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December 15, 2002
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[AP photo]
Joe Jurevicius comes down with a touchdown catch Sunday against Atlanta.
Zoned in
The area inside the opponents' 20 isn't as forbidding this season for the Bucs.

Chucky's Chalk Talk
On not overlooking the Lions:

Who to root for today, Bucs fans
Our best guess at which teams Bucs fans should root for among the NFC contenders:

All the talk that is not there
DETROIT -- The Bucs' success has brought plenty of national attention lately and the collection of characters in Tampa Bay's locker room can fill notebooks and tape recorders with lively quotes and sound bites.

High profile -- John Howell

Side line
K. Johnson looking to duplicate first Buc TD

I appreciate every cent
We know this, Bucs linebacker Nate Webster is a gangster. So here he is on his personality on the field, his nickname, the Incredible Hulk, his grandmother's Buick and eating his teammates.

Gary Shelton: A vote for Brooks, but counting's not done
DETROIT -- If you want power, then Warren Sapp is your man.

Letters: Keyshawn's doing what needs doing
In my opinion, Keyshawn Johnson is playing the best team football of his life. He is doing things a receiver should do besides catching footballs: being a decoy, blocking, energizing the team, etc. And the team is winning because Jon Gruden has spread around the passes to other talented receivers.

Piniella is bold with statements
The new Rays manager is not shying from predicting success as the team looks to improve with deals.

No more 'original' Rays remain
NASHVILLE -- They came into being with considerable publicity and promise, the first true Rays of hope.

Lightning strikes back on home ice
LIGHTNING 4, ISLANDERS 3: Vinny Lecavalier scores twice and Tampa Bay hangs on at home to get revenge against nemesis New York.

Cullen glad to come back
TAMPA -- The extent of John Cullen's life in hockey these days is watching the Lightning on pay-per-view from his home in Atlanta. That made his visit to the St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday something special.

Hubert Mizell
Pain once dispensed is now pain endured for Spurrier

This season, nobody's accusing Steve Spurrier of running up scores. He wishes. Ball Coach is a quart or two low on piercing, controversial remarks.

College football
Palmer captures Heisman

The QB wins every region but one to become 5th at USC to earn the award.

Rally puts W. Kentucky in I-AA final vs. McNeese
STATESBORO, Ga. -- Western Kentucky quarterback Jason Michael scored on a 2-yard run with 46 seconds left to lead the Hilltoppers into the Division I-AA championship game for the first time with a 31-28 victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday.

College basketball
Gators end streak for Terps

UF 69, MARYLAND 64: Walsh FTs help halt a 13-year, 87-game nonconference home victory string.

Tennessee holds USC to lowest point total
INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Kara Lawson and Shyra Ely each scored 16 as No.4 Tennessee beat Southern Cal 71-39 Saturday.

Salukis watch
CHICAGO -- Cedrick Banks scored 22 and Martell Bailey put back his own miss for the winning shot with 3.2 seconds left Saturday.

Unlikely Spartan silences Wildcats
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In a tight game, Tim Bograkos is the last player Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wants taking a big shot.

Bulldogs' Austin a force in his return
NEW YORK -- Mario Austin waited six games before he was allowed to play this season. It didn't take long for him to make his presence felt.

Alabama avoids embarrassing loss to Bowling Green
MOBILE, Ala. -- Alabama nearly made its highest ranking ever a one-week cameo.

Cardinals win with 33-3 run
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Reece Gaines scored 23 and Louisville ran off a 33-3 spurt that started in the first half and continued into the second to beat Seton Hall 91-70 on Saturday.

Wright State tops Bullswith a last-second shot
Jimmy Baxter scores a game-high 27 points, but USF can't hold early lead.

Value of 1,000 has dropped

It used to be the universal benchmark for running backs, but is gaining 1,000 yards in a season becoming common place?

NFL Game Day: Week 15
Bucs (10-3) at Lions (3-10)

Highs & lows

Sports briefs
Byrd denies Holyfield title

Maddux has pick of lucrative offers
NASHVILLE -- Just because teams aren't talking about Greg Maddux doesn't mean the market for the four-time Cy Young Award winner is quiet.

Slap shots

Tales from the road

Maple Leafs stay hot, hand Rangers fifth loss in a row
TORONTO -- Mats Sundin had a goal and an assist as the Maple Leafs handed the New York Rangers their season-high fifth straight loss, 4-1 Saturday night.

Flooding postpones opening of Downs
Unusuable parking lots force Tampa Bay Downs to move races to Tuesday.

College volleyball
UF in 1st Final Four since '98

A change in strategy sends the Gators confidently to their sixth NCAA semifinal match.

Riley places Heat on refs

MIAMI -- Heat coach Pat Riley did not back down Saturday, a day after he blasted officials for a blown call and a disparity at the free-throw line against the Knicks.

Mickelsonleads surge toward top

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Phil Mickelson put on a spectacular display and led the U.S. charge at the World Cup on Saturday.

Hillsborough football: Close, but ...

TALLAHASSEE -- Many thought this would be the season Hillsborough County would break down the 33-year-old wall standing between it and a state football title.

Norland wins thriller, Rockledge cruises
TALLAHASSEE -- Robert Spence hit Sean Bailey for a 61-yard touchdown with 23 seconds remaining Saturday night as Miami Norland defeated Orlando Edgewater 19-14 in the Class 6A state championship game.

Four Cougars, one team
Countryside's Stephanie Widmer, Ashley Messmore, Kim Iaquinto and Cindy Rosal put together outstanding individual performances to share a state title.

Leopards second in Kiwanis meet
BROOKSVILLE -- It was business as usual Saturday at the Brooksville Kiwanis Invitational. Nothing came easy for any wrestler looking to stake an early-season claim as one of the best around.

Rams learn to bounce back
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Ridgewood gave its best effort of the season Friday night and lost a 60-58 heartbreaker in overtime to bigger, stronger, faster Sarasota Riverview.

Wesley Chapel pulls away from Mitchell late
WESLEY CHAPEL -- This may have been one of the four best teams in Class 3A last season, but it was a team that could not win its county title.

Fourth-quarter scores earn East first All-Star win
TAMPA -- Durant running back Trae Williams scored on a 24-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter and Temple Heights' Nathan Lewis found the end zone on a 1-yard plunge in the final minute to propel the East to a 14-3 victory over the West on Saturday in the Hillsborough County High School All-Star Game.

Daily fishing report

Mother Nature has been making it tough to find a day to run offshore the last couple of weeks. If you have Monday and Tuesday off, you're in luck. Light winds and calm seas the next couple of days will make getting offshore a little easier, and you'll have a great shot at having a banner day.

The BCS matchups are a bust

I feel so good the Bowl Championship Series has decided the best college football game for us again. I can rest easy knowing the best teams are playing in the Orange Bowl. Oops. Isn't that how it was supposed to work?

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