National Sports Briefs
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Marvin Austin kept mostly a low profile in the practice sessions leading up to the East-West Shrine Game.
After sitting out this past season following his involvement in the agent scandal that rocked North Carolina’s football program, he had a lot to prove Saturday in the annual showcase for college seniors.
So grabbing a late-game fumble recovery for a touchdown to punctuate a 25-8 victory for the East over the West more than made his week in Orlando worthwhile.
“I sat the whole season out. Everybody knows it,” Austin said. “People thought I was going to feel sorry for myself. … A lot of people talk about my talent. They don’t see the work I put in to try to be the best. They (the NFL) say they just want me to be confident and keep playing hard.”
That workhorse spirit was exhibited throughout an East team that dominated first major all-star game of the draft season.
AUBURN, Ala. ó Cam Newton and Auburnís football team put on one last Saturday afternoon show at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
With an estimated 78,000 fans on hand, including hundreds of students crowded onto the field before the stage, the Tigers celebrated their first national championship in 53 years.
It also turned into a farewell for stars Newton and Nick Fairley, both skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft. Newton slapped hands as he danced along the line of students, then struck a Heisman pose at the podium and sang out, ěWar Eagle.î
He thanked the fans for standing by him through the revelations that his father, Cecil, sought payment to sign with Mississippi State, a scandal that shadowed Newton for the seasonís final two months.
ěYou never stopped believing in me,î Newton said.
UCLA hired Mike Johnson as offensive coordinator Saturday, several hours before Norm Chow officially left for the same job at Utah.
Chow is a respected coaching veteran who built powerful offenses at BYU and USC, but struggled through the last three seasons with the Bruins. UCLA was just 4-8 last season.
LA QUINTA, Calif. ó Jhonattan Vegas birdied the final five holes Saturday to join Gary Woodland atop the Bob Hope Classic leaderboard for the second straight day.
Vegas shot a 6-under 66 on the La Quinta course to match Woodland at 24 under. Woodland had a 66 in postcard-perfect weather on the Palmer Private course in the PGA Tour’s only five-day, four-course event.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates ó Defending champion Martin Kaymer shot a 6-under 66 to extend his lead to five strokes in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
Phil Mickelson was 15 strokes back after a 72.
KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii ó Russ Cochran shot a 7-under 65 to maintain a two-stroke lead over defending champion Tom Watson in the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
SAN FRANCISCO ó Some of Barry Bondsí former teammates, along with other retired Major League Baseball players and perhaps current player Jason Giambi, will have to testify at the sluggerís upcoming perjury trial, a federal judge said.
WASHINGTON ó Former star pitcher Roger Clemens has asked a judge to dismiss his indictment on charges of obstructing a congressional investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
ADELAIDE, Australia ó Lance Armstrong says he will be vindicated by a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation of claims raised by a report in Sports Illustrated.
Armstrong is currently competing in the Tour Down Under in South Australia and has refused to comment on the Sports Illustrated report, other than to say he has nothing to worry about ěon any levelî from its claims.