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Panthers WR Smith blasts Rams CB Jenkins

Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:28 Published in Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins taunted him during Sunday's NFL game by making derogatory comments about his wife.

Smith said that's why he spent extra time celebrating in the end zone — he even pointed at Jenkins — after beating him for a 19-yard touchdown reception in Carolina's 30-15 win.

"When you embarrass people you rub it in their face," Smith said.

The wide receiver went further using profanity.

"I don't play them games. And if I see him on the street, I'm going to bust him in the mouth," he said with an expletive.

Smith had five catches for 69 yards.

 

Newton, defense lead Panthers past Rams 30-15

Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:25 Published in Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers appear to have found their stride.

While the St. Louis Rams' season is suddenly in a state of flux following a knee injury to Sam Bradford.

Newton turned in his second straight quality start, completing 15 of 17 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown and the Panthers defeated Rams 30-15 in a heated game Sunday that included several fights and personal foul penalties.

In the past two games, Newton is 35 of 43 for 464 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions as the Panthers (3-3) have won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

"I feel like I am progressing," said Newton, who is 16-22 as an NFL starter.

Newton said he believes he's making better decisions, although he chided himself for taking sacks on two plays that essentially ended drives.

"I've got to throw the ball away," Newton said. "Just give my guys a chance and when we do that, it's exciting to watch. Anytime I have got an opportunity to give a dink or dunk to these guys, they make the big plays."

Steve Smith caught five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown and Mike Tolbert scored his third touchdown rushing of the season.

The Rams, meanwhile, are concerned about their franchise quarterback.

Bradford was scheduled to have an MRI on his left knee after the team landed in St. Louis. He was injured in the fourth quarter when he landed on it after being shoved out of bounds by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Bradford "was in significant pain on the sideline" but the team wouldn't speculate on how long he'll be out.

"I'm not going to deal with hypotheticals until I find out what's going on with him," Fisher said.

Before losing their quarterback, the Rams (3-4) lost their cool.

They were flagged for five personal foul penalties and defensive end Chris Long was ejected from the game for throwing a punch after one fracas involving more than a dozen players.

Long admitted after the game he lost control of his emotions and said he apologized to his teammates.

"Having to watch the rest of the game in the locker room was probably one of the low points of my career," Long said. "I can't let that happen again. ... I need to be stronger than that. I play this game with a lot of emotion. I won't change that. I can't let people provoke me."

Mitchell, a free agent pickup, was instrumental in the Carolina win.

He not only had eight tackles and two forced fumbles, but also goaded offensive lineman Harvey Dahl and wide receiver Brian Quick into unnecessary roughness penalties.

"We wanted to do a better job of being more mature, being the more composed team," Mitchell said. "We had the game in hand and we could tell by the way they were playing that they wanted to get somebody cheap, try to get us a penalty, something like that. We weren't going to give it to them. We just needed to stay disciplined."

The Panthers were flagged for two personal fouls.

It was a rough day all around for Bradford.

Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn intercepted the former No. 1 draft pick on the game's first play and returned it 45 yards for a score. Bradford also had a long TD pass to Tavon Austin called back on a penalty, and Quick dropped a pass in the end zone.

The Panthers' third-ranked defense forced three turnovers and had four sacks.

The Rams threatened to tie the game early, but failed to convert on fourth-and-goal from the 1 when Bradford was pressured into an incompletion.

The Rams scored on the next play when Eugene Sims tackled Mike Tolbert in the end zone for a safety — the first points surrendered by the Panthers in the opening quarter all season.

After the teams traded field goals, the Panthers took a 17-5 lead just before halftime on a 1-yard plunge by Tolbert.

Down 20-5, Bradford connected with Quick on a 73-yard completion, setting up a short TD pass to Zac Stacy to trim Carolina's lead to eight.

But Carolina came right back as Newton drove Carolina 72 yards, hitting Steve Smith for his 800th career reception, a 19-yard touchdown for a 27-12 lead.

The Panthers have a chance to get above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2008 season when they travel to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton's steady play is a big reason for the team's optimism moving forward.

"He has done a great job," Rivera said. "You talk about things that he does and his reads and learning to go through his progressions the right way. ... When you see him doing those types of things to give us a chance to win, you know that he has matured."

No. 14 Missouri defeats No. 22 Florida, 36-17

Saturday, 19 October 2013 19:44 Published in Sports

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — No James Franklin, no problem for Missouri.

Maty Mauk threw for 295 yards in his first career start and Andrew Baggett converted five field goals to help the No. 14 Tigers defeat No. 22 Florida 36-17 on Saturday and open a two-game lead in the Southeastern Conference East Division.

With Franklin watching on the sideline in street clothes, Mauk put any doubts to rest about whether he was ready on the first play of the game with a 41-yard pass to L'Damian Washington and then a 20-yard toss to Bud Sasser for a 7-0 lead just 22 seconds in.

Coach Gary Pinkel said Saturday was the toughest situation he's ever had to put in a quarterback, especially against a defense only allowing 235.3 yards per game. But the opening drive helped ease the stress on Mauk, who said he was determined to throw the ball downfield on the opening play.

"He looked like a seasoned veteran out there," Pinkel said.

Missouri (7-0, 3-0) outgained the Gators 500-151 and became the first conference opponent in 14 games to score at least 21 points against them. The Tigers bullied Florida (4-3, 3-2) at the line of scrimmage, sacking quarterback Tyler Murphy six times and flushing him out of the pocket throughout the game.

The Tigers knocked off their second consecutive ranked opponent for the first time since 1973 and will face No. 11 South Carolina next week at home. The Gamecocks lost at Tennessee 23-21 on Saturday.

"This team is resilient, coming back from where we were last year," Washington said. "I told Coach Pinkel, 'We've got to stop talking bowl games around here. Let's talk BCS, let's talk national championships.'"

Florida is off before facing Georgia on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville.

Mauk entered the game having only thrown six passes this season, but three of those came in the final quarter of a 41-26 win at Georgia last week after Franklin suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out at least two more games. Mauk completed 18 of 36 passes Saturday, including three for 37 yards or more down the sideline.

The 6-foot, 200-pound redshirt freshman capped the scoring with 6:30 remaining on a 17-yard scramble, prompting the 67,124 in attendance to perform the "Gator Chomp."

"Backup quarterback?," center Evan Boehm asked. "Maty would be starting anywhere else."

Mauk also made a few ill-advised throws, as Brian Poole intercepted a pass with 3:34 left in the first half and almost had another in the same quarter but dropped it.

Murphy completed 15-of-29 passes for 92 yards and an interception for the Gators as he tried to escape Missouri's defensive line all game. Freshman Kelvin Taylor, son of former National Football League running back Fred Taylor, ran for 74 yards on 12 carries in his fifth career game.

Murphy thought he had time on some of his missed throws despite absorbing three sacks from SEC-leader Michael Sam and one apiece from Kony Ealy, Matt Hoch and Shane Ray.

"They did a good job covering, but we're got to find ways to make plays," Murphy said. "I have to find ways to get guys the ball."

The Gators only gained 61 yards in the first half — including nine rushing — but used six runs to drive 70 yards and pull within 23-17 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter. Missouri answered with a 33-yard field goal by Baggett following a 50-yard run by Henry Josey, who ran for 136 yards on 18 carries.

Baggett also converted from 19, 28, 39 and 43 yards to tie the school record in makes in a single game, as Missouri far exceeded the 13 points per game Florida allowed this season entering the matchup, the second-fewest in the SEC. In addition to Mauk's 295 passing yards, the Tigers added 205 on the ground and had 24 first downs.

"This is not a very good football team, and certainly not today," Gators' coach Will Muschamp said. "I am pretty disappointed that we have not made more positive strides offensively at this point of the season."

Florida earlier narrowed its deficit to three on a 100-yard kickoff return by receiver Solomon Patton on the first play of the second half, but the Tigers responded with a 75-yard drive finished by a 6-yard scamper by Josey for a 20-10 advantage.

Florida drove 22 yards to the Missouri 28-yard line with 58 seconds left in the second quarter on its longest drive of the first half before Ealy burst through the line and forced Murphy to fumble on a sack. Missouri recovered to squelch the threat and end the half up 13-3.

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