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Wednesday's Sports in Brief

Wednesday's Sports in Brief

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Terell Floyd and the Louisville Cardinals gave the embattled Big East Conference at least one more triumphant night in a major bowl - and at the expense of a top team from the mighty SEC.

Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play, dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater directed a handful of scoring drives and No. 22 Louisville stunned the fourth-ranked Gators 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night.

``I can't speak for the whole Big East, but I can speak for Louisville and I think this means a lot for us,'' Floyd said. ``We showed the world we can play with the best.''

Louisville, the Big East champion, was a two-touchdown underdog.

PENN STATE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - The NCAA imposed landmark sanctions against Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse scandal in a cynical ploy to weaken the university and enhance its own dismal reputation, Pennsylvania's governor claims in an unprecedented federal antitrust lawsuit against college sports' governing body.

Gov. Tom Corbett said the NCAA veered dramatically from its own disciplinary rules and procedures when it decreed last summer that Penn State would pay a $60 million fine, and the football team would suffer a four-year postseason ban and a dramatic reduction in the number of athletic scholarships it could offer.

Corbett wants a federal judge to throw out the sanctions, saying they have harmed students, business owners and others who had nothing to do with Sandusky's crimes against children.

PRO FOOTBALL

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons instilling fear in his opponents while serving as an inspirational leader for the Baltimore Ravens.

Now he's poised and eager to become a full-time dad.

Lewis announced he will end his brilliant NFL career after the Ravens complete their 2013 playoff run.

Lewis has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps. The 13-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker intends to return Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts in what will almost certainly be his final home game.

``Everything that starts has an end,'' the 37-year-old Lewis said. ``For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride.''

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Oregon coach Chip Kelly won't have much time to rest after the Fiesta Bowl.

On Friday, Kelly has an interview scheduled with the Buffalo Bills for their coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the coach's plans confirmed late Wednesday night.

The interview will take place in Arizona, a day after the fifth-ranked Ducks play Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Rams will not renew the contract of linebackers coach Blake Williams, son of suspended defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

A team spokesman told the Associated Press that there was ``nothing to report'' on Gregg Williams, banished for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal, although the move could be interpreted as a signal of the franchise's intentions to cut ties. Gregg Williams was an early addition to new coach Jeff Fisher's staff last winter and Fisher did not replace him after the NFL handed down its suspension

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Robert Griffin III crashed Mike Shanahan's news conference, slipping in the back door to take an aisle seat in the Washington Redskins auditorium. Soon, the franchise quarterback had a microphone in his right hand, ready to ask the next question.

Shanahan, who is hard to rattle, couldn't help but laugh.

``What did you do for New Year's?'' Griffin asked.

``I tried to put a good game plan together. I wasn't sure how healthy you were, so it was hard without you calling me,'' answered Shanahan, still chortling away. ``You got me good.''

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - Adrian Peterson has done plenty for the Minnesota Vikings and he has never publicly balked at taking on more responsibility.

How about special teams? He'd love to do that, too.

Peterson says he has been lobbying to be on the field-goal block team. He also said he ``wouldn't mind getting back there'' as a kickoff returner, a role he held occasionally as a rookie but not since 2008. Getting approval from coach Leslie Frazier is unlikely.

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Jets have violated the NFL's media policy by not making coach Rex Ryan or other team executives available within a week of the end of the regular season.

Ryan and owner Woody Johnson will meet with the media on Jan. 8. The season ended Sunday, Dec. 30.

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Browns may strike quickly to get Chip Kelly, Oregon's coach who does everything in a hurry.

Kelly, whose up-tempo, fast-paced offense has captured the imagination of several NFL teams and maintained the Ducks' status as a national power, appears to be near the top of Cleveland's list of candidates to replace Pat Shurmur, fired earlier this week after going 9-23 in two seasons.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs were courting former Eagles coach Andy Reid as they searched for a replacement for Romeo Crennel, who was fired this week after the worst season in franchise history.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt was meeting with Reid in Philadelphia, a person familiar with Reid's plans told The Associated Press.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals have completed a two-day interview with defensive coordinator Ray Horton in the search for a replacement for fired coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Next up is Andy Reid, the longtime Philadelphia Eagles coach who was among seven NFL head coaches who got the ax Monday. Reid's interview, while not formally scheduled, could come Thursday.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith says offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter signed a contract extension to stay with the team through next season.

Koetter's name surfaced this week as a head coaching candidate in Cleveland, Kansas City and Philadelphia.

In his first season with the Falcons, Koetter has overseen an offense that ranks second in third-down efficiency, seventh in scoring and fewest sacks allowed and eighth in total yards.

PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) - Hockey players are sticking together as a union for now and are working long and late hours with the NHL to try to reach a new collective bargaining agreement to get the game back on the ice.

The sides met in small groups throughout the day and then held a full-scale bargaining session with a federal mediator at night that lasted nearly five hours and didn't wrap up until about 1 a.m. Thursday.

They planned to get back at it less than 10 hours later.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Jim Boeheim notched his 903rd career victory, breaking a tie with Bob Knight for second all-time among Division I men's coaches, and No. 7 Syracuse rolled past Rutgers 78-53 in the Big East opener for both teams.

Boeheim, in his 37th season at his alma mater, trails only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who has 940 victories.

PRO BASKETBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The son of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was found dead of an apparent drug overdose at his Malibu home, authorities said.

The body of 32-year-old Scott Ashley Sterling was found shortly after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Los Angeles County coroner's Lt. Larry Dietz said.

The 77-year-old Donald Sterling, a billionaire real estate mogul who purchased the team in 1981, and wife Shelley released a statement thanking friends for sympathy, asking for privacy and saying their son was diabetic, but did not indicate what role, if any, that may have played in his death.

TENNIS

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka opened her 2013 season with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Sabine Lisicki to join No. 3 Serena Williams and fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber in the Brisbane International quarterfinals.

American Sloane Stephens had a 6-3, 6-4 win over Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson to set up a quarterfinal against Williams.

CHENNAI, India (AP) - Second-seeded Janko Tipsarevic beat French player Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 6-3 in the second round of the Chennai Open.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) - After struggling with injuries last year, Nikolay Davydenko and Gael Monfils are playing some of their best tennis at the Qatar Open.

Davydenko reached the quarterfinals by beating fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-3. He was joined by Monfils, who upset third-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

SHENZHEN, China (AP) - Top-seeded Li Na advanced to the Shenzhen Open quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Julia Cohen of the United States in the second round.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) - Shaun Wright-Phillips scored against his former club in the 78th minute to give last-place Queens Park Rangers a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the west London derby.

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Ravens special teams lacking across the board, lone sore spot in dominating win

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Ravens special teams lacking across the board, lone sore spot in dominating win

BALTIMORE — If there was a lone dark spot on the Ravens’ 42-21 win over the Jets, it was the special teams. 

From kickoff coverage to even Justin Tucker, each particular unit had its fair share of struggles. The Jets blocked a punt — and scored, had long returns on both kickoff and punt returns and Tucker missed an extra-point. 

“We played really well on special teams last week,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We played not well at all this week. So, that’s an area of concern right now. I give them credit. They played really well, but we didn’t.”

The trouble started from the get-go when the Jets had a good return on the opening kick. They carried that throughout the game, as Ty Montgomery and Vyncint Smith averaged kickoff returns of 23.3 and 28.7 yards, respectively. Smith had a long of 37 yards and Montgomery had a long of 34 yards.

Then on the Ravens second touchdown of the night, Tucker missed an extra point — a rarity for the league’s most consistent kicker. Before Thursday’s game, he’d missed just one extra point all season and one field goal. 

While it’s nothing to be concerned about, any miss for Tucker is certainly surprising. 

And finally, in the fourth quarter, the Jets bull-rushed up the middle through the Ravens’ punt team and blocked the kick for a score.

Baltimore’s special teams units have been stellar all season, so Thursday’s game isn’t something to fret over long-term. But it’s certainly something to monitor as the games tighten, leaving little room for error on the margins.  

“We just have to get better,” Harbaugh said of the returns. “They were basically blocking us. They blocked our guys on the kickoff return. They did a great job with it. They ran a little pick-stunt on the blocked punt that we should have picked up with no problem, and we didn’t. That’s an issue for us.”

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Lamar Jackson sets QB rushing record, leads way for Ravens to clinch AFC North title

Lamar Jackson sets QB rushing record, leads way for Ravens to clinch AFC North title

BALTIMORE — As Lamar Jackson etched himself into the NFL record book because of his legs, it was his right arm that was the story of Thursday’s drubbing against the Jets.

Jackson broke the single-season rushing record for a quarterback with a carry in the first quarter, but his passing stole the show in primetime. 

He threw for five touchdown passes — the third time he’s done so this season — and 212 yards in a 42-21 win at M&T Bank Stadium. While the Jets struggled to contain he and the Ravens' speed, Jackson's passes sliced through the Jets secondary.

“His performance speaks for itself,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Our guys played well, made some plays...Lamar is definitely the leader there. He’s the catalyst, but those guys are making plays together and that’s what you need to do to win the game.”

Jackson’s passing kept the Jets’ defense off-balance all night, as a mix of scrambles and deep balls left them confused throughout the game. 

"I think we were just trying to figure out what was going on,” Jets coach Adam Gase said. “Sometimes against this group, you do not want to commit, because you are unsure. They run their offense well, but you have to pull the trigger and make a decision in real time, and it is not easy."

A 24-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Marquise Brown in the back of the end zone sealed the deal, as the Ravens earned yet another blowout win. 

Thursday’s game marked the fifth time this season the Ravens have scored more than 40 points in a game. 

Jackson’s run in the first quarter set the single-season record and propelled him to 86 yards on the ground for the day. 

“That’s just the chemistry and hard work,” Jackson said. “You know, we take practice like it’s a game, and that’s one thing I had to work on individually by myself — because our guys work so hard, I (wanted) to throw dimes to them and make sure their job is a lot easier catching them in stride, and they just help me out by catching the ball and doing what they do.” 

While his arm was on display, the reason his performance will be remembered is what he did with his rushes. 

Jackson broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for quarterbacks in the first quarter, then added 64 yards on top of that for good measure. Now alone at the top of the NFL record book, Jackson can claim the most dominant season by a quarterback on the ground in league history.

“It’s pretty cool,” Jackson said. “My favorite player growing up; it’s amazing and I’m going to cherish that forever and just got to keep it going. Records are made to be broken, like he said. I heard him say that, and it’s an honor for me to do it.”

The Ravens, and Jackson, put 218 yards on the ground against the Jets, who entered as the league's second-best rush defense allowing just 78.8 per game. 

“He’s different,” Jets safety Marcus Maye said. “He’s not like the rest of them. He has the ability to run around and make plays. There’s probably only a handful of guys who can do it the way he does it.”

Jackson also led the way to a second-straight AFC North title for the Ravens, who are just a step away from clinching a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

Should they get to that point, the Ravens will have their MVP-candidate at quarterback to thank. And this year, Jackson has something to prove. 

“That’s my fault we lost in that first-round last year, but this year is a different team, different mindset,” Jackson said. “It’s a brotherhood going on right now, and we’ve just got to keep it going.” 

So while Thursday’s game was one for the record books, everyone on the Ravens will tell you there’s more pressing matters at hand. 

Even as Jackson became the NFL’s best rushing quarterback in a season, and tied the franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season, it’s clear it’s not something they’re all that concerned about.

“But it’s really, it’s something I’m sure Lamar, as he says, he’ll look back on some day fondly,” Harbaugh said. “But right now, he has other things to think about."

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