Preconceived notions can go a long way. \nIU rowing coach Steve Peterson should know. He once described his team as one that just won't quit or succumb to the title of underdog.\nWhen Peterson took the helm of IU's young program, he did not have high expectations for this year, but by now, those early thoughts have been shattered, especially by an undefeated Varsity 8 crew.\nSo far this spring, the team has raced and competed well against strong crews, but this weekend, the level of competition will be a step higher. Not only will the Hoosiers race against in-state rival Purdue, but also against ranked crews Notre Dame and Michigan State.\nNotre Dame is currently No. 17 in the polls and has gradually moved up in the rankings since the beginning of the season. Michigan State currently sits at the No. 10 spot and has quite a bit of racing experience against other nationally-ranked crews this season. \nPurdue, on the other hand, is a club program and does not have the same varsity status of the other teams that will be in this weekend's regatta. Peterson feels any varsity program should have the upper hand on a club team, but he also knows Purdue is not to be taken lightly.\nThe Hoosiers, however, are not intimidated.\n"We're excited for the challenge," junior co-captain Amanda Walker said. "I guess it's cool because we don't have any expectations because we have never raced against anyone like Michigan State, who is up in the polls."\nWalker feels the biggest key to success Saturday is to not change anything at all, to stay calm and to just row like the team has been this entire spring.\n"Our biggest thing will be not to over think (the races)," Walker said. "We can't get too nervous and just row like we know how to row and stay confident in our boat and not think about the other crews."\nThe race will be a 2,000-meter course at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. The first race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., but IU's first race will be the Women's Novice 8 at 11:30 a.m.\nIU rowing will hold its final home regatta when it competes against Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin April 17. This will be the final regatta before the Big Ten championships.
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The No. 35-ranked IU women's tennis team looks to change its road woes as it plays one-half of a four-game road stretch this weekend in Michigan. The Hoosiers (11-6, 3-1 Big Ten) take on No. 25 Michigan Saturday before traveling to East Lansing to battle the Michigan State Spartans.\nThis weekend's match promises to be a real battle, as two powerhouse programs collide, while three of IU's players return to their home state to play in front of family and friends. Seniors Linda Tran, Karie Schlukebir and junior Dora Vastag play a homecoming of sorts as the three Michigan natives try to improve on a 3-5 road record.\nIU's No. 1 singles player Vastag faces not only Michigan friends and family, but former teammates as well. The Okemos, Mich., native is just one year removed from wearing green and white instead of cream and crimson. After the 2003 spring season at Michigan State, the junior standout decided to transfer to IU and will play against her former teammates for the first time in a different uniform.\nAfter two singles wins and two doubles wins last weekend against Ohio State and Penn State, Vastag improved in the singles rankings to No. 38. She currently posts an 11-5 spring singles record, including knocking off current No. 36 Tammy Encina of Tennessee, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, and Kentucky's No. 19 Aibika Kalsarieva in straight sets. Her latest win came against No. 98 Lindsay Williams of Ohio State in a tough 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, three setter. Ahead this weekend for Vastag is Elizabeth Exon, the Wolverines' singles ace currently ranked No. 89 with a record of 10-5 this spring, 4-1 in the conference.\nThe Hoosiers will also have to battle a highly ranked doubles squad as they look to dish out Michigan's first home loss. The maize and blue duo of Kim Plaushines and Debra Streifler are ranked No. 46 and await the challenge from IU's top pair of Tran and sophomore Sarah Batty.\nSunday, the Hoosiers look to keep IU coach Lin Loring's winning streak against Michigan State alive. In 26 seasons at the helm, Loring has never once lost to Michigan State, as the Hoosiers hold a 36-1 match advantage in the series the Big Ten foe to the north.\nThe action starts at 11 a.m. Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. and continues Sunday at 10 a.m. in East Lansing, Mich.
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The golf was merely an excuse to celebrate the man.\nArnold Palmer began what will be his final go-around at the Masters Thursday with his army mustered behind him once more. They lined every fairway, tee to green. Grizzled veterans who joined decades ago stood shoulder-to-shoulder with new recruits eager for what might be their only glimpse of the King.\n"I started coming here when I was 3 with my dad. He always told me, 'Root for Arnold Palmer. You follow Arnold Palmer,'" said Blanton Phillips, who this year brought his own 3-year-old, Sam.\n"I'd like him to see Arnie here on his last trip around," Phillips said, nodding at his son. "When he's my age, he'll be able to look at his pairing sheet and say he was here when Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus were all playing in the Masters at the same time"
Matt Painter resigned Thursday as Southern Illinois University Carbondale's head basketball coach to take an assistant coaching job at Purdue, SIU athletic director Paul Kowalczyk announced.\nPainter will be an associate coach under Gene Keady next season before taking over when the longtime Boilermakers coach retires. The 67-year-old Keady has one year left on his contract.\nA Purdue spokesman said the school was planning a Friday press conference. Officials at SIU in Carbondale also scheduled a Friday news conference to announce a new coach and officials wouldn't say Thursday who it is.\nPainter has said the transition from head coach to temporary assistant won't be a problem.\n"Working with Gene Keady would be great. He's been like a father to me," Painter said earlier this week.\nPainter, 33, played for Keady from 1989 to '93 and was hired as an assistant at Southern Illinois in 1998 by Bruce Weber, who spent 18 years as an assistant coach under Keady at Purdue.\nPainter was hired to replace Weber in the offseason, becoming the second-youngest men's basketball coach in school history.
HOUSTON -- Mike Rucker and Brentson Buckner would make great directors of the Julius Peppers highlight film. His fellow defensive linemen on the Carolina Panthers already have some clips picked out.\nRucker's favorite came in the preseason when Peppers leaped to block a pass, was hit around his knees, flipped and still managed to land on his feet.\nThe one Buckner remembers best was "seeing how quickly he goes from zero to 60" after Peppers intercepted a pass against Dallas in the playoffs and returned it 34 yards.\nThey're both good picks. Yet there's one thing missing -- something from his specialty -- rushing the quarterback.\nHis versatility is typical of what makes Carolina's defensive line so tough. Any offensive line that concentrates on trying to stop Peppers is risking Rucker getting to the quarterback from the other side or letting Buckner or Kris Jenkins come up the middle.\n"Stopping their front four is the key to being successful against Carolina, and it's probably the toughest thing to accomplish," said New England left tackle Matt Light, who will mostly face Rucker in the Super Bowl on Sunday.\n"All those guys are very good athletes, very talented and had a lot of success this year. It's going to take a great effort to beat them," he said.\nLed by the line, Carolina's defense was one of the best this season. They've been even better in the playoffs.\nThey started by shutting down a Cowboys offense that had its way against the Panthers six weeks earlier, then kept it up against St. Louis. While Rams coach Mike Martz was criticized for playing conservatively in that game, Carolina should be credited for influencing his decision.\nThe Panthers were at their best in the NFC championship, holding Philadelphia to just a field goal. Carolina intercepted four passes, recovered a fumble and knocked out quarterback Donovan McNabb.\nThe Patriots will be another stiff test. Their line hasn't allowed a sack in the playoffs, despite losing starter Damien Woody to an injury before the AFC championship.\nNew England's offense isn't fancy. Quarterback Tom Brady manages a balanced run-pass system that lacks a headliner at receiver or running back. It works because they're efficient and have few weaknesses.\nWhatever the Patriots try, Carolina will be ready, especially up front. Rucker said the beauty of the line is that they stop running backs as well as quarterbacks.\n"When a team comes in here, they're not saying, 'Hey, this guy is just going to run upfield, so we can trap him or we can draw him or just block down against him,'" Rucker said. "They can't do that. We're all going to stop the run; we're all going to pass rush."\nRucker led the team with 12 sacks. Peppers had seven, although he pressured quarterbacks another 32 times, 12 more than Rucker. Jenkins had five sacks, as did reserve end Al Wallace.\nStill, the unquestioned attention-getter is Peppers.\nAfter playing football and basketball at North Carolina, he was the second overall pick of the 2002 draft. He had 12 sacks in his first 12 games, then was suspended from the final four for taking a banned dietary supplement. He won rookie of the year anyway.\nAlthough his numbers were down this season, Peppers thinks he's playing better, especially against the run. And he still makes plays others can't even fathom.\nRucker said there are times when he's barely out of his stance and Peppers is going into his third step.\n"He definitely does some crazy things with his body," he said. "You would think you'd tear a muscle doing the things he can do."\nThe craziest was the flip.\n"It looked like he was going to land on his neck, but he landed on both feet," Rucker said. "We rewound that probably 10, 15 times because we didn't understand how he did that. He's just so flexible, such an athlete, that it wasn't really a big problem. He just started laughing."\nPeppers laughed again when asked about it Thursday. That's easier than trying to explain how he did it.\n"What I do is just freestyle," he said, comparing his on-the-fly technique to a basketball player who comes up with a fancy dunk after leaving the ground.\n"When that ball is snapped and I'm running at the passer, I don't have a clue what I'm going to do. I'm just reading him and going off whatever he does."\nLook out, Tom Brady. The cameras will be rolling Sunday.
HOUSTON -- Eugene Wilson joined the New England Patriots with the wide-eyed excitement of any rookie. That lasted exactly one game.\nAfter spending all of training camp -- all of his life, really -- learning to become an NFL cornerback, the Patriots switched Wilson to safety just after the season started. From then, it was back to work trying to learn a position he had never played before.\n"They told me the day after the Buffalo game -- my first game," Wilson said. "At first, I thought it was a joke."\nIt wasn't. It was his introduction to life under Bill Belichick, and Wilson gave the exact answer the coach was looking for.\n"I said, 'All right, as long as I'm going to be able to get out there and help us win,'" Wilson recalled this week. "Coming in as a rookie, I was looking forward to playing corner. The thought of safety never crossed my mind. It happened, and I took it for what it was and tried to make the best of the situation. I feel like it turned out pretty well."\nIt sure did.\nThe Patriots are in the Super Bowl with a defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL this season. Wilson tied for the rookie lead with four interceptions while starting the last 15 games of the season -- all of them at safety.\nIn that sense, Wilson was the picture of stability: only Tedy Bruschi stayed in one place the whole season, and even he has to change positions when the Patriots switch from an alignment with three lineman to one with four.\n"You have to be kind of versatile to play in this system," linebacker Willie McGinest said as the Patriots prepared to play the Carolina Panthers. "That's what makes us a good, sound group. Everybody depends on everybody else to do certain things. When you think we are going to do one thing, we can switch and do something totally different."\nAnd sometimes, no one is more surprised than the Patriots themselves.\n"I had no idea what to expect," said Dan Klecko, a defensive tackle who has played four positions on defense in addition to special teams and a few downs here and there as a fullback. "Coach Belichick, he likes to simplify things. But they did throw linebacker at me, fullback at me and all special teams. So I was a little surprised."\nBelichick is considered a defensive guru, with schemes that rely less on superstar talent than the kind that can be plugged into roles where they're needed. Linebackers Bruschi, McGinest and Mike Vrabel were all lineman at some point in their careers, so they are equally comfortable in the pass rush and pass coverage.\n"We are interchangeable players," Bruschi said. "We all started at college playing defensive end. We all have that on our resume. ... You know that you will play more than one position."\nThe Patriots' coach insists he doesn't fixate on versatility, but it is an advantage to go into games knowing that he has options. It's not as if he decided, 'Well, you know, we've got Mike Vrabel, and here's eight things we're going to do with him,'" he said.\n"He's a very smart and versatile guy. Mike's one of those guys, when you give him something to do, it's like he's been doing it for a while," Belichick said. "You can tell he's comfortable doing a lot of different things, and he enjoys it."\nThat versatility also allows the Patriots to switch their alignment without having to substitute players. Not only does it make it easier for the defense to react to offensive switches, it can also make it difficult for the opponent to figure out what the defense is doing.\n"Everybody looks at Bill Belichick and they see a lot of different stuff with the way he uses personnel, changing up. People wonder what he'll come up with in two weeks of preparation," Panthers receiver Mushin Muhammad said. "That's ... what Bill Belichick can do to confuse teams. He has the track record."\nThe Patriots like to play up the team concept -- they declined individual introductions before the Super Bowl two years ago -- and on defense it's easy to see why.\nNose tackle Ted Washington clogs up the middle to open up space for the other defensive linemen. Cornerbacks Ty Law and Tyrone Poole cover their men so well that the safeties are free to blitz. Everyone else moves around where they're needed.\n"Football is the ultimate team sport. We believe that," player personnel director Scott Pioli said. "Individuals go to Pro Bowls, and teams win \nchampionships"
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Standing in his goaltender's crease during a morning skate, Martin Brodeur saw his New Jersey Devils teammates coming toward him, and he kicked out his leg.\nA dull thud echoed through the empty Continental Airlines Arena as the slapshot hit off his pad.\nIt was another routine stop for Brodeur, who is following his first Vezina Trophy-winning season with a spectacular campaign. He is again among the NHL leaders in wins and goals against average, and his 10 shutouts are six shy of breaking Tony Esposito's 34-year-old single-season, modern-era record.\nPitino returns after two-day medical leave\nLOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Rick Pitino returned to Louisville on Thursday and resumed his coaching duties after a two-day medical leave.\nThe 51-year-old Pitino underwent tests at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday and Wednesday to determine the cause of a "urological pain" that's persisted in his left side for months.\nAssistant coach Kevin Willard stepped in for Pitino and led the fourth-ranked Cardinals to a 64-48 win over Houston on Wednesday night.\nPitino was not available for comment Thursday but was expected to discuss his medical condition in a news conference Friday, sports information director Kenny Klein said.\nThe Cardinals (16-1) play Marquette on Saturday at Freedom Hall.\nBaseball approves Dodgers sale\nLOS ANGELES -- The $430 million sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers from News Corp. to Boston real estate developer Frank McCourt was unanimously approved Thursday by baseball owners.\n"Welcome to a new era of Dodger baseball," McCourt said during a news conference at Dodger Stadium. "I intend to restore the glory days of Dodger baseball with a team worthy of support from our fans."\nThe price is the second-highest for a baseball team, trailing only the $660 million paid for the Boston Red Sox two years ago. The highly leveraged purchase, likely to be finalized within a week, probably will set off the third change in management in six years for the marquee franchise, which hasn't advanced to the playoffs since 1996.\n"The Dodgers are one of our great franchises," commissioner Bud Selig said in a telephone interview. "We need stability there. We need a lot of energy. Having an unresolved ownership situation was, frankly, hurting the franchise"
IU attained its first road win of the season as it split its weekend road trip. The Hoosiers defeated Iowa 28-30, 30-26, 30-26, 30-27 Friday, but then were swept in its match against Minnesota 30-22, 30-25, 30-17.\nJust one week after setting their season-high in block assists against Ohio State, the Hoosiers were able to set that mark again with 34 block assists against Iowa. Senior middle blocker Melissa Brewer also set a season high with 10 block assists.\nThe victory marked one of IU's best defensive performances of the year, as four Hoosiers got into double digits in digs, and four had more than five block assists. \n"It was a great team effort," IU coach Katie Weismiller said. "We had 20 team blocks. We did a nice job blocking and our passing was very, very good."\nDefensive specialists junior Beth Heimann and freshman Lindsay Cochrane led the way with 17 and 13 digs respectively. Junior outside hitter Christina Archibald and junior setter Victoria Zimmerman each had double-doubles as Archibald slammed 18 kills and had 11 digs, while Zimmerman had 11 digs of her own to go with her 42 assists on the night. Junior middle blocker Katie Pollom also had a strong night with 14 kills, seven block assists and three solo blocks.\nThe Hoosiers, however, were unable to carry the momentum to Minneapolis where the No. 24 Gophers halted the winning streak at two games. The loss dropped IU down to 11-16 on the season, and 4-12 in Big Ten play.\nZimmerman made the most of the weekend by capturing her second straight double-double bringing her team-high season total to seven. She was able to get 12 digs with her 31 assists, and only missed a triple-double by four kills. Heimann and Cochrane also hit the double digits in digs as they combined for 26 of IU's 53 digs. \nOnly Brewer and Archibald were able to crack 10 kills as the Minnesota defense forced IU into hitting a mere .117 hitting percentage. \n"Minnesota did a nice job tonight," Weismiller said. "They did a real nice job offensively. Our defense and passing was strong, but we couldn't terminate on the offensive end."\nThe Hoosiers come home again this weekend as they host No. 25 Illinois Friday and Northwestern Saturday.
Bengals 24, Chiefs 19\nCINCINNATI -- Relax, 1972 Miami Dolphins. Your undefeated season is still unmatched.\nPeter Warrick scored on a 68-yard punt return and a 77-yard touchdown catch to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 24-19 victory Sunday that gave the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss of the season.\nTrying to become the first team since 1998 to start 10-0, the Chiefs instead lost to the up-and-coming Bengals (5-5), who backed up their boast and finished the day tied for first.\nReceiver Chad Johnson, who repeatedly guaranteed the victory, was in the trainer's room getting an intravenous injection for cramps when Warrick made the biggest play of the Bengals' renaissance season.\nThe victory moved them into a first-place tie with Baltimore in the AFC North. The Bengals haven't been in contention this late in a season since 1990, the last time they had a winning record.\nTrent Green threw two touchdown passes in the final seven minutes, the last a 3-yarder to Jason Dunn with 3:19 to go. The Chiefs never got the ball back.\nAs Jon Kitna took the snap to take a knee in the closing seconds, Johnson stood on the field with his right index finger raised and Bengals players doused head coach Marvin Lewis on the sideline.\nMembers of the undefeated '72 Dolphins -- the NFL's only unbeaten team -- now can go forward with their annual ritual and give a toast to their distinction.\nColts 38, Jets 31\nINDIANAPOLIS -- Edgerrin James wanted the ball, and he got it.\nSo did punter Hunter Smith.\nJames ran for a season-high 127 yards and three touchdowns, and Smith raced 21 yards on a fake field goal for the go-ahead score Sunday, giving the Indianapolis Colts a 38-31 victory over the New York Jets.\nIt was a wacky day for two teams that last met in a lopsided playoff game and are led by former defensive coaches.\nSunday, the defenses seemed to disappear.\nThe Jets (3-7) and Colts combined for 862 total yards of offense, 69 points and scored on a myriad of big and strange plays -- none more important than Smith's burst late in the third quarter.\nFittingly, the Colts (8-2) also put the game away with a big play, a 35-yard completion from Manning to Reggie Wayne with 1:46 remaining.\nPanthers 20, Redskins 17\nCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Stephen Davis scored on a 3-yard run with 1:09 remaining to help the Carolina Panthers beat his old team.\nTrying to shake off a nagging ankle sprain that sidelined him last week, Davis had 92 yards rushing on 28 carries for the Panthers (8-2), compared to the 54 yards rushing the Redskins managed.\nAfter Patrick Ramsey put the Redskins (4-6) up 17-13 with 4:19 to play on a 10-yard pass to Patrick Johnson, Davis stepped up to show Washington just what it gave up.\nEagles 28, Giants 10\nPHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns, and Brian Westbrook caught two TD passes and ran for a score in the Eagles' fifth straight victory.\nThe two-time NFC East champion Eagles (7-3) have won seven of eight after opening the season with two losses at home. The Giants (4-6) have lost two in a row, including an embarrassing 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week.\nMcNabb, heavily criticized for his poor performance in the first six games, completed 24 of 30 passes for his fourth-straight solid effort and fifth career 300-yard performance.\nRams 23, Bears 21\nCHICAGO -- Jeff Wilkins kicked a 31-yard field goal with 38 seconds left to help the Rams win for the sixth time in seven games.\nMarshall Faulk ran for 103 yards and the Rams (7-3) overcame a 14-3 halftime deficit. Wilkins' third field goal came after the Rams moved 67 yards behind six completions from Marc Bulger, including a 21-yarder to Torry Holt.\nThe drive was aided by back-to-back penalties for illegal contact and illegal use of the hands on the Bears (3-7).\nBrowns 44, Cardinals 6\nCLEVELAND -- Kelly Holcomb passed for 392 yards and three touchdowns and the Browns showed no signs of disarray in their rout of the Cardinals.\nJames Jackson had two TD runs and Phil Dawson kicked three field goals for the Browns (4-6), who came into the game with three straight losses and seemingly in turmoil.\nTuesday, coach Butch Davis released leading receiver Kevin Johnson. Thursday, the NFL suspended star running back William Green four games for violating the league's substance abuse program.\nBut the Browns showed no after-effects. Arizona (3-7) didn't cross midfield until late in the first half, was outgained 235-60 by halftime and finished with just 10 first downs.\nTitans 10, Jaguars 3\nNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve McNair threw for a touchdown and the defense held off the Jaguars at the goal line in the final minute for the Titans' fifth straight win.\nJacksonville (2-8) had first-and-goal needing to score to force overtime, but the Titans stopped Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala twice up the middle for losses. Scott McGarrahan tackled Cortez Hankton at the 2 after an 8-yard catch, then Byron Leftwich couldn't find a receiver in the end zone on fourth-and-2.\nThe Titans (8-2) have won 10 of the last 12 games in this series. They also snapped their string of six games with 30 or more points.\nSaints 23, Falcons 20, OT\nNEW ORLEANS -- John Carney kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime to lift New Orleans, which rallied from a 20-3 first-half deficit.\nDeuce McAllister, held to 20 yards in the first half, finished with 173 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints (5-5). McAllister had touchdown runs of 5 and 7 yards in the rally and Carney tied the game with a 26-yard field goal.\nThe Saints got the first possession of overtime, but McAllister fumbled into the end zone, giving the Falcons (2-8) first down on the 20. Jay Feely, who kicked two earlier field goals, missed a 54-yarder, giving the Saints another chance.\nDolphins 9, Ravens 6, OT\nMIAMI -- Olindo Mare hit a 43-yard field goal with 8:48 left in overtime to lift the Dolphins.\nMare missed a 48-yard attempt wide right that would have put Miami (6-4) ahead with 2:29 left in regulation. Last month, he missed two 35-yard tries that would have beaten New England.\nNFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis lost a fumble to set up Mare's clincher. The AFC North-leading Ravens (5-5) lost their second straight. Miami limited Lewis to 88 yards on 26 carries, just the third time this season he has failed to reach 100 yards.\nTexans 12, Bills 10\nORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Tony Banks came off the bench and hit rookie receiver Andre Johnson for a 46-yard touchdown, and Kris Brown made two field goals to spark the Texans.\nBanks filled in for David Carr, who hurt his right shoulder in the first quarter.\nThe Texans (4-6) matched their win total from last year's expansion season. Buffalo (4-6) failed to score a touchdown for the third straight game, and kicker Rian Lindell compounded the problem by missing two field goals.\nBroncos 37, Chargers 8\nDENVER -- Jake Plummer made a triumphant return with the Denver Broncos. San Diego's Doug Flutie fell flat in his encore.\nPlummer showed no signs of rust in his first game in a month and the Broncos made sure there was no Flutie magic for the second straight week in a 37-8 rout over the Chargers Sunday.\nDenver (6-4) came flying out of its bye week, dominating from the start to end a three-game losing streak.\nPackers 20, Bucs 13\nTAMPA, Fla. -- Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers made it look easy against the once-vaunted Tampa Bay defense.\nPlaying with a broken right thumb and shrugging off five years of futility at Raymond James Stadium, Favre led a 98-yard second-half drive Sunday to give Green Bay a 20-13 victory over the Buccaneers.\nAhman Green finished the march with a 1-yard run that vaulted the Packers (5-5) back into the thick of the NFC playoff race. They dealt the Bucs (4-6) their third straight loss to hurt the defending Super Bowl champions' chances of getting back to the postseason.\nRaiders 28, Vikings 18\nOAKLAND, Calif. -- The mistake-prone Minnesota Vikings sure made it easy for the Oakland Raiders to forget all their off-field problems.\nPhillip Buchanon scored on a 64-yard interception return 49 seconds into the game and third-string quarterback Rick Mirer calmly directed the Raiders to a 28-18 victory Sunday. Oakland ended a five-game losing streak and sent the Vikings to their fourth straight defeat.\nDaunte Culpepper passed for 396 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. But his mistakes far outweighed his contributions as Minnesota (6-4) lost for the second straight week in California to a team with a losing record.\nSeahawks 35, Lions 14\nSEATTLE -- Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said all week he wanted his offense to get on a roll. The woeful Detroit Lions were the perfect opponent to accommodate him.\nBobby Engram had an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown and caught a 34-yard scoring pass to help the Seahawks to a 35-14 victory over the Detroit Lions Sunday.\nThe Seahawks (7-3) improved to 6-0 at home and maintained a share of the NFC West lead with St. Louis. The win was wrapped up by halftime, when Seattle had 300 yards and a 35-14 lead.\nPatriots 12, Cowboys 0\nFOXBORO, Mass. -- Bill Belichick's Patriots showed his old boss how to really play defense.\nNew England won this much-hyped meeting of masterminds with Bill Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys, a 12-0 victory over the NFL's stingiest team Sunday night.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- A blown tire on the last lap cost Bill Elliott a second-straight victory and gave Bobby Labonte the win Sunday in the era-ending Winston Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.\nElliott had a dominating victory a week ago at Rockingham and was even stronger in the Ford 400, leading 189 of 267 laps on the reconfigured 1 1/2-mile Homestead oval.\nHe held off Labonte on a restart nine laps from the end and pulled away, driving into the first turn of the last lap leading Labonte by about five car-lengths and apparently on the way to an easy win.\nAs Elliott drove off turn two on the track, newly changed from a nearly flat 6 degrees of banking to 20 degrees, his Dodge wiggled and slowed as his right rear tire came apart. That sent pieces of sheet metal and rubber flying and ignited a fire in the wheelwell.\nLabonte, who struggled early in the race and had not led a lap all day, shot past Elliott on the backstretch and beat runner-up Kevin Harvick to the finish line by 1.749 seconds -- half the front straightaway.
WEST LAFAYETTE -- Nina Norman and Tiffany Jackson scored 15 points apiece Sunday to lead No. 3 Texas to an 85-77 win over second-ranked Duke in the Women's Tip-Off Classic.\nHeather Schreiber added 15 for the Longhorns (1-0), but fouled out with 8:35 to play. Jackson also had eight rebounds, while Norman chipped in six rebounds and four assists.\nIn a game plagued by fouls and turnovers, Iciss Tillis led Duke (0-1) with 18 points and 12 rebounds, but fouled out with 1:35 to play.\nIt was a matchup of two of last season's Final Four teams. Duke lost to Tennessee, and Texas fell to eventual champion Connecticut.\nThe Longhorns dominated the first half, forcing 13 turnovers and jumping out to a 46-39 lead, but the Blue Devils stormed back in the second.\nTillis hit a short jumper to cap a 10-1 run in the first three minutes that gave Duke its first lead at 49-47. That started a back-and-forth 15 minutes that featured 10 lead changes.\nThe Blue Devils took a 69-68 lead when Jessica Foley scored on a driving layup with just over four minutes to play, but that would be their last lead.\nThe Longhorns closed the game with a 15-5 run -- including 11-for-12 from the line -- to seal the game.
Once again IU men's soccer team dominated the Big Ten annual awards led by coach Jerry Yeagley, who took home his eighth Big Ten Coach of the Year award. The unanimous decision was the legendary coach's third consecutive honor. \nFreshman Jed Zayner was named conference co-Freshman of the Year along with Gerardo Alvarez of Northwestern. Zayner started all 18 games for the Hoosiers as part of a defense that had a league leading three shutouts and allowed only four goals in six conference matches.\nFive Hoosiers were named to the All-Big Ten First Team, headlined by unanimous selections juniors forward Ned Grabavoy, midfielder Danny O'Rourke and sophomore back Drew Moore. Sophomore midfielder Brian Plotkin and junior goalkeeper Jay Nolly were also named to the first team.\nFreshman forward Jacob Peterson was the only Hoosier named to the All-Big Ten second team. \nThe conference also announced its first-ever All-Freshman Team, onto which three Hoosiers were named. Peterson and Zayner were joined by back Julian Dieterle.\nThe awards were voted on by conference coaches. \nSeparate from the conference awards, Grabavoy was also named as one of 15 semifinalists for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, which is given to collegiate soccer's national player of the year. The award was announced by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
EAGLE, Colo. -- Kobe Bryant made his first court appearance Thursday before the judge who will handle his sexual assault trial, saying nothing as the parents of his accuser sat just a few feet away.\nIt was the first time family members of the 19-year-old woman have attended a hearing in the case and the first time they have seen the Los Angeles Lakers' guard in person, prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan said.\nBesides the parents, two brothers and a cousin of the woman were present. The family left the courthouse without commenting, though Flannigan said they told her they were glad they came.\nBryant, who played a home game in Los Angeles the night before, sat calmly through the 12-minute procedural hearing, occasionally whispering to one of his attorneys. He left immediately afterward but Lakers officials said bad weather kept him from arriving in time for practice.\nThe defense waived Bryant's rights to be advised of the sexual assault charge against him and the penalty he faces if convicted -- four years to life in prison and 20 years to life on probation. Bryant's $25,000 bail was left unchanged.\n"We have decided to follow the court's usual procedure and not enter a plea as of today," defense attorney Pamela Mackey said. "I fully advised my client of the charge against him and the possible penalty."\nJudge Terry Ruckriegle set a pre-trial hearing for Dec. 19 and another for Jan. 23 to settle various motions. Bryant will have to appear at both hearings to show he is complying with conditions of his bond, Flannigan said.\nAttorneys on both sides said they would need two to three weeks for a trial, and the judge said his staff would begin looking at potential dates.\nBryant is accused of raping the woman June 30 at a mountain resort near Edwards where she worked and he was a guest. Bryant, 25, says the two had consensual sex.\nHe isn't expected to enter a plea until his arraignment, which hasn't been scheduled. After a formal plea, state law requires the trial must be scheduled within six months unless Bryant waives his right to a speedy trial.\nThe Dec. 19 hearing will examine whether the woman's medical records and records from a rape crisis center should be given to the defense and whether anyone involved in the case has been leaking information to reporters.\nThe Jan. 23 hearing is likely to center on issues that will shape the trial itself, experts said. Among the motions likely to be settled are requests to suppress evidence -- including Bryant's statement to police -- and ground rules for expert witness testimony, said David Lugert, a defense attorney and former prosecutor in Eagle.\nDuring Bryant's preliminary hearing last month, an investigator testified the woman's blood was found on Bryant's T-shirt. The defense suggested the woman was promiscuous and that the blood came from previous sexual activity.\nThursday, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert indicated he would try to bar a defense expert from watching Colorado Bureau of Investigation experts test evidence.\nCBI Deputy Director Pete Mang said state law and agency policy allow experts from both sides to be present for testing that destroys the evidence, but not for nondestructive tests. Hurlbert said the law doesn't guarantee a defense expert's right to attend the entire procedure.\nRuckriegle said the tests must be completed in 30 days and the defense must be notified before any tests that could destroy evidence.\nBefore the hearing began, about a dozen people rallied outside the courthouse in support of Bryant's accuser.\n"We are here to remind everyone to treat this sexual assault case as a serious crime that it is rather than as fodder for entertainment," said Robin Finegan, a board member of a victims' assistance group.
Men's swimming and diving added five recruits to its historic program Thursday. \nIU coach Ray Looze inked the men to national letters of intent for them to attend IU. Three of those five were two-time NISCA high school All-Americans, and four of the five were high school state champions. \n"We were very fortunate to get this class," Looze said. "When I did home visits with all these young men, as well as many others in July, I told them that we wanted to get four NCAA-caliber swimmers out of this class and then another five guys that would eventually be able to help us at the Big Ten level."\nThe five recruits are Ben Hesen of Jeffersonville, Ind.; Todd Patrick from Chesterfield, Mo.; Alex Brunfeldt out of Lawrence, Kan.; John Kevin Koehler of Springfield, Ohio, and Nick Walkotten from Grandville, Mich.\n"This group of five young men is going to be foundation piece for our team for years to come," Looze said. "It is definitely going to be competitive with some of the best classes out there, by just sheer raw talent"
The Hoosier women's soccer team ended their season with a close loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament, 1-0 Thursday. The Boilermakers proved too much for the Hoosiers, holding the Hoosiers to just three shots the entire game. Courtney Coppedge scored the game winner for the Boilermakers who will now face Illinois in the semifinals. Senior goalkeeper Shaunna Daugherty made two saves for the Hoosiers in the losing effort.\nThree Hoosiers earned all-Big Ten honors for their play this season. Junior midfielder Kim Grodek was named to the first team All-Big Ten team for contributing 15 points this season on seven goals and one assist. Senior defender Carly Everett was named to the second team All-Big Ten team for her strong defensive play and for recording her first goal of her career this year. After moving from defender to forward early in the season, freshman Megan Pipkens became an offensive presence for the Hoosiers. She finished second on the team in points with 10 on four goals and two assists. For her accomplishments, Pipkens was named to the freshman All-Big Ten team.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The season wears on, the turnovers mount and all his friends and coaches tell the rookie quarterback to hang in there.\nPeyton Manning lived through it five years ago. Byron Leftwich is going through it right now.\nWhen the Indianapolis Colts meet the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, it will be a matchup of quarterbacks who were highly touted coming out of college, expected to lead their struggling franchises to better days.\nManning and the Colts (7-1) took their lumps during his 3-13 rookie season, but now, they are reaping rewards. Leftwich, a rookie, and the Jaguars (1-7) are only beginning the rebuilding process.\n"I think for a quarterback -- not necessarily for the team, but for the quarterback -- it's the best thing to be in there and playing," Manning said.\nThe first pick in the 1998 draft, Manning started every game as a rookie and threw for an impressive 3,739 yards and 26 touchdowns. But he was an indiscriminate thrower, not yet comfortable with the speed and intricacies of NFL defenses. He threw 28 interceptions, which brought his passer rating down to 71.2, 23rd in the league.\nHe remembers things getting better as the season progressed.\n"It was still fast, but things started to slow down," Manning said. "We didn't win a lot, but we were in a lot of ball games. I think you'll probably see that with Byron."\nLeftwich has nine interceptions in five starts, and is on pace for 21 if he starts the rest of the season. Fumbles, however, are a bigger problem. His tendency to hold the ball low and with one hand, and to not step up in the pocket, have caused him to fumble nine times and lose six. Last week, he lost two fumbles and threw a game-clinching interception in a 24-17 loss to Baltimore.\n"I don't think I'm doing anything too bad," Leftwich said. "But for some reason, if I do something wrong, it goes very, very wrong."\nCoach Jack Del Rio said at least a subtle change in mechanics is needed, although he doesn't believe it would be appropriate to try anything too drastic until the offseason. Until then, Leftwich and the Jaguars will make small changes to try to patch things up.\n"They were slapping, slapping, slapping at me during practice," Leftwich said of the defense's newly concentrated effort to remind the rookie to hold the ball high.\nWatching Leftwich get better this year -- if he does -- figures to be one of the few highlights for Jaguars fans in what is turning out to be a miserable season. Jacksonville went 5-11 in its expansion year, and the Jags are going to have to make drastic improvements to hit that mark this season.\nWord is, the term "rebuilding" is finally being used in the front office, where they're realizing the free-agent signing of Hugh Douglas (15 tackles, once sack) is looking like a bust and the offense is having trouble finding receivers who can get open.\nIf rebuilding is the theme, it makes sense to give Leftwich his snaps. The quarterback, however, isn't using inexperience as an excuse.\n"I don't look at myself as a rookie," he said. "I look at myself as a player who has to help this team win games."\nManning quickly became that. He has thrown for 4,000 yards in every season since his rookie year. The Colts have made the playoffs three of the last four years (although they haven't won a postseason game). At the halfway point of this season, Indy leads the AFC South by a game over Tennessee, and Manning leads the league with 2,128 yards. He has thrown only six picks against 16 TDs.\n"When you draft a guy like Peyton Manning, or a guy who's going to be the quarterback of the future, usually the reason you're drafting him is because you need that productivity," said Colts coach Tony Dungy, who was in Tampa when the Colts picked Manning. "I think playing them and putting them in is the way to go. I think those guys benefit from playing and learning."\nWhile Manning stars on offense, second-year defensive end Dwight Freeney is making news on the other side of the ball. He has six sacks in the last three games, including three sacks and two forced fumbles last week in a win at Miami.\nIn other words, he is exactly the kind of player a turnover-prone quarterback like Leftwich doesn't need to be seeing this week.\n"Every time I go after the quarterback, whether he's holding the ball high or low, that's my thought process," Freeney said. "I'm going to go after the quarterback and the ball"
PHOENIX -- A man found driving a vehicle that belonged to slain Cincinnati Reds outfielder Dernell Stenson was booked on a charge of possession of stolen property, police said Thursday.\nThe man, Kevin Riddle, was arrested and jailed Wednesday night about two hours after Stenson was found dead in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, police said.\nNo other charges were filed against Riddle, whom police called an "investigative lead." Police said they didn't know if the two men knew each other.
HOUSTON -- Tiger Woods let a good round get away from him Thursday in the Tour Championship. The goal for Charles Howell III is not to waste another good start.\nHowell made three straight birdies on the back nine and shot a 4-under 67 for a share of the lead with three-time winner Kenny Perry at Champions Golf Club.\nThe final event of the PGA Tour season has plenty at stake for several players, none more than Woods and Vijay Singh, who are competing for the money title and votes from their peers as player of the year.\nWoods looked every bit like the No. 1 player in the world by putting five shots between him and Singh over the first five holes.\nBut three straight bogeys on the back nine, and a harsh lipout from 6 feet for par on the final hole, dropped him back into a tie for 13th at 1-under 70.\nWoods stormed past reporters and into the locker room, then changed into his workout gear before sitting down to talk.\nHe was planning to work out after his round no matter how he fared, but with the short miss on the 18th, "It might be a little heavier this time"
The first two games of IU's basketball season likely won't be televised, as officials said an agreement could not be reached with its main broadcast station.\nTerry Clapacs, IU athletics director, said the school had tried to persuade Indianapolis television station WTTV to show the Hoosiers' season opener Nov. 21 against UNC-Greensboro and the second game Nov. 24 at Vanderbilt.\nWTTV's contract with ESPN Regional to televise IU and Purdue basketball includes games in December, January and February.\nClapacs said IU would continue working to find a way to get the two games televised.
Team Gafombi took the men's Little 500 race title with a strong finish Saturday afternoon. The squad, who placed second in series event scoring, won its first ever race title.\nAfter finishing second a year ago, Gafombi qualified in the fourth position for the race. Senior rider John Grant won ITTs and Miss-N-Out in the Little 500 series events leading up to the race. \nTeam Major Taylor, who qualified second, finished the race in second place, followed by Acacia, Dodds House and last year's winners, Corleones.