NCAA

Stanford beats Notre Dame 28-14, finishes regular season 11-1

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Stanford beats Notre Dame 28-14, finishes regular season 11-1

BOX SCORE

STANFORD (AP) -- Andrew Luckwalked back into the overcrowded home locker room at Stanford Stadium,greeted by hugs and handshakes and serenaded with a chant that suitedhim just perfectly."Macho, Macho man!" teammates bellowed, singing the lyrics to the Village People's famous song. "I want to be a Macho man!"Only one has earned that title on The Farm.Luck set the school record for themost career touchdown passes and eclipsed his own single-season mark,throwing for 233 yards and four scores to lead fourth-ranked Stanfordpast No. 22 Notre Dame 28-14 in his home finale Saturday night.Luck topped John Elway's record of 77touchdown passes and helped the Cardinal (11-1) build a 21-0 halftimelead. He has thrown for 80 touchdowns in three years - while it tookElway all four - and 35 this season."There's no player in America like Andrew Luck," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "Forget about the stats. Forget about the comparisons of other guys. It doesn't matter."Luck of the Irish? Forget it.Luck is on Stanford's side.The victory likely vaulted theCardinal into consideration for an at-large BCS bowl bid for the secondstraight year - with the Fiesta Bowl among the leading possibledestinations - but they will not play for a major championship thisseason. The lone loss to Oregon put the Ducks in the Pac-12 title gameout of the North Division and crushed Stanford's dreams of a nationaltitle."I think one loss, that's great,"said Luck, who turned down a chance to be the NFL draft's top pick thisyear. "We've been on a 23-2 run for a while, I think it's prettyimpressive. We put ourselves in position to be in a good bowl game, andthat's what we wanted to do."Notre Dame's stumbled at the finish line again.Tommy Rees threw an interception, lost a fumble and took a bruising blow to the ribs for Notre Dame (8-4) before getting benched. Andrew Hendrix threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in a second-half rally for the Fighting Irish that came up short.Keeping Stanford close gave the Irish little satisfaction."We didn't come here for secondprize," said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who would not name astarting quarterback for the bowl game. "We got off to a slow start andbattled against it. To me, the scoreboard showed 28-14 and that's notgood enough. The slow start put us in a tough position."Stanford coach David Shaw shined thespotlight on his program and his quarterback's Heisman Trophy campaignwith a calculated rip of the "flawed" BCS system this week. TheCardinal's play matched his words for 30 minutes.A sloppy second half almost took everything else Stanford had worked for this season.Kelly benched Rees in favor ofHendrix to start the third quarter, and the move pumped some life intoa stagnant Irish offense. Notre Dame took advantage of passinterference and roughing the passer penalties for its first score.Hendrix threw a 6-yard TD to Michael Floydto slice Stanford's lead to 21-7 halfway through the third quarter.Floyd finished with 95 catches on the year, breaking the single-seasonmark of 93 set by Golden Tate in 2009.The Irish were driving for another score when Hendrix overthrew a receiver, the ball was tipped and intercepted by Michael Thomas. When Notre Dame regained possession, Hendrix was sacked by A.J. Tarpley for a 13-yard loss that sent another drive tumbling."Consistency is the one thing I have struggled with the most," said Hendrix, who completed 11 of 24 passes.Only room for one quarterback to steal the show.Luck quickly connected with Coby Fleenerfor a 55-yard TD pass to extend Stanford's lead to 28-7 with 5:40remaining to put the game out of reach. Fleener also caught a 28-yardTD in the first half that gave Luck every major school touchdownrecord.Stanford's Senior Day belonged to the redshirt junior.Luck lobbed a fade to the short corner of the end zone to complete a 3-yard score to Levine Toilolo,giving Stanford a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Even he had to holdback a smile running to the sideline to a swarm of well-wishes fromteammates for the records-tying toss.But Luck lost his rhythm when a back-side blitzer closed the pocket, and he tossed a short pass that Darius Flemingintercepted and returned 35 yards. Notre Dame took over at the Stanford10 after a 15-yard penalty on Fleener for a horse collar.Stanford stifled the Irish on consecutive plays and forced a 20-yard field goal that David Ruffer missed wide right.Luck followed with a 28-yard TD pass to Fleener. The tight end dragged cornerback Robert Blanton the final 10 yards into the end zone, sealing Luck's marks in the school record book."I think it's something I'll be ableto tell my kids and grandkids when I'm watching Andrew on TV someday,"Fleener said. "He's got my Heisman vote."

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.