Thursday’s Sports In Brief
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Cardale Jones came through again at the Sugar Bowl in his second career start and Ezekiel Elliott ran for 230 yards, leading Ohio State to a 42-35 upset of top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
The Buckeyes advanced to play Oregon in the Jan. 12 national championship game at Arlington, Texas.
Jones threw for 243 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown to Devin Smith that put the Buckeyes ahead for good early in the third quarter. He also ran for 43 yards and converted a crucial third-down play on a 1-yard dive with Ohio State (13-1) clinging to a 34-28 lead.
Alabama (12-2) was denied a shot at its fourth national title in six years.
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – Marcus Mariota and Oregon turned an avalanche of Florida State mistakes into a mountain of points and the Ducks rolled past the defending national champions 59-20 to turn the first College Football Playoff semifinal into a Rose Bowl rout.
Mariota and the second-seeded Ducks (13-1) scored five straight times when they touched the ball in the second half, with each touchdown covering at least 21 yards and the last four coming after Florida State turnovers.
In the matchup of Heisman Trophy winners, Jameis Winston matched Mariota’s numbers, but the Seminoles were no match for the Ducks.
Third-seeded Florida State’s winning streak ends at 29. In Winston’s first loss as a college starter, maybe his last game in college, he threw for 348 yards.
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) – Fans looking to watch the Rose Bowl on their tablets or computers got an error message during the first half instead of the WatchESPN stream.
The cable network’s online feed of the first College Football Playoff game went down, leaving anyone looking to watch the game anywhere besides a television out of luck.
The stream appeared to begin working again for at least some users during halftime.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Connor Cook threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery with 17 seconds left to cap a three-touchdown, fourth-quarter comeback in Michigan State’s 42-41 victory over playoff-snubbed Baylor in the highest-scoring Cotton Bowl.
The Spartans (11-2) got the winning touchdown after Marcus Rush blocked Chris Callahan’s 43-yard field goal attempt with 1:05 left. When Baylor (11-2) got the ball back for one last try, Bryce Petty was sacked on consecutive plays before Riley Bullough’s clinching interception.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Melvin Gordon ran for an Outback Bowl-record 251 yards and three touchdowns and Rafael Gaglianone kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to lift Wisconsin to a 34-31 win in overtime against Auburn.
Gaglianone tied it with a 29-yarder with 7 seconds left in regulation. Athletic director Barry Alvarez coached the Badgers (11-3) following Gary Andersen’s move to Oregon State.
Gordon scored on runs of 25, 53 and 6 yards, bouncing back from a subpar performance against Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game to finishing with 2,587 yards in 14 games – second-most in FBS history behind Barry Sanders’ 2,628 for Oklahoma State in 11 games in 1988, when the NCAA did not include bowl results in a player’s statistics.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Marcus Murphy ran for 159 yards, Russell Hansbrough added 114 yards and a touchdown and No. 16 Missouri beat Minnesota 33-17 in the Citrus Bowl.
Missouri (11-3) won its third straight bowl game to reach 11 victories for the fourth time in school history. Minnesota (8-5) trailed 19-17 entering the fourth quarter, but Missouri pulled away on Hansbrough’s 78-yard touchdown run and Maty Mauk’s 7-yard scoring pass to Bud Sasser.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) – Detroit defensive tackle Nick Fairley took one significant step toward returning from his knee injury when he practiced with the Lions.
Fairley hasn’t played since injuring his right knee in a win over Atlanta on Oct. 26. The Lions open the playoffs at Dallas on Sunday.
The Lions listed Fairley as limited. Coach Jim Caldwell said earlier in the week it would be a ”miracle” if Fairley could play this weekend, but Fairley looked trim and active during the portion of practice open to reporters.
CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James’ homecoming season has hit a hurdle.
The Cavaliers superstar is expected to miss at least the next two weeks with injuries to his left knee and back. The timing of the injuries are another blow to the Cavaliers, who have been jarred by a rash of medical issues and failed to live up to the enormous expectations triggered by James re-signing as a free agent with Cleveland last summer.
The team said James has been diagnosed with knee and back strains. He’ll be treated with ”anti-inflammatories, rehabilitation, training room treatments and rest,” and the Cavs projected he will miss two weeks. If he’s out for just that span, James will be back for a Jan. 15 game in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The Cavs begin a five-game West Coast trip on Jan. 9.
NEW YORK (AP) – LeBron James and Stephen Curry remain the leading NBA All-Star vote-getters after the second tally of fan ballots.
Cleveland’s James leads all with 775,810 votes at the Eastern Conference frontcourt spot. Golden State’s Curry has 755,486, good for second in the league and tops among the Western Conference guards.
In the results released Thursday, Chicago’s Pau Gasol and the New York’s Carmelo Anthony follow in the East frontcourt. Washington’s John Wall remains the East’s leading vote-getter in the backcourt, followed by Miami’s Dwyane Wade.
Kobe Bryant is second to Curry in the West backcourt. The frontcourt is led by the New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Memphis center Marc Gasol.
NEW YORK (AP) – The New York Yankees bolstered their bullpen by acquiring David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve in a trade with the Atlanta Braves.
Carpenter went 6-4 with three saves and a 3.54 ERA in 65 games with Atlanta last year. Shreve made his major league debut in July, and the left-hander allowed one earned run in 12 1-3 innings covering 15 games.
The Braves received minor league left-hander Manny Banuelos in the deal. Banuelos went 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 26 games over three stops last season, finishing with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.