Update on the latest in sports:
Clemson rips Alabama to win CFP championship
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Clemson is the national champion in college football for the second time in three years after handing Alabama its most lopsided loss under head coach Nick Saban.
Trevor Lawrence passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers blasted the Crimson Tide, 44-16 in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Santa Clara, California. Lawrence threw TD passes to Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross to help undefeated Clemson become the first team in the AP poll era starting in 1936 to win 15 games in a season.
Etienne had three first-half TDs for Clemson, which actually trailed 16-14 in the second quarter before forging a 31-16 advantage by halftime. He finished with 86 yards on 14 carries.
A.J. Terrell brought back an interception 44 yards for a touchdown on Alabama’s opening drive. Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa (TOO’-ah tuhng-oh-vy-LOH’-ah) threw a second interception and was 22 of 34 for 295 yards with two first-quarter TDs, along with minus-9 yards rushing.
Clemson is the first opponent to beat the Tide by more than 14 points since Saban became coach in 2007.
Alabama was seeking its sixth national championship in the last 10 seasons.
Haskins is leaving school for NFL draft
UNDATED (AP) – Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins is giving up his remaining college eligibility to enter the upcoming NFL draft.
The third-year sophomore said on Twitter he would forgo his final year of eligibility “after many thoughts and prayers with family and close friends.”
Haskins smashed most Ohio State and Big Ten single-season passing records in 2018, throwing for a nation-leading 50 touchdowns and finishing third in Heisman Trophy voting.
His decision comes after he completed 25 of 37 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl, which also was the last game for retiring coach Urban Meyer.
In other college football news:
– The College Football Playoff is not expanding anytime soon despite calls from at least one league commissioner to increase the number of participants. Conference commissioners and university presidents who constitute the playoff brain trust met Monday at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose and quelled the speculation. Mississippi State President and CFP board of managers chairman Mark Keenum says it’s much too soon to know if there’s even the possibility of expanding the number of teams.
– Texas quarterback Vince Young and Notre Dame speedster Raghib (rah-HEEB’) Ismail have been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, along with 11 other players and two coaches. The rest of the players are Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, Oklahoma defensive back Rickey Dixon, John Carroll linebacker London Fletcher, Texas A&M defensive lineman Jacob Green, North Carolina State receiver Torry Holt and Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer, along with USC defensive back Troy Polamalu (poh-lah-MAH’-loo), Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Michigan State running back Lorenzo White and Mississippi linebacker Patrick Willis. Dennis Erickson and Joe Taylor were selected for induction as coaches.
Packers hire Titans OC to replace McCarthy
UNDATED (AP) – The Green Bay Packers have found their new head coach.
A person familiar with the decision says Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur has accepted Green Bay’s offer to become the next head coach of the Packers.
LaFleur would replace Mike McCarthy, who was fired during the season after a stunning home loss to Arizona. LaFleur was offensive coordinator with the Rams in 2017, leading a group that paced the NFL in scoring was 10th in total offense.
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin went 2-2 to close out the season as the Packers failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight year. The 6-9-1 record was also the second straight under .500 for the storied franchise.
Also in the NFL:
– Cody Parkey’s missed 43-yard field goal attempt on Sunday has been officially ruled a block by the league. The kick would have given the Chicago Bears an 18-16 win over the Eagles in an NFC wild-card game, but the ball bounced off the upright and hit the crossbar. Video showed Philadelphia’s Treyvon Hester tipped the ball.
– The Chargers have added tight end Hunter Henry to the roster, less than eight months after he suffered a knee injury during an offseason workout. The team’s second-round pick in 2016 tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while running a route during a non-contact drill on May 22, the first day of organized team activities. He returned to practice on Dec. 17 and took part in team drills last week as the Chargers prepared for their AFC wild-card game at Baltimore.
– The league has carried over its increase in viewers from the regular season over to the playoffs. The NFL said on Monday that there was an average of 28.4 million viewers for the four wild-card round games, which is a 12 percent increase over last year.
Spurs dump Pistons for fifth win in row
UNDATED (AP) – The San Antonio Spurs have their longest winning streak of the season after knocking off the Pistons in Detroit.
DeMar DeRozan poured in 26 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 25 as the Spurs earned a 119-107 victory. San Antonio trailed by nine until a 23-2 run bridging the first two quarters put the Spurs ahead, 45-33.
It was the Spurs’ fifth straight win and the 1,221st of coach Gregg Popovich’s career. Popovich is tied with Jerry Sloan for third on the all-time wins list, behind only Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens.
San Antonio has won 13 of 17 since an 11-14 start.
Checking out Monday’s other NBA action:
– Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) had 30 points and the Bucks improved to 28-11 by topping the Jazz, 114-102. Malcolm Brogdon scored 21 and Thon Maker added a season-high 15 points off the bench for the league’s best team. Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points and Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost guard Ricky Rubio to a right hamstring injury less than five minutes into the game.
– The Rockets made it 12 wins in their last 14 games as James Harden scored 32 points, Clint Capela added a career-high 31 in a 125-113 verdict over the Nuggets. P.J. Tucker set a career high with seven 3-pointers and scored a season-high 21 points, while Gerald Green delivered 18 of his 21 points from beyond the arc. Nikola Jokic scored 24 points for Denver, which had a five-game winning streak snapped.
– Jusuf Nurkic (YOO’-suhf NUR-kihch) had 20 points and eight rebounds to help the Trail Blazers win for the fourth time in five games, 111-101 over the Knicks. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had 17 points apiece for Portland, which is 3 1/2 games off the Northwest Division lead. Enes Kanter came off the bench with 18 points and 14 rebounds in New York’s ninth loss in 10 games.
– Kyrie Irving returned from a two-game absence to score a team-high 17 points and lead eight Celtics in double-figures during a 116-95 rout of the Nets. Irving was back on the court after scratching both corneas in a collision Dec. 31 at San Antonio. Brooklyn ended a three-game winning streak and lost for just the fourth time in 12 games despite Rodions Kurucs (ROH’-dee-ahnz KOO’-ruhks), who shot 5-for-8 from beyond the arc and finished with a game-high 24 points.
– The Lakers outscored the Mavericks 32-13 in the third quarter and handed Dallas just its fourth loss in 20 home games, 107-97. Brandon Ingram scored 29 points and Lonzo Ball added 21 as the Lakers won for just the second time in seven games since LeBron James left the lineup with a groin injury. Rookie Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch) scored 27 points for the Mavs, who committed 11 turnovers in the second half while shooting 11-for-43.
– De’Aaron Fox had 20 points and Sacramento snapped a four-game losing streak by thrashing Orlando, 111-95. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 15 points and seven assists for the Kings, who led by 28 going into the final period after blowing fourth-quarter leads in each game during their skid. Terrence Ross hit five 3-pointers and scored 20 points for the Magic, losers in eight of its last eleven games.
– The Pelicans earned a 114-95 victory over sputtering Memphis as Anthony Davis contributed 36 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. Second-year pro Frank Jackson scored a career-high 17 points for New Orleans, which has won two straight for the first time since a three-game run in mid-November. Mike Conley had 22 points and 10 assists in the Grizzlies’ sixth consecutive loss.
Love says he’s weeks away from playing
UNDATED (AP) – Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love says he’s still weeks away from getting on the court as he recovers from surgery on his left foot.
Love played in just four games before undergoing surgery on Nov. 2 to relieve pressure around his big toe. He was recently cleared by doctors to begin some “select basketball activities,” but Love said Monday he’s not ready to run on the foot, which he injured in Cleveland’s exhibition opener.
In other NBA news:
– The Bulls have waived Michael Carter-Williams after acquiring him and cash considerations from the Rockets Monday for a protected second-round pick in the 2020 draft. The 27-year-old Carter-Williams saw limited playing time in his first season in Houston, appearing in just 16 games and averaging 4.3 points. The 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft has averaged 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists in a six-year career.
Predators blank Leafs
UNDATED (AP) – The Nashville Predators seem to have righted the ship since their season-worst, six-game losing streak.
Nashville blanked the Maple Leafs in Toronto, 4-0 as Pekka Rinne (PEH’-kuh REE’-nay) handled 18 shots in his third shutout of the season and 54th of his career. Mattias (mah-TEE’-uhs) Ekholm, Kevin Fiala (fee-AH’-lah) and Colton Sissons each had a goal and an assist for the Predators, who have won four of five since their losing skid.
It was the Maple Leafs’ second 4-0 loss since December 29 and keeps them 10 points behind Tampa Bay for first place in the NHL’s Atlantic Division.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– Johnny Gaudreau scored two more goals and David Rittich (RIH’-tihk) made 32 saves to send the Flames past the Blackhawks, 4-3 in Chicago. Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist as Western Conference-leading Calgary closed out a 3-1 trip with its second straight win.
– Tomas Hertl provided the tiebreaking goal midway through the second period and Erik Karlsson had three assists in the Sharks’ 3-1 win over the Kings. Joonas Donskoi also tallied and Joe Thornton added an empty-netter as San Jose won for the fifth time in six games to pull within three points of the Pacific Division-leading Flames.
– Devan Dubnyk (DOOB’-nihk) stopped 32 shots and Mikael Grandlund scored 6:58 into the third period to send the Wild past the Canadiens, 1-0 in Montreal. Minnesota has won three straight and four of five following Dubnyk’s first shutout of the season and 30th of his career.
– The Flyers dropped their seventh straight as Jordan Binnington stopped 25 shots in his first NHL start to backstop the Blues’ 3-0 shutout at Philadelphia. Brayden Schenne and Vladimir Tarasenko scored against Carter Hart and David Perron (peh-RAHN’) added an empty-netter to help St. Louis climb out of the Western Conference cellar.
Ex-Arizona assistant to plea out
UNDATED (AP) – Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson has reached an agreement with New York prosecutors to plead guilty to one count of federal funds bribery at a hearing later this month.
Richardson’s attorney said the plea agreement for the Jan. 22 hearing contains a stipulated sentencing guidelines range of 18 to 24 months, though the sentence is up to the judge and doesn’t guarantee testimony against others.
Richardson was among 10 people arrested as part of a federal probe into college basketball recruiting practices in September 2017, including assistant coaches at four prominent schools.
Former Southern California assistant coach Tony Bland pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery last Wednesday. Former Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person and another man are scheduled to go on trial next month.
T25-COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL
First four unchanged
UNDATED (AP) – Duke, Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia remain the top four teams in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll. The Blue Devils claimed 37 of 64 first-place votes, the Wolverines took nine and both the Volunteers and Cavaliers received five apiece.
The rest of the top 10 became a jumble after three ranked teams lost last week. No. 5 Gonzaga, Michigan State, Kansas, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and Nevada rounded out the top 10.