Oct 22, 2021 12:14 PM

Sports Headlines for Friday

Posted Oct 22, 2021 12:14 PM

Here is the latest Mid-America sports news from The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) β€” Chiefs coaches and athletic trainers occasionally force Travis Kelce to take a limited role in practice, just as they did this week as the team prepares to visit the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. It's usually the last thing the 32-year-old tight end wants to do. There's no doubt Kelce will take the field on Sunday against the Titans, yet his career hardly started as an NFL iron man. He played just one game as a rookie in 2013 without a catch before a microfracture knee surgery ended his season. Since then, Kelce has played 116 games while sitting out just twice – season finales in 2017 and 2020 when head coach Andy Reid rested his starters. He's also made a catch in each of those 116 games.  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) β€” The Kansas City Chiefs are in catch-up mode sitting at the bottom of the AFC West they've won the past five seasons. The Tennessee Titans have an opportunity to prove they're a team to be reckoned with in the AFC. Now the Chiefs visit Tennessee on Sunday in the first game since Kansas City beat the Titans in January 2020 for the first of back-to-back AFC championships. Titans quarterback says that was two years ago and they're not to get hung up on that loss. Tennessee has won four of five. The Chiefs are 1-3 against AFC teams this season. 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) β€” Tensions are high in NASCAR as the season races toward next month's championship finales. Drivers are pushing hard and and tempers are rising. Chase Briscoe and Denny Hamlin had a terse exchange on social media this week over the race in Texas. It brings up key questions: Should non-playoff drivers move out of the way of title contenders? Are drivers taking too many risks trying to make it to the championship round? The Xfinity and Cup series are in Kansas this weekend.

UNDATED (AP) β€” No. 8 Oklahoma State has proved it can win close games and recent history indicates the Cowboys will play another one Saturday when they visit Iowa State. Each of the last six meetings has been decided by seven points or less with the Cowboys winning all but one. Four of their six wins this season have been by eight points or less. Coach Mike Gundy says his unbeaten Cowboys don't have the type of team that is going to blow out any opponent. Iowa State has posted two straight convincing wins over Kansas and Kansas State.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) β€” Texas Tech is looking for consecutive wins in Big 12 games for the first time under third-year coach Matt Wells when Kansas State visits Saturday. The Red Raiders have done it just once the past five years. The Wildcats have won nine of the past 10 in the series but are on an eight-game losing streak in league games going back to last season. That's the longest skid since Kansas State joined the Big 12 in 1996.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) β€” Missouri's top four scorers have left with Dru Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon graduating, Xavier Pinson transferring to LSU and Mark Smith heading across the border to Kansas State. Drew Buggs also entered the transfer portal. That left Kobe Brown and Javon Pickett as the only Tigers who played regular minutes last year. Coach Cuonzo Martin has fortified his roster with Kansas State transfer Dajuan Gordon and three other Division I transfers along with a loaded freshman class. The hope now is they come together quickly for a tough nonconference schedule.

UNDATED (AP) β€” Fifth-ranked Ohio State plays at Indiana on Saturday in one of the top games in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have the No. 1 offense in the country and their defense is picking up steam. No. 25 Purdue has its first ranking since 2007 and will match its conference-best passing offense against visiting Wisconsin's the top pass defense. Sixth-ranked Michigan will host Northwestern. The Wolverines have won 11 of the last 12 against the Wildcats. No. 7 Penn State has not named a starter for its home game against Illinois. Maryland is a 4 1/2-point underdog at Minnesota. 

UNDATED (AP) β€” Eight-ranked and undefeated Oklahoma State is preparing to play an Iowa State team that began this season in the top 10. The Cyclones then lost at home to Iowa before dropping their Big 12 opener at Baylor. They could still get back in position to make their second Big 12 championship game in a row. A win over Oklahoma State would provide a big boost. Both the Cyclones and Cowboys still have to play third-ranked and six-time defending champ Oklahoma. In other Big 12 games this week, Oklahoma is at Kansas; West Virginia goes to TCU; and Kansas State visits Texas Tech. 

NLCS-DODGERS/BRAVES

Dodgers stay alive

UNDATED (AP) β€” The Los Angeles Dodgers are still alive in the NL Championship Series after snapping out of their hitting funk while getting an outstanding performance from six relievers.

Chris Taylor slammed three home runs and drove in six as the Dodgers clobbered the Braves, 11-2 in Game 5, sending the series back to Atlanta. Taylor belted two-run homers in the second and fifth innings before delivering a solo shot. He overshadowed teammate AJ Pollock, who provided a solo shot and a three-run blast.

Taylor had four of the Dodgers' 17 hits, while Pollock, Trea Turner and Cody Bellinger had three apiece.

The LA bullpen limited Atlanta to three runs while striking out nine over 8 1/3 innings. Dodgers relievers allowed their team to rebound after starter Joe Kelly left with an injury in the first inning, shortly after giving up a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman.

Losing pitcher Max Fried (freed) was lifted with two out in the fifth, charged with five runs and eight hits.

Game 6 is Saturday in Atlanta.

Braves slugger Jorge Soler (soh-LEHR') struck out as a pinch-hitter after being cleared for COVID-19.

Dodgers infielder Justin Turner is done for the season following a hamstring injury sustained in Wednesday's loss.

ALCS-ASTROS/RED SOX

Game 6 starters announced

HOUSTON (AP) β€” It will be Luis Garcia starting for the Astros against Boston's Nathan Eovaldi (eh-VAHL'-dee) in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Friday.

Astros manager Dusty Baker announced his pitching selection Thursday afternoon as his team holds a three-games-to-two lead in the series. GarcΓ­a started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee.

NBA-SCHEDULE

Hawks blast Mavs in season opener

UNDATED (AP) β€” The Atlanta Hawks have begun their season in much the same manner they ended the previous regular season.

Cam Reddish scored 20 points and Trae Young added 19 in the Hawks' 113-87 rout of Luka Doncic (LOO'-kah DAHN-chihch) and the Mavericks. Atlanta added to a seven-point, halftime lead by outscoring Dallas, 35-20 in the third quarter. Young scored 12 points and dished out nine assists in the decisive period.

Reddish led a stellar effort from the deep Hawks bench, which contributed 44 points.

Doncic was held to 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting, to go along with 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Checking out the rest of the NBA action:

β€” Tyler Herro (HEE'-roh) scored 27 points in 24 minutes off the bench as the Heat blew out the Bucks, 137-95. Miami took control for good by outscoring the defending NBA champs, 40-17 in the first quarter. Bam Adebayo (ad-eh-BY'-oh) provided 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Jimmy Butler chipped in 21 points.

β€” Stephen Curry hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds remaining as part of his 45-point performance in the Warriors' 115-113 triumph over the Clippers. Damion Lee hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:55 remaining and scored 11 points off the bench for Golden State. Paul George had 29 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the Clippers' season opener.

NBA-TOP 75 TEAM

NBA completes announcement of Top-75 team

UNDATED (AP) β€” The NBA's 75th Anniversary Team team is actually a 76-man roster following a tie in the voting.

The list of newcomers announced Thursday include Dominique Wilkins and Bob McAdoo, who were curiously left off the top-50 team 25 years ago.

The other newcomers announced on Thursday are Dennis Rodman, Ray Allen, Dwyane (dwayn) Wade, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton and Paul Pierce, along with Stephen Curry, Reggie Miller, Kawhi (kah-WY') Leonard, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

NBA-CHINA

After Kanter's Tibet comments, Celtics blacked out in China

UNDATED (AP) β€” Chinese broadcaster and NBA partner Tencent is not showing current or archived Boston Celtics games on its platforms, in apparent response to comments that Celtics center Enes Kanter made to advocate Tibetan independence.

Kanter, as part of a series of social media posts, also called Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) a "dictator."

Kanter was wearing shoes emblazoned with the words "Free Tibet" during Wednesday night's game.

It's not immediately clear how long Tencent's plans to not air the Celtics would last.

NFL-BROWNS/BRONCOS

Browns backups lead win over slumping Broncos

CLEVELAND (AP) β€” The Cleveland Browns put together just enough offense with quarterback Baker Mayfield and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt out with calf injuries.

Third-string back D'Ernest Johnson rushed for 146 yards in guiding the Browns' offense in a 17-14 victory over Denver. Johnson scored on a 4-yard run in the first half and picked up 52 yards on seven carries as the Browns chewed up the final 5:17.

Case Keenum threw for a TD and was 21 of 33 for 199 yards in his first start in two years.

Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a pair of TD passes and gutted it out while playing with foot and quadriceps injuries. He finished 23 of 33 for 187 yards with one interception.

The Broncos finished the game without linebacker Von Miller because of a sprained ankle.

The Browns improved to 4-3, while the Broncos dropped their fourth in a row since a 3-0 start.

NFL-PACKERS-MERCILUS

Packers sign Mercilus

UNDATED (AP) β€” The Green Bay Packers have signed veteran outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus in hopes of boosting not only their pass rush but their championship hopes.

A first-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2012, Mercilus had 57 sacks in nine-plus seasons. He has three sacks this season, but only one season of eight-plus sacks.

The Texans released the 31-year-old this week.

Elsewhere around the NFL:

β€” Wide receiver/return specialist Andre Roberts signed with the Chargers after being released earlier this week by the Texans. Roberts is in his 11th season and is one of the league's top kick and punt returns.

β€” Former Cowboys offensive lineman Brandon Knight says he's taking a break from football to address his mental health. Knight went from the Cowboys to Baltimore via waivers this week, but he did not report to the Ravens.

β€” A Congressional committee is seeking documents and information from the NFL regarding the investigation into the Washington Football Team and how the league handled it. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said today it sent a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell requesting by Nov. 4 all documents and communication about the probe into the workplace culture within the team. Lawyers representing 40 former employees of the Washington Football Team have urged the league to immediately release the full findings of the investigation.

NHL-SCHEDULE

Cats still perfect after beating Avs

UNDATED (AP) β€” The Florida Panthers are 4-0 for the first time in team history.

Sam Bennett scored the go-ahead goal and Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF'-skee) recorded his 300th NHL win as the Panthers dumped the Avalanche, 4-1. Bennett's power-play goal put the Panthers ahead 2-1 midway through the second period.

Anton Lundell (luhn-DEHL') had a goal and an assist for Florida, which also received goals from Carter Verhaeghe (vur-HAY'-gee) and Sam Reinhart.

Elsewhere on NHL ice:

β€” Jesperi Kotkaniemi (kaht-kan-YEH'-mee) scored his first goal for Carolina in his return to Montreal, helping the Hurricanes beat the winless Canadiens, 4-1. Sebastian Aho (AH'-hoh) had two goals and an assist against the Habs, who are 0-5 just months after reaching the Stanley Cup Final.

β€” Daniel Sprong set up the Capitals' first goal and scored on a second-period breakaway to lead a 4-1 victory over the Devils. Evgeny Kuznetsov (kooz-NEHT'-sahv) scored for the third time in two games for Washington, which also received goals from Anthony Mantha and Dmitry Orlov in improving to 3-0-1.

β€” The Blue Jackets pulled out a 3-2 win over the Islanders on Patrik Laine's (LY'-nayz) goal 1:49 into overtime. Elvis Merzlikins (murz-LEE'-kihns) made 28 saves as Columbus improved to 3-1.

— Alexis Lafrenière (ah-LEX'-ee lah-frehn-YEHR') furnished the tiebreaking goal with 9:07 remaining in the third period of the Rangers' 3-1 verdict over the Predators. Filip Chytil (HEE'-tul) and Barclay Goodrow (GOO'-droh) also scored and Igor Shesterkin (shehs-TUR'-kihn) made 28 saves in New York's third win in a row.

β€” The Flames blanked the Red Wings, 3-0 as Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves in his ninth career shutout. Erik Gudbranson set up second-period goals by Elias (eh-LEE'-uhs) Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane (mahn-jah-PAH'-nee) before Matthew Tkachuk pushed a shot into an empty net.

β€” Jason Dickinson, Tanner Pearson and Brock Boeser (BEH'-sur) each scored their first goals of the season to help the Canucks defeat the winless Blackhawks, 4-1. Thatcher Demko made 29 saves and Conor Garland added an empty-netter with 1:02 left to secure Vancouver's first victory in four games.

β€” Logan Couture (koo-TOOR') and Kevin Labanc scored in the second period of the Sharks' 2-1 win over the Senators. James Reimer finished with 30 saves for the 3-0 Sharks.

β€” The Jets got their first win of the season as Kyle Connor scored twice and added an assist in a 5-1 downing of the Ducks. Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and assist as Winnipeg won while top forwards Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele (SHY'-flee) were in COVID-19 protocol.

β€” Connor McDavid went over the 200-goal threshold for his career by scoring twice in Edmonton's 5-1 thumping of the Coyotes. Zach Hyman also tallied twice for the 4-0 Oilers.

NHL-NEWS

Devils' Hughes has shoulder dislocation

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) β€” Devils forward Jack Hughes is sidelined indefinitely with a dislocated left shoulder suffered in Tuesday's game against Seattle.

The Devils say the top pick in the 2019 NHL draft has begun physical therapy and will not need surgery at this time.

The team says Hughes will be re-evaluated next week.

TOP 25 FOOTBALL-SMU/TULANE

Mustangs hammer Green Wave

DALLAS (AP) β€” SMU has continued its perfect start to the season.

Tanner Mordecai leads the nation with 29 touchdown passes after tossing three more to lead the 21st-ranked Mustangs to a 55-26 romp over Tulane. Mordecai had 300 of his career-high 427 yards by halftime.

The Mustangs are a victory away from their second 8-0 start in the past three seasons as they get ready to play three of the next four games on the road, a stretch that ends with a trip to No. 2 Cincinnati.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL-CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT

American Athletic Conference rebuilding with 6 C-USA schools

UNDATED (AP) β€” The American Athletic Conference will add UAB, Texas-San Antonio, Rice, North Texas, Charlotte and Florida Atlantic to the league.

The AAC is replacing three schools that are scheduled to depart for the Big 12 Conference and is growing to 14 teams.

The additions all come from Conference USA, leaving that league both searching for new members and trying to fend off other poachers. The Sun Belt has said it is interested in expanding beyond its current 10 football members and some of C-USA's remaining eight schools would be geographic fits.

PGA-ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

Iwata carries lead into Round 2

CHIBA, Japan (AP) β€” Japanese golfer Hiroshi Iwata topped the leaderboard heading into the second round of the PGA's Zozo Championship.

Iwata fired a 7-unduer 63 that gives him a one-stroke lead over Joaquin Niemann and 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama on the Narashino Country Club course.

Matt Wallace is two strokes back and one ahead of Brendan Steele.

LPGA-SOUTH KOREA

Ko's LPGA streak ends as SKoreans pack Busan leaderboard

BUSAN, South Korea (AP) β€” Jin Young Ko missed extending an LPGA Tour scoring record in the rain while her South Korean compatriots packed the first-round leaderboard of the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

Ko had 14 straight rounds in the 60s. That tied her with Annika Sorenstam and So Yeon Ryu for the most in tour history. But Ko finished with a 1-under 71 after a birdie on the 18th hole at LPGA International Busan. Ko was seven strokes behind leader Na Rin An's 64.

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