World Cup dismay for Qatar as Ecuador wins opening game
AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s first ever World Cup match ended in dismay for an overmatched team and with a place in unwanted soccer history. The controversy-laced tournament opened with Qatar getting outplayed in a 2-0 loss to Ecuador in front of 67,372 fans at Al Bayt Stadium. A host team had never lost its opening game in 92 years of soccer’s biggest event. The first World Cup in the Middle East is a chance for Qatar to showcase itself to the wider world but its soccer team couldn’t live up to the moment. Ecuador captain Enner Valencia scored both of his team’s goals in the first half.
AP Top 25: USC moves into top 5 for 1st time in 5 years
Southern California moved into the top five of The Associated Press college football poll for the first time in five years. Georgia received 62 of the 63 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 as the top four teams held their places after playing varying degrees of close games Saturday. No. 2 Ohio State received the other first-place vote. Michigan was No. 3 again, followed by TCU. The Trojans edged up two spots after a thrilling victory against rival UCLA. The last time USC was ranked in the top five was September of 2017, when it started at No. 4 but spent most of the season ranked in the teens before finishing at 12th.
Jalen Hurts’ late TD run gives Eagles 17-16 win over Colts
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jalen Hurts ran for an 8-yard touchdown with 1:20 remaining, and the Philadelphia Eagles rallied past the Indianapolis Colts 17-16. Coming off their first loss of the season, the Eagles trailed 13-3 in the fourth quarter. Hurts threw for a touchdown early in the period to get Philly within three. The third-year quarterback was 18 of 25 with 190 yards through the air and rushed 16 times for 86 yards as the Eagles won their seventh straight road game. Indianapolis never trailed until Hurts’ scoring run. Interim coach Jeff Saturday evened his record at 1-1 since taking over for the fired Frank Reich.
Bills beat Browns 31-23 after snow shifts game to Motor City
DETROIT (AP) — Josh Allen threw a go-ahead, 5-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs late in the first half and Buffalo beat the Cleveland Browns 31-23 after the NFL moved the Bills’ home game to Detroit due to several feet of snow blanketing western New York. The Bills avoided blowing a third straight halftime lead by scoring on all five of their possessions in the second half and doing a better job protecting the ball. Cleveland rallied within eight points, setting up an onside kick in the final seconds that Bills receiver Gabe Davis failed to grab and running back Taiwan Jones knocked out of bounds.
World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Qatar loses opener, US up on Day 2
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The first World Cup in the Middle East finally began Sunday night with a flashy opening ceremony and a loss by host Qatar against Ecuador. Two of the best players in the world were ruled out of the tournament with injuries before it even began. France striker Karim Benzema is out after hurting his left thigh and Senegal forward Sadio Mane has a leg injury. Monday’s matches consist of the United States against Wales, England versus Iran and the Netherlands facing Senegal. Eight of the 13 team captains of European nations have planned to wear “One Love” armbands promoting inclusivity but they could face penalties for breaking rules regarding FIFA-issued uniforms.
Patterson sets NFL record with 9th career kickoff return TD
ATLANTA (AP) — Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 103 yards to become the NFL career leader with nine touchdowns. Patterson, a 10-year veteran, caught the ball in the end zone and gathered a head of steam and outran the coverage up the middle. Matthew Adams missed a tackle attempt when he dove at Patterson’s feet, and Patterson was too fast for Elijah Hicks to catch as he approached the end zone. Patterson broke the record he shared with Joshua Cribbs and Leon Washington, each of whom had eight.
Marcus Jones’ late punt return lifts Patriots over Jets 10-3
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with 5 seconds remaining and the New England Patriots outlasted the New York Jets 10-3. The rookie’s score was the first on a punt return in the NFL this season. It was also the lone TD of the game and broke a stalemate on a day when both offenses struggled to move the ball. It was the third straight win for the Patriots and their 14th straight over New York. It denied the Jets a chance to move into first place in the AFC East. Instead New York dropped to last. The Jets haven’t won in Foxborough since the 2010 playoffs.
Tired No. 4 TCU has done its job for playoff so far at 11-0
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Sonny Dykes has a simple response for anyone who questions if the fourth-ranked Horned Frogs really deserve to be in the playoff discussion. Dykes says their job is to win football games, and they’ve done that to this point. They are 11-0 after a chaotic game-ending field goal that capped a two-score rally in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds at Baylor. Only one of their conference wins has been by more than 10 points and they had to overcome double-digit deficits after halftime in back-to-back games last month. And they’ve played nine Saturdays in a row since their open date.
Qatar opens World Cup with lavish half-hour ceremony
AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — The World Cup began in Qatar 12 years after the tiny gulf nation secured the rights. The moment was celebrated in a 30-minute, seven-act opening ceremony ahead of the match between Qatar and Ecuador. Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman and BTS vocalist Jung Kook were the slated stars of the show but the crowd was most favorable of the Middle Eastern leaders in attendance. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani drew a rousing applause when he delivered a message of inclusion in a brief speech given in Arabic. His father was also celebrated in a demonstrative autographing of an official World Cup shirt.
Boston rallies No. 1 South Carolina past No. 2 Stanford
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Bree Hall hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in overtime, Aliyah Boston overcame early foul trouble to score 14, and No. 1 and defending champion South Carolina rallied past second-ranked Stanford 76-71 in an early-season showdown. Victaria Saxton missed both free throws with 24.3 seconds left but a jump ball moments later gave possession to the Gamecocks. Stanford got another chance with 10 seconds left after Agnes Emma-Nnopu’s steal but Haley Jones couldn’t get the ball inbounds before a 5-second violation. The Gamecocks are 4-0.