Top college teams escape
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- In a day of close calls and victories that were more difficult to achieve than expected, the current heirarchy of college football managed to stay at the top Saturday.
No. 1 Miami had to have a wild play at the end of the game to fight off Boston College, No. 2 Nebraska trailed at halftime for the first time this year and No. 4 Oklahoma faced a 10-point deficit. But all came through with victories while both No. 3 Florida and No. 5 Texas had one-sided triumphs to keep the top of the rankings stable.
In Chestnut Hill, Mass., Boston College was threatening to score in the game's final minute, having reached the Miami nine, and a touchdown would have caused an upheaval in the football rankings. But Miami defensive tackle Matt Walters intercepted a deflected pass and then had the ball ripped out of his hands by speedy teammate Edward Reed -- who went the distance for a touchdown that secured Miami's 18-7 victory.
Miami stayed unbeaten at 8-0 and joins Nebraska and Brigham Young as the only teams in Division 1-A without a loss.
In Lincoln, Kansas State took a 14-13 halftime lead, but Nebraska opened the second half with a seven-minute drive that spurred the Cornhuskers to a 31-21 victory.
Dahrran Diedrick rushed for 108 yards and Eric Crouch gained 106 for Nebraska (11-0, 7-0 Big 12 North), which posted its 13th straight win and avenged a 29-28 loss to Kansas State in a snowstorm last season in Manhattan.
Florida, meanwhile, crushed South Carolina, 54-17; Oklahoma rallied past Texas a&M, 31-10; and Texas blanked Kansas, 59-0.
In other key attractions, Oregon took control in the Pac-10 with a 21-20 victory over UCLA and Maryland moved in front in the Atlantic Coast Conference thanks to a 37-20 win over Clemson.
Maryland took the lead in the ACC when Florida State suffered its third loss of the year, 31-24 to North Carolina State.
Chicago-Green Bay highlight NFL schedule
CHICAGO, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The Chicago Bears (6-1), who are tied for the NFL's best record after winning five games all of last season, host Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers (5-2) in one of 12 division matchups highlighting today's NFL schedule.
Favre is 8-1 in nine career starts at Soldier Field, including seven straight wins. Ironically, in the Packers' last loss in 1993, Favre threw for a career-high 402 yards.
Last week, the Bears scored two touchdowns in the last 28 seconds of regulation against the Cleveland Browns. Safety Mike Brown then played the role of overtime hero for the second straight week, returning an interception 16 yards for a touchdown.
Brown scored on a 33-yard interception return 16 seconds into overtime in a 37-31 win over San Francisco on Oct. 28. In that game, the Bears rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit.
The Browns (4-3) hope to bounce back from the tough loss at Chicago when they host the first-place Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) in a key AFC Central matchup.
Despite winning just five games in their first two seasons, the Browns have managed to go 2-2 against the Steelers.
The Indianapolis Colts (4-3) probably will be without two-time rushing champion Edgerrin James when they meet the Miami Dolphins (5-2) in a battle of AFC East rivals.
James missed his first career game last week due to a hyperextended left knee and is listed as doubtful. Last week, the Colts won without their workhorse running back, posting a 30-14 victory at Buffalo.
Elsewhere today, Dallas will be at Atlanta, Detroit hosts Tampa Bay, Jacksonville will be at home against Cincinnati, Buffalo travels to New England, Kansas City will visit the New York Jets; Carolina goes to St. Louis, Denver entertains San Diego, Arizona hosts the New York Giants, Minnesota visits Philadelphia, New Orleans plays at San Francisco and Seattle will welcome Oakland.
Timberwolves remain unbeaten
MILWAUKEE, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Kevin Garnett scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds Saturday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves built a 19-point lead after one quarter and coasted to a 98-82 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks in a battle of unbeaten teams.
Minnesota moved its franchise-record start to 6-0 and remained one of two teams with perfect records along with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Timberwolves also won their sixth straight visit to Milwaukee.
Joe Smith's layup gave the Timberwolves a 9-2 lead just over three minutes into the game. A basket by Glenn Robinson cut the deficit to 14-8 with 6:12 remaining, but it was Milwaukee's final basket of the period.
Smith had a three-point play to trigger a 14-0 spurt that built a 28-8 lead with 21 seconds left. The Bucks finally got a free throw from Sam Cassell to close the quarter but made just one of eight from the line in the quarter.
Other NBA results: New Jersey 87, Cleveland 84; Los Angeles Clippers 111, Phoenix 102; Sacramento 90, Miami 75; Golden State 90, New York 71; Indiana 105, Portland 96; Charlotte 89, Chicago 85; Philadelphia 98, Dallas 91; San Antonio 110, Atlanta 88; Toronto 117, Utah 96.
Lemieux returns but Pens fall
TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Vaclav Prospal scored on a wrist shot from inside the right faceoff circle 4:29 into overtime Saturday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a six-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With 1:58 remaining, Prospal was skating behind his own net when he took a slash on the right hand from Billy Tibbetts, who was sent to the penalty box.
On the ensuing power play, Prospal took a pass outside the right circle from Brad Richards, used defenseman Darius Kasparaitis as a screen and beat goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin between the pads for his fifth goal of the season and second game-winner.
It was the Lightning's only goal in seven power plays, but gave them their first win since Oct. 25. It also spoiled the return of Penguins superstar Mario Lemieux, who came back less than two weeks after undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery.
Other NHL results: Columbus 5, Boston 1; New York Rangers 4, Buffalo 2; Montreal 3, New York Islanders 2; Ottawa 3, Nashville 2; Toronto 1, New Jersey 1; Washington 3, Atlanta 0; Philadelphia 3, Toronto 2 in overtime; St. Louis 4, Phoenix 1; Calgary 2, Colorado 0.
Belgium plays Russia in Fed Cup final
MADRID, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Kim Clijsters made sure top-seeded Belgium reached its first Fed Cup final on Saturday after a convincing straight sets victory over Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain.
Belgium meets surprising fourth-seeded Russia in the 2001 Fed Cup final today after Clijsters beat the former World No. 1 Spanish veteran 6-1, 6-2, in 49 minutes. Clijsters victory helped Belgium sweep the singles matches in the Pool B contest.
Teammate Justine Henin had a tougher time earlier in her match with Conchita Martinez before prevailing, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
Russia, which was seeded only after two-time defending champion United States withdrew from the event due to security concerns, defeated France on Friday with victories from 19-year-old Nadia Petrova and 20-year-old Elena Dementieva to reach its second final in the past three years.
Ireland nears World Cup berth
DUBLIN, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Ian Harte and Robbie Keane produced the goals Saturday night that gave Ireland a 2-0 victory over Iran in the first leg of their playoff to determine which nation will earn a berth in next year's World Cup.
Turkey, Belgium and Slovenia also came away with wins in their playoff series Saturday while Germany fought the Ukraine to a 1-1 tie on the road.
The winners of the five series, and the World Cup berths that go with them, will be determined when the second matches are played next Wednesday.
Ireland and Iran will meet in Tehran, where female fans of the Irish team will be allowed in the stadium. As is the custom, however, no Iranian women will be allowed to attend the match.
Turkey recorded a 1-0 road victory over Austria; Belgium enjoyed a 1-0 win at home over the Czech Republic; and Slovenia, attempting to earn its first World Cup trip, won at home over Romania, 2-1.
In Kiev, Germany earned a tie after giving up a goal in the 18th minute. The Germans thus took command since they will nost the second match next week.
Only eight berths remain in the 32-nation field that will play for the World Cup next summer when South Korea and Japan co-host soccer's biggest tournament. Five of those eight spots will come from the playoffs that got underway Saturday.
Another of the still undecided spots will be determined Sunday when Honduras plays Mexico in Mexico City. A win or a tie for Mexico will put that country in the World Cup, but Honduras will go if it can pull off what would be a big upset.
NHL suspends Marchment for six games.
NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Bryan Marchment's latest transgression will cost him six games and more than $168,000.
The San Jose Sharks defenseman was suspended six games without pay by the NHL Saturday, one day after delivering a vicious elbow to the head of Carolina Hurricanes right wing Shane Willis.
The incident occurred 2:43 into the first period and resulted in a major penalty and game misconduct for Marchment, whose previous run-ins have him classified by the NHL as a "repeat offender."
Based on his $2.7 million salary, Marchment will forfeit $168,292.68. He will miss games against Chicago, Anaheim, Phoenix, Dallas, Minnesota and Los Angeles and will be eligible to return on Nov. 27 against Nashville.
Doyle leads Senior Slam
Doug Tewell was four shots off the pace while Bruce Fleisher rounded out the four-man field with a 72. The 36-hole stroke-play event features the four major winners in 2001 and serves as a lead-in to the fourth annual World Golf Hall of Fame ceremonies Sunday.
Doyle continued his dream season, which already includes a Senior PGA Tour money title with more than $2.55 million and the inaugural $1 million Charles Schwab Cup bonus. He qualified for this event by winning the Senior Players Championship in July and is halfway to the $300,000 first prize.
Just 1-under at the turn, Doyle converted short birdie putts at Nos. 11 and 14. He made a nine-footer for birdie at the par-3 15th before capping his round with a five-footer at No. 18.