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January 6, 2021
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January 6, 2021
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Update on the latest sports

 

HEISMAN TROPHY
Alabama’s Smith becomes 1st WR to win Heisman in 29 years
NEW YORK (AP) – Move over running backs, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith has emerged as the best player in college football.
Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 29 seasons Tuesday night, breaking the monopoly quarterbacks have had on college football’s most prestigious award by beating out three of them.
The Crimson Tide senior is the fourth receiver to win the Heisman, joining Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991, Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in 1987 and Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers in 1972. The other finalists were Smith’s Alabama teammate Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Florida’s Kyle Trask. Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris finished fifth in the voting. Quarterbacks had won 17 of the previous 20 Heisman trophies, including the last four.

 

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Reported virus issues at Ohio St raise specter of CFP delay
UNDATED (AP) – College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock says the national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State is still a go for Monday night.
Hancock said there were no changes and the game in Miami Gardens, Florida, between the top-ranked Crimson Tide and the third-ranked Buckeyes was still scheduled for Monday night as planned. AL.com reported that Ohio State has been in contact with CFP officials about possible player availability problems that could force the game to be delayed.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says the Buckeyes continue to follow the same protocols they have all season and plan to play Monday in suburban Miami.
The pandemic threatened to shut down major college football altogether in the summer, but a season was played through dozens of postponements and cancellations, and with teams getting through games shorthanded because of the virus.
About 87% of the regular-season Bowl Subdivision schedule was played.

 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NFL-BROWNS
Browns coach will miss playoff game
CLEVELAND (AP) – Two days after celebrating their return to the NFL playoffs, the Cleveland Browns have been knocked flat. Coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Cleveland’s first playoff game since the 2002 season.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will be the acting head coach on Sunday against the Steelers. Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge also tested positive, along with two more assistant coaches. NFL rules state that anyone testing positive must sit out at least 10 days.
It’s a major blow to the Browns, who qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 17 seasons with a win last weekend over the Steelers. The league says the status for the game in Pittsburgh has not changed.

 

NFL-HALL OF FAME FINALISTS
No surprise: Peyton Manning a Hall of Fame finalist
UNDATED (AP) – Peyton Manning, no surprise, is among 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021. The star quarterback and owner of a record five NFL Most Valuable Player awards and two Super Bowl titles was one of the most prolific passers in NFL history.
In 18 pro seasons and 265 starts out of 266 games played since being the top overall draft choice by Indianapolis in 1998, he had 14 seasons with 4,000-plus yards passing. When he retired following leading Denver to the 2015 league title, Manning held NFL records for career passing yards (71,940), career passing touchdowns (539) and consecutive seasons with at least 25 passing touchdowns (13).

 

In other NFL news:
-The Atlanta Falcons have interviewed two directors of college scouting, Brad Holmes of the Los Angeles Rams and Morocco Brown of the Indianapolis Colts, for their general manager position. The Falcons say they conducted remote interviews with Holmes and Brown. Atlanta is looking to replace Thomas Dimitroff, who along with coach Dan Quinn was fired following a 0-5 start this season. The 41-year-old Holmes has been with the Rams for eight years.

 

-The Panthers say they have completed interviews with six potential candidates for their general manager position. Carolina announced that it interviewed Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen, Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, Saints assistant GM and college scouting director Jeff Ireland and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, as well as Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and former Giants GM Jerry Reese on Monday. The Panthers fired GM Marty Hurney last month.

 

– A person familiar with the situation says Carson Wentz needs time away to think about his future with the Philadelphia Eagles and is hopeful it won’t end in a divorce. Wentz was benched for the final four games after the worst season of his five-year career and was inactive Sunday in a loss to Washington. He hasn’t spoken to reporters since Dec. 6 and declined interview requests Monday.

 

– Georgia quarterback JT Daniels says he’s returning for another year between the hedges. Daniels transferred from Southern Cal and started the final four games for the Bulldogs after fully recovering from a knee injury. He led Georgia to four straight wins, including a victory over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.

 

– Tennessee cornerback Bryce Thompson has declared early for the NFL draft, saying he feels ready for the challenge as he tries to fulfill his lifelong dream. Thompson announced his decision Tuesday in a social media post. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound cornerback from Irmo, South Carolina, started 28 of 31 games and has eight career interceptions.

 

– New York Giants defensive coordinator Pat Graham is staying put. The Giants say Graham signed a contract extension to remain as Joe Judge’s defensive coordinator. He is adding the title assistant head coach. The Giants defense improved markedly this past season and Graham reportedly was being considered for the vacant head coaching job with the Jets.

 

T25-IOWA STATE-TEXAS TECH
Jones scores 23, No. 4 Texas holds off Iowa State 78-72
UNDATED (AP) – Andrew Jones scored a career-high 23 points and No. 4 Texas held off Iowa State 78-72 to continue its torrid start to the season. Texas led by as much as 15 early in the second half and appeared to be cruising to an easy win over an Iowa State team that is still winless in the Big 12. But the Cyclones kept chipping away and made it tough for Texas to close out the game. Javan Johnson scored 21 points to lead Iowa State. Matt Coleman III added 13 points and Jericho Sims had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Longhorns.

 

In other T25 action:
-DJ Stewart scored 24 points and Mississippi State overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to roll past No. 13 Missouri 78-63. Mississippi State trailed by 14 points early in the second half before taking the lead with a 15-0 run and then pulling away with a 21-4 burst. Iverson Molinar added 20 points for the Bulldogs.

 

-Terrence Shannon Jr. beat the first-half buzzer with a jumper on his way to 22 points, Mac McClung added 16 and No. 18 Texas Tech beat Kansas State 82-71. Marcus Santos-Silva scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half as the Red Raiders picked up their first conference home victory after losing two. Nigel Pack, one of three freshmen making a seventh straight start for Kansas State, scored 15 of his season-high 17 points in the first half.

 

-Aamir Simms hit a go-ahead basket for a second straight game as No. 19 Clemson rallied from nine-points down in the second half to beat North Carolina State 74-70 in overtime. Nick Honor had 21 points and tied things at 62 with 38 seconds left in regulation to set up the extra period. North Carolina State took its last lead on DJ Funderburk’s 3-pointer with 3:12 to go in OT. That’s when Simms got the ball down low for a basket to put Clemson in front to stay.

 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Virus leads to more postponements
UNDATED (AP) – The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team has shut down all athletic activities and postponed Wednesday night’s game at Notre Dame because of COVID-19 protocols. No date has been set to make up the game against the Fighting Irish.
Elsewhere, the Memphis Tigers’ men’s basketball game at UCF has been postponed hours before tipoff because of positive COVID-19 cases and ensuing contact tracing at the Florida school. This is the second straight road game for Memphis affected by the opposing team’s COVID issues.
And Oregon State’s men’s basketball game at Colorado scheduled for Saturday in Boulder has been postponed because of COVID-19 protocols in the Beavers’ program.

 

NBA-SCHEDULE
Kyrie Irving leads undermanned Nets to 130-96 rout of Jazz
UNDATED (AP) – Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his 29 points in the first half to lead the undermanned Brooklyn Nets to a 130-96 win over the Utah Jazz.
Brooklyn, which entered the game having lost two straight and four of five, never trailed. The Nets led 35-14 after the first quarter, and 63-44 at the half. Brooklyn’s 19-point halftime lead was its biggest in about 10 months. In the Nets’ 139-120 win over San Antonio on Mar. 6, 2020, they had a 21-point (75-54) halftime lead.

 

In other Tuesday NBA results:
– Coby White had 21 points and 10 rebounds and the short-handed Chicago Bulls downed the Portland Trail Blazers 111-108. Otto Porter Jr. added 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won four of their last five games. CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 26 points, including six 3-pointers. Damian Lillard had 24 points and nine assists. The Blazers led by as many as 20 points early in the game but the Bulls chipped away at the lead before pulling in front in the final quarter.

 

-Anthony Davis and LeBron James each scored 26 points, rallying the Los Angeles Lakers to a 94-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. James added 11 rebounds and seven assists. Dennis Schroder finished with 12 points for Los Angeles. Jonas Valanciunas, Dillon Brooks and Gorgui Dieng led Memphis with 13 points apiece.

 

– Nikola Jokic scored 13 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter after losing his cool earlier in the game, and the Denver Nuggets scrambled late to beat Minnesota 123-116 for their 10th straight win over the Timberwolves. Jokic shook off two second-quarter technical fouls to lead the Nuggets to the comeback victory. He also had 15 rebounds. Will Barton added 20 points for the Nuggets. They squandered an 18-point lead in the first half and later fell behind by eight. Denver went on a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter to take control. D’Angelo Russell scored 33 points and Juancho Hernangomez added 25 against his former team. It was the fifth straight loss for the Timberwolves.

 

– Patty Mills hit a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 27 points off the bench, and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 116-113 to snap a four-game skid. Dejounte Murray added 21 points, Rudy Gay had 16 points, LaMarcus Aldridge 14 points and Keldon Johnson a career-high 11 rebounds for the Spurs. They led by 24 in the first quarter and withstood an onslaught by Kawhi Leonard in the third before nearly blowing their lead in the fourth. Leonard scored a game-high 30 points and had 10 assists, but his jumper missed with five seconds left.

 

MLB-DODGERS-TREINEN
Dodgers re-sign pitcher Treinen to $17.5M, 2-year deal
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers have re-signed pitcher Blake Treinen to a $17.5 million, two-year deal.
The team said Tuesday the deal that runs through the 2022 season includes a team option for the 2023 season. Treinen receives a $4 million signing bonus. He will earn $6 million in both 2021 and 2022. The team option in 2023 is worth $8 million and includes a $1.5 million buyout. The 32-year-old right-hander earned $3,703,704 during the abbreviated 60-game season last year prorated from a $10 million, one-year contract. He was 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA last season.

 

In other MLB moves:
-The Detroit Tigers have signed outfielder Robbie Grossman to a two-year, $10 million contract that includes performance bonuses. The 31-year-old Grossman spent the past two seasons with the Oakland Athletics. He hit .241 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in 51 games in the shortened 2020 season. Prior to his stint with the A’s, Grossman played for Minnesota and Houston.

 

WORLD JUNIOR HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
US upsets Canada 2-0 to win world junior hockey championship
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Spencer Knight made 34 saves and the United States upset Canada 2-0 to win the world junior hockey championship. Tournament MVP Trevor Zegras had a goal and an assist, and Alex Turcotte also scored as the U.S. won its first gold medal at the event since 2017. The Canadians were undefeated coming into the game and hadn’t trailed once. They were aiming to repeat as gold-medal winners, but had to settle for silver on home ice. The U.S., which finished sixth in 2020, won six straight games to capture its fifth under-20 title following a round-robin loss to Russia on opening day. Finland beat Russia 4-1 to take the bronze medal.

 

NHL-OBIT-MUCKLER
Former NHL coach John Muckler dead
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – John Muckler, who coached four NHL teams and won five Stanley Cup championships with the Edmonton Oilers, has died. He was 86. The Oilers confirmed Muckler’s death Monday night. No cause was given. Muckler was part of the staff that put together the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. He joined Edmonton in 1982 as an assistant coach under Glen Sather and won five Stanley Cups with the organization from 1984-90, the last one as head coach. He also coached the Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars.