Update on the latest sports
Rivers sharp while Colts muzzle Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Indianapolis and Tennessee share the AFC South lead at 6-3 following the Colts’ 34-17 win over the Titans in Nashville.
Philip Rivers completed 29 of his 39 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown as the Colts handed the Titans their third loss in four games since a 5-0 start. Indianapolis entered the game leading the NFL in fewest yards allowed before limiting Tennessee to 294 total yards, about 90 below its season average.
Derrick Henry ran for 103 yards on 19 carries for the Titans, who didn’t score after halftime. Ryan Tannehill was just 15 of 27 for 147 yards and a TD.
The Colts now own the tiebreaker against the Titans and will host Tennessee on Nov. 29.
NFL ratings slip
UNDATED (AP) – The NFL was not expected to be immune from the ratings declines that have hit all sports this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and presidential election.
But the declines are not as bad as some feared at the beginning of the season.
Games are averaging 15.1 million television and digital viewers according to the league and Nielsen. That is a 6% decline from last year.
Despite the decreases, all but four of the top 30 shows since the season began have been NFL games.
Casey has clubhouse lead at wet Augusta
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Paul Casey seems to have shed the memory of his disappointing performance at the Masters 19 months ago.
The 43-year-old Englishman is is the clubhouse leader at Augusta after shooting a 7-under 65 in the opening round. Casey made an early exit at last year’s Masters, shooting 86 and 82 to fall well below the cut line.
Casey got on a roll with an eagle at the par-5 second hole. He tacked on five more birdies to match his lowest score ever at the Masters, grabbing a two-shot lead over Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele (ZAN’-dur SHAWF’-lee).
Tiger Woods is at minus-4 as he seeks a record-tying sixth Masters title. It matched his lowest start ever at the Masters, and it was his first bogey-free round in a major since the opening round of the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.
Play had to be suspended by darkness caused by a three-hour rain delay in the morning. Justin Thomas was on the course at 5 under through 10 holes when he and 43 other players were forced to leave the course.
Abreu, Freeman are MVPs
NEW YORK (AP) – A pair of first basemen have come away with baseball’s MVP awards.
The American League MVP is White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (ah-BRAY’-oo), who came away with 21 of 30 first-place votes to edge Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez and Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu.
Abreu led the majors with 60 RBIs and 148 total bases, and topped the AL with 76 hits and a .617 slugging percentage. The 33-year-old Abreu batted .317 with 19 home runs, connecting six times in a three-game series against the Cubs in late August.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is the National League MVP, claiming 28 of 30 first-place votes to beat out Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts and Padres third baseman Manny Machado.
Freeman had a strong season after contracting COVID-19 just before the season began in July, batting .341 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs while playing all 60 games. He topped the majors with 23 doubles and 51 runs scored in helping the Braves win the NL East.
In other MLB news:
– The White Sox are sticking with new manager Tony La Russa for now, saying they understand the “seriousness” of his latest drunken driving case. The club said in a statement Thursday that it will “have more to say” once the case is resolved. The Hall of Fame manager was arrested on misdemeanor DUI charges in February, when he blew out a tire in a collision with a curb, according to an affidavit filed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. He has pleaded not guilty.
– Braves’ assistant general manager Perry Minasian has been named the Angels’ general manager, replacing Billy Eppler. Minasian spent the past three years in the Braves’ front office, including the past two seasons as their vice president of baseball operations. The 40-year-old Minasian has been in baseball since he was an 8-year-old batboy for the Rangers, where his father, Zack, was the team’s clubhouse manager.
Pitt-Tech, Tech-Rice postponed
UNDATED (AP) – Pittsburgh’s scheduled football game at Georgia Tech has been postponed after the Panthers were forced to pause team activities due to COVID-19 protocols. The ACC said both teams were having COVID-19 issues that have caused the game to be moved from this Saturday to Dec. 12.
A pair of Conference USA games have been postponed as well. Louisiana Tech was slated to take on Rice and UAB was supposed to face North Texas. Those games are off the schedule due to COVID-19 issues with La Tech and UAB.
More than 50 games across major college football have been postponed or canceled since late August. That includes 10 scheduled for this weekend and 10 last weekend.
In other college sports news involving the pandemic:
– Mississippi State starting safety Marcus Murphy says on social media that he will opt out the rest of this season. Murphy currently is fourth on the team in tackles through four games. He did not specify his reasons for opting out or his plans in Thursday’s post on his verified Twitter account.
– Oregon State says one football player has tested positive for COVID-19 and three others have been isolated. The player tested positive on Monday, and the result was confirmed by another test. All of the players impacted must remain in isolation for at least 10 days.
– UConn men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley is considering delaying the start of his team’s season. The program has suspended all activities for two weeks after a positive coronavirus test by one player. Hurley hopes the team will play its first two games on Nov. 25 and 27. But contracts for those games have not been signed and Hurley says ramping up practice after two weeks off will be difficult.
– The Ivy League has become the first Division I conference this year to cancel all winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball. The decision came 13 days before the scheduled start of the college basketball season.
– The Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team doesn’t have enough athletes to safely compete this season. The school says six of the 12 players opted out of playing because of concerns about the novel coronavirus. Another player can’t return to campus from out of the country because of travel limitations.
Suit filed against Ferentz
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A lawyer for 13 Black former Iowa football players says he has filed a lawsuit alleging his clients suffered racial discrimination under longtime coach Kirk Ferentz.
The plaintiffs include former star running back Akrum Wadley and career receptions leader Kevonte Martin-Manley. A news release from the attorney says the players suffered “serious and pervasive discriminatory treatment and harassment.”
They allege they were demeaned with racial slurs, forced to abandon Black hairstyles, fashion and culture to fit the “Iowa Way” promoted by Ferentz, and retaliated against for speaking out, according to the release.
Plans finalized to have 40 teams in Mohegan “Bubbleville”
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – Final plans have been announced for 11 days of college basketball this month inside a modified bubble at the Mohegan Sun resort casino in Connecticut.
The event has been dubbed “Bubbleville” and will include 40 teams playing 45 games in tournaments that were either relocated or created to be played at the resort between Nov. 25 and Dec 5.
Each team will be tested upon arrival and will have its own secured floor in the resort’s 34-story tower hotels along with meeting and catered dining areas.
Schools involved include men’s second-ranked Baylor, third-ranked Villanova, fourth-ranked Virginia, No. 18 Arizona State and No. 20 Oregon.
The women’s programs competing are scheduled to include third-ranked UConn, fifth-ranked Louisville and No. 6 Mississippi State.
NCAA voices concern over prop bets on college athletes
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – An NCAA vice president is voicing concern over sports betting on the performance of individual student-athletes and suggesting that gambling regulators consider restrictions on such wagers to protect the integrity of the games.
Naima Stevenson-Starks has expressed concern about so-called proposition bets involving college athletes. They involve whether a given player will or won’t surpass a certain threshold during a game, like whether a quarterback will throw for three touchdowns or whether a running back will rush for 100 yards. Such bets are far more common on NFL games than college games, but NFL players don’t attend class with people who could be betting on their performance.
Kentucky O-line coach John Schlarman dies of cancer at 45
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman has died at age 45 after a two-year fight with cancer.
The school announced Schlarman’s death from bile duct cancer in a news release Thursday. He was diagnosed in the summer of 2018 but continued to coach throughout treatment.
Schlarman was most recently on the sideline for Kentucky’s 34-7 upset at Tennessee on Oct. 17 and received a game ball from head coach Mark Stoops.