Vikings visit San Francisco, Baltimore hosts Tennessee
UNDATED (AP) — This weekend’s NFL divisional playoffs are getting underway in San Francisco, where the Minnesota Vikings will try to follow up last week's wild-card win at New Orleans by beating the top-seeded 49ers.
The Vikings haven't won two playoff games in the same season since 1987 when they won at New Orleans and San Francisco before losing the NFC championship game to Washington. Minnesota is trying to become the ninth team to win back-to-back playoff games vs. teams with 13-plus wins in regular season.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen (THEE’-len) is active for the game despite being listed as questionable with an ankle injury. The inactive players for Minnesota are safety Jayron Kearse, receiver Alexander Hollins, defensive tackle Hercules Mata'afa, defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, guard Dru Samia, tackle Oli Udoh and tackle Aviante Collins.
For San Francisco, linebacker Kwon Alexander, safety Jaquiski Tartt and defensive end Dee Ford are all active after missing significant time down the stretch of the season with injuries. Inactive are quarterback C.J. Beathard, running back Jeff Wilson Jr., receiver Jordan Matthews, tight end Daniel Helm, defensive back Dontae Johnson, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and defensive lineman Kevin Givens.
The top-seeded Baltimore Ravens have home-field advantage and Lamar Jackson on their side when they open their playoff run against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. The Ravens bring a 12-game winning streak and the most productive offense in the NFL into the game following a bye last week. The Titans advanced by beating New England 20-13 in the wild-card round. Tennessee's hope of pulling off another upset rests upon keeping Jackson in check. Jackson ran for 1,206 yards and threw 36 touchdown passes in the regular season. Tennessee will counter with NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry. He throttled the Patriots for 182 yards on the ground.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-FCS CHAMPIONSHIP
North Dakota St. wins 8th FCS title 28-20 over James Madison
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Redshirt freshman quarterback Trey Lance ran for 166 yards, with a clutch 44-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter, and North Dakota State held on to claim its eighth FCS national championship with a 28-20 win over James Madison on Saturday.
James Hendricks had an interception at the goal line in the final seconds for the 16-0 Bison, who stretched their FCS-record winning streak to 37 in a row and completed the first 16-win season in any division since Yale in 1894.
The Bison won their eighth FCS championship in nine years, after five NCAA Division II national titles between 1983-90.
James Madison finished 14-2. The Dukes won the national title three years ago, but have since lost in the title game twice to NDSU.
Wake Forest QB Newman transferring to Georgia for final year
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — With Jake Fromm heading to the NFL, quarterback Jamie Newman announced Saturday he will transfer to Georgia from Wake Forest for his final college season.
Newman is coming off his first full year as the Demon Deacons' starter. He completed 60.9% of his passes for 2,868 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also rushed for 574 yards and six TDs.
Wake Forest finished 8-5, losing to Michigan State in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Newman took over as the starter for the final four games of the 2018 season after Sam Hartman went down with a broken leg. He led the Demon Deacons to a 3-1 record.
Fromm announced plans to enter the NFL draft a week after leading the Bulldogs to a 26-14 victory over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Baylor beats Kansas, snapping a slew of losing streaks
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Jared Butler scored 22 points, MaCio Teague added 16 and fourth-ranked Baylor smothered No. 3 Kansas 67-55 in the Bears’ first victory at Lawrence in 18 tries.
The Bears also beat a top-five team on the road for the first time in 22 attempts, won their fifth consecutive game against a ranked team for the first time in school history and, perhaps most importantly, beat Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since the building opened in 1966.
Isaiah Moss led the Jayhawks with 15 points.
In other top-25 games:
— No. 5 Auburn routed Georgia 82-60 to raise its record to 15-0, getting 17 points from Samir Doughty and strong play from the bench. Auburn surged with a 40-13 run after falling behind, a stretch that extended into the second half. Auburn got hot and the Bulldogs cooled down. Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards struggled with his shooting but still scored 18 points.
— Rob Phinisee gave Indiana's offense the early jolt it needed and Devonte Green finished strong to help Indiana hold off No. 11 Ohio State 66-54. Green had 19 points Saturday and Phinisee wound up with 13 in his first start of the season. Indiana took control with a 12-0 run late in the second half and the Buckeyes never recovered. The Hoosiers have won two straight. Ohio State lost its fourth in a row and got 15 points from Andre Wesson.
— Immanuel Quickley scored the game's final five points and finished with 19, Ashton Hagans had 15 with big 3 late and No. 14 Kentucky topped Alabama 76-67 for its 1,000th Southeastern Conference victory. The Wildcats led by 15 early in the second half on Saturday before a cold stretch allowed the Crimson Tide to climb within 63-60 with just over five minutes remaining. Quickley nailed a 3 from the right corner with 4:33 left before adding another with a minute left, followed by two free throws. Herbert Jones had 18 points and John Petty Jr. 16 for the Crimson Tide.
— Obi Toppin scored 16 points before leaving with an ankle injury early in the second half as 15th-ranked Dayton got a scare while pulling away to an 88-60 victory over UMass. Toppin got tangled with Samba Diallo and went down hard in the second half, grabbing his left ankle. Toppin walked off with a slight limp as he headed for the locker room. He returned to the bench with a protective boot on the foot. Dayton improved to 14-2 overall and 3-0 in the Atlantic 10. Tre Mitchell scored 16 for UMass, which fell to 7-9 and 1-2.
— Saddiq Bey hit eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points to lead No. 16 Villanova to an 80-66 win over Georgetown on Saturday. Bey finished 10 of 15 from the floor and made five free throws. Qudus Wahab led the Hoyas with 13 points. The Hoyas missed 11 of 16 3s. Bey carried the Wildcats early as they coasted
Boeser scores twice in Canucks' 6-3 win over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen scored 1:24 apart in the third period, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 on Saturday.
Boeser had two goals and Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller also scored for Vancouver, which had dropped consecutive games by a combined 14-4. Loui Eriksson had an empty-netter, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots to improve to 7-1 in his past eight games.
Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons and Brandon Montour scored for Buffalo, which continued its midseason slide by dropping to 3-8-1 in its past 12.
Sabres goalie Carter Hutton finished with 29 saves in his first appearance in nine games. Hutton dropped to 0-7-4 in his past 11 starts, a stretch in which he has allowed four or more goals six times. He is 6-7-4 on the season, with his last victory a 25-save performance in a 4-3 overtime win over San Jose on Oct. 22.
Gardner, Yankees finalize $12.5M, 1-year contract
UNDATED (AP) — Outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees finalized his $12.5 million, one-year contract on Saturday.
New York agreed to the deal Dec. 13 during the winter meetings, and the 36-year-old took a physical on Tuesday.
His addition, following last month's $324 million, nine-year contract with pitcher Gerrit Cole, raised the Yankees' projected luxury tax payroll to about $248 million — the threshold where the highest luxury tax rate starts.
Gardner gets a $2 million signing bonus and an $8 million salary for next season. The Yankees have a $10 million option for 2021 with a $2.5 million buyout.
New York opened a roster spot by designating left-hander Stephen Tarpley for assignment.
In other MLB news:
— Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer says he is ready to go for spring training and started throwing in preparation for the new season right on New Year's Day. That's his usual routine. Scherzer said he could tell while playing catch two weeks after the season ended that he was fully recovered from the neck problem that forced him to delay a World Series start. He also had an MRI that he said was clean, too. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said at the team's fan festival that he recently met with Ryan Zimmerman but wouldn't reveal anything about their discussion.