(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)NFL- The Thanksgiving Day NFL tripleheader wrapped up on Thursday night with the defending AFC East Champion Patriots travelling to the Meadowlands to wrap up their season series with the New York Jets. However, Jets fans had little to be thankful for that evening.
Although the first quarter went by with no score, the Patriots were driving and Brady connected with Welker for a short 3 yard pass to open up the 2nd quarter and put New England up 7-0.
A little later was a series of events that could almost be described as comical as the Patriots managed to score three TD's in less than 52 seconds- all of them either directly off of turnovers or made possible thanks to a short field from turnovers. With 9:43 to go in the first, Jets RB Shonn Green fumbled the ball on 4th and 1 from the Pats 31 yard line. The fumble was recovered by New England Safety Steve Gregory and on the very next play, Brady made an completion to RB Shane Vereen for 83 yards and a TD.
On the ensuing Jets possession, Zoltan Mesko booted the ball into the end zone for a touchback and after getting the ball out to their own 31 yard line, hilarity ensued as Jets QB Mark Sanchez attempted to rush for the first down marker, only to run into one of his own blockers, get knocked down and have Steve Gregory once again show up and recover the ball for New England, this time running it 32 yards to paydirt to give the Pats a 21-0 lead and undoubtedly creating one of the best animated GIFs that doesn't involve a bouncy Carrie Keagan.
Immediately following that opportunistic TD, Jets return man Joe McKnight fumbled the ball. It didn't even hit the ground, obligingly landing in Julian Edelman's arms as he returned it 22 yards for the 3rd Patriots touchdown in 52 seconds of playing time.
On New England's next posession, they were able to find their way to the end zone without any help from the Jets offense of special teams, capping off their drive with a 56 yard pass from Brady to Edelman to make it 35-0 in the 2nd quarter. The 35 point second quarter tied a franchise record for most number of points scored in a single quarter and New England headed into halftime up by a score of 35-3.
The second half wasn't much better, and even though the Jets were able to get some points on the board, the Patriots basically continued spanking them like they were some unruly brats. Although the Jets played the Pats tough in Foxbourough last month, forcing OT in a 29-26 New England win, the Thanksgiving turkey shoot at the Meadowlands was a different story as a 35 point 2nd quarter helps propel the Patriots to a 49-19 win over the Jets.
Tom Brady went 18-28 with 323 yards and 3 TDs- including one rushing touchdown. Julian Edelman had 67 yards and two TDs on the day while on the defensive side of the ball, Dont'a Hightower and Jerod Mayo each had a sack.
For this upcoming weekend, the Patriots will travel south to Miami to take on the 5-6 Dolphins. This would be the first time New England has played Miami this season, and a win could clinch the AFC East title for the 8-3 Patriots.
Keith Nordstrom- Attleboro Sun Chronicle
OTHER PATRIOTS NEWS- After 13 seasons with the New England Patriots, running back Kevin Faulk has announced his retirement last month. Drafted by New England in the 2nd round of the 1999 NFL Draft, Faulk became known among fans and teammates as the go-to guy for key 3rd downs during the Patriots championship seasons. Faulk retires as New England's all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,349), return yards (5,041) and kick return yards (4,098).
Faulk saw increasingly limited playing time after an ACL tear in 2010 and announced his retirement in an October press conference.
EVEN MORE PATRIOTS NEWS- Third year defensive end Jermaine Cunningham recieved a 4-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Although the banned substance in question wasn't publicly disclosed, the league announced their decision on Monday. Cunningham- who's credited with two and a half sacks this season- will be eligible to return to the active roster in time for the regular season finale against Miami.
Cunningham is the second Patriot to recieve a suspension for taking prohibited substances this month. RB Brandon Bolden also recieved a 4-game suspension earlier this month.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
NCAA FOOTBALL- After travelling to Los Angeles for a showdown with the USC Trojans, the top ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish finished the regular season perfect for the first time since 1988.
All eyes were on the Collesium as the Irish jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Trojans seemed game after heading into the half trailing 10-13. However, in the second half, Notre Dame began to pull away and with 5 minutes to go in the second half, the Irish turned away the Trojans on their own 1 yard line.
Notre Dame goes on to win by a 22-13 final and will advance to the BCS championship game in Miami in January. Their opponent will be determined over the weekend- over in the SEC, Alabama remains in the #2 spot after shutting out Auburn 49-0, #4 Flordia got past the #13 FSU Seminoles while Georgia moved up in the standings to #3 after demolishing Georgia Tech 42-10 during Rivalry weekend. Formerly undefeated #7 Kansas State had the weekend off but has one game remaining against the #23 Texas Longhorns this weekend. Despite the one loss and doubling up in-state rival Oregon State by a 48-24 final, #6 Oregon will be sitting out the Pac 12 title game. Instead, the Pac 12 championship game will be between #8 Stanford and #17 UCLA.
BIG EAST- Out of all the FBS schools in New England, UConn is the only one that has a shot at a bowl game this season. After getting out to a 10-0 lead against Louisville thanks to a rushing TD from WR Nick Williams and a 39 FG from Chad Christen, Louisville tied the game in the 2nd half to force overtime. The Cardinals and Huskies traded FGs in the first OT while UConn had a brief 20-13 lead after a Johnny McEntree TD pass to WR Shakim Phillips before Louisville got 7 of their own to force a 3rd OT.
To start off the 3rd OT, Huskies Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson picked off Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater and UConn kicked the game winning FG to win the game 23-20. The Huskies wrap up their regular season next week against the 8-3 Cincinnati Bearcats. Should UConn win, they'll finish the season with a 6-6 record, making them bowl-eligible....although that doesn't necessarily guarantee an invite.
MID AMERICA CONFERENCE- Once again taking a lead into the 3rd quarter, the UMASS Minutemen were up 21-14 on the Central Michigan before the Chippewas scored 28 unanswered points to go on to win by the final of 42-21.
Despite the 1-11 record, UMass actually hasn't finished dead least in the MAC- their sole win came against the Toledo Zips who also finished with a 1-11 record. Toledo didn't win any games against a MAC opponent, while the Minutemen went 1-7 with their sole win against the Zips.
The MAC title game will take place on Friday and pit #21 Northern Illinois and #17 Kent State.
ACC- The Boston College finished up their dissappointing 2012 season and cemented their last place finish in the Atlantic Coast conference with a 27-10 loss to the NC State Wolfpack. The BC Eagles finish up with a 2-10 record with their only wins coming against Maine and Maryland.
Meanwhile this year's ACC Title game will take pleace between #13 Florida State and 6-6 Georgia Tech on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charoltte, NC at 8:00 PM.
ELSEWHERE IN THE ACC- The ACC chancellors are expected to vote this week on wether or not to add the Louisville Cardinals to the conference. UConn and Cincinnati are also reportedly under consideration for further expansion of the ACC, but decision regarding Louisville moved to the forefront after Maryland's announcement that they would be leaving for the Big Ten conference starting in the 2014 academic season.
The ACC will also be adding Pitt and Syracuse in 2013.