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Boise St. off and running with win over Georgia

Boise St. off and running with win over Georgia

ATLANTA (AP &  Staff) — Kellen Moore and those BCS Busters from Boise State are off and running again, coming into the heart of mighty SEC country to beat up Georgia. Moore threw for three touchdowns — giving him 102 in his career — and the No. 5 Broncos romped past the 19th-ranked Bulldogs 35-21 Saturday night, boosting their hopes of making another run to a major bowl while dealing a huge blow to embattled Georgia coach Mark Richt. Moore, the nation’s top-rated passer last season and expected to be a leading Heisman contender, carved up Georgia’s 3-4 defense after a sluggish start. He completed 28 of 34 for 261 yards, with his first scoring pass — a 17-yarder to freshman Matt Miller — giving him 100 for his brilliant career. He had two more before the night was done to lead the Broncos to yet another marquee opening victory. In the last three seasons, Boise State has started the season with victories against Oregon, Virginia Tech and now Georgia. “We’ve got some good players who have played a lot of football,” Broncos coach Chris Petersen said. “They like to play on these stages. In some ways, that helps us. They don’t get to play on this stage every day. They appreciate playing against a program like Georgia. They really do.” No one enjoyed himself more than Moore. After a 12-yard scoring pass to Kyle Efaw gave Boise a 14-7 lead at halftime, Moore got the ball back on the first possession of the second half and directed a drive that broke Georgia’s back. Completing seven straight passes covering 69 yards, he set up Doug Martin’s 7-yard touchdown run that put the Broncos up 21-7. Then, late in the third quarter, a big punt return helped finish off the Bulldogs. Chris Potter brought it back 49 yards to the Georgia 28, a facemask penalty gave Boise State another first down and Moore threaded a 3-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Tyler Shoemaker for a three-touchdown lead. The red-clad Bulldog fans began heading for the exits, leaving a small contingent of blue-clad fans who made the long trip from Idaho to watch their team open another season with a de facto road victory over a major-conference opponent. Last year, it was Virginia Tech. Boise State (1-0) had never beaten a Southeastern Conference team, and its 0-4 record included an ugly [...]

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No. 4 LSU overcomes in 40-27 win over No. 3 Oregon

No. 4 LSU overcomes in 40-27 win over No. 3 Oregon

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP & Staff) — In a rare opening matchup of top-five teams, both missing key players, Jarrett Lee admirably directed LSU’s offense in place of suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Being without standout cornerback-punt returner Cliff Harris was more than mistake-prone and third-ranked Oregon could overcome. The Ducks’ fill-in punt returner had a fumble that led directly to an LSU touchdown and Lee’s touchdown pass came against the defensive back playing in Harris’ spot in the fourth-ranked Tigers’ 40-27 victory Saturday night. “I asked them to put to the perimeter all the things that could be considered distractions,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “I enjoyed Jarrett Lee’s gutty effort. I liked how the offense did the things they needed to do.” Already without the suspended Harris, the Ducks made things even harder on themselves with four turnovers — three that LSU converted into 20 points while building a 30-13 lead. Highly touted freshman De’Anthony Thomas fumbled on consecutive touches late in the third quarter, one on a rushing attempt and then on the ensuing kickoff, and the Tigers took control with touchdown runs from Michael Ford and Spencer Ware in a span of less than 3½ minutes. “Those are self-inflicted wounds,” coach Chip Kelly said. “The drops, the turnovers and the penalties are the things that really killed us. Against a team like that, you’re not going to win the game.” Harris, who can be found on most preseason All-America teams, was suspended in June after police caught him driving 118 mph, and also having a suspended license at the time. The Tigers were also without receiver Russell Shepard, who was suspended for at least this game because he discussed another NCAA inquiry with a teammate. He was third in receiving and fourth in rushing for LSU last season. Besides the legitimate national title hopes both teams had, they had a tie in ongoing NCAA investigations into their dealings with Willie Lyles, who ran a Houston-based service that provided scouting reports of high school players. And this was the first season-opening game of top-five teams on a neutral field since 1984, when Jimmy Johnson won his debut as coach of Miami against an Auburn squad featuring Bo Jackson a year before he won the Heisman Trophy. There was a crowd of 87,711 at Cowboys Stadium, where LSU played its second consecutive game. The Tigers ended their 2010 season on [...]

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South Florida upsets No. 16 ND, 23-20

South Florida upsets No. 16 ND, 23-20

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP & Staff) — Skip Holtz returned to a place that educated and shaped him. As soon as he reached campus, his memories from Notre Dame jumped out. And now he’s created an even more vivid one. Holtz and the South Florida Bulls came to South Bend and upset the 16th-ranked Irish 23-20 Saturday in a wild game that was twice disrupted by heavy storms. “I don’t know if all that’s hit me yet. Notre Dame’s a special place,” Holtz said. “And it was great to come back.” His dad, Lou Holtz, wasn’t there Saturday. But there were plenty of family members there to see one of Skip Holtz’s biggest wins. Lou led Notre Dame to its last national title in 1988. Skip graduated from Notre Dame, played a year for his father and then coached with him in South Bend. The weather wasn’t cooperating for this homecoming. Officials asked fans to leave the stadium at halftime because of severe weather, mostly lightning, and the teams then stayed in their locker rooms for 2 hours, 10 minutes until it cleared. South Florida led 16-0 at the time. Then with 4:21 to play, the game was delayed for 43 minutes and again fans departed the stadium with wicked lightning flickering around the stadium. Holtz praised his team’s poise. “To have the kind of adversity they had to battle through and all the highs and lows of this day,” he said. “The weather, the two-hour halftime and everything we went through as a football team. It’s hard enough to come in here and play the tradition and for me a very emotional day to have the opportunity to come back, but to throw everything on top,” he said. He also pointed to former South Florida athletic director Lee Roy Selmon, who is in a Tampa hospital after a stroke. “It’s bittersweet not to have the opportunity to share it with him,” Holtz said. USF’s Kayvon Webster returned a fumble return 96 yards for a TD four minutes into the game, taking all the momentum from the Irish. They couldn’t recover. The score came after Notre Dame took the opening kickoff and drove smartly to the USF 1. “You look up and they have had the ball and have driven the length of the field and you look up and you are winning, 7-0,” Holtz said. “Kind of a good [...]

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Michigan Stadium cleared during 2nd weather delay

Michigan Stadium cleared during 2nd weather delay

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP & Staff) — Michigan Stadium has been evacuated. Fans were told to leave their seats Saturday in the third quarter against Western Michigan with the Wolverines leading 34-10. It is the third stadium to be cleared Saturday as a series of storms made their way through the Midwest. Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., was evacuated at halftime against South Florida, and Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, also was cleared during the Hawkeyes 34-7 win over Tennessee Tech. Michigan’s game was previously delayed early in the third quarter during a heavy downpour with strong winds and lightning, but the stadium was not cleared at that time.

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Sooners, family search for answers to LB’s death

Sooners, family search for answers to LB’s death

NORMAN, Okla. (AP & Staff) — On the day before he died, Austin Box and his dad flew back to Oklahoma City from St. Louis after catching a couple of Cardinals games, ate lunch near the airport and shot the breeze. Routine father-son stuff, Craig Box remembers, then Austin had to leave to renew his driver’s license and take his girlfriend to the airport. They hugged goodbye. The next morning, Craig Box was in court when he started getting calls from his wife: Austin was in trouble, Gail Box said. All she knew was that he was breathing. They raced to the hospital in El Reno, a short drive west of Oklahoma City, where Austin had stayed the night with a friend. They prayed at his bedside, telling their boy to fight, even though they weren’t sure he could hear them. Austin never woke up. He died May 19 at the age of 22. Weeks later, an autopsy found the painkillers oxymorphone, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam in his system and cited “mixed drug toxicity” as a probable cause of death. Investigators couldn’t find any legal prescriptions on file for the drugs. The death shook Oklahoma. Austin Box was not just another casualty in a state struggling with meth labs and other drug problems. He was a heavily recruited athlete, a star since grade school, a once-in-a-generation standout in Enid, population 48,000, who made everyone proud by playing linebacker at the University of Oklahoma. How could Box fall prey to painkiller addiction with a caring, attentive family, not to mention the host of coaches and trainers at one of the nation’s elite college football programs? The answer, it seems, is that he was good at hiding a problem. And neither his parents nor anyone at Oklahoma could suggest a safety net that might have caught it. Oklahoma has a psychological resources department specifically for athletes that offers counseling on substance abuse and other topics. The school performs its own drug tests, besides separate tests performed by the Big 12 and by the NCAA during postseason play. The school will not discuss the results of Box’s tests, citing confidentiality rules. “I think we do have major steps and a lot of steps, and we do feel, ‘Hey, we did all we could do,’” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “That being said, I wish we could have done [...]

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NCAA: 8 Miami players must sit out games

NCAA: 8 Miami players must sit out games

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP & Staff) — Quarterback Jacory Harris and 11 other Miami players who accepted extra benefits from former booster Nevin Shapiro will be allowed by the NCAA to play again, four of them without missing any games. The harshest penalties handed down Tuesday were reserved for those who took gifts from Shapiro while being recruited. Defensive lineman Olivier Vernon will sit out six games, while Ray Ray Armstrong — considered among the nation’s top safeties — and tight end Dyron Dye will miss four games apiece. They are three of eight players, including Harris, who must sit out games and repay benefits before they can be reinstated. Miami opens its season at Maryland on Monday night. “It’s nice to have it out there now,” Miami center Tyler Horn told The Associated Press Tuesday night. “There’s no suspense in the air. We know what we have. We know what we’re taking to Maryland. We have a lot of very talented players that we’re taking to Maryland, and we’re going up there to do our best. I wasn’t too worried about it. I knew things would take care of themselves.” The Hurricanes still might face many more sanctions as the NCAA’s investigation into Miami’s compliance practices continues. And with Tuesday’s ruling, the school has joined a growing list of schools with major football programs to be investigated by the NCAA for rule-breaking in the past 18 months. Others include Southern California, Ohio State, Auburn, Oregon, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and LSU. “Our members have continually stressed that involvement of third parties during recruitment will not be tolerated,” NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs Kevin Lennon said. Harris, Sean Spence, Travis Benjamin, Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo — all of whom were likely starters — must sit out one game and make restitution for accepting benefits after enrolling at the school. Four other players must repay small amounts, all under $100, but will not miss any games. “They understand that their actions demand consequences,” Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst said. A 13th player, Marcus Robinson, was vindicated of wrongdoing. As Miami coach Al Golden arrived at a fan gathering Tuesday night, he was greeted by dozens chanting his last name. Golden acknowledged them with a wave. “I think there will be a sense of relief now,” Golden said. The NCAA’s ruling means Stephen Morris — who led [...]

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A&M spokesman denies school sent withdrawal letter

A&M spokesman denies school sent withdrawal letter

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP & staff) — Texas A&M said Tuesday it has not sent a letter of withdrawal to the Big 12 Conference. The brief statement by school spokesman Jason Cook comes a day after The New York Times said in a story posted on its Web site Monday night that university President R. Bowen Loftin sent a letter to Missouri Chancellor and Big 12 board chairman Brady Deaton to inform the league it was leaving. The report cited two unidentified college officials with direct knowledge of the decision. Cook declined to comment further on the newspaper report. The university said Monday it had received a letter from Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe outlining the withdrawal procedure should the Aggies decide to leave the league. Cook said on Monday that the letter “outlines the withdrawal procedures according to the financial provisions of the Big 12 bylaws and mutual waivers of legal claims.” He wouldn’t provide any other details of the letter or comment on what A&M’s next step might be. The Aggies are interested in joining the Southeastern Conference. Loftin sent a letter to the Big 12 last week formally telling Beebe they are exploring their options and asked for the conference to outline the process if they decide to leave. The league’s board of directors addressed the possible departure of the Aggies last weekend. “I certainly appreciate the discussion among the Big 12 presidents/chancellors and the expression of their desire for Texas A&M to remain in the conference,” Loftin said in a statement Monday afternoon before The New York Times report. “We all agree that Texas A&M is an extremely valuable institution; thus, it is incumbent upon me, as the president of the university, to ensure that we are in a position to enhance our national visibility and future financial opportunity.” Loftin added this is a “complex and long-term decision,” but “it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time.” The SEC said earlier this month it was happy with its current 12-school membership but left the door open to expansion. Loftin then received authority from the board of regents to take any action he deems necessary in terms of realignment. There is concern that a departure by the Aggies could jeopardize the future of the Big 12, which is down to 10 teams after Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) [...]

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Coach: Miami awaiting eligibility decisions

Coach: Miami awaiting eligibility decisions

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP & Staff) — The fate of eight Miami players is now in the hands of the NCAA. Miami coach Al Golden said Friday that the university has asked the NCAA to decide the eligibility of a number of football players — eight, a person with knowledge of the process told The Associated Press — who are believed to have committed violations in dealings with former booster Nevin Shapiro. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Soon, those players deemed ineligible by the university will know when, or if, they will play for Miami this season. “We’ve done our part,” Golden said. “We’re waiting.” The NCAA’s decision is expected early next week, and it will shape the season for the Hurricanes. Some of Miami’s top players are implicated in the scandal, including quarterback Jacory Harris, linebacker Sean Spence and receiver Travis Benjamin. Miami declared eight players ineligible, the person with knowledge of the investigation said, in what’s described as a procedural move. When a player is found to have committed a violation, that player must be declared ineligible by the university — a necessary step before the NCAA can decide if the athlete should be reinstated. “We’re all just focused on football,” said offensive lineman Joel Figueroa, who is not under investigation. “Just like any other season.” Except it’s not just like any other season. At least, it hasn’t been since the Shapiro scandal exploded. And this part of the process will be brutal for Miami because the Sept. 5 primetime opener at Maryland is drawing ever closer. “They’re eligible to practice,” Golden said Friday. “We have filed paperwork to the NCAA as of late last night, which is part of the normal process. … The only entity that can reinstate them is the NCAA.” Sanctions could include sitting out games, having to repay any money accepted, or both. Miami has asked for an expedited ruling, a request the NCAA typically complies with. “They’re still here,” offensive lineman Brandon Washington said Friday, speaking about the implicated group. “They’re team guys.” The NCAA will announce any reinstatement decision, and there is precedent suggesting the governing body may move swiftly. When Auburn ruled eventual Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton — who was dogged by a pay-for-play scandal — ineligible during the week leading up to last year’s SEC championship game, the NCAA reinstated him without conditions a day later. On Saturday, [...]

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NCAA hits Bruce Pearl with 3-year penalty

NCAA hits Bruce Pearl with 3-year penalty

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP & Staff) — The NCAA said it wanted to send a clear message by slapping Bruce Pearl with a three-year show-cause penalty: Coaches are responsible for their programs. The sanctions announced Wednesday make it harder for the former Tennessee men’s basketball coach to get another college job anytime soon. Pearl is prohibited from recruiting during the next three years, and a school would have to convince the NCAA to have that penalty removed if it hired him. “As these allegations are becoming more and more regular, it’s very clear that a head coach is being held responsible for his program,” said Britton Banowsky, Conference USA commissioner and vice-chair of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. The NCAA said Wednesday it had punished Pearl for lying to investigators about improperly hosting recruits at his home and urging others to do the same. Former Pearl assistants Tony Jones, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes face the same sanctions, except they were only given one-year show-cause penalties for their own roles in misleading the NCAA. “Those who are not forthcoming and not cooperative and unethical in their responses, the committee takes that very seriously, and they will be punished appropriately,” said Dennis Thomas, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference commissioner and chair of the Committee on Infractions. Pearl did not immediate respond to a call by The Associated Press seeking comment. The Committee on Infractions was impressed with the level of cooperation it got from Tennessee during the two-year investigation into recruiting by Pearl’s program and the football program under then-coach Lane Kiffin. It chose not to punish the university beyond its self-imposed sanctions, which include two years of probation beginning Wednesday. “The NCAA commented very positively about our cooperation,” UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said. “We have worked hard to make things right and that has been accepted by the committee. We have great coaches and great student-athletes, and now it’s time to go out there and compete.” The NCAA also concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to prove 12 recruiting violations committed by Kiffin and his staff were any more than secondary violations. Those charges included 16 improper recruiting phone calls and impermissible contact between football staff interns and recruits. Still, the NCAA wasn’t happy with the way Kiffin managed the football program during his one season at Tennessee. Kiffin left in January 2010 to coach Southern California. “Some of the violations received nationwide publicity [...]

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Adidas launches barefoot shoe

Adidas launches barefoot shoe

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP & staff) — Adidas is going barefoot. The world’s second-largest athletic company unveiled its first “barefoot” training shoe Tuesday, which is designed to mimic the experience of exercising barefoot while providing the protection, traction and durability of a shoe. The Adipure Trainer, which is a cross between a glove for the feet and a traditional shoe, hits U.S. stores in November priced at $90. The barefoot shoe is part of a strategy by Adidas, which is based in Germany, to expand into the U.S. where rival Nike dominates. Adidas joins a list of athletic makers trying to tap into the small but burgeoning U.S. market of fanatical runners and gym-goers who swear by shoes designed with as little material between the wearer and the ground as possible. “People who believe barefoot is the way to go…are very emphatic about it,” said Matt Powell, an analyst with industry research organization SportsOneSource Group. “They want to spread the message. It sounds religious but some of them are evangelical about it.” The athletic shoe and clothing business has been fairly resilient during the U.S. economic downturn, but it is an industry that thrives almost entirely on new products. When it comes to shoes, the latest and greatest captures the U.S. customer. While barefoot shoes make up a tiny fraction of the $22 billion U.S. athletic shoe industry, it is one of the fast-growing categories. Sales have more than doubled in the past year to roughly $750 million, according to SportsOneSource. Nike, the world’s biggest athletic company, holds roughly 65 percent of the market and appeals to barefoot loyalists and mainstream exercise enthusiasts alike with the traditional running-shoe look of its “Free” line. Vibram has about 10 percent of the market with its Five-Finger shoe, which encases each toe separately and has come to define the style. Other big companies such as Merrell, Fila, Saucony, Asics and New Balance also have their own barefoot or so-called minimalist offerings. The design of the Adidas barefoot shoe strikes a balance between the two styles. The brightly-colored trainer, which features the trademark Adidas three stripes, covers the foot as a shoe would but with a sock-like fit and toe compartments to allow more natural movement. “The Adipure Trainer is a unique piece of equipment for elite level athletes that we’re bringing to our core consumer,” said Patrik Nilsson, president of Adidas North America. The [...]

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