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National Sports Briefs: Bradford names top player

Associated Press
NORMAN, Okla. ó Sam Bradford is back in his comfort zone, hanging out with his Oklahoma teammates.
He is happiest when he’s just “one of the guys,” quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel said. That, however, is becoming harder to do.
The sophomore quarterback won another honor Monday when he was voted college football player of the year by The Associated Press. Bradford already captured the Davey O’Brien Award and Heisman Trophy.
Now he’s home after a whirlwind trip to New York, and while he appreciates all the recognition there’s a BCS title showdown with Florida waiting on Jan. 8. It’s time to return to the routine again.
“It was just another day at practice, another huddle, another play,” he said Monday.
In winning the AP award, Bradford beat out the same two quarterbacks he did for the Heisman ó Colt McCoy of Texas and Tim Tebow of Florida.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
SAN DIEGO ó The Poinsettia Bowl, the little brother of the Holiday Bowl, sure grew up fast.The No. 9 and undefeated Boise State Broncos and No. 11 TCU Horned Frogs meet tonight in the Poinsettia Bowl, which despite its lower-tier status has put together a marquee matchup that’s going to be overshadowed by only a few games this postseason.
Despite their 12-0 record, the Western Athletic Conference champion Broncos were bypassed by the BCS in favor of Mountain West Conference champ Utah.
– HONOLULU ó Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis will call the offensive plays against Hawaii in Wednesday’s Hawaii Bowl instead of offensive coordinator Mike Haywood.
“I’ll be calling the game,” Weis said during his first media availability Monday. “He’s here. Don’t worry. Coach Haywood and I are on the same page on this one.”
The Fighting Irish (6-6) are seeking to snap their NCAA-record nine-game bowl losing streak against the Warriors (7-6).
– DURHAM ó Vince Oghobaase is returning to Duke for his senior season.
Team officials said Monday that the defensive tackle submitted his name to the NFL’s advisory board to gauge his status for the draft.
Oghobaase said that “deep down in my heart, I know Duke is where I want to be next year.”
He will be one of five returning starters on the Blue Devils’ defense. He had 51 tackles, six sacks and five quarterback pressures for Duke (4-8, 1-7 ACC).
– CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. ó Chattanooga hired Richmond defensive coordinator Russ Huesman as the Mocs’ head coach Monday.
The 48-year-old Huesman is a 1983 Chattanooga graduate. He helped guide Richmond to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision title Friday, a 24-7 victory in Chattanooga over Montana.
BASEBALL
SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic (AP) ó Rafael Furcal denies he reneged on a deal with the Atlanta Braves before agreeing to a contract last week with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We never gave the nod to the Braves,” he said Sunday after arriving to play winter ball for the Aguilas of Cibaenas.
Braves president John Schuerholz and general manager Frank Wren were quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying Furcal’s agent asked the Braves to send a signed letter of agreement, then reached a deal with the Dodgers.
“That is not true,” Furcal said. “We never, not my agents nor me, agreed to anything with the Braves.”
– NEW YORK ó Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang and the New York Yankees avoided salary arbitration when they agreed Monday to a $5 million, one-year contract.
The 28-year-old right-hander was 8-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 15 starts last season before injuring a foot.
– LOS ANGELES ó The Los Angeles Angels have pulled their eight-year offer to Mark Teixeira, said to be worth $160 million, and will no longer go after the first baseman.
NHL
BUFFALO, N.Y. ó Sidney Crosby scored 43 seconds into overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Alex Goligoski scored twice and added an assist, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves to help the Penguins rally from a two-goal deficit.
Pascal Dupuis also scored, and Malkin had three assists for Pittsburgh (18-11-4).
Ales Kotalik and Daniel Paille had a goal and assist each, and Clarke MacArthur also scored for the Sabres (16-13-5), who lost their second straight and third in their last four.
Maple Leafs 6, Thrashers 2
ATLANTAó Matt Stajan scored two goals, including an empty-netter, and rookie goaltender Justin Pogge won his NHL debut.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jeremy Williams and Niklas Hagman joined Stajan in scoring a goal for the second straight game for Toronto, which has won six of seven.

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