November 23, 2004

CBS News Anchor Dan Rather Resigns After 24 Years

Veteran newsman Dan Rather, embroiled in a pre-election scandal over a story challenging President Bush's military service, said on Tuesday he will step down as the CBS television network's top news anchor.

(23) Penn St. 71, Duquesne 55

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Amanda Brown scored 18 points as Penn State -- without head coach Rene Portland for the first time in more than 24 years -- beat Duquesne 71-55 Tuesday night.

Portland took a leave of absence for undisclosed medical reasons on Monday, eight days after she fainted on the flight back from Penn State's season opener against Texas.

The Lady Lions (1-3) were coached by Annie Troyan, a former Penn State player and longtime assistant to Portland. It was the first time Troyan had been a head coach since 1987, when she led Archbishop Carroll in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

Penn State maintained a double-digit lead through most of the second half until Duquesne's Aiga Bautre completed a three-point play to pull the Dukes (0-2) within 63-55 with 1:48 left.

Brown had a three-point play of her own, and Duquesne didn't score again.

Tanisha Wright scored 16 points for Penn State, Jess Strom had 12 and Ashli Schwab added 13 rebounds.

Bautre led Duquesne with 20 points, and Nicole Sinclair had 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Duquesne stayed with the Lady Lions for the first few minutes, leading 12-10 before Brown's fast-break basket started a 15-0 Penn State run. Penn State led 38-25 at halftime.

Portland, who would have earned her 650th career win Tuesday night, missed her first game since she was hired in 1980, a span of 758 games. Last season, Portland coached one game from a wheelchair and the next 14 on a wheeled cart after she broke her left leg in a fall.

Steelers keep winning games -- and losing players

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers keep winning games and losing players.

The latest additions to an injury list that took coach Bill Cowher more than five minutes to recite Tuesday: wide receiver Plaxico Burress, inside linebacker Kendrell Bell and defensive lineman Brett Keisel. All will miss Sunday's home game against Washington.

Bell, one of the AFC's most disruptive pass rushers, will be out a minimum of three to four games with his second major groin injury this season. He could miss the rest of the season if he needs another operation, potentially a major setback to the NFL's top-ranked defense.

``We're still exploring all of the options,'' Cowher said.

Bell needed surgery last month to repair a hernia in his groin, but returned three weeks ago and was just beginning to resemble the player chosen as the 2001 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year when he tore a groin tendon Sunday.

Larry Foote has been a more than adequate replacement at inside linebacker for Bell and is third on the team in tackles. But rarely commands the extra attention from offensive lines that Bell attracts.

James Farrior, the other inside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 defense, has helped make up for Bell's missing production with a Pro Bowl-quality season. He has three sacks, three interceptions, has forced three fumbles and recovered three.

``He's just playing so much faster and playing more instinctively and, consequently, he's making a lot of plays,'' Cowher said. ``Since (outside linebacker) Joey Porter got hurt last year, he's become a three-down player and he's been making a lot of plays on third down.''

The Steelers (9-1) won't have their best third-down receiving threat Sunday when they go for their ninth consecutive victory, taking on Washington (3-7). Burress (sore hamstring) will sit out after missing most of the final three quarters of Sunday's 19-14 victory in Cincinnati.

Burress' absence means Antwaan Randle El will start at receiver with Hines Ward, whose production has slowed considerably as he has seen more double coverage.

Ward was held to one catch after Burress left early in the second quarter Sunday and has made eight catches in three games after making at least six receptions in each of his first seven games.

Even before this latest run of injuries, the Steelers already were without four injured regulars: right guard Kendall Simmons, nose tackle Casey Hampton, running back Duce Staley and cornerback Chad Scott. Only Staley and Scott will return this season.

Staley (bruised hamstring) will practice Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 4 and could start Sunday in place of Jerome Bettis, who is coming off three consecutive 100-yard games. Scott (quadriceps) will miss his fifth straight game but could play Dec. 5 at Jacksonville.

Keisel, who backs up Aaron Smith at defensive end, will be out three to four weeks with a strained hamstring.

Cowher isn't blaming the numerous injuries, but his team played its shakiest game of the winning streak Sunday. Rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked seven times, and the Steelers squandered numerous scoring chances inside the Bengals' 20.

Cowher is wary of the Redskins despite their record, pointing to their second-ranked defense and improving ground game. Clinton Portis has rushed for 506 yards in five games.

``It's an important time of the year, certainly we realize that,'' Cowher said. ``We have to keep trudging along and clean up some things from last week's game and, hopefully, we're going to get a better effort.''

No doubt Cowher hopes Roethlisberger's appearance on David Letterman's show Tuesday night doesn't prove distracting. Cowher didn't discourage Roethlisberger from appearing but, asked if he would watch, Cowher said, ``No, uh-uh.''

Spurrier Introduced at South Carolina

The "Fun 'N Gun" offense is back in the SEC as Steve Spurrier was introduced Tuesday as the 32nd head football coach at the University of South Carolina. The announcement was made just one day after Lou Holtz retired from the post.

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