PONTIAC, Mich., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Brett Favre helped staked Green Bay to a 16-point lead with two touchdown passes today and the Packers survived a late Detroit flurry to down the winless Lions, 29-27.
Detroit scored two touchdowns in the final 77 seconds only to miss on a chance to force overtime when a two-point conversion failed with 10 seconds remaining.
Green Bay improved to 7-3 and moved within a half game of the Chicago Bears in the race for the NFC Central title. Chicago will play Minnesota Sunday night.
Playing like the NFL's worst team, the Lions committed three turnovers deep in Green Bay territory and trailed, 29-13, in the fourth quarter.
But behind backup quarterback Mike McMahon, the Lions almost staged of the great comebacks in their long history of hosting a Thanksgiving Day game.
Lamont Warren scored on a one-yard run with 1:17 remaining and the Lions' rookie quarterback ran for the conversion, pulling Detroit within 29-21.
On the ensuing onside kick, Jason Hanson tricked Green Bay, kicking with his left foot. He popped the ball into the air and down to the 35. When a Packer failed to recover, Todd Lyght pounced on the ball for the Lions at the Green Bay 31.
Four plays later on a fourth and four play, McMahon found Scotty Anderson in the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining. But the Lions could not convert on the two-point try. McMahon rolled to his left and threw across his body into the end zone looking for tight end David Sloan, but the ball fell incomplete.
Illinois earns share of Big Ten title
CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Kurt Kittner threw four tochdown passes -- two to freshman Brandon Lloyd -- as 10th-ranked Illinois won its sixth straight game today with a 34-28 decision over Northwestern.
The Fighting Illini (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) gained at least a share of the Big Ten title. But Michigan could clinch the Big Ten's Bowl Championship Series berth with a victory over Ohio State on Saturday. Michigan handed Illinois its only conference loss this season.
Kittner found Lloyd with touchdown passes of 12 and 15 yards in the third quarter, helping Illinois open a 34-13 advantage. Kittner has thrown six touchdowns in his last two games.
Illinois finished 6-0 at home this season while improving to 50-40-5 in the all-time series against the Wildcats.
Zak Kustok passed for four touchdowns for Northwestern (4-7, 2-6), which finished the season with a seven-game losing streak.
Report: Henry selling Marlins
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported today that Florida Marlins owner John Henry has reached an agreement to sell the team to an undiclosed buyer, who plans to keep the club in South Florida.
The newspaper said the deal could be approved as early as Tuesday.
Major League owners will meet next week in Chicago to futhur discuss contraction plans first raised earlier this month. Although the Montreal Expos and Minnesota Twins appear the franchises most likely to be folded, the Marlins are by no means assured of fielding a team in 2002.
However, this agreement would seem to indicate that the Marlins will not be eliminated.
The deal, which is unrelated to MLB's contraction plans, needs approval by 23 of baseball's 30 owners. If it goes through, it would be the third ownership change in nine years for the Marlins, who won the 1997 World Series after a spending spree by Wayne Huizenga.
After the Marlins defeated the Cleveland Indians in a seven-game World Series, Huizenga quickly began dumping salary and eventually sold the organization to Henry in 1999 for $150 million.
Huzienga paid a $95 million expansion fee for the team in 1991, two years before the Marlins took the field. Forbes Magazine earlier this year valued the franchise at $128 million.
Colorado tries to upset Nebraska
BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The Colorado Buffaloes have a chance Friday to put their mark on the 2001 college football season.
In a game that will decide the Big 12 Conference North Division title as well as having major implications on the national scene, 14th-ranked Colorado will host second-ranked Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers (11-0) have won nine straight games in the series, but the last five games have been decided by a combined 15 points and the current crop of Buffaloes are capable of pulling the upset.
A Colorado victory would create a major stir within the Bowl Championship Series, knocking the Cornhuskers out of national title contention and increasing the chances of teams such as Florida and Oregon participating in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.
The teams staged a thrilling game last season on the day after Thanksgiving when Josh Brown's 29-yard field goal as time expired negated a fourth-quarter comeback by Colorado and gave Nebraska a 34-32 win.
Coach Gary Barnett has needed three seasons to return Colorado (8-2) to national prominence. But an early loss to Fresno State and a lopsided defeat to Texas have put the Buffaloes on the back burner in terms of recognition.
"A lot of the national media has overlooked us, which is fine," running back Cortlen Johnson said. "If we play our game, we can beat anybody."
A win Friday would give the Buffaloes their first appearance in the Big 12 title game, scheduled for Dec. 1 in Dallas.
Fourth-ranked Oklahoma (10-1) hopes to clinch its second straight Big 12 South title and a berth in the championship game on Saturday when it hosts Oklahoma State.
While Oklahoma will be a heavy favorite, the Cowboys nearly derailed the Sooners' eventual national championship last season in Stillwater. Oklahoma held on for a 12-7 victory when freshman cornerback Derrick Straits made a leaping deflection on a fourth-down pass in the end zone with less than five minutes remaining.
Fifth-ranked Texas (9-1) hopes to keep the pressure on the Sooners by defeating Texas A&M Friday in College Station.
Tied with Oklahoma atop the South Division, the Longhorns need to win Friday and hope Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma on Saturday to advance to the title game. Oklahoma owns the tiebreaker edge based on a 14-3 victory over the Longhorns on Oct. 6.
Texas is sixth in the Bowl Championship Series standings and has a realistic chance of going to a BCS bowl with a win on Friday.
Texas' offense has been in high gear since the loss to Oklahoma. The Longhorns have averaged just under 46 points during their five-game winning streak.
While other teams may need help, No. 1 Miami (9-0) controls its own postseason destiny. The Hurricanes, second in the latest BCS poll, can advance to the Rose Bowl with a win over No. 12 Washington (8-2) Saturday and Virginia Tech next week.