MANCHESTER, England (AP) - The most unpredictable Premier League season in years threw up more surprises Saturday when Chelsea conceded a 90th-minute winner at Stoke and beleaguered defending champion Manchester United lost to Newcastle for a second home defeat in four days.
With Manchester City being held 1-1 at Southampton, Liverpool was able to capitalize on its rivals' slip-ups by thrashing West Ham 4-1 to go second, with Luis Suarez following up his spectacular quadruple in midweek by scoring again at Anfield.
It was a good day for Arsenal, which retained its four-point lead ahead of its game against Everton on Sunday. Chelsea's 3-2 loss at Stoke, sealed by Oussama Assaidi's late strike, saw Jose Mourinho's side drop to third on goal difference behind Liverpool.
United's flimsy hopes of retaining its title took another battering by losing 1-0 to Newcastle at Old Trafford, leaving the champions languishing in ninth place - 12 points behind Arsenal - and placing further scrutiny on David Moyes in his turbulent first season as Alex Ferguson's successor.
"I don't think (the fans) or me expected us to have lost five games by this time of the season," said Moyes, who still believes United will be "very close" to the title come May.
Yohan Cabaye's 61st-minute goal earned Newcastle its first win at Old Trafford in 41 years and left United supporters further disheartened after a loss by the same scoreline to Everton on Wednesday.
The way the champions are playing, a place in next season's Champions League could even be out of reach, although the top four is wide open with the big teams continuing to drop points.
Also Saturday, Sunderland stayed bottom after squandering a lead to lose 2-1 at home to sixth-place Tottenham, which has picked up seven points from a possible nine since being humiliated 6-0 by Man City last month. Crystal Palace beat Cardiff 2-0 for a third win in four matches since the departure of Ian Holloway and Norwich won 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion.
There was a minute's applause before each Premier League game in honor of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95.
Chelsea and Man City were looking to apply pressure on Arsenal but couldn't hold onto their leads away from home.
Andre Schuerrle put Chelsea in front and then equalized for 2-2 after Stoke had hit back through goals by Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland, only for Assaidi to grab the winner with seconds left of normal time.
"I don't feel comfortable enough to tell you what I think about the game. We're in trouble," said Mourinho, bemoaning his team's lack of organization.
Sergio Aguero moved to 12 goals for the campaign - two behind Suarez's league-high tally - to give City the lead at Southampton, but Pablo Osvaldo delivered a brilliant equalizer just before halftime by leaving Vincent Kompany on the ground, turning Pablo Zabaleta and floating in a curling shot from the angle just inside the area.
"I'm pleased with the point," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side's away form has been erratic this season.
Suarez couldn't reproduce his exploits of Wednesday, when he scored four stunning goals against Norwich, but he once again proved to be the difference for Liverpool in a game of three own goals against West Ham.
Guy Demel and Joey O'Brien put in their own net to bookend the victory after good work by Suarez, who scored himself with a powerful header in the 81st minute to make it 3-1.
Mamadou Sakho netted Liverpool's second, with West Ham replying through Martin Skrtel's own goal before losing Kevin Nolan to a red card with eight minutes left.
"In the end we had 29 attempts at goal, and we could have scored more than four. It was a great victory," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, whose captain Steven Gerrard limped off injured midway through the second half.
Liverpool has scored 17 times in its last four home games but United found goals hard to come by this week, failing to score in successive games to lose back-to-back home matches in the league for the first time in 11 years.
Without the suspended Wayne Rooney and with Robin van Persie lacking sharpness in his first match back after a month out, United lacked a cutting edge against Newcastle, which controlled midfield and pounced when Cabaye's sidefooted effort deflected into the corner.
"When I came here I knew it wasn't always going to be easy and it's proving that way," Moyes said.
As the pressure on one coach increases, so it relents on another as Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas punched the air in delight after his team's second away win in four days. John O'Shea's own goal in the 50th sealed Spurs' victory at the Stadium of Light.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) - The most unpredictable Premier League season in years threw up more surprises Saturday when Chelsea conceded a 90th-minute winner at Stoke and beleaguered defending champion Manchester United lost to Newcastle for a second home defeat in four days.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame has officially accepted an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28.
The Irish (8-4) will be making their fourth straight bowl appearance and will play an American Athletic Conference opponent.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Notre Dame was headed to the game.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said the Irish were looking forward to returning to Yankee Stadium, where the Irish beat Army 27-3 in 2010. Kelly, a Boston Red Sox fan, said the treatment the Irish received from the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees was unlike anything he's seen in four years at Notre Dame.
That game drew a stadium-record crowd for football of 54,251.
Notre Dame had to wait to see what bowl spots went unfilled because it had no bowl affiliation this year. Next season the Irish will be part of the Atlantic Coast Conference bowl lineup.
DETROIT (AP) Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch has broken his own single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback in major college football.
Lynch surpassed his total from last season - 1,815 yards rushing - in the third quarter of the Mid-American Conference championship game Friday night against Bowling Green.
Former Michigan standout Denard Robinson had the record for yards rushing by a quarterback with 1,702 yards in 2010 before Lynch surpassed that total last season.
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn didn't bother waiting until after the Southeastern Conference championship game to give football coach Gus Malzahn a new six-year contract worth $3.85 million annually.
Athletic director Jay Jacobs announced the first-year coach's new deal Friday night, the eve of the third-ranked Tigers' game against No. 5 Missouri in Atlanta.
Malzahn has led Auburn to an 11-1 season after taking over a team that won three games and lost all eight SEC contests in 2012.
"As I've said before, we want coach Malzahn to be at Auburn for a long time," Jacobs said. "The new contract includes a raise and extension and is our statement that Auburn is committed to coach Malzahn for the long haul. While this season has been remarkable, I'm equally excited about the future of our program under his leadership. The future of Auburn football is very bright."
The present is pretty bright, too.
Auburn hired Malzahn last December and gave him a five-year contract worth $2.3 million annually. The new deal represents a $1.5 million pay hike and includes a $250,000 raise each year. Malzahn will make $5.1 million in the final year of the contract.
Auburn is in line to play in the Sugar Bowl and possibly for a national championship with a win over Missouri. Malzahn's Tigers upset No. 1 Alabama last weekend.
University President Dr. Jay Gogue said he and Jimmy Rane, president pro tem of Auburn's board of trustees, supported Jacobs' recommendation to give Malzahn the big raise and six-year deal.
"A lot of programs would love to have coach Malzahn, so this is a good move that allows him to continue taking Auburn football where our fans want it," Gogue said.
Malzahn has a chance to win a league title in each of his first two seasons as head coach. The former Auburn offensive coordinator led Arkansas State to a Sun Belt Conference championship last season before returning to replace his ex-boss, Gene Chizik
He was offensive coordinator for Auburn's 2010 team that won the national title and Malzahn's star pupil, Cam Newton, captured the Heisman Trophy.
Jacobs said earlier this week that he had reached out to Malzahn's agent, Jimmy Sexton, a couple of weeks ago. He said Thursday that he and Sexton hadn't spoken since.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Colin Kaepernick has accomplished a lot so far as the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback.
But he still hasn't beaten the Seattle Seahawks.
He can change that Sunday against the team that has handed Kaepernick the two most lopsided losses of his starting career.
Russell Wilson has outplayed Kaepernick both times in the budding competition between two of the NFL's most dynamic young quarterbacks who lead the way in the rivalry between the NFC West's top two teams.
But Kaepernick has something more pressing on his mind this week than any individual comparisons or matchups with Wilson.
"I don't worry about things like that," he said. "I'm worried about the next game that's on our schedule."
That's Sunday when Seattle comes to town for a game the 49ers (8-4) have to win to prevent the Seahawks (11-1) from ending San Francisco's two-year run as NFC West champions.
Seattle can clinch its first division title since 2010 with a victory.
The 49ers got good news Friday when Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley (sprained knee) practiced for the second consecutive day and said he "fully expects to play" against Seattle.
Staley said Friday it would take more than a sprained knee to keep him out against the Seahawks.
"It's just intense," Staley said. "We don't like them. They don't like us. I don't have a magic answer for why it's so intense, but it's a physical game every time we play. There's some bad blood there, and it's gotten worse for a variety of things."
The similarities between Kaepernick and Wilson have become a sideshow to the rivalry between two of the NFL's top teams.
Both players have strong throwing arms and present a dual threat with their ability to run and escape from the pocket.
Wilson ranks third among quarterbacks with 456 yards rushing and Kaepernick is fifth with 376 yards. Both rank among the league's top 10 in average yards per pass play.
"They're two great young quarterbacks, both very talented," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They stand in there and deliver."
Wilson has done that better so far in the head-to-head matchups between the two quarterbacks.
Wilson threw four touchdown passes in Seattle's 42-13 rout of the 49ers last December in Seattle. He then had one TD pass and 33 yards rushing as the Seahawks topped San Francisco again 29-3 on Sept. 15. Kaepernick had a career-high three interceptions and a career-low 20.1 passer rating in the latter game at Seattle.
The 49ers expect Kaepernick to bounce back in Sunday's rematch against the only team he has a 0-2 record against since he took over as San Francisco's starter midway through last season.
"He might come out and break records, have one of the best games of his life," said tight end Vernon Davis, who has caught 10 of Kaepernick's 15 touchdown passes this season.
"You never know what could happen in this game. I know Colin, and he's one of those guys that's going to go out and play his hardest no matter what. He's man enough to take criticism, he owns up to his mistakes and he's a winner."
After an auspicious debut as a starter last season, when he helped take San Francisco to the Super Bowl, Kaepernick has taken his share of criticism this season for a team that ranks 31st in the NFL in passing offense.
Meanwhile, Wilson has blossomed into the league's third-ranked quarterback with a passer rating of 108.5 and has drawn NFL MVP consideration.
Kaepernick had 127 yards passing against Seattle in September and just 91 and 127 yards through the air in back-to-back losses to Carolina and New Orleans in November.
But he responded with three touchdown passes the next week against Washington and had 275 yards passing during last week's 23-13 victory over St. Louis - his most since beginning the season with a career-high 412 yards passing in a win over Green Bay.
That has helped push Kaepernick's passer rating up to 88.9 after it fell to a career-low 72.5 earlier this season. He's completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 2,312 yards this season.
"He's done an outstanding job," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "I thought last week's game against the Rams was one of the best games, if not the best, he's played big-picture wise. Everything from soup to nuts, A to Z, I thought it was a magnificent performance on a lot of levels."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin and cornerback Brandon Browner will both be out for Sunday's game at San Francisco, coach Pete Carroll said Friday.
The decision to hold the pair out isn't surprising, although the Seahawks were hopeful both would make progress coming back from injuries this week. Browner has been out since Week 10 with a groin injury suffered against Atlanta, while Harvin continues to deal with soreness in his comeback from hip surgery. Harvin made his season debut in Week 11 against Minnesota but has been unable to get back on the field since.
Carroll said that next week - with Seattle having a full week of preparations - will be important in Harvin's recovery.
"We're looking forward to next week being a really important week. We think we got a shot at it. So it's important for us to go ahead," Carroll said. "I don't care about making that statement now that we're hoping for us is a big week for us with him. It'll be kind of week-to-week in a sense as we go forward."
Browner was ahead of schedule in his recovery from a groin injury. Carrroll said this week they initially believed it would be six weeks before Browner had a chance to return, but he practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday. He did not practice either Thursday or Friday.
"We didn't make much progress there. So we did not bring him back out," Carroll said.
Outside linebacker Bruce Irvin will be able to play after missing two days of practice this week with a thigh injury. He was a full participant in Friday's practice. The only other concern for Seattle is backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who missed the last two days of practice with an illness.
Carroll also said that James Carpenter will start at left guard against the 49ers. Carpenter and Paul McQuistan had been rotating at the position the past few weeks.
"He's earned that shot to do that and we've told him a couple of weeks ago we'd be in this type of rotation to give these guys a chance to really battle," Carroll said. "I love the fact that here we are, this late in the season, that we're still competing for spots."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) - Lindsey Vonn returned to racing in a World Cup downhill Friday, 10 months after major knee surgery and less than three weeks after partially re-tearing a ligament, and was thrilled to be back, no matter that her time was not among the top 25.
The reigning Olympic downhill gold medalist took an important step in preparation for the Sochi Games by competing for the first time since her high-speed crash at the world championships in February. She tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in that leg.
A fall during practice on Nov. 19 in Colorado delayed her comeback.
The American finished in an unofficial time of 1 minute, 59.22 seconds Friday, putting her 26th out of the first 29 skiers on the course.
NEW YORK (AP) Curtis Granderson is heading across town, where the New York Mets hope his home run swing won't suffer at Citi Field.
The free-agent outfielder agreed to a $60 million, four-year contract with the Mets, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because the deal was pending a physical and no announcement had been made.
Granderson, who turns 33 in March, comes over from the crosstown Yankees and gives the Mets much-needed power in their punchless outfield. He batted .229 with seven homers and 15 RBIs this year, when wrist and hand injuries limited him to 61 games. But he surpassed 40 homers in each of his previous two seasons in pinstripes.
The move marks general manager Sandy Alderson's most expensive free-agent signing - by far - after three years of bargain shopping as the Mets rebuilt.
A three-time All-Star, Granderson provides proven thump from the left side of the plate to complement right-handed hitter David Wright in a lineup that managed only 130 home runs last season - tied for 25th among 30 major league teams.
New York also signed free-agent outfielder Chris Young to a $7.25 million, one-year contract this offseason. Granderson has played center field most of his career but spent time in both left and right last season. He figures to fill a corner spot with the Mets, who plan to use defensive whiz Juan Lagares or Young in center.
New York's outfield combined to hit .238 this year (29th in the majors) with 50 homers (tied for 24th) and 209 RBIs (16th), according to STATS. The group also includes speedy left fielder Eric Young Jr., the NL stolen base leader.
Granderson turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Yankees to test the open market. The Mets, however, would not have to forfeit their first-round draft pick to sign him because they own the 10th overall selection. The top 10 picks are protected.
Granderson hit 41 home runs in 2011, when he led the American League in runs (136) and RBIs (119) and finished fourth in MVP voting. He had 43 homers and 106 RBIs in 2012, taking advantage of the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium.
The Mets hope his power will translate to spacious Citi Field, where it's more difficult to clear the fences.
Granderson's numbers have declined the past two years, down to a .317 on-base percentage and .407 slugging mark last season. He also is prone to strikeouts - whiffing 364 times from 2011-2012 - and joins a Mets lineup that fanned 1,384 times this year, tied with Atlanta for most in the NL.
But his bat is a significant upgrade for the Mets, starved for offense following their fifth straight losing season since moving into Citi Field. Now, the club can focus on other areas of need - shortstop, first base, the pitching staff - heading into baseball's winter meetings next week.
Granderson was on the disabled list twice last season after getting hit by pitches.
He missed the first 38 games after breaking his right wrist when he was plunked by Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ in his first spring training plate appearance on Feb. 24. Not long after he returned, Granderson broke a knuckle on his left pinkie when he was hit at Tampa Bay on May 24.
That kept him out until August, making Granderson one of several Yankees stars to be sidelined much of the season. New York was unable to overcome all the injuries, missing the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years.
Granderson's agreement with the Mets was first reported by the New York Post.
HOUSTON (AP) Gary Kubiak pulled the Texans out of the NFL basement and remains the only coach to take them to the playoffs.
That wasn't enough to save his job, not with the Texans mired in an 11-game skid that has dropped them back to the bottom of the league.
Houston fired Kubiak on Friday, one day after the Texans lost 27-20 at Jacksonville and continued their stunning fall for a team that expected to make a Super Bowl run. Houston (2-11) was flagged 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards.
The 52-year-old Kubiak was hired in 2006 and led the team to back-to-back AFC South titles in 2011-2012, the highlights of his eight-year tenure as coach of his hometown NFL team.
The Texans said they couldn't wait any longer to start turning things around, not with the losses and undisciplined play piling up.
"What's taken place with this organization is unacceptable," general manager Rick Smith said. "We've got three weeks of an evaluation process left and we've got to right the ship."
Kubiak's overall record is 61-64, with a 2-2 mark in the playoffs. Owner Bob McNair said the decision to let him go was a hard one.
"It was difficult for me because I think so much of Gary," McNair said. "We've been evaluating it every game and asking the question, `What's in the best interest of the organization?' We're at the point now where we need to go ahead and make some changes because losing like this is unacceptable."
He added: "We're here to have a winning culture and this year has not contributed to that."
The Texans said defensive coordinator Wade Phillips would serve as interim coach for the rest of what has been a miserable season. McNair said NFL and head coaching experience were important factors in filling the job, and that the 66-year-old Phillips will be considered.
Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke Nov. 3 in a frightening scene, collapsing at halftime during a game against the Colts and being rushed to a Houston hospital. He suffered a transient ischemic attack, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is briefly interrupted, typically by a blood clot or narrowed blood vessels. Experts say they are often a warning sign for a future stroke, particularly within three months of a TIA.
Kubiak returned to coach, but the Texans have been unable to rebound from injuries to top players including quarterback Matt Schaub, running back Arian Foster and linebacker Brian Cushing, who was lost for the second straight season.
McNair pointed to messy play and the handling of second-year quarterback Case Keenum as reasons for the move before the end of the season.
"I think the last straw was losing," McNair said. "We've got a lot better talent than Jacksonville and to lose to them twice, to their credit they played harder, played smarter and to have them beat us on that is not acceptable. If a team's going to beat us because they're better than we are, or have better ability that's fine, but we expect to go out and play hard and play smart, and we didn't play smart."
Kubiak, a former NFL quarterback who calls the team's plays, has long been known as a top offensive coach, mentoring quarterbacks in Denver under Mike Shanahan and then Schaub and Keenum in Houston.
He was hired in 2006, along with Smith, after the Texans finished a franchise-worst 2-14. Smith spent 10 years with Kubiak while the coach was offensive coordinator of the Broncos. Smith was Denver's defensive assistant for four seasons before moving into the front office for his last six years with the Broncos.
The pair helped transform the Texans, which began play in 2002, from league laughingstock to contender. The team went 6-10 in their first year and 8-8 in each of the next two seasons. Expectations were high in 2010 after Houston finished at 9-7 for its first winning record in 2009. The Texans instead fell to 6-10, which led to many fans calling for Kubiak's firing.
His original contract was due to expire after the 2010 season, but McNair defended him several times amid the bumps.
Last year, the Texans announced contract extensions for both Smith and Kubiak, rewarding them for taking the team to the playoffs last year for the first time. Kubiak's three-year agreement has him under contract through 2014.
McNair said at the time he offered Kubiak a four-year deal, but the coach preferred to make it for three.
Kubiak made his mark as Denver's offensive coordinator under Shanahan, winning two Super Bowls. An eighth-round pick out of Texas A&M, he spent nine years as John Elway's backup. He finished his career 4-1 as a starter, all in emergency relief of Elway.
"You always hate to see guys fired," Broncos coach John Fox said. "It happens, it's tough. But you never like to see that. He's a good friend and a heck of a coach, a guy I have a lot of respect for and it's unfortunate."
The Texans also fired special teams coordinator Joe Marciano and replaced him with assistant Bob Ligashesky, who is in his 10th NFL season and first full year with Houston. Other recent departures from the Texans include assistant head coach Alex Gibbs (for Seattle) and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan went to join his father in Washington.
Keenum, Phillips and the rest of the Texans will get three weeks to show what they have to McNair and company. With Kubiak out, it is clear that the evaluation process could have stiff consequences as the team tries to rebuild.
"We have a young quarterback in Case Keenum and we need to find out if he's capable of being a starter or capable of being the backup," McNair said. "The way you find out about that is by playing him."
AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
SEATTLE (AP) The Seattle Mariners were staying quiet on Friday about a potential major deal with free agent second baseman Robinson Cano.
The team issued a statement in response to an ESPN report that Cano and the Mariners had reached agreement on a $240 million, 10-year contract pending a physical.
"We are not able to confirm any news regarding Robinson Cano at this time. If and when an agreement is completed and finalized, we will announce," the statement read.
Cano's reported deal would be one of the largest in baseball history and a coup for a franchise that's gone a dozen years since making the postseason. It would bring creditability for the Mariners after striking out in the past in their pursuits of big free agents like Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton.
Cano is a five-time All-Star second baseman for the Yankees. Last season, he played in 160 games, hitting .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBIs, while posting a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage. He finished fifth in American League most valuable player voting.
Seattle has plenty of financial room to make a large cash commitment. The only major contracts on the books for 2014 are for pitchers Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Helping provide room to increase the payroll is the Mariners' investment in a new regional sports network that is expected to net Seattle significant revenue in the coming years and it's not a surprise the club was able to make such a staggering offer.
But finalizing a deal with Cano won't solve all of Seattle's problems. It's a start, immediately adding a legitimate slugger to the middle of a lineup that finally showed some pop last season after years of floundering with one of the worst offenses in baseball. The Mariners have plenty of other problems to solve, including adding another established starter to their rotation and finding solutions for an outfield filled with questions.
COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil - Defending champion Spain will play its opening World Cup game against the Netherlands, a repeat of the 2010 final, while host Brazil faces a relatively easy path to the knockout stage after Friday's draw.
The United States was drawn into the toughest group with Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
"Difficult draw, but a group the U.S. can get through if they play well," former U.S. coach Bruce Arena told The Associated Press.
Brazil starts its campaign for a sixth World Cup title with an opener against Croatia. Mexico and Cameroon are also in the group.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the only World Cup newcomer among the 32 teams, plays its opener against Argentina. Iran and Nigeria were also drawn in that Group F.
Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan are in Group C, with Uruguay, Costa Rica, England and Italy in a strong Group D.
One of the easiest groups on paper looked to be E, with Switzerland, Ecuador, France and Honduras.
Russia, host of the next World Cup, is in Group H with Belgium, Algeria and Korea.
COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) - The United States will play Ghana, Portugal and Germany in a tough first-round group at next year's World Cup that will take them on a lengthy 9,000-mile trip around Brazil.
Making their seventh straight appearance at soccer's showcase, the Americans were drawn Friday into Group G and will open on June 16 in Natal against Ghana, which eliminated the Americans at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments
The U.S. meets Portugal and 2008 FIFA Player of the Year Cristian Ronaldo on June 22 in the Amazon rain forest city Manaus. The Americans close group play on June 26 in Recife against Germany, which beat the U.S. in the 2002 quarterfinal.
"Difficult draw, but a group the U.S. can get through if they play well," former U.S. coach Bruce Arena told The Associated Press.
The United States, ranked 14th in the world, has alternated quick exits with advancement since returning to soccer's showcase in 1990.
Second-ranked Germany and fifth-ranked Portugal are the favorites to advance to the second round. The U.S. will feel pressure to open with a win against Ghana, which is ranked 24th.
At the 2002 tournament, the U.S. opened with a 3-2 upset of Portugal.
SEATTLE (AP) Chris Petersen is headed to Washington after finally being persuaded to leave Boise State.
Petersen agreed to become the Huskies' new football coach on Friday, leaving behind an unprecedented run of success with the Broncos. The Huskies made the announcement Friday morning after Petersen reportedly met with Washington athletic director Scott Woodward on Thursday night in Boise.
The decision was first reported by ESPN. Petersen met with his Boise State players Friday morning before the announcement was made.
"Coach Petersen's success and record are extraordinary, but even more impressive is the man himself," Woodward said in a statement released by the school. "His integrity, work ethic and character make him an outstanding fit and leader of our student-athletes at UW. We are thrilled and proud to call Coach Petersen a Husky."
Petersen will replace Steve Sarkisian, who went 34-29 in five seasons at Washington before leaving earlier this week to take the job at USC. Petersen was 92-12 in his eight seasons at Boise State, turning the Broncos into a national program with two Fiesta Bowl titles. But he's coming off the worst regular season in his tenure with the Broncos after going 8-4, including a 38-6 loss at Washington in the season opener.
The fact Washington was able to pry Petersen out of Boise can be considered surprising after so many other schools called in the past and were rebuffed by the Broncos coach. He took over for Dan Hawkins in 2006 and turned Boise State into the darling of the BCS.
Whether it was the audacious trick plays that led to Boise State's BCS upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, or the staggering run of victories with Kellen Moore at quarterback, Petersen was the one directing the Broncos' rise.
"I know Bronco Nation joins me in thanking Chris Petersen for all he did to advance Boise State's football program over the past thirteen years," Boise State President Bob Kustra said. "He is not only a great coach but a great person and an asset to the community. We were lucky to have him at Boise State and Washington is lucky to get him."
The Broncos won five conference championships under Petersen and won 12 games in every season between 2008 and 2011. The Broncos got as high as No. 2 in the AP Top 25 in 2010 and might have found themselves playing in another BCS game if not for an overtime loss at Nevada in the next-to-last game of the regular season.
But the Broncos seemed to plateau this past season. The year started with the blowout loss at Washington, the worst defeat of Petersen's career. Boise State lost three more times on the road at Fresno State, at BYU and at San Diego State, and a loss in a bowl game would leave the Broncos with five defeats for the first time since 1998, when they were in their third season at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
The struggles this season left some wondering if Petersen had already done all he could do at Boise State.
Petersen will inherit a program at Washington coming off its first eight-win season since 2001. The Huskies had been stuck on seven wins the past three seasons but a 27-17 win over Washington State in the Apple Cup changed the tenor of the Huskies' season.
Washington appeared on the verge of joining the upper echelon of the conference this season but was turned back in losses to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State. Sarkisian never defeated the Ducks in his tenure, which stuck with Washington fans tired of getting beaten up by their neighbors to the south, and that will be a primary task for Petersen. In his career, Petersen is 2-0 against the Ducks.
Sarkisian was the first Washington coach to voluntarily leave for another position since Darrell Royal in 1956 when he departed for Texas. Royal was at Washington for one season.
When it came to sports, Nelson Mandela had the ability to inspire inspirational figures and leave global stars star-struck.
The former South African president, Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-apartheid leader died Thursday at the age of 95, leading to a vast outpouring of tributes from the world's best-known athletes and top sporting bodies.
"It's sad for everyone who got a chance to not only meet him, but I've been influenced by him," golfer Tiger Woods said. "I got a chance to meet him with my father back in `98. He invited us to his home, and it was one of the inspiring times I've ever had in my life."
Boxing great Muhammad Ali said Mandela inspired others to "reach for what appeared to be impossible."
"What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge," Ali said in a statement through his foundation.
NBA star LeBron James said: "In his 95 years, he was able to do unbelievable things not only for South Africa but for the whole world. What he meant to this world while he was able to be here is everything."
As much as sportsmen and women loved Mandela, he in turn loved sport and appreciated its enormous potential to do good. Nowhere more than in his own country, where he famously used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to knock down the last barriers of apartheid.
"A remarkable man who understood that sport could build bridges, break down walls, and reveal our common humanity," International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said in a statement to The Associated Press, calling Mandela "a true statesman."
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he and world soccer were in mourning at Mandela's passing and ordered that the 209 flags of the world body's member countries at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland be flown at half-staff.
"It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person, probably one of the greatest humanists of our time and a dear friend of mine: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela," Blatter said.
From a cricket test in Australia to basketball games in the United States, Mandela was remembered by players and fans across sport with moments of silence in the hours after his death was announced.
A keen amateur boxer and runner in his youth, Mandela understood the intricacies of rugby, soccer and cricket, the most popular sports in his country, but even games and players the South African wouldn't have been familiar with were touched by him.
"Nelson Mandela was one of the most powerful and inspirational leaders in the world and a great friend of the NBA," NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "... and while we mourn his passing, we know that his legacy and quest for equality will endure."
Sport was never far from Mandela's mind. He was there when South Africa returned to the Olympic family, won rugby's World Cup, won soccer's African Cup and earned the right to host FIFA's World Cup in 2010, the first in Africa. It was fitting that Mandela's last appearance for an adoring public was when he greeted fans in a packed stadium on the outskirts of Soweto ahead of the 2010 World Cup final.
"When he was honored and cheered by the crowd ... it was as a man of the people, a man of their hearts, and it was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced," Blatter said.
A string of Spain's World Cup winners from that year and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo all tweeted messages of condolence, with many including photographs of themselves with Mandela. Global superstars Woods and David Beckham both made a point of meeting Mandela. Woods came out of his audience with a copy of the man's autobiography and Beckham was almost reverent in their 2003 meeting.
South African golfer Ernie Els said that from around 1996 onwards Mandela would call him every time he won a tournament and they once exchanged gifts after Mandela visited him at a tournament near the former president's Johannesburg home.
"I've still got that picture in my office in the U.S.," Els said.
But Mandela's interest in sport wasn't just for the grand occasion and the photo opportunity.
Recalling his first meeting with a still imprisoned Mandela in 1986 and away from the media spotlight, former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser said Mandela's first question was about cricket and the man regarded as that sport's greatest player.
"His first remark to me, after hello, was ... `Mr. Fraser is Donald Bradman still alive?"'
Fraser later brought him a bat signed by Bradman. Cricket's finest batsman had written "in recognition of a great unfinished innings" on the bat.
What Mandela did with rugby at that 1995 World Cup final is one of sport's defining moments and enshrined in the new South Africa's conscience.
By pulling on the green and gold jersey of the Springboks, the national team previously all-white and associated with the apartheid regime, Mandela signaled to all South Africans that they should unite. His presentation of the trophy to the Springboks' blonde captain Francois Pienaar provided a lasting image of reconciliation that politics just couldn't match.
"It was our privilege to have lived in this country during his lifetime," South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins said in a statement. After 1995, Mandela commonly referred to the team that had previously been boycotted abroad for its associations with apartheid as "my beloved Springboks."
Current Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said: "His presence at a test match just lifted the crowd and energized the team - it is actually hard to describe."
Even for New Zealand's losing rugby captain on that famous June day in 1995, Sean Fitzpatrick, Mandela's effect was too momentous not to appreciate.
"Afterwards, when we were driving back to our hotel crying, to see the sheer enjoyment of everyone running down the streets ... black, white, colored, whatever they were, just arm in arm celebrating sport," Fitzpatrick said. "He saw the bigger picture."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes, Jordan Todman scored on some trickery and the Jacksonville Jaguars held on to beat the Houston Texans 27-20 on Thursday night.
The Jaguars (4-9) won their third straight - their fourth victory in five games since a bye - and continued to show signs of progress under first-year coach Gus Bradley.
They also won at home for the first time since Nov. 25, 2012, against Tennessee.
Houston (2-11) extended its franchise-record losing streak to 11 games, a stunning stretch of futility that could lead the franchise to fire coach Gary Kubiak.
Kubiak and the Texans looked as if they would end the streak after a quarterback change, but Geno Hayes intercepted Matt Schuab's pass with 2:08 remaining to seal Jacksonville's first series sweep since 2009.
Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin met Thursday in Los Angeles with NFL special investigator Ted Wells for a second round of questioning about the team's bullying scandal, a person familiar with the situation said.
The person confirmed the meeting to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Martin was first interviewed by Wells for nearly seven hours Nov. 15 in New York. Wells then spent the week of Nov. 18 interviewing Dolphins players, coaches and staff in South Florida, and also met with suspended guard Richie Incognito.
Wells is expected to meet again with some Dolphins players before issuing a report. Martin alleges he was harassed daily by teammates, including Incognito, who has been suspended since Nov. 3.
Martin, a second-year pro from Stanford, has been with family in California undergoing counseling for emotional issues. Last week the Dolphins put him on the reserve/non-football illness list, ending his season.
When Martin abruptly left the team Oct. 28, the Dolphins had lost four consecutive games to fall to 3-4, and the scandal threatened to sink their season. But they're now 6-6 and in contention for an AFC wild-card berth going into Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.
Wells will determine the role of coach Joe Philbin, his staff and Dolphins management in the case, which inspired a national debate about workplace bullying.
CHICAGO (AP) LeBron James is taking his game to the silver screen.
The Miami Heat superstar confirmed reports before Thursday's game against the Chicago Bulls that he will co-star with Kevin Hart in the comedy "Ballers." Hart plays the brother of an NBA star who gets a chance to prove himself at a fantasy basketball camp in Miami.
James says the opportunity to work with Hart was a product of their "friendship" and "mutual respect." He says the role is "something I could relate to, as far as fantasy basketball and guys wanting to be basketball players" who "never had really had the great opportunity to be a professional athlete."
NEW YORK (AP) The Knicks are no longer the biggest losers in New York. The Brooklyn Nets look like the real Big Apple busts.
Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Iman Shumpert scored a season-high 17 points, and the Knicks ended a nine-game losing streak with 113-83 romp Thursday night in the first meeting of the season between the city rivals.
The Knicks (4-13) snapped a tie with the Nets (5-14) for most losses in New York, winning the game and the crowd with a dominant second half that had Spike Lee and the rest of the fans wearing blue and orange cheering perhaps the Knicks' most complete performance of the season.
Andrea Bargnani scored 16 before he was ejected in the fourth quarter, Knicks fans roaring in support of him standing up to Kevin Garnett.
Brook Lopez had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who again played without Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, or much passion in the second half.
The game was nationally televised, as all four matchups are this season, but neither team had been giving fans much reason to watch. Nets coach Jason Kidd said Tuesday that both teams "stink," and Anthony not only agreed but added that the Knicks were the "laughingstock" of the league.
Nobody was laughing at the Knicks on this night.
New York made a season-high 16 3-pointers in 27 attempts (59 percent), rediscovering a stroke that has been missing all season after it set an NBA record for makes in 2012-13, and led by as many as 34 points.
Shumpert, who has been the subject of trade rumors and has struggled, hit five 3s and added six rebounds.
The Nets hung in while the Knicks made 16 of their first 21 shots overall and trailed by only seven at halftime before their season-long woes in the third quarter returned, when the Knicks outscored them 34-16.
When the public address announcer urged fans to stand and cheer before the fourth, they responded by booing, clearly sick of watching Brooklyn get hammered over the previous 12 minutes yet again.
Tensions rose a couple of times, chiefly in the fourth quarter when Bargnani and Garnett became tangled as Bargnani fell to the court while trying to box out. Both players, along with Amare Stoudemire, were called for technical fouls, and Bargnani was hit with a second and thrown out shortly after when he appeared to say something toward Garnett after making a jumper.
There were also double technicals and words exchanged after Andray Blatche set a hard pick on Shumpert in the first half, but that was about all the fight the Nets showed on the way to their sixth straight home loss.
Both teams were booed during the introduction of starting lineups by split fan bases who are united in their early season disgust. The Nets believed they were a championship contender after acquiring Garnett and Pierce from Boston, the centerpieces of a roster that will cost more than $180 million in salary and luxury taxes. The Knicks are second to the Nets in payroll but had never gotten going after losing Tyson Chandler to a broken leg in their fourth game of the season.
But they were the better team right from the tip. The Knicks made 12 of their first 14 shots and were ahead 30-15 after Anthony's 3-pointer with 2:36 remaining in the opening quarter. But the Nets scored the final eight of the period and were down only 30-23 heading to the second.
NOTES: There was a moment of silence before the game for Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, who died Thursday at 95. Commissioner David Stern called Mandela "one of the most powerful and inspirational leaders in the world and a great friend of the NBA." ... The Knicks will try to end their seven-game home skid Friday against Orlando.
CHICAGO (AP) Derrick Rose isn't wavering.
He still sees himself as a star, a cornerstone player, despite another major knee injury that brought his long-awaited return to a screeching halt. So he wasn't quite sure what to make of the idea.
Is it time for the Chicago Bulls to move on, to abandon the idea of building around him, given his injuries?
"What can I say to that?" Rose said. Then, after a long pause, he added, "You could be a fool if you want to. Dead serious. I know I'm going to be all right."
In fact, he's not quite ruling out a return this season.
The superstar point guard left the door slightly open for a comeback in the playoffs if his surgically repaired right knee is healed - even though the team has said he will miss the rest of the year.
Rose tore the medial meniscus in his right knee in a game at Portland on Nov. 22. He had surgery in Chicago three days later, cutting short his comeback after he sat out last season recuperating from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
"If I'm healthy and the situation is right, I will be back playing," Rose said Thursday when asked if he might return for the playoffs. "If I'm healthy and my meniscus is fully healed, of course I'll be out there playing. But if it's something totally different and the outcome is not how I would want it to be, there's no need."
That comment aside, the odds of a comeback this season appear to be just about nil given that the team has ruled him out.
"Right now, it's been determined that he's out for the season," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "So that's the way we're going to approach. If something changes later on, we'll adjust then."
The bigger issue remains how effective Rose will be whenever he makes his next return.
The MVP in 2011, he tore the ACL in his left knee in the playoff opener against Philadelphia the following year, sending top-seeded Chicago to a first-round exit. The Bulls relived their nightmare last month in Portland when Rose lost his footing while turning to get back on defense. Rose limped across the court, unable to put any weight on his knee, a huge blow for a team that thought it would challenge Miami in the Eastern Conference.
Rose is in an all-too-familiar spot, trying to recuperate. He has played in just 50 NBA games - 49 in the regular season and that lone playoff game - since the Bulls' run to the conference finals during his MVP season, but he felt as if he was returning to form just as he went down again.
Rose was averaging 15.9 points and was shooting just over 35 percent. But he looked a little better in his final two games with 19 points in a loss at Denver and 20 against Portland.
"I was catching a rhythm of how I used to play," he said. "I think I was getting in condition more than anything for this season. For this one to happen, just from me turning and running back down the court, there's nothing I can say about it, nothing I can do about it, but just take it, be strong."
Rose wondered how it could happen to him again after everything he went through. But he was also relieved he didn't suffer an ACL tear.
Even so, he knew the injury was serious when he was being examined in Portland. He said his leg was "catching on the meniscus side, on the inside."
"I started thinking about, `Why me?' and all that stuff the day after the surgery," Rose said.
He said meniscus tear was a "freak accident."
"(The doctors) look at the tape, look at the film," Rose said. "The first one (the ACL tear) could have been I put too much pressure or I put too much weight on that leg at that time. This one ... I didn't buckle me knee or anything. I paused for a second. I was able to still run a few steps before I couldn't walk. It just happened."
Now, he's going for therapy every day. He's incorporating yoga and swimming into his rehab routine and is able to put pressure on his leg.
He said he might try to land a spot on the U.S. world championship team next summer if he's ready, but he still won't be playing in any pickup games. He also said he's not about to start recruiting players to Chicago - something he hasn't done in the past - even though the Bulls' core could have a different look.
Luol Deng has an expiring contract and Carlos Boozer is a candidate to be amnestied. But Rose said he hasn't thought about possible changes.
"There's a chance I could come back so I'm just cheering them on," he said.
For now, the Bulls are in a difficult spot. They were third in the Central division at 7-9 entering Thursday's game against Miami, one that looked like a marquee matchup when the schedule came out. Since then, it has lost that shine.
Rose insisted he's not finished.
"I believe that I'm a special player. I think people love the way that I just play. I don't try to impress anyone while I'm playing or anything. I've just got a feel for the game. I know my story is far from done."
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Tiger Woods said the death of Nelson Mandela was "a sad day for many people," especially those who had the chance to meet him.
That moment was 15 years ago for Woods when he was in South Africa for the Million Dollar Challenge.
"It's sad for everyone who got a chance to not only meet him, but I've been influenced by him," Woods said Thursday after the first round of his World Challenge. "I got a chance to meet him with my father back in `98. He invited us to his home, and it was one of the inspiring times I've ever had in my life."
Woods did not go into details of stories about Mandela that he has told many times over the years.
At the British Open this summer, when Mandela's health was failing, he told of walking into a living room in Mandela's home and feeling a presence he couldn't describe.
"It still gives me chills to this day, thinking about it," Woods said in July at Muirfield. "A gentleman asked us to go into this side room over here and, `President Mandela will join you in a little bit. And we walked in the room, and my dad and I were just kind of looking around. And I said, `Dad, do you feel that? And he says, `Yeah, it feels different in this room.
"And it was just like a different energy in the room," Woods said. "We just looked at each other and just shrugged our shoulders and whatever. And maybe, I'm guessing probably 30 seconds later, I heard some movement behind me and it was President Mandela folding up the paper. And it was pretty amazing. The energy that he has, that he exudes, is unlike any person I've ever met. And it was an honor to meet him at his home. And that's an experience that I will never, ever forget."
Woods later paid his respects on Twitter.
"Pop & I felt your aura went we met, I feel it today & I will feel it forever. You have done so much for humanity..." said one tweet from Woods. It was followed by, "You will always be in my heart Mr. Mandela."
Woods, the first player of black heritage to win the Masters in 1997 with a record-breaking performance, was in the middle of overhauling his swing in the fall of 1998. The week after Thanksgiving, he played the Casio World Open in Japan and then made his first trip to South Africa.
"I had read all the information about him," Woods told The Associated Press in a 2003 interview. "If you're a minority, you've read up on what he did. To go through what he did for 27 years and come out and be as humble as he was, and then run the country ... how tough a person do you have to be to do that?"
Woods returned to South Africa five years later for the Presidents Cup, a time when there was uncertainly whether Americans would travel such a long distance in November for the event. Woods never gave it a second thought, telling the AP he surely would have gotten a phone call from Mandela.
"How can you not want to do anything for that man?" he said.
Mandela met with Woods, Ernie Els and the rest of the players that week at the Presidents Cup, and he attended the opening ceremony.
Woods was informed of Mandela's death after finishing his round at Sherwood Country Club, and before he spoke to reporters.
"He certainly had an impact on my life and certainly my father's," Woods said. "When he came out (of prison), the country could have fallen apart. It could have gone a lot of different ways, and he led it to where it's at now. And the world is going to miss him."
For Mandela to spend 27 years in prison and emerge without hatred is what Woods found difficult to fathom.
"I don't think any of us probably here could have survived that and come out as humble and as dignified as he did," Woods said. "And to lead an entire nation and to basically love the world when he came out, I think that's a testament to his will and his spirit and who he was."