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home : sports : sports May 25, 2016

9/21/2012 4:00:00 AM
Thursday roundup: Sox fall to Royals in 9th, stay 2 games ahead; Reds beat Cubs, celebrate playoff bid without Baker; Giants wallop Panthers; plus, Matt Lindsay probe, Zeke Motta, Billy Gillispie, Washington Nationals, more national briefs

LATE GAMES

MLB

Royals 4, White Sox 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Chicago White Sox have no more games left against the Kansas City Royals, and that's a good thing for the AL Central leaders.

Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez threw out Alex Rios at the plate and picked off Alexei Ramirez at third base, and the White Sox kept missing chances Thursday night in a 4-3 loss to the Royals.

Eric Hosmer singled home the winning run on a 0-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth inning.

Chicago stayed two games ahead of Detroit, which lost in the afternoon to Oakland, with 13 games remaining. The White Sox went 6-12 against the Royals this year, including one stretch of six consecutive losses.

"We've played them tough all year," Hosmer said. "It's baseball. Certain teams match up well against other teams."

After going 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in Wednesday's 3-0 loss to Kansas City, the White Sox went 1 for 8 in those situations and stranded seven runners. Chicago is hitting .190 with runners in scoring position over the past 19 games.

"If you keep shooting yourself in the foot it's going to come back to bite you," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "If you keep having opportunities and not taking advantage, a team like this will beat you."

Rios tried to score with one out in the third when Jeremy Guthrie's pitch rolled a few feet behind Perez. But Perez's toss to Guthrie cut down Rios at the plate.

"Alex thinks he can go, then he hesitates," Ventura said. "That one's an instinct play, you go or you stop. It's little things like that we have to stop doing."

Rios' out became more magnified when Kevin Youkilis singled to left two pitches later.

"If you hesitate and don't get a good read, bad stuff happens when you do that," Rios said. "You have to be aware of the situation, with one out I could have scored on a fly ball. It was a tough read, a bad angle. I hesitated. I've got to go without hesitating."

Perez nabbed Ramirez in the fourth for his fifth pickoff, most among major league catchers.

"I don't know if they've got quicksand around third, but we've been losing guys over there," Ventura said.

Chicago wasted an early 3-0 lead and lost to the sub-.500 Royals for the ninth time in their last 11 meetings.

Billy Butler led off the Royals ninth with a single against Jesse Crain (2-3). Pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second with two down and Jeff Francoeur was walked intentionally. Matt Thornton relieved and Hosmer singled down the third-base line.

Greg Holland (7-4) worked a scoreless ninth for the victory.

Alejandro De Aza, Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski singled in the first to put the White Sox in front 1-0.

Guthrie committed a throwing error in the second that led to two unearned runs. He walked Dan Johnson and gave up an infield single to Ramirez, then made a wild throw to first on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice that allowed a run to score. Dewayne Wise added an RBI grounder.

Guthrie allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his past nine starts, all of which the Royals have won.

"I didn't have great command or great stuff, but I relied on defensive plays," he said. "Sal made three great plays. I don't think I really settled in. Really each pitch seemed like a struggle, not many at-bats did I feel like I was in control. It was a real struggle. I didn't have a feel for much of what I was doing."

Francisco Liriano held the Royals to one hit in the first four innings, but gave up a two-run triple to Johnny Giavotella in the fifth.

"Gio's hit turned it around," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We were doing absolutely nothing until then."

Billy Butler doubled in Alex Gordon in the sixth, tying it at 3. Butler has 99 RBIs, the most by a Royals player since Carlos Beltran's 100 in 2003.

Athletics 12, Tigers 4

DETROIT (AP) - Seth Smith homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and the Oakland Athletics avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Detroit Tigers 12-4 Thursday in a matchup of AL playoff contenders.

Oakland is tied with Baltimore for the wild-card lead. The Tigers are two games behind Central-leading Chicago.

Josh Donaldson hit a go-ahead single in a four-run sixth inning that made it 6-3, then had an RBI double to cap a six-run ninth that included Smith's three-run double.

Pat Neshek (2-1) retired the only batter he faced and got the win.

Anibal Sanchez (3-6), who held Cleveland hitless for 6 2/3 innings in his last start, gave up six runs on six hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Reds 5, Cubs 3

CHICAGO (AP) - Trying to avoid a 100-loss season and looking for any glimpse of encouragement for the future, the Chicago Cubs got a strong performance from a pitcher they just picked up on waivers.

Jason Berken threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits while facing a Cincinnati Reds lineup resting most of its regulars Thursday. The strong effort was lost, however, when reliever Manny Corpas gave up five straight singles and a two-run double in the seventh and the Reds clinched a playoff spot with a 5-3 win.

"I was able to get a couple of jams, great defense behind me, stayed on the same page the whole game," Berken said.

Berken, picked up on waivers from Baltimore earlier this month, struck out four batters in one inning - the fifth Cubs pitcher to ever do that - when Ryan Hanigan reached on a third strike wild pitch in the second.

"I didn't realize it until I sat down in the dugout. It was cool, I guess," Berken said.

"By no means am I going for strikeouts. For me, it's important to force early contact and have the ability to pitch deep in the game. That inning I had some good sliders and got ahead in the count and got a couple good strikeouts. I'm not going to try to get used to that. I'd much rather have early contact versus a strikeout," he said.

Reds ace Johnny Cueto (18-9) ended his three-game losing streak. He pitched six scoreless innings, giving up five hits and four walks with a pair of strikeouts.

"I don't think that was the best stuff he's ever had. You can tell he might be getting a little tired at the end of the year or whatever, but I've seen him with a lot better stuff," Chicago manager Dale Sveum said.

Corpas (0-2) took the loss.

The Reds' victory came without their manager Dusty Baker, who missed a second straight game after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Cincinnati's magic number for winning the NL Central for the second time in three years under Baker is now two.

"Obviously we won the last two games for him. We have him in our thoughts, but we got good news on his update," said reliever Sean Marshall, who, like Baker, once toiled for the Cubs.

"Hopefully he'll be back with us tomorrow and when it really matters, when we clinch (the division). Hopefully we get to celebrate this weekend with him," he said.

The Reds said Baker would remain in a Chicago hospital for an additional day so doctors could monitor his progress. The manager left Wrigley Field before Wednesday night's game and underwent another test Thursday.

Baker is expected to return to Cincinnati on Friday. Bench coach Chris Speier ran the team for a second straight game.

"He looked good. Very good. He'll be there tomorrow," said general manager Walt Jocketty, who visited Baker on Thursday morning. Jocketty said he didn't know if Baker would be able to manage when the Reds open a series at home against the Dodgers.

NFL

Giants 36, Panthers 7

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Eli Manning didn't need a fourth-quarter comeback Thursday night.

The two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, running back Andre Brown and the rest of the New York Giants finished off the Carolina Panthers way before that.

Brown ran for a career-high 113 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL start to help the Giants rout the Panthers 36-7.

Four days after rallying from 14 points down to beat Tampa Bay, the Giants dominated the first half, scoring on their first four possessions to build a 20-0 lead.

The defending champion Giants (2-1) were without three starters but it hardly mattered.

Brown - waived by five different teams - including the Panthers - since coming into the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2009 - got his chance Thursday night when Ahmad Bradshaw sat out with a neck injury.

Brown said he thought about getting cut by the Panthers before the game - and it inspired him.

"I was walking into the stadium and I have to go by the spot where I parked my car," Brown said. "I felt a little fire, no doubt. I'm so happy to come out here. It really humbled me. It really shows that everything is not guaranteed. You know, I'm just going to ride this wave. Hopefully, it's a long wave."

Ramses Barden is hoping to ride that same wave.

Barden caught nine passes for a career-high 138 yards in his first NFL start. He played in place of Hakeem Nicks.

Of course it helps that the guy throwing you the ball is named Manning. He completed 27 of 35 passes for 288 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

On the other side, second-year quarterback Cam Newton struggled all night and was pressured into three interceptions. The Panthers (1-2) had five turnovers, including two by returner Joe Adams.

Newton had no luck running the read option against the Giants. He was held to 6 yards rushing a week after running for a career-high 71 yards against the Saints.

"We got some licks on him, when he kept the ball, and that's something that was lacking last week," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "You have to be disciplined. You have to have people in the right spots, or he'll take full advantage of it."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera likened the loss to a lesson you learn from your big brother.

"They came in and slapped us around and dragged us to the ground a little bit," Rivera said. "Hopefully, we learn from it a little bit. Hopefully, we learn from it and, hopefully, we don't like it and we come back focused."

Mixing run and pass, the Giants dominated the opening half, outgaining the Panthers 303-125.

Manning completed 19 of 25 passes for 208 yards in the first half, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett to cap the Giants' game-opening drive and set the tone. It capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive and marked the third straight game the Panthers have given up a touchdown on an opponent's first drive.

For Rivera and the Panthers the first half was a nightmare.

"When you put yourself in a hole like that it's tough trying to claw and scratch yourself back up," Rivera said. "And that's really what happened. That's the type of game they want you to be in. That's trouble. When you get behind they can cut those guys loose on the pass rush."

Brown repeatedly bounced off tacklers and Barden had little trouble getting open against a Carolina defense that failed to pressure Manning.

Brown ran 13 times for 71 yards and a touchdown last week against Tampa Bay and surpassed that total by the end of the first quarter with 77 yards on seven.

Barden had 123 yards on seven catches at halftime.

Before Thursday night, the fourth-year receiver had never managed more than nine catches for 94 yards receiving in a season.

"At this level, you never know when you're going to get an opportunity, you've got to be prepared for it," Manning said. "Andre Brown is a great example. He's a guy we drafted, he bounced around, and we brought him back. He was on the bubble to make the team, and here you go. Ahmad (Bradshaw) gets hurt, and he ran great, he pass-protected.

"He did get off to a bit of a shaky start. He went left when he was supposed to run right on the first play. We had a little talk and got him settled down, and after that, he did very, very well."

Any hopes that the Panthers would turn things around in the second half were slowed when rookie returner Adams fumbled trying to catch the opening kickoff, resulting in another field goal for Lawrence Tynes.

Tynes finished with five field goals on the night.

The Panthers didn't get on the board until midway through the third quarter when Newton leaped over the pile from a yard out.

Newton said it wasn't what the Giants did but what the Panthers didn't do.

"Who wants to supports something that puts on a performance of embarrassment out there, and that's what that was," Newton said. "If I was a fan of the Carolina Panthers I would be holding my head down in shame at the product that was out there."

Newton said the Panthers problem was execution, not anything the Giants did to stop them.

"We have to fix it," Newton said.

LOCAL/STATE BRIEFS

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Police probing ex-Luers football coach Lindsay

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Police have opened a criminal investigation into the longtime, highly successful football coach at Fort Wayne Bishop Luers High School after he was fired over inappropriate video clips found on his computer of students and other people, investigators said Thursday.

Allen County authorities began investigating after being contacted by the school on Tuesday, two days after it fired Matt Lindsay, whose 26-year career as head football coach included nine Indiana state titles. Lindsay also was the school's athletic director.

"This investigation is ongoing and no criminal activity on the part of Lindsay has been substantiated at this time," the Allen County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

None of the videos contained nudity, but they were apparently surreptitiously recorded and have been turned over to investigators along with other evidence found by school officials, according to the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese.

Messages seeking comment were left Thursday on Lindsay's cellphone and at his home phone number.

The diocese, which oversees the school, declined to release any further description of the videos. The diocese said it learned of the videos on Lindsay's computer the evening of Sept. 12, and Luers Principal Mary Keefer placed him on administrative leave the next day. She fired Lindsay on Sunday.

"We do not know if the actions of Mr. Lindsay constitute a criminal offense. That is for the police to investigate and for law enforcement officials to evaluate," the diocese said in a statement.

But according to the school and diocese's judgment, the statement said, "the apparent surreptitious taking of video clips of students and other persons of the type taken by Mr. Lindsay constituted a violation of our ethical standards and policies, and thus mandated the immediate dismissal of Mr. Lindsay."

Bishop Kevin Rhoades said the diocese has "tried to proceed carefully and honestly, though under intense public pressure."

"My primary concern is the welfare of our students, the community of Bishop Luers High School, and the integrity of our actions. This whole affair has caused turmoil for many people. I ask for your prayers for the Bishop Luers community and for all involved in this very sad affair," Rhoades said in a statement.

The diocese's swift action in dismissing a highly successful football coach came three months after the conviction of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of sexual abuse of boys and while a clergy sexual abuse scandal is still roiling the Roman Catholic Church.

The Journal Gazette reported Thursday that a diocesan spokesman confirmed that Keefer and the diocese superintendent were aware of a 2011 police report in which a parent said Lindsay may have been taking pictures of his daughter at a pool in Fort Wayne.

According to the police report, which was first reported by WPTA-TV, the parent said he approached Lindsay as the coach tried to leave in a vehicle. The parent told police that Lindsay appeared nervous and that his hands shook as he appeared to delete photos from his phone.

Officers later spoke with Lindsay who denied taking pictures and showed them his phone, which at the time had no inappropriate photos, according to the report. In that same police report, though, pool officials including two board members told officers there had been several allegations in the past about Lindsay taking inappropriate photographs at the pool.

"(A pool official) stated approx. 10 parents have approached her in the past and made allegations against (Lindsay) that he put a camera in his bag and used it to take pictures of young boys and girls in the locker room," the report said.

Pool officials also told police that other people accused Lindsay of lying in a beach chair around the pool with a camera placed in a bag between his legs. Lindsay always came to the pool alone, pool officials said in the report.

The ages of those supposedly photographed were not specified. No charges were filed in connection with the report.

NFL

Colts' Avery taking advantage of second chance

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Donnie Avery spent the past two seasons waiting for a chance to prove himself.

He's not sitting around any longer.

The five-year veteran tied his career-high with nine receptions in Indianapolis' 23-20 victory and for the first time in three years, he's starting to look like his old speedy self.

"I think he is back," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Thursday. "His speed is back, his strength is back, his confidence is building."

For Avery, it's been a long journey from No. 1-rated college receiver to his re-emergence as a bona fide NFL starter.

His career got off to a promising start after St. Louis drafted him with the 33rd overall pick in the 2008 draft - the first receiver chosen that year. In his first two seasons, Avery caught 100 passes for 1,263 yards and seemed destined to become a key piece in the Rams rebuilding project.

All that changed late in the first half of a 2010 preseason game against New England.

When rookie Sam Bradford threw a pass down the right sideline, Avery tried to make a jumping catch. Instead, he fell to the ground clutching his right knee. A few minutes later, he was taken off the field on a golf cart and the next day, the Rams confirmed their worst fear: Avery had torn the anterior cruciate ligament and would miss the rest of his season.

The former University of Houston star spent months rehabbing the knee, and then early in 2011, Avery, like other injured NFL players, had to fend for himself when the lockout hit. League rules barred him from working out at the team complex, mini-camps were cancelled and he couldn't even get advice from the Rams' doctors.

"The lockout really hurt me because I didn't have any one-on-one with the trainer, so it took longer to recover," he said. "Some days when you get frustrated, you have a trainer there to tell you right where you are and right where you need to be. I didn't."

Avery didn't realize how far behind he was until training camp opened, and by then, it was too late.

He was cut just before the 2011 season began.

Four weeks later, Tennessee gave him a second chance, signing him as a free agent after losing Kenny Britt to a season-ending knee injury.

But Avery, now learning a new offense, was still struggling. In eight games with the Titans, he caught only three passes for 45 yards and one touchdown, and never started a game before entering free agency.

Fortunately for Avery, the Colts needed veteran receivers and were willing to take a chance on him.

"Since he's gotten here, he's been 100 mph. He's completely healed," coach Chuck Pagano said. "I've been around guys, coached guys that have come off of major knee surgeries. In Baltimore, I had a couple corners go down. It takes time; it takes more than a year. You may be back in a year but from a mental standpoint, confidence, running routes, driving, breaking, from a defensive back's perspective or a wide out's perspective. He's 100 percent."

Avery looked good in training camp, until a bruised thigh kept him off the field for more than a week.

Since returning, though, Avery has looked more like the guy that had St. Louis raving after his first two years than the receiver still trying to get healthy over the last two years.

It's certainly made a difference. At Chicago, Avery caught three passes for 37 yards and followed that up with his first 100-yard game since his rookie season. He did that with a 20-yard catch to start the Colts' game-winning drive.

Through two weeks, he's caught 12 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, enough to earn the trust of his new quarterback, Andrew Luck.

"He's very dynamic, fast, quick-twitch, can really stretch the field and get across the field fast on some crossing routes," Luck said. "I'm glad to see that it's showing up in the games because he's been doing it in practice."

For Avery, the start of the 2012 season couldn't have gone any better.

He's catching passes, making big plays and showing the league that he's back to his old ways.

"I'm just capitalizing on the opportunity," he said. "Every year is different. All I can tell you is that I feel like the Donnie of 2012."

Bears getting pressure they need from defensive line

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Henry Melton figures he might have a few words for Sam Bradford when the Chicago Bears meet the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, and they probably won't be nice.

It's just a Texas-Oklahoma thing.

The former Longhorn said Thursday he'll have something to say to Bradford if he sacks him and it won't be, "Nice to see you."

"I'm not miked up this game, so it's going to be dirty," said Melton, the Bears' defensive tackle.

The way he's been performing, he just might get to the quarterback. The same goes for the rest of the defensive line.

A big concern when the season started, that unit is performing well so far. With Julius Peppers creating his usual havoc and other players stepping up, the Bears are tied for second in the NFL with eight sacks.

They got to Aaron Rodgers five times in last week's loss at Green Bay after three against Andrew Luck in a season-opening win, not bad given all the handwringing over the defensive line coming into the season.

Melton is tied for second in the league with three and is off to another strong start. Peppers has two sacks, and Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin each have 1 1/2 apiece.

No wonder Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs likes what he's seeing.

"I'm pleased," he said. "We have a lot of positives to take from our first two weeks. The pass rush is one of them. I know you guys see Henry Melton showing up a lot, Pep, (Israel Idonije), all those guys. I think they're gonna be key to our success."

The Bears are going against a team this week that has been hit hard by injuries and has only one projected starter still at his position in guard Harvey Dahl. Rams center Scott Wells (broken foot), tackle Rodger Saffold (right knee MCL sprain) and guard Rokevious Watkins (ankle) are all out, with Wells on short-term injured reserve and Watkins on injured reserve. Guard Quinn Ojinnaka was released Sept. 2, re-signed Sept. 11 and started last week.

On the surface, this might be a good matchup for the Bears' defensive line. Yet, the Rams held their ground in last week's 31-28 win over Washington.

Bradford got sacked twice but really didn't take a beating, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns to help St. Louis (1-1) come away with its first win under coach Jeff Fisher.

That performance certainly impressed the Bears, and they know they need to get pressure up front. What they've seen so far is at least encouraging.

"One play it's Izzy, one play it's myself, one play it's Shea, one play it's Pep, so it gives everybody a different look," Wootton said. "And inside they're doing a good job of rotating as well. It's different looks all across the board."

In his second year as a starter, a familiar pattern is unfolding for Melton. Now, he just needs to script a different ending.

He started strong last year with three sacks in the first three games but managed just four the rest of the way, after teams started to focus more on that.

"It's mostly mental," Melton said. "Especially playing that position, you get torn down physically. Then you've got to stay on track mentally to keep yourself in shape and keep making plays."

He said he hasn't really added much to his repertoire. He just has another season under his belt, and he believes that will help.

Now, he's about to meet a familiar, old foe in Bradford, someone he remembers forearming in the face during a game in college. He said that led to a personal foul, and Melton vowed not to do that this time.

He will do everything he can, though, to get to the quarterback. He's been having success in that area so far, and the same goes for the Bears' defensive line.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Motta leading Notre Dame secondary

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame has a new voice in the secondary and coach Brian Kelly is glad everyone is finally getting to hear it.

Senior safety Zeke Motta has been busy, making sure his inexperienced teammates are in the right place. The Irish leaned heavily on Motta in wins against Purdue and Michigan State because fifth-year senior Jamoris Slaughter missed the second halves in both games because of injuries.

With Slaughter now out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, the 11th-ranked Irish (3-0) are counting on Motta to play a key role Saturday night in slowing Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who has gashed Notre Dame for 944 yards total offense the past two years. The Irish are trying to avoid a fourth-straight loss to the No. 18 Wolverines (2-1).

Motta is the only member of the Irish secondary with more than three career starts and is the only starter who arrived on campus as a defender. Matthias Farley, who replaces Slaughter, was a reserve wide receiver who didn't play as a freshman last year. Junior cornerback Bennett Jackson started as a wide receiver, and freshman cornerback KeiVarae Russell was recruited as a running back.

The secondary is the question mark for a defense that has given up just 30 points, the fewest allowed by an Irish squad since the 1988 team gave up 27 points en route to the national championship.

Kelly calls Motta's development the past year remarkable.

"He had a hard time getting himself lined up last year," Kelly said. "He has been terrific back there. He's been physical, he's played the ball well and his leadership skills have continued to grow."

Motta is second on the team with 19 tackles, including 11 against Michigan State along with an interception.

Kelly knew he needed the quiet Motta to become a leader this year so he tried to draw him out more this spring, asking him to speak before a group of about 1,000 alumni at the Joyce Center.

"I wanted to push him out front because I saw a young man that the way he practiced, the dedication he has to the game, the kind of young man he is, you want him representing your program," he said.

Motta said it was a bit intimidating at first, but accepted the challenge.

"I always like a good challenge," he said.

He decided to talk about what Notre Dame meant to him. He wrote the speech, practiced giving it in front of a mirror, then in front of his father. He delivered the speech without the aid of notes, and believes he did well. Kelly saw Motta's confidence growing in the spring.

Motta said he learned a lot from hanging around with Harrison Smith, a safety who was a Notre Dame captain last year and a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings. Motta said he's tried to emulate Smith in his work ethic and leadership, saying he tries to lead without saying a lot.

"I don't think a lot of words are necessary. I'm pretty short with my responses to things," he said.

Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore said Motta and Smith lead in the same way.

"I see a lot of the same qualities," Lewis-Moore said. "Especially with JaMo going down, he's the guy that's going to have to take the reins now."

When three Purdue receivers lined up bunched together, there was Motta, running up to the line, pushing freshman Irish safety Elijah Shumate to his left and back a yard to get him in position. He then ran over to the linebackers and shouted directions before dropping back deep as the ball was snapped.

The pass by Caleb TerBush on third-and-3 was batted down at the line, but the leadership was typical of Motta - and a far cry from being a player who wasn't always sure where he should be. Motta said that came from learning to focus and spending a lot of time in the film room to make sure he was prepared.

"With those things comes confidence, and with confidence comes more verbal leadership and the ability to know that what you're doing and making checks to is right," he said.

Injured Roberson can only help teammates

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - As Tre Roberson watched Indiana struggle Saturday night, all he wanted to do was get in the game and help his teammates.

All he could do was point out a few things he noticed on Ball State's defense.

For the sophomore quarterback, this is what the rest of the 2012 season will look like - watching games from the coaches' box, counseling teammates, adding mass and muscle to his slender 190-pound body and mending his broken lower left leg.

"It was real hard, I got a little emotional up there," Roberson said Tuesday, three days after the Hoosiers fell 41-39 to Ball State on the game's final play. "But it is what it is. I really wanted to go out and play and help them as much as I could."

Indiana (2-1) could certainly use Roberson's skills and leadership when it opens Big Ten play Sept. 29 at Northwestern.

That's not an option after doctors inserted a titanium rod into Roberson's injured leg during surgery in Boston last week. Roberson is primarily using crutches to get around campus now, though he did manage to stroll about 10 feet in a walking boot before speaking with reporters Tuesday in Bloomington.

Coach Kevin Wilson has said a full recovery will take five to six months and that he plans to redshirt Indiana's 2010 Mr. Football winner.

"Physically, I can do a lot of things. I can put pressure on the leg and walk on it now," Roberson said. "I can throw and do things like that."

What he can't do is win games with his arm or legs - a premature and disappointing end to a season that began with so much promise. Roberson started the final five games of 2011, becoming the first true freshman quarterback to ever start at Indiana. He finished the season 81 of 142 with 937 yards, three touchdowns, six interceptions, 426 yards rushing and two TDs on the ground.

The Indiana coaches spent most of the offseason refining Roberson's throwing motion, putting greater emphasis on film study and trying to turn Roberson into a stronger passer. In Week 1, Indiana got the results it was seeking.

Roberson looked poised and in complete control of the offense in going 26 of 36 for 280 yards, all career-bests, with one TD pass and one TD run in a 24-17 victory.

Everything came crashing down Sept. 8. After scoring on TD runs of 50 and 39 yards, Roberson appeared to be headed for another rushing score when he was tackled at the 2-yard line early in the second quarter. The pile came down on top of his left leg. Roberson was lifted onto a stretcher and left the field in an ambulance.

On Tuesday, Roberson acknowledged he made a bad read on the play.

"I remember it all, I looked to the wrong side, I should have played it to the other side, but I got stuck on that side," he said. "The guy fell on my leg, and I knew right away."

Roberson said he immediately started getting text messages and tweets offering support and that his family, friends, girlfriend and strength coaches have already played a big role in his recovery. He returned to campus the middle of last week.

While his teammates were on the practice field Tuesday, Roberson was beginning his comeback quest in the weight room.

Wilson also wants to keep Roberson upstairs in the coaches' box to help his replacements - Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld - identify defenses and get a better feel for what to expect from defenses when he returns to the field. NCAA rules permit Roberson to be used in that manner.

Coffman played well in the first half Saturday before leaving after the third quarter with a hip-pointer, and Sudfeld rallied the Hoosiers for two TDs in the final five minutes to turn a 13-point deficit into a 39-38 lead. Wilson said he's hopeful Coffman will be ready to go against Northwestern, though coaches will limit his activity during this week's bye.

What remains unclear is whether Roberson will attend all nine of Indiana's remaining games.

Wilson is still awaiting word on whether the Indy native would count against the team's travel squad.

"I think it will be a good learning tool for him," Wilson said. "It's interesting. When we went to a Colts (preseason) game this year, we were sitting way up high and he was watching the safeties. It's a different view up there and it's a completely different view from up there than when you're on the field. We need to take advantage of every second strength wise and size wise, getting him bigger and stronger."

Roberson is not expected back on the field before spring practice.

"I really want to take advantage of the situation," he said. "I think I can get way bigger, get faster, get mentally better and become a better quarterback."

NATIONAL BRIEFS

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Amid health concerns, Texas Tech's Gillispie resigns

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Texas Tech fans had pinned their basketball hopes on Billy Gillispie.

He had turned around two other flagging programs in the state, and they hoped he would do the same for the Red Raiders.

They watched a difficult first year in which Texas Tech won just one Big 12 game. Now fans won't get a chance to see a possible turnaround similar to what the 52-year-old coach had done at UTEP and Texas A&M.

Gillispie, a West Texas native, resigned on Thursday, citing health concerns.

"Billy has decided to focus on his health, and we wish him a full recovery," athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in a news release. "We are proud of the young men that he has brought to this campus. Billy's decision allows him to concentrate on his well-being and allows us to turn our attention to preparations for the upcoming season."

Gillispie didn't immediately return a call or text from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Gillispie will be paid the remainder of this contract year, about seven-months' worth, or about $467,000. Chris Walker, who took over day-to-day operations, will remain in that position until an interim head coach is chosen.

Gillispie's resignation letter said he appreciated the opportunity to coach the Red Raiders, but that he needed to tend to his health, officials said.

The move came less than a month after the school announced it was looking into allegations of player mistreatment last fall by the veteran coach - a sensitive topic at Texas Tech, given the 2009 firing of football coach Mike Leach after claims that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion.

Hocutt, who declined to make further comment Thursday, earlier this month called the allegations "very troubling."

In January, the school reprimanded Gillispie and assistant coach Brooks Jennings after a review found the team had exceeded practice-time limits in 2011. The school reported the secondary violation to the NCAA and penalized itself by reducing the team's practice time by about 12 hours.

While all that was filtering out, Gillispie's health was apparently growing worse.

Twice in a 10-day span this past month, 911 calls were made from Gillispie's home. The first, on Aug. 31, came hours before he was to meet with Hocutt and led to a six-day stay in a Lubbock hospital. The two men never met to discuss the allegations.

Gillispie wasn't taken to the hospital after the second call on Sept. 10. But the following day, he left for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he said he got treatment for kidney problems and abnormal headaches. Doctors there told him to avoid stress for 30 days.

Gillispie succeeded Pat Knight, who went 50-61 in his three-plus years. Knight had taken over after his father resigned in February 2008.

NBA

55 years after Dodgers left, Brooklyn has pro team again

NEW YORK (AP) - It was like a death in the family for Brooklyn baseball fans when their beloved Dodgers left the borough behind in 1957 for the California coast.

Times were grim for Brooklyn back then. Residents were leaving en masse for the suburbs. Crime was on the rise. And there was little hope that the borough's plight would improve.

"When the Dodgers left, it was another punch in the face to the fact that Brooklyn's best days may not be ahead, but may have been behind us," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who was 12 years old at the time. "It was depressing."

After decades without a professional sports team, New York City's ascendant borough is hitting the major leagues again on Friday when the Brooklyn Nets' new arena opens to the public. The state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat arena will be officially christened Saturday night with a rap concert by Nets co-owner and native Brooklynite Jay-Z.

Just as the Dodgers' departure was a harbinger of difficult times ahead, the opening of the Barclays Center is a symbol of Brooklyn's astonishing rise in recent years as a sought-after destination for people from all over the globe.

Basketball is now the sport du jour here, not baseball. And in a stroke of irony, the new stadium was built directly across the street from the spot where Dodgers President Walter O'Malley wanted to erect a new ballpark to replace Ebbets Field, the team's home that was later demolished.

"When they left, that's when I washed my hands of baseball," said 72-year-old Fred Wilken, who was so distraught by the loss of his hometown team that he stopped watching sports altogether. "For years we supported them, we came down here. And then all of a sudden they decide to leave."

The Dodgers were the golden thread that tied Brooklyn together in those days. The fabric of the team was woven into the neighborhood. Players like Willie Mays lived nearby and played stickball with kids in the streets.

About two miles from the new Nets' Arena, the hallowed ground where Ebbets Field once stood is now a massive brick apartment building in a neighborhood of Caribbean immigrants.

"We still haven't gotten over it," admitted Ron Schweiger, Brooklyn's official borough historian, whose basement is stuffed with Dodgers memorabilia. "I tend to think they never moved. They're on an extended road trip."

Why O'Malley moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season was, at its core, a question of dollars and cents. O'Malley wanted the city to help subsidize the new stadium, and the city refused. Fast-forward to the present: the $1 billion Barclays Center has received millions in public money.

MLB

Nats beat Dodgers, clinch playoff spot

WASHINGTON (AP) - As Davey Johnson walked into the interview room to talk about Washington's return to postseason baseball for the first time since 1933, fans gathered in an adjoining restaurant began to applaud.

"What's the big deal?" Johnson joked.

The Nationals used Ross Detwiler's six strong innings and Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double to lock up a playoff spot Thursday night with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Nats Clinch" flashed on the scoreboard as Washington ensured at least an NL wild-card spot, delighting the crowd of 30,359.

"That was fun, but it's not what I had my eye on," Johnson said. "I don't want this."

The fans stood and cheered in the ninth inning, then got even louder when Drew Storen struck out Hanley Ramirez to end it. Johnson saluted the crowd as he left the field and the team wore caps and T-shirts acknowledging the playoff berth.

"I noticed like in the fifth or sixth, some signs, some different things that kind of keyed me into that this wasn't going to be an ordinary evening," Jayson Werth said.

"That was not an ordinary win."

Nineteen-year-old center fielder Bryce Harper claimed ignorance of the team's situation.

"Everyone's going crazy. I looked at the fireworks and I go: 'I guess we just did something.' Then somebody handed me the playoff shirt and playoff hat and I said, 'Well, I guess we're going to the playoffs,'" Harper said.

Washington's magic number to win the NL East was reduced to eight. The Nationals lead idle Atlanta by 5½ games.

Ill Hamilton leaves Rangers, returns to Texas

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is returning to Texas for further examination of a sinus problem that has forced him to miss two straight games.

Hamilton tops the majors with 42 home runs. He left Tuesday's series opener in the fourth inning with a recurring sinus problem that makes it tough for him to breathe.

"Everybody in my family's been sick," Hamilton said before the AL West leaders took batting practice. "The last five or six days I've been battling something. Anytime I get sick, it usually turns into a sinus infection. Sometimes it can cause me to be off-kilter, off-balance, but this is the first time it's caused me not to be able to focus the way I want to on the field."

"The more you run when you can't breathe as good, you get a little dizzy, a little thrown off. It just is what it is. If your head's a little stopped up, you can get a little starry-eyed, dizzy. I had the MRI just to make sure everything was good to go. My eyesight is great. I got that checked out. It's 20-15. It used to be 20-10, but I'm getting a little older. That's good, but all the congestion that's in there is slowing things down a bit as far as depth perception and things like that."

Hamilton entered Thursday with one more home run than Detroit's Miguel Cabrera. That's the only Triple Crown category Cabrera is trailing in as he attempts to become the first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

"Maybe I'm sick for a reason. Maybe it's his time," Hamilton said. "I don't really care about holding on to the home run lead. He's a good dude and he's played consistently well for a long time. It would be cool if there was another winner. There's nobody I'd rather see win it than him."

Fellow Texas slugger Adrian Beltre was back in the lineup for the AL West leaders on Thursday night against the Angels. Both players missed Wednesday's game with ailments.

Beltre sat out one game with abdominal discomfort and wasn't in the Rangers' initial lineup Thursday, but talked his way into the cleanup spot as a designated hitter after batting practice.

The Rangers' road trip concludes with three weekend games in Seattle.

GOLF

Woods, Rose tied for lead at Tour Championship

ATLANTA (AP) - In the one week Tiger Woods had away from golf during the FedEx Cup playoffs, Nick Faldo said he had lost his aura, Greg Norman said he was intimidated by Rory McIlroy and Johnny Miller claimed that Woods once wanted lessons from him.

"Nice week, huh?" Woods said, grinning.

Even better was to be back on the course Thursday at the Tour Championship, where Woods had the final word for at least for one day. He kept the ball in play at East Lake, chipped in for one of his six birdies and wound up with a 4-under 66 for a share of the lead with Justin Rose.

It was the first step toward what Woods hopes is a third FedEx Cup title, and another $10 million bonus.

"I probably could have gotten a couple more out of it," Woods said about his opening round. "But I was probably right on my number."

McIlroy, playing with Woods for the fifth time in these FedEx Cup playoffs, got up-and-down from short of the par-3 18th hole for a 69. McIlroy is trying to become the first player since Woods in 2006 to win three straight PGA Tour events in the same season, and he wasn't overly alarmed by his start.

"Wish I could have shot a couple shots better," McIlroy said. "But I'm in a good position going into tomorrow."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Arkansas to get Wilson back for Rutgers game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Tyler Wilson is back for Arkansas.

Now the question is whether the star quarterback can get the Razorbacks out of their funk.

Arkansas coach John L. Smith said Thursday that doctors cleared Wilson to return to action Saturday against Rutgers. Last season's first-team All-Southeastern Conference quarterback missed the Razorbacks' 52-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama last week with what he called a concussion.

The senior was injured late in the first half against Louisiana-Monroe the week before, a game Arkansas (1-2) lost in overtime after leading by 21 points in the third quarter.

The Razorbacks (1-2) fell from No. 8 to unranked with that loss, and their troubles continued against the Crimson Tide - a game in which they were shut out for the first time since 1995. Wilson spoke after the game, trying to rally his teammates.

He'll have the chance to back up those words on the field against the Scarlet Knights (3-0).

"He is that energy, that vocal person that we need," Smith said. "His energy and that positiveness, it just kind of breeds and it keeps going and it spirals, and that's what we need."

Wilson, who is 30-of-47 passing with five touchdowns this season, took part in non-contact practice each day this week. He threw for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns last season, guiding Arkansas to an 11-2 record and Cotton Bowl win over Kansas State.





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