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Kenny Football: Hill surpasses Manziel's mark

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Kenny Hill broke Johnny Manziel's single-game passing record with 511 yards and No. 21 Texas A&M beat No. 9 South Carolina 52-28 on Thursday night, ending the Gamecocks' 18-game home win streak.

Hill's performance in his first career start proved there is plenty of life in the Aggies' offense without Manziel, a Heisman Trophy winner and first-round selection in the NFL draft. Hill finished 44 of 60 with three touchdowns.

Hill was steady and confident in the pocket, leading Texas A&M (1-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) to a 31-14 halftime lead and finishing up with the most passing yards allowed in Steve Spurrier's 10 seasons with the Gamecocks (0-1, 0-1).

The Gamecocks played their first game since the departure of star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney - and it showed. South Carolina gave up seven TDs on A&Ms first 11 possessions.

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:48:00 +0000
USC backup RB quits, coach refutes racism claims

LOS ANGELES (AP) Running back Anthony Brown has quit Southern California's football team, and coach Steve Sarkisian was stunned Thursday by Brown's apparent accusations of racism against him on social media.

A photo of the words "Couldn't play for a racist man!!!!" was posted on what USC said was Brown's Instagram account. The posting was later deleted.

"Sark treated me like a slave in his Office," was posted in the caption to the photo, along with the hashtag "Fighton."

Sarkisian was told about the apparent posts from Brown, who is black, shortly after USC finished practice Thursday. The visibly disturbed coach called them "ridiculous," saying Brown had shown no indication he felt slighted or insulted in their relationship.

"If you ask anybody in our building, any of our players ... that's about the furthest thing from the truth," Sarkisian said. "Quite honestly, I'm shocked."

Brown's acrimonious departure is another blow to a program already reeling from the bizarre saga of cornerback Josh Shaw, who was caught in a lie about the circumstances in which he sprained both of his ankles last weekend. Shaw has been suspended indefinitely.

Brown is a senior who played cornerback for the Trojans until this year, starting two games in each of his first three seasons. He played in only two games last year due to ankle injuries, racking up nine tackles at Notre Dame before missing the final eight games.

He switched positions to running back for his senior year, but Brown missed most of training camp with a hyperextended elbow.

"I had encouraged him to play," Sarkisian said. "I wanted him to play. I didn't want him to quit, and I thought he could get healthy."

Sarkisian said Brown asked the coaches to allow him to play running back this season, and the staff agreed with his move to a talent-rich position at Tailback U. After missing most of camp, he is listed sixth on USC's depth chart behind returning starters Javorius Allen and Tre Madden, as well as talented backups including Justin Davis.

"We thought he could be an asset to our team, especially when healthy," Sarkisian said. "(USC) really tried to make it a point to accommodate the position change. He wanted to move to running back. We did so. He unfortunately got injured and was working his way back in training camp, and decided he didn't want to play anymore."

Several current Trojans and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart immediately jumped on social media to defend Sarkisian. The first-year USC coach and former Trojans assistant hasn't even appeared on the Coliseum sideline this season before dealing with another dose of the turmoil that seems to follow this vaunted program.

"Coach Sark is who we all believe him to be," USC receiver George Farmer posted on his Twitter account. "Accusations like those couldn't be more untrue."

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:55:00 +0000
Giants' Petit retires 46 straight for MLB record

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) San Francisco Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit has set a major league record by retiring 46 consecutive batters.

Petit set down the first eight Colorado hitters he faced Thursday, setting the record by striking out Charlie Culberson and drawing a standing ovation at AT&T Park. That broke the mark held by Mark Buehrle with 45 in a row for the Chicago White Sox in 2009.

The streak ended when the next batter, Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles, doubled to left field.

Petit's string covered eight games, six of them in relief.

The 29-year-old journeyman from Venezuela fell one out shy of a perfect game against Arizona last September. Petit made this start in place of struggling Tim Lincecum, who was recently sent to the bullpen.

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:41:00 +0000
NFL suspends Browns star WR Gordon for 2014 season

CLEVELAND (AP) Josh Gordon's wait is over, and so is his 2014 season. Now the star wide receiver's career is in peril.

The Browns learned Wednesday that Gordon's indefinite suspension by the NFL has been upheld and he will miss at least 16 games for another violation of the league's substance abuse policy. A repeat drug offender, Gordon had appealed the penalty, hoping it would be reduced so he could play this season.

The NFL, though, came down hard on Gordon, who must now pay the price for stepping out of bounds.

The league announced that arbitrator Harold Henderson supported Gordon's yearlong suspension for marijuana use. The Pro Bowler, who was subject to more frequent testing, will begin serving his suspension immediately and the league said in its statement that his "eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season."

In the meantime, Gordon is not allowed to practice with the team, attend meetings or other club functions.

Browns general manager Ray Farmer expressed some disappointment at the decision, but said the team has no choice but to move ahead without Gordon.

"While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day to day approach," Farmer said in a statement. "Right now that is preparing our team for the 2014 season and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension."

The Browns had feared for months this would be the outcome, and now that it's official, the club will have to somehow make up for the league-leading 1,646 yards, 18.9 yards per catch and nine touchdowns Gordon produced last season.

"I'd like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans," Gordon said in a statement. "I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn't exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff."

While he's out, Gordon, who served a two-game suspension for a drug violation last season, will need to pass drug tests, comply with treatment and apply for reinstatement with Commissioner Roger Goodell before he plays again. Gordon could possibly return inside a year if he stays clean.

Gordon met with league officials in New York on Aug. 4 to appeal his suspension. As the days past, there was growing speculation he might not be punished to the letter of the collective bargaining agreement. But Henderson sided with the league's initial ruling after an exhaustive process.

The Browns have known Gordon could be banished for some time and they've been eager for a resolution to his case, which hung over their training camp. He continued to practice and played in Cleveland's first three exhibition games.

Gordon fought the suspension by hiring attorney Maurice Suh to represent him at the appeal hearing. Suh, who had successfully gotten a suspension reduced for Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, argued that Gordon tested positive for marijuana due to secondhand smoke. Gordon's representatives also said test results of his samples were inconsistent and should be thrown out.

There was speculation the league might go softer on Gordon following the public outcry after Baltimore running back Ray Rice was suspended for two games on a domestic violence charge. Instead, the league put Gordon on the sideline for all 16 games and will wait to see how he behaves before deciding whether to let him back.

Gordon didn't help his cause with two legal issues as his case dragged on. He was charged with drunken driving after his arrest in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 5. In May, he was stopped for speeding in Strongsville, Ohio, and one of the passengers in his car was cited for marijuana possession.

The talented 23-year-old led the league with 1,646 yards receiving last season despite being banned from the first two games for a failed drug test. It was his second known violation as a pro and Gordon said he had inadvertently taken codeine contained in a prescription cough syrup.

Gordon's loss is a crippling blow to Cleveland's offense, depriving the Browns of their best big-play threat. Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron is now the team's primary target, and he may find himself double-teamed and without open spaces to run routes now that Gordon is missing.

The Browns took a risk in selecting Gordon in the 2012 supplemental draft, forfeiting a second-round pick to take the speedy 6-foot-3, 225-pounder who failed at least three drug tests in college for marijuana abuse.

The team has vowed to do all it can to help and support Gordon. During training camp, owner Jimmy Haslam said the team never considered cutting him.

As he awaited word from the league, Gordon was noticeably different. He dropped passes and seemed detached during an exhibition game in Washington. Recently, he posted a photo on Instagram of himself on the practice field catching a pass from rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. Gordon captioned the photo, "Only place I can find peace."

It's been taken away.

Gordon's on his own.

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:42:00 +0000
USC's Shaw admits to lying about injuries, rescue

LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw confessed that he lied to school officials about how he sprained his ankles last weekend, retracting his story about jumping off a balcony to save his drowning nephew.

The school swiftly suspended him Wednesday from all team activities and acknowledged his heroic tale was "a complete fabrication."

The tale began to unravel soon after the team captain was lauded for his heroics in a story on the team's website Monday. In the account, Shaw described how he instinctively jumped from a balcony, with no one around, to rescue his 7-year-old nephew in a pool in his hometown of Palmdale, California. The school said a day later callers questioned the story, and began vetting it.

But the biggest question remains unanswered: What was he doing, and how did he injure his ankles?

"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. "He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story."

The Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that a man named Joshua Shaw was mentioned - but not as a suspect - in a report involving a break-in at a downtown apartment building Saturday night. The department has not made the report public.

Shaw is a fifth-year senior, a captain and a key starter in USC's defensive secondary. He is widely considered a solid teammate and an important leader for the 15th-ranked Trojans, who begin their first season under Sarkisian at the Coliseum on Saturday against Fresno State.

Shaw issued a short statement through criminal defense attorney Donald Etra on Wednesday after being suspended.

"On Saturday, August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall," Shaw said. "I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part. My USC coaches, the USC athletic department and especially Coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful."

Etra didn't respond to a request for further details about the cause of Shaw's injuries.

Shaw didn't attend practice Wednesday, missing his second straight day of workouts. Although he is barred from team activities, his injuries also would keep him out of workouts for at least a few weeks.

Shortly after Shaw's yarn was made public, the football program received phone calls contradicting Shaw's version of his injuries. Sarkisian has not said who made the calls, but the school acknowledged the discrepancies Tuesday morning and began investigating Shaw, who initially stuck to his story.

"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized," Sarkisian said. "Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."

It's unclear whether Shaw could face additional discipline from USC for lying to school officials. A USC spokesperson didn't immediately return a request for clarification about the school's student conduct policies.

Shaw and the school still haven't acknowledged any connection to the LAPD report from officers who responded to a woman screaming in a downtown apartment complex Saturday. USC is on the south end of downtown.

Officers interviewed several people at the building, and a woman told the police that someone had pried open a window, entered the third-floor apartment and fled, but nothing was taken. The woman also acknowledged "a relationship" with Shaw, according to LAPD Lt. Andy Nieman.

Sarkisian insisted the situation won't be a distraction for the Trojans, but still allowed only two of Shaw's defensive teammates to speak with the media after practice Wednesday morning.

Linebacker Hayes Pullard and defensive lineman Leonard Williams both acknowledged surprise at the situation that developed after Shaw's account was challenged, but remained supportive of their fifth-year senior captain.

"We were pretty shocked," said Williams, who hasn't spoken to Shaw. "Josh Shaw is a pretty loyal guy. I would never expect him to make up a story. I would never expect that out of him as a team leader."

Shaw's leadership and character were widely praised throughout his first two seasons of play at the school. He transferred back to his native Los Angeles area from Florida, in part to help out his ailing grandfather with the family landscaping business.

"Josh has been a great guy," Pullard said. "He has great character. I've never known him to lie about anything ... so it's surprising. This is exactly when our leadership roles come in. We talk to guys and let them know what's expected, and we'll keep us focused on our team."

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 01:58:00 +0000

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