NCAA

Colts, Bengals make playoffs with wins

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Colts, Bengals make playoffs with wins

One year after putting together the NFL's worst record, the Indianapolis Colts are headed to the playoffs.

Joining them on Sunday were the Cincinnati Bengals, finishing out the field in the AFC.

The Colts (10-5) equaled the 2008 Miami Dolphins as the only teams to win at least 10 games after losing 14 or more the previous season. Top overall draft pick Andrew Luck completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne late in the fourth quarter for a 20-13 victory at Kansas City.

Cincinnati qualified for a second straight postseason berth for only the second time in franchise history, edging archrival Pittsburgh 13-10. The Bengals have never gone to the playoffs in successive years that did not involve a strike-shortened season.

Luck finished with 205 yards passing to break Cam Newton's year-old rookie record of 4,051 yards in a season. He also extended his rookie record for fourth-quarter comebacks to seven by leading his team downfield in the closing minutes.

``Mission accomplished. That's all I can say,'' Colts interim coach Bruce Arians said. ``Without getting emotional again, knowing that (coach Chuck Pagano) is going to be back Monday, the work week shouldn't be as stressful.''

Pagano has been sidelined since a loss to Jacksonville in Week 3.

For the Bengals (9-6), Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green with a 21-yard pass in the final moments, setting up Josh Brown's 43-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining. The loss eliminated the Steelers from contention.

``A lot of people talked about we hadn't been in in back-to-back seasons in 30 years,'' Green said. ``I don't worry about that stuff. I've been here two years and we made the playoffs all two years. That's all we can control.''

Minnesota's 23-6 win at Houston prevented the Texans from earning home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. AFC South champion Houston (12-3) still can get that by winning at Indianapolis in the season finale.

New England has won the AFC East, Denver the West. Baltimore clinched the North by beating the New York Giants 33-14, sending the defending Super Bowl champions to the brink of elimination.

Washington's 27-20 win at Philadelphia, combined with New Orleans beating Dallas 34-31 in overtime means the Redskins (9-6) will win the NFC East by beating the Cowboys next week.

But Dallas (8-7) takes the division by winning that game at Washington, which the league has flexed to prime time.

``They know what it means,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ``They've been working toward this opportunity to win the division. Any time you win the division, everybody knows you have a home game in the playoffs. We talked about that from Day 1. They knew what we had to do to get there. We haven't accomplished anything yet.''

Green Bay clinched at least the third seed in the NFC when it routed Tennessee 55-7. The NFC North champs (11-4) still could wind up second overall in the conference and get a bye and moved into the No. 2 slot when Seattle romped over San Francisco 42-13.

``We have momentum going for us, particularly what we've done over the last nine weeks, 10 weeks,'' coach Mike McCarthy said of Green Bay's nine wins in the last 10 games. ``So we wanted to take the next step as a football team and I felt we were able to accomplish that today.''

The 49ers (10-4-1) will win the NFC West by beating Arizona next weekend. Seattle (10-5) earned at least a wild-card spot and finishes at home against St. Louis.

On Saturday night, NFC South winner Atlanta won 31-18 at Detroit to clinch home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

Minnesota (9-6), Chicago (9-6), the New York Giants (8-7) and Washington could wind up with the final NFC wild card. Dallas can't get a wild card.

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Virginia Tech survives marathon 6OT game thanks to a two-point conversion

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Virginia Tech survives marathon 6OT game thanks to a two-point conversion

In a vacuum, the final play wasn’t anything to write home about. But the journey to get there sure was.

The Hokies needed a whopping six(!) overtimes to complete the task, but they were in fact able to record a win over the visiting UNC Tar Heels Saturday evening in Blacksburg.

There was an amazing one-handed catch to help keep their hopes alive, a missed field goal to shatter them in the fourth overtime period, and everything in between. 

The fact that it ended on such a simple two-point conversion almost seems anticlimactic.

The marathon game itself was anything but anticlimactic, however. The two programs traded great plays and failed opportunities all afternoon long, but ultimately it was Virginia Tech who managed to come away with a big win.

It was an instant classic, and something students and fans alike in attendance won’t soon forget.

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Virginia Tech requires 6 OT periods to take down visiting UNC in wild finish

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Virginia Tech requires 6 OT periods to take down visiting UNC in wild finish

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Quincy Patterson's two-point conversion run in the sixth overtime lifted Virginia Tech a wild 43-41 victory over North Carolina on Saturday in the longest game in ACC history.

Both teams squandered opportunities to win the game in earlier overtime periods, as Virginia Tech kicker Brian Johnson missed game-winning attempts from 41 and 42 yards and North Carolina kicker Noah Ruggles missed from 35 yards and had a 44-yard attempt blocked.

The game marked the debut of college football's new overtime rules, which now call for going for two points after the fourth overtime. In the fifth overtime, Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-2 ACC) had the ball first, but Patterson's pass to Damon Hazelton was broken up by the Tar Heels' Storm Duck, giving the Tar Heels an opportunity to win the game.

North Carolina (3-4, 2-2 ACC), though, couldn't convert. Virginia Tech's Khalil Ladler read an option play perfectly and tackled Michael Carter for a loss, sending the game into a sixth overtime. The Tar Heels received the ball first, but quarterback Sam Howell was tackled for a loss, setting up Patterson's game-winning conversion.

The loss spoiled an outstanding game by Howell, who completed 26 of 49 for 348 yards and five touchdowns.

Patterson played the majority of the second half for the Hokies after starting quarterback Hendon Hooker went down with an injury late in the first half. He rushed for 122 yards on 21 carries and threw for 54 yards to pace the Hokies.

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