COLLEGE FOOTBALL-BOWL SCHEDULE
Tide thump Irish for CFP championship game berth
UNDATED (AP) — Alabama will make another trip to the CFP championship game, thanks in part to a pair of Heisman Trophy finalists. The Crimson Tide’s opponent will be Ohio State, which made a big statement with a three-touchdown win over Clemson.
Mac Jones connected with DeVonta Smith for three touchdowns as the top-ranked Crimson Tide hammered No. 4 Notre Dame, 31-14 in the relocated Rose Bowl near Dallas. Jones was 25 of 30 for 297 yards and four scores in a near-perfect performance. Smith racked up 130 yards on seven receptions to help the Tide remain unbeaten.
Najee Harris led Alabama’s ground game with 125 yards on 15 carries.
Irish quarterback Ian Book was 27 of 39 for 229 yards, no TDs and one interception. Book also ran for the game’s final touchdown.
At the Sugar Bowl, Justin Fields threw six touchdown passes and No. 3 Ohio State avenged last season’s painful semifinal loss to Clemson with a 49-28 victory over the Tigers.
Fields outplayed Heisman finalist Travor Lawrence, going 22 for 28 for 385 yards. He set a Sugar Bowl record for TD passes while playing more than half the game after taking a vicious shot the side.
Trey Sermon highlighted the OSU ground game with 193 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries.
Lawrence was 33 for 48 for 400 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in what is expected to be the junior’s final college game. He engineered two scoring drives that gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead before Ohio State took over.
The Buckeyes head to the CFP title game for the first time since the inaugural playoff to face No. 1 Alabama on Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida. Ohio State beat the Crimson Tide in the semifinals on the way to the 2014 national championship.
In other New Year’s bowl games:
— Jack Podlesny kicked a 53-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to cap 11th-ranked Georgia’s fourth-quarter comeback in a 24-21 triumph over No. 6 Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl. Zamir White’s 9-yard TD run trimmed Cincinnati’s lead to 21-16 before Podlesny hit two field goals to help the Bulldogs end the Bearcats’ bid for a perfect season. JT Daniels finished with 392 yards passing for Georgia, which tied a school record with eight sacks. Desmond Ridder completed 24 of 37 passes for 206 yards and two scores.
— Peyton Ramsey threw for three touchdowns and ran for a score to lead 14th-ranked Northwestern to its fourth straight bowl win, 35-19 against Auburn in the Citrus Bowl. Ramsey totaled 291 yards passing and 50 yards rushing as the 7-2 Wildcats bounced back from an ugly loss to Ohio State on Dec. 19 in the Big 10 championship game. Bo Nix threw for 292 yards for the 6-5 Tigers but was often frustrated by Northwestern’s defense, which came in ranked fifth in the nation with 15.5 points allowed per game.
AP source: Mullen drops secondary coaches
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida football coach Dan Mullen has wasted little time identifying problem areas following his team’s worst defensive season in more than a hundred years.
A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Mullen fired secondary coaches Ron English and Torrian Gray. The Gators allowed 30.8 points a game this season, their most since giving up 41.2 over six games in 1917.
Florida surrendered 52 and 55 points, respectively, in consecutive losses to top-ranked Alabama and No. 8 Oklahoma to close out the year.
Mavs thump Heat
UNDATED (AP) — Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch) and the Dallas Mavericks were able to elevate their game following a 19-point home loss to Orlando.
Doncic had season highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double of the season to lead the Mavericks past the Heat, 93-83.
The Mavs padded their 15-point halftime lead with a 10-2 run to open the third quarter. They led by as many as 24 before a late Heat surge.
Bam Adebayo (ad-ah-BY’-oh) scored 19 points and Avery Bradley 15 for Miami, which missed its first 12 3-point attempts and finished 7 of 33 from beyond the arc.
Also on the NBA schedule:
— Anthony Davis and LeBron James carried the Lakers to 109-103 decision over the Spurs. Davis contributed 35 points and 11 rebounds, while James had a triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The Lakers closed the game with a 9-0 run for their second win against the Spurs in three days.
— The Pistons blew a 21-point lead before earning their first win of the season, a 96-93 downing of the Celtics. Jeremi Grant scored 24 points and Derrick Rose and Saddiq Bey each added 17 for the Pistons, who had opened with four straight losses. Rose hit a go-ahead shot with 1:20 left to put Detroit ahead to stay.
— Chris Paul hit a clutch jumper with 7.3 seconds remaining and the Suns moved to 5-1 for the first time in 11 years by knocking off the Nuggets,106-103. Deandre Ayton had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which is 13-1 daying to their perfect stint inside the NBA bubble. Paul finished with 21 points for the surprising Suns.
— Mike Conley drained seven 3-pointers on his way to a season-high 33 points as the Jazz earned a 106-100 victory against the Clippers. Derrick Favors chipped in with 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench as Utah earned its first home victory of the season. Paul George had 25 points, eight rebounds and six steals to lead Los Angeles.
— Damian Lillard joined Clyde Drexler as the only Portland players to score 15,000 points for the franchise, finishing with 34 in a 123-98 pounding of the Warriors. CJ McCollum added 28 points for Portland, knocking down 4 of 5 3-pointers early as the Trail Blazers opened the game 10-for-15 from beyond the arc. Stephen Curry had 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Golden State’s first home game in 297 days.
— De’Andre Hunter scored 23 points help the Hawks roll to a 114-96 win over the Nets, leaving the teams with a split of their two games at Brooklyn this week. Trae Young finished with 21 points and John Collins had 20 for Atlanta, which had six players score in double figures and improved to 4-1. Kevin Durant had a team-high 28 points in the Nets’ third loss in four games.
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) delivered 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the Bucks’ 126-96 assault on the Bulls. Milwaukee shot 22 of 45 from 3-point range in its 11th straight win over Chicago. The Bulls played their second straight game without Lauri Markkanen, Chandler Hutchison, Ryan Arcidiacono (ahr-kee-dee-ah-KAH’-noh) and Tomas Satoransky as part of the NBA’s health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.
— Dillon Brooks scored 21 points to lead the undermanned Grizzlies past the Hornets, 108-93. Kyle Anderson finished with 18 points and a career-best 11 rebounds for Memphis, while Brandon Clarke scored 15. The Grizzlies had seven players ruled out for various health reasons and dressed just nine before finishing 2-1 on a three-game road trip.
— The Wizards blew out the Timberwolves, 130-109 behind Bradley Beal’s 31 points and seven assists. The Wizards earned their first win despite playing without Russell Westbrook, who sat out the second game of a back-to-back. Washington finished the third quarter on a 29-7 run and scored 40 points in the period for a 100-79 lead.
Players fined following Mavs-Hornets scrum
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has fined three players a total of $85,000 for their roles in an altercation during Wednesday’s game between Charlotte and Dallas.
The Mavericks’ James Johnson was fined $40,000 for shoving Charlotte’s Cody Martin out of bounds “aggressively confronting him and initiating the incident.” Martin’s $25,000 fine was for pushing Johnson in retaliation and making contact with a game official. Hornets guard Caleb Martin was fined $20,000 for entering the action and making contact with a referee.
Also, Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson has been fined $25,000 for making contact with a game official. The incident occurred with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter of Utah’s 106-95 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
Packers lose Bakhtiari for season
UNDATED (AP) — Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari will miss the rest of the season after the three-time Pro Bowl selection injured his knee in practice Thursday.
The injury comes six weeks after the standout left tackle agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth up to $105.5 million with a $30 million signing bonus.
Bakhtiari played a major role in helping the 12-3 Packers win a second straight NFC North title and and score a league-leading 31.6 points per game.
Also around the NFL:
— Dolphins coach Brian Flores expressed optimism about the likelihood quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s coronavirus infection is an isolated case within the team. Fitzpatrick went on the reserve-COVID-19 list Thursday and is expected to miss the regular-season finale at Buffalo on Sunday, when Miami will try to clinch an AFC wild-card berth.
— The Chargers have placed wide receiver Keenan Allen on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Allen is tied for fifth in the NFL with 100 receptions and was recently selected to his fourth Pro Bowl. Tight end Hunter Henry remains on the COVID-19 list and will miss his second straight game Sunday at Kansas City.
— Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson will fill in for wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea on Sunday against the Steelers. Earlier this season, Brownson became the first female in NFL history to handle in-game assistant coaching duties when she substituted for tight ends coach Drew Petzing. The team said earlier this week that one of its coaches tested positive for COVID-19, but didn’t identify O’Shea.
MEN’S BASKETBALL-WEST VIRGINA
Tshiebwe leaves Mountaineers
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe (SHEEB’-way) has left the team for personal reasons and with no plans to return this season.
Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins says the decision didn’t catch him by surprise, adding that there was absolutely no chance the Congolese sophomore would return. Huggins didn’t specify why Tshiebwe left or why the coach felt the move wasn’t unexpected, but he said Tshiebwe has the team’s full support.
Tshiebwe’s production has slipped this season after he led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman a year ago.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL-POSTPONEMENTS
UNDATED (AP) — The Pac-12 has postponed Saturday’s men’s basketball matchup between Arizona State and Washington due to COVID-19 issues within the Sun Devils program.
It’s the second straight postponement for the Sun Devils, who haven’t played since Dec. 16 and don’t have another game scheduled until next Thursday against UCLA.
The Pac-12 said it will work with all programs to try and reschedule the postponed games.
Isles ink 3 as Barzal quarantines
UNDATED (AP) — The New York Islanders have retained forward Matt Martin and defenseman Andy Greene while working out a package with fellow unrestricted free agent Cory Schneider.
Martin had a career-high five goals during the 2020 playoffs, and Greene became invaluable after the Isles lost blueliner Johnny Boychuk to a concussion early in the postseason. Schnneider spent last season with the Devils, going 3-6-2 with an .887 save percentage in 13 games.
Team president Lou Lamoriello says restricted free agent Mathew Barzal is on Long Island and quarantining with the hope of working out a contract by the first day of training camp. Barzal has led the Islanders in scoring the last three seasons.