Monday’s Sports In Brief


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Ohio State can add the newest version of the national championship trophy to a case that already has a bunch of the old ones.

The Buckeyes’ third-stringer matched Oregon’s Heisman winner as Cardale Jones led Ohio State past Marcus Mariota and the Ducks 42-20 in the first College Football Playoff national championship game.

Behind their bullish backup quarterback and the relentless running of Ezekiel Elliott, the Buckeyes (14-1) completed a remarkable in-season turnaround with a dominating performance against the Ducks (13-2).

Ohio State began the first major college football playoff as the fourth and final seed, and as a team that faced questions about whether it belonged at all. It was a team that never would have had a chance to win a title under the old postseason system. No question about it now: Ohio State is the truest champion big-time football has ever crowned, showered by golden confetti as its band played ”Hang on Sloopy” when the clock hit 0:00.

The Buckeyes won their first national title since 2002.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – John Elway is looking for a new coach after agreeing to part ways with John Fox following Denver’s latest playoff meltdown.

Fox won the AFC West all four of his years in Denver, but each of those seasons ended in ugly fashion in the playoffs, culminating with Sunday’s 24-13 upset by Indianapolis.

Neither Fox nor Elway would say what was discussed Monday when they met other than it was time to split up.

So, Fox is out after going 49-22 in Denver, including the playoffs, following a 78-74 record in nine years with the Carolina Panthers, counting the postseason.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – If Peyton Manning’s injury was worse than he let on, his teammates sure didn’t see it.

In the aftermath of his poor playoff performance in the Broncos’ 24-13 loss to Indianapolis, Manning said the right thigh bruise he suffered Dec. 14 at San Diego lingered but wasn’t bad enough to sideline him. On Monday, ESPN, citing two people it didn’t name, reported that Manning played with a ”torn” quad muscle, the severity of which he had tried to conceal.

However, two people with knowledge of Manning’s health told The Associated Press it was ”a strain,” as the team had characterized it all along. They also said the tear-strain debate could be a matter of semantics because a strain occurs when a muscle is stretched too much and tears. It’s also called a pulled muscle.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Rex Ryan is officially going from Broadway to Buffalo.

The Bills announced in a news release Monday that Ryan has been hired to take over as coach. The news came a day after the former New York Jets coach tentatively accepted the Bills’ contract offer. Ryan replaces Doug Marrone, who stepped down abruptly on Dec. 31.

Ryan will be formally introduced during a press conference scheduled for Wednesday.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The developers behind a sprawling sports and housing complex in the Los Angeles suburbs – whose centerpiece stadium could become home for an NFL team – expect to recoup up to $100 million in local tax dollars in the first five years of operation, an Associated Press review has found.

When the proposal was unveiled last week, Christopher Meany, a senior executive with the joint venture designing and financing the project, emphasized that ”there will be no public dollars, no taxpayer dollars, used for this project.”

While the plan does not include any upfront tax money to build the 298-acre community of homes, offices and entertainment venues, a 187-page outline released by developers includes provisions for multimillion-dollar public paybacks to them over time from tax dollars generated by the project, which would cover costs ranging from installing street lights and fire hydrants to running shuttle buses and providing police security on game days.


KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) – Patrick Reed holed an 80-yard shot for eagle and made two birdies over his last four holes Monday. The last birdie was on the 18th hole in a playoff to beat Jimmy Walker in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Reed was four shots behind with four holes to play when he put together his big rally and closed with a 6-under 67.

For the second straight day, Walker went seven straight holes without a birdie on the back nine. He had a chance to win in regulation but missed his birdie putt from 18 feet and shot 69.

Walker and Reed finished at 21-under 271.

In the playoff, Walker had an advantage until he chipped from below the bleachers over the green. Reed hit wedge to 18 feet and holed it for his fourth career win.


NEW YORK (AP) – Kentucky remains No. 1 in the AP Top 25, though two overtime games loosened its hold on the top spot a bit.

The Wildcats (15-0) were atop 63 of 65 votes cast Monday, ending a run of five straight weeks as the unanimous No. 1. Kentucky beat Mississippi at home in overtime then won in double overtime at Texas A&M.

Virginia (15-0) earned the other two first-place votes and moved up a spot to No. 2 as the only other unbeaten team after Duke’s loss at North Carolina State.

Gonzaga was third, followed by Duke – which fell from second and was among five top-10 losers – and Villanova.

NEW YORK (AP) – South Carolina is No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s poll for the eighth straight week while Notre Dame has fallen from the top five for the first time in 29 weeks.

Connecticut remains second with Baylor third and Louisville and Texas tied for fourth. Tennessee is sixth followed by Notre Dame, Maryland, Oregon State and Kentucky.

The Irish, who lost at Miami, had been ranked among the first five teams every week since Nov. 11, 2013. That was the second-longest active streak behind UConn, which has been among the top five every week since Jan. 29, 2007 – a span of 152 consecutive weeks.


PHOENIX (AP) – LeBron James returned to practice with his Cleveland teammates and said afterward it will be a ”game-time decision” on whether he will play against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

James has been sidelined for two weeks to rest his injured left knee.

The Cavaliers have gone 1-7 in the four-time MVP’s absence and have dropped five in a row.

James said his time off was good ”for me but not for the team.”