In Sports from United Press International

Dec. 20, 2001 at 7:21 PM
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Tangerine Bowl has tough act to follow

ORLANDO, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- North Carolina State and Pittsburgh meet tonight in the Tangerine Bowl and they have a tough act to follow.

The Wolfpack and Panthers will play one night after East Carolina and Marshall staged the highest-scoring game in bowl history.

Byron Leftwich engineered a stunning comeback Wednesday night in the GMAC Bowl as the 25th-ranked Thundering Herd rallied from a 30-point halftime deficit to stun East Carolina, 64-61, in double overtime.

The teams combined for 125 points and more than 1,100 yards in a 4 1/2-hour marathon. It was the highest-scoring bowl game ever, surpassing the 96 points in the 1995 Copper Bowl between Texas Tech and Air Force.

Like Marshall, Pittsburgh (6-5) staged a respectable comeback of its own this season. Pittsburgh won its final five games, including a 38-7 rout of bowl-bound Virginia Tech on Nov. 3.

Georgia Tech star to miss bowl game

ATLANTA, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Georgia Tech will be without star running back Joe Burns when it plays Stanford in the Seattle Bowl Dec. 27.

The school announced today that Burns had been declared academically ineligible and will not accompany the team to the Pacific Northwest.

Burns ran for 1,165 yards on 282 carries with 14 touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets (7-5). The junior also caught 28 passes for 249 yards and one score.

"We are very disappointed for Joe and for our football team, that he won't be able to play," interim coach Mac McWhorter said. "We have always impressed upon our players that you need to take care of your academic responsibilities in order to be able to play, and he did not. So we will leave today without him and we'll move on and do the best we can to win the bowl game."

Burns' academic problem continues what has been a bad month for the Yellow Jackets. Coach George O'Leary stepped down on Dec. 9 to become coach at Notre Dame, only to resign five days later when it was learned he lied about his background.

Bengals sign another quarterback

CINCINNATI, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Deciminated by injuries at quarterback, the Cincinnati Bengals brought back Scott Covington today, signing the third-year pro from Miami to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Covington was on the Bengals' roster at the start of the season before being waived on Sept. 10. He played in three games for Cincinnati in 1999. Covington could see action as early as Sunday's game at Baltimore.

Jon Kitna has been bothered by a sprained middle finger on his throwing hand and did not start in Sunday's 15-14 loss to the New York Jets. Akili Smith started in his place and suffered a torn hamstring that will sideline him for the season. Backup Scott Mitchell, another possibility to start this week, strained his rib cage in practice.

Bulls activate Ron Artest

TORONTO, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The Chicago Bulls today activated forward Ron Artest, who has missed the first 23 games with a fractured right finger.

Artest, who had surgery in October, will be eligible to play tonight against the Toronto Raptors. The Bulls (4-19) have lost four straight games.

Artest suffered the injury in mid-August when he slammed his finger into a box during a jumping drill. The knuckle was severely swollen and surgery became the only option after it was hit repeatedly in practice.

Last season, the 6-7, 246-pound Artest was the Bulls' third leading scorer at 11.9 points per game, adding 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest.

To make room for Artest on the roster, the Bulls placed guard A.J. Guyton on the injured list with a left hamstring strain.

Montana to play for Division 1-AA title

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Montana has made its way back to the Division I-AA championship game for the second year in a row, but the Grizzlies will not get a chance to avenge last year's 27-25 loss to Georgia Southern.

Montana will play for the NCAA Division 1-AA championship Friday against No. 3 Furman, which ended Georgia Southern's bid for a third straight title with a 24-17 win last week in the semifinals.

Montana (14-1) and Furman (13-2) will clash for the first time. The Grizzlies reached the championship game with a 38-0 victory over Northern Iowa, its best performance of the postseason. Montana shut down a team that averaged 52 points in its first two playoff wins.

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