Rose Bowl bound: Oregon wins thriller over Oregon State
Eugene, OR (Sports Network) - LaMichael James ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns, as seventh-ranked Oregon clinched a Rose Bowl berth with a thrilling 37-33 victory over No. 13 Oregon State.
It was the first time in 113 meetings of the Civil War that the winner would be assured a spot in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks (10-2, 8-1 Pac-10) used a relentless offense that racked up 489 yards to take the conference title and secure their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1995.
They will face Ohio State, which won the Big Ten outright, in the January 1 bowl game.
Jeremiah Masoli completed 14-of-21 passes for 201 yards and a score, with one interception, for Oregon, which ended its regular season with three consecutive victories. Jeff Maehl caught six passes for 138 yards and a TD.
The Ducks also got 51 rushing yards and a score out of LeGarrette Blount in his first action since being reinstated. Blount had been suspended for punching a Boise State player following the opening game of the season on September 3, and Oregon head coach Chip Kelly reinstated him in early November but hadn't used the running back until Thursday.
"He has been through a lot and I am proud of him," Kelly said. "He did give us a spark and it wasn't planned. We made him do a lot and he did it. He wasn't handed anything. I am a believer that you define yourself everyday and he needs to continue to work hard."
Sean Canfield completed 24-of-36 passes for 306 yards and two scores for the Beavers (8-4, 6-3), who had won their last four. James Rodgers had 10 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
"Right now we are disappointed," Canfield said. "We came so close again. We made good plays all night and got a few good sacks. We had a physical defense."
Oregon State had 100 fewer yards than its rival but held the lead at halftime, then expanded it on the opening drive of the third quarter.
The nine-play, 75-yard drive was capped by Canfield's nine-yard TD pass to Casey Kjos to put OSU ahead, 30-21.
But the Ducks came right back with their own long drive, a 12-play, 68-yard progression that was accomplished almost entirely on the ground. The only successful pass play in the series was an eight-yard throw to Maehl on 4th- and-6 from the Oregon State 35.
Following that conversion, James and Blount continued to advance the ball, and Blount found the end zone from 12 yards away to make it a 30-28 contest with 5:45 left in the quarter.
Oregon State advanced to the Oregon 28 on its next drive and came away with a 45-yard field goal by Justin Kahut to increase the Beavers' lead to five with 2:28 to go, but the Ducks grabbed the lead for good shortly thereafter.
With the ball at the Oregon 48, James got to the left sideline and raced the distance into the end zone with 1:20 on the clock. The two-point conversion failed, though, to keep the Ducks' lead at 34-33.
After an Oregon State punt shortly into the fourth, the Ducks used their rushing attack to take time off the clock. Oregon's drive went only 42 yards but ate up nearly five minutes, and Morgan Flint's 34-yard field goal pushed the Oregon lead to four.
The score came with just over 10 minutes left, leaving the Beavers plenty of time to get more points. They started from their own 30 and picked up yardage in chunks, as Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 15 yards on the first play. Canfield later completed a 31-yard pass to James Rodgers, who made the catch despite having a defender all over him.
That catch got the ball to the Oregon 22, but the Beavers' drive stalled. A sack of Canfield on third down put OSU in a 4th-and-15 situation, and Canfield threw incomplete on the next play to turn the ball over to the Ducks.
Oregon took over with just over six minutes left and actually ran out the rest of the clock to seal the win. A 30-yard run by Blount early on put the ball in Oregon State territory, but the Beavers' defense slowed the Ducks down.
However, Oregon kept moving the chains, getting a pair of fourth-down conversions. The Ducks faced a 4th-and-2 at the OSU 19 with 1:43 left and picked up five yards when Masoli ran to his left and pitched the ball to Kenjon Barner.
That run effectively sealed the game, as Oregon State called its final timeout before the Ducks ran out the remaining time.
"We were just fighting and scratching all game," Masoli said. "OSU is a good team and those fourth-down plays were just all heart by our team."
Oregon did not get off to a great start, as a bad bounce led to an interception by Oregon State's James Dockery on the game's first drive. That set the Beavers up deep in Oregon territory, and Jacquizz Rodgers got into the end zone on 4th-and-1 from the one-yard line to get Oregon State on the board.
But Oregon responded with its first score, a one-yard plunge by James. Kahut kicked a 40-yard field goal with 5:09 left to make it a 10-7 Oregon State lead, but Oregon got a big play moments later to go in front.
Maehl ran by Dockery along the right side to get open, and Masoli hit him in stride for a 73-yard touchdown and a 14-10 lead with 3:46 to go.
With Oregon State driving in the second quarter, Jacquizz Rodgers took a short pass and turned it into a 48-yard gain after making a big cut and racing to the left side of the field. That got the ball to the Oregon 15, but the Beavers settled for a 28-yarder by Kahut.
Oregon looked to have a TD on the ensuing kickoff, as Barner returned the ball 95 yards. But a pair of penalties called the return back, and the ensuing drive turned out disastrously, as James was stripped of the ball by Stephen Paea.
Oregon State took over at the Oregon 18 but again was held to a field goal, this one a 29-yard kick by Kahut with 4:30 left in the half.
Each team managed another touchdown before the break, as James found a hole in the right side of the line to get into the end zone from six yards out, giving Oregon a 21-16 lead with 1:19 left.
But Oregon State got downfield in the remaining time thanks to the arm of Canfield, who made a masterful touchdown throw to cap the drive. With the ball at the Oregon 28, Canfield got a pass over the linebackers to James Rodgers, who had gotten inside his defender. The touchdown put the Beavers up 23-21 with 14 seconds to play, and they took the lead into halftime.
Oregon leads the all-time Civil War series 57-46-10, including a 13-7-1 mark at Autzen Stadium...Masoli ran for 40 yards...Jacquizz Rodgers ended with 64 yards on 16 carries and added seven catches for 73 yards...Oregon State was aiming for its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1965.
The Answer returns: Sixers, Iverson make it official
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia 76ers officially welcomed back guard Allen Iverson during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
Iverson's return was complete on Wednesday, when he agreed to a contract, which the Philadelphia Daily News reported on Tuesday was a pro-rated and non-guaranteed $1.3 million deal for the remainder of the season.
The way home for Iverson was most likely paved due to the Sixers' 5-13 record and the fact that starting point guard Lou Williams will miss extensive time due to a fractured jaw.
"First of all, I really think it's a blessing I'm back here," Iverson said. "It's only right. Once I announced my retirement, I felt like the basketball part of my life was over. When I had the opportunity to come back, I was just happy it could be here.
"I was born to be a basketball player, and the only thing I can do better than that is be a father," added Iverson, who grew more emotional as he spoke. "If I couldn't play at the level I'm accustomed to, I wouldn't have done it. I don't want to embarrass myself."
Iverson, 34, is expected to make his season debut in Philadelphia on Monday against the Nuggets, the team he was traded to in December 2006.
"He leaves every ounce of sweat and guts when he's on the court. He's a warrior-type basketball player. There's been no question about that ever," said Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski of his new acquisition. "If he can do that this time around, for the young kids, that would be huge."
Iverson spent the first 10-plus seasons of his NBA career with the Sixers, after they selected him first overall in the 1996 NBA draft. He won the 1996-97 Rookie of the Year award and developed into one of the game's top scorers.
He led the league in points per game four times with the Sixers, including during the 2000-01 season, when he posted 31.1 points and led the team to the NBA Finals before losing to the Lakers.
But Philadelphia missed the playoffs in 2003-04 and 2005-06, and Iverson's relationship with the team became rocky, leading to his trade to Denver.
The 10-time All-Star has bounced around the league since then, as he was moved from the Nuggets to the Pistons last season, then signed with Memphis this September.
He played just three games off the bench for the Grizzlies this season after missing time with an injury, and expressed his unhappiness with the situation. He was given a leave of absence from the team on November 7, and the sides agreed to terminate his one-year contract.
"All the things that I did when I was younger, things that I'm not proud of on and off the court...created this image of me, that was not me," Iverson admitted. "I was just tired of hearing all of that stuff. I woke up frustrated every day around my wife and kids because of not knowing...where my life was headed."
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 has also averaged 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 889 games.
Mangino resigns as Kansas head football coach
Lawrence, KS (Sports Network) - Kansas head coach Mark Mangino will not return as the team's head coach next season, resigning after an internal review that was supposedly related to player concerns about verbal and physical abuse.
The resignation is effective immediately. Assistant coaches David Beaty, Clint Bowen and Bill Miller will share the interim head-coaching duties.
"We appreciate the eight years that Mark has given to rebuilding our football program," said school athletic director Lew Perkins. "He and I have reached a mutually satisfactory agreement that reflects the appreciation we have for his efforts on behalf of Kansas Football.
"As you know, we have recently completed an internal review of the football program. I have been instructed by legal counsel that we cannot release any documents related to the investigation, nor any details regarding our settlement agreement. The investigation and settlement agreement will remain part of Mark's personnel records."
Mangino has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing regarding the allegations against him.
In July 2008, Mangino signed a contract extension that runs through the 2012 season and raised his annual salary to $2.3 million. Two years removed from being named consensus national coach of the year in 2007, Mangino's Jayhawks suffered through a disappointing 5-7 season -- including losses in their last seven games.
Mangino is responsible for turning around a program that went to a bowl game in four of his last seven seasons, including its first ever BCS bowl win against Virginia Tech at the 2008 Orange Bowl to cap a 12-1 season.
Mangino leaves Kansas with a 50-48 record at the school, just two wins shy of A.R. Kennedy's record of 52 wins, set in 1910.
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene combined for 168 yards rushing, as the New York Jets compiled 249 total yards on the ground to top the Buffalo Bills, 19-13, at Rogers Centre.
Jones ran for 109 yards on 23 carries, while Greene added 59 yards on 11 touches for the Jets (6-6), who kept their slim playoff hopes alive despite winning for only the third time in nine games. Mark Sanchez passed for 104 yards and a score on 7-of-15 passing before injuring his right knee on a head- first dive in the third quarter.
Sanchez went back to the locker room with a slight limp and returned to the field in the fourth quarter but was not inserted into the game.
"With Mark, we'll see how it is," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "I'm optimistic; I think it just might be a sprain, but we'll know a lot more later. We'll probably have him -- just for precautionary measures -- get an MRI on it, but we feel pretty confident that it's just a sprain."
Braylon Edwards had three catches for 45 yards and a score, while Jerricho Cotchery had four receptions for 68 yards in the win.
Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled to complete passes, throwing for just 98 yards and an interception on 9-of-23 efficiency for the Bills (4-8), who have lost four of five to effectively end any slim playoff hopes the team had. Marshawn Lynch ran six times for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Fred Jackson had 13 rushes for 31 yards.
"(The Jets) have a good defensive scheme," Bills head coach Perry Fewell said. "They brought a lot of pressure on our offensive line, we didn't handle the pressure very good. Our third down conversions were not very good; we converted only 1-of-11 on third down, and when you don't convert on third down, you don't have a good night."
Neither team could get its offense going in the third quarter until Kellen Clemens led a scoring drive following Sanchez's injury. The series went 34 yards in eight plays, with Jay Feely hitting a 37-yard field goal on the fourth quarter's first play for a 19-10 Jets lead.
With nine minutes left in the game, the Bills got the ball at midfield, and Rian Lindell capped the series with a 32-yard field goal to get Buffalo to within six points with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.
New York was able to wind the clock down to 2 1/2 minutes, when Buffalo got it back on its own 23-yard line.
Shaun Ellis recorded a sack on the next play, a loss of 10 for the Bills, and Darrelle Revis intercepted a long Fitzpatrick pass on 2nd-and-20 to seal the win for the Jets.
"Big win for us. The Bills we knew would play tough, they were coming off a big win," Ryan said. "We started off -- we had a couple of rocky situations there on defense -- but we gave up only 36 yards in the second half, so the defense really responded.
On Buffalo's initial drive, Fitzpatrick lofted a perfect pass over Lee Evans' shoulder for a 38-yard gain on 3rd-and-2 from the Bills' 25 to get into Jets territory. The play helped set up Lindell's 49-yard field goal for an early lead.
The Jets later answered with a 56-yard drive that ended with a Feely 38-yard field goal to tie the game with just under four minutes left in the first.
On the next NY drive, Edwards found himself wide open for a potential 84-yard touchdown catch, but the receiver simply dropped the ball, leading the team to punt.
Fitzpatrick fumbled the ball away on the second play of the second quarter, giving the Jets the ball on the Bills' 36. The resulting drive went only six yards, leading to a 49-yard field goal from Feely for a 6-3 lead.
Buffalo then turned to Lynch, who steamrolled for a 35-yard gain on the ensuing series to get the Bills to the Jets' 15. On the next play, Lynch evaded several tacklers and got into the end zone for a 10-6 lead with 10 1/2 minutes left in the half.
The Jets settled for another field goal from Feely on their next drive -- from 31 yards away -- to get New York to within a point, and the defense forced a Bills punt on the following possession.
After the two minute warning, Sanchez faced 3rd-and-5 from his own 36 and hit Cotchery in stride up the middle for a 45-yard gain to the 19. Two plays later, he hit Edwards five yards up the middle, and Edwards ran it into the end zone for a 16-10 Jets halftime lead.
"We should have been ahead at halftime," Fewell said. "We could have gone into halftime with a one-point lead, and I thought we should have been better -- I didn't want to give up six or seven points at the end of the half."
The Bills beat the Jets, 16-13, in overtime on October 18...The Jets have won 53 straight games in the fourth when leading by eight points or more, the longest active streak in the NFL...Buffalo lost to the Dolphins, 16-3, in Toronto in Week 14 of the 2008 season...Clemens completed 1-of-2 passes for 14 yards...This was the second of five regular season games the Bills will play in Toronto over a five-year period.