Oregon outlasts Wisconsin in Rose Bowl
PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Darron Thomas hurled three TD passes Monday and fifth-ranked Oregon held on for a 45-38 win over No. 8 Wisconsin in the 2012 Rose Bowl.
Thomas' third scoring strike was an 11-yard pass to Lavasier Tuinei 3 seconds into the fourth quarter that put the Ducks (11-2) ahead for good at 42-38.
Alejandro Maldonado later added a 30-yard field goal for a seven-point lead and Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis fumbled after a 29-yard catch on the ensuing drive, spoiling the Badgers' best chance to tie the contest.
De'Anthony Thomas added scoring runs of 91 and 64 yards for the Ducks, who won a BCS bowl game after losses to Auburn in last year's BCS Championship and to Ohio State in the 2010 Rose Bowl.
Tuinei made eight grabs for 158 yards and LaMichael James rolled up 159 yards on 25 carries with a score in the win.
Russell Williams passed for 296 yards and two TDs while Monte Ball gained 165 yards on 32 carries for Wisconsin (11-2), which dropped its second straight Rose Bowl.
Braves trainer's wife killed in crash
ATLANTA, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Authorities say they're investigating a crash in which a state trooper's cruiser hit a vehicle driven by Atlanta Braces trainer Jeff Porter, killing his wife.
The Georgia State Patrol's Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team and the Fulton County District Attorney's office were investigating the Saturday afternoon crash, which killed Kathy Porter, 54, WXIA-TV, Atlanta, reported Monday.
When the accident occurred, TFC Donald Crozier, a 10-year veteran of the patrol, was heading west on Memorial Drive with his lights and siren activated on his way to help another trooper attempting to stop a motorcycle on Interstate 20, the State Patrol said. Crozier was placed on administrative leave.
The crash happened at Memorial Drive and Capitol Avenue in downtown Atlanta.
The trooper's car hit Porter's sport utility vehicle on the passenger's side, pushing the SUV into a utility pole, police said.
Jeff Porter, his 19-year-old son David and 18-year-old Courtney Ann Williams were treated for injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital and released.
"The Braves family is deeply saddened and shocked to learn about the tragic accident today involving the family of head athletic trainer Jeff Porter and the death of his wife Kathy," the Braves said said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff and Kathy's family, their son David, and all their friends and loved ones."
Steve Bouye told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he saw the state police cruiser speeding past about 4:40 p.m., just before the crash. Bouye said he and Jeff Porter were unable to pry open the door to free Kathy Porter as she slipped in and out of consciousness.
Colts fire top execs Bill and Chris Polian
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay Monday fired longtime Vice Chairman Bill Polian and his son, General Manager Chris Polian, in a post-season shake-up.
Irsay, saying he's seeking a new direction after the Colts finished with the NFL's worst record at 2-14, announced he had dumped Bill Polian, who in 1998 selected quarterback Peyton Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Polian and Manning led the Colts to eight division titles, 11 playoff appearances and the 2006 Super Bowl championship in the intervening years.
"It was difficult," Irsay said. "[But] it was time."
Manning was unable to play this season because of a neck injury, leading the team's collapse.
"Fourteen years is a long time," Irsay said of the elder Polian. "In the end, I thought this was the best move for the franchise."
Chris Polian was let go after two years as the team's GM.
The move comes as the Colts must decide whether to stick with Manning next season or draft standout Stanford signal-caller Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the draft -- just as they did with Manning.
Spagnuolo fired as Rams head coach
ST. LOUIS, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Steve Spagnuolo was fired Monday as coach of the St. Louis Rams, who finished the 2011 season tied with Indianapolis for the worst record in the NFL.
St. Louis fell 34-27 Sunday to the San Francisco 49ers, a loss that left the Rams 2-14.
Although they had the same league-worst record as the Colts, the Rams will have the second overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft.
The Rams also fired General Manager Billy Devaney.
"I would like to personally thank Steve and Billy for their dedication to the St. Louis Rams organization over the past several seasons," Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement. "This was a difficult decision for many reasons. We have tremendous respect for Steve and Billy as people and football professionals."
St. Louis was 10-38 in three seasons with Spagnuolo as coach. The Rams went 1-15 his first year and were 7-9 in 2010 before slipping back this season, which started with six consecutive losses.