This is an article from the Dec. 21, 2009 issue
By Broncos wideout Brandon Marshall (above), an NFL record with 21 receptions in a loss to the Colts on Sunday. Marshall, who had 200 receiving yards and two touchdown catches, broke the single-game mark of 20 set by Terrell Owens in December 2000. "I went to my receiving coach before the game and I told him, 'I think this is going to be the best game I've ever played,'" Marshall said. "I believe big players step up in big games, and this was a big game for us." Despite Marshall's heroics the Broncos lost for the fifth time in eight games.
By Northwest Missouri State, the Division II football championship, with a 30--23 win over Grand Valley State last Saturday in Florence, Ala. The final featured the two schools with the most D-II wins this decade; still, the 2000s have been bittersweet for Northwest Missouri. The Bearcats had lost in the championship game four years in a row before bolting to a 21--0 lead against Grand Valley State and holding on to win their first national title since 1998. "I told my teammates I would do all I could not to let them down," said LaRon Council, who rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns, "and make sure we didn't have that feeling I had last year."
By IndyCar star Danica Patrick, a two-year deal with JR Motorsports to drive in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series beginning next season. Patrick, 27, will drive a full IndyCar Series schedule for Andretti Autosport and will squeeze in stock car races when her schedule permits; she is unsure of how many Nationwide events she will run. Patrick, who is expected to be the only female driver in NASCAR's top two circuits, will get behind the wheel of a stock car at an ARCA test session in Daytona next week and plans to be in the ARCA season opener on Feb. 6 at Daytona.
By Virginia, the NCAA soccer championship, with a 3--2 win over top-seeded Akron on penalty kicks on Sunday in Cary, N.C. It's the sixth College Cup title for the Cavaliers, but their first since 1994. Virginia, the No. 2 seed, and Akron played to a scoreless draw in regulation and OT; the Zips entered with a 24-game unbeaten streak and were trying to win their first NCAA title in any sport. Virginia coach George Gelnovatch capped his 14th season in Charlottesville with his first championship as head coach. "I knew it would come," he said. "I was hell-bent on making sure of that."
As Kansas's football coach, former Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill. In the 1980s Gill, 47, led the Cornhuskers to three Big Eight titles; he was an assistant coach on their 1994, '95 and '97 national championship teams. For the last four years Gill has been the coach at Buffalo, where he inherited a program that had won only 12 games over eight seasons. At Kansas, Gill replaces Mark Mangino, who was the school's most successful football coach but resigned under pressure after an investigation into his alleged mistreatment of players. Gill is the first black head coach in a revenue-producing sport at Kansas and the only black football coach in the Big 12.
By the NCAA and the SEC, possible recruiting violations in the Tennessee football program. Coach Lane Kiffin confirmed last week that he was questioned by SEC officials about an October recruiting trip to St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with Steve Rubio, a Tennessee intern and a St. Thomas graduate; if Rubio did any recruiting on the trip, it would be a violation of NCAA rules. The NCAA is looking into a trip to a South Carolina high school game allegedly made by two female Tennessee students for the purpose of visiting players being recruited by the Volunteers. The women are reportedly members of Orange Pride, a group of female students responsible for entertaining recruits on campus visits. An off-campus recruiting visit by them could violate NCAA rules against off-campus recruiting trips by unsanctioned school representatives. Kiffin denied any wrongdoing by himself or his staff and said his strong recruiting class this year is drawing attention to his practices.
Out of the Dean Dome by North Carolina coach Roy Williams on Sunday, a fan who shouted while the Tar Heels' Deon Thompson was shooting a free throw. During the second half of UNC's 103--64 win over Presbyterian College on Sunday, a fan seated about 20 rows behind the Tar Heels' bench yelled at Thompson to miss his foul shot. Williams immediately had security officers remove the man from the arena. Said UNC point guard Larry Drew II, "That's some head-honcho stuff right there."
Yankees-related items sold on eBay in 2009, making the team the most popular pop-culture subject on the auction site this year.
Items sold relating to the vampire franchise Twilight, second on the eBay top-shopped list.
Consecutive regular-season wins by the Colts, an NFL record.
Regular-season wins by the Colts since 2000, the most by any NFL team in a decade.
Consecutive seasons with 10 rushing TDs for LaDainian Tomlinson, an NFL record.
Years the Banfield franchise was in existence before winning an Argentine soccer league title; the club clinched its first championship on Sunday.
Amount former women's tennis No. 1 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was ordered to pay in back taxes by the Spanish government.
Days of classes Alabama canceled so students and faculty can travel to the BCS national championship game on Jan. 7.
THEY SAID IT
Eagles coach, on his last visit to Giants Stadium before the New York teams open a new facility next fall: "Hopefully they move the seat [of] the guy that, when I come out of the tunnel, talks to me about how many salad bars I need to visit. I won't miss that part."