Emergence of Vernon makes Miami's defense stronger
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - The emergence this season of second-year defensive end Olivier Vernon has made the Miami Dolphins' strength even stronger.
The front four is the Dolphins' deepest, most dominant unit, made even more so by Vernon. He has six sacks in the past three games, increasing his team-high total to 10½, which is tied for fifth-best in the NFL.
In last week's win over the New York Jets, Vernon had three sacks and 10 tackles, both career highs. On Wednesday he was chosen AFC defensive player of the week.
Vernon and the defense have kept the Dolphins in the playoff race. They'll go into Sunday's game at Pittsburgh tied for fifth in the league in sacks, and opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating that's second-lowest in the league.
FLORIDA STATE-WINSTON INVESTIGATION
Legal fate of FSU quarterback to be answered
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is about to learn whether he'll face prosecution after an intensive investigation of sexual assault allegations.
State Attorney Willie Meggs is expected to announce his findings at 2 p.m. Thursday. His decision to hold a news conference could suggest that no charges will be filed.
Timothy Jansen, Winston's attorney, says he expects Meggs will exonerate his client.
Jansen plans to have Winston briefly address the media about the findings at 7 p.m. at the Hotel Duval in Tallahassee.
The allegations stemmed from a December 2012 incident. A woman and her family have accused Winston of rape.
Meggs said Wednesday that the investigation results should answer some lingering questions about the case including why it took 11 months before prosecutors were notified by police.
No. 20 Duke looks to slow down top-ranked FSU QB
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says Jameis Winston's decision-making and accuracy has helped the quarterback dissect defenses all season.
Winston, who was named the ACC offensive player of the year on Wednesday and a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, will try to shred Duke's defense Saturday when the top-ranked Seminoles take on the No. 20 Blue Devils in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe says, "We can't give up a bunch of big explosive plays and beat this football team."
But it's still unclear whether Winston will get the opportunity to challenge Duke's defense. State attorney Willie Meggs said Wednesday he has concluded his investigation of an alleged sexual assault case involving Winston and has scheduled a press conference on Thursday to announce the results.
Petteway scores 14, Nebraska tops Hurricanes 60-49
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Terran Petteway scored all 14 of his points in the second half and Walter Pitchford added 13, and Nebraska posted a grinding 60-49 victory on Wednesday night.
The win allowed the Big Ten to forge a 6-6 tie in the 12-game, two-night Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Big Ten, by virtue of the tie, retains the Commissioner's Cup and is 3-10-2 in the 15 Challenges.
Shavon Shields added nine points and seven rebounds for the Huskers (6-2), and Leslee Smith had 10 rebounds to go with seven points. Rion Brown had 23 of his 25 points in the second half for Miami (5-4).
The Huskers, picked to finish last in the Big Ten, went on a 19-9 run to break open the game after Miami pulled to 36-31.
Alabama runs past North Florida for 76-48 win
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Levi Randolph, with 20 points, led four players in double figures as Alabama beat North Florida 76-48 Wednesday night.
Nick Jacobs had 13 points, Jimmie Taylor 12 points and Trevor Releford 13 points for the Tide. Taylor also grabbed nine rebounds and Releford had five assists. For North Florida Charles McRoy and Devin Wilson each scored eight points. Demarcus Daniels and Romelo Banks each had five rebounds.
Coming off losses to Duke and Drexel in the NIT Season Tipoff in Madison Square Garden, Alabama (4-3) led from start to finish.
Alabama scored the first 11points of the game and bolted to a 19-4 lead on a lay-up by Algie Key at the 12:23 mark.
Alabama outscored the Ospreys 40-22 in the second half to push its lead to 76-45, its largest lead of the game, on two free throws by Releford with 2:19 to go.
North Florida fell to 5-5.
SOUTH FLORIDA-GEORGE MASON
Allen lifts South Florida past George Mason, 68-66
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Corey Allen, Jr. hit a floater with two seconds remaining as South Florida came back from a 17-point second-half deficit to beat George Mason, 68-66, Wednesday night.
Allen finished with 19 points, Victor Rudd had 15 and Chris Perry added 14 for the Bulls (5-2), which had a 23-1 run in the second half and snapped a two-game losing streak. The loss dropped the Patriots to 5-3.
George Mason opened the second half with a 19-7 run and held a 53-36 advantage after a layup by Marko Gujanicic with 12:19 remaining. But the Bulls responded with their run, running off 18 straight points and using the 23-1 run to take a 59-54 lead with 4:57 to play.
Bryon Allen's 3-pointer with 4:33 remaining, which ended the Bulls' run, was the Patriots' lone field goal during an 11-minute stretch.
Sherrod Wright paced George Mason with 22 points.
LPGA TOUR Q-SCHOOL
Jaye Marie Green leads LPGA Tour Q-school
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Jaye Marie Green shot a 10-under 62 on Wednesday to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour's qualifying tournament.
The 19-year-old Green, from Boca Raton, had 11 birdies and a bogey on LPGA International's Jones Course. She was 29th on the Symetra Tour money list this year.
South Korea's Seon Hwa Lee, a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, and Tiffany Joh were tied for second at 66. They also opened the 90-hole event on the Jones Course.
The top 20 players after the final round Sunday will earn Category 12 status, Nos. 21-45 and ties will receive membership in Category 17, and the other players who make the 72-hole cut will get Symetra Tour status.
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