Gilyard's big plays outshine Tebow in Senior Bowl
Former Cincinnati star Mardy Gilyard turned in an awfully strong audition in Saturday's Senior Bowl, racking up 103 yards receiving and catching a 32-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to help the North race to a 31-13 victory over the South.
"All my hard work just kind of came into one game," an exuberant Gilyard said. "I'm truly blessed. I worked my butt off and I played my butt off. I've been through so much in my career. ...
"I've been from the brown sticky stuff at the bottom of the barrel to the cream at the top of the coffee."
In 2006, an academically ineligible Gilyard lost his scholarship and had to take jobs ranging from cutlery salesman to construction worker to pay his steep out-of-state tuition bills. He eventually won back his scholarship.
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, meanwhile, had a shaky outing running a pro-style offense against a sturdy defense.
He fumbled twice and finished 8-for-12 passing for 50 yards in the showcase for senior NFL prospects. Tebow's longest completion was 11 yards and he netted 4 yards on four rushes, but was never turned loose as a power runner as he often was with the Gators. He battled strep throat early but didn't miss any practice time during a week when he was trying to prove to skeptical NFL teams and draft analysts that he could be a starting pro quarterback.
"I think I'm definitely open to improving my fundamentals," Tebow said. "I think I definitely showed that by being here. If you just watched the way I played, you could see there is room for improvement and what I need to work on."
Michigan defensive lineman Brandon Graham had two sacks and a forced fumble and was chosen the game's Most Valuable Player. The South committed six turnovers.
Gilyard returned two kicks for 52 yards and gained 24 on two punt returns. He was chosen offensive player of the game while Mississippi State's Jamar Chaney earned defensive honors.
Alabama players accounted for all of the South's points. Zac Robinson hit tight end Colin Peek for a 19-yard touchdown and Leigh Tiffin booted field goals of 43 and 33 yards.
Imada takes two-shot lead
Ryuji Imada, a runner-up at Torrey Pines two years ago, has a much better opportunity this time. He won't be starting the final round 12 shots behind, or trying to catch up to Tiger Woods.
Imada avoided the trouble that caught up with so many other contenders Saturday in San Diego, making only one bogey and escaping with several key pars for a 2-under 70 that gave him a two-shot lead over Ben Crane and Michael Sim in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Imada was at 13-under 203 and will be in the final group with Crane (69) and Sim (70), the 25-year-old Australian playing Torrey Pines for the first time since he was a teenager at the Junior World Championship in 2002.
Phil Mickelson lost a ball in a eucalyptus tree and took double bogey, then rallied for a 70 and was four shots behind. U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover made double bogey on one of the easiest par 4s, then followed with four birdies for a 68, leaving him three shots behind going into Sunday.
D.A. Points, who shared the lead with Imada after two rounds, kept pace until he chipped over the 14th green and into the hazard, scrambling for a double bogey. He had a 74, although he was still in the mix.
England's Paul Casey shot a 6-under 66 for a share of the Qatar Masters lead with Wales' Bradley Dredge in Doha, Qatar. Dredge had a 70 to match Casey at 10-under 206. England's Lee Westwood (70) was a stroke back, and Sweden's Robert Karlsson (70) and Australia's Brett Rumford (73) were 8 under.
American Robert Gates shot a 4-under 68 to take a three-stroke lead in the Nationwide Tour's season-opening New Zealand Open in Queenstown, New Zealand. Gates, the 6-foot-6 former Texas A&M player making his Nationwide Tour debut, had a 16-under 200 total in the event also sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Mickelson upset about being 'slandered'
Phil Mickelson is upset about being "publicly slandered" with accusations of cheating. He is suggesting that unless the PGA Tour steps in, he might let others handle it. Mickelson did not mention Scott McCarron by name in his interviews Saturday at Torrey Pines. It was McCarron who was quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle as saying about Mickelson using the Ping-Eye 2 wedge, "It's cheating, and I'm appalled Phil has put it in play."
Mickelson says he expects the Ping wedges with square grooves, which are approved because of a legal settlement, to be a topic of discussion. But he says when it leads to a player being slandered, the tour needs to step in — "or someone else."
Asked if he was considering a lawsuit, Mickelson declined to get into specifics.
Ex-Eagles star Tom Brookshier dies
Tom Brookshier, an All-Pro defensive back who played on the Philadelphia Eagles' 1960 championship team, has died. He was 78. The Eagles said that Brookshier had cancer and died Friday night.
Brookshier had 20 interceptions in seven seasons with the team, earning All-Pro honors in 1959 and 1960. Eagles Hall of Famer chuck Bednarik called him a leader on the field and in the locker room, and said Brookshier "might have been the toughest defensive back of our era." "He was a hitter," Bednarik said. "We've lost one of the great Eagles of all time."
After he retired, Brookshier announced NFL games with Pat Summerall for CBS. He is one of seven Eagles to have his number retired. "Tom Brookshier will be missed by his friends, colleagues and admirers," CBS Sports president Sean McManus said. "His voice and his style will forever be part of the history of sports television and proudly recognized in the foundation and the future of CBS Sports."
Tennis women win first indoor match
In its first win of the indoor season, the University of Kentucky women's tennis team (1-2) defeated Alabama (2-1) 4-3 Saturday at the ITA Kick-off Weekend in Atlanta. Megan Broderick, Caroline Lilley, Christine Johnston and Minnette Pienaar won singles matches for Kentucky, which will play tournament host Georgia Tech at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the championship round.
Logan Fox led the Kentucky rifle team to a 4616-4604 win over Nebraska on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. Fox, shooting on the first team for the Wildcats (8-3), shot a 584 in air rifle, with Ashley Jackson leading the team with a 587 in air rifle. In smallbore, Tom Csenge had a team-best 577, with Jackson totaling a 576.
Behind a gutsy performance by Alex Musialek, who played with severe leg cramps the entire third set, the No. 14 Kentucky men's tennis team defeated No. 41 Michigan 4-2 on Saturday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. UK advances to the championship match of ITA Kickoff Weekend on Sunday. The Wildcats (3-1) will play No. 16 Wake Forest (1-0) at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The last word
President Barack Obama provided about seven minutes of nationally televised hoops commentary in the second half of Saturday's Duke-Georgetown matchup. CBS aired tape of Obama playing a pickup basketball game during the 2008 presidential campaign, including a missed left-handed layup. That prompted announcer Verne Lundquist to ask Obama if he has problems dribbling to his right. Obama joked:
"I went to the Republican House caucus just yesterday to prove that I could go to my right once in a while."