Cowboys, Packers, and Broncos win in NFL


A little more than a month ago, the Denver Broncos and New York Giants were both undefeated, but things have drastically changed for both sides and the Giants' season took a further turn for the worse on Thursday. Kyle Orton threw for 245 yards and a touchdown on a bad ankle and the Broncos defense held the Giants in check, forcing three turnovers as Denver dominated New York in a 26-6 victory. The win snapped a brutal four-game slide for Denver (7-4), which started the season 6-0 but had since been in a swoon that saw the Broncos relinquish first place in the AFC West to San Diego. Eli Manning was 24-of-40 for 230 yards and an interception as the Giants produced only 181 yards of offense before an 86-yard drive inside the final two minutes. New York (6-5) has lost five of its last six games since beginning the season 5-0.

The Dallas Cowboys hosted their first Thanksgiving Day game at their new stadium, and got a much-needed offensive performance in a 24-7 win over the Oakland Raiders. Tony Romo threw for 309 yards and a pair of scores on 18- of-29 completions for Dallas (8-3), which had scored just seven points in each of its last two games -- a 17-7 loss to Green Bay and a 7-6 win over Washington on Sunday. Miles Austin caught seven passes for 145 yards and a score for the NFC East-leading Cowboys, while Jason Witten recorded 107 yards on five receptions. Roy Williams had a touchdown catch, while Felix Jones ran for a score in the win. Bruce Gradkowski was 18-of-35 for 200 yards and a touchdown in his second consecutive start for Oakland (3-8), having led the Raiders to a last-minute victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. Rookie Darrius Heyward-Bey had the first TD catch of his career.

Aaron Rodgers finished with three touchdown passes, as the Green Bay Packers extended the Thanksgiving Day woes for Detroit, posting a 34-12 victory over the Lions at Ford Field. Rodgers totaled 348 yards through the air on 28- of-39 efficiency, while Donald Driver had 142 yards and one score on seven receptions for the Packers (7-4), who have won three straight games. Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson picked off Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford twice, returning the second one for a touchdown. Despite missing practice throughout the week after separating his non-throwing shoulder against Cleveland this past Sunday, Stafford started for Detroit, completing 20-of-43 passes for 213 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions for the Lions (2-9), who have lost six straight on the holiday.


Colt McCoy was huge for Texas, throwing four touchdowns and rushing for another to help the third-ranked Longhorns survive a scare from Texas A&M and keep dreams of a national title intact after a 49-39 win in College Station. McCoy completed 24-of-40 passes for 304 yards and rushed for a career-high 175 yards for the Longhorns (12-0, 8-0 Big 12), who will play Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game next weekend. Texas narrowly avoided a second straight upset by the Aggies, having left Kyle Field in 2007 a 38-30 loser.

Alabama will try and avoid an upset in its quest for a run to a national championship as the second-ranked Crimson Tide play at Auburn Friday afternoon. At 11-0, the Tide are two victories away of being assured a trip to the BCS national championship game. First they have to get by the Tigers, a team that has beaten Alabama in six of the last seven meetings. Then comes a trip to the SEC championship game against top-ranked Florida. Gene Chizik's first season at the helm has had its ups and downs with Auburn currently boasting a 7-4 overall mark. The Tigers have lost four of their last six games, including a tough 31-24 decision at Georgia two weeks ago.

At 10-0, the fifth-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats are off to their best start in school history and are still very much in the national title race. They'll host Illinois on Friday, a team that has struggled mightily this season with a 3-7 record. With six wins in as many Big East games, the Bearcats sit atop the standings, but they will face Pittsburgh, which is 5-0, next weekend for the league title and a berth in a BCS game. Cincinnati however, first must take care of business at Nippert Stadium, where it has won 11 straight decisions. That isn't the only streak on the line today for the Bearcats, as they have also won 16 consecutive regular season bouts.

A battle for first place in the Western Athletic Conference takes the spotlight on Friday night, as the sixth-ranked Boise State Broncos host the surging Nevada Wolf Pack at Bronco Stadium. Still in contention for a postseason invite to a coveted BCS Bowl Game, the undefeated Broncos, who are a remarkable 61-2 at home since the start of the decade, are sixth in both the AP and BCS rankings this week. BSU last took the field a week ago in Logan, Utah and started off a bit slow before pummeling the Utah State Aggies in a 52-21 final. The Wolf Pack actually lost the first three games of the season before going on a run that has generated eight consecutive victories.

The 102nd edition of the "Backyard Brawl" is set to take place in Morgantown Friday night, as the eighth-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers tussle with the West Virginia Mountaineers in a Big East showdown at Milan Puskar Stadium. Courtesy of a current six-game winning streak, Pitt is off to a 9-1 start for the first time since Dan Marino's senior season in 1982. Pitt is ranked No.9 in the BCS standings, its highest rating ever, and will play Cincinnati next weekend for the Big East title no matter the outcome of this game. The Mountaineers were eliminated from the Big East title race in their last game, dropping a tough 24-21 decision at highly-ranked and undefeated Cincinnati on November 13th.

Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins will return for a fifth season in 2010, athletic director Mike Bohn announced Thursday. With Colorado a disappointing 3-8 this year, speculation surrounded Hawkins' return despite him being under contract through the 2012 season. He agreed to a two-year contract extension last October after the team went to a bowl following the 2007 season -- a 30-24 loss to Alabama in the Independence Bowl. Bohn and Colorado chancellor Dr. Philip DiStefano informed Hawkins and the team of their decision following Thursday's walkthrough in preparation for Friday's season-ending matchup with Nebraska. In his three-plus seasons at the helm, Hawkins is 16-32 and will have failed to guide the Buffs to a single winning season regardless of Friday's outcome.


Perennial All-Star guard Allen Iverson has reportedly decided to retire after a stellar 14-year career in the NBA. According to multiple sources, Iverson will formally announce his retirement in the near future after being close to signing with the New York Knicks last week. Iverson, 34, began the season with Memphis but was subsequently released after three games following public complaints regarding playing time and his role as a bench player. The former Georgetown star, who was the top overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, played his first 10 full seasons with Philadelphia, leading the 76ers to the NBA Finals in the spring of 2001. He was the league MVP for the 2000-01 season. Coming into this season, Iverson had the fifth-highest regular season per-game scoring average of all-time at 27.0 and the second-highest playoff average with 29.7. He also averaged 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 889 games -- 877 starts -- with Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit and Memphis.


Legendary New York Yankees PA announcer Bob Sheppard has officially announced his retirement, ruling out a return to the booth. Sheppard, who turned 99 years old in October, has not performed public address duties for the Yankees since 2007. But in a story on the team's website, Sheppard is quoted as saying he has no plans of coming back to announce a game at the new Yankee Stadium, adding that he doubts "very, very much" he will do so for a single 2010 contest. Sheppard debuted as the Yankees' PA announcer in 1951 and served in that role for about 4,500 games. His last games came in 2007, as he was forced to miss the postseason because of illness.


Argentine Juan Martin del Potro outlasted Roger Federer 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 on Thursday to secure a spot in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals and eliminate Scot Andy Murray from the tournament. The victory by del Potro created a three-way tie in Group A after all three players finished round- robin play with two wins and identical 5-4 set records. However, Federer and del Potro advanced because Murray won the lowest percentage of games. Murray wasted 12-of-13 break points before finally beating Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3) earlier Thursday. The night session featured a rematch of this year's dramatic US Open final, which del Potro won in five sets.