Miami avoids upset bug
MIAMI, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The Miami Hurricanes put on a dominating show Saturday night to move within one victory of claiming a berth in the national championship game.
But the NCAA title picture became more jumbled than ever with the second enormous upset in as many days.
The defending champion Oklahoma Sooners followed the Nebraska Cornhuskers into the ranks of the also-rans Saturday when they lost to lightly-regarded, in-state rival Oklahoma State. On Friday, the Cornhuskers saw their hopes of a national title and a perfect season disappear when they were mauled by the Colorado Buffaloes, 62-36.
Prior to the holiday weekend, Nebraska, Miami and Oklahoma were 1-2-3 in the Bowl Championship Series ratings. With Nebraska and Oklahoma having been cast aside, the fourth through seventh-place teams -- Florida, Oregon, Texas and Tennessee -- all have a chance to land a spot in the national title contest.
Florida is in the best position because of its strength of schedule, but the Gators must play Tennessee next week. A victory in that game would put Florida in the SEC Championship contest against either LSU or Auburn.
Oregon, meanwhile, has Oregon State yet to play while Texas unexpectedly finds itself in the Big 12 Conference championship game next Saturday against Colorado. Going into the weekend, it appeared likely that Nebraska and Oklahoma would play a rematch in the Big 12 title contest.
Miami, meanwhile, has not clinched its spot in the Rose Bowl, where the national crown will be decided. The Hurricanes must take on Virginia Tech next weekend.
But the Hurricanes appeared ready for any challenge Saturday night when they destroyed Washington, 65-7.
Clinton Portis scored the first three touchdowns of the game on runs of seven, 30 and five yards and Miami produced 44 points before Washington could score.
In Norman, a 14-yard touchdown pass from freshman Josh Fields to Rashaun Woods with 1:36 remaining allowed Oklahoma State to pull off the shocking upset.
Oklahoma fell to 10-2, its other loss having come against Nebraska. The Sooners' lack of offensive production has been a concern for the team's coaches late in the season and their inability to move the ball against Oklahoma State eventually cost them Saturday.
Nevertheless, the Cowboys had been unable to make any dramatic strides against Oklahoma's talented defense until the final minutes, when Fields directed the winning touchdown drive.
In another surprise Saturday, Jonathan Wells rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns to give Ohio State a 26-20 victory over 11th-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor. That handed the Big Ten Conference title to Illinois, which earned the league's Bowl Championship Series berth.
Timberwolves end Spurs' winning streak
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Rasho Nesterovic had a career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds and Terrell Brandon scored 21 points Saturday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves avoided their first losing streak of the season with a 99-94 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Nesterovic entered the game averaging 8.9 points and 6.1 rebounds, but stepped up his game against the league's best frontcourt duo of Tim Duncan and David Robinson. He made 12 of 23 shots and pulled down eight offensive rebounds.
The Timberwolves trailed, 46-39, with 1:38 left in the first half before going on a 19-4 surge to build a 58-50 lead with 9:12 remaining in the third quarter. Minnesota closed the second quarter on a 9-1 run and took lead for good on Joe Smith's three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
After missing all 10 of his shots in the first half, Duncan finished with 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. Robinson added 17 points and six boards.
Other NBA results: New York 78, Chicago 71; Washington 88, Boston 84 in overtime; Cleveland 100, Miami 96 in overtime; Detroit 91, Memphis 84; Charlotte 103, Orlando 101; Dallas 119, Phoenix 104; Milwaukee 95, Atlanta 88; Sacramento 98, New Jersey 97.
Parrish records hat trick
UNIONDALE, N.Y., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Mark Parrish broke out of his first slump of the season with a hat trick Saturday night, including his first career shorthanded goal, powering the New York Islanders to a 5-2 victory over the struggling Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Parrish had gone seven games without a goal, but completed his second hat trick of the season at 7:48 of the third period, just over three minutes after his shorthanded tally gave New York a 4-1 lead.
His first goal broke a 1-1 tie 7:57 into the second period. Michael Peca dumped the puck behind the net, from where Parrish overpowered defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski and moved in front before wristing a shot past goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Parrish had a four-game goal as a rookie with the Florida Panthers on Oct. 30, 1998.
The Islanders have won four straight after a season-high five-game winless streak.
Other NHL results: Los Angeles 3, San Jose 1; Atlanta 6, Ottawa 3; Montreal 5, Washington 3; Toronto 2, Boston 0; New Jersey 5, Florida 1; Pittsburgh 3, Buffalo 1; St. Louis 5, Phoenix 3;
Colorado 2, Edmonton 0.
Kentucky beats former star player
LEXINGTON, Ky., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Tayshaun Prince scored 13 of his 23 points in the first half Saturday night as the 12th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats posted a 94-75 victory over Morehead State, which is coached by former Kentucky star Kyle Macy.
Macy, a two-time All-American for the Wildcats, scored 1,411 points, ranking him seventh on Kentucky's all-time scoring list. But the Eagles struggled against his alma mater, shooting just 38 percent from the field.
Prince made nine of 16 shots, including five three-pointers, to lead the Wildcats (2-1) in scoring for the second time in three games. Keith Bogans, Kentucky's leading scorer a season ago with 17.0 points per game, added 20.
Among the top 10, No. 2 Illinois narrowly avoided an upset by outlasting Southern Illinois, 75-72; No. 5 Maryland downed Delaware State, 77-53; and No. 9 Missouri was a 72-60 winner over Xavier.
No money won in Skins Game
INDIO, Calif., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Thanks to a new rule, the entire $1 million purse at the Skins Game will be at stake during today's second nine holes at the Landmark Golf Club.
The rule forces a player that wins a skin to at least halve the following hole. While four skins were won Saturday, all $300,000 up for grabs on the front nine was pushed to today.
When play resumes, Montgomerie will be in position to win $350,000. He birdied the ninth hole Saturday and needs only to have the 10th today to become the first player to collect prize money.
Montgomerie won last year's event in a playoff, making a two-foot par putt to claim $340,000 and outlast Fred Couples.
Giants need win against Raiders
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The Oakland Raiders, the only division leader with a two-game advantage after 10 weeks of the campaign, will visit the New York Giants today in a game that will perhaps make or break the season of the defending NFC champions.
Monday night's loss dropped New York (5-5) 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Eagles (6-3) in the NFC East.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) for the best record in the AFC and have a two-game lead over Seattle in the AFC West.
Billed as one of the NFL's worst teams after the first month of the season, the Washington Redskins (4-5) are suddenly very much alive in the NFC East race.
The Redskins seek their fifth straight win today and could pull within a game of the division-leading Eagles when the teams battle at Veterans Stadium.
Under new coach Marty Schottenheimer, the Redskins got off to an embarrassing start this season, losing their first four games by a 144-32 margin.
But the Redskins have been brilliant since the disastrous start. Replacing injured starter Tony Banks, Kent Graham threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 17-10 victory at Denver last Sunday.
Banks suffered a concussion late in the first half against Denver, but the Redskins expect him to start.
In another highlight attraction, the Chicago Bears will travel to Minnesota.
In Week 2, the Bears rallied for a 17-10 victory over Minnesota behind backup Jim Miller, who threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
With their offense struggling, the Vikings were visibly upset on the sideline at times in the first half. Star receivers Randy Moss and Cris Carter could both be seen questioning the coaching staff on numerous occasions.
The Bears (7-2), who came into this season with a 26-54 record since the 1995 season, have used that victory as a springboard to the top of the NFC Central Division standings.
Minnesota (4-5), which has made the playoffs nine straight seasons under Dennis Green, finds itself tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) for third place in the Central.
Final World Cup berth to be decided
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Australia will try to earn its first World Cup berth in 28 years today when it meets Uruguay in the second leg of their qualifying playoff.
Australia won the first leg at home, 1-0, and thus needs only a tie today to gain the last spot in the 32-nation field that will play for the World Cup next year in Japan and South Korea.
The draw for the tournament will be held next Saturday.
Top teams enter NCAA soccer tournament
DALLAS, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The second round of the NCAA soccer tournament will be played today at 16 sites around the country with the top-seeded and unbeaten SMU Mustangs taking on the surprising New Mexico Lobos in the feature attraction.
New Mexico has won only six games this season, but three of them came in the Western Athletic Conference tournament to earn the Lobos the league's automatic berth. New Mexico then surprised Florida International in the opening round Friday night, 1-0.
SMU has a 19-0 record.
Second-seeded Virginia will host Seton Hall while No. 3 Stanford will take on Santa Clara.