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Stanford Punches Ticket to Rose Bowl

Stanford, Calif. — Kevin Hogan threw for 155 yards and a touchdown and ran for 47 yards and another score to help eighth-ranked Stanford beat No. 17 UCLA 27-24 in the Pac-12 championship game last night.

As a defender barreled into him, Hogan hurled a 26-yard tying touchdown to Drew Terrell on third-and-15 early in the fourth quarter. Jordan Williamson kicked his second field goal from 36 yards with 6:49 remaining for the go-ahead score to seal Stanford’s first conference title since the 1999 season.

UCLA quarterback Brent Hundley almost brought the Bruins (9-4) back, but Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 52-yard field goal wide left in closing moments for a disappointing loss.

The Cardinal (11-2) will play the winner of the Big Ten title game between Nebraska and Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

No. 19 N. Illinois 44
No. 18 Kent St. 37 (2ot)

Detroit — Jordan Lynch ran for three touchdowns, including a 2-yarder in the second overtime, and Demetrius Stone’s interception in the end zone gave No. 19 Northern Illinois a victory over No. 18 Kent State in a stirring Mid-American Conference championship game.

Both teams were hoping a win would boost them into the top 16 of the BCS rankings and give them a berth in one of college football’s marquee bowls. Northern Illinois (12-1) dominated for much of the night, but the Golden Flashes (11-2) tied it at 34 in the final minute of regulation.

Kent State trailed 27-13 earlier in the fourth before scoring two touchdowns in a 15-second span.

NFL Football

Roethlisberger Out

Pittsburgh — Ben Roethlisberger will not play tomorrow in Baltimore, meaning Charlie Batch will make his second consecutive start at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Roethlisberger threw briefly early in practice yesterday, but was in a sweat suit watching by the time practice ended. He will miss a third consecutive game since sustaining a sprained right shoulder and a dislocated rib in a 16-13 win against Kansas City Nov. 12.

The Steelers (6-5) lost each of the first two games Roethlisberger missed, including two weeks ago at home to the rival Ravens (9-2). Batch, 37, then threw three interceptions in a 20-14 loss in Cleveland.

Saints Attend Hearing

Washington — Saints defensive end Will Smith said he’s glad he got a chance to hear former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testify at an appeals hearing in the bounties case.

Smith and New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma attended yesterday’s session, where Williams was cross-examined by the players’ lawyers for about four hours.

Smith described the hearing as “peaceful” and “not awkward.”

Smith and Vilma — along with two former Saints, free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita — were suspended by the NFL for the Saints’ cash-for-hits program that the league says Williams ran from 2009 to 2011.

Hall Semifinalists Announced

Canton, Ohio — First-time candidates John Lynch, Michael Strahan and Jonathan Ogden are among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2013 class.

Joining Lynch, Strahan and Ogden among first-year eligible players are Morten Andersen, Larry Allen and Warren Sapp.

Also among those making the cut to 27 are former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter, Charles Haley, and senior committee nominees Curley Culp and Dave Robinson.

The field will be reduced to 15 modern era finalists and the two senior nominees in early January. voting for the inductees will take place Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, in New Orleans.

Golf

Bradley Shoots 69

Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Graeme McDowell has done a lot right this year, except for win. He now has one last chance to fix that.

McDowell, back at the course that has provided two big moments for his career, opened with three straight birdies yesterday and finished strong for a 6-under 66 to take a three-shot lead in the World Challenge.

Bo Van Pelt had to save bogey on the last hole for a 68, leaving him tied for second with Woodstock, Vt., native Keegan Bradley and Jim Furyk, who each had a 69. Tournament host and defending champion Tiger Woods was tied for the lead at one point on the back nine but had to settle for a 69. He was four shots behind.

McDowell hasn’t won since this tournament in 2010.

Volleyball

Coach: Sexual Orientation Factored in Firing

Richmond, Va. — VCU women’s volleyball coach James Finley said he was fired because he is gay.

Finley has filed a complaint with VCU’s Office for Institutional Equity. University spokeswoman Pamela D. Lepley said an investigation is under way.

The 52-year-old Finley said he will consider legal action if not reinstated.

Finley was fired Nov. 19, one day after VCU lost in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament. The Rams finished 25-6, their best winning percentage (.806) in Finley’s eight-year tenure.