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Angels clinch playoff spot, beat Mariners 8-1

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:18pm

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels became the first team in the major leagues to clinch a playoff spot on Monday night, with Matt Shoemaker pitching five-hit ball into the eighth inning of an 8-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

David Freese and Brennan Boesch homered for the big league-leading Angels (94-56), who reduced their magic number to three in the AL West race with their 11th victory in 12 games. Los Angeles is assured of at least a wild card berth in its first postseason since 2009.

Albert Pujols left the game in the third inning with a left hamstring cramp after hitting a three-run double off Hisashi Iwakuma (14-8) for Los Angeles' first runs.

The Mariners (80-69) dropped two games behind Kansas City for the second AL wild card spot with their fifth loss in six games.

Shoemaker (16-4), who turns 28 next weekend, improved his own franchise record for rookie victories with his ninth win in 11 appearances since July 26. He pitched seven shutout innings and didn't allow a runner to reach third base before Logan Morrison doubled and scored on two groundouts in the eighth.

Manager Mike Scioscia and the Angels' training staff came out to check on Shoemaker before he left after 7 2-3 innings.

Tony Campana had a two-run single and Howie Kendrick had an RBI double in the Angels' 17th win in 20 games.

Iwakuma couldn't get out of the fourth inning of his first career loss to the Angels, yielding six hits and seven runs. Humberto Quintero drove in Seattle's only run.

Iwakuma's career-long dominance of the Angels (5-0, 1.64 ERA) abruptly ended after he retired Los Angeles' first eight batters. The Japanese right-hander, who walked just 16 batters in his first 176 innings this season, walked Efren Navarro and Mike Trout with two outs in the third before Pujols cleared the bases with a shot down the left-field line.

Pujols held his hamstring while jogging slowly into second as Trout slid under the cutoff throw at home, but the three-time NL MVP left the game walking easily.

The speedy Campana replaced Pujols and scored on Kendrick's double. After Freese crushed his ninth homer to center in the fourth, the Angels loaded the bases for Campana, who delivered his first RBIs for his new team.

Boesch's first homer for the Angels put them up 8-0 in the fifth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: Dustin Ackley returned to left field after missing six of the last seven games with a left ankle injury. He left in the sixth inning.

Angels: Josh Hamilton's injured right shoulder felt strong after three rounds of batting practice. The cleanup hitter might return as soon as Wednesday.

UP NEXT

After three consecutive wins with their bullpen filling injured Garrett Richards' rotation spot, the Angels will try it again, starting with reliever Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.80). Roenis Elias (10-12, 3.81) pitches for Seattle.

Papelbon suspended 7 games by MLB

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 7:29pm

SAN DIEGO (AP) Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended seven games and fined Monday night by Major League Baseball for making a lewd gesture and then bumping an umpire.

Papelbon said in a statement distributed by his agent that he would immediately begin serving the suspension, and that he regrets making contact with umpire Joe West on Sunday.

But the right-hander insisted he wasn't making a vulgar motion toward fans as he walked off the field to boos after giving up four runs in the ninth inning of Philadelphia's 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins. He apologized to Phillies fans in the statement.

"While I completely understand how the fans would perceive my gesture while being booed, it was not my intent whatsoever to insult the fans of Philadelphia," Papelbon said. "If it was perceived in that manner, I sincerely apologize."

Papelbon was ejected by West after the umpire thought Papelbon grabbed his crotch in response to the jeers from the crowd.

"The whole thing started because the fans booed him and he made an obscene gesture. He had no business doing that," West said Sunday. "He's got to be more professional than that. And that's why he was ejected."

The fiery reliever jogged out of the dugout and got into a face-to-face argument with West, who grasped the pitcher's jersey to hold him off, and Papelbon then argued with first base umpire Marty Foster. Papelbon threw a cup of liquid on the field before leaving the dugout.

"The Phillies fully support the decision of the Commissioner's Office, which has exclusive jurisdiction for on-field player behavior," the team said in a statement. "By Major League Baseball rules, the Phillies have no authority to make official judgments about activity which occurs on the field or to determine the appropriate penalty for misconduct. We apologize to our fans for the actions of our player yesterday."

Papelbon had converted 14 straight save chances since July 22 when he entered with a 4-1 lead. He is 37 for 41 in save chances this season.

Mets' deGrom ties MLB record with 8 Ks at start

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:28pm

NEW YORK (AP) Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom has tied a major league record by striking out his first eight batters.

The rookie whiffed eight consecutive Miami Marlins to begin Monday night's game at Citi Field, matching the mark set by Jim Deshaies of the Houston Astros against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 23, 1986.

Deshaies and deGrom are the only pitchers to accomplish the feat since 1900.

A top contender for NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom tied the record by freezing Jeff Mathis with a 95 mph fastball for a called third strike. The shaggy-haired righty then gave up a sharp single to opposing pitcher Jarred Cosart on a 1-0 pitch.

As deGrom quickly piled up Ks, the small crowd began clapping whenever he got two strikes on a hitter. He received a warm ovation following Cosart's base hit.

The previous Mets record for strikeouts to start a game was six by Pete Falcone against Philadelphia on May 1, 1980.

STATS says Mickey Welch of the New York Gothams struck out the first nine Cleveland Blues batters on Aug. 28, 1884 - when the mound was only 50 feet from home plate.

Union expects to file Rice appeal Tuesday

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 4:27pm

NEW YORK (AP) The players' union on Tuesday plans to appeal the indefinite suspension the NFL handed to Ray Rice last week.

NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah told The Associated Press on Monday "we are expecting to appeal before the deadline on Tuesday night." That deadline is 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Rice originally was suspended two games under the NFL's personal conduct policy for striking his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator. When videotape of that incident was made public and showed Rice punching his now-wife Janay, knocking her unconscious, the Baltimore Ravens released the running back.

Almost immediately after that, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made Rice's suspension indefinite.

Although he doesn't have a team, Rice remains a member of the NFLPA.

Rice can apply for reinstatement when he convinces Goodell that he is "addressing this issue." Rice can avoid prosecution and a criminal record by completing a pretrial intervention program, a resolution prosecutors said they agreed to after consulting with Janay Rice.

The NFL hired former FBI director Robert Mueller to look into how the league sought and handled evidence in the domestic violence case.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Panthers unsure if Hardy will play vs. Steelers

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:50pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera isn't sure if Greg Hardy will play Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rivera also said Monday that the team hasn't considered releasing the Pro Bowl defensive end who is involved in a domestic violence case. He added that Hardy will continue to practice and attend team meetings, but the coach won't make a decision on when Hardy plays until later this week.

The Panthers plan to continue gathering information in what Rivera said is "a very fluid situation."

Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim claimed he threw her down on a bed of guns and tossed her into the shower. He is appealing the ruling.

Hardy played in Week 1 but Rivera deactivated him just hours before Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions - two days after the coach had said Hardy would play.

Rivera said Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was involved in the Hardy discussion and the team received some input from the league, but it was his decision to bench him.

Hardy made $770,588.23 - one-seventeenth of his yearly pay - despite not playing. Hardy is due to make $13.1 million this year.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman and his staff are "doing their due diligence in terms of looking at what our options are" going forward, Rivera said.

The Panthers will have to decide by Week 6 how they want to handle Hardy's situation.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, a team can only deactivate a player for non-injury reasons for a maximum of four games. The same limit applies if the Panthers were to suspend Hardy for conduct detrimental to the team.

Hardy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined to comment on the situation.

On Monday, Hardy arrived at the stadium in his white Bentley shortly after noon wearing white shorts and a hooded white sweatshirt and sunglasses. He didn't acknowledge media questions as he strolled into the stadium.

The decision to deactivate Hardy last Sunday was a difficult one, Rivera said.

"If you play him and you win, then you don't have a conscience; and if you play him and you lose, he's a distraction," Rivera said.

Rivera's decision to bench Hardy came after the Minnesota Vikings deactivated Adrian Peterson following his indictment for injuring a child. The Vikings released a statement Monday saying Peterson will play Sunday against New Orleans.

The Panthers are trying to be careful not to be reactionary.

"That is why we have to sit down and talk about these things," Rivera said. "And we did the same thing (on Sunday). We talked about a lot of things and at the end of the day I had to make a decision that I believe was in the best interest of our football team and for Greg."

Rivera said he allowed Hardy to leave the stadium and return home after notifying him of the move.

"I said, `Greg, are you OK with this?' and he said, `Coach, I understand,"' Rivera said.

Carolina's defense didn't miss a beat without Hardy, forcing three turnovers and getting four sacks in a 24-7 victory.

Hardy, who tied a franchise-record with 15 sacks last season, had four tackles and a sack in the team's regular-season opener at Tampa Bay. However, Hardy's status changed when the Ravens released Ray Rice and the league suspended him indefinitely last week after a video surfaced of Rice punching his then-fiancee.

Later in the week, Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges, adding pressure on the Panthers to deactivate Hardy.

Rivera said Sunday that "the climate had changed" in the NFL and that played into his decision to bench Hardy.

When asked if the Panthers got it right the first time, Rivera said, "I don't know. What is right? You do the best you can and nobody is infallible. We have to get this issue right and we're trying to do the right thing."

Panthers center and team co-captain Ryan Kalil said Monday he's glad he didn't have Rivera's job the last two weeks.

"I don't envy having to make those tough decisions," Kalil said.

Kalil also said he's tired of answering questions about Hardy, but said the best thing he advises younger teammates to do is focus on getting better.

"There are countless guys I can name in this league that are just really good people," Kalil said. "My hope is that at some point we can focus on some of those guys. I know these things are the topic right now, but it's disappointing that it overshadows a lot of good people."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Vikings bring back Peterson despite abuse charge

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:19pm

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have seen the details. They have seen photos of the injuries that Adrian Peterson's 4-year-old son suffered at the hands of the star running back. They have a history of punishing players who have run into trouble with the law.

The Vikings brought Peterson back to the team anyway even as the public furor over the NFL's approach to addressing domestic abuse reached a fever pitch.

The Vikings reinstated Peterson on Monday, one day after he sat out a 30-7 home loss to the New England Patriots after he was charged with a felony in Texas for using a wooden switch to spank his son. Peterson, who said he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy, is expected to play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

"We are trying to do the right thing," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "This is a difficult path to navigate regarding the judgment of how a parent disciplines his child. Based on the extensive information we have right now and what we know of Adrian not only as a person but what he's done for this community, we believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out."

Peterson didn't talk with reporters, but issued a statement in which he insisted he is not a child abuser and wanted "everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child."

"I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser," Peterson said in a nearly 500-word statement issued through his agency. "I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury.

"No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that's what I tried to do that day."

Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said they decided to bring back Peterson for practices and Sunday's game at New Orleans "after significant thought, discussion and consideration." The Wilfs said they want to let the case play out before making any more definitive decisions on Peterson's future with the only NFL team he has ever played for.

"To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child," they said. "At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action."

The Wilfs were not available for further comment on Monday but Spielman said they are going to leave the decision about whether Peterson crossed a line while disciplining his son up to the courts.

"For a league full of people that claim to care about leadership, there sure seems to be a bunch of followers," ESPN analyst and former quarterback Tim Hasselbeck tweeted.

Peterson faces a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child, which carries penalties of up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His initial court appearance in Conroe, Texas, near Houston, was scheduled for Oct. 8.

Corporal punishment is legal in Texas and non-deadly force against a child by a parent or guardian is permissible. But the punishment is abusive if it causes injury. A blow that leaves a bruise, welt or swelling, or requires medical attention, could be judged abusive. The guidelines also say use of an instrument "is cause for concern."

Peterson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Peterson used a switch because that was the way he was brought up by his parents in Palestine, Texas, and the NFL star agreed.

"I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen," Peterson said. "I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate."

He noted that many people feel "very strongly" about corporal punishment, but said "regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person."

The Vikings decided to sit Peterson against the Patriots, moving swiftly after a week in which the NFL came under heavy scrutiny for its handling of a domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Spielman said the Vikings have seen files the authorities have built on Peterson's case, including some photos of the injuries the boy sustained.

"The photos are disturbing. I understand that," Spielman said. "But to be clear, any matter that's involving the child is very important for this organization. But we also think it is right for him to go through the process legally."

The Vikings clearly see Peterson's case as different from the 2011 case involving former cornerback Chris Cook, who was accused of choking his girlfriend and charged with domestic assault. Cook was suspended by the team, reinstated with pay and then barred from all team activities, including games, while the legal process unfolded.

Cook wound up missing 10 games and was eventually acquitted. He never faced discipline from the NFL and played two more seasons with the Vikings before signing with the 49ers.

The Vikings also cut cornerback A.J. Jefferson last year, less than a day after he was arrested for domestic assault. In 2012, the Vikings cut practice squad running back Caleb King hours after he was released from jail after allegedly inflicting serious harm on another man in a fight.

"Why are due process rights only reserved for the privileged (and) for those at the top of the roster?" former linebacker Scott Fujita tweeted.

But Spielman steadfastly denied the team's decision on Peterson had anything to do with his status as one of the best players in the league and his ability to help the team win.

"It has nothing to do with him as a football player," Spielman said. "It's based purely on the facts that we have that have been presented to us."

The NFL is looking into Peterson's case, and if convicted he could face a minimum six-game suspension under the league's new domestic abuse policy that was implemented after Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he botched Rice's initial punishment.

Coach Mike Zimmer said he had input during deliberations, but ultimately it was ownership's decision to let him play again.

"It's important that when I ask these players to do the things I ask them to do, to fight for me, to run through the wall for me, that I'm able do my very best to help support them when I can," Zimmer said.

The Vikings' decision to reinstate Peterson came on the same day the NFL announced that three experts in domestic violence will serve as senior advisers to the league and help shape policy.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Arians: OLB Abraham to return to Cardinals Tuesday

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:47pm

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona coach Bruce Arians says outside linebacker John Abraham will return to the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Abraham left the team last week after sustaining a concussion in the Cardinals' season-opening victory over San Diego. Arians had said that Abraham was contemplating retirement, wondering if he still has the fire to play the game.

"I knew a lot of it was the headaches and the first real big one (concussion) he's ever had," Arians said Monday, "and there are other things we're dealing with and he's fine with those.

It will be the second return to the Cardinals for Abraham this season. The 15-year NFL veteran showed up late for training camp after undergoing what he later confirmed was rehabilitation for an alcohol problem.

Abraham had until Tuesday to return or the Cardinals would have had to declare him out for the season.

"He's excited about it," Arians said. "He's at the doctor's, the neurologist, now, to make sure he can pass the test and be ready to go."

Arians said Abraham "talked to a couple of players Saturday night in the hotel."

"We have been texting back and forth for the last three days," the coach said. "Probably about 30 minutes ago I asked him, `Do you want me to announce it at the press conference? He said, `Yes, that'd be great."'

Abraham ranks ninth on the NFL's career sacks list with 133 1/2 and often has talked about how he wants nine more to move ahead of Michael Strahan into the No. 5 spot. He led the Cardinals with 11 1/2 sacks last season, his first with the team, and was voted to his fifth Pro Bowl.

The 36-year-old linebacker had no tackles before leaving the season-opener in the third quarter.

Abraham didn't arrive in training camp until Aug. 14, saying he had to deal with personal issues. He later confirmed that he had been in rehab.

Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge in suburban Atlanta in late June.

"He's ready to play," Arians said.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Hull draws 2-2 with West Ham in Premier League

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:27pm

HULL, England (AP) Hull duo Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame scored on their debuts but West Ham equalized through an own goal by Curties Davies to secure a 2-2 draw in the Premier League on Monday.

Hull led twice after the club's record signing Hernandez scored with an impeccable first-half header and Diame restored the advantage against the side he left on transfer deadline day.

In between, Enner Valencia marked his first league start with a spectacular strike from 25 yards and the draw was settled when Diafra Sakho's modest shot evaded goalkeeper Allan McGregor, only for Davies to bundle over his own line.

Valencia almost won it in added time when his header rebounded off Dawson's shoulder and rattled the crossbar.

Hull has five points from four games, with West Ham a point behind.

Harbaugh: McDonald's legal process must play out

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 1:37pm

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insisted Monday that public pressure will not sway his decision to play Ray McDonald during an investigation into the defensive lineman's arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.

Harbaugh said there "could be" a resolution in the case this week for McDonald, arrested at his home Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday with teammates and friends.

"I know there's an investigation going on that's continuing today," Harbaugh said.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera on Sunday benched defensive end Greg Hardy for the team's 24-7 win over Detroit after he was active in Week 1. Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. He is appealing.

McDonald has played and started both games so far for San Francisco (1-1), which lost 28-20 to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.

Harbaugh said the 49ers didn't compare the McDonald and Hardy situations.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for McDonald's benching before the game. This after San Francisco suspended veteran play-by-play man Ted Robinson last week for two games after he made comments on the radio about the Ray Rice case that were deemed inappropriate.

"Well, you've seen there's a lot of public speculation, and people weighing in with their opinion, whether it's a public figure or people through social media," Harbaugh said. "Our response would be, we have two principles at play here, and one is respect for due process, and we're not going to flinch based on public speculation."

Harbaugh, 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke all have said publicly they will let the legal process play out before deciding to sit McDonald or making any other choices about his future with the team. They have expressed that they have zero tolerance for domestic violence.

"The facts and the information, that's what we said from the beginning, yes," said Harbaugh, who like Baalke has daughters.

He would not confirm an NFL Network report that the 49ers believe McDonald's version of what happened.

"I trust the process. The reason I'm not answering is I'm not inserting myself into the process, one way or the other," Harbaugh said. "I think that's the right thing to do, respect the legal process, respect the due process. The authorities are at work. We've been pretty clear on how we're going about this."

The 49ers have plenty of problems on the field to deal with this week, too.

Tight end Vernon Davis injured his left ankle and was hobbling around on crutches in the locker room Sunday. He was having a scan and being examined Monday.

San Francisco must try to regroup in a hurry before Sunday's game at first-place Arizona (2-0).

With the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks losing at San Diego, the 49ers realize they let a key chance slip away early in the season.

"Nobody feels really good about it. It's a bad feeling when you lose the game, no matter how you lose it," Harbaugh said. "Being ahead in the game and not finishing the game with a win leads to a very bad feeling after the game and today."

Colin Kaepernick threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, including two fourth-quarter picks by rookie Kyle Fuller - the first two of his career, and on the prime-time stage - that led to Chicago touchdowns.

After Fuller's first pick, Kaepernick was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for "inappropriate language," though he denied saying anything after the game. Harbaugh said he didn't hear anything.

"Yeah, we'd like to find out about it," Harbaugh said of a possible inquiry to the league. "I didn't overhear that, they didn't come back and tell me."

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Domestic violence experts added as NFL advisers

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:42pm

NEW YORK (AP) Three experts in domestic violence will serve as consultants to the NFL.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams Monday announcing that Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith will work as "senior advisers." They will "help lead and shape the NFL's policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault," he wrote.

Goodell has been under heavy criticism for his handling of the domestic abuse case involving star running back Ray Rice. Rice was initially suspended for two games. Goodell at first defended the punishment, but more than a month later, he told owners he "didn't get it right" and that first-time domestic violence offenders would face a six-game suspension going forward.

Then Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the league after video surfaced of the assault on his then-fiancee.

Friel was the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office for more than a decade. Randel is the co-founder of No More, a campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault. Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Monday's memo also said that Anna Isaacson, currently the NFL's vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, will become its vice president of social responsibility.

"Anna has been leading our internal work relating to how we address issues of domestic violence and related social issues," Goodell wrote. "In this new role, she will oversee the development of the full range of education, training and support programs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and matters of respect."

The National Organization for Women, which is calling for Goodell's resignation, called the appointments of the senior advisers "a step in the right direction - but it's not enough."

On the new role for Isaacson, NOW said in a statement that "the fact that Roger Goodell is assigning a current member of his leadership team to oversee new policies shows once again that he just doesn't get it."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

McIlroy fades in season finale, Horschel wins

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 1:26am

ATLANTA (AP) Rory McIlroy found his ball submerged in deep rough, next to a fence that separates the course from the driving range at East Lake. He jumped up and down, trying to see over a holly bush that obscured his view of the ninth green.

This wasn't a familiar position for the world's best golfer.

It summed up a frustrating finish to the PGA Tour season.

Having won the last two major championships and poised for a big-money triumph at the Tour Championship, McIlroy faded from contention with a brutal six-hole stretch Sunday, leaving him three shots behind winner Billy Horschel in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoff.

Horschel celebrated the most prestigious victory of his career by doing the "Gator Chomp," while McIlroy was looking forward to a much-needed break before the Ryder Cup.

In hindsight, he should've taken a week off in the middle of the playoff.

"I am tired," McIlroy said. "Not physically. I've been in the gym every day this week and that's fine, but mentally I'm a little fatigued."

The disappointment at East Lake did nothing to take away from McIlroy's stellar year. He won both the British Open and the PGA Championship, sandwiched around his first World Golf Championship title at Firestone. He reclaimed the world's No. 1 ranking and, with Tiger Woods' future up in the air, became the undisputed face of the game.

McIlroy's not done, either.

The Ryder Cup begins in less than two weeks at Gleneagles. He's the star of the European team.

"It's still been a great season for me, and there's still a little bit of golf left," McIlroy said. "I'll get back at it next weekend and get ready for the Ryder Cup."

He started the final round tied for the lead with Horschel, who went ahead for good with an 18-foot putt for his second straight birdie at the 531-yard fifth hole, the longest par-4 on the course.

McIlroy's troubles began at the next hole with an ugly swing off the tee, his right hand flying off the club as he watched his ball splash in the water left of the green. After hitting again from the drop zone, he missed a 10-foot putt and walked away from the par-3 hole with a double-bogey on his card.

A wild drive at the 601-yard ninth forced McIlroy to hit a provisional, but his ball was found alongside the driving range. Hemmed in by the trees and those holly bushes, there wasn't much he could do except rely on a swing and a prayer. The ball caught a limb and dropped behind a camera truck, and McIlroy wound up making bogey on a hole where he hoped to make up some ground.

"There was no other option, really, than just to take a chance," he said.

Going to the back side, McIlroy was four shots behind Horschel and all but done. Two more bogeys at 10 and 11 finished him off, though he did rally for three straight birdies starting at the 15th to finish tied with Jim Furyk in the runner-up spot.

"At least finished the day respectably," McIlroy said.

Horschel avoided any big mistakes, his lone bogey coming at the 10th. He closed with a 2-under 68 for an 11-under 269 total, claiming golf's richest payoff with an unprecedented run through the playoffs.

He was No. 69 when the postseason began a month ago. No one had ever claimed the FedEx Cup starting lower than 19th, but Horschel was a runner-up in Boston, and won at Denver and Atlanta. A guy who had $4.5 million in career earnings coming into the year collected $11.4 million in one day - most of it the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.

"I was able to rise to the occasion and get the job done," the 27-year-old Horschel said.

Just not in time to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, which was announced two weeks ago. The Americans will have to get by without the hottest player in the game.

"I still don't feel like I deserve to be on the team," said Horschel, who shot in the 60s his last dozen rounds. "I haven't played good enough this year."

He was content to celebrate in a style befitting a guy who attended the University of Florida.

Of course, doing the Chomp didn't go over well in Georgia. For the first time all day, Horschel heard a smattering of boos.

He didn't mind a bit.

"I just wanted them to know," Horschel said, breaking into a big smile, "that a University of Florida Gator came into Georgia Bulldog country and was able to come out victoriously."

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Jay Cutler rallies Bears past 49ers in fourth

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:07am

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Brandon Marshall walked up to Jay Cutler and planted a congratulatory kiss on his quarterback's head.

No doubt the admiration and appreciation - relief, too - went both ways. Down big, Cutler kept his poise on the road. Marshall relied on adrenaline to carry him on a bum ankle, cleared to play just 90 minutes before kickoff.

Cutler found Marshall for two of his three fourth-quarter touchdown passes after much of Chicago's starting defense went down, and the Bears beat the San Francisco 49ers 28-20 Sunday night to spoil their Levi's Stadium debut.

"The defense did a great job giving us short fields, causing turnovers and keeping it close enough so that we could get back in it," Cutler said.

Cutler and Marshall clicked as Chicago erased a late 13-point deficit and quieted the sellout crowd. Cutler threw for two scores in a 27-second span early in the final period, aided by the gutsy play of a backup cornerback.

Kyle Fuller made two late interceptions for the depleted Chicago secondary, and the first set up the go-ahead score.

"We all still had confidence, we knew we were going to pull it out," said Fuller, the Bears' first-round pick in this year's draft.

Kaepernick was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for "inappropriate language" following Fuller's first big play. That gave the Bears first-and-goal on the 3, and Cutler threw a 3-yard TD pass to Martellus Bennett for a 21-20 lead.

Kaepernick threw three interceptions in all, lost a fumble and his cool, a far cry from his breakout start on the Monday night stage nearly two years ago in a rout of the Bears. Cutler sat out that night with a concussion.

"We hurt ourselves," Kaepernick said, insisting he didn't say anything wrong.

A sloppy game filled with 26 penalties - 16 by the Niners - and a crazy collapse overshadowed the fanfare of the regular-season debut for the sparkling $1.2 billion stadium.

The Bears (1-1), in a stretch with six of eight games on the road, go home with some serious momentum despite injuries on both sides of the ball. Cutler finished 23 of 34 for 176 yards and four TDs.

"Jay has had an excellent start to the season minus one play," coach Marc Trestman said. "He led the way this whole week."

Five key defenders are hurt: cornerbacks Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) and Charles Tillman(triceps), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and defensive tackleJeremiah Ratliff (concussion). Trestman had no updates on the injured players.

The 49ers (1-1) had a 17-7 halftime lead, but missed an opportunity to grab an early lead in the NFC West after the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks lost earlier in the day at San Diego.

"This is very disappointing, our first game in the new stadium," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "We put the loss on us as a football team. ... We have to cut down on the penalties."

Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown pass on his 27th birthday for one of his seven receptions, andFrank Gore ran for a score but also had his 54-yard TD burst negated by Anquan Boldin's costly holding penalty.

Cutler helped the Bears get on the board with a 25-yard run late in the first half. He took a jarring hit from Quinton Dial with 56 seconds remaining, but stayed in the game and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Marshall, who made a leaping, one-handed catch to pull the ball into his body as he fell into the end zone.

"I just threw my hand out there and it stuck," Marshall cracked.

What a way for Chicago to forget that bitter 23-20 overtime loss to the Bills at home in Week 1.

San Francisco didn't give the ball away once in a season-opening win at Dallas.

In the first half, the 49ers outgained Chicago 197-93 and out-penalized the Bears 10-7 for 85 lost yards. The much-scrutinized field featured visible chunks of loose sod after new grass was laid for a third time since April.

Kaepernick made his first career start against the Bears in November 2012, and then held onto the No. 1 job over Alex Smith.

A concussion to now-Chiefs QB Smith thrust Kaepernick into the spotlight that night, and he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns as the Niners pounded the Bears 32-7.

The 49ers were embarrassed at home for the second time in a month. They lost 34-0 in a rout by Denver in the first preseason game in the new stadium.

Chicago's patchwork offensive line looked shaky early with center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson each sidelined by ankle injuries.

"We played four quarters tonight," Trestman said. "The guys gathered themselves and went back to work."

RG3, Charles among big names injured in Week 2

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 9:13pm

After a tough week off the field, the NFL got back to playing - and the focus turned to big-name players who were injured all over the league.

Robert Griffin III, Jamaal Charles, DeSean Jackson, A.J. Green and Knowshon Moreno all left their games on a busy Sunday for team trainers and medical staffs.

Griffin dislocated his left ankle in the first quarter of Washington's 41-10 victory over Jacksonville, putting his season in jeopardy. The Redskins quarterback was scheduled for X-rays and an MRI to determine more about the injury. He and coach Jay Gruden did not offer a timetable for a return, but the injury typically sidelines NFL players for at least two months.

"Moments like this," Griffin said, "you just have to keep the faith."

If there is also a fracture, Griffin will need surgery and will almost certainly be done for the year. He was hurt when he landed awkwardly on his ankle as he finished the throw and then tumbled out of bounds. The pass was caught by Jackson for an 11-yard gain.

"It's an excruciating pain," Griffin said. "Anytime you look at your ankle and it's going in a strange direction, you don't want to get up."

Jackson also left the game shortly after he sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder in the first quarter. He hoped to be able to play next week against Philadelphia, his former club.

Other Redskins players injured included running back Roy Helu (strained quadriceps), guard Shawn Lauvao (sprained right knee) and fullback Darrel Young (sprained back).

Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis was carted off after leaving with a high left ankle sprain. Rookie receiver Allen Hurns injured his left ankle and was scheduled for X-rays.

In Denver, Charles left with a left ankle injury after being brought down in the first quarter against the Broncos, and did not return. Charles was stopped on a run up the middle by Broncos safety T.J. Ward and then hobbled to the bench.

Chiefs safety Eric Berry also sprained an ankle.

Green aggravated an injured toe during the Cincinnati Bengals' opening series and sat out the rest of the game, a 24-10 win over Atlanta.

Green missed practice time during the week with an injured toe on his right foot. He started against the Falcons, but came to the sideline after a few plays to have the foot examined. He walked off without assistance, limping slightly.

The Bengals lost four more players: Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict (pinched nerve in his neck), defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (left knee), tight end Alex Smith (left biceps) and right guard Kevin Zeitler (right calf).

At Orchard Park, New York, Moreno didn't return after injuring his left elbow 11 minutes into Miami's 29-10 loss to the Bills. He was hurt on his first carry, a 4-yard gain, when he was initially hit on the right side by Nickell Robey, and Nigel Bradham then struck him from the left, hitting him directly in the arm.

Five key defenders for the Bears are hurt after their 28-20 win at the 49ers: cornerbacks Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) and Charles Tillman (triceps), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion).

Tennessee cornerback Jason McCourty injured a groin muscle and missed the second half of the Titans' 26-10 loss at home to Dallas.

Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer was ruled out against the New York Giants on Sunday because of a shoulder injury. After he was limited at practice all week, he was replaced by Drew Stanton, an eight-year veteran who had four previous career starts. Stanton went 14 of 19 for 167 yards and led the Cardinals on three long scoring drives in a 25-14 victory.

Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond left in the second half of the loss with a pectoral injury, and middle linebacker Jon Beason went out with a toe injury.

Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin sat out the Buccaneers' game against St. Louis because of a knee injury. The Buccaneers also lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (hand) and middle linebacker Mason Foster. Meanwhile, Rams quarterback Shaun Hill was active after being limited in practice with a thigh injury, but third-stringer Austin Davis got the start. Davis completed 22 of 29 passes for 235 yards with no interceptions in the Rams' 19-17 win.

The Rams also played part of the game without receiver Tavon Austin, who was injured when he was tackled by Mark Barron after a reception.

San Diego running back Ryan Mathews was carted off the field with an apparent right knee injury early in the fourth quarter of the Chargers' 30-21 win. Coach Mike McCoy said the team was still evaluating the injury.

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker departed the team's 31-24 loss with a hamstring injury early in the fourth quarter.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Rodgers, Packers roar back to beat Jets 31-24

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 4:58pm

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns, Jordy Nelson had a career-high 209 yards receiving and the Green Bay Packers rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 31-24 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.

New York appeared to tie it with 5 minutes left on a 37-yard touchdown catch by Jeremy Kerley on fourth down - but it was negated because the Jets (1-1) called a timeout from the sideline just before the snap. The Packers (1-1) held on from there to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2006.

Randall Cobb caught two short scoring strikes and a 2-point conversation that gave the Packers a 24-21 lead in the third quarter.

Green Bay (1-1) went up 31-24 late in the third quarter when Nelson worked a double move on Dee Milliner for an 80-yard touchdown catch.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Gates' 3 TD catches carry Bolts to 30-21 upset

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 4:23pm

SAN DIEGO (AP) Antonio Gates had three touchdown catches - including a spectacular, one-handed grab - and the San Diego Chargers controlled the tempo to keep Russell Wilson off the field and upset the Super Bowl champion Seahawks 30-21 Sunday.

Gates' 21-yard catch late in the third quarter was epic, as the star tight end split two defenders and extended for Philip Rivers' pass, reaching out with his left hand to gather it in. Flat on his back, he held up the ball to show the referee he'd made the catch that gave San Diego a 27-14 lead.

Gates had two 8-yard scoring catches in the second quarter. The three touchdown receptions tied Gates' career high. Rivers was 28 of 37 for 284 yards.

Seattle was efficient when it had the ball, but it just didn't have it enough as the Chargers dominated time of possession on a steamy afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium.

San Diego (1-1) had blown an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead and lost its opener Monday night at Arizona. Seattle (1-1) had nine days to prepare after an impressive 20-point opening victory against Green Bay.

After Gates' third scoring catch, Wilson moved the Seahawks 70 yards, capping the drive with a 14-yard touchdown throw to Marshawn Lynch to pull to 27-21.

Seattle turned the ball over on downs on its 10 in the closing minutes and San Diego's Nick Novak kicked his third field goal, from 28 yards, with 16 seconds left.

San Diego used long drives all day to control play and wear out Seattle's vaunted defense.

Percy Harvin gave the Chargers a big gift when he fumbled the kickoff at the 28 after Novak's 43-yard field goal gave the Chargers a 13-7 lead with 4:40 to go before halftime.

After consecutive 10-yard penalties gave the Chargers a first-and-goal from the 23, Rivers completed a 15-yard screen pass to Eddie Royal before evading pressure and hitting Gates for their second scoring hookup of the quarter.

Wilson wasted no time in leading the Seahawks 61 yards in five plays, hitting Robert Turbin on a 3-yard TD pass to pull to 20-14. Turbin also had a 32-yard catch and a 10-yard run on the drive.

San Diego running back Ryan Mathews was carted off the field with an apparent right knee injury early in the fourth quarter.

Rivers hit Gates on an 8-yard TD pass early in the second quarter.

Dwight Freeney sacked Wilson to force the Seahawks to punt on their first drive. Novak kicked a 50-yard field goal for San Diego.

The Seahawks came back with a three-play, 60-yard drive capped when Percy Harvin took a pitch from Wilson, got the edge and ran 51 yards down the left sideline for a 7-3 lead.

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Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Vikings miss Peterson in 30-7 loss to Patriots

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 4:03pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The face of the franchise was nowhere to be found as the Minnesota Vikings flailed away against the New England Patriots on Sunday, and it's not clear when, if ever, Adrian Peterson will rejoin them.

The star running back was inactive for the team's home opener after being charged with child abuse for striking his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, a stunning development for one of the league's most popular and well-respected players.

For eight years Peterson has been the focal point of the Vikings offense, but on Sunday he stayed away from the stadium to avoid becoming more of a distraction.

Coach Mike Zimmer repeatedly declined to talk about Peterson after a mistake-filled 30-7 loss only to later describe an offensive malaise that he had previously not seen from his team.

"I told them after the game that's the first I've ever seen it," Zimmer said. "We've had bad practices and stuff, but I haven't seen it in three weeks maybe, guys just kind of milling around, getting lined up. I don't know, but I'm going to address it."

It's hard to imagine that it isn't rooted at least in some part to Peterson's situation. Matt Cassel threw a career-high four interceptions, the Vikings rushed for just 54 yards against a defense that gave up 191 last week and dynamic receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was held to just to just four catches for 56 yards.

"I think we were off a lot. I think it was just because 28 wasn't there," Patterson said, referring to Peterson. "We've got to learn how to not focus on 28 and just worry about this team with or without Adrian. So next week we've just got to come in and game plan without him. But if he's here, we really need him."

The Vikings (1-1) also had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown, went 4 for 11 on third down and allowed Stevan Ridley to rush for 101 yards and a score for the Patriots (1-1).

"It didn't affect the team," Zimmer insisted about Peterson's absence. "You know what affected the team? Throwing interceptions, getting a field goal blocked, not tackling well enough, having penalties on defense."

The former NFL MVP was indicted on Friday, booked and released from a Houston jail on Saturday.

In the wake of harsh criticism levied at the NFL when former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice initially received just a two-game suspension for knocking out his then-fiancee, the Vikings decided to deactivate Peterson.

Zimmer declined to discuss specifics and GM Rick Spielman was unavailable for comment. There was no timetable set for a decision on his status for next week's game at New Orleans.

In 2011, the Vikings suspended cornerback Chris Cook with pay after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend and barred him from all team activities while his trial played out.

Cook wound up missing 10 games and was eventually acquitted. He never faced discipline from the NFL and played two more seasons with the Vikings before signing with the 49ers.

The NFL is looking into Peterson's case, and if convicted he could face a minimum six-game suspension under the league's new tougher domestic abuse policy that was implemented after Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he botched Rice's initial punishment.

Peterson's attorney said his client was only disciplining his son, didn't intend to harm the boy and was cooperating with the investigation.

Even after the troubling allegations, there were still plenty of No. 28 jerseys on the backs of Vikings fans at the stadium.

"I don't think he was trying to abuse his child," said Nick Novak, a 29-year-old season-ticket holder from nearby Roseville. "I think he was trying to punish the child for wrongdoing. . He did cross a line though."

NOTES: Cassel completed 19 of 36 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. ... Zimmer said he never considered going to backup Teddy Bridgewater and also said Cassel would start next week against New Orleans. ... Matt Asiata started in Peterson's place and rushed for 36 yards on 13 carries and caught a 25-yard TD pass. ... Chandler Jones had two sacks for the Patriots and returned the blocked field goal 58 yards for a TD just before halftime.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Associated Press writer Amy Forliti contributed to this report.

Browns beat Saints 26-24 on last-second kick

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 1:23pm

CLEVELAND (AP) Billy Cundiff kicked a 29-yard field goal with three seconds left, giving the Cleveland Browns a 26-24 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Cundiff's kick helped the Browns (1-1) snap a nine-game losing streak in home openers and gave rookie coach Mike Pettine his first NFL win. Cleveland had not won at home since 2004.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer drove the Browns 85 yards in 14 plays in the final 2:46 to set up Cundiff's game-winner. Hoyer completed several big passes, none more crucial than his 28-yarder to Andrew Hawkins with 13 seconds to go.

The Saints (0-2) rallied from a 13-point deficit to take the lead on Mark Ingram's 1-yard TD run with 12:12 left.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham and moved one spot up the NFL's career passing list.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

SEC dominating AP poll again

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 1:20pm

Breaking down the ballots for the AP Top 25 and wrapping up college football's third weekend.

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The Southeastern Conference's dominant status had taken a hit since Nick Saban wrapped his hands around the national championship trophy in 2013, following Alabama's second straight title.

The conference had its run of seven straight national championships end when Florida State beat Auburn in January, and some thought that the Pac-12 had become the better top-to-bottom league.

Well, look at those good ol' boys now.

While the Pac-12 has become a jumbled mess outside of No. 2 Oregon, the SEC again appears to be the class of college football.

With South Carolina's back-on-the-map, 38-35 win over then-No. 6 Georgia on Saturday, the Gamecocks vaulted 10 spots in The Associated Press college football poll to No. 14. That gives the SEC seven teams in the top 15, the first time that's happened since the AP poll started in 1936.

"We proved a point tonight," South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore said.

He was talking about the Gamecocks, who were crushed by Texas A&M just two weeks ago.

He could have been talking about the SEC, too.

Alabama, which crushed Southern Miss, remained at No. 3 in the poll behind top-ranked Florida State and Oregon. Auburn stayed at No. 5 behind Oklahoma after a bye and Texas A&M slid up to No. 6 with a rollover of Rice and Georgia's loss.

LSU moved up two spots to No. 8 after cruising over Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi climbed four spots to No. 10 after routing Louisiana, the first trip to the top-10 for the Rebels since being ranked fourth on Sept. 20, 2009.

Mississippi's move up allowed the SEC to have five top-10 teams for the second straight week despite Georgia dropping seven spots to No. 13. With Missouri coming in at No. 18, the SEC has eight teams ranked for the third straight week.

Yes, we know, it's only three weeks into the season.

There's still plenty of games to be played, plenty of chances for teams to slip back - or, perhaps, move up even more.

"Oh, it's still early, it's still early," Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson. "We'll keep trucking. This is in the past now, and we are not thinking about this from here forward. Our dreams and goals are still open for us."

PAC-12 CHAOS

Oregon has proven to be the class of the Pac-12 so far, looking like a legitimate playoff contender.

The rest of the conference has been scrambled.

UCLA is 3-0 and the next highest-ranked team from the Pac-12 at No. 13, but hasn't exactly looked dominating.

Arizona State looked like it could repeat as Pac-12 South champs and moved up at spot to No. 15 after beating Colorado on Saturday, but quarterback Taylor Kelly spent the second half on crutches and linebacker Viliami Moeakiola, a defensive captain, injured his right arm.

Stanford, the two-time Pac-12 champion, looks solid at No. 15, but did lose to Southern California, which plummeted eight spots in the poll to No. 17 after an inexplicable loss to Boston College.

Go ahead and try to figure this conference out.

IRISH RISING

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly doesn't like some of the things his team is doing, particularly when it had a hard time pulling away from Purdue this weekend.

Despite the flaws, the Irish are 3-0 and back in a familiar place: The top-10.

With its 30-14 win over the Boilermakers, Notre Dame moved up a spot to No. 10, its first top-10 ranking since finishing at No. 4 after being blown out by Alabama in the BCS championship game after the 2012 season.

MOVING IN

Nebraska's poll exile lasted a whole week. The Cornhuskers fell out of the ranking from No. 19 after a close victory over FCS McNeese State, but were back in this week at No. 24 after hammering Fresno State 55-19.

Oklahoma State has moved into the poll at No. 25. The Cowboys bounced back from an opening loss to No. 1 Florida State by beating Missouri State last week and easily handled a veteran Texas-San Antonio team 43-13 on Saturday.

MOVING OUT

Losing to East Carolina did not look good for Virginia Tech in the eyes of the voters.

The Hokies rallied from a 21-point deficit and tied the game with 1:20 left, only to let the Pirates race down the field for the winning score. The 28-21 loss dropped Virginia Tech from No. 17 all the way out of the poll.

Virginia's first ACC win in 672 days came at the expense of Louisville. Losing 32-21 to the Cavaliers, who entered with an 11-game conference losing streak, sent the Cardinals from No. 21 to unranked.

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Full poll listing can be found at http://collegefootball.ap.org/poll

Mayweather remains unbeaten despite bite complaint

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 9:57pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) Floyd Mayweather worked far too hard against Marcos Maidana their last time out to have to do it again in the rematch Saturday night.

Mayweather dominated Maidana from the opening bell, using his boxing skills to keep the Argentine off balance and pile up points on his way to a unanimous 12-round decision to retain his welterweight and super welterweight titles before a crowd at the MGM Grand that sometimes booed the lack of action.

It almost came at a cost, though, in a bizarre scene in the eighth round when Mayweather claimed that Maidana bit him on his wrist while they were in a clinch near the center of the ring.

"He bit me!" Mayweather yelled to the Showtime announcers working ringside.

Mayweather remained unbeaten in his remarkable 18-year pro career, winning for the 47th time and doing it with such dominance that about the only one complaining about the decision was Maidana.

"I was pressuring him and I was the aggressor," Maidana said. "I won the fight."

Mayweather earned at least $32 million for the rematch, bringing his total purses to more than $100 million in the last year. Though he wasn't marked up, he was upset over the bite.

"We were tangled in the center of the ring and I didn't realize what it was. Then I saw that he bit me," Mayweather said. "After the eighth round my fingers were numb, I couldn't use my left hand."

Maidana denied he bit Mayweather.

"How can he say I bit the glove with my mouthpiece?" Maidana asked. "I'm not a dog."

The fight was a marked contrast to their first bout in May, when Maidana roughed Mayweather up in a close fight. Mayweather won that bout, but it was close enough for Mayweather to offer an opponent only the second rematch of his career.

Maidana won't get a third fight after failing to land any big punches.

Two ringside judges scored it 116-111 for Mayweather, while the third had it 115-112. The Associated Press had it 117-110.

"I felt sharper in the first fight, my rhythm was off," Mayweather said. "I got hit with some shots tonight I shouldn't have gotten hit with. But that comes with the sport."

Mayweather complained long after the first fight that Maidana was a dirty fighter, and complained even more when Maidana seemed to try to hit him below the belt in a clinch in the eighth round, then apparently tried to bite him.

Mayweather immediately jumped back and gestured to referee Kenny Bayless that Maidana bit him on the wrist. He went to his corner and showed Bayless where the bite was, then went over to the Showtime announcers table to complain.

Maidana would later be penalized a point for tackling Mayweather as he tried desperately to find something that would work.

By the end of the ninth round, Maidana was so out of sorts he went to the wrong corner when the bell rang.

Maidana spent many of the early rounds trying to figure out a way to get inside like he did in May. Mayweather kept him at a distance, circling around and landing left jabs and hooks, then scampering out of the way before Maidana could respond.

Punch stats showed Maidana throwing far more punches (572-326) while Mayweather landed more (166-128). Mayweather's was hit with only 22 percent of punches while landing 51 percent of his own.

"I do have some bumps and bruises," Mayweather said. "But I listened to my dad (trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.) who always said hit and not get hit. That's the way you last in this sport."

Mayweather was a 6-1 favorite in the fight, even though Maidana gave him a tough time in their first bout. He showed why in the early rounds as he moved and boxed while Maidana chased him futilely around the ring.

Mayweather was determined not to let the fight become anything like the first, when Maidana went after him wildly and mauled him at every opportunity. For the second fight, Mayweather came out boxing and did so beautifully during the opening rounds.

Maidana was more cautious early than he was in the first fight, willing to take his time to find Mayweather. He finally began to pick up the pace in the fourth round, trapping Mayweather on the ropes and landing some shots to his body and head.

Mayweather, though, showed he learned his lessons from the first fight, when he was cut over his right eye and took a lot of shots to the top of his head. A defensive wizard, he fought moving sideways and backward, throwing his left jab out and slipping the big punches thrown by the Argentine challenger.

Boston College runs over No. 9 USC 37-31

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 8:37pm

BOSTON (AP) Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy rushed for 190 yards, breaking free for a 66-yard touchdown with 3:30 to play on Saturday night as Boston College beat No. 9 Southern California 37-31 - the Eagles' first victory over a top 10 team in a decade.

Jon Hilliman ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns, and Myles Willis and receiver Sherman Alston each broke off runs of 50-plus yards to help BC (2-1) amass 464 rushing yards.

USC (2-1) was coming off an emotional victory over Pac-12 rival Stanford that moved the Trojans up five spots in The Associated Press Top 25. Cody Kessler completed 31 of 41 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns, but he was also sacked five times.

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