National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Nets' Lopez has surgery on broken right foot

NEW YORK (AP) Nets center Brook Lopez had surgery Saturday on his broken right foot, with the team saying a second procedure was done in hopes of preventing further injury.

Besides repairing the fractured fifth metatarsal, surgeons also repositioned another bone.

"With this procedure, we both fixed the broken bone in Brook's right foot and repositioned another bone, so that his sole of his foot will bear weight more evenly than before," Dr. Riley Williams III, the Nets' medical director, said in a statement. "The repositioning portion of the surgery lessens the stress on the fractured bone, and decreases the likelihood of re-injury in the future."

Lopez also broke the foot just before the 2011-12 season, when he was limited to just five games. He then had another procedure last offseason to fix a bent screw in the foot.

Lopez was injured Dec. 20 against Philadelphia. The All-Star center, who was averaging a team-high 20.7 points, will miss the remainder of the season and the Nets expect him back for offseason workouts.

N Dakota St 3rd FCS title in row, 35-7 over Towson

FRISCO, Texas (AP) Brock Jensen and North Dakota State got their perfect ending, capping a 15-0 season with a 35-7 victory over Towson on Saturday as the Bison claimed their straight FCS championship in coach Craig Bohl's final game at the school.

Jensen threw a touchdown pass and was one of four North Dakota State players who ran for scores.

The Bison joined Appalachian State as the only FCS teams to win three consecutive championships. They are the first undefeated champs at that level since Marshall in 1996, the year before the Thundering Herd moved to Division I.

Bohl last month accepted the job as Wyoming's coach, but stayed with the Bison for their playoff run. He finished 104-32 in 11 seasons at North Dakota State, which has won 24 consecutive games to match the FCS record.

Vandy regroups, tops Houston 41-24 in Compass Bowl

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Patton Robinette threw two 50-yard touchdown passes to Jordan Matthews, and Vanderbilt recovered after blowing a 24-point lead to beat Houston 41-24 on Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Robinette, starting after senior Austyn Carta-Samuels had season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, also had an 8-yard scoring run as Vanderbilt built a 24-0 lead in the first half.

After Houston (8-4) pulled even by scoring 24 points in the third quarter, Vanderbilt reclaimed the lead on Brian Kimbrow's 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Vanderbilt (9-4) closed the season with five straight wins, adding to third-year coach James Franklin's status as a possible candidate for coaching vacancies, including at Penn State and with the NFL Browns and Redskins. The Commodores played in three straight bowl games under Franklin - a first for the program - and completed their first back-to-back nine-win seasons.

Vandy players doused Franklin with a water bucket in the final seconds.

Houston gained only 22 yards and had one first down in the first half but rallied with 24 points in the third quarter to pull even. Kenneth Farrow had a 6-yard scoring run and Deontay Greenberry and John O'Korn threw scoring passes to Markeith Ambles.

The Commodores regrouped with two big gains on direct snaps to running backs early in the fourth quarter. Jerron Seymour ran for 38 yards to the Houston 34. Kimbrow's touchdown run gave the lead back to Vanderbilt.

Jahmel McIntosh's interception less than a minute later gave the ball back to Vanderbilt, setting up Carey Spear's 35-yard field goal.

Seymour added a 2-yard scoring run with less than 2 minutes remaining.

Matthews, a senior who set Southeastern Conference records for career catches and yards receiving, had five catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

Matthews took advantage of a lead block by receiver Jonathan Krause to make his first touchdown catch on Vanderbilt's second possession.

A forced fumble by linebacker Chase Garnham set up the Commodores' second touchdown. After Houston's O'Korn threw a pass to Greg Ward Jr., a big hit by Garnham forced the fumbled recovered by Andrew Williamson at the Houston 16. Robinette, making his third career start, scored on an 8-yard keeper on fourth down.

No Houston defender was near Matthews on his second 50-yard scoring catch in the second quarter.

A lost fumble by Robinette set up Farrow's 6-yard touchdown run to start Houston's third-quarter comeback.

Houston built on the momentum. Daniel Spencer's 62-yard run set up O'Korn's 6-yard touchdown pass to Ambles. O'Korn's 58-yard pass to Ambles set up a 30-yard field goal by Kyle Bullard. The Cougars completed their big third-quarter comeback on O'Korn's 67-yard touchdown pass to Greenberry to tie the game.

Arsenal beats Tottenham 2-0 in FA Cup derby

LONDON - Arsenal overpowered north London rival Tottenham 2-0 to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, a significant scalp in the quest to end a nine-year trophy drought.

Santi Cazorla swept in Arsenal's opener in the 31st minute as Tottenham was run ragged at the home of it fiercest rival.

Arsenal's derby supremacy wasn't reflected in the scoreline, with Tomas Rosicky taking until the 62nd to score the second, charging forward from the halfway line after Tottenham gave the ball away before lifting it into the net.

?"We played very collectively and tactically very well," Rosicky said. "We always have the quality to score goals."

Arsenal ended the game with 10 men after Theo Walcott was carried off on a stretcher with a knee injury in the final 10 minutes when all three substitutes had been used.

Walcott used his misfortune as a chance to taunt Tottenham fans, signaling 2-0 with his fingers as he was carried around the pitch, which Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said came in response to being hit by coins.

"It does not even look aggressive, it was smiley," Wenger said of the gesture.

The victory maintained Arsenal's bright start to 2014, a year when Wenger will hope to produce the team's first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.

The Gunners are also top of the Premier League they haven't won since 2004 and in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Tottenham, though, has only one realistic chance of ending the season with silverware in the second-tier Europa League.

In the three weeks since managerial novice Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas, Spurs have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions.

But Sherwood has overseen a Premier League revival, collecting 10 out of a possible 12 points as Tottenham has climbed to within two points of the top four into sixth place.

Looking to maintain that momentum, Sherwood made only one change from the side that won at Manchester United on Wednesday, with 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb making his first Tottenham start.

Wenger, though, had the luxury of making five switches from the side that beat Cardiff 2-0 on New Year's Day and Arsenal still was in the ascendancy throughout.

"We had good discipline and were tight at the back," Wenger said. "With quick, sharp passing we looked dangerous."

The pressure was unrelenting with Walcott at his most menacing, forcing Hugo Lloris into a low diving save, seeing a curling shot deflect off Vlad Chiriches, and another blocked by the goalkeeper's legs.

Though Sherwood insisted his team was not over-run by Arsenal, Tottenham was sliced apart for the opener in the 31st

Serge Gnabry cut in from the right and released the ball to Cazorla, who drove it in low past Lloris.

A second goal seemed inevitable, but it didn't come in the first half with Walcott volleying over with the closest chance before the break.

Tottenham's best chance to level was squandered 10 minutes into the second half, as former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who was jeered throughout, struggled to make a clean connection with Aaron Lennon's cross.

Soon, though, Tottenham was too easily breached again.

Danny Rose, dithering on the halfway line, gave away the ball, Rosicky seized the ball, raced to the penalty area and chipped Lloris.

As Tottenham's back-line continued to crumble, Walcott was unfortunate not to score, curling a low shot wide before being forced off when he was having a great impact leading the attack.

"He had a fighting attitude," Wenger said.

Titans fire Mike Munchak after 3 years as coach

The Tennessee Titans have fired Mike Munchak after three seasons as head coach and 31 years combined with this franchise as a player and coach.

The Titans confirmed the firing Saturday after holding meetings since they ended the season with a 7-9 record and a 16-10 win over Houston.

"The last week has been a difficult time trying to navigate through many issues to find the best resolution for this franchise moving forward," general manager Ruston Webster said in a statement. "Tough choices were presented to all sides and the end result was to part ways and move forward without Mike."

The Titans scheduled a news conference for later Saturday to discuss the firing. Webster now has to oversee this franchise's first coaching search since Munchak was hired in February 2011 and only the second since this team left Houston in 1997.

Munchak flew to Texas on Friday morning to meet with team president and CEO Tommy Smith and Webster. They returned late in the afternoon, and Munchak eluded reporters by driving his truck through a different airport exit.

The coach had a season left on his contract and was 22-26 overall. He had been with this franchise since 1982 when the then-Houston Oilers made him a first-round draft pick, and he joined the coaching staff as an assistant the year after he retired.

The Titans made Munchak their 16th head coach when late owner Bud Adams promoted him after firing Jeff Fisher. But Munchak's first offseason was wiped out by the NFL lockout, and his second was chewed up when Adams ordered his front office to chase Peyton Manning.

Adams spent more than $100 million this past offseason to restock the Titans' roster and made it clear he wanted a playoff berth. That spending spree landed 13 new free agents, along with seven draft picks making the roster. Smith, Adams' son-in-law, was picked as president and CEO a week after Adams died Oct. 21, and Smith said last month he thinks the Titans need to fill a few more holes.

Webster thanked Munchak for his professionalism.

"He is first-class and I wish him and his family nothing but the best," said Webster, who was promoted to general manager in January 2012.

The Titans lost six games by one possession and also won six games decided by a possession. They also dropped eight of 10 games in one stretch, including five straight at home, with fans showing their displeasure with a franchise that hasn't won a postseason game since January 2003 by staying away by the thousands.

Munchak had made it clear over the past couple of weeks that he thought having quarterback Jake Locker available for all 16 games likely would have been the difference in the two or three wins needed to earn this franchise's first playoff berth since 2008.

Possible changes to Munchak's coaching staff may have been a sticking point after he hired four new coaches and switched up a couple of others. Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and senior assistant coach for defense Gregg Williams both have expiring contracts, and special teams had been an issue on kick and punt returns until the team signed Leon Washington late.

Munchak also promoted an old friend already on his staff as linebackers coach for 2013, and a young group featuring Zach Brown, Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers struggled most of the season.

Left guard Andy Levitre, who signed as a free agent in March to play for Munchak, wrote on Twitter: "Unfortunate to hear the news about Coach Munchak. Couldn't be more thankful 4 him giving me this opportunity in Nashville. Wish him the best."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Aston Villa out of FA Cup in 3rd round shock

LONDON (AP) - Aston Villa was dumped out of the FA Cup by third-tier side Sheffield United in the biggest shock of the third round on Saturday, while 10-man Manchester City was held by Blackburn.

Villa's humbling came days after manager Paul Lambert branded the cup as a "distraction," but rather than making wholesale changes, it was still a strong side that lost 2-1.

Blackburn earned a replay against City after goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon fumbled Rudy Gestede's header before Scott Dann rushed in to sweep the ball into the net to cancel out Alvaro Negredo's opener.

City was left hanging on to the 1-1 draw after Dedryck Boyata was sent off in the 85th minute when a foul on D.J. Campbell earned him a second yellow card.

Southampton squeezed into the fourth round by beating Burley 4-3, while holder Wigan, which was relegated from the Premier League after winning the cup in May, was held to 3-3 by M.K. Dons.

In all-Premier League encounters, Cardiff beat Newcastle 2-1, Crystal Palace won 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion, and Arsenal hosted Tottenham in the late game.

Tedford hired as Buccaneers offensive coordinator

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Former California coach Jeff Tedford has been hired as offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New Bucs coach Lovie Smith made the announcement Saturday, saying Tedford has a "successful and proven track record as a teacher and developer of young talent."

Tedford led Cal from 2002-12. During his long coaching career, Tedford has worked with six quarterbacks eventually selected in the first round of the NFL draft, including Aaron Rodgers.

Other notable offensive players who played for him at Cal are running back Marshawn Lynch and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Smith was hired as Bucs coach Thursday, replacing Greg Schiano. The Bucs finished last in the league in passing and total offense while going 4-12 this season.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Sleeves or no sleeves? 49ers, Pack prep for cold

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Josh Boyd isn't into making a fashion statement, and he doesn't think he needs to go sleeveless to show off his toughness.

All the Packers defensive lineman wants is to stay warm in the subzero weather when Green Bay hosts the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC wild-card showdown that could be one of the coldest playoff games in NFL history.

So many intriguing story lines between these two NFC powers, and yet the arctic cold may trump them all.

"Yeah, I'm definitely going sleeves," said Boyd, a rookie from Mississippi. "I mean, I don't see it as a tough guy thing. I just see it as being comfortable."

The National Weather Service forecast called for a high temperature in Green Bay on Sunday of 2 degrees, with north-northwest winds making it feel more like minus-15 to minus-20.

The coldest NFL game on record is the 1967 championship game, known as the "Ice Bowl" won by the Packers 21-17 over the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on New Year's Eve. The temperature dipped to minus-13, and the wind chill that day was minus-48.

This might be little consolation to Boyd, for whom cold games in college meant playing in 30- or 40-degree weather.

"I'm from Mississippi, so this is a whole other animal," Boyd said. "I've never seen negatives until I got here."

Linemen are renowned for toughing out inclement weather without sleeves under jerseys. Don't want to give the opponent even the slightest idea that you're soft, the line of thinking goes.

Well, 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith is as tough as they come, and even he might wear sleeves for what he estimates would be just the second or third time in his 13-year career.

"You're not going to have an advantage having no sleeves. You're not going to scare the opponent," said Smith, who has 6 1/2 sacks.

Across the line of scrimmage, center Jonathan Goodwin said he had no problem wearing sleeves.

"I gave up on the `don't wear sleeves to look tough' a long time ago," he said.

In some ways, players might be warmer than the 80,000 fans expected to pack frigid Lambeau. Once they get to the sideline, players can take a break on heated benches. They'll likely wear long, heavy coats while not in the game.

"This is not the norm. Anytime you get outside the norm for whatever your occupation, it's obviously challenging mentally and physically," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "That's definitely going to be the case Sunday."

Footing on the field will be a key issue. Lambeau does have a heating system buried beneath the turf, encompassing 30 miles of pipes. There was supposed to be a brief "break" in the cold snap with temperatures rising into the upper 20s on Saturday, which McCarthy said would give groundskeepers a key day to work on the field.

"It could be just a normal game that's played at a little slower pace. Or it could be where there's a lot of slipping and sliding going on, then you have to adjust a little bit," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "You need to wait to see Sunday exactly see how the field affects the game."

Another key for players will be to stay hydrated, though McCarthy jokingly put his index finger to his lips as if to tell a reporter to not let out the secret when asked the question Friday.

"We've seen it in past games where guys do cramp, so yes, it's all part of our preparation," McCarthy said.

If not for the arctic front marching into Wisconsin, more of the attention before Sunday's game might be focused on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's mastery of Green Bay in the teams' last two meetings. Or quarterback Aaron Rodgers' triumphant return from a left collarbone injury to help the resurgent Packers get back into the playoffs.

Instead, San Francisco and Green Bay will have to deal with an unwelcome extra opponent: the bitter cold.

Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels seems to subscribe to the sleeves-are-soft philosophy. He doesn't like wearing them and plans to just play through the big chill and block out the conditions.

And don't get him started on hand warmers.

"I see offensive linemen with hand warmers, that tells me about them, man," Daniels said. "A defensive line coach in college said that, so I kind of kept that mentality."

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Santa Clara, Calif., contributed to this report.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Williams beats Azarenka, defends Brisbane title

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) This was one time Serena Williams didn't mind being pushed into the deep end, to use her own description.

The top-ranked Williams carried her winning momentum from 2013 into the new season, beating No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to defend her title at the Brisbane International and set the tone for the Australian Open.

She extended her winning streak to 22 matches with the emphatic win over the reigning Australian Open champion, making it back-to-back victories over two of her main rivals. She beat four-time major winner Maria Sharapova in straight sets in an intense semifinal, her 14th consecutive win in that frosty duel.

She improved to 14-3 against Azarenka, the last person to beat her last year. Before the semifinals, Williams said there was nothing like being "thrown into the deep end straight away."

Having come through those challenges, she thought it was the ideal season-opening tournament.

"It was a great test. It showed me where my level was," Williams said, looking ahead to the Australian Open. "I'm happy I was able to play both Maria and Victoria, because they brought their A games against me. I know now what I need to do for Melbourne - I look forward to it."

The year's first major starts Jan. 13 at Melbourne Park and Williams, who won 78 of her 82 matches and collected 11 titles last year, is positioning herself as the favorite to claim a sixth Australian title after winning a tournament featuring six of the top 10 women.

Williams has so many trophies now, she said she doesn't know where they all are - "some are MIA" - but that doesn't stop her from collecting more. This was her 58th, including 17 majors.

Immediately after the loss, Azarenka said she hopes to face Williams again in Melbourne - as the top two ranked players, they can only meet in the final.

"I can't say I'm satisfied today, but I want to take the positive, what I've done today, and build from here towards the next week," Azarenka said. "This is the first week where you really test yourself where your game is at, and from here you can take the positives and the things that you have to work on and really go after that."

Williams earned the first break in the seventh game and hit fired consecutive aces to finish off the first set in 37 minutes.

She went up a break immediately in the second set before Azarenka won four straight games to take a 4-2 lead. Williams, who was comparatively silent against a screeching opponent for the second straight night, let out a scream of relief and satisfaction after hitting an overhead winner to break back in the seventh game.

And she yelled and pumped her arm again after converting a break in the 11th game with a backhand down line.

Serving for the championship, Williams started with two aces - her 10th and 11th - and then hit a service winner to set up two championship points at 40-15. She fired an unreturnable serve to finish it off.

The Williams sisters were hoping to both win a WTA Tour event in the same week for the first time in 15 years, but Ana Ivanovic prevented that when she beat Venus Williams 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.

It was the end of a personal drought for second-seeded Ivanovic, who claimed her 12th career singles title and her first since Bali in 2011.

Venus Williams was the crowd's sentimental favorite after reaching the final of her first tournament since September. After a long struggle with injury and illness, her form in Auckland supported her claim that she is fitter and healthier than she has been in years.

The men's final in Brisbane on Sunday will feature two 32-year-old former No. 1s.

Top-seeded Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt earned three-set semifinal victories to advance, renewing a rivalry that stretches back to the last millennium.

Federer beat No. 8-seeded Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 immediately after Hewitt's 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win over second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan in sweltering heat topping 40 Celsius (104 F).

The pair have met 26 times dating back to 1999, with Federer leading 18-8 including 16 of the last 17.

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AP Sports Writer Steve McMorran contributed from Wellington, New Zealand.

AP source: Strong expected to accept Texas offer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas will offer its head coaching job to Louisville's Charlie Strong and he is expected to accept, a person familiar with the search told The Associated Press on Friday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the process was being kept confidential and had not been completed. Texas has been looking to replace Mack Brown, who stepped down in December after 16 seasons with the Longhorns.

Strong is in his fourth year at Louisville and coming off his second straight double-digit victory season. He took over a program coming off three straight non-winning seasons and has gone 37-15.

The 53-year-old Strong was a longtime defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference before getting a chance to be head coach. He took Louisville to the BCS last season and finished 12-1 this year with start quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

New Texas athletic director Steve Patterson, hired in November to replace longtime AD DeLoss Dodds, interviewed Strong this week. Details of a contract offer to Strong were not immediately available. Brown's contract paid him more than $5 million per season.

Earlier Friday, two other coaches Texas reportedly had interest in - Baylor's Art Briles and UCLA's Jim Mora - said publicly they were staying in their current jobs.

Brown stepped down after four straight seasons that failed to live up to expectations, including this season's 8-5 record.

Strong had two stints as an assistant at Florida, first under Steve Spurrier and then as defensive coordinator for Urban Meyer's two national championship teams. In 2010, Louisville hired him to take over the program and he quickly righted the Cardinals, who are moving into the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

Strong would be Texas' first black head football coach and he inherits a program aching to return to its place among the nation's elite programs.

Brown's Longhorns won the 2005 season national championship and returned to the national championship game after the 2009 season. But the Longhorns fell to 5-7 in 2010 and have lost at least four games each of the last three seasons.

That dropoff, including an 18-17 mark in the Big 12 over the last four seasons, frustrated Texas fans, who demand much more from the wealthiest athletic program in the country that sits in the middle of the most fertile high school recruiting grounds in the country.

Texas also has its Longhorn Network partnership with the ESPN, a 24-hour channel dedicated to Texas athletics, a deal that pays the school at least $300 million over 20 years.

No. 9 Mizzou beats No. 13 OSU 41-31 in Cotton Bowl

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Henry Josey ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 16-yarder with 3:08 left, and No. 9 Missouri beat No. 13 Oklahoma State 41-31 in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.

The former Big 12 and Big Eight rivals traded points on six consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter, until Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf was sacked and fumbled with a minute left. Defensive lineman Shane Ray picked up the ball and rumbled 76 yards down the sideline in front of the stunned Cowboys bench to score.

SEC East champion Missouri (12-2) matched its school record for victories, giving the SEC its 10th win in the last 11 Cotton Bowls, all against the Big 12.

Oklahoma State (10-3) had overcome a 10-point deficit by converting two turnovers by Mizzou quarterback James Franklin into points in a 3 1/2-minute span.

No. 12 Clemson tops No. 7 Ohio State, 40-35

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Tajh Boyd threw for 378 yards and five touchdowns, Sammy Watkins had a record-setting night with 16 catches for 227 yards, and No. 12 Clemson rallied to beat No. 7 Ohio State 40-35 in the Orange Bowl on Friday night.

Boyd's 5-yard pass to Stanton Seckinger with 6:16 remaining put the Tigers (11-2) ahead to stay. Watkins caught two touchdown passes, plus became Clemson's career receptions leader and set an Orange Bowl record for yardage.

Martavis Bryant caught two more TD passes for the Tigers, who won their first Orange Bowl in 32 years.

Braxton Miller threw for 234 yards and Carlos Hyde ran for 113 more for Ohio State (12-2), which wasted a nine-point second-half lead. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer lost for the first time in five career trips to the Bowl Championship Series.

For the second time in three years, Clemson fell apart at the Orange Bowl.

Only this time, the Tigers found a way to recover. And thanks to Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and plenty of others, the end result was Clemson's biggest win in a generation.

Boyd threw for 378 yards and five touchdowns, Watkins had a record-setting night with 16 catches for 227 yards, and No. 12 Clemson rallied to beat No. 7 Ohio State 40-35 on Friday for the school's first Orange Bowl win in 32 years.

Boyd's 5-yard pass to Stanton Seckinger with 6:16 remaining put the Tigers (11-2) ahead to stay on a night when they allowed 20 unanswered points in wasting an early 11-point lead. Watkins caught two scoring passes, plus became Clemson's career receptions leader and set an Orange Bowl record for yardage.

Martavis Bryant caught two more TD passes for the Tigers, who posted consecutive 11-win seasons for the first time in school history.

Braxton Miller threw for 234 yards and Carlos Hyde ran for 113 more for Ohio State (12-2), which led 29-20 in the second half but wound up losing its second straight game - after having won each of its previous 24 under coach Urban Meyer, whose record in Bowl Championship Series games fell to 4-1. Corey Brown had 116 yards receiving for the Buckeyes.

Miller was intercepted twice in the final 3:12, dooming the Buckeyes. Boyd threw an interception to give Ohio State the ball back, but Miller was picked again - Stephone Anthony made the play for the Tigers - and Clemson ran out the clock.

The Buckeyes had a 29-20 lead in the third after Hyde picked up 31 yards on 4th-and-inches, then went airborne to break the plane of the goal line on the next play.

Then the mistakes started coming in bunches by Ohio State. A fumbled punt return and an interception led to touchdown grabs by Watkins and Bryant, putting the Tigers up entering the fourth.

Hyde caught a 14-yard scoring pass from Miller with 11:35 left, giving the Buckeyes a one-point lead, but Clemson and Boyd went on one last scoring march to give the Tigers the BCS win they've been seeking for years.

When Clemson played in the Orange Bowl two years ago, the Tigers gave up 21 points in the final 2:29 of the first half, letting a close game get blown wide open on the way to a 70-33 loss to West Virginia.

End-of-half mistakes cost Clemson again.

Boyd's 3-yard touchdown pass to Bryant had Ohio State facing a 20-9 deficit, but two scores in a 3 1/2-minute span gave the Buckeyes a 22-20 halftime lead. Clemson left Jeff Heuerman wide open down the middle for a 57-yard touchdown pass from Miller, making it a one-score game. And on a drive aided by a 15-yard penalty against Clemson's Darius Robinson, Miller ran in from 3 yards with 12 seconds left to give the Buckeyes their first lead.

And Ohio State had to feel fortunate.

Boyd went 48 yards untouched - his longest career run - for a touchdown that opened the scoring. The Buckeyes tied it on the ensuing drive, catching a break when a third-down sack by Vic Beasley that would have forced a punt was rendered moot by his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Heuerman pulled off a fake punt later in the drive, and Miller eventually rumbled 33 yards to tie the game.

Boyd found Watkins for a 34-yard score to put Clemson back on top. Ohio State answered with a safety, sacking Boyd one play after Armani Reeves brilliantly downed a punt at the 1, putting the ball on the turf with his left hand as his right hand was touching the orange paint in the Clemson end zone.

Vikings retain counsel to look into Kluwe charges

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have retained a former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and a former federal trial attorney to conduct an investigation into Chris Kluwe's allegations that he was released from the team due to his support of gay marriage.

Former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former Justice Department attorney Chris Madel will lead the investigation.

"It is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations," team President Mark Wilf said in a statement Friday, one day after Kluwe penned an article alleging that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made anti-gay comments during team meetings.

Priefer denied Kluwe's allegations, and the Vikings said they take the matter "very seriously."

Magnuson and Madel now work at Robins, Kaplan, Ciresi and Miller. The Vikings said the investigation is already underway and interviews are being conducted with current and former members of the organization.

Kluwe said that he is pleased to see the team is taking the matter seriously and he looked forward to cooperating with the investigation. Several players have come out in support of Priefer, but Kluwe did say that he has witnesses who will corroborate his claims. He reiterated his hope that bringing this issue to light would discourage the Vikings or other teams from employing Priefer.

"I made some very serious statements and I do have the evidence to back them up," Kluwe said on Friday in a phone interview. "I don't think he's a good role model."

Kluwe was cut by the Vikings in May after eight seasons in Minnesota. He lost a competition for a job in Oakland in the preseason. When he couldn't catch on with a team during the season despite several tryouts, he said he believed that teams were turned off by his outspoken nature.

"I could still punt the ball 45 yards outside the numbers with decent hang time," Kluwe said. "When I continued to do that and still wasn't getting a job, you had to think that people were looking at what he would say on Twitter."

Kluwe has been outspoken on a number of topics, including supporting gay marriage, criticizing the Catholic church and stumping for Ray Guy to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He said he decided to bring his concerns with Priefer, former coach Leslie Frazier and Vikings GM Rick Spielman to light now in hopes of "getting them to take a look at themselves and examine who they are as individuals."

Madel has previously worked with the Vikings before, in 2003, when he investigated a team fundraiser that included allegations of sexual assault.

"This is a highly sensitive matter that we as an organization will address with integrity," Vikings vice president of legal affairs Kevin Warren said in a statement. "Eric and Chris have stellar reputations in both the local and national legal community. They have handled numerous cases involving a wide range of issues, and we are confident they will move swiftly and fairly in completing this investigation."

Peyton Manning is only unanimous All-Pro choice

NEW YORK (AP) Peyton Manning has responded to a lost season the way he reacted to all of his great seasons.

By having more great seasons.

Manning was the only unanimous choice for the 2013 Associated Press NFL All-Pro team Friday. It was his seventh time as a first-teamer, tying Hall of Famer Otto Graham for the most by a quarterback.

The Denver star set NFL records this season with 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yards through the air.

He was chosen on all 50 ballots from media members who regularly cover the NFL. Manning also was an All-Pro for Indianapolis in 2003, '04, '05, '08 and '09 and last season made it as a Bronco. He's been on the All-Pro team in both seasons since missing 2011 after several neck surgeries.

"I think it's well documented that this is the second chapter of my career, and didn't know what to expect off that injury and new team, new players and new physical state after an injury," said Manning, a four-time league MVP who never missed a pro start before 2011. "So I had no idea what to expect, and I've put a lot of time and a lot of hard work in to it. But I've received a lot of help along the way from coaches and trainers and strength coaches and teammates. So I'm very grateful."

Manning still has a ways to go to set the record for most All-Pro appearances at any position. Among the players ahead of him is Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice with 10.

New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and Indianapolis outside linebacker Robert Mathis each drew 49 votes. Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy and Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman had 48.

Minnesota kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson was the only rookie on the squad.

Eighteen NFC players and nine from the AFC made the team. Carolina and Philadelphia each had three: linebacker Luke Kuechly, center Ryan Kalil and fullback Mike Tolbert for the Panthers; NFL rushing leader McCoy, guard Evan Mathis and tackle Jason Peters for the coach Chip Kelly's Eagles.

"Just when Chip came here, we knew we were going to run the ball," McCoy said. "The linemen, they've all been healthy this whole year. They've been blocking so well for me and without those guys, it's not possible."

Only two members of the top teams in each conference made the All-Pro team. Joining Manning from the Broncos (13-3) was guard Louis Vasquez. Joining Sherman from the Seahawks (13-3) was safety Earl Thomas.

"It is very special, especially in a special season," Sherman said. "If you're having a special season and your team has four wins or five wins, I'm sure it doesn't feel as good. But when your team is winning, your defense is No. 1 in every category and you're just contributing, you're not even trying to do anything special individually, you're just contributing to the entire group. It really feels special. And with the chance to do what we have a chance to do this year, it would be fantastic."

Unlike Sherman, many of the players chosen did not enjoy huge team success this season: 12 of the 27 failed to make the playoffs.

Rounding out the offense were receivers Calvin Johnson of Detroit and Josh Gordon of Cleveland; running back Jamaal Charles of Kansas City; and tackle Joe Thomas of Cleveland.

Other All-Pros on defense were ends J.J. Watt of Houston and Robert Quinn of St. Louis; tackles Gerald McCoy of Tampa Bay and Ndamukong Suh of Detroit; outside linebacker Lavonte David of Tampa Bay; inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman of San Francisco; cornerback Patrick Peterson of Arizona; and safety Eric Berry of Kansas City.

The special teamers were Patterson, kicker Justin Tucker of Baltimore and punter Johnny Hekker of St. Louis.

One of 15 first-time All-Pros, Kuechly was last season's Defensive Rookie of the Year.

"It's an individual award, but it's a representation of the team," he said. "You got to always remember that you have four guys in front of you. You got the other linebackers, the coaches and the DBs behind you that make everything possible."

Overall, 16 clubs were represented on the All-Pro team: Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore, Houston and Indianapolis in the AFC; Philadelphia, Carolina, Seattle, Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Arizona, Minnesota and San Francisco in the NFC.

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AP Pro Football Writers Arnie Stapleton and Rob Maaddi and Sports Writers Steve Reed and Tim Booth contributed to this story.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Baylor coach Briles says 'no desire' for other job

Baylor coach Art Briles said Friday he has no desire to pursue another job and plans to lead the defending Big 12 champion Bears into their new stadium next fall.

With his name linked to the opening at Texas, and speculation increasing after the Bears' most successful season ever, Briles sent a tweet on his account that read "Contrary to reports and rumors I am a Baylor Bear - 2013 Big 12 Champs." The school later released a statement from the coach.

"As I've said many times, I am both humbled and honored to be the head coach at Baylor University, and believe we have something special going here," Briles said. "I look forward to leading the Bears onto the field next fall at McLane Stadium and defending our Big 12 championship that our players and coaches worked so hard to win this season. `'

The sixth-ranked Bears finished 11-2 after losing 52-42 to No. 15 UCF on Wednesday night in the Fiesta Bowl, their only Bowl Championship Series appearance. They finished the regular season with a 30-10 win over Texas to clinch their first Big 12 title, Baylor's first outright conference title since the 1980 Southwest Conference.

"There is tremendous excitement for our program's future, and I look forward to many more great seasons at Baylor," Briles said. "There is tremendous commitment from our university leadership, athletic administration, coaches and student-athletes - it truly is a great time to be a Baylor Bear."

Baylor next season moves into a new $260 million stadium on the Waco campus.

Briles in November agreed to a new 10-year contract through 2023, though the 58-year-old coach had already been signed for multiple seasons past this year. He is 44-32 at Baylor, and this season was the unanimous pick as AP All-Big 12 coach of the year.

The private school doesn't reveal financial terms, but the new deal was reportedly worth more than $4 million a season.

When Briles arrived at Baylor six years ago, the Bears had just finished their 12th consecutive losing season under four coaches since the inception of the Big 12.

Baylor is 29-10 over the past three seasons, a stretch that began in 2011 with Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman Trophy before being the No. 2 overall pick by the NFL's Washington Redskins. The Bears have been to four consecutive bowls for the first time in school history.

Briles went to Baylor from Houston, where he was 34-28 in five seasons (2003-07). The Cougars were 0-11 two seasons before he arrived, but Briles led them the 2006 Conference USA championship and four bowl games.

O'Brien takes over as Texans coach

HOUSTON (AP) Bill O'Brien has been introduced as the third coach in Houston Texans history.

Less than two years after replacing Joe Paterno as coach at Penn State, the 44-year-old O'Brien has returned to the NFL. He was an offensive assistant under Bill Belichick at New England from 2007-12.

He was introduced on Friday, taking over for Gary Kubiak, who was fired with three games left in Houston's NFL-worst 2-14 season.

O'Brien was 15-9 at Penn State, hit hard by NCAA sanctions levied for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal that cost the late Paterno his job.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Newton eager for big stage, wants to be accurate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Cam Newton knows he'll need to bring his passes down if he wants to thrive in the NFL playoffs.

Whether it's leading Auburn to a national championship, throwing for 422 yards in his rookie debut or leading the Carolina Panthers on a last-minute drive to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots on Monday Night Football, Newton has been at his best when the games are most important.

Coach Ron Rivera said big games tend to bring out the best in Newton.

The Panthers hope that Newton continues that trend on Jan. 12 when he plays in his first playoff game.

Newton believes he and his teammates will do just that - no matter who they play.

"I feel when we are playing at our best there is really no team that can stop us." Newton said.

But the Panthers' offense hasn't been at its best in the last month.

Newton has reverted at times to his tendency to throw off his back foot, thus allowing the ball to sail over the heads of intended receivers.

Rivera said he's not concerned, though.

"We have been through this before with him before and he just makes a couple of adjustments and he gets it back down," Rivera said. "Everybody goes through ups and downs. So right now he might be in a down."

The Panthers have spent the bye week working to sharpen their offense, particularly the passing game. Over the past four games Newton has thrown for only 763 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 7.1 yards per pass attempt. It doesn't help that wide receiver Steve Smith is nursing a sprained ligament in his knee and missed Week 17.

"I need to be better, not missing throws that I'm capable of making," Newton said.

His overall body of work has been pretty solid.

Newton threw for 3,379 yards this season with a career-high 24 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He ran for 585 yards and six scores and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

More importantly to Newton, he got the Panthers to the playoffs with a 12-4 record and a bye for the wild-card round.

Newton said the two-week layoff between the regular season and the Panthers' first playoff game doesn't compare to the lead up to the national championship game at Auburn.

"Two different situations," Newton said. "It's nothing like college at all. I have yet to experience a playoff game, but I know the atmosphere will be hectic to say the least. There is a lot more to play for if you ask me."

Newton said his approach to the playoffs will be the same as the regular season.

"You don't want to be overthinking things," he said.

He also said getting a rest this week has been "therapeutic" for him and the team.

In recent weeks, he's battled through minor injuries to his ankle, toe, arm, head and mouth but hasn't missed a snap.

Part of that could be Newton is running a bit more than he did early in the season, which he attributed to "taking what the defense is giving me."

Newton ran 12 times in Carolina's win over Atlanta on Sunday and said after the game he doesn't want to make a living off carrying the ball that many times on a regular basis.

But the bottom line is Carolina is winning games.

The Panthers have won 11 of their last 12 games with Newton leading four game-winning drives during that span, using both his legs and his arm. And Newton is willing to do whatever it takes to continue that trend on the big stage.

"We have found a way to win," Newton said. "Prior to this year, we haven't had the success we needed (in close games), but we learned from those situations and it's showing."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Knight has 4 TDs as Sooners stun Bama in Sugar Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Trevor Knight passed for 348 yards and four touchdowns and No.11 Oklahoma took down third-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 45-31 on Thursday night.

Kinght's completion percentage entering the game was 52.2. He had completed 47 passes all season, and had 32 against Alabama to set a Sugar Bowl record.

The victory was a sweet one for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who last offseason called talk about the Southeastern Conference being the best league in college football "propaganda."

His team vanquished an Alabama squad that had been ranked No. 1 much of the past three seasons, winning the previous two national titles.

AJ McCarron passed for 387 yards and two TDs, but his two interceptions set up Oklahoma TDs, and his fumble, returned for a score in the final minute, sealed `Bama's first two-game skid since its Sugar Bowl loss to Utah in January 2009.

The Sugar Bowl's 80th edition marked the first in which both quarterbacks passed for 300-plus yards.

Vikings LB Henderson arrested again for DWI

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson has been arrested again for drunken driving, putting his status with the team in question after a perilous one-car crash that heavily damaged the sports utility vehicle he was driving.

Henderson was booked into jail Wednesday and released Thursday on $12,000 bail. He has a court appearance scheduled March 3 on these charges: second and third degree driving while intoxicated and test refusal; possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and violation of a limited driver license.

Henderson was arrested in Chanhassen, a suburb near team headquarters in Eden Prairie.

The Vikings issued a statement Thursday morning: "We are aware of the matter involving Erin Henderson. We are continuing to gather information and will have further comment at the appropriate time."

According to the Carver County Sheriff's office, Henderson was traveling on a county road when he lost control of the car, skidded over the centerline and went through a grassy area and a park-and-ride lot before colliding with some trees.

The 27-year-old Henderson, who finished second on the team in tackles this season, was not injured. Officers observed a strong odor of alcohol on Henderson's breath as well as bloodshot and glassy eyes. He was arrested after "performing poorly during standardized field sobriety testing," according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

Henderson was moved to middle linebacker this year and the starter there until he was arrested Nov. 19 in Eden Prairie on suspicion of DWI and drug possession, one of three arrests involving Vikings players that month. Audie Cole took his spot, and Henderson returned to his previous position on the weak side.

Henderson has one season left on his contract with a $1.95 million salary, but if the Vikings cut him before the new league year begins they'd only take a $250,000 hit against their salary cap for the remaining prorated portion of his signing bonus.

Henderson spoke to reporters after the first arrest about "a wake-up call" that he said he thought would help him mature. Again this week as players cleaned out their cubicles following the end of the season, Henderson said he was in a better place.

"I think I grew leaps and bounds as a player and as a person as well," he said Monday.

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AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

Troy football player Garner found dead on highway

TROY, Ala. (AP) Troy football player Jadarius Garner was found dead on a Mississippi highway Thursday morning, and the state highway patrol is investigating the cause of his death.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Anthony Dunn said that the 20-year-old Garner was found lying on U.S. Highway 61 in Bolivar County at 2:27 a.m. after two cars had run over him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

State troopers, sheriff's deputies and rescue officials from Bolivar County were responding to what was believed to be a two-vehicle accident about 3 miles south of Oreilly, Miss.

The drivers of the two cars were not injured.

"This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Jadarius' family in this time of grief," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. "Jadarius was a well-respected member of our football team and his loss will be felt by all of us."

Garner had just completed his second season with the Trojans after transferring from Jones County Community College in Mississippi. He had 21 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three sacks in 12 games as a sophomore.

Garner was named the Sun Belt Conference defensive player of the week on Sept. 9.

"I can't express how deeply saddened we are by the loss of Jadarius," Troy athletic director John Hartwell said. "Our hearts go out to his family, friends and teammates in this unimaginable time of pain, and we will do all that we can to help and support them."

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