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Michigan State Cruises to Season Opening Win

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(EAST LANSING, Mich.) -- A 64-yard touchdown pass from Connor Cook to Tony Lippett opened the scoring for Michigan State football in 2014. It also started a brief injury scare as Cook needed to be helped off the field following a hit to his leg.

That scare did not last long as Cook returned to throw three touchdowns in helping the eighth-ranked Michigan State Spartans to a 45-7 win over Jacksonville State. The junior completed his first nine passes of the game and finished the day going 12-for-13 for 285 yards before sitting out the second half.

The defending Big Ten Champions led 38-0 at halftime before resting the majority of their starters. The Gamecocks, considered a top team in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), didn't get on the board until the Max Shortell found Markis Merrill for a nine-yard strike.

"I was proud of our kids on how we finished the game," said Jacksonville State head coach John Grass. "We dug a hole early, and you can't do that against a team like Michigan State. They've got a team that's going to make a run at a national championship. I really believe that."

The Spartans will have a much tougher task next week when they take on the No. 3 Oregon Ducks. 

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Federer Advances in Straight Sets

ANDREW YATES/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- The No. 2 seed in the U.S. Open rolled to a straight set win over Sam Groth on Friday. Roger Federer defeated the Australian 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, despite consistently facing serves in excess of 130 m.p.h.

"I'm aware of every serve, how hard it is after the point when he goes big, because I think it's interesting and I want to see," Federer said. "Sometimes I feel it, as well. I'm like, 'That felt like 138,' and it might be just a couple off."

Facing the big-hitting Groth, Federer limited him to just eight aces while breaking the Aussie's serve five different times. The Swiss superstar has won five U.S. Open Championships as part of his 17 Major titles.

Federer's win improved him to 54-1 all-time in Grand Slam second round matches and sets him up for a date with Spaniard Marcell Granollers.

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Yankees Tanaka Returns to New York with Soreness

Rob Carr/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka returned to New York on Friday with what is being called "general soreness". The right-hander was attempting to return from a torn ligament in his elbow suffered in July.

"I want to be a little bit cautious. I haven't been throwing for a couple of weeks and then I started throwing again and built up the number of pitches that I've been throwing,'' said Tanaka via his interpreter, Shingo Horie. "I think that's the reason why there's a little bit of extra soreness in the arm itself."

Tanaka, almost a lock for American League Rookie of the Year before the injury, threw 49 pitches in a simulated game prior to the Yankees taking on the Detroit Tigers on August 28. Following his performance, Tanaka said he was experiencing a feeling of soreness which then raised questions about his return this season.

"I don't have percentages,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We'd like him to pitch for us, too. But as I've said all along, this is something we're either going to know or not know when he gets into competition.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 8/29/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates 2 (70-64) - Cincinnati Reds 1 (65-70)

New York Mets 4 (63-72) - Philadelphia Phillies 1 (61-73)

Baltimore Orioles 9 (77-56) - Minnesota Twins 1 (59-75)

New York Yankees 6 (70-63) - Toronto Blue Jays 3 (67-67)

Atlanta Braves 5 (71-64) - Miami Marlins 2 (65-68)

Boston Red Sox 8 (59-75) - Tampa Bay Rays 4 (65-70)

Chicago Cubs 7 (60-74) - St. Louis Cardinals 2 (71-62)

Texas Rangers 13 (53-81) - Houston Astros 6 (57-79)

Detroit Tigers 7 (73-60) - Chicago White Sox 1 (60-74)

Arizona Diamondbacks 5 (56-78) - Colorado Rockies 2 (53-81)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4 (81-53) - Oakland Athletics 0 (78-56)

Washington Nationals 8 (76-57) - Seattle Mariners 3 (72-61)

San Francisco Giants 13 (72-62) - Milwaukee Brewers 2 (73-61)

San Diego Padres 3 (63-70) - Los Angeles Dodgers 2 (76-59) 12 Innings

Top 25 College Football: Michigan State 45 (1-0) - Jacksonville State 7 (0-1)

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Tony Stewart: Tragedy Will Affect My Life Forever

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images for NASCAR(ATLANTA) -- Tony Stewart spoke for the first time since killing sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. on August 9.

Stewart will race on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and had missed the last three races following the tragic death.

"This has been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally. This is something that will definitely affect my life forever," said Stewart, who has missed the past three Sprint Cup races after Ward's death Aug. 9. "This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one has to experience in their life. That being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward's family and friends are experiencing is something that I can't possibly imagine."

Stewart was granted the right to still compete for the Chase for the championship, despite the rule stating that each driver must attempt to either qualify or race the car in every points-paying event to be eligible for the Chase.

"As a league and our responsibility to try to make decisions that are correct and right, sometimes we evaluate circumstances that are given us, and then make those decisions as correctly as we can," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "After evaluating the circumstances around this occurrence, we've come to the conclusion that Tony would be eligible to participate, if he were to earn a spot in it."

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49ers' LB Aldon Smith Suspended 9 Games

Brian Bahr/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) -- San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for the first nine games of the season after violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy.

Smith was sentenced in July to 11 days of work release in a Santa Clara County (Calif.) court after his September 2013 arrest for drunken driving.

On April 13, Smith was arrested at Los Angeles International airport for making a false bomb threat after an altercation at the security checkpoint, but the Los Angeles City Attorney's office declined to press charges.

"Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for it as a team," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the season ahead."

Smith is eligible to return to the 49ers roster on Nov. 10.

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Michael Sam 'Very Confident' He'll Make Rams Roster

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(MIAMI GARDEN, Fla.) -- Even though Michael Sam has yet to learn if he's made the St. Louis Rams after a productive preseason, he expressed confidence that once the weekend is over, he'll officially be an NFL player.

"You know what, it's not going to be like the draft," Sam said. "I'm very confident that I'm going to sleep really well tonight and I'm very confident I'm going to be on a team, the Rams or any other team in the NFL."

Sam made headlines before the NFL scouting combine when he announced that he's gay. He'd be the first openly gay player in NFL history.

Already with a chip on his shoulder, Sam needed to prove to Rams coaches that as a seventh round pick, he should make the team.

He's had a very productive preseason. In four preseason games, he's recorded 11 tackles while also registering three sacks.

The deadline for NFL teams to submit their final 53-man rosters is at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.

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Mets Place Second Baseman Daniel Murphy on the Disabled List YORK) -- One of the few offensive bright spots for the New York Mets is now on the shelf as the team has placed second baseman Daniel Murphy on the disabled list with a strained right calf.

Murphy's calf had been bothering him all week, which kept him out of action. The team decided it was best to put him on the shelf so he can get healthy.

"It's frustrating," he said. "It ended up being a little worse than I thought."

According to Murphy, doctors told him they would take a closer look at this MRI on Friday to help determine just how much time he will miss.

In 126 games this season, the 29-year-old is hitting .301 with nine home runs and 53 RBIs. He was the Mets lone All-Star this season.

Replacing Murphy on the Mets roster will be Dilson Herrera. Herrera was hitting .340 with 10 home runs for Double-A Binghamton this season.

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Braves Reliever Jonny Venters Facing Third Tommy John Surgery

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Already recovering from Tommy John surgery he had back in 2013, Atlanta Braves reliever Jonny Venters has been shut down after tearing an elbow ligament.

Venters had been doing light throwing as part of his recovery when it was discovered that he injured his elbow.

The latest injury could have Venters facing the third Tommy John surgery of his career, with the first one coming back in 2005.

"They did an MRI, and he retore it," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "One of the options is for him to have the third Tommy John."

Venters, 29, led Major League Baseball in appearances in 2011 after pitching in 85 games and posting a 1.84 ERA.  He hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2012, just one season after he made the NL All-Star team. In 2013, he went 5-4 with a 3.22 ERA.

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SP Petit Sets MLB Record for Most Batters Retired in a Row

Baseball/Red Stitches and Morning/iStockphoto(SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit set a major league record by retiring 46 consecutive batters.

Petit set the record during his start against the Colorado Rockies Thursday, when he struck out Charlie Culberson in the third inning.

The 29-year-old had retired 38 batters in seven previous appearances before breaking Mark Buehrle's record of 45, which was set in 2009.

"What a roll to get on to have that kind of record," Giants skipper Bruce Bochy said. "As long as this game's been going on, now he's got it."

Petit began his streak during the end of a start against Philadelphia on July 22. He then appeared in six games in relief before setting the record in the Giants (71-62) 4-1 win over the Rockies Thursday.

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