National sports briefs: South Carolina pulls top-five surprise Ole Miss
COLUMBIA, S.C. ó Mississippi wasn’t ready for the top five ó or South Carolina’s defense.
The fourth-ranked Rebels never got in gear, losing to South Carolina 16-10 on Thursday night.
“I’m glad it’s gone,” left tackle Bradley Sowell said of the spotlight, “so we can just get back to basics and win ballgames.”
South Carolina (3-1, 1-1 SEC) had been 1-31 all-time against top-five foes, but it left Williams-Brice Stadium with the biggest win of coach Steve Spurrier’s five seasons.
Spencer Lanning, whose family has ties to Rowan County, kicked three field goals and fullback Patrick DiMarco had a key 2-yard TD catch for the Gamecocks.
“It was good to get a win when everybody watches,” Spurrier said. “It was good for all Gamecocks.”
Ole Miss (2-1, 0-1) had one last chance, but Jevan Snead was sacked by Cliff Matthews, then had a fourth-down pass knocked away by Darian Stewart.
The Rebels began the day with their highest ranking in nearly four decades but lost their SEC opener for the sixth straight season.
South Carolina’s lone top-five win had come at North Carolina in 1981.
* SOUTH BEND, Ind. ó Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, slowed by a turf toe, is expected to play against Purdue.
* LOS ANGELES ó Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll says freshman Matt Barkley probably will start against Washington State.
* KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó SEC commissioner Mike Slive has once again spoken to Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer about public comments both have made recently.
CHARLOTTE ó While Carolina got two players back, three more were sidelined. Linebacker Na’il Diggs (bruised ribs), fullback Brad Hoover and running back Jonathan Stewart all missed practice.
Safety Chris Harris (knee) and defensive tackle Nick Hayden (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis after missing the Atlanta game.
Starting tackles Jordan Gross (knee) and Jeff Otah (shoulder) were also limited Thursday.
* CHARLOTTE ó Another new defensive tackle ó Antwon Burton ó moved into his locker not long before linebacker Jon Beason made it clear the Panthers are running out of time to plug the leaks in their banged-up defense.
“I mean 0-3 is just not a possibility,” he said. “This is a must-win.”
* SAN DIEGO ó Seven San Diego players missed practice Thursday, including running back LaDainian Tomlinson, outside linebacker Shawne Merriman and rookie right guard Louis Vasquez.
* IRVING, Texas ó Cowboys running back Marion Barber participated in some of practice, and his status remains undetermined for Monday’s game against Carolina.
* EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said his back injury is “not a big deal at all,” meaning he should play against San Francisco.
* EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Safety Kenny Phillips will miss the rest of the New York Giants’ season with an injury to his left knee.
Phillips had two interceptions over Dallas but has been bothered by the knee for about a month.
* PHILADELPHIA ó Donovan McNabb is still not able to practice and it appears unlikely he will play.
CLEVELAND ó Detroit’s Justin Verlander (17-9) struck out 11 in seven innings of a 6-5 win against Cleveland, which has lost 11 in a row. They set a club record with 12 consecutive losses in 1931.
Detroit moved three games ahead of idle Minnesota.
* KANSAS CITY, Mo. ó Clay Buchholz took a shutout into the seventh inning of Boston’s 10-3 win against Kansas City.
* WASHINGTON ó Rafael Furcal hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning as Los Angeles beat Washington 7-6 to hand the Nationals their 100th loss.
* DENVER ó Nick Hundley homered to start a comeback and drove in the tiebreaking run with an eighth-inning single as San Diego won 5-4 over Colorado.
The Rockies’ cushion in the wild-card race was trimmed to 3 1/2 games over idle Atlanta.
* MILWAUKEE ó In Philadelphia’s 9-4 victory over Milwaukee, J.A. Happ earned his 11th win to tie Randy Wells of the Chicago Cubs for the most by a rookie.COLLEGE HOOPSTROY, N.Y. ó Binghamton player Emanuel “Tiki” Mayben pleaded not guilty at his arraignment to possessing and selling cocaine.
* WEST POINT, N.Y. ó Army fired men’s coach Jim Crews.
* LAWRENCE, Kan. ó Kansas players involved in fighting with Jayhawks football players apologized, saying they embarrassed themselves and the school.
CHARLOTTE ó The Charlotte Bobcats came to terms with guard Ronald “Flip” Murray on a one-year, $1.99 million deal. He averaged 12.2 points last season coming off the bench for Atlanta.
* NEW YORK ó David Lee is staying with the Knicks for a one-year deal worth about $8 million.
ATLANTA ó Sean O’Hair got a putting tip from Tiger Woods and put it to good use in the Tour Championship, opening with a 4-under 66 to take a one-shot lead in the final FedEx Cup playoff event.
Woods shot a 67, leaving him one shot back along with Padraig Harrington and Stewart Cink.
O’Hair played nine practice holes on Wednesday with Woods, gave advice on adding loft to his backswing and releasing the blade.
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