In Sports from United Press International

Nov. 16, 2002 at 12:03 AM   |   0 comments

Ohio State tries to stay unbeaten

NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- For the first time all season, the college football picture is clear.

Miami and Ohio State, the two remaining unbeaten teams, will play for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3 should they win their remaining games.

Some potholes need to be avoided along the way, beginning Saturday when No. 2 Ohio State (11-0) plays its final road game of the season at defending Big Ten Conference champion Illinois.

Among those rooting for the Illini will be a cluster of one-loss teams such as No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Washington State, No. 5 Iowa and No. 6 Oklahoma. Should the Buckeyes falter, they will make their own claim at a Fiesta Bowl berth.

The latest BCS standings have Ohio State at No. 1, thanks to Oklahoma's surprising loss to unranked Texas A&M last week and the Buckeyes' 10-6 win over Purdue.

"I'm proud of what this team has accomplished so far this year," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "We've won a number of tough games, and this week we have another very difficult challenge at Illinois. That is where our focus is."

Ohio State can clinch the first 12-win season in school history on Saturday. After Illinois, the focus shifts to the regular season finale against No. 10 Michigan on Nov. 23.

The strength of the Buckeyes has been on defense. Ohio State has allowed just one opponent to score more than 20 points and has given up a mere 16 points in the last 14 quarters.

Led by safety Michael Doss and linebacker Matt Wilhelm, Ohio State has not allowed a second-half touchdown in the last five games.

Given up for dead after a 1-5 start, Illinois (4-6) is no longer a pushover. The Illini have won three of their last four games, including a 37-20 win at Wisconsin last week in which they rolled up more than 450 yards of total offense. John Beutjer hooked up with Greg Lewis for a pair of touchdown passes.

Top-ranked Miami (9-0) is off this week before hosting No. 22 Pittsburgh (8-2) next Thursday. Washington State (9-1), which moved up to third behind Miami in the BCS, also is idle this week and will visit Washington on Nov. 23.

Iowa (10-1) seeks a school-record 11th victory when it concludes its regular season against Minnesota. A win will enable Iowa to finish unbeaten in the Big Ten Conference for the first time in school history and keep the pressure on Ohio State.

Since Iowa (7-0 in conference play) and Ohio State do not meet, the possibility exists that two teams could finish 8-0 in the Big Ten, which also would be a first.

Texas (9-1) plays its final road game of the season when it visits Texas Tech and quarterback Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury is fifth place on the NCAA's all-time career passing list with 11,934 yards. But he has lost all three meetings against Texas.

Last season, Texas routed Texas Tech in Austin. Kingsbury completed 40 passes, a record for a Texas opponent, but averaged just 6.5 yards per completion and was held to 260 yards.

Following last week's loss at Texas A&M, Oklahoma (8-1) will try to take out its frustrations on Baylor, which has been shut out in three of its last five games.

Oklahoma still controls its own destiny in the race for the Big 12 South title. No. 18 Colorado (7-3) can clinch the North Division title and a second straight berth in the championship game with a victory over Iowa State on Saturday.

A division title also can be secured in the Southeastern Conference on Saturday. No. 7 Georgia (9-1) can capture the East division title and a trip to the league title game Dec. 7 with a win at Auburn.

No. 14 Florida (7-3) can claim the East title if it defeats South Carolina and Georgia loses.

No. 8 Southern California (7-2) seeks its fifth straight victory and tries to keep its slim Pac-10 Conference title hopes alive Saturday when it welcomes Arizona State.

A loss by USC this week will clinch the Pac-10 title for Washington State, which handed the Trojans their only conference defeat.

No. 15 Florida State (7-3) remains the only unbeaten team in Atlantic Coast Conference play (6-0) and will try to move a step closer to its 10th ACC title in 11 years when it hosts North Carolina.

No. 19 Maryland (8-2) seeks its eighth straight win when it visits Clemson and No. 20 North Carolina State (9-2) tries to avoid its first three-game losing streak since 1997 when it visits Virginia.

In other games, No. 10 Michigan (8-2) hosts Wisconsin, No. 11 Kansas State (8-2) welcomes Nebraska, No. 12 Louisiana State (7-2) hosts Alabama, No. 16 Penn State (7-3) is at Indiana, No. 17 Colorado State (8-2) goes to San Diego State, No. 22 Oregon (7-3 hosts Washington, No. 23 Boise State (9-1) welcomes Louisiana Tech and No. 25 Bowling Green (8-1) is at South Florida.

No. 9 Notre Dame (9-1), No. 13 Virginia Tech (8-2), Pittsburgh and No. 23 Texas Christian (8-1) are idle this week.


Bolt joins World Golf Hall of Fame

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Tommy Bolt highlighted the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday, telling tales of his infamous temper and receiving praise for his golf game.

Bolt entered the Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village with Bernhard Langer, Tony Jacklin, Marlene Haage, the late Hervey Penick and Ben Crenshaw during a night filled with roasts and video tributes.

Following a taped message from President Bush, Peter Kessler of The Golf Channel introduced Bolt, who "was born to play golf and get mad."

Bolt won 15 times during his PGA Tour career, one that likely will be remembered more for what he did to the course than on it. His temper is legendary, hence the nickname "Terrible" Tommy.

Now 86, Bolt recalled some of his best - or worst - moments.

One year at Pebble Beach, he had 135 yards left to the 16th green and asked his caddie for a 7-iron. His caddie responded, "Mr. Bolt, it's either a 3-iron or 3-wood, that's the only clubs you've got left."

In 1957, the PGA Tour institued a rule that prevented players from hitting more than one ball to the green during a practice round. In Greensboro, Bolt reached into his pocket for a second ball when he heard, "Hey, Tommy, that will cost you $25."

"I handed him $100 and hit four more," Bolt said.

Bolt's antics often were embarrassing, but his golf game wasn't. Among his 15 titles was a wire-to-wire victory in the 1958 U.S. Open at Southern Hills. He also finished second 11 times and played in a pair of Ryder Cups.

"He was one of the finest shot-makers I have ever seen," Arnold Palmer said in a video tribute.

No one has had more game over a longer period of time than Langer, the greatest player ever to come out of Germany. Langer, 45, has won nearly 50 titles worldwide. His first came when he was 17. His last came last week.

Known for his battle with the putting yips, Langer was the first No. 1 player when the world rankings were implemented in 1986. He is the only player to be in the top 50 of the original and current rankings.

Along the way, Langer has played in 10 Ryder Cups - one off Nick Faldo's record - and won two Masters titles. He called his first victory at Augusta National "a dream come true."

Langer was one of two Europeans inducted Friday, joining Jacklin, a British hero who remains the last player from the continent to win the U.S. Open. He was the first to hold the British Open (1969) and U.S. Open (1970) crowns simultaneously.

At Hazeltine Golf Club in 1970, Jacklin became the first European in more than 70 years to win the U.S. Open, posting a seven-stroke victory over Dave Hill.

The 58-year-old won 27 events worldwide. But the Ryder Cup is Jacklin's legacy. In 1985, he brought the Cup back to the continent after a 28-year absence. Two years later, he captained the team that won on American soil for the first time.

Haage was one of the LPGA Tour's 13 co-founders in 1950 when she was just 16. After turning pro a year earlier, Haage won 26 times from 1952-72.

Penick, who died in 1995, tought golf in his unique style for 82 years.

PGA of America president M.G. Orender called Penick "America's gift to golf." Golf writer Dan Jenkins said he was "one of those guys you can't say anything bad about."

Among his students were Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth. Penick was known for simplifying the complex game. "Harvey Penick's Little Red Book" remains one of the best-selling sports books in history.

A fellow native of Austin, Texas, Crenshaw remembers burying Penick. The funeral was during the week of his second Masters title in 1995.

With an adept putter in his hands, "Gentle Ben" won 19 times on the PGA Tour. He also played on four Ryder Cup teams and captained the U.S. to a dramatic triumph over Europe at the 1999 event.


Flames trade Savard to Thrashers

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Calgary Flames finally unloaded disgruntled center Marc Savard on Friday, trading him to the Atlanta Thrashers for left wing Ruslan Zainullin.

Savard, 25, is a talented playmaker who feuded with coach Greg Gilbert last season and complained of reduced ice time this season. He was a healthy scratch six times in Calgary's first 17 games, including each of the last two contests.

"Marc is a player that we are very familiar with," Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell said. "He's a very competitive player and will fit into our top six forwards and top two centermen."

When motivated, Savard is a solid offensive player. He had a career season in 2000-01, totaling 23 goals and 42 assists in 77 games. But he lost his job as the Flames' No. 1 center last season and slumped to 14 goals and 19 assists in 56 games.

In 10 games this season, Savard has a goal and two assists.

Zainullin, 20, joins his fourth NHL organization even though he has not played in North America.

Selected by Tampa Bay in the second round of the 2000 draft, the 6-2, 202-pound Russian was traded to Phoenix in March 2001. The Coyotes sent his rights to the Thrashers just before last season's trade deadline.


Junqueira wins provisional pole

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Bruno Junqueira of Brazil took the provisional pole Friday for CART's season-ending Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Driving a Toyota/Lola, Junqueira captured the pole with a final lap speed of 116.703 miles per hour around the revamped 2 3/4-mile facility.

Junqueira is second in the CART standings and the bonus point for winning the provisional pole moved him four ahead of Canada's Patrick Carpentier, who posted the sixth-fastest lap of the day.

Junqueira also has a guaranteed spot in the front row, regardless of what happens in Saturday's final round of qualifying.

Fellow Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi qualified second at 116.587 mph in a Toyota/Lola. Fittipaldi held the top spot until Junqueira's final run.

Dario Franchitti of Scotland was third at 116.424 mph. He also has a shot at second in the standings, which includes a $500,000 bonus. Franchitti trails Junqueira by just 11 points.

Jimmy Vasser and Brazilian Tony Kanaan rounded out the top five qualifiers.


Wright out 2-4 weeks with broken hand

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Off to a torrid start, Columbus Blue Jackets center Tyler Wright will miss two to four weeks after suffering a broken bone in his hand in Thursday's 3-2 loss to Anaheim.

Wright and fellow center Espen Knutsen were placed on injured reserve Friday.

Wright is second on the team with eight goals, just five fewer than he scored all of last season. He leads the Blue Jackets with two shorthanded tallies and has a pair of power-play goals in 15 games.

Knutsen's move is retroactive to Nov. 3. The only Norwegian in the NHL already has missed five games and is expected to be sidelined another week or two. He has just two goals and an assist in 11 games after becoming the first Blue Jacket to appear in the All-Star Game last season.

To fill the roster spots, Columbus recalled left wing Andrej Nedorost and center Blake Bellefeuille from Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

Nedorost appeared in three games with the Blue Jackets earlier this season and picked up one assist. Bellefeuille picked up his first NHL point in 2001-02 and has an assist and eight penalty minutes in eight games with Syracuse this season.


Melvin new Mariners manager

SEATTLE, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Seattle Mariners Friday named Bob Melvin their new manager, giving him a two-year contract with a club option for 2005.

Melvin, 41, was bench coach for Arizona Diamondbacks Manager Bob Brenly the past two seasons. The team won the World Series in 2001.

He also has played and scouted at the major league level, but has never managed.

Melvin reportedly beat out Buddy Bell, Jim Riggleman, and Sam Perlozzo for the job, which became vacant when Lou Piniella decided not to fulfill the final year of his contract, and later became manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Melvin, a former catcher, played 10 years for seven big league teams, compiling a career average of .233 with 35 home runs. Since his retirement in 1994, he has been a coach and scout, and has worked in the front office.

The Chicago Cubs also were rumored to have interest in Melvin, who takes over a team that missed the playoffs in 2002 after setting an American League record with 116 wins in 2001.


Krzyzewski out of hospital

DURHAM, N.C., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski Friday was released from a hospital after injuring his hip during an exhibition game Thursday night.

Krzyzewski, 55, suffered the injury when he stood up suddenly in the first half of the Blue Devils' 102-74 rout of EA Sports. He was admitted to Duke University Hospital, where an MRI revealed an injury to his iliopsoas muscle.

Because of the pain, Krzyzewski was unable to return for the game's second half, and was admitted to the hospital overnight for observation. He is expected to recover at home over the weekend and begin therapy Monday.

Top assistant Johnny Dawkins took over for "Coach K" as Duke pulled away in its final preseason game.


Yankees exercise option on Pettitte

NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The New York Yankees settled one of the issues regarding their 2003 rotation on Thursday, exercising the $11.5 million contract option of lefthander Andy Pettitte.

Pettitte, 30, was 13-5 with a 3.27 ERA last season and won nine of his last 11 starts. He is the only pitcher in the major leagues since 1961 to win at least 12 games in each of his first eight seasons in the major leagues.

With Pettitte under contract for next season, the Yankees must decide if they will pursue Roger Clemens, who collected a $10.3 million payment and remains a free agent.

The candidates for the rotation already include Mike Mussina, Jeff Weaver, David Wells and Orlando Hernandez.

Pettitte has 128 career wins, tying him for 10th on the Yankees' all-time list with Hall of Famer Jack Chesbro. The lefthander ranks fourth among active pitchers with a .646 winning percentage (128-70), trailing only Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens.

Pettitte signed a three-year contract with a club option on Jan. 25, 2000.

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