Offense, big plays rule day in AFC's Pro Bowl victory
Thanks to the Pro Bowl, the scoreboard in Miami is all warmed up for the Super Bowl. Long gains were the rule and hard hitting was the exception Sunday night as the AFC all-stars beat the NFC 41-34.
Light showers fell for much of the game, stirring memories of a rainy Super Bowl in Miami three years ago, but the weather failed to slow either offense. The AFC's Matt Schaub and the NFC's Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes each, and DeSean Jackson caught two scoring passes for the NFC.
From the standpoint of ticket sales, this year's new venue and slot on the NFL calendar was a success. The crowd of 70,697 was the largest for a Pro Bowl since 1959 in Los Angeles.
Spectators included Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and other Pro Bowl players from the Super Bowl teams. Manning and the Indianapolis Colts will face Brees and the New Orleans Saints on the same field next Sunday in the biggest game of the season.
Nearly 40 percent of the players originally selected for the game didn't play. One of the AFC replacements, David Garrard, threw for 183 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown to Vincent Jackson.
Schaub went 13-for-17 for 189 yards and was chosen the game's most valuable player. DeSean Jackson scored on a 7-yard pass from Rodgers and a 58-yard pass from Donovan McNabb, his regular quarterback with the Eagles.
There were plenty of other big plays. Joshua Cribbs caught a punt at the goal line and returned it 65 yards for the AFC. Rodgers hit Steve Smith for a 48-yard score. LaMarr Woodley's 64-interception return for a touchdown was negated because the AFC had 12 men on the field.
Alexander, Akers on All-Decade team
Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady joined two-time selections Willie Roaf, Larry Allen and Warren Sapp among the 53 players announced Sunday as members of the NFL's All-Decade team. Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy were selected as the best coaches of the decade. Roaf, Allen and Sapp were also part of the 1990s team.
Former Boone County star Shaun Alexander was one of four runningbacks named, along with Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James and LaDainian Tomlinson. David Akers, who played for Tates Creek and the University of Louisville, and Adam Vinatieri were the kickers.
■ Former Murray State coach Matt Griffin accepted a position as an offensive assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Four-star QB commits to play at WKU
The Bradenton Herald reported that Brion Carnes, a quarterback at Manatee High School in Florida, said he has committed to play at Western Kentucky. The newspaper reported that Carnes, a four-star prospect and the seventh-best "dual threat" QB in the nation according to Rivals.com, had verbally committed to play at South Florida but had his scholarship offer withdrawn by the school's new coaching staff. Carnes, who picked the Hilltoppers over Nebraska, has a connection to new Western Kentucky Coach Willie Taggart, who also played at Manatee. Carnes threw for 2,245 yards and 24 touchdowns last year and helped the Hurricanes go 13-2 and reach the state finals for the first time since Taggart did so in 1993.
Men's tennis advances to ITA Indoors
Junior Alberto Gonzalez's come-from-behind victory gave Kentucky its decisive point in a 4-3 victory against Wake Forest on Sunday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. With the win, Kentucky advances to the Intercollegiate Tennis Associations Indoor Championships for the first time since 2005. The tournament will be held at Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 12-15.
Gonzalez dropped the first set against Wake Forest's Danny Kreyman, but rallied for a 6-7 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2 win. "We really felt like Alberto Gonzalez stepped up his level of play this weekend posting big wins for us," UK Coach Dennis Emery said. "It is the best that he has played since he has been at Kentucky."
Girls' High School basketball
Montano leads Mercy to LIT title
Therese Montano scored 13 points to go with six rebounds and four assists to lead Mercy, ranked No. 3 in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, past No. 2 Manual 57-56 in the finals of the Louisville Invitational Tournament at Bellarmine University. Montano, who was named MVP of the tournament, was aided by Julliann Miller's 11 points and Malisa Cruz's eight points and six rebounds. Macheal Guess led Manual with 12 points and six rebounds.
Former Thoroughblades part of trade
The Toronto Maple Leafs shook up their struggling club, acquiring defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the Calgary Flames in a seven-player deal Sunday and swapping goalies with Anaheim to get former Kentucky Thoroughblade Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Along with Phaneuf, Toronto received Keith Aulie and Fredrik Sjostrom from Calgary in exchange for Ian White, Matt Stajan, Nick Hagman and Jamal Mayers. The Maple Leafs also traded goalie Vesa Toskala, who also played for the Thoroughblades, and Jason Blake to Anaheim for Giguere, who became an expensive backup after the Ducks signed Jonas Hiller to a four-year extension.
■ Egypt won the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament for the third straight time Sunday after substitute Mohamed Gedo scored in the 85th minute for a 1-0 victory over Ghana at Luanda, Angola. Gedo curled in a shot from within the area to give Egypt its record seventh title. No other team has won the tournament three consecutive times.
The last word
Yahoo! Sports's Jason King recently wrote an article about college players and their families' relationships with their coaches. The story included Tywanna Patterson and how she told her son, Patrick Patterson, to deal with former Kentucky Coach Billy Gillispie, who was berating him during a game at Rupp Arena last season. King said Tywanna Patterson yelled from her seat:
"Don't let him yell at you like that. You yell at him. He's the one who's messing up."