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December 1, 2002
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'He can get it done'
Brad Johnson is not flashy, but he has been a steadying influence for the Bucs' improving offense.

Chucky's Chalk Talk
On the Saints defense, which has slipped to 26th in the NFL:

Bucs have argument of their own
NEW ORLEANS -- The lineman was sprawled across the turf, the victim of a vicious hit, and his attacker stood taunting him, relishing the cheap shot.

Side line
Walker wants to put on a show this week

High Profile -- Tom Tupa

Brown willing to protect his assets
Through 18 NFL seasons, left tackle Lomas Brown has seen it all. Today he shares his wisdom on topics like Monopoly, Barry Sanders, players today and Thanksgiving food.

John Romano: Progress lined up for Bucs' front unit
It did not take long for expectations to ebb. It was sometime, one might suppose, after Brad Johnson's first headache and last bruised rib.

Letters: Sapp's hit stirs up differing emotions
I am a 63-year-old grandmother and great-grandmother who is sick of the Warren Sapp bashing.If people do not like Sapp's attitude off the field or his personality, then do not invite him to dinner. He is a professional athlete, and all he owes his fans is to be the best that he can be, which he does every game he plays. He is one of the reasons that I am proud to be a Bucs fan. He is also invited to dinner at my home any time.

Can Piniella build bridge to Tampa fans?
Latins love him, but how Rays sell themselves and perform may be bigger lures.

Lightning is out to sustain edge against Rangers
Not only has it beaten New York twice, it will face a young backup goalie.

Hubert Mizell: Why export MLB teams when nation's capital awaits?
Too bad Bud Selig doesn't have the commissioner courage, ample sporting common sense or the old Bowie Kuhn for the good of baseball mentality, prodding him to tell Orioles proprietor Peter Angelos to keep his overbearing carcass in Baltimore and forget the nonsensical idea that he owns not only Maryland but also Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Gary Shelton: All rivalries sag with time; just ask Norway
TALLAHASSEE -- Spain versus Portugal. Now, that was a rivalry.

Miami Hurricanes
Title defense in Miami's sights
MIAMI 49, SYRACUSE 7: No. 1 'Canes get within one win of clinching Fiesta Bowl berth.

[Times photo: Carrie Pratt]
Anquan Boldin celebrates his touchdown, a 22-yard reception from Chris Rix to give the Seminoles a 17-6 lead in the second quarter.
Rix elixir
FSU 31, UF 14: QB's return to starting lineup sparks Seminoles to a rout in annual showdown.

Game's allure falters with clubs' fortunes
TALLAHASSEE -- If you want some idea of just how far from the norm Saturday night's Florida-Florida State game was, you needed to look no further than the Seminoles press box.

Florida let opportunity go by
The Gators had perhaps their best chance to end a drought.

Kid has big day for FSU
Freshman running back Leon Washington steps in and carries the load for Florida State.

Florida/Florida State quotebooks
Florida/Florida State by the numbers

More college football
State: Marks fall for Knights
Two players dent the record books for UCF in a 42-32 season-closing win.

Husker dud may cost jobs on coaching staff
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska's players expect some changes on the coaching staff after the Cornhuskers finished with their worst record since 1961.

Big East: West Virginia quarterback tops his rival at last on bigger stage
PITTSBURGH -- West Virginia quarterback Rasheed Marshall didn't beat Pitt's Rod Rutherford in three high school matchups. Never came close. So he saved his best performance back home for a much bigger game.

ACC: Terps feeling peachy after battering Wake
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A terrific afternoon for Maryland ended just the way the Terrapins planned it: with an invitation to play in the Peach Bowl.

C-USA: Freshman RB leads TCU to Liberty
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Freshman Lonta Hobbs had no idea he was going to be the focus of TCU's offense going into Saturday's game against Memphis.

I-AA: Bethune-Cookman falls in first round
STATESBORO, Ga. -- New coach, new players, same old results for Georgia Southern. When playoff time rolls around, the Eagles find ways to win.

Big 12: OU blows fragile shot at title game
WR Rashaun Woods' 226 yards lead Cowboys to 38-28 win, boosting bowl outlook.

SEC: Volunteers extend dominance of 'Cats
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee is having a down year, but not down far enough to give Kentucky a chance.

Pac-10: Trojans take fight to Irish
Carson Palmer passes for 425 of Southern Cal's 610 yards in a 44-13 rout of Notre Dame.

Nation: UNLV ends season with upset victory vs. Colorado State
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Larry Croom figured he needed a big game with starting quarterback Jason Thomas out of the lineup.

More sports
Highs & lows

Sports briefs
Good Journey takes Citation

Hampton eyeing new start
After being traded from the Rockies to the Braves last month, Mike Hampton has an opportunity to re-establish himself as a premier left-handed pitcher.

Carolina wins, takes over first
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Erik Cole scored two second-period goals and Carolina held on to beat the Blue Jackets 4-2 Saturday night.

NHL Slapshots
An official change

Hawks can't handle Magic
ORLANDO -- Tracy McGrady was so good in the second and third quarters, he earned the final 12 minutes off.

Mickelson leads Skins after Day 1
INDIO, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson was in the bushes three times, took himself out of the hole twice and even hit one shot right-handed. Thanks to one good swing, he was the biggest winner on the first day of the Skins Game on Saturday.

French take Davis Cup lead at 2-1
PARIS -- With its resilient doubles team buoyed by a crowd pounding ThunderStix, France closed in on a second straight Davis Cup title.

College basketball
Texas goes inside to wear out Seton Hall
HOUSTON -- Texas needed some inside scoring to crack Seton Hall's zone defense, and Deginald Erskin provided it.

Duke cruises; UCLA falls to 0-2
INDIANAPOLIS -- UCLA didn't just lose, it dropped to 0-2 for the first time in 41 seasons.

LSU can't close gap against Texas A&M
HOUSTON -- Bernard King scored 26 as Texas A&M held off Louisiana State 79-77 in the final seconds Saturday in the Space City Classic.

Self-taught Cougar tops county
Matt Isel received little instruction from pros yet reached the state tourney for the third time.

Seahawks say best revenge is a victory
The Seahawks travel to San Francisco today to face the 49ers in a rematch of the Sharpie game, when 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens caught a touchdown, then reached into his sock for a Sharpie pen to sign the football. He then ran to the stands and handed it to his business agent, setting off a firestorm of criticism.

Stewart handles change well
Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, who might get sent back to the bench today if Tommy Maddox is healthy, has played well while Maddox has been out, going 35-of-43 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

NFL Game Day: Week 12
Bucs (9-2) at Saints (7-4)

Outdoors: Daily fishing report
Big fish this time of year means amberjack and blackfin tuna. Springs and shipwrecks are holding good numbers of jacks. The biggest challenge is ensuring you have plenty of live, large bait.

St. Anthony's Triathlon
Registration for the 20th annual St. Anthony's Triathlon begins today. The Olympic-distance (.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run) event will be held April 27 in downtown St. Petersburg.

It's time to cast about for schools of mullet
You've seen them jumping, especially this time of year. Late fall and early winter are the best times around the west coast of Florida for mullet fishing. They are fat, full of roe and prime for the smoker.

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