PONTIAC, Mich., Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The Detroit Lions will be thinking about a chance that got away and Dallas Cowboys coach Dave Campo will be thinking about the decision that wound up costing his team a chance to win.
In Thursday's annual Thanksgiving games, the Lions nearly rallied from a 16-point, fourth-quarter before falling short against the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys nearly mounted an even bigger comeback against the Denver Broncos.
The NFL's lone remaining winless team, the Lions suffered a 29-27 loss to the Packers.
In Dallas, Campo's decision not to go for a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter proved costly as the Cowboys were beaten by the Broncos, 26-24.
Detroit played like the NFL's worst team early in the game, but the Lions came alive over the final 15 minutes against their NFC Central rival.
Lamont Warren ran one yard for a touchdown with 1:17 reamaining and, after recovering the ensuing onside kick, the Lions got a 29-yard scoring pass from backup Mike McMahon to Scotty Anderson with 10 seconds left, pulling within 29-27.
But the Lions could not convert the ensuing conversion attempt. 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.
Detroit (0-10) is one defeat away from matching the 1942 squad for the worst start in club history.
"The goal for this team now is to go 6-10," Lions rookie coach Marty Mornhinweg said.
The Packers (7-3) moved within a half game of first-place Chicago, which plays Minnesota Sunday night.
Trailing in the fourth quarter, 26-3, the Cowboys managed to make things interesting.
Troy Hambrick ran one yard for a touchdown with 11:59 remaining and Reggie Swinton brought back a punt 65 yards for a score with 7:29 left. But following Swinton's touchdown, Campo made a decision that proved costly.
Instead of going for a two-point conversion, Campo opted for the extra point, leaving Dallas behind, 26-17.
Campo had extra time to think about the conversion after Swinton scored with Peppi Zellner down in the end zone with an injury. After initially sending quarterback Ryan Leaf out for the two-point try, he called him back to the sidelines and settled for an extra point.
"To make two two-pointers back to back, the percentages were not with us," Campo explained. "I thought we had a better chance to take a point come down score again and try the onside kick. In hindsight you might could have made two two-point plays."
Campo may have regretted his decision when he watched Hambrick score on a one-yard run with 1:10 remaining. Denver recovered the ensuing onside kick, sealing the victory.
Illinois clinches tie for Big Ten title
CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Kurt Kittner threw four tochdown passes -- two to freshman Brandon Lloyd -- as 10th-ranked Illinois won its sixth straight game Thursday 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.
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.
In another major college game Thursday night, Mississippi State rallied in the second half to down Mississippi, 36-28.
Calgary, Ottawa streaks continue
OTTAWA, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Jarome Iginla and Craig Conroy scored in the third period to tie the game Thursday night and Roman Turek came up with some big saves down the stretch as the Calgary Flames rallied for a 4-4 deadlock with the Ottawa Senators, who matched their longest unbeaten streak in club history.
Sporting their own nine-game unbeaten streak, the Flames looked to be in trouble early in the third period.
Daniel Alfredsson gave the Senators a 3-2 lead just 1:45 into the period with his 11th goal. He carried the puck through traffic along the right side and beat Turek over the glove from the middle of the slot with a hard wrist shot.
The Senators extended their lead a little over four minutes later when Chris Phillips' slap shot from the blue line went by Turek.
But Conroy cut the deficit to one just 39 seconds later and Iginla's 19th goal tied it with 10:38 to play.
Iginla, who leads the NHL in goals and has a 15-game points streak, wristed a shot off the pads of Patrick Lalime.
Turek made a series of outstanding saves over the final 10 minutes and in the overtime. His best one was late in the extra session when he smothered Marian Hossa's wraparound shot.
Other NHL results: Montreal 5, Atlanta 2; Los Angeles 4, Edmonton 2.
Tinsley outshines Jordan
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Jamaal Tinsley made his first appearance against Michael Jordan his personal showcase Thursday night with a triple-double that carried the Indiana Pacers to a 110-103 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Tinlsey scored 19 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had a league season-high 23 assists to become the second Indiana rookie to register a triple-double. His assist total was a Pacers record.
Washington led by as many as eight points in the third quarter, but Tinsley led a big comeback. He assisted on a layup by Jeff Foster to pull Indiana into a 56-56 tie with 7:42 left and fed Al Harrington for a dunk and a 74-67 advantage with 2:25 remaining in the quarter.
Jermaine O'Neal led Indiana with 27 points while Reggie Miller and Jalen Rose each added 15. All five starters for the Pacers scored in double figures thanks to Tinsley's adept passing.
Jordan made eight of 26 shots for 21 points as Washington lost its eighth straight. It is the the longest losing streak of Jordan's career.
Christian Laettner added 19 points and 15 rebounds for Washington.
Other NBA results: Milwaukee 78, Toronto 75; New Jersey 95, Los Angeles Clippers 90.
Report: Henry selling Marlins
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday 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. 23 (UPI) -- The Colorado Buffaloes have a chance today 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.
Frenchwoman wins slalom
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo., Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Laure Pequegnot won a World Cup slalom Thursday to record her first career victory and lift the spirits of the French ski team following the tragic death of Regine Cavagnoud.
Pequegnot charged down the Copperopolis layout in a winning two-run combined time of one minute, 37.64 seconds.
The Frenchwoman was joined on the podium by a pair of young Austrians. Christine Sponring took second in 1:37.81 and Carina Raich was third at 1:38.72.
Kristina Koznick posted the top American result, finishing tied for sixth with Germany's Monika Bergmann in 1:39.10.
After weeks of mourning Cavagnoud's death in a downhill training accident, the French team erupted in joy as Pequegnot time flashed on the scoreboard. Pequegnot later dedicated the victory to Cavagnoud.
"This victory is for Regine," Pequegnot said. "I thought about her a lot before the start and I gave my all for her.
"It's very good motivation, we do it (race) for her family for her boyfriend. Regine would not like it that we cried all the time. She always competed and I'm sure she would want us to compete too."
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