Due to injuries, the Titans started the game with three changes on the offensive line from the previous week’s game (Dec. 2) against the Houston Texans. Mike Otto
recorded his fourth career start
, filling in at right tackle in place of David Stewart
, who suffered a season-ending leg injury against the Texans. In the same game, normal starting left guard Steve Hutchinson
was lost for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Fernando Velasco
started in his stead after previously playing center in every game this season. With the move by Velasco, Kevin Matthews
recorded his second career start at center.
BRITT’S EIGHT RECEPTIONS FOR 143 YARDS:
Fourth-year wide receiver Kenny Britt
recorded the second-highest totals of his career in both receptions and receiving yards. He totaled eight catches against the Colts for 143 yards, recording his seventh career 100-yard receiving game and his first of 2012. The last time he reached 100 yards was Sept. 18, 2011, one week before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Against the Colts, he recorded two 46-yard catches in the second quarter to set a new season long. Each of the receptions led to field goals for the Titans.
CHRIS JOHNSON IN ELITE COMPANY:
On a five-yard run in the first quarter, running back Chris Johnson
went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fifth consecutive season to begin
his career. He became the third rusher in franchise history to reach five 1,000-yard seasons, joining Eddie George
and Earl Campbell
. Additionally, he joined an elite list of NFL players to rush for 1,000 yards in his first
five seasons. That list now includes Johnson, Barry Sanders
(1989-98), Corey Dillon
(1997-02), Curtis Martin
(1995-04), George (1996-00), Eric Dickerson
(1983-89), LaDainian Tomlinson
(2001-08) and Tony Dorsett
JOHNSON PASSES GIVINS: In the first half, running back Chris Johnson passed former Oilers wide receiver Ernest Givins (8,280 scrimmage yards) for third place on the team’s all-time career scrimmage yards list. With 8,318 combined rushing and receiving yards in five NFL seasons, Johnson trails only Eddie George (12,153) and Earl Campbell (9,292) in team annals. Against the Colts, Johnson rushed for 44 yards on 19 carries and caught three passes for 15 yards.
HOT START FOR LOCKER:
In the first half, Jake Locker completed
15 of 20 passes for 213 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, amounting to a passer rating of 125.6. His 18-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook
was the 13th
touchdown pass of his two-year career and his ninth of 2012.
LOCKER’S RUSHING TOTALS: Second-year quarterback Jake Locker led the Titans and set a new career high with 51 rushing yards on four attempts, topping his previous high of 38 yards the previous week against Houston (Dec. 2). In the first quarter, he scrambled for a 32-yard gain to set a new career long (31 vs. Detroit, 9/23/12).
TITANS RECORD 10-MINUTE DRIVE:
In the second half, Jake Locker
directed a 16-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal from Rob Bironas
. The drive’s 10:08 time of possession set a season high, and the 16 plays on drive also tied a season high (Sept. 9 vs. New England).
WASHINGTON EXTENDS STREAK:
With a 15-yard reception in the fourth quarter, wide receiver Nate Washington
extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 75, including all 61 games he has played with the Titans.
WYNN GETS SECOND SACK OF SEASON:
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Titans defensive end Jarius Wynn
got the defense its fourth sack of the game. Wynn, who has 6.5 sacks in his four-year career, has two sacks since joining the Titans as a free agent on Nov. 7.
FIRST INTERCEPTION FOR AFALAVA:
As time in the first half expired, safety Al Afalava
recorded his first career interception. The third-year player was a member of the Colts in 2010.
BIRONAS REACHES 900: With a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter, Rob Bironas became the second player in franchise history to reach 900 career points. He joined Al Del Greco, who totaled 1,060 points from 1991 through 2000. Against the Colts, Bironas made three of four field goals, with his only miss a 57-yard attempt.
WRIGHT THIRD IN ROOKIE RECEIVING FOR THE FRANCHISE:
With five receptions for 39 yards against the Colts, wide receiver Kendall Wright
became the third all-time leading receiver among franchise rookies. Wright, whose 55 receptions lead all NFL rookies this season, passed former running back Sid Blanks
, who caught 56 passes as an Oilers rookie in 1964. Wright trails only Bill Groman
(72 in 1960) and Ernest Givins
(61 in 1986) on the list.
KLUG GETS TWO SACKS ON SAME DRIVE:
In the second quarter, Titans defensive tackle Karl Klug
helped end a Colts drive with a pair of sacks of Andrew Luck
. On first down, he dropped Luck for a six-yard loss, and two plays later, he ended the series with a 10-yard sack. That gave Klug three sacks in 2012 and 10 in his two-year career.
WITHERSPOON SCORES ON DEFENSE:
With 4:40 remaining in the second quarter, Derrick Morgan’s
pressure of Andrew Luck
led to an interception by linebacker Will Witherspoon
. Witherspoon raced 40 yards to the end zone to give the Titans a 17-7 lead. He notched his 13th
career interception (first of 2012) and the third touchdown of his 11-year career. His score against the Colts was the team’s third defensive touchdown of the season.
MORGAN NOTCHES SACK: On a third-down play in the second quarter, defensive end Derrick Morgan was credited with an eight-yard sack to end a Colts drive. It gave Morgan 3.5 sacks in 2012 and 7.5 in his career.
CAREER HIGH FOR COOK: Jared Cook’s 18-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter gave him eight career touchdowns and a career-high four total touchdowns in 2012 (three in 2011).
TOUCHDOWN ON FIRST DRIVE: To cap the opening drive of the game, Jake Locker found Jared Cook for an 18-yard touchdown. It marked the seventh time in 2012 the Titans scored on their first possession and the second time they opened with a touchdown drive (Oct. 21 at Buffalo).
DEBUT FOR PRESTON:
In the first quarter, first-year wide receiver Michael Preston
made his NFL debut. In the second quarter, he notched his first career reception on an 11-yard pass from Jake Locker
. Preston, an undrafted free agent from Heidelberg University in 2011, spent his entire rookie season and the first 12 games of 2012 on the practice squad.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University’s women’s basketball team only held a two-point advantage at halftime, Sunday afternoon at the Dunn Center versus St. Catharine, but the Lady Govs outscored the Patriots by 20 points after intermission for an 84-62 victory.
Leading 38-36 after the first 20 minutes of play, Austin Peay (3-6) came out and opened up the second half by going on a 26-4 run — over the first 9:09 of the period — to take complete control of St. Catharine (6-5).
“We came out after halftime and turned up the intensity on the defense side,” said Austin Peay coach Carrie Daniels, who won her 75th game as a head coach. “When we’re intense and aggressive on defense it gets our game going on the offensive side of it, which leads to transition baskets.”
In fact, the Lady Govs defense limited the Patriots to 1-of 13 shooting over that key nine-plus minute stretch – including 12 straight missed at one point– while also forcing 10 turnovers that turned into 16 points.
“We haven’t always been able to do that in getting steals and then turning them into points on the other end,” Daniels said. “Transition is something that we stress, but we kind of gotten away from it for a while.
“So going into this game we talked about it, that when we had an opportunity, we wanted to get out and go and get into a transition game and we did that in the second half.”
Overall, Austin Peay outscored the Patriots 33-15 in points off turnovers, including 15 of those points coming off fast breaks following a turnover.
And it wasn’t just one of two Lady Govs that benefited with the defensive pressure, as Austin Peay featured a balanced attack during the early second-half burst, with seniors Meghan Bussabarger, Leslie Martinez, freshman Alexis Hardaway and sophomore Kristen Stainback each contributing at least four points during the burst.
Bussabarger would lead all scorers with 25 points – her third 20-plus point game of the year – with Martinez finishing with double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“I was really proud of Leslie because a couple of games ago she didn’t get the start, but responded with a double-double and said she was happy in the sixth-man role if that was what we needed for her to be,” Daniels said. “But after being consistent coming off the bench the past few game, I felt that she had earned the start today and she comes out and gets another double-double.
“Meghan on the other hand had some shots early that didn’t go down, but she never stopped playing hard and continued taking her shots and go at the defense.
Stainback and senior Kaitlyn Hill had 10 points each.
In the first half, St. Catharine came out and shot the eyes out of it early on and didn’t look like a squad that was playing its third game in as many days after jumping out to a 13-2 lead in the first 4:28.
Austin Peay on the other hand was ice cold, hitting only one of its first seven shot attempts, while also turning the ball over three times.
Bussabarger would hit a three-pointer at the 15:13 mark to start a 16-4 run that gave Austin Peay its first lead of the game with 9:37 left in the first half.
Austin Peay and St. Catharine would battle back-and-fourth the rest of the opening half, trading the lead nine times over the final 10 minutes, before Austin Peay took a two-point advantage into halftime.
Austin Peay takes a seven-day break for finals before meeting Arkansas State at 7:05 p.m. Monday in Jonesboro, Ark.
Austin Peay 84, St. Catharine 62
St. Catharine 36-26—62
Austin Peay 38-46—84
St. Catharine: Carol Ruiz-Lopez 12, Rianne Hofstraat 16, Machera Calhoun 12, Heather Sandlin 5, Alexiss Griffin 11, Reilly Poirier 6. Team totals 23 9-12 62.
Austin Peay: Leslie Martinez 13, Kaitlyn Hill 10, Meghan Bussabarger 25, Nicole Olszewski 5, Kristen Stainback 10, Jennifer Nwokocha 1, Symantha Norton 6, Amber Howard 4, Alexis Hardaway 4, Tiasha Gray 6. Team totals 35 9-15 84.
3-point field goals: St. Catharine 7 (Hofstraat 2, Ruiz-Lopez 2, Griffin 3), Austin Peay 5 (Bussabarger 2, Stainback 2, Martinez 1).
Records: St. Catharine 6-5, Austin Peay 3-6.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Trailing by four points against Indianapolis, and with about 3 minutes to play, Tennessee’s Jake Locker ran the safest third-down play in the book — a quarterback sneak.
The only problem: It was actually first down and another costly mistake.
With the help of two interceptions by Locker, the Colts’ Andrew Luck and Adam Vinatieri teamed up to lead Indianapolis back from a 13-point halftime deficit and a 27-23 win Sunday at a place where Tennessee has yet to win.
“You’re just frustrated because you’re coming out of the locker room at halftime winning the game and you come back out and put forth the same effort that you did in the first half,” Titans running back Chris Johnson said. “It’s just frustrating when you slowly see a team coming back and taking it away from you.”
Tennessee’s bad luck against Indy (9-4) is nothing new.
A year ago, the Titans thought they were headed to the playoffs when came to Indy. They went home as the first team to lose to the 0-13 Colts.
In October, the Titans (4-9) thought they had recovered a fumble in Indy territory in the final minute of regulation, but officials ruled Dwayne Allen was down. Indy then won the coin toss in overtime and drove the length of the field for the winning score.
The latest example came when Locker gave away the lead with an interception near his own goal line, threw a second interception that led to a field goal that led to the four-point deficit and then, like coach Mike Munchak, thought Johnson had been marked short of the first down. Munchak couldn’t get Locker’s attention in time, and Locker never noticed the chains had moved.
“The play was called in to go ahead and sneak it to get the first down because we thought it was third-and-short,” Munchak said. “Obviously when they marked it, he already had the play and he just ran it. We were trying to contact him, but with all of the chaos, he just assumed that he still needed the first down.”
With the win, the Colts are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. Losses by Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have made the playoff scenario simple: Win one more and they’ve got a ticket to the postseason — less than 12 months after going 2-14.
It’s been quite a turnaround. Vinatieri, who owns four Super Bowl rings and has long been considered the best clutch kicker in league history, continues to make late field goals.
And Luck has continued to defy the odds by winning games he’s not supposed to.
The No. 1 overall draft pick now has six fourth-quarter comebacks this season, one more than Ben Roethlisberger had in 2004 and Vince Young had in 2006 — the highest single-season total by a rookie quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It came on the same day he passed Peyton Manning for the most yards passing by a rookie in Colts history and moved into second among all NFL rookies, trailing only Carolina’s Cam Newton (4,051). Luck has 3,792 yards with three games to play.
“Everybody on the team — offensively, defensively, special teams — just plays football. They’re not worried about the scoreboard too much, not worried about what’s going on,” said Luck, who finished 16 of 34 for 196 yards with one TD and two picks.. “They’re aware of the situations, and we just go out there and play football to the best of our abilities. It’s just not overthinking all the situations.”
The Titans had nobody to blame but themselves for this one.
After a 52-yard punt went out of bounds at the Titans 1, Cassius Vaughn picked off Locker and scored on a 3-yard interception return to give Indy a 21-20 lead late in the third quarter. Locker was 22 of 35 for 262 yards with one TD and two interceptions.
His second pick of the day set up Vinatieri’s shorter field goal, and then came the biggest mistake — giving away a down when they desperately needed it.
Following Vinatieri’s second field goal, the Titans got the ball back at their own 20 with 3:48 left. On the first play, Locker threw 4 yards to Kenny Britt. On the next play, Johnson ran for 6 yards to the 30. But the Titans coaches and players all thought Johnson was short, so instead of using one of their three remaining timeouts, Locker rushed the offense to the line and ran a quarterback sneak for no yards before Munchak could get his attention.
“We thought we had a third down and we were trying to get the first down before they got set,” Locker said. “We just didn’t realize it was a first down. It put us in second and 10 and we lost a down, essentially.”
NOTES: Reggie Wayne caught six passes for 64 yards and one score, passing Andre Reed for No. 10 on the league’s career receptions list. Reed had 951. Wayne has 956. … Britt had a season-high 143 yards on eight catches, while Chris Johnson ran 19 times for 44 yards. … Ballard ran for a season-high 94 yards. … The Titans are 0-5 all-time at Lucas Oil Stadium. … Indy played the second half without C Samson Satele (ankle) and RT Winston Justice (biceps). … Titans TE Jared Cook left with a right shoulder injury. … Coach Chuck Pagano watched his third straight game inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS — It was one year ago at this same Winter Meetings setting that Mike Matheny began his indoctrination. A somewhat surprise hire as Cardinals manager given the absence of previous experience, Matheny arrived at Dallas’ Hilton Anatole poised to soak in all that came with the new position.
With the Albert Pujols negotiations taking precedence, it turned out that Matheny hardly had an opportunity to leave the team’s hotel suite.
“Last year, the only outside air I saw was when I did my interview like this,” Matheny said as he began a 30-minute conversation with reporters on Tuesday. “Besides that, I was locked in my bedroom with the rest of the staff trying to go through a pretty monumental negotiation.”
History has documented the outcome of that negotiation, but Matheny can now look back on it as the first movement on the learning curve that he has experienced over the past 12 months. He arrived in Nashville on Monday no longer a rookie manager and without the detractors who questioned his readiness for the position.
For less than two months earlier, Matheny had guided an 88-win Cardinals team to within one win of a return to the World Series.
“My philosophy going into this is to not get in their way,” Matheny said. “I think, as we look back and see we were one win away from the [National League] pennant, that I must not have gotten them all the way. I think that’s the best evaluation I can give.”
Lessons were learned, though, and Matheny delineated some of them on Tuesday, having had enough time since the end of the postseason to appropriately reflect.
Matheny said he intends to be more deliberate in resting his team’s veteran position players, some of whom experienced physical breakdowns as the season progressed. It’s a group that, most notably, includes Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.
While Furcal was the only one of the bunch to actually land on the disabled list, Beltran and Holliday dealt with persistent nagging issues. Both still regularly lobbied to remain in the lineup, and Matheny, more often than not, obliged. That was especially the case late in the season when the team was making a run for the second NL Wild Card.
“As we saw, a couple of our guys really struggled and labored through some different periods of the season,” Matheny said. “I was riding them hard. I was pushing them hard. … I can see how it did wear on them, and there’s a fine balance there. Even as a player, you go through the same thing. You just want to play. There’s a time for a manager to step in and do the right thing, which can help make an investment into the future of the season and that they’ll finish as strong as they start.”
Matheny may get a second go at a second-base competition, too, next season, depending upon what (if any) additions the Cardinals make this winter that could shake up the outlook of that position. Matheny employed a second-base rotation of Tyler Greene, Daniel Descalso and Skip Schumaker for much of 2012, not settling on a regular until late in the year.
Descalso, along with Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong and Pete Kozma, could be in the mix for playing time at second next year. Assuming that Furcal does not experience any health setbacks, second base is set to be the only position of question heading into Spring Training.
“We have some very viable candidates, and we just go give these guys opportunities without drawing up conclusions at the beginning, especially right now in the Winter Meetings,” Matheny said. “There are opportunities. We’re going to give opportunities to all the players and just see how the pieces come together.”
The priority when it comes to filling that position will be on the defensive end, Matheny said, given how many offensive pieces the Cardinals have in place elsewhere.
The key then is finding a way to ensure better overall consistency from the rest of the offensive unit. Despite placing near the top of the NL in several offensive categories, the Cardinals experienced several prolonged offensive outages, which hampered the team’s ability to get on many extended winning streaks.
“Believe me, we stayed up nights at times trying to figure it out when we saw an offense throw 15 runs up and then go three games in a row without scoring a run,” Matheny said. “It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for them. It’s frustrating for our staff. It’s frustrating for our fans.
“But what we do is we watch the control variables their effort, the scouting report, what they’re doing to prepare. All that’s in place, we know we’ve covered our bases. There’s human error in this thing. That’s how it works. It’s a hard game. No one needs to remind me how tough hitting is. But I know our guys believe, as I believe, we’re better than what we showed all the time.”
Lady Vol Report Online: http://bit.ly/RF1BtX
Holly Warlick Interview: http://youtu.be/w66-fJCPuwg
Tennessee Women’s Basketball Media Center: http://bit.ly/S99mXk
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After a 102-57 win over North Carolina last Sunday, the Lady Vols take a two-week break from competition before traveling to the Lone Star State.
“I like this kind of break just because we can get down to some fundamentals that we’re not good at,” head coach Holly Warlick said. “I’m sure the players think that this is way too long, two weeks, and all they can think about is practice. But we’re trying to keep it as short and intense as we can to make sure we don’t wear them out, but we have to make sure they stay in shape.”
“It’s good to have a break at some point in time,” junior Meighan Simmons said. “We as individuals and as a team, have to stick together and remind ourselves that we still have a plan and still have games that we have to focus on. We have to get in the gym and run a little extra. Make sure we’re eating and staying off our feet and relaxing as much as we can. We still have to stay focused and we can’t lose focus at all with this two-week break.”
After the 14-day break, Tennessee will endure a three-game stretch of facing top-15 teams in No. 12 Texas, No. 2 Baylor and No. 1 Stanford.
“For me personally, I think it’s a good way to end the year and for some reason, it’s just in me to think of things like that and this is really going to test you to see where your mind is going to be,” Simmons said.
“So when the new year comes, there is going to be a lot of other teams that are going try to come and beat you, but what are you going to do? Have you learned from the preachings that you played before the end of the year? And how are you going to play the rest of the year?”
The Big Orange has already beaten three top-25 ranked teams this season, as they downed No. 22 Georgia Tech and No. 23 Miami on the road before trouncing the No. 22 Tar Heels at home. With the win over North Carolina at Rocky Top, the Lady Vols have won 15 of their last 16 games against ranked opponents at home, dating back to 2009.
“I think beating three of the top-25 teams has somewhat given us a head start proving our point,” Simmons said. “As Tennessee, we always have a point to prove because we are Tennessee, and there’s a lot of expectations for us. I think playing Texas, Baylor and Stanford, that’s going to be the pedestal that we’re going to have to overcome, and see who we are as far as when adversity hits what are we going to do. I think this is really going to be a test for us.”
HEAD COACH HOLLY WARLICK
(On the 14-day break from competition)
“We had so much focused on the opponents. We’re trying to work on us and get better. It’s a great teaching moment for us. Getting better on the defensive end and learning defensive concepts that we’re not that good at. But I think we’re keeping practice short and intense so we can focus.”
(On Ariel Massengale)
“Massengale, she’s a leader. She has grown up so much from last year and has become more of a vocal leader that we need from her. It’s great to have her injury free right now and leading the team, playing hard. Her defense is solid. I know last game she didn’t score a lot of points, but she distributed the ball and got everybody where they needed to be. She’s a typical point guard that we need.”
(On Cierra Burdick)
“I think Cierra gets better and better each day. We’re playing her at the three (spot), we’re playing her at the four (spot). I think she understanding she’s a multidimensional player and that’s where we’re going to need her. I think Cierra is having to probably defend someone who is quicker than her and so she’s having to learn to adjust to that on the defensive end. I think she’s very smart, very heady.”
JUNIOR GUARD MEIGHAN SIMMONS
(On Ariel Massengale)
“It’s great for us. We missed her. With her being our point guard, we needed that extra leader out there, that extra oomph out there, and she brings it. With her being fully recovered and not trying to move too fast, just taking things slow, she just kept reminding us that `I’m coming back and I’m trying to get as better as I can and help the team out’ and she’s been doing an amazing job since then.”
(On being in front of a home crowd in Texas)
“I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t seen my family since fall break so I think it’s going to be a good aura with all the fans there. I have people from high school coming back and my AAU coaches are going to be there. I don’t try to think about that, I just try to focus on the task at hand which is playing the game of basketball and making sure I’ve handled my business before that.”
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – On Friday the Ohio Valley Conference announced that Southeast Missouri State University is the recipient of the 2012-13 Team Sportsmanship Award for football.
Voted on by the student-athletes and coaches of the respective sports, the team awards are bestowed upon the Conference squads deemed to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and NCAA. Included in the areas for evaluation are the conduct of student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators and fans.
“Without sportsmanship there are truly no meaningful victories,” said Beth DeBauche, OVC Commissioner. “The recipients of the OVC Team Sportsmanship awards should accept this award with great pride for their fellow competitors have made it clear their teams exemplify the best in intercollegiate athletics. In receiving this prestigious honor other competitors are saying these student-athletes compete with class, respect their opponents and value fair play. That is quite a compliment as those are all traits that will lead to true victories throughout the course of life.”
The 2012-13 school year marks the eighth year the team sportsmanship honors have been awarded. This marks the second award for the Southeast Missouri football program which also won the award in 2010.
Southeast Missouri finished the 2012 season with a 3-8 overall record and 2-6 mark in the OVC. The Redhawks had the OVC Defensive Player of the Year (Blake Peiffer) and OVC Freshman of the Year (Scott Lathrop) on its roster this season.
“It is an honor to win this award,” said Southeast Missouri head coach Tony Samuel. “We feel that it is important for our team to approach the game of football with respect. Thank you to those who voted for us.”
Implemented in August 2005, the team honors are the most recent addition to an awards program that recognizes and celebrates sportsmanship within the Conference. In 1998, the league established the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a male or female student-athlete of junior or senior status who best exemplifies the characteristics of the late Morehead State student-athlete, coach and administrator. Five years later, the Conference added the OVC Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the member institution selected by its peers to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and NCAA.
In 1995, the Ohio Valley Conference implemented a first-of-its-kind “Sportsmanship Statement,” a policy promoting principles of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for one’s opponent. The statement answered the challenge of the NCAA Presidents Commission to improve sportsmanship in collegiate athletics, and has become a model for others to follow across the nation.