Wizards

The scoreboard, and the clock, both favored 'Bama

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The scoreboard, and the clock, both favored 'Bama

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Alabama controlled just about every aspect of the BCS title game. Including the clock.

On the way to beating Notre Dame 42-14 for the national championship on Monday night, the Crimson Tide also won the time-of-possession battle in every quarter - and by a fairly significant margin in three of those periods.

For the game, Alabama held the ball for 38 minutes, 13 seconds, compared with 21:47 for the Fighting Irish.

And the tone was set in the opening quarter, when Alabama had the ball for just over 12 minutes, running 22 plays to Notre Dame's eight and ending that period with a 202-23 edge in total yards.

``We had a hard time getting off the field, and a lot of that had to do with Alabama,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ``They ran the ball effectively. For us, we've been able to manage the run game. They were able to run the ball effectively, and then obviously when you do that, it opens up so much of the play-action game.''

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RUN, BAMA, RUN: When Alabama runs, Alabama wins.

That axiom held true once again Monday night in the BCS title game - for the 50th straight time.

The Crimson Tide have rushed for at least 150 yards in a game on 50 different occasions since the start of the 2008 season. And they've won every one of those contests, after rushing for 265 yards on the way to a 42-14 win over Notre Dame.

The last time Alabama ran for more than 150 yards and lost was Nov. 17, 2007, when the Crimson Tide were beaten by Louisiana-Monroe 21-14.

Alabama finished 7-6 that season. In the five seasons that have followed, the Tide has 61 wins, tying Boise State for the most in major college football over that span.

And, most notably, Alabama now has three of the last four BCS national titles. Naturally, the Tide ran for at least 150 yards in all three of those title tilts.

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TOUGH CALL: Alabama might have gotten a break early in the BCS title game when the Crimson Tide appeared to fumble a punt - but kept the football anyway.

The Tide held a 7-0 lead when Christion Jones muffed his attempt at fair-catching a Notre Dame punt. The ball was loose and Notre Dame appeared to recover, but officials said the Irish interfered with Jones' try at a catch.

Replays suggested that Jones was hit by one of his own teammates, not any Notre Dame players.

Alabama kept the ball and wound up scoring on the drive for a 14-0 lead, on the way to a 42-14 win.

``What I disputed was the validity of the fair catch,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ``I thought it was an invalid fair-catch signal. The official thought otherwise. And then of course we couldn't tell exactly, but our guys that watched it on the video thought that we did make contact. That would have been a nice play to go our way early in the game. Obviously it didn't go our way, but ... it certainly didn't change the outcome of this football game.''

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BIGGEST CROWD: The BCS title game was the most highly attended event in the history of Sun Life Stadium.

The announced attendance for Alabama-Notre Dame was 80,120 - a bit higher than the previous mark of 78,468, set four years ago when Florida and Oklahoma played here for the national championship.

Those 80,120 tickets will result in $80,120 being donated toward a fund for the victims of last month's school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The Orange Bowl Committee announced the donation on Monday night.

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SABAN'S RINGS: Alabama coach Nick Saban is pretty tough to beat in big games.

He's now 8-1 in championship games - 4-1 in Southeastern Conference title matchups during his stints at Alabama and LSU, and 4-0 in games that decided the BCS national title.

``I think it's pretty special what we've accomplished, what the players accomplished, what the coaches accomplished. I think it's really special,'' Saban said. ``And one of these days, when I'm sitting on the side of a hill watching the stream go by, I'll probably figure it out even more.''

Of course, in a classic Saban move, he immediately dropped the sense of nostalgia and returned to his next challenge - that being next season.

``What about next year's team? You've got to think about that, too,'' Saban said.

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2 BETTER THAN 1: The BCS title game marked the sixth time that Notre Dame entered a No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchup as the top-ranked team in the country.

It was also the first time the Irish lost one of those clashes.

The Irish had been 4-0-1 when playing as No. 1 against No. 2 - before falling to Alabama 42-14 on Monday night. The loss also denied Irish coach Brian Kelly what would have been career win No. 200.

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Wizards and Hawks pay tribute to Kobe Bryant with 8- and 24-second violations to begin game

Wizards and Hawks pay tribute to Kobe Bryant with 8- and 24-second violations to begin game

Emotions were very raw on Sunday as the Wizards and Hawks played a game in Atlanta, just hours after the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

Players and coaches wiped back tears during a pregame tribute, as shown on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast. And as the game began, the two teams honored his jersey numbers with an eight-second and 24-second violation.

The Hawks held the ball after tip-off for eight seconds without crossing halfcourt and then the Wizards held the ball for 24 seconds to run out the shot clock. After each team did their part, they resumed play.

Bryant's impact was felt across sports and all over the world. His legacy is particularly strong among the current generation of NBA players due to the fact he was in his prime when many of them were kids.

Hawks point guard Trae Young also began the game wearing a No. 8 Hawks jersey. Soon after the game started, he switched to his normal No. 11 uniform.

Many players tweeted their condolences before taking the floor. And the Wizards released a statement on his passing.

Bryant, 41, passed away in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Other passengers also perished, though their identities have not been confirmed.

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

The Ravens were the most represented team at the Pro Bowl, so it was only fitting two of the biggest contributors were from Baltimore, too. 

Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews combined for three touchdowns as the AFC beat the NFC 38-33 in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando. 

Jackson was named Pro Bowl Offensive MVP in just the first Pro Bowl of his young career. 

In addition to the 12 players that were selected from the NFL’s top regular season team, the AFC was coached by Baltimore’s coaching staff. 

Mourning Kobe Bryant

The Pro Bowl’s priority in the grand scheme of things took a backseat Sunday afternoon after NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in California. He was 41 years old.

Ravens players tweeted their condolences after news of his death broke and the sports world slowed to honor Bryant.

Jackson was interviewed by ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the game, where he spoke highly of Bryant’s career. 

"That's a legend, man,” Jackson said. “He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself. From what I heard, he was a great person as well. My prayers are with his family."

Lamar Starts

The second-year quarterback had a strong outing in his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. 

Jackson finished 16-of-23 for 185 yards through the air with two touchdowns and an interception. He added six yards on the ground on just two carries. 

His two touchdown passes were tied for a game-high as he played for a majority of the first half. 

For his day, he won Pro Bowl Offensive MVP. It almost assuredly won’t be his only MVP from the 2019 season. 

Other Ravens In Action

But it wasn’t just Jackson that saw the field for the Ravens. 

Andrews finished the game with a game-high nine receptions for 73 yards -- a team high. He also caught a touchdown pass from Jackson in the second quarter. 

Mark Ingram led all players on the ground with 31 yards on five carries, with the help of three of his offensive linemen: Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda and Orlando Brown Jr. 

Defensively, Marlon Humphrey had three tackles, Earl Thomas had two and Matthew Judon added one as well. 

Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas intercepted a pass on the Pro Bowl’s new onside kick rule, which replaces a standard onside kick with a 4th-and-15 play. Thomas then lateraled the ball to Humphrey, who pitched it to Judon before the play was whistled dead.

Justin Tucker added a first half 50-yard field goal, too, as the Ravens made sure they were well-known at the Pro Bowl.