Cincinnati Stays Perfect; NC State Holds Off UNC
The fourth-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats are finally in playoff positioning in the College Football Playoff Rankings, and they will most likely stay there for at least another week following a 35-13 rout of East Carolina on Friday night. Desmond Ridder threw two touchdown passes, helping his team complete a perfect regular season at 12-0 overall and 8-0 in conference play. The team was also sparked by the defense and special teams, including Arquon Bush blocking a field goal, which Ahmad Gardner returned 60 yards for a score. The Bearcats will now return home next week for the AAC Title Game against the Houston Cougars, hoping to become the first team outside of the Power Five conference to reach the CFP. Meanwhile, the 24th-ranked NC State Wolfpack won their rivalry game on Friday night, getting past the North Carolina Tar Heels at home, 34-30. The home team stunned the Wolfpack with two touchdowns in 26 seconds, overcoming a late 30-21 deficit to get the best of their in-state rivals. Devin Leary threw those touchdown passes for that quick turnaround, getting help from his team recovering an onside kick with 1:33 left. It was their first win over UNC since 2018, keeping their hopes alive of reaching the conference championship game, while also officially eliminating six-time reigning champion Clemson from that picture.
Other key scores saw the 16th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes hang on for a 28-21 win over Nebraska, who have all eight of their conference losses come by single digits. Cameron Rising threw three touchdown passes, helping 19th-ranked Utah to a 28-13 win over Colorado, sending them to the Pac-12 Title Game. The 21st-ranked San Diego State Aztechs rallied from a late deficit to get past Boise State, 27-16, and move to 11-1 on the season. And the 25th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks took care of Missouri, 34-17, to end the season 8-4, good for their best season since 2011.
SMU's Sonny Dykes to Coach TCU Football
The TCU Horned Frogs announced on Friday that SMU Mustangs head coach Sonny Dykes will become the next head football coach for the program. The 51-year-old Dykes spent four seasons at SMU, going 30-17 in that time, including 25-9 over the past three seasons. That was highlighted by the 2019 season that saw them go 10-2, leading them to their first 10-win season since 1984 under Bobby Collins. His .659 winning percentage is the second-best in program history, and he will now replace Gary Patterson at TCU, after he was fired on October 31st. Patterson was with TCU for 24 seasons before that move, including 21 years as their head coach. Dykes does have a history with the program, including under Patterson, as he spent the 2017 season as their offensive analyst.
Dayton Downs Kansas at Buzzer
The Duke Blue Devils and Gonzaga Bulldogs did not disappoint in front of the largest basketball crowd ever in Nevada Friday night, and the fifth-ranked Blue Devils came out on top. Duke handed Gonzaga their first loss of the season, 84-81, by hanging on in a game that they led for most of the way. Paolo Banchero had 21 points to lead the Blue Devils in front of a crowd of 20,389, moving his team to 7-0 on the season. The Bulldogs were haunted by the turnovers, as they had 17 of them compared to Duke's eight, and that led to them trailing by as many as nine points. The Blue Devils ended the game on a 13-9 run to hang on, thanks to 20 points from Wendell Moore Jr., along with 17 points and nine rebounds from Mark Williams. Julian Strawther led the Bulldogs with a career-high 20 points, while Drew Timme added 17 points as the top-ranked team fell to 6-1 on the season. And the Dayton Flyers gave us a second straight day with a top-10 upset this Thanksgiving weekend, handing the fourth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks their first loss, 74-73, in the ESPN Events Invitational. This is the same event that saw the 10th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide fall to Iona on Thursday, as the Flyers got this one in thrilling fashion with Mustapha Amzil's running jumper at the buzzer. The basket was on a second chance opportunity after David McCormack blocked the initial shot attempt by Malachi Smith, as it was Amzil's only make from the field. The Flyers had five players score in double figures, while the Jayhawks were led by Christian Braun's 17 points in the loss.
Other key scores saw the sixth-ranked Baylor Bears end Michigan State's run in the Battle 4 Atlantis by notching a 75-58 rout. And the third-ranked Purdue Boilermakers moved to 6-0 with a 97-40 blowout of Omaha, while number 24 USC also got to 6-0 with a 58-43 victory against San Diego State.
Suns Roll to Another Win in Streak; Kings Beat Lakers in Triple OT
The Phoenix Suns continue to look unbeatable this season, getting dominant win after dominant win during what is now a 15-game winning streak following a 118-97 rout of the New York Knicks on Friday. Devin Booker had 32 points to lead the Suns to their second-longest winning streak in franchise history. Chris Paul added 14 points and 10 assists, moving the reigning Western Conference Champions to 16-3, a half game behind the Golden State Warriors atop the entire league. Deandre Ayton also had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, as the Suns matched their 15-game run that they had in the 2006-2007 season. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings were finally able to take down the Los Angeles Lakers, it just took three overtimes in the Staples Center for a 141-137 victory. De'Aaron Fox scored 34 points, while Buddy Hield got hot with 13 of his 25 points after regulation, as they moved to 2-1 since firing Luke Walton under interim coach Alvin Gentry. They have now won two in a row since dropping eight of nine games, which led to the firing of Walton, as they hung on in a game that saw 19 ties and 23 lead changes. The Kings won their first triple overtime game since 2009, while the Lakers fell to 10-11 on the season and have now dropped five of their past seven, despite having four players with at least 20 points.
Other key scores saw Steph Curry put up 32 points, as the Golden State Warriors moved to 17-2 with a 118-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Trae Young's 31 points and 10 assists powered the Atlanta Hawks to their seventh straight win, 132-100, against the Memphis Grizzlies, who lost Ja Morant to a leg injury. Kelly Oubre Jr. tied a career-high with seven three pointers and 27 points off the bench, as the Charlotte Hornets snapped the Minnesota Timberwolves' five-game winning streak with a 133-115 victory. And Giannis Antetokounmpo's 24 points and 13 rebounds were enough to extend the Milwaukee Bucks' win streak to six, as they took advantage of a Denver Nuggets team without Nikola Jokic for a 120-109 victory.
Rangers Win Thanksgiving Showdown; Ovechkin Nets Hat Trick For Caps
The New York Rangers stayed hot in Friday's Thanksgiving Showdown in Boston, as they scored three times in the third period to take down the Boston Bruins, 5-2, at the TD Garden. Artemi Panarin got the run going, helping head coach Gerard Gallant to the best start in his first 20 games as a coach in franchise history. The Rangers sit at 31 points through 20 games in Gallant's first season with them, as Phil Esposito held the previous record of 30 in the 1986-1987 season. Ryan Strome also scored late, powering the Rangers to their third straight victory and seventh in their past eight games. Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves for a New York team that sits at 13-4-3. Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin recorded a hat trick Friday night to send the Washington Capitals over the Florida Panthers, 4-3, at home. Ovechkin scored two of those three goals over 56 seconds in the second period, and now has 18 goals through 21 games, which is the most by a player playing in at least his 17th NHL season. It was his 28th career hat trick and he now sits 19 goals away from reaching Jaromir Jagr on the all-time goals list. This performance was also enough to move him past Guy Lafleur and Brendan Shanahan for 26th on the all-time career point list.
Other key scores saw Kirill Kaprizov tie a career-high with four points in the Minnesota Wild's 7-1 rout of the Winnipeg Jets. John Tavares and Williams Nylander each had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 Toronto Maple Leafs win over the San Jose Sharks. Sebastian Aho scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-3, on the road. And Alex DeBrincat scored in overtime for a 3-2 Chicago Blackhawks win against the St. Louis Blues.
Bills' Tre'Davious White Done For Season With Torn ACL
The Buffalo Bills had a solid Thanksgiving night on Thursday with a 31-6 rout of the New Orleans Saints, but there was major downfall that will affect the remainder of their season. The team announced on Friday that cornerback Tre'Davious White suffered a torn ACL during Thursday's win and is done for the year. An MRI on Friday morning confirmed this injury, which took place in the second quarter. He was able to walk off the field with a bit of a limp, but never returned, as the fifth-year player was replaced by Dane Jackson. The former LSU Tiger has been the team's top cornerback, becoming an All-Pro in 2020 and allowing just a 50.8% completion percentage and 58.9 passer rating this season, which is both fourth-best among cornerbacks. He has totaled one interception, 41 tackles, and six passes defended for the Bills, who are tied for first in the AFC East at 7-4 with the New England Patriots.
Mets Agree to Deals With Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha
The New York Mets went full on Black Friday shopping in MLB free agency on Friday, agreeing to three quality deals to add to their lineup. This round of moves was highlighted by giving outfielder Starling Marte a four-year contract worth $78 million. The 33-year-old split last season with the Miami Marlins and Oakland Athletics, getting traded at July's Trade Deadline, and hit a career-best .310 between both teams. Marte brings over strong defense, and the two Gold Glove Awards will prove that, and he does have some pop. Marte once had consecutive 20-home run seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but has not gotten over 12 long balls in a season since.
Meanwhile, the team also gave switch-hitting infielder Eduardo Escobar a two-year, $20 million contract, as the 32-year-old is also coming off a season where he was dealt. He split time with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers, reaching the Postseason with the NL Central Champion Brew-Crew. He finished with a .253 average and 28 home runs combined, and has shown plenty of versatility in the infield. He appeared at first and third base with the Brewers, and is expected to play between second and third base for the Mets. New York has an opening at third base, but if the team doesn't re-sign Javier Baez, he will see more time at second as well. Escobar has played 329 career games at shortstop, but his top position remains at third.
And the team went back to the outfield, agreeing with Mark Canha on a two-year, $26.5 million contract. Canha spent last season as Marte's teammate with the Oakland Athletics, batting .231 with 17 home runs and 22 doubles. He can play all three outfield positions, and when needed, has come in to play first base as well. The contract for him does include a third-year option, as this will be his first season playing anywhere but with Oakland. His top season with the A's came in 2019, when he clobbered 26 home runs.
Red Sox Finalizing One-Year Deal With Michael Wacha
The Boston Red Sox are finalizing a one-year contract to improve their rotation, which is needed this off-season after losing former Cy Young candidate Eduardo Rodriguez. The team is finalizing a deal with right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. The 30-year-old was most recently with the Tampa Bay Rays and went 3-5 with a 5.05 ERA over 124.2 innings this past season. The deal is pending a physical, but once finalized, the Red Sox will add a man that once reached 17 victories in 2015 with the St. Louis Cardinals, which was one of two seasons with double digit victories during his nine-year career.