won 34 straight regular-season games when it faced an unranked opponent at home or on a neutral game.

• Purdue has trailed for just nine minutes and 19 seconds (245 minutes) over its last six games, with the largest margin being two points by both Nebraska and New Orleans.

• Zach Edey ranks No. 1 in the KenPom POY ratings by a significant margin and has been the game MVP in all 12 Purdue contests that he has played in (missed New Orleans game with the flu). It’s the longest game MVP streak in the KenPom era. Edey has 10+ points in 29 straight.

• Perhaps our favorite Zach Edey stat: Through his 12 games this year, he has more blocked shots (26) than personal fouls (21). He has also played 30 minutes nine times this season after not doing it once in his first two seasons. Edey is averaging just 2.3 fouls / 40 minutes.

• Purdue’s freshman class is averaging 29.2 points per game, accounting for 37.8 percent of the Boilermakers’ scoring.

• Matt Painter needs three overall victories to become the fifth coach in Big Ten history with 400 victories while at a conference school (Bob Knight, Tom Izzo, Gene Keady, Lou Henson). He needs four victories to become the seventh coach with 200 Big Ten Conference victories.

******PURDUE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL******

PURDUE OPENS 2023 WITH WIN OVER WISCONSIN

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue women’s basketball team opened 2023 with a 73-61 win over Wisconsin at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers dominated inside to improve to 11-3 on the year and 2-2 in BIg Ten play. 

Lasha Petree, per usual, led the Boilermakers in scoring with 18 points. The fifth-year senior was 5-of-13 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 at the line. Caitlyn Harper and Ava Learn joined Petree in double figures. All 13 of Harper’s points came in the first half, while Learn notched her entire haul in the final 20 minutes. 

The Boilermakers pounded the ball inside all afternoon. Purdue outscored the Badgers (4-11, 0-4) in the paint 40-24, posting its fifth game with 40 or more points in the painted area. 

With the dominant effort inside, Purdue’s defense stymied the Badgers’ offense, forcing 19 turnovers. The Boilermakers tallied 30 of their 73 points off Wisconsin miscues. 

Jeanae Terry tallied five of Purdue’s season-high 16 steals, matching her career high. Madison Layden recorded a season-high four swipes. 

Terry stuffed the stat sheet yet again. The senior finished with seven points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals. 

The Boilermakers started strong, jumping out to a 13-8 lead on 6-of-10 shooting. Harper tallied eight points in the opening 10 minutes as Purdue built up an 11-point lead. 

After Purdue took a 27-12 lead early in the second, Wisconsin responded with a 12-4 run to close the first half. The Boilermakers shot 43.8% from the field in the first half 

Wisconsin battled back in the third quarter to cut the gap down to one with two minutes to play. Ava Learn vaulted the Boilermakers back into a multi-possession lead with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting in just six minutes of action in the frame. 

Purdue’s defense locked in for the fourth quarter, forcing seven Wisconsin turnovers and scoring 14 points off those giveaways. Purdue went 9-of-12 at the line to close out the game.

NOTES

• Purdue leads the all-time series 55-22. 

• With one 3-pointer, Cassidy Hardin moved into a tie with Stephanie White for seventh in Purdue history with 183 triples. 

• Learn finished one point shy of her career high.

• Terry posted her 11th game this season with at least five rebounds and five assists. 

• Terry also dished out her 100th assist on the year in the win. It marked the third time she hit the century in a season in her career. 

• Fueled by Learn’s 12 points, the Boilermaker bench topped Wisconsin 24-6.

UP NEXT

Purdue will be back on the road next Saturday when it travels to Penn State. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. on B1G+. 

*****PURDUE FOOTBALL*****

LSU AWAITS BOILERMAKERS IN CHEEZ-IT CITRUS BOWL

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – After playing in the Big Ten Championship for the first time in program history, the Purdue Boilermakers head south to face LSU in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl. The Big Ten West champs battle the SEC West champs at Camping World Stadium, Jan. 2. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET on ABC.

The Boilermakers and Tigers meet on the gridiron for the first time in history.

BOWL HISTORY

• Purdue is appearing in a bowl game for the 21st time in program history, the fourth over the past six seasons.

• The Boilermakers are 11-9 all-time in bowl games, winning four of their past six including a 48-45 overtime victory over Tennessee in last year’s TransPerfect  Music City Bowl.

• Purdue won the 2021 Music City Bowl despite missing All-Americans David Bell and George Karlaftis, who opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL Draft.

• The matchup is Purdue’s third Orlando bowl game, the first since the 2006 Champs Sports Bowl.

• The Boilermakers are playing in the Citrus Bowl for the second time with the other appearance concluding the 2003 campaign.

• Purdue is facing a ranked team in a bowl game for the eighth time, but its first since the 2004 Sun Bowl (No. 21 Arizona State).

MISSING BOILERS

• Purdue enters the matchup without four Boilermakers who opted out of the game to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft: TE Payne Durham, WR Charlie Jones, QB Aidan O’Connell and CB Cory Trice.

• Jones, a Second Team All-American, led the Big Ten in receptions (110), receiving yards (1,361) and receiving touchdowns (12),cracking the Top 5 nationally in all three categories; his 1,361 receiving yards set a new single-season school record.

• O’Connell, who earned Second Team All-B1G honors, led the conference in passing yards (290.8 per game) and ends his Purdue career with the best career completion percentage in

school history (66.7%).

• Durham earned second team all-conference accolades as one of the top tight ends in the country; he ranked second on the team in receptions (56), receiving yards (560) and receiving TDs (8), ending his Boilermaker career with the second-most touchdowns by a tight end (21).

• Trice, a lockdown corner for the Boilermakers with a team-best 10 pass breakups, also added two interceptions and 34 tackles throughout the season; he earned All-B1G Honorable Mention.

ALL ABOARD THE MOCK TRAIN

• All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (Coaches & Media)

• Don’t underestimate redshirt-freshman Devin Mockobee. The walk-on running back leads the Purdue rushing attack with 920 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

• In regards to freshman running backs throughout Purdue history, Mockobee set the program record for most rushing yards and attempts by a Boilermaker freshman.

• Mockobee has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades twice this season, most recently following last week’s performance at Indiana. After missing most of the Northwestern game due to

injury, the freshman returned to tally 157 all-purpose yards (99 rushing, 58 receiving).

• He has produced four 100-yard games this season, the most ever by a Purdue freshman.

QB1 IN HIS FINAL GAME

• Sixth-year slinger Austin Burton will be Purdue’s QB1 for the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, after Aidan O’Connell elected to prepare for the NFL Draft.

• Burton is in his third season at Purdue following the first three years of his career at UCLA.

• The Citrus Bowl will mark the third career start for Burton. His first start came in 2019 against Oregon State, when he threw for 236 yards for UCLA.

• Burton has started once for Purdue, a 28-26 win over FAU earlier this season.

WELCOME BACK DREW BREES

• Purdue will have a familiar face on the Citrus Bowl sidelines, as former Boilermaker quarterback Drew Brees will serve as an assistant coach.

• Before his 20-year NFL career, Brees was a record-breaking quarterback at Purdue; he remains the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (11,792), completions (1,026) and passing

touchdowns (90).

• He concluded his Purdue career by winning the Maxwell Award (nation’s most outstanding player) and leading the Boilermakers to the Rose Bowl.

• Taking his talents to the NFL, Brees was the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in 12-straight seasons, including an NFL-record five 5,000-yard passing seasons. He was selected 12 times to the Pro Bowl, a Saints record.

• Brees can help the Boilermakers reach nine wins for the second straight season; the last time Purdue had back-to-back nine-win seasons, he was the starting quarterback (1997-98) under

legendary coach Joe Tiller.

PUTTING UP POINTS

• The Boilermakers have proved to be one of the top offenses in college football by putting up points against the nation’s best scoring defenses.

• Against Ryan Walters’ Illinois defense, which led the country by averaging only 12.2 points per game, Purdue scored 31 points in a win; it was the most allowed by the Illini all season long.

• Minnesota surrendered 13.3 ppg to rank fourth nationally, and Purdue became one of three teams to score at least 20 points on the Golden Gophers in a 20-10 victory in Minneapolis.

• In the Big Ten Championship, Purdue marched down the field on six scoring drives, the most scoring drives by a Michigan opponent this season. The No. 2 Wolverines enter the College Football Playoff ranked fifth in scoring defense (13.4 ppg).

A NEW ERA

• Ryan Walters, considered one of the nation’s fastest rising young coaches, has been named the 37th head football coach at Purdue University (Dec. 13).

• In his second season as defensive coordinator for Illinois in 2022, Walters emerged as one of the nation’s best defensive play callers. The Illini posted an 8-4 record, with five wins holding their opponents under seven points and seven wins at 10 points or fewer.

• Along with guiding the Illini defense to Top 10 national rankings in 17 different defensive categories, Walters was named 247Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Year and On3 Coordinator of the Year.

• This past season, Walters guided the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense (12.3) and No. 2 defense in yards allowed per game (263.8).

• Walters elevated Illinois’ defensive unit from the back of the pack into one of the nation’s elite in just two seasons. Following the 2020 season, in which the Fighting Illini ranked 97th nationally in scoring defense (34.9) and 114th in yards allowed per game (466.8), Walters’ first year in Champaign saw his side of the ball rise to 29th (21.9) and 49th (367.0), respectively.

• At 36, Walters becomes one of the youngest head coaches in college football; he has hired Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator and Kevin Kane as defensive coordinator.

******BUTLER MEN’S BASKETBALL*****

TWELVE THREE-POINTERS AND TAYLOR’S CAREER NIGHT LEAD BUTLER TO BIG WIN OVER GEORGETOWN

Butler started off 2023 with a bang, cruising to an 80-51 win over Georgetown Sunday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

The New Year’s Day victory is the first BIG EAST win of the season for the Bulldogs, who improve to 9-6 overall. With the result, Georgetown falls to 5-10 (0-4 BIG EAST).

KEY STAT: Butler made 12 of 26 attempts from three-point range, led by a career-high six makes from Jayden Taylor (6-8).

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

Taylor led the Bulldogs with a career-high 24 points; he shot 9-for-11 from the field, including the six made three-pointers.

Butler shot 50 percent from the field and matched a season-low by committing only five turnovers.

Butler’s defense limited Georgetown to 29-percent shooting.

Butler had 19 assists on 31 made field goals. Eric Hunter Jr. and Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with five assists apiece.

Manny Bates scored 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He added six rebounds and three assists.

Hunter scored 11 points and had a team-high eight rebounds.

Harris was the fourth Bulldog in double figures with 10 points. Ali Ali (eight) and Simas Lukosius (seven) were just shy of the mark.

Akok Akok led Georgetown with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Led by the 24 from Taylor, Butler had a season-high 35 bench points.

HOW IT TRANSPIRED:

Butler took control of the game with a 10-0 run late in the first half that erased Georgetown’s last lead of the game and gave the Bulldogs a 29-21 advantage with 4:25 to play. The first eight points of that run belonged to Taylor.

Butler led 38-30 at the half.

Taylor scored the first five points of the second half to take a 43-30 lead, which was the largest of the night at that point in the game.

By the 12:15 mark of the second half, the lead swelled to 21 for the first time.

OF NOTE:

Over the team’s first three BIG EAST games, Butler combined to shoot 7-for-42 from three-point range before going 12-for-26 Sunday night.

Butler is 7-1 over its last eight road games at Georgetown.

Butler is 9-0 this season when leading at halftime.

Butler is 9-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points.

Butler is 6-0 when outrebounding its opponent this season.

Butler has shot 50 percent or better from the field nine times already this season, winning all nine games.

Including his seasons at Purdue, Hunter now has 995 career points.

Harris is now tied with Brandon Crone for 21st in Butler history in career three-pointers (118).

UP NEXT: The Bulldogs return home to host DePaul Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The 9 p.m. tip will air on CBS Sports Network. Tickets are still available for the game.

*****IUPUI WOMEN’S BASKETBALL*****

JAGS COMPLETE WEEKEND SWEEP WITH WIN OVER WRIGHT STATE, 85-69

INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI women’s basketball team kicked off the new year by completing the Horizon League weekend sweep with a win over Wright State on Sunday afternoon, 85-69. Five Jaguars finished in double figures with Jazmyn Turner leading the way with 20 points.

The Jaguars continued their hot streak behind the three-point line opening the first quarter shooting 62.5 percent (5-for-8) from the arc, taking the 28-21 lead. IUPUI scored 23 points compared to Wright State’s 13 in the second quarter to extend their lead to 51-34 at the half.

Wright State fought back in the second half outscoring the Jags 35-34, but the Jags closed out the win, 85-69.

Five Jaguars scored in double figures with Turner just short of a double-double with 20 points and eight rebounds. Rachel Kent totaled 18 points and seven rebounds going 3-for-7 from the three-point line. Ali Berg added 12 points while Destiny Perkins and Natalie Andersen each totaled 11 points. Perkins and Andersen each brought down five rebounds while Perkins dished out six assists.

IUPUI shot 53.5 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from the behind the arc while holding Wright State to just 18.2 percent from the three-point line. The Jags outrebounded the Raiders 37 to 29.

After completing the #HLWBB sweep, the Jags will next travel to Purdue Fort Wayne on January 4 for a 7:00 PM tip off with the Mastodons.

*****IUPUI MEN’S BASKETBALL*****

JAGUARS TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR AGAINST THE RAIDERS

INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI basketball team will ring in 2023 when the Jaguars host Wright State on Monday, Jan. 2 inside Indiana Farmers Coliseum at 2:00 p.m. The game caps a quick two-game Horizon League homestand for the Jaguars in both teams calendar year opener. The Jaguars are coming off a tough 55-42 loss to Horizon League leader Northern Kentucky inside the Coliseum on New Year’s Eve.

Tickets to Monday’s game are available by clicking here and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+ as Greg Rakestraw (pxp) and IUPUI Hall of Famer Bob Lovell (analyst) call the action.

IUPUI (3-11, 0-3 HL) was severely short-handed heading into Saturday’s game with NKU with four key cogs in the rotation – Jlynn Counter, John Egbuta, Amhad Jarrard and Armon Jarrard – all sidelined with injuries. However, IUPUI fought valiantly behind a team-high 13 points and five rebounds from freshman Vincent Brady II and an unexpected eight points and nine rebounds off the bench from Marlon Taylor. Taylor, who had totaled seven points and eight rebounds in his entire collegiate career prior to Saturday’s game, connected on 4-of-8 shots and played a career-high 26 minutes off the bench.

The Jaguars also received a lift as true freshman DJ Jackson returned after a nearly eight-week hiatus due to injury. Immediately inserted in the starting lineup, Jackson reponded with three points in limited minutes. Sophomore Boston Stanton III finished with seven points and seven rebounds and Chris Osten had four points and a game-high 11 boards. IUPUI won the glass by a 38-30 margin, but turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 23 NKU points.

QUOTABLE

“The effort was there and the energy was there and the intensity was there where it needed to be. We had too many turnovers and that led to them getting some easy buckets, but I’m not disappointed with the effort. Little by little, we need to get some guys back from some injuries and get them incorporated into what we want to do. I was encouraged by today,” head coach Matt Crenshaw said following Saturday’s defeat to NKU.

SCOUTING WRIGHT STATE

Wright State sits at an even .500 on the year at 7-7 overall, but 0-3 to start Horizon League play with losses to Northern Kentucky, Robert Morris and Youngstown State. The Raiders own an early season win over Louisville and are 4-4 away from home this season. Trey Calvin paces the Raiders in scoring at 18.2 points per game and Brandon Noel averages 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Missouri-transfer Amari Davis scores 11.5 points per game and AJ Braun also scores in double-digits at 10.1 points per game. The Raiders shoot 50 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from the three-point line while outrebounding opponents by 2.4 boards per game. The Raiders also own a +2.0 turnover margin per game. However, in three Horizon League games, WSU is shooting just 43.4 percent overall and allowing opponents to shoot 52 percent from the field and nearly 48 percent from three-point range.

UP NEXT

IUPUI will hit the road to face off with Youngstown State on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN+.

*****NOTRE DAME HOCKEY*****

IRISH CELEBRATE NEW YEAR WITH SHUTOUT

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame hockey program opened 2023 with a 2-0 victory over Alaska Sunday night to register the weekend split against the Nanooks. After dropping a nail-biter on night one, the Irish bounced back to blank the Nanooks in game two as Ryan Bischel recorded his nation-leading fourth shutout of the season.

Just over two minutes into the game the Irish were whistled for a board and saw their penalty kill unit get its first test of the night. After successfully killing the Nanooks’ man-advantage, the Irish peppered the Alaska end with multiple shots on net but were unable to break Matt Madomsky in goal.

The Irish finally broke through at 14:17 of the opening stanza when Drew Bavaro shot a laser on net for the 1-0 lead.

Through 20 minutes of play, the Irish defense had surrendered  just four shots on goal while their offensive efforts had sent 10 pucks at the Alaska net, finding twine once.

Both sides were whistled for infractions in the second period but the netminders stood tall in goal, not allowing any shots to sneak past on either end. After two periods, the Irish continued to cling to their one-goal lead following Bavaro’s tally in the first.

The Irish and Nanooks continued to battle through the final period of regulation, with Notre Dame holding the narrow edge in shots on goal that period, 12-10.

With the Nanooks’ net empty late in the third frame, Trevor Janicke scored his fourth goal of the season,  to seal the Irish victory and complete the weekend split. The senior picked up a cross-ice pass from Nick Leivermann before skating it across the blue line and finding the back of the net.

Ryan Bischel finished the Sunday night contest with 25 saves between the pipes to pick up his fourth shutout of the season, a nation’s best.

GOALS

Niko Jovanovic intercepted a clearing attempt along the boards in the offensive end before sending the puck over to an open Drew Bavaro skating across the slot. The junior defenseman found an open lane atop the far circle and fired a shot off and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

With an empty net on the opposite end of the ice, Notre Dame found itself battling inside its defensive zone. Trevor Janicke blocked the initial Alaska shot but the Nanooks gathered the rebound and attempted to regroup. An outstretched Nick Leivermann picked off the pass attempt by the opposition inside the slot and skated up to his own blueline before finding T. Janicke in the neutral zone who skated the puck into the offensive end before firing a shot into the open net for the 2-0 tally.

KEY STATS

With the shutout Sunday, Ryan Bischel is now tied for a nation’s-best four shutouts, and boasts six career blankings.

Niko Jovanovich picked up his second career assist in as many games played with the lone assist on Drew Bavaro’s game-winner.

The Irish completed the weekend with a perfect penalty kill unit, stopping all seven Nanook opportunities on the man-advantage.

Notre Dame boasted 29 shots on goal to Alaska’s 25 in Sunday night’s victory, with five individuals tied for a team-high three shots.

On the defensive side of the puck, the Irish jumped in front of 15 shots to keep pucks off net. Ryan Helliwell boasted a team-best four blocked shots in the contest.

UP NEXT

The Irish return to Big Ten action next weekend with a trip to Wisconsin, Jan. 6-7.

The team then hosts Minnesota to conclude the regular season series with the Gophers. Puck drop for Friday, Jan. 13, has been moved up to 7 p.m.

*****NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S BASKETBALL*****

EAGLES VISIT NO. 5 IRISH TO KICK OFF NEW YEAR

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — No. 5 Notre Dame (11-1, 2-0) has survived a couple of close calls on the road in its first two ACC games, but now it’s time to play host. Longtime rival Boston College (11-4, 1-1) will visit the fifth-ranked Irish on Sunday to ring in 2023.

The Irish are riding a five-game win streak, one which includes wins over ranked UConn and Virginia Tech teams. Guard Olivia Miles continues to be the eye-popping star at the center of the offense, but a whole cast of characters has contributed to Notre Dame’s first top-five ranking since 2019.

Junior Maddy Westbeld has led the Irish in scoring the last two times out, posting 23 points against Western Michigan on Dec. 21 and 15 against Miami on Thursday. She also grabbed 11 rebounds against the Hurricanes, notching her first double-double of the year and the sixth of her three-season Irish tenure.

“She’s in great shape, assertive and confident,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey said earlier this week. “Since UConn, she’s really finding her spots. She’s playing really well on both sides of the ball.”

The new blood is an exciting watch for Irish fans as well. Freshman KK Bransford is tied for second in the conference in points per game amongst freshmen bench players (7.2), and early enrollee Cassandre Prosper made her first appearance for the Irish against Miami. In just three minutes of play, the 6-2 guard out of Montreal, Quebec had a defensive rebound and a block.

On the topic of freshmen, Boston College has one of the best in the ACC. Rookie Taina Mair is averaging 10.3 points and 7.3 assists each time she takes the court. She is one of two players in the conference posting at least 7.0 assists per game. The other is Miles.

Guard Dontavia Waggoner is Boston College’s leader in points (13.3), rebounds (7.1) and steals (3.3). Not unlike Notre Dame, the Eagles have an incredibly balanced offense; six players are averaging double-digit points.

Where the teams greatly differ is in overall roster makeup. Mair is one of five freshmen on the team, making up one of the nation’s youngest rosters. Boston College is one of two Power Five teams (Utah) with zero seniors or fifth-year players. Ivey and Co., will look to exploit that weakness with a more veteran group.

Notre Dame is 26-9 all-time against Boston College and 16-1 at home. The teams split their two games last year, with the Irish winning the last meeting 74-61 on Jan. 30, 2022. Sunday’s game tips off at Purcell Pavilion at noon ET and will be televised on the ACC Network.

*****INDIANA STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL*****

MCKNIGHT NOTCHES DOUBLE-DOUBLE AS SYCAMORES OPEN 2023 WITH WIN AT VALPO

VALPARAISO, Ind. – The Indiana State Sycamores opened the 2023 calendar year with a 68-50 win against Valparaiso Sunday afternoon on the road behind a double-double effort from Cade McKnight. With the win, the Sycamores remain unbeaten in Valley play, sitting atop the league standings at 4-0.

McKnight posted a Sycamore career-high 13 points and 11 rebounds en route to Indiana’s State’s second straight double-digit Valley win.

After starting the game off on a 6-0 run, the Sycamores (11-4, 4-0 MVC) did not trail the Beacons (6-9, 0-4 MVC) at any point in the game. Indiana State went on its biggest run of the day in the second half, scoring 13 straight points for a game-high 22-point lead at 16:38 in the frame.

Valpo fans carry a tradition of not sitting down until the first basket for their team, and the Sycamores kept them standing for a while as the Beacons started out 0-of-4 from the field and did not score until 17:29. Valpo would go on to tie things up at 6-6, but Courvoisier McCauley answered with a triple to keep his 3-pointer streak alive early.

McKnight grabbed an offensive board and fed it to Kent for a layup and then Kent hit another layup to put the Sycamores up 19-13 halfway through the first frame. A minute later, Cooper Neese nailed all three of his free throws in one trip to the line. Zach Hobbs pushed ISU’s lead back to seven points with a trey at 8:04, making it 25-18 in favor of ISU.

Valpo cut its deficit to three points with 6:10 to go in the first half, but Indiana State responded with an 8-0 run to go back up by 11 at 2:27. McKnight pulled in a defensive rebound and went down to knock down a triple with 56 second left in the half to send Indiana State into halftime with a 36-24 lead.

That McKnight triple in the last minute of the first half would go on to spark a 13-0 run that ran over into the second half and was capped by back-to-back McCauley triples for a 46-24 lead at 16:38. Meanwhile, from 6:23 in the first half to 15:43 in the second, the Beacons shot 0-of-15 from the field.

Valpo would knock down five straight free throws to start closing in on its deficit and later came as close as 12 points of the Sycamores at 60-48 with 3:01 remaining, but McKnight ripped away an offensive rebound and drew an and-1 on the putback, completing the three-point play to put the Sycamores back up by 15 points. Cooper Neese closed things out with a pair of free throws and a triple in the last 1:13.

Inside the Numbers

The Sycamores shot 50 percent from the field for the seventh time this season while Valpo shot just 29.5 percent. ISU is 10-2 this season when shooting better than 40 percent and 8-2 when outshooting its opponent.

Indiana State hauled in 40 rebounds for just the third time this season and first time against a Division I opponent in regulation this year. The Beacons had just 32 rebounds, and when outrebounding their opponent, the Sycamores are 7-1 this season.

The Sycamores had 12 assists on 15 buckets in the first half and finished the day with 16 assists.

Before Sunday’s game, the Sycamores were 0-2 when scoring less than 70 points in a game.

ISU shot 6-of-21 from three in the game, marking the 14th time out of 15 games the Sycamores have hit six or more triples in a game. ISU is 10-4 when making six or more threes.

The Sycamores committed 11 turnovers compared to Valpo’s eight but allowed just nine points off those turnovers.

ISU outscored the Beacons in the paint 42-20 in the game.

News & Notes

With the win, Indiana State continues its best start in Valley play since 2014-15 when the Sycamores started off 5-0.

A first-year Sycamore and transfer from Truman State, Cade McKnight posted his sixth collegiate double-double and first in a Sycamore uniform with an Indiana State career-high 13 points and 11 rebounds. It was Indiana State’s first double-double since Cameron Henry’s at Southern Illinois Dec. 7.

Cooper Neese led the Sycamores with 16 points in the game, pushing his double-digit scoring streak to four games. He shot 5-of-5 from the charity stripe and has not missed a free throw since the second half against Northern Illinois on Dec. 22.

With 13 points in the game, Courvoisier McCauley extended his double-digit scoring streak to eight games and made it three straight games with three triples. He has connected for at least one 3-pointer in each game this season and has hit three or more in nine games this season.

Julian Larry made his second straight start and posted 11 points for back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts. He also tied his career-high of six assists.

Up Next

The Sycamores continue on the road with a trip to Normall, Ill. Wednesday, Jan. 4 to face Illinois State at 8 p.m. ET.

*****EVANSVILLE MEN’S BASKETBALL*****

ACES UNABLE TO OVERCOME ROUGH START AGAINST RACERS

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Opening the game on a 23-1 run, Murray State fended off a second-half challenge to defeat the University of Evansville men’s basketball team by a score of 78-61 on Sunday afternoon inside the Ford Center.

Box Score

Leading the way for UE was Marvin Coleman II.  He scored 13 points on the way to his fourth double-figure scoring effort in the last five games.  For the second game in a row, Gabe Spinelli set his career scoring mark.  After recording 10 on Thursday at Indiana State, Spinelli tallied 12 against the Racers.  Yacine Toumi and Antoine Smith Jr. recorded 11 apiece.

“We have to be ready – this is the Missouri Valley Conference.  It is competitive and physical,” Aces head coach David Ragland said.  “They (Murray State) were more aggressive and committed to getting defensive steps at the start.  We responded better after 10 minutes but you cannot spot that many points to a good team like Murray State.”

Five Racers scored in double figures with Justin Morgan leading the way with 15 points.  Jamari Smith and Rob Perry scored 14 each.  Perry hauled in a game-high eight boards.

Another rough start for the Purple Aces saw them fall behind by a 15-0 score.  Murray State hit 7 of their first 10 field goal attempts.  Evansville scored its first point at the 14:04 mark when Antoine Smith Jr. hit a free throw to halt a 23-1 start by MSU.  Following five more Racer points, UE ended an 0-9 start to the day when Antoine Smith Jr. hit a layup.  Smith hit another basket with 11 minutes left in the half to make it a 25-6 game.

Evansville’s defense improved at that time, forcing eight consecutive misses by the Racers.  Unfortunately, the offense could not get close the gap before MSU got rolling once again.  With five minutes remaining in the half, the Racers took their largest lead at 34-9.  UE closed in the final minutes as Sekou Kalle and Yacine Toumi converted 3-point plays before Marvin Coleman II hit a triple to complete the first half.  His shot cut the deficit to 41-21 at the break.

Kenny Strawbridge Jr. and Smith connected on triples in the opening minutes of the second half with the Aces cutting the gap to 14 points (49-35) as the 15-minute mark.  Unfortunately, Murray State countered with a 12-3 run as they would push the lead back out to 23 points.

Despite the deficit, the Aces continued to battle back.  Inside of the 3-minute mark, a pair of free throws by Toumi made it a 71-59 game.  His points capped off a 19-8 stretch.  UE was unable to get closer as MSU completed the game with a 78-61 win.  The Racers finished the game shooting 47.5% with UE wrapping the day up at 39.2%.  With 36 rebounds, Murray State won that battle by five.

With his 12-point game, Spinelli set his career-high for the second game in a row.  After opening the season with a total of seven points in the first six games, he has averaged 6.4 points over the last nine outings.

“Coach Ragland has helped me a lot and the game is slowing down for me a little bit,” Spinelli explained after the game.  “At the end of the day, I want to be there in any way that the team needs me in order to get some wins.”

Next up for UE is a trip to Missouri State for a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday evening.

*****VALPO WOMEN’S BASKETBALL*****

MURRAY STATE PULLS AWAY LATE FROM WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SUNDAY

Facing a road test against a Murray State team which entered the day with the best overall record in the Valley at 8-2, the Valpo women’s basketball team acquitted itself well, sticking with the Racers through three quarters before the hosts pulled away in the fourth period for a 67-48 victory.

How It Happened

Fifth-year Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) put the Beacons on top with an early 3-pointer before Murray State scored seven in a row to take the lead, what turned out to be for good. Despite not ever regaining the edge, Valpo continued to keep the pressure on the Racers.

Murray State pulled out to a 15-6 lead with just over three minutes to play in the opening period, but senior Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [Saint Bonaventure]) converted a layup and freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison) hit a triple on Valpo’s next trip to cut five points off the deficit. The Racers eventually led 17-11 at the end of the first.

Junior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) and sophomore Olivia Sims (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy [Oakland]) scored on Valpo’s first two possessions of the second quarter to make it a 17-15 game — the first of four times in the second period the Beacons made it a one-trip game. All four times, however, Murray State was able to push its lead back to multiple possessions before Valpo could level the score.

Junior Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) connected on a 3-pointer in the final minute of the half to bring the Beacons within 32-28 at halftime.

Earnest hit from in close on Valpo’s first possession of the second half to make it a two-point game, but Murray State came back with eight in a row as the Beacons went scoreless for nearly four minutes as the deficit grew to 40-30.

Valpo refused to go away, though, going on an 11-2 run to get back to within one. Brown had five points and Earnest four during the stretch, and when Saunders connected on two free throws with 1:51 to play in the period, the Beacons had clawed nearly all the way back, closing to 42-41.

After the teams traded baskets, Murray State hit the final bucket of the quarter to make it a 46-43 game with 10 minutes to play.

That proved to be Valpo’s last push, however, as the Beacons went without a field goal over the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter and the Racers pulled away for the final score.

Inside the Game

Sunday’s game was Valpo’s second consecutive road game against a top-100 NET team to open up the MVC schedule.

While the Racers shot at a 50% clip for the game, the second-best mark by a Valpo opponent this season, the Beacons forced a total of 16 MSU turnovers, 9 of which were steals — both just one off the respective season bests.

Valpo was limited to 34.6% shooting for the game, but was at 42.1% through three quarters to be within three points with 10 minutes to play.

A relatively clean game, Valpo attempted just nine free throws — a season low — and sent MSU to the stripe just 10 times — the lowest for a Valpo opponent this season.

Brown paced the Beacons for a second straight game, knocking down three 3-pointes on her way to 15 points. The senior is averaging 15.5 points/game over her last four outings after averaging just 5.3 points/game in the previous three games.

Brown was the lone Valpo player in double figures on Sunday, as Earnest was next-best with eight points. The junior grabbed 10 rebounds as well, her fifth double-digit effort on the glass this season.

Sims came off the bench to add seven points, while Interrante hit a pair of triples for six points and pulled down a career-best five rebounds.

Thoughts From Coach Evans

“I thought we handled our extended break pretty well. The players got back after Christmas and scrimmaged, and I was pleasantly surprised with our conditioning level — I thought it was good considering the break. Against Belmont, we came out and didn’t show a ton of rust. We executed pretty well in the first half of that game, but lost our way a bit in the second half. We followed up today with three well-executed quarters on both ends of the floor against Murray State, especially on the defensive side. We lost our discipline to our game plan in the fourth quarter, allowing easier buckets for them, and then our shots just weren’t falling.”

“This is one of our longer trips, and it’s nice to have it in the break period where we’re not missing school and dealing with classes. It’s definitely a challenging trip with really talented teams — Belmont was almost a Sweet Sixteen team last year, and Murray State is a very talented team which is well-coached and well-disciplined. Every game in the Valley is going to be a challenge for our young team, and we have to take these opportunities and learn and grow. We saw a good amount of growth in our team this weekend — now we just have to continue to work through and figure out the stretches where we have breakdowns which let our opponents pull away in the game.”

“Ava is playing with a lot of confidence right now. She shows up and works every day, brings a great work ethic to practice and in her work outside practice to get better. She understands what we’re trying to do and she’s playing within herself, trusting her instincts.”

Next Up

Valpo (2-8, 0-2 MVC) comes home for the first time in nearly a month as the Beacons host Evansville at the ARC on Thursday, Jan. 5. The game tips at 6 p.m. and can be seen live on ESPN+.

SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETIC SITES:

INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/

EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/

WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/

FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/

ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/

ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index

TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index

BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/

DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/

HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/

MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/

HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/

OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx

ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index

IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/

IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/

IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/

PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/

INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx

GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/

ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/

GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/

HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php

TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/

VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index

SPORTS EXTRA

****NFL STANDINGS****

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
 WLTPCTGBPFPAHOMEROADVS. CONFVS. DIVSTREAK
XY-KANSAS CITY CHIEFS1330.8130.04653567 – 1 – 06 – 2 – 08 – 3 – 05 – 0 – 04 W
XY-BUFFALO BILLS1230.8000.04202636 – 1 – 06 – 2 – 08 – 2 – 03 – 2 – 06 W
X-CINCINNATI BENGALS1140.7330.03913065 – 1 – 06 – 3 – 07 – 3 – 02 – 3 – 07 W
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS880.5000.03843344 – 3 – 04 – 5 – 07 – 4 – 03 – 2 – 04 W
X-LOS ANGELES CHARGERS1060.6250.03633535 – 3 – 05 – 3 – 07 – 4 – 02 – 3 – 04 W
X-BALTIMORE RAVENS1060.6250.03342885 – 3 – 05 – 3 – 06 – 5 – 03 – 2 – 01 L
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS880.5000.03413124 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 06 – 5 – 03 – 2 – 01 W
MIAMI DOLPHINS880.5002.03863935 – 2 – 03 – 6 – 06 – 5 – 02 – 3 – 05 L
PITTSBURGH STEELERS880.5002.02803323 – 4 – 05 – 4 – 04 – 7 – 02 – 3 – 03 W
NEW YORK JETS790.4383.02903053 – 5 – 04 – 4 – 05 – 6 – 02 – 3 – 05 L
TENNESSEE TITANS790.4383.02823393 – 5 – 04 – 4 – 05 – 6 – 03 – 2 – 06 L
CLEVELAND BROWNS790.4383.03473534 – 4 – 03 – 5 – 04 – 7 – 03 – 2 – 01 W
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS6100.3754.03823874 – 3 – 02 – 7 – 05 – 6 – 03 – 2 – 02 L
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS4111.2815.52583952 – 5 – 02 – 6 – 14 – 6 – 11 – 3 – 16 L
DENVER BRONCOS4120.2506.02563313 – 4 – 01 – 8 – 02 – 9 – 00 – 5 – 02 L
HOUSTON TEXANS2131.1567.52573890 – 7 – 12 – 6 – 02 – 8 – 12 – 2 – 11 L
 
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
 WLTPCTGBPFPAHOMEROADVS. CONFVS. DIVSTREAK
X-PHILADELPHIA EAGLES1330.8130.04553286 – 2 – 07 – 1 – 08 – 3 – 03 – 2 – 02 L
XY-SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS1240.7500.04122647 – 1 – 05 – 3 – 09 – 2 – 05 – 0 – 09 W
XY-MINNESOTA VIKINGS1240.7500.03954148 – 1 – 04 – 3 – 07 – 4 – 03 – 2 – 01 L
XY-TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS880.5000.02963285 – 4 – 03 – 4 – 08 – 3 – 04 – 1 – 02 W
X-DALLAS COWBOYS1240.7500.04613168 – 1 – 04 – 3 – 08 – 3 – 04 – 1 – 02 W
X-NEW YORK GIANTS961.5940.03493495 – 3 – 14 – 3 – 04 – 6 – 11 – 3 – 11 W
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS880.5000.03883854 – 4 – 04 – 4 – 05 – 6 – 03 – 2 – 01 W
DETROIT LIONS880.5001.54334115 – 4 – 03 – 4 – 06 – 5 – 04 – 1 – 01 W
GREEN BAY PACKERS880.5001.53543515 – 3 – 03 – 5 – 06 – 5 – 03 – 2 – 04 W
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS781.4692.02953373 – 5 – 04 – 3 – 14 – 6 – 11 – 3 – 13 L
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS790.4382.53233354 – 4 – 03 – 5 – 05 – 6 – 02 – 3 – 03 W
CAROLINA PANTHERS6100.3753.53373675 – 4 – 01 – 6 – 05 – 6 – 03 – 2 – 01 L
ATLANTA FALCONS6100.3753.53353695 – 3 – 01 – 7 – 05 – 6 – 01 – 4 – 01 W
LOS ANGELES RAMS5110.3134.52913654 – 5 – 01 – 6 – 03 – 8 – 01 – 4 – 01 L
ARIZONA CARDINALS4120.2505.53274111 – 8 – 03 – 4 – 03 – 8 – 01 – 4 – 06 L
CHICAGO BEARS3130.1886.53134342 – 6 – 01 – 7 – 01 – 10 – 00 – 5 – 09 L

****NBA STANDINGS****

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
BOSTON2611.70315-511-64-015-85-51 L
BROOKLYN2412.6671.512-512-75-219-610-011 W
MILWAUKEE2313.6392.515-48-94-311-94-61 L
CLEVELAND2314.6223.016-47-106-316-86-41 W
PHILADELPHIA2114.6004.014-57-94-314-98-21 W
INDIANA2017.5416.012-78-102-214-86-43 W
MIAMI1918.5147.011-87-105-18-117-31 W
NEW YORK1918.5147.08-1011-81-412-95-51 W
ATLANTA1719.4728.511-86-114-313-144-63 L
10 WASHINGTON1721.4479.510-77-144-310-136-45 W
11 CHICAGO1620.4449.59-97-114-214-105-51 L
12 TORONTO1620.4449.511-85-122-711-133-71 W
13 ORLANDO1324.35113.09-114-132-57-186-43 L
14 CHARLOTTE1027.27016.05-125-153-64-183-71 L
15 DETROIT1029.25617.05-135-160-64-183-71 W
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
DENVER2412.66714-310-97-218-88-22 W
MEMPHIS2313.6391.015-38-104-211-106-43 W
NEW ORLEANS2313.6391.016-47-96-215-95-51 L
DALLAS2116.5683.515-56-114-215-67-36 W
LA CLIPPERS2117.5534.011-710-103-411-116-42 L
SACRAMENTO1916.5434.511-78-94-48-85-51 L
PHOENIX2017.5414.514-56-127-017-104-62 L
PORTLAND1817.5145.58-610-114-513-125-51 L
GOLDEN STATE1918.5145.516-23-164-312-85-54 W
10 UTAH1920.4876.512-67-143-415-124-64 L
11 MINNESOTA1621.4328.59-97-124-49-133-76 L
12 OKLAHOMA CITY1521.4179.010-95-123-69-124-62 L
13 LA LAKERS1521.4179.08-87-130-77-134-61 W
14 SAN ANTONIO1224.33312.07-125-112-55-204-61 L
15 HOUSTON1026.27814.06-114-151-65-182-83 L

****NHL STANDINGS****

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
BOSTON BRUINS36284460261388218-0-310-4-17-0-3
CAROLINA HURRICANES37256656221189412-3-113-3-510-0-0
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS37238652231259413-2-310-6-37-3-0
NEW JERSEY DEVILS372311349231249710-9-213-2-12-6-2
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING3523111472212610215-4-18-7-08-2-0
WASHINGTON CAPITALS3921135472112710812-5-29-8-38-1-1
NEW YORK RANGERS382012646191221058-7-412-5-27-2-1
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS3619116441812110910-4-49-7-25-3-2
NEW YORK ISLANDERS3821152442112010412-6-09-9-24-4-2
10 DETROIT RED WINGS351612739151101179-6-37-6-43-5-2
11 BUFFALO SABRES351815238171381188-8-210-7-07-2-1
12 OTTAWA SENATORS3717173371611211610-8-17-9-26-3-1
13 FLORIDA PANTHERS381618436151241319-6-37-12-13-7-0
14 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS37131773313981247-9-16-8-64-4-2
15 MONTREAL CANADIENS371519333111001387-9-08-10-32-7-1
16 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS35112222411941389-11-12-11-13-7-0
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
DALLAS STARS382396522313710411-4-312-5-37-2-1
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS3925122522213111111-9-014-3-25-4-1
LOS ANGELES KINGS4021136481713213811-6-210-7-46-2-2
WINNIPEG JETS372313147231189513-6-010-7-15-5-0
MINNESOTA WILD3621132441811610211-7-110-6-18-2-0
CALGARY FLAMES3818137431711711511-7-27-6-55-2-3
SEATTLE KRAKEN3519124421912111510-8-29-4-24-5-1
EDMONTON OILERS382016242201361279-10-111-6-14-4-2
COLORADO AVALANCHE351913341161051019-6-310-7-06-3-1
10 ST. LOUIS BLUES371717337151141357-8-210-9-15-2-3
11 NASHVILLE PREDATORS35151463613941078-6-37-8-33-3-4
12 VANCOUVER CANUCKS361617335141241387-9-19-8-25-5-0
13 ARIZONA COYOTES351317531121021287-3-26-14-35-4-1
14 SAN JOSE SHARKS391220731111201464-10-68-10-14-4-2
15 ANAHEIM DUCKS3710234247871546-9-14-14-33-6-1
16 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS368244208791375-13-23-11-21-9-0

FOOTBALL HISTORY

January 2, 1922 -Tournament Park, Pasadena, California -The 8th Rose Bowl game had a small college from Pennsylvania, Washington and Jefferson against the University of California. The WashJeff.edu internet page shares an interesting tale of the game. The Golden Bears were the top team on the West Coast and W&J were undefeated in 1921 and the best team on the East side of the nation. The Bears though were a heavy favorite, 14 points was the reported spread on the contest as W&J with a mere 450 students was the smallest school to ever participate in a Rose Bowl game. It is an interesting billing right there with the best of the East versus West theme but the story of the Presidents trek to Pasadena is where we want to dive into. During the undefeated season of W&J football their roster of 17 young men showed that only 11 of them participated on game days. Yes it is hard for us to fathom in this era of gridiron platooning and specialists but the Presidents had 11 fellas that just stayed on the field and balled out on every snap. The coach of this western PA group was the legendary Greasy Neale who was both a great player and coach not only on the gridiron but on the baseball diamond too. From a football perspective Greasy would go on to lead the Philadelphia Eagles teams of the 1940’s from the sidelines. The football budget for Washington and Jefferson in 1921 was extremely tight, in fact they only had enough dough to send 11 players to the Rose Bowl. The athletic administrator of the school himself reportedly had to mortgage his home to be able to attend the game. A major issue would occur on the team’s cross country travel, one of the eleven players on the trip C.L. Spillers contracted pneumonia and had to be left in Kansas City. W&J now faced the threat of not having enough players to field a full squad in the Bowl game! Author E. Lee North’s narrative titled, “Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions … The Story of Washington & Jefferson College’s First Century of Football, 1890-1990,” says that one of the reserve players Bucky Buchanan had stowed away on the train and that he was given Spiller’s ticket when it was found that he could not continue on the journey. Another story from the December 28, 1921 New York Tribune says that the team wired home to have another reserve, Al Haddon sent to take Spiller’s place. The evidence of Buchanan being in the Pasadena team photos and not Haddon gives some credence to the stowe away story, plus it makes the whole thing more legendary and nostalgic. Any way the Presidents made it to Pasadena and fielded eleven to play in what would be the final game at Tournament Park. W&J ‘s Quarterback Charles West gave the game another breakthrough moment as he became the first signal caller of African-American descent to play in the Grand Daddy of them All. The game was a defensive battle throughout. Cal’s offense could muster only 49 yards on the ground and did not complete even one pass! The Presidents did not fare much better as their 114 yards rushing was about it for offense stats. In the end Washington & Jefferson and Cal tied, 0-0 in the only scoreless Rose Bowl game ever. W&J’s team captain Russ Stein, was voted as the game’s Most Outstanding Player and he went on to play for the NFL and was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1991.

5 QUICK GRIDIRON HEADLINES FROM ONTHISDAY.COM

January 2, 1928 – It was a close one in the 14th Rose Bowl when the Stanford Cardinal outlasted the Pittsburgh Panthers by the score of 7-6.

January 2, 1956 – Sugar Bowl – Pitt’s Bobby Grier was a racial trailblazer as he became the first African American player, to break the color barrier in the segregated Deep South.

January 2, 1956 – The 22nd Orange Bowl was a battle of highly ranked teams. In the contest the #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners got past the #3 Maryland Terrapins 20-6.

January 2, 1961 – Rose Bowl , Pasadena, California – In a slight upset the #6 Washington Huskies knocked off the top ranked team in the country, the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, 17-7.

January 2, 1965 – The New York Jets signed future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath to a record contract in professional football. It sounds small by today’s standards but Namath and the Jets agreed to a $427,000 contract over three years.

January 2, 1966 – Lambeau Field, Green Bay – The Cleveland Browns made their way to Wisconsin to battle the Packers in the final National Football League Championship Game before the Super Bowls started. This 1965 NFL Championship game was the first League title game broadcast in televised color. The teams exchanged passing TDs in the first quarter according to the boxscore on the Pro-Football-Reference website. The Browns could only muster two Lou Groza field goals the rest of the game while the Pack added a Paul Hornung touchdown run and three Don Chandler 3 pointers to steal the title. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns 23-12 in this last championship game of the Pre Super Bowl Era of Pro football.

January 2, 1972 – Miami’s Orange Bowl – The 1971 AFC Championship game matched the Baltimore Colts up against the Miami Dolphins per Pro-Football-Reference.com. The Dolphins showed the League a little of what was to come as they beat Baltimore Colts, 21-0 as Paul Warfield and Larry Csonka scored offensive TDs for the Fins while defender Dick Anderson added a 62 yard pick six for good measure.

Some Great Onthisday.com Quick hitter headlines

January 2, 1982 – “The Epic in Miami”, in 85 degree heat (Fahrenheit), the San Diego Chargers defeat the Miami Dolphins 41-38 in overtime in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game, a game that set numerous playoff scoring records

January 2, 1983 – In a 35-27 win over the Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson completes 20 consecutive passes and finishes the season winning his second consecutive passing title with an NFL record 70.55% completion percentage

January 2, 1984 – 50th Orange Bowl: #5 Miami (FL) beats #1 Nebraska, 31-30

January 2, 1987 – 16th Fiesta Bowl: #2 Penn State beats #1 Miami, 14-10

January 2, 1989 – 18th Fiesta Bowl: #1 Notre Dame beats #3 West Virginia, 34-21 for the national title

January 2, 2012 – A very exciting and high scoring Fiesta Bowl was witnessed. As two top 5 teams squared off with #3 Oklahoma State matched up against #4 Stanford as covered by an ESPN.com article. Ok State signal caller Brandon Weeden threw for 399 yards and 3 touchdowns matched his stats against Cardinal Andrew Luck who tossed for 2 TDs and 347 yards himself. The contest lived up to its billing as the Cowboys prevailed in overtime over the Cardinal 41-38.

HOF BIRTHDAYS

January 2, 1912 – Canton, Illinois – Illinois Wesleyan’s great Tackle, Tony Blazine arrived into the world. The NFF tells of how Tony was a four year letterman at his school as they had a winning record in an era when they faced teams like Michigan State,Depaul and Kentucky. Tony Blazine was accepted posthumously into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. Blazine played 8 seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Cardinals and the New York Giants. He then served as assistant coach at the University of Illinois and the University of Washington.

January 2, 1927 – Smithers, West Virginia – The standout defensive end from the University of San Francisco Gino Marchetti was born. According to the Pro Football HOF site Marchetti was the New York Yanks number 2 pick in the 1952 Draft. The Yanks soon after became the Dallas Texans for a season and then turned into the Baltimore Colts. He was a feared defender as he went to 11 straight Pro Bowls and was an All-NFL selection in an unbelievable nine different seasons of his 14 year NFL career! Gino was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.

January 2, 1930 -Cumberland, Maryland – Bobby Williams the fine quarterback from the University of Notre Dame was born. Williams as a nineteen year old according to the NFF quarterbacked the 1949 Notre Dame team to ten straight victories with a 56 percent completion rate and the national championship. Bobby’s best performance of the magical 1949 season came against Michigan State when he had a 50 yard punt that went out of bounds at the four, and ran 40 yards for a touchdown on a bootleg and went 13 of 16 on some timely passing! Bob Williams was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame by Football Foundation voters in 1988.

January 2, 1959 – Sacramento, California – Stanford running back Darrin Nelson celebrates his day of birth. Darrin was a trend setter in college football as he became the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and catch more than 50 passes in one season per the NFF’s bio on him. Darrin Nelson didn’t just do this one time though, he would accomplish the feat three times during his standout career as a Cardinal! Nelson would finish his collegiate career as the NCAA leader for all-purpose yards, which remains a school record at 6,885. There was little doubt when the National Football Foundation selected Darrin Nelson into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

January 2, 1964 – Boston, Mass. – Plymouth State University’s great halfback Joe Dudek arrived on the scene. Plymouth State may be only a Division III school but in 1985 Dudek gave them national attention according to the footballfoundation.org website story on Joe when his face was smack dab on the cover of the December 2, 1985 Sports Illustrated Magazine! Joe’s impact on college football was pretty big as he received the highest vote ranking for a Division III player in Heisman history when he was ninth in 1985. Dudek in his college career earned the Division III All-America honor three times as he rushed and gained 5570 career yards for an average of 7.1 per play and scored 79 touchdowns. Joe Dudek made his grand entrance into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

BASEBALL HISTORY

1879       The Northwestern League, considered the first minor league circuit in baseball history, is organized in Rockford (IL). The fledgling organization, which includes teams from Davenport, Omaha, Dubuque, and Rockford, will be defunct before the season ends as a result of lacking a fixed schedule and paying the players more than their counterparts rival National League.

1912       Charles Ebbets announces the purchase of 4.5 acres of land in the Pigtown section of Brooklyn to build an 18,000-seat concrete and steel stadium. The team’s new ballpark location, which will be the Dodgers’ home until 1957, is presently a neighborhood that consists of deplorable housing with piles of garbage strewed everywhere.

1918       In a deal that includes two future Hall of Famers, the Dodgers trade outfielder Casey Stengel and infielder George Cutshaw to the Pirates for pitchers Burleigh Grimes, Al Mamaux, and infielder Chuck Ward. Grimes, known as Ol’ Stubblebeard, and Stengel, dubbed The Old Perfessor, will be enshrined in Cooperstown.

1946       The Senators sell right-hander Alex Carrasquel and shortstop Fred Vaughn to the White Sox. The 33-year-old Caracas, Venezuela native rejects the deal and signs a three-year contract to hurl in Jorge Pasquel’s Mexican League, becoming the first major leaguer to jump to a team south of the border.

1977       Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspends Ted Turner for one year due to tampering while trying to obtain free-agent outfielder Gary Matthews, who signed a five-year, $1.875 deal with the team in November. The Braves owner, an accomplished sailor, uses his free time to pursue another goal, winning this year’s America’s Cup, which he will accomplish in September.

1986       Former owner of the Browns, White Sox, and Indians Bill Veeck, well-known for his promotions and innovative ideas, dies of cardiac arrest in Chicago. Some of the Hall of Famer creative ideas included pinch-hitting a little person, an exploding scoreboard, and putting players’ names on the back of their uniforms, in addition to breaking the color barrier in the American League, signing Larry Doby in 1947 to play for Cleveland.

1992       The Red Sox sign Mets’ free agent Frank Viola, a former Cy Young Award winner (1988, Twins) to a three-year, $13.9 million deal. The 31-year-old southpaw will injure his arm and undergo ‘Tommy John’ surgery with Boston, posting a 25-21 record and a 3.40 ERA during his three seasons with the team.

1996       The Red Sox sign free-agent hurler Jamie Moyer. The 33-year-old southpaw will compile a 7-1 record for Boston before being traded to Seattle in July, where he will enjoy a pair of 20-game victory seasons en route to winning over 100 games during his 11-year tenure with the Mariners.

2003       Due to a conflict with the major league schedule, the annual Hall of Fame game, previously held the day after the inductions of new members since 1940, will now take place on a different weekend. This year’s scheduled contest between the Phillies and Devil Rays will occur on June 16, five weeks before July 27 induction ceremonies in Cooperstown.

2013       Avoiding arbitration, the Rays announce the team has reached an agreement with left-handed starter David Price on a one-year deal, worth $10.1125 million. The 27-year-old American League Cy Young Award winner, who finished with a 20-5 record with a 2.56 ERA last season, earned $4.35 million playing for the third-place Tampa Bay club.

SPORTS IN NUMBERS

14 – 22 – 3 – 81

January 2, 1943  – University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team begins 129 home game winning streak that only ends in 1955. This run also includes NCAA Men’s basketball titles in 1948, 1949 and 1951

January 2, 1983 – In a 35-27 win over the Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Number 14, Ken Anderson completed 20 consecutive passes and finishes the season winning his second consecutive passing title with an NFL record 70.55% completion percentage

January 2, 1986 – New York Islanders future Hall of Fame right wing Number 22, Mike Bossy scored his 499th and 500th career goals in the final 2:22 to lift the New York to a 7-5 victory over the Boston Bruins. Bossy was the 11th player in NHL history to score 500 career goals.

January 2, 2012 – 41st Fiesta Bowl: The #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the #4 Stanford Cardinal, 41-38 in Over Time. Cowboys Quarterback Number 3, Brandon Weeden Connected on three touchdown passes with Wide Receiver Number 81, Justin Blackmon to aid OSU to victory. The scoring strikes were from 43-yards, 67-yards and 17-yards out for the duo. With the win Oklahoma State finished 3rd in the BCS polls.

TV MONDAY

NCAA BASKETBALL GAMESTIME ETTV
HOLY CROSS AT NAVY1:00PMESPN+
COLGATE AT LEHIGH2:00PMESPN+
BOSTON UNIVERSITY AT BUCKNELL2:00PMESPN+
LOYOLA MARYLAND AT AMERICAN2:00PMESPN+
WRIGHT STATE AT IUPUI2:00PMESPN+
EASTERN KENTUCKY AT KENNESAW STATE6:30PMESPN+
RUTGERS AT PURDUE7:00PMBTN
WEST VIRGINIA AT OKLAHOMA STATE7:00PMESPNU
ARMY WEST POINT AT LAFAYETTE7:00PMESPN+
PENN AT BROWN7:00PMESPN+
BELLARMINE AT NORTH ALABAMA7:00PMESPN+
JACKSONVILLE STATE AT JACKSONVILLE7:00PMESPN+
LIPSCOMB AT LIBERTY7:00PMESPN+
NORTH FLORIDA AT STETSON7:30PMESPN+
UAPB AT ALABAMA A&M8:00PM
FGCU AT CENTRAL ARKANSAS8:30PMESPN+
SOUTHERN AT TEXAS SOUTHERN8:30PM
GRAMBLING STATE AT PRAIRIE VIEW A&M8:30PM
NBA REGULAR SEASON GAMESTIME ETTV
PHOENIX AT NEW YORK3:00PMMSG
BALLY SPORTS
LA LAKERS AT CHARLOTTE7:00PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
CHICAGO AT CLEVELAND7:00PMNBCS-CHI
BALLY SPORTS
TORONTO AT INDIANA7:00PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
NEW ORLEANS AT PHILADELPHIA7:00PMNBCS-PHI
BALLY SPORTS
SAN ANTONIO AT BROOKLYN7:30PMYES
BALLY SPORTS
DALLAS AT HOUSTON8:00PMATTSN-SW
BALLY SPORTS
DENVER AT MINNESOTA8:00PMALT
BALLY SPORTS
ATLANTA AT GOLDEN STATE10:00PMNBCS-BAY
BALLY SPORTS
DETROIT AT PORLTAND10:00PMROOT SPORTS
BALLY SPORTS
MIAMI AT LA CLIPPERS10:30PMBALLY SPORTS
NFL REGULAR SEASON GAMESTIME ETTV
BUFFALO AT CINCINNATI8:30PMESPN
NHL REGULAR SEASON GAMESTIME ETTV
PITTSBURGH AT BOSTON2:00PMTNT
VEGAS AT COLORADO9:00PMATTSN-RM
ALT2
PHILADELPHIA AT ANAHEIM10:00PMNBCS-PHI
BALLY SPORTS
SOCCER MATCHESTIME ETTV
ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIP: NORWICH CITY VS WATFORD10:00AMESPN+
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: BRENTFORD VS LIVERPOOL12:30PMUSA

TV TUESDAY

NCAA BASKETBALL GAMESTIME ETTV
MARQUETTE AT ST. JOHN’S6:30PMFS1
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT TENNESSEE7:00PMESPN2
SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT7:00PMSECN
NEBRASKA AT MICHIGAN STATE7:00PMBTN
SYRACUSE AT LOUISVILLE7:00PMESPNU
NOTRE DAME AT BOSTON COLLEGE7:00PMACCN
BALL STATE AT TOLEDO7:00PMESPN+
BOWLING GREEN AT EASTERN MICHIGAN7:00PMCBSSN
MIAMI (OH) AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN7:00PMESPN+
NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT AKRON7:00PMESPN+
OHIO AT BUFFALO7:00PMESPN+
WESTERN MICHIGAN AT KENT STATE7:00PMESPN
TOCCOA FALLS AT NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL7:00PM
LSU AT KENTUCKY8:00PMESPN
SETON HALL AT CREIGHTON8:30PMFS1
KANSAS AT TEXAS TECH9:00PMESPN2
OLE MISS AT ALABAMA9:00PMSECN
MINNESOTA AT WISCONSIN9:00PMBTN
VIRGINIA AT PITT9:00PMACCN
UTAH STATE AT AIR FORCE9:00PMCBSSN
KANSAS STATE AT TEXAS9:00PMLHN
SAN JOSE STATE AT BOISE STATE9:00PMMWN
NEW MEXICO AT FRESNO STATE11:00PMCBSSN
NBA REGULAR SEASON GAMESTIME ETTV
WASHINGTON AT MILWAUKEE8:00PMNBATV
NBCS-WSH
BALLY SPORTS
BOSTON AT OKLAHOMA CITY8:00PMNBCS-BOS
BALLY SPORTS
SACRAMENTO AT UTAH9:00PMNBCS-CA
ATTSN-RM
NHL REGULAR SEASON GAMESTIME ETTV
ARIZONA AT FLORIDA7:00PMBALLY SPORTS
BUFFALO AT WASHINGTON7:00PMMSG-BUF
NBCS-WSH
CAROLINA AT NY RANGERS7:00PMMSG
BALLY SPORTS
COLUMBUS AT OTTAWA7:00PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
ST. LOUIS AT TORONTO7:00PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
CALGARY AT WINNIPEG8:00PMSPORTSNET
MONTREAL AT NASHVILLE8:00PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
TAMPA BAY AT CHICAGO8:30PMNBCS-CHI
BALLY SPORTS
SEATTLE AT EDMONTON9:00PMSPORTSNET
ROOT SPORTS
DALLAS AT LOS ANGELES10:00PMESPN
NY ISLANDERS AT VANCOUVER9:00PMSPORTSNET
MSGSN
SOCCER MATCHESTIME ETTV
COPA DEL REY: ESPANYOL VS CELTA DE VIGO1:00PMESPN+
COPA DEL REY: CARTAGENA VS VILLARREAL1:00PMESPN+
COPA DEL REY: LA NUCÍA VS VALENCIA1:00PMESPN+
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: ARSENAL VS NEWCASTLE UNITED2:45PMUSA
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: EVERTON VS BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION2:45PMPEACOCK
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: LEICESTER CITY VS FULHAM2:45PMPEACOCK
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: MANCHESTER UNITED VS AFC BOURNEMOUTH3:00PMPEACOCK
COPA DEL REY: CACEREÑO VS REAL MADRID3:00PMESPN+
COPA DEL REY: SPORTING GIJÓN VS RAYO VALLECANO3:00PMESPN+
COPA DEL REY: LEVANTE VS GETAFE3:00PMESPN+
COPA DEL REY: CEUTA VS ELCHE3:00PMESPN+