Sports


Braves among teams interested in Marlins’ Yelich

New Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has said he doesn’t intend to come out with guns blazing and trade top prospects until he gets a better feel for the organization’s top talent, but perhaps he would make an exception if he could land Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, an outstanding all-around young player who’s under contractual control for five seasons on a team-friendly...


Falcons are aware of their playoff chances 

Falcons are aware of their playoff chances 

For the defending NFC champion Falcons, their path to the playoffs is simple. Win their remaining games, and they repeat as NFC South division champs. The Falcons (8-5) trail the New Orleans Saints (9-4) and Carolina Panthers (9-4) with three games to play. The Falcons play Tampa Bay (4-9) at 8:30 p.m. Monday at Raymond James Stadium. The Falcons haven’t been dazzling for much of the season...
Dale Murphy: ‘There’s a spot for me’ in Hall of Fame

Dale Murphy: ‘There’s a spot for me’ in Hall of Fame

Dale Murphy was snubbed in another Hall of Fame vote. The longtime Atlanta Braves great isn’t bitter, but he does believe he belongs among the legends in Cooperstown, N.Y. “I think there’s a spot in there for me,” Murphy tells AJC columnist Jeff Schultz and WSB-TV Action News 2 sports director Zach Klein on their “We Never Played the Game”  podcast...
Time for Braves, Martin Prado reunion might have passed

Time for Braves, Martin Prado reunion might have passed

Could the Braves reunite with fan-favorite Martin Prado? Don’t bet on it, at least at his current price. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported Tuesday the Braves could have interest in the Marlins infielder. Prado played for the Braves from 2006-12. As an everyday player from 2009-12, he hit over .300 three times. His versatility and play style made him one of the most beloved Braves over that period...
Cracks in NFL’s concussion protocol are showing

Cracks in NFL’s concussion protocol are showing

What really happens within those pop-up medical tents on the sideline when an NFL player goes inside to be checked for concussion? With the process hidden from view like a senate intelligence committee meeting, we can only imagine. And right now, none of those imaginings treat the league kindly.       Judging by some recent incidents, I’m guessing the examination...
Game preview: Hawks at Cavs

Game preview: Hawks at Cavs

(Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)   When/where: 7 p.m. today, Quicken Loans Arena TV: Fox Sports Southeast Stream: Fox Sports Go Radio: 92.9 The Game Injuries: Hawks— John Collins (shoulder), Dewayne Dedmon (leg) and Mike Muscala (ankle) are out; Luke Babbitt (back) is probable. Cavs—Derrick Rose (ankle), Iman Shumpert (knee) and Isaiah Thomas (hip) are out; Tristan Thompson...
No Atlanta United players selected in MLS expansion draft

No Atlanta United players selected in MLS expansion draft

No Atlanta United players were selected by LAFC in Tuesday’s expansion draft. LAFC, which will begin play in 2018, selected: Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller. Sporting KC forward Latif Blessing. San Jose forward Marco Urena. Columbus fullback Jukka Raitala. Toronto forward Raheem Edwards. Atlanta United left unprotected: Midfielder Yamil Asad, who was on loan and whose stats hasn’t been...
Dan Quinn: Falcons chasing their ‘best performance’

Dan Quinn: Falcons chasing their ‘best performance’

Coach Dan Quinn put the Falcons through a brisk 35-minute practice Tuesday as they returned from their mini-bye. “What we did as coaches was go back and identify some of the things that we wanted to go emphasized and we did that today,” Quinn said. “There are parts offensively, defensively and special teams that we really wanted to make a move on and see if that part of our game...
Tweetcap of Dan Quinn’s Tuesday Presser: A look ahead to Tampa Bay

Tweetcap of Dan Quinn’s Tuesday Presser: A look ahead to Tampa Bay

Falcons coach Dan Quinn discusses the team’s return to practice on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com) FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Dan Quinn addressed the media on Tuesday as the team returned to practice after their mini-bye. He TV-scouted the Tampa Bay and Detroit game on Sunday. Here’s a tweetcap of the day: Coach Quinn: We are chasing our...
Hawks’ Schroder says he’s moved on from unhappiness over benching

Hawks’ Schroder says he’s moved on from unhappiness over benching

Hawks coach Mike Bundeholzer and point guard Dennis Schroder said they’ve moved on after Schroder was displeased after he was benched for the final eight-plus minutes at the Knicks on Sunday night.  “We talked about it,” Budenholer said at Hawks shootaround Tuesday before their game at the Cavaliers on Tuesday night. “I think he understands how important he is and...
Georgia State can erase recent woes with Cure Bowl win

Georgia State can erase recent woes with Cure Bowl win

After qualifying for a bowl, Georgia State fell into a late-season swoon. The team was outscored 55-20 in home conference losses to Appalachian State and Idaho, shredding the momentum the Panthers built after achieving a 6-3 record. GSU allowed 100-yard rushers in both games after permitting none all season. “When you go out there and put on a performance like we did today, you have to look...
What to know about the Panthers, Hilltoppers in 2017 Cure Bowl

What to know about the Panthers, Hilltoppers in 2017 Cure Bowl

For the second time in three years, the Panthers are bowl-bound in Orlando. Georgia State will face Western Kentucky in the Cure Bowl at Camping World Stadium on Saturday. The game starts at 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS and CBSSN Live. The Panthers are six-point favorites. There have been 18,700 tickets distributed for the game as of Tuesday, according to Cure Bowl public relations. Each...
Video: Georgia vs. Oklahoma - A look at the coaches

Video: Georgia vs. Oklahoma - A look at the coaches

Here’s a look at the head coaches of the participants in the Rose Bowl - Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley. Smart has UGA in the Rose Bowl - and the college football playoff - in just his second season in Athens. Riley has the Sooners in the same boat in his first season guiding the Oklahoma program. Find out more about the youthful head coaches whose teams will...
Tevin Coleman still in concussion protocol, Andy Levitre out for Falcons 

Tevin Coleman still in concussion protocol, Andy Levitre out for Falcons 

The Falcons returned to practice Tuesday, but running back Tevin Coleman (concussion protocol) was not on the field during the portion of practice that was open to the media. Left guard Andy Levitre (triceps injury) was at practice, but did not have his helmet nor did he participate in drills. Coach Dan Quinn confirmed after practice that Coleman remains in the NFL concussion protocol and that Levitre...
Anthopoulos says Braves payroll big enough, but farm system crucial

Anthopoulos says Braves payroll big enough, but farm system crucial

The Braves haven’t said where their 2017 payroll ended up by their own accounting or divulged a targeted payroll for 2018, but new general manager Alex Anthopoulos said it will remain at a similar level and that there are enough dollars to make it work. He wouldn’t specify that payroll figure, but said it was made clear to him by ownership. “I know what the payroll is right now and...
Braves’ improvement needs to start with the ghost ownership

Braves’ improvement needs to start with the ghost ownership

The Braves are in fix mode again. Find a dependable starting pitcher, not a jelly-bellied cartoon. Patch the bullpen, acquire a veteran third baseman, improve the defense. Try to do all of this without committing another series of baseball felonies, because that clearly was a problem for the previous regime. Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves’ new general manager, does not have an impossible...
Kennesaw State’s Bryce Armstrong named freshman of year

Kennesaw State’s Bryce Armstrong named freshman of year

Kennesaw State’s Bryce Armstrong was named Tuesday the winner of the STATS Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman football player in FCS. Armstrong led the Owls, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the playoffs before losing, in solo tackles (85),  tackles (114), tackles for loss (12 1/2), forced fumbles (3) and fumbles recovered (4) and set a Big South record for sacks (11). He...
Hawks assign rookie John Collins to Erie

Hawks assign rookie John Collins to Erie

The Atlanta Hawks announced Tuesday that rookie forward/center John Collins was assigned to the Erie BayHawks, the Hawks’ NBA G League affiliate. Collins will miss his sixth consecutive game with a shoulder injury that he suffered against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 30.  Collins, who was the team’s first-round draft pick this year, selected No. 19 overall, was ruled out earlier...
Why Georgia Tech likely will never adopt the shotgun again

Why Georgia Tech likely will never adopt the shotgun again

With the disappointment of Georgia Tech’s recently completed season, suggestions have returned on social media that coach Paul Johnson incorporate shotgun elements into his option-based spread offense. The success of former Johnson aides using the shotgun at Army (Jeff Monken) and Navy (Ken Niumatalolo) has only reinforced the notion that placing the quarterback five yards behind center, rather...
Julio Jones set to move up Falcons’ all-time receptions list  

Julio Jones set to move up Falcons’ all-time receptions list  

Falcons two-time All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones is four catches away from passing Terance Mathis for second place on the franchise’s all-time time receptions list. Jones, who was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2011, has 570 catches. Mathis made 573 receptions over eight seasons (1994-2001) with the Falcons. Roddy White is the franchise’s all-time leading receiver with 808...
Video: Here’s how the Falcons can repeat as division champs

Video: Here’s how the Falcons can repeat as division champs

The Falcons finish the regular season with games against division rivals Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Carolina. Win all three and the Falcons will win the NFC South for the second straight year. Here’s a breakdown of the three-game stretch which begins on Monday Night Football Dec. 18 in Tampa.
Georgia vs. Heisman Trophy winners

Georgia vs. Heisman Trophy winners

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield took home the Heisman Trophy Saturday, crowning him as the best player in college football for the 2017 season. Mayfield’s coronation sets up a rare occasion for Georgia when it faces him Jan. 1, 2018, in the Rose Bowl. Since 1966, Georgia has faced nine Heisman winners in the same season they won the trophy. So how has Georgia fared against Heisman...
VIDEO: Marcus Spears thinks Roquan Smith will be the best linebacker Baker Mayfield has seen this season

VIDEO: Marcus Spears thinks Roquan Smith will be the best linebacker Baker Mayfield has seen this season

SEC Network analyst Marcus Spears said Georgia’s Roquan Smith is the best linebacker that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has seen all season. Smith— the MVP of Georgia’s SEC Championship win over Auburn— recorded 113 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, two deflected passes, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in his junior season. “(Smith) is a film room war daddy...
Houston County OL Trey Hill commits to Georgia

Houston County OL Trey Hill commits to Georgia

Houston County High School offensive guard Trey Hill became Georgia’s 19th commit in the signing class of 2019 Monday night. The 4-star offensive guard from Warner Robins, Ga.— who is a former teammate of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm— chose Georgia over Auburn, Florida and Florida State. Hill, 6-foot-3, 346 pounds, is 247 Sports second-ranked offensive guard in recruiting class...
2018 Rose Bowl: Who holds the advantage?

2018 Rose Bowl: Who holds the advantage?

The Oklahoma Sooners are a one-point favorite over the Georgia Bulldogs in the 104th Rose Bowl game. The College Football Playoff semifinal game (5 p.m., Jan. 1, 2018, ESPN) will  feature the nation’s top scoring offense against the 4th-best defense.  The two teams have never played each other previously. The third-ranked Bulldogs won their first SEC title since 2005 and are chasing...
Leadoff: What were college football’s most watched games this season?

Leadoff: What were college football’s most watched games this season?

The biggest college football game of the season in Atlanta is still to come: the national championship game on Jan. 8. But already, two of the four most watched games of the season have been played here.  The SEC Championship game between Georgia and Auburn on Dec. 2 drew 13.466 million TV viewers across the nation, making it the season’s second most watched game to date, according to figures...
Anthopoulos to take ‘cautious approach’ in trades for now

Anthopoulos to take ‘cautious approach’ in trades for now

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – New Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos likes to take into consideration the opinions of others in his organization before making big trades, particularly with young players and prospects. With that in mind, and considering his relatively late hiring (Nov. 12), Anthopoulos indicates he’ll take a more cautious approach this winter than he’s been known...
Braves GM Anthopoulos makes defensive improvement a priority

Braves GM Anthopoulos makes defensive improvement a priority

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The areas that former Braves president of baseball operations John Hart mentioned as three likely offseason needs – third base, bullpen, starting rotation -- still could be considered as such, but the new man in charge, general manager and vice president Alex Anthopoulos, pointed to another area that’s moved to the top of the priority list. Improving the...
GHSA facing backlash from road teams after decision on state title games

GHSA facing backlash from road teams after decision on state title games

The Georgia High School Association’s decision to move six postponed state-championship football games to high school fields this Friday night is unanimously unpopular among the six teams playing on the road. Rome head coach John Reid called the move ‘a joke.’ Hapeville Charter coach Winston Gordon called it a ‘tragedy.’ Blessed Trinity’s Tim McFarlin said it&rsquo...
Blog: What formation could Atlanta United play?

Blog: What formation could Atlanta United play?

With the news that Atlanta United may be pursing Darlington Nagbe, I thought it would be fun to try to figure out what the formation could be next year. My projections include Nagbe and, in some others, Ezequiel Barco, another reported target. Keep in mind, Atlanta United scored 70 goals last season, second-most in the league and the most by any expansion team in MLS history. Here goes: Martinez Almiron-Barco-Villalba...
Nagbe to Atlanta United? Rumors heating up

Nagbe to Atlanta United? Rumors heating up

Soccer’s hot stove is heating up and rumors involving Atlanta United are burning. Several outlets on social media are posting that Portland’s Darlington Nagbe may soon be joining Atlanta United. Kristian Dyer was the first to report Atlanta United’s interest in Nagbe. Sam Stejskal reported that Portland started considering trading one of its cornerstones because Nagbe wants a pay...
Payton’s conduct toward Freeman, officials to be reviewed 

Payton’s conduct toward Freeman, officials to be reviewed 

After the completion of this week’s games, the NFL is set to review the conduct of Saints coach Sean Payton in the Falcons’ 20-17 win on Thursday. Payton gave the choke sign to Falcons running back Devonta Freeman and his conduct toward game officials near the end of the game, which drew an unsportsmanlike penalty with 1:05 to play, will be reviewed. The week will be completed after the...
Injuries cloud the NFC playoff picture

Injuries cloud the NFC playoff picture

A season-altering injury in Philadelphia has created some playoff drama in the NFC. Eagles coach Doug Pederson announced on Monday that quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a torn left ACL against the Rams. “I hate it for the season he’s been having,” Pederson said.  Nick Foles, who’s started 36 games and has a 20-16 record as a starter, will attempt to replace Wentz, who...
Acuna heads group of four Braves on AFL Top Prospects team

Acuna heads group of four Braves on AFL Top Prospects team

Braves prospects Ronald Acuna, Austin Riley, Alex Jackson and Max Fried all were among the 23 named to the Arizona Fall League’s Top Prospects Team as selected by AFL managers and coaches. The Braves and Yankees dominated the team with four selections apiece, the two organizations accounting for more than one-third of the top prospects from the annual prospect-laden fall league that includes...
Pressley Harvin named to freshman All-America team

Pressley Harvin named to freshman All-America team

Georgia Tech punter Pressley Harvin was named to ESPN’s true freshman All-America team, worthy recognition after also being named All-ACC third-team. Harvin ranks 18th nationally in yards per punt at 44.1 yards per kick, and Tech is 30th nationally in net punting at 39.7 yards per kick after finishing 65th last season at 37.4 yards per punt. Harvin’s high-hanging punts were instrumental...
Former Falcons executive joins Hawks

Former Falcons executive joins Hawks

Michael Drake, a key executive in the Falcons’ opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is switching teams and venues. But he isn’t going far. Drake, who left the Falcons organization in early November “to pursue new challenges,” will join the Hawks as senior vice president of corporate partnerships and premium sales.  He will be responsible for driving revenue from corporate...
Bulldogs land 2 players on AP’s All-America list

Bulldogs land 2 players on AP’s All-America list

The Bulldogs had two players and on the Associated Press’ All-America teams released on Monday. Junior linebacker Roquan Smith was named to the AP first-team list along with Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell and Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards. Georgia senior Isaiah Wynn was one of two tackles named to the AP’s All-America second-team along with Clemson junior Mitch Hyatt. The Associated...
I don’t get why Hawks coach Budenholzer benched Schroder

I don’t get why Hawks coach Budenholzer benched Schroder

Hawks guard Dennis Schroder and coach Mike Budenholzer during happier times. (AP Photo) NEW YORK–Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer benched Dennis Schroder for the final eight-plus minutes against the Knicks last night. I watched a replay of the fourth quarter and I still don’t get it. After the game, Budenholzer essentially said he just liked the group he had on the floor. He also...
Southwest adds flights from Atlanta to Los Angeles for College Football Playoff game

Southwest adds flights from Atlanta to Los Angeles for College Football Playoff game

Southwest Airlines announced it will add flights from Atlanta to Los Angeles, Calif. for the College Football Playoff semifinal between No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Oklahoma.  The airline will add flights on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 from Atlanta to Los Angeles as well as a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta on Jan. 2. Southwest will also add flights between Oklahoma City to Los Angeles. The game inside...
Georgia’s Roquan Smith projected to be drafted in Top 10 of NFL Draft

Georgia’s Roquan Smith projected to be drafted in Top 10 of NFL Draft

Since his MVP performance in the 2018 SEC Championship game, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith has risen in SB Nation’s 2018 NFL Draft projection. SB Nation initially predicted Smith would be drafted 15th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in April’s NFL Draft, but has since moved to ninth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Smith, who has yet to declare for the NFL Draft, has had his best...
NFL playoff forecast: Falcons will make it as last seed

NFL playoff forecast: Falcons will make it as last seed

According to various computer models, updated through 13 games, the Falcons will make the playoffs. These projections include: -- FiveThirtyEight: 65 percent to make the playoffs, 22 percent to win the NFC South. -- The New York Times: 60 percent to make the playoffs, 15 percent to win the division. -- PlayoffStatus: 59 percent to make the playoffs, 15 percent to win the division. Projecting ...
Blog: What positions might Atlanta United strengthen  in free agency?

Blog: What positions might Atlanta United strengthen  in free agency?

MLS released two important lists on Sunday: those players who are now free agents and those players who were left unprotected ahead of Tuesday’s LAFC expansion draft. There were two pieces of important news on Sunday, both with local ties. The first was the surprising trade of Lawrenceville’s Walker Zimmerman from Dallas to LAFC. Zimmerman started 2017 brightly with a call-up to the U...
Orlando Brown: One Oklahoma star who came from Georgia

Orlando Brown: One Oklahoma star who came from Georgia

The bio on the Oklahoma football web page for All-American offensive tackle Orlando Brown would appear to set up the perfect story. Hometown: Duluth, Ga. High school: Peachtree Ridge. How on earth, the story thus would be written, did Georgia not keep Brown home? Why are the Bulldogs facing him in the Rose Bowl, rather than lining him up at left tackle? It’s more complicated than that. &ldquo...
Watch: Time lapse of Rose Bowl field being installed for College Football Playoff

Watch: Time lapse of Rose Bowl field being installed for College Football Playoff

The field the Georgia Bulldogs and Oklahoma Sooners will be playing on inside the Rose Bowl is officially installed. In the time lapse video (above) new sod is placed at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Oklahoma kick off at 5 p.m. Jan. 1, 2018, in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Falcons move back into sixth and final NFC playoff spot

Falcons move back into sixth and final NFC playoff spot

With Jacksonville’s win over Seattle, coupled with the Falcons win over the Saints and a previous win over Seattle, the Falcons, after NFC play this week, are in the sixth and final playoff spot with three games to play. The defending NFC champion Falcons (8-5) hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks by virtue of their 34-31 win on Nov. 20. The Falcons are one game behind the Panthers...
Budenholzer benches Schroder late in Hawks loss at Knicks

Budenholzer benches Schroder late in Hawks loss at Knicks

Mike Budenholzer said it was a “coach’s decision” to leave Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder on the bench for the final eight-plus minutes of Sunday’s 111-107 loss to the Knicks. Schroder said Budenholzer didn’t offer him an explanation.  “You’ve got to ask Coach and then let me know,” Schroder said. “I’m supposed to be out there but...
Two more hires as Braves’ forward-thinking front office takes shape

Two more hires as Braves’ forward-thinking front office takes shape

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- New Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos was part of a Dodgers front office at the forefront in its use of analytics, cutting-edge technology and other current trends in baseball, and he’s putting together a similarly forward-thinking group in Atlanta. The Braves and Anthopoulos made two more front-office hires Sunday, pulling Alex Tamin away from the...
Braves great ‘Murph’ is again denied election to baseball Hall of Fame

Braves great ‘Murph’ is again denied election to baseball Hall of Fame

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Dale Murphy and his many fans will have to keep waiting and hoping the Braves icon will someday be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “Murph,” one of the best and most popular players in Atlanta professional-sports history, fell shy of the votes requires for election on Sunday by the Modern Baseball Era Committee, which considered 10 candidates...
Asad, Walkes left unprotected by Atlanta United

Asad, Walkes left unprotected by Atlanta United

Atlanta United left unprotected on Sunday 15 players, including Yamil Asad, Anton Walkes and Romario Williams, for the upcoming expansion draft. MLS allowed each of the 22 teams to protect as many as 11 players. Those lists of protected/unprotected players were released by the league on Sunday. The expansion draft to help LAFC build its roster for its inaugural season will be held Tuesday. The team...
Game preview: Hawks at Knicks

Game preview: Hawks at Knicks

Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis lost to Lauri Markkanen and the Bulls on Saturday. (AP Photo) When/where: 7:30 p.m. today, Madison Square Garden TV: Fox Sports Southeast Stream: Fox Sports Go Radio: 92.9 The Game Injuries: Hawks— John Collins (shoulder), Dewayne Dedmon (leg) and Mike Muscala (ankle) are out; Luke Babbitt (back) is probable. Knicks—Tim Hardaway Jr. (Jonathan Isaac (ankle)...
In the end, Army-Navy uplifts us all

In the end, Army-Navy uplifts us all

While maybe you wouldn’t want to make a steady diet of the kind of grind-it-out football that Army and Navy inevitably play, there is one very reassuring take-away from Saturday’s Black Knights 14-13 victory over the Midshipmen: If, as future soldiers and sailors these players hold their positions like they hold the football, then we can all sleep well at night. There were but a total...
Braves hire Tamin as director of major league operations

Braves hire Tamin as director of major league operations

New Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos tapped into his Blue Jays roots previously to fill a front-office post in Atlanta, now he’s hiring someone from his more recent stint with the Dodgers.  The Braves and Anthopoulos have hired Alex Tamin as director of major league operations. Tamin served as director of baseball operations for Dodgers, where he worked with Anthopoulos, who was...
Atlanta United busy in MLS trade window

Atlanta United busy in MLS trade window

Atlanta United was active if not necessarily impactful in the MLS half-day trade window on Sunday. The traded traded away the rights to striker Kenwyne Jones and goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, the team’s first-ever announced signing, as well as Harrison Heath. Their options were declined by the team after the season. Jones, who indicated on social media weeks ago that he may be retiring and implied...
Ryan plans to shake off 10th lowest passer-rated game of his career 

Ryan plans to shake off 10th lowest passer-rated game of his career 

For the Falcons’ playoff push to really take off, they need the real Matt Ryan to stand up. The reigning most valuable player turned in lowest passer rating in 39 games in the 20-17 win over the Saints on Thursday. The Falcons (8-5) are set to play Tampa Bay at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18 at Raymond James Stadium.  Ryan completed 15 of 27 passes for 221 yards. He threw for one touchdown,...
Kennesaw State football says it’ll be back

Kennesaw State football says it’ll be back

The things that carried Kennesaw State through its successful third season went missing in just enough key moments for the Owls to fall to Sam Houston State 34-27 in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs on Saturday in Huntsville, Texas. A team that tackled well and avoided costly penalties in winning the Big South Conference and its first two playoff games, the Owls weren’t as strong in both...
Five observations from the Hawks’ 117-110 win over the Magic

Five observations from the Hawks’ 117-110 win over the Magic

The Hawks played one of their most energetic games Saturday night, when Ersan Ilyasova scored a season-high 26 points and Kent Bazemore added 19 and a couple huge defensive plays/dunks in the final minute in Philips Arena to trigger a 117-110 win over the Magic. Here are five observations from a fun game:  The Hawks (6-19) started quickly as one might expect of a team that last played Wednesday...
Kennesaw State’s rally falls short in FCS playoffs

Kennesaw State’s rally falls short in FCS playoffs

Trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half, Kennesaw State’s chance to tie Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs fell short on fourth-and-5 at the 11-yard line with less than two minutes remaining. The Bearkats escaped with a 34-27 victory in Huntsville, Texas, Saturday night. The loss ended Kennesaw State’s 12-game win streak and its third season of football...
Army’s ground forces outflank Navy, barely

Army’s ground forces outflank Navy, barely

It hardly was the most efficient snow-removal system, but certainly the most precise. Thousands of feet synched as a single pair – left, right, left, right – clearing tracks in the newly dusted field.  Shoulder to shoulder, company by company, the 4,400-member corps of Army cadets marched first into Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, nearly three hours before kickoff. Leading the...
Watch: Can the Georgia Bulldogs go 12-0 next season?

Watch: Can the Georgia Bulldogs go 12-0 next season?

Georgia fans are enjoying a special season. And next year looks like it could be a lot of fun too. The 2018 Bulldogs play seven of their 12 games at home, and only six of their opponents have winning records this season. Georgia’s toughest tests appear to be a road game at LSU and a home game against rival Auburn. But the Bulldogs also have games against teams nicknamed Governors, Blue...
Paul Johnson’s disciples have their day at Army, Navy

Paul Johnson’s disciples have their day at Army, Navy

If Paul Johnson ran the world, every football Saturday would look like the Army-Navy game. As it is, three of his disciples – true believers in the ways of run-first-second-and-third option football – are playing important games this Saturday. The paterfamilias of this tight-knit little group, his own 2017 season forgettable on the whole, will be trying mightily to catch their acts. ...
Army-Navy game rosters feature 21 players from metro Atlanta

Army-Navy game rosters feature 21 players from metro Atlanta

The greatest and longest rivalry in college football will continue on Saturday in Philadelphia, when service academy football teams from Annapolis and West Point meet for the 118th time. It’s cliché, but when Army and Navy battle on the gridiron, you can throw the records out. No other two teams in college football know each other as well as the Midshipmen and Black Knights. That proved...
Braves’ Triple-A affiliate renamed Gwinnett Stripers

Braves’ Triple-A affiliate renamed Gwinnett Stripers

It was only fitting that Phil Niekro was in attendance for the knuckleball tossed by the Triple-A affiliate formerly known as the Gwinnett Braves on Friday. The Braves’ Triple-A affiliate will be known as the Gwinnett Stripers, the team announced at a news conference at Coolray Field.  It was a surprising conclusion to a contest that was first launched in early June. The team selected six...
NFL mum about fining Sean Payton for ‘choke’ gesture 

NFL mum about fining Sean Payton for ‘choke’ gesture 

The NFL is keeping quiet about whether Saints coach Sean Payton will be fined for either his conduct or taunting during the game with the Falcons on Thursday night. An email and a phone call from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution were not immediately returned.  Payton, who was suspended a year during the Bounty-gate scandal, gave Falcons running back Devonta Freeman a ‘choke’ sign...
MLS greatly increases amount of Targeted Allocation Money

MLS greatly increases amount of Targeted Allocation Money

MLS announced Friday that it will increase the amount of Targeted Allocation Money available for use by each club from $1.2 million to as much as $4 million in 2018 and ‘19. The $1.2 million available to each club is funded by the league. The remaining $2.8 million, if used, must come from each club. Targeted Allocation Money has many uses in paying higher salaries to reward either deserving...
How many national championships does Georgia have?

How many national championships does Georgia have?

Most fans recognize the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs - led by freshman running back Herschel Walker - as national champions. But the Bulldogs are regarded as national champions in four other seasons in at least one national poll recognized by the NCAA record book. Two of those seasons (1942 and 1980) are considered consensus selections - but even in those years other schools are regarded as champions (See...
Matt Bryant’s 1,000-point seals Falcons victory over Saints 

Matt Bryant’s 1,000-point seals Falcons victory over Saints 

It’s almost fitting that Matt Bryant’s 1,000-point as an Atlanta Falcon proved to be a game-winning kick.  With 3:49 left in Thursday night’s contest against the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints, Bryant nailed a 52-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 20-17 lead. His 1,000-point as a member of the franchise turned out to be the final 3 points Atlanta needed to knock off...
Class A Private: Eagle’s Landing Christian 41, Athens Academy 3

Class A Private: Eagle’s Landing Christian 41, Athens Academy 3

Eagle’s Landing Christian quarterback Nate McCollum (4) dives for a rushing touchdown in the first half against Athens Academy during the Class A Private Championship Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/For the AJC) Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy won its third straight state championship on Friday morning, the fifth in the school&rsquo...
4 high school championship games postponed; moved from Atlanta

4 high school championship games postponed; moved from Atlanta

Four of this weekend’s eight GHSA football championship games, the first to be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, have been postponed because of the winter weather that moved through north Georgia beginning Friday morning. The first two games of the championships, in Class A (private) and AAA, were played Friday as scheduled, but the Class AAAAA final between Warner Robins and Rome, set...
Some playoff suggestions and ranking bowls from 1 to No-Jimbo

Some playoff suggestions and ranking bowls from 1 to No-Jimbo

It’s that time of year again when we ask the question: “Is a Gasparilla Bowl more or less important than a Frisco Bowl?” And, “Wouldn’t the world be a better place without ‘Spuddy Buddy,’ mascot for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl?” And what’s the chance college football can just expand to 16-team playoff and junk all of the bowls except maybe...
NBA draft lottery watch: Bulls gain separation from Hawks

NBA draft lottery watch: Bulls gain separation from Hawks

Nikola Mirotic is set to return for the Bulls but it probably won’t help much. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) The rebuilding Hawks largely will depend on the draft to add talent but they have plenty of competition in the race to the bottom of the NBA standings and thus the best odds in the draft lottery. The stakes are high: After the 2018 draft the odds for...
Falcons’ Tevin Coleman enters NFL concussion protocol

Falcons’ Tevin Coleman enters NFL concussion protocol

Falcons running back Tevin Coleman is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, coach Dan Quinn said Friday.  He left the game against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night and did not return. “He had a concussion, and he’s in the concussion protocol,” Quinn said. “We’ll let the doctors do their thing. When he’s cleared, we’ll go through the whole...
Hawks waive Brussino, plan to sign Cavanaugh to full NBA contract

Hawks waive Brussino, plan to sign Cavanaugh to full NBA contract

The Hawks waived forward Nicolas Brussino on Friday and eventually plan to use the open roster spot to sign rookie Tyler Cavanaugh to a full NBA contract.  Cavanaugh is playing on a “two-way” contract that limits the amount of days he can be on the NBA roster, with the balance of the season spent at the team’s G-League affiliate in Erie, Pa. Cavanaugh will reach that limit in...
Gwinnett Braves reveal new team name, jerseys

Gwinnett Braves reveal new team name, jerseys

The Gwinnett Braves are officially no more. On Friday, the team revealed their new name—the Gwinnett Stripers. In May, the Atlanta Braves Triple-A team in Gwinnett announced the team would change its name for the 2018 season and beyond. “The Stripers” new name is a variation of “Big Mouths” that was one of the final names the Braves selection committee chose...
New Orleans doubles Atlanta in TV ratings for Falcons-Saints game

New Orleans doubles Atlanta in TV ratings for Falcons-Saints game

The Falcons beat the Saints on “Thursday Night Football,” but Atlanta was no match for New Orleans in the TV ratings for the game.  The game, on NBC and NFL Network, drew a 46.1 rating in the New Orleans TV market, more than double the 22.3 rating in the Atlanta market.  The rating is the percentage of households in the markets that watched the game on average.  The Richmond...
Atlanta United signs Escobar

Atlanta United signs Escobar

Atlanta United signed defender Franco Escobar. The team announced the Discovery signing Thursday. Escobar, 22, joins the Five Stripes from Newell’s Old Boys, where Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino formerly played and managed. Escobar made 19 appearances for Newell’s since 2016 and 34 in Argentina’s Primera Division. Contract terms weren’t disclosed. Escobar, 5-foot-11...
Championship game previews

Championship game previews

Eight Georgia high school football championship games will be played in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Friday and Saturday. (Hyosub Shin/AJC) Colquitt County vs. North Gwinnett When, where: 8 p.m. Saturday, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 11-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAAAAA and No. 8; North Gwinnett is 13-1, the No. 1 seed...
Seven teams seeking first title; at least two will get it

Seven teams seeking first title; at least two will get it

11/24/2017, Alpharetta, GA – Coffee wide receiver Marquavious Jefferson (22) runs the ball after catching a pass during the first half of the AAAAAA football quarterfinals against Alpharetta. Coffee meets Lee County for the Class AAAAAA championship Friday night, and the winner will claim its first state title. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM At least two...
Analytics: Falcons doubled their chances of winning the NFC South

Analytics: Falcons doubled their chances of winning the NFC South

12/07/2017 — Atlanta, GA, – Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones (45) celebrates after incepting the ball during the fourth quarter of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Thursday, December 7, 2017. The Falcons beat the Saints, 20-7. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM FLOWERY BRANCH  — With...
The Bow Tie Chronicles: Deion Jones paves way to win over Saints 

The Bow Tie Chronicles: Deion Jones paves way to win over Saints 

In the 30th episode of The Bow Tie Chronicles podcast, Falcons linebacker Deion Jones stops by to discuss his game-saving interception in the huge 20-17 win over the New Orleans Saints. On a day when the defense carried the team, Jones was spectacular. He finished with 13 tackles, three tackles for loss a pass breakup and a mighty big interception. Wide receiver Julio Jones, who had a big tackle after...
Kennesaw State wants charmed season to continue

Kennesaw State wants charmed season to continue

Some 18-19 weeks ago, long before Kennesaw State’s football team would unexpectedly win 12 consecutive games to advance to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs, coach Brian Bohannon gave his wide receivers a task to help pass the time spent in August’s camp. The players were asked to put together scouting reports on opponents, should the Owls make the playoffs. The players guessed the...
What the Falcons had to say after their 20-17 win over the Saints 

What the Falcons had to say after their 20-17 win over the Saints 

Here’s what the Falcons had to say after the 20-17 win over the Saints on Thursday: “It’s just a mentality. You’ve got to think, it’s the offensive line and the quarterback, so I’ve got to go out there and make a play.”   “Oh, it was a big win for us, a great team win. The defense played great for us. Offense, we still need to get better.&rdquo...
Defense bails out Ryan, Falcons - and what was Sean Payton thinking?

Defense bails out Ryan, Falcons - and what was Sean Payton thinking?

 Matt Ryan was being escorted out of the locker room to a television interview shortly after the game when he walked past me. “Are you going to the interview room?” I asked. “Not today,” he joked. But he showed up. Consider it one of those postgame, three-interception, near-disasters of an evening that could be laughed off when it was over. The Falcons won a game, somehow...
Deion Jones soars to save the day for the Falcons 

Deion Jones soars to save the day for the Falcons 

  Deion Jones wasn’t sure what his vertical leap was at the NFL scouting combine. “I have absolutely no clue,” Jones said.  He wasn’t sure what it was at his childhood basketball courts in New Orleans, either. But with the game on the line Thursday night, he soared figuratively to the top of the Halo Scoreboard and hauled in a pass from Saints quarterback Drew Brees...
Falcons lean on run game to march over Saints 

Falcons lean on run game to march over Saints 

On an evening where quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t play his best game, the Falcons leaned on the running game to overcome the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints in a prime-time divisional showdown. The Falcons’ tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 123 yards on 33 carries as Atlanta knocked off New Orleans 20-17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  While an average of 3.7...
What Dan Quinn had to say after the 20-17 win over the Saints 

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 20-17 win over the Saints 

Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after the Falcons improved to 8-5 with a 20-17 win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday: Opening Statement: “As a team, we want to thank the fans. The energy tonight was great. We asked for it during the week, and they certainly answered. I hope everyone gets to use the hall pass we put on there, it’s good until noon. Today you&rsquo...
What Matt Ryan had to say about the 20-17 win 

What Matt Ryan had to say about the 20-17 win 

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan made several horrible decisions in the 20-17 win over the Saints on Thursday. He completed 15 of 27 passes for 221 yards. He threw for one touchdown but also had three interceptions. He finished with a passer rating of 55.2, which was his lowest in 39 games.  He had a 55.1 passer rating in a 25-19 win over Washington on Oct. 11, 2015. He completed 24 of 42 passes...
Sean Payton gives Falcons the ‘choke’ sign 

Sean Payton gives Falcons the ‘choke’ sign 

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton gave Falcons running back Devonta Freeman a ‘choke’ sign during Thursday night’s game.  “I don’t remember that,” Payton said after the game. Freeman remembered it just fine. “I saw it,” Freeman said. “That man don’t know nothing about choking. He ain’t from where I’m from.  &ldquo...
Report card: Falcons 20, Saints 17

Report card: Falcons 20, Saints 17

Middle linebacker Deion Jones came up with a big interception in the end zone to help keep the Falcons’ NFC South division title hopes alive on Thursday. The Falcons held on for a 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints before 72,866 (tickets distributed) fans at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.   “Deion Jones made a terrific play to cap it off,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said...
Oklahoma’s Mayfield wins big at College Football Awards show

Oklahoma’s Mayfield wins big at College Football Awards show

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield collected three major trophies Thursday night at the College Football Awards show in Atlanta.  He won the Maxwell Award as college football’s player of the year and the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback. And prior to the show, he was announced as the winner of the Walter Camp player-of-the-year award.  Next stop for...
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