1. Sports

Report: Kevin Sumlin front-runner for UCF job

New Nebraska head NCAA college football coach Scott Frost speaks during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. Frost is returning to Nebraska after orchestrating a stunning two-year turnaround at Central Florida. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) NENH102
New Nebraska head NCAA college football coach Scott Frost speaks during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. Frost is returning to Nebraska after orchestrating a stunning two-year turnaround at Central Florida. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) NENH102
Published Dec. 3, 2017

ORLANDO — Former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has emerged as the front-runner for the UCF job, with the Knights moving quickly to replace Scott Frost, the Orlando Sentinel reported Sunday.

UCF officials declined to confirm Sumlin will be the Knights' next coach, but an announcement is expected to come soon, the Sentinel said.

Sumlin, 53, built Houston into a Conference USA power before making the leap to Texas A&M in 2012. He spent six seasons with the Aggies, going 51-26 and earning bowl bids every year. The school fired him after a 45-21 loss to LSU in the regular-season finale Nov. 25.

UCF athletics director Danny White said Saturday that he planned to move quickly on his head coaching search, with the early football signing period looming Dec. 20.

White said he and Frost began having conversations about his coaching future in early October as the program continued to build national attention. White hired Parker Executive Search well before Frost officially resigned Saturday to take the Nebraska job, the Sentinel reported.

Frost officially addressed the Knights about his resignation just hours after they beat Memphis 62-55 in double overtime Saturday for the American Athletic Conference title and finished the regular season 12-0, the nation's only undefeated team.

Frost boarded a private plane to Nebraska with assistant coaches Erik Chinander, Ryan Held, Jovan DeWitt, Mario Verduzco, Mike Dawson, Greg Austin, Barrett Ruud and Travis Fisher, the Sentinel reported.

But the No. 12 Knights, who will play No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1 in Atlanta, might have Frost for one more game.

"I don't want to leave the players down there without a coach," Frost said Sunday. "They deserve to have the best chance they possibly can, especially in the bowl game they qualified for.

"So if it all works out, I've got to go back and help those kids one more time."

Nebraska athletics director Bill Moos has given his okay, saying it would be hard to pass up a chance to go 13-0. Plus, Moos said, the bowl game would be a great — and long — commercial of sorts for Nebraska football.

MEANWHILE IN LINCOLN: Frost was given a rousing welcome home at his introductory news conference from boosters, current players and his old teammates, and he promised to make them proud with the product he will put on the field.

Frost takes over a program that has lost its stature among the sport's elite in the 20 years since he quarterbacked the Cornhuskers to a share of the 1997 national championship.

"There was a formula that worked here for a long time," Frost said. "Times have changed a little, but some of those same things are going to make this work again."

Frost, 42, agreed to a seven-year, $35 million contract. Athletics director Moos said he's certain Frost was the first choice for several of the other top coaching vacancies in the Power Five. "I got the pick of the litter," Moos said.

The Huskers were 4-8 this season and allowed more than 50 points four times. It was the program's most losses since 1957 and its fewest wins since 1961.

Basketball: UConn rallies past Irish

HARTFORD, Conn. — Katie Lou Samuelson scored 18 and top-ranked UConn rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat No. 3 Notre Dame 80-71 in the Jimmy V Classic.

The Huskies (7-0) trailed 65-54 early in the fourth before scoring 21 of the next 26, much to the delight of the sellout crowd of 15,558.

Azura Stevens had 10 of her 17 points during the game-changing run. Her layup gave the Huskies a 69-68 lead — their first since the second quarter. Kia Nurse had seven points during the burst, including hitting her 13th consecutive 3-pointer over the past three games.

Nurse's layup with 3:51 left gave UConn a 71-70 edge after Arike Ogunbowale had briefly given the Irish (7-1) a 70-69 advantage. Nurse then had another layup off a tip from Stevens, and the Irish couldn't recover. Ogunbowale's basket was the lone points for the Irish until she hit one free throw with 16 seconds left that made it 77-71. The Irish had only one basket in the final 7:48 of the game.

UConn extended its home winning streak to 69 games — tied for third longest in NCAA history.

Marina Mabrey scored 21 for the Irish.

NO. 2 TEXAS 81, GEORGIA 53: Ariel Atkins had 17 points and nine rebounds and Jatarie White added 13 points for the visiting Longhorns (7-0).

NO. 4 L'VILLE 68, SOUTH DAKOTA ST. 64: Asia Durr scored 18 of her 20 in the second half and the visiting Cardinals (8-0) overcame an eight-point halftime deficit.

NO. 5 S. CAROLINA 72, NO. 14 DUKE 52: Alexis Jennings had 21 points and 10 rebounds to pace the host Gamecocks (8-1), who were missing two senior guards because of injuries. The Blue Devils (6-2) packed it in, hoping to force someone other than All-American A'ja Wilson to beat them. Wilson and her teammates were able to find their quieter frontcourt starter Jennings, and she cleaned up their misses. The junior had eight offensive rebounds. Wilson finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

NO. 6 MISS. ST. 79, OKLAHOMA ST. 76: Victoria Vivians scored a season-high 30 and had eight rebounds to propel the host Bulldogs (8-0) in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

NO. 7 UCLA 74, UC SANTA BARBARA 44: Monique Billings had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Jordin Canada added 14 points as the host Bruins (7-1) won their fourth straight since a home loss to top-ranked Connecticut.

NO. 8 OHIO ST. 83, MAINE 70: Stephanie Mavunga scored 26 and Sierra Calhoun added 16 to lead the host Buckeyes (8-2).

NO. 9 BAYLOR 81, NO. 16 STANFORD 57: Kalani Brown had 28 points for the host Bears (7-1), who scored the game's first nine and led throughout against the Cardinal (5-4).

NO. 13 FSU 79, JAMES MADISON 63: Shakayla Thomas scored 26, 10 of those coming on 5-of-5 shooting in the third quarter, to lift the visiting Seminoles (8-0).

MEN: Nick Ward matched his season high with 22 points as part of a balanced offense that helped No. 3 Michigan State (7-1) beat visiting Nebraska 86-57. … Martinas Geben had 14 points and 10 rebounds to help No. 5 Notre Dame (7-1) take down St. Francis (Brooklyn) 71-53 despite ejections to All-American Bonzie Colson and coach Mike Brey with 6:02 left. Colson, who had 13 points and nine rebounds, was called for a flagrant foul when he swung his elbows and floored Glenn Sanabria. As Colson left, Brey had to be restrained twice by his coaching staff, the second time leading to his ejection. … A.J. Davis made the go-ahead free throw with 25 seconds remaining, then Terrell Allen stole the ball and fed teammate Dayon Griffin for an easy layup that sealed visiting UCF's 65-62 upset of No. 24 Alabama (6-2). Allen finished with 16 points and eight assists for the Knights (5-3), who shot 60 percent from the field in the second half and finished 7-of-15 from 3-point range.