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National

  • 49ers head to Super Bowl, beating Falcons 28-24

    ATLANTA (AP) — Frank Gore ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns and the 49ers rebounded from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC championship game Sunday, sending San Francisco to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.

    The top-seeded Falcons (14-4) tried to pull out another season-saving drive at the end, but Matt Ryan's fourth-down pass for Roddy White with 1:13 remaining was knocked down by San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

    The 49ers (13-4-1) will meet the winner of the AFC title game between New England and Baltimore. San Francisco will be trying to join Pittsburgh as the only teams with six Super Bowl championships.

    The victory was sweet redemption for the 49ers, who lost an overtime thriller to the New York Giants a year ago in the NFC title game.

  • Hall of Famer Stan Musial Dies at Age 92
  • Williams, Azarenka advance to 3rd round in Australia

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Apart from a swollen lip that helped take her mind off her injured right ankle, Serena Williams emerged unscathed from her second-round win at the Australian Open on Thursday.

    Summoning all her experience from 15 major titles, including the final two of the last season, Williams lifted her tempo on the biggest points — winning an 18-minute game to open the second set, finally cashing in on her fourth break chance.

    Nineteen minutes later, she finished off a 6-2, 6-0 win Thursday over No. 112-ranked Garbine Muguruza with an ace at 128.7 mph — the fastest she can remember serving.

    "I'm on the up and up, I feel. It can only get better from here," she said, adding that she wasn't bothered by the ankle problem that caused concerns during her first-round win.

    "Obviously when you go out to play you're heavy on adrenaline and you're really pumped up," she said. "Usually I feel injuries after the match but so far, so good. I felt pretty, much better than I ever dreamed of expecting to feel."

    Williams couldn't explain how she hit herself in the face with her racket in the sixth game, a blow that left her bleeding from the lip.

  • Armstrong to Admit Doping in Oprah Interview
  • NHL: Owners Have Approved Labor Deal
  • New Year's Day bowl game recaps

    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and an early touchdown, Kevin Hogan passed for 123 yards, and No. 8 Stanford won its first Rose Bowl since 1972, beating Wisconsin 20-14 on Tuesday night.

    Usua Amanam made the decisive interception near midfield with 2:30 to play as the Pac-12 champion Cardinal (12-2) ended their four-decade drought in the Rose Bowl.

    The Big Ten champion Badgers (8-6) lost the Rose Bowl in heartbreaking fashion for the third consecutive season. Montee Ball rushed for 100 yards and his FBS-record 83rd touchdown, but Wisconsin managed only 82 yards after halftime.

    With impressive defense of its own, Wisconsin still stayed in position for an upset in the one-game return of Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, who was back on the Badgers' sideline in his red sweater-vest seven years after hanging up his whistle.

    When Bret Bielema abruptly left Wisconsin for Arkansas after winning the Big Ten title game, Alvarez agreed to coach his fourth Rose Bowl.

  • Reid, Smith Among Firings in the NFL
  • Douglas named female athlete of year

    When Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being the Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she'd make an appearance here and there.

    "I didn't think it was going to be crazy," Douglas said, laughing. "I love it. But I realized my perspective was going to have to change."

    Just a bit.

    The teenager has become a worldwide star since winning the Olympic all-around title in London, the first African-American gymnast to claim gymnastics' biggest prize. And now she has earned another honor. Douglas was selected The Associated Press' female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced Friday.

    "I didn't realize how much of an impact I made," said Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31. "My mom and everyone said, 'You really won't know the full impact until you're 30 or 40 years old.' But it's starting to sink in."

  • A&M's Johnny Football is AP's Player of the Year

    Johnny Manziel ran for almost 1,700 yards and 30 touchdowns as a dual-threat quarterback his senior year of high school at Kerrville Tivy.

    Who would have thought he'd be even more impressive at Texas A&M when pitted against the defenses of the Southeastern Conference?

    On Tuesday, Manziel picked up another major award for his spectacular debut season. He was voted The Associated Press Player of the Year. As with the Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien Award that Manziel already won, the QB nicknamed Johnny Football is the first freshman to collect the AP award.

    Manziel's 31 votes were more than twice that of second place finisher Manti Te'o, Notre Dame's start linebacker. He is the third straight Heisman-winning quarterback to receive the honor, following Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton.

    Manziel erased initial doubts about his ability when he ran for 60 yards and a score in his first game against Florida.

  • Dickey traded to Blue Jays

    NEW YORK (AP) — Eager for a new challenge and certainly a better chance to win, R.A. Dickey broke the news of his trade even before the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.
    A few minutes ahead of the teams announcing the seven-player swap Monday that sent the NL Cy Young Award winner to Toronto, he tweeted his thanks to Mets fans and added he was all set to pitch for the Blue Jays.
    “Now that its official, I want to say that I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am to you for the steadfast support,” Dickey posted on Twitter. “Thank you for making me feel wanted.”
    “Looking forward to a new chapter with the Jays,” he wrote.
    Toronto acquired the 38-year-old knuckleballer and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. The Mets got top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud and veteran catcher John Buck, plus minor league right-hander Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.
    “It was an extraordinary privilege for us to be part of his career,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said about Dickey. “The final chapter has not been written.”
    Dickey and the busy Blue Jays agreed to a new contract, clearing the way for the Mets to send him to a team that’s spending a lot of money trying to join baseball’s elite.