DETROIT — Jim Caldwell's job probably wasn't saved by the Detroit Lions' performance on Sunday. The Lions did save their most entertaining play of a disappointing season until the finale. Quarterback Matthew Stafford caught a two-point conversion pass during the fourth quarter of a 35-11 romp over the depleted Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Wide receiver Golden Tate threw it to Stafford after running back Ameer Abdullah took the snap and pitched it to Tate on the trick play. Stafford was wide open in the end zone.
NEW ORLEANS — There seems to be no alternate route to a college football championship, especially when recent GPS history indicates the road to the title, with very few detours, runs directly through either Clemson or Alabama. For the third consecutive year, No. 1 Clemson (12-1) will face No. 4 Alabama (11-1) in the College Football Playoff, this time in the semifinals in tonight's Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The winner will play the winner of the No. 2 Oklahoma-No. 3 Georgia semifinal earlier today for the national championship Jan. 8 in Atlanta.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Alex Hornibrook passed for a career-high-tying four touchdowns to lead No. 6 Wisconsin to a 34-24 victory over No. 10 Miami on Saturday night in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. Freshman Danny Davis, who had scored only twice this season entering Saturday, caught three of the touchdown passes.
PHILADELPHIA—Jake Elliott kicked a 48-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia Eagles clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a narrow 19-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jordan Murphy scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help Minnesota turn back Oral Roberts 77-63 on Thursday night in Minneapolis. Oral Roberts kept it close throughout the first half and trailed 41-40 two minutes into the second before Minnesota took over. The Golden Gophers (10-3) went on a 23-4 run capped by a 3-pointer from Nate Mason that gave them a 64-44 lead with 9:09 to go.
DENVER—Jimmy Butler had 25 points, including nine during a key stretch of the fourth quarter, and the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied to beat the Denver Nuggets 112-104 on Wednesday night. Karl-Anthony Towns also scored 25 and grabbed 10 rebounds, Jamal Crawford had 20 points and seven assists, and Jeff Teague contributed 16 points and eight assists for Minnesota (19-13). The Timberwolves overcame a 14-point deficit to win their second straight against a Northwest Division opponent.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers didn't want to be consumed with the return of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Instead, quarterback Cam Newton made a series of headline-worthy plays and the defense rose to the occasion by forcing four turnovers as the Panthers won 31-24 on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. "We said we were focused on us and that's what we did," safety Mike Adams said. "We disguised some things a little bit."
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Goals by Tyler Ennis and Mikael Granlund supplemented a 28-save performance by goaltender Alex Stalock as the Minnesota Wild defeated the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center. Playing in place of the injured Devan Dubnyk, Stalock picked up his fifth win of the season (5-3-1) and fifth career shutout in his first appearance against his former team. Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen made 24 saves in seeing his record fall to 17-10-1 on the season.
CLEVELAND — Overtime is turning into Packertime this season. The Green Bay Packers overcame a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit Sunday and beat the Cleveland Browns 27-21 in overtime on a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Hundley to wide receiver Davante Adams. It was their third overtime victory this season. Green Bay also rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Cincinnati in Week 3 and beat Tampa Bay last week. The Packers (7-6) kept their playoff hopes alive in the NFC. The Browns (0-13) missed out on their best chance to enter the win column.
Baker Mayfield, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting last season, is a near-lock tonight to become the sixth Oklahoma player to win the award. Mayfield checks all the boxes: He's a quarterback. His team is among the best in the nation, seeded No. 2 in the College Football Playoff. He has record-setting stats. He has name recognition. He's had Heisman "moments," such as big performances in wins over Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma State and twice over Texas Christian.