AP Sports Digest for Tjhursday, Sept. 9, 2021

The highlights of Thursday's AP Sports report. An up-to-the minute listing of all stories planned, including games and events, is available in Coverage Plan on AP Newsroom, http://newsroom.ap.org/coverageplan. You can also find a link to Coverage Plan on the left navigation of the Newsroom home page, http://newsroom.ap.org. Sports content can be found at http://newsroom.ap.org/page/APSports

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The AP’s Ralph Russo hosts the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast. https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/idhttps-podcasts-apple-com-us-podcast-ap-top-25-college/id1138957862

The AP’s Rob Maaddi hosts the latest AP Pro Football Podcast. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ap-pro-football-podcast/id1531528440

The supervisor is Rebecca Miller, followed by John Nicholson at 5 p.m. and Bob Lentz at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636. Agate, 800-300-8340.

All times EDT



TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers open the NFL season with a prime-time matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, who welcome the return of Dak Prescott from a severe ankle injury that sidelined the quarterback most of last season. By Fred Goodall. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8:20 p.m.


TAMPA, Fla. — The NFL hosts its first game in a full stadium in 585 days as the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers host the Cowboys. As COVID-19 surges in the U.S., the NFL is welcoming fans back just as other leagues already did this year. By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 7 p.m., then updates from game.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Eddie George picked a good time for a career change. He’s one of several high-profile former pro athletes to take on athletic programs at historically Black colleges and universities at a time when the country seems ready to embrace social change. By Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.


Twenty years later, former Army football coach Todd Berry still gets choked up thinking about Sept. 11, 2001. At games being played around the country Saturday, including Air Force at Navy and Army hosting Western Kentucky, there will be tributes and memorials, powerful memories and remembrances. The stories run deep from the sidelines of Air Force, Army and Navy. For the service academies, it particularly hits home, given their future missions — protecting the nation. By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 1,200 words, photos by 5 p.m. With vignettes (upcoming).


NEW YORK — Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez make their Grand Slam semifinal debuts at the U.S. Open. Fernandez, 19, takes on second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, and Raducanu, 18, plays 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Play starts 7 p.m. With The Latest (developing), glance (upcoming).



AMES, Iowa — Iowa State is having a moment. The ninth-ranked Cyclones are preparing to play what is undeniably the biggest home game in the 129-year history of the program. The top-10 matchup with rival Iowa on Saturday has drawn ESPN’s popular pregame show “College GameDay” to campus. Ames will be the epicenter of college football this weekend and looming uncertainty of conference realignment is not about to spoil this for the Cyclones and their supporters. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.



NEW YORK — Ask other players what makes Novak Djokovic great and while they might mention his returns or his court coverage, his stamina or his groundstrokes, most assessments end up at the same point: his mental strength and ability to wear opponents down. Heading into Friday’s U.S. Open semifinals, Djokovic is two wins from a calendar-year Grand Slam and a record 21st career major title. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 4 p.m. With match-by-match look at Djokovic’s path toward a true Grand Slam (upcoming).


NYON, Switzerland — FIFA details its plan for reshaping international soccer around playing the men’s World Cup every two years despite European opposition that could lead to a boycott. Joined by retired greats, FIFA unveiled the proposal Thursday, but the pushback from Europe was immediate. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed it could launch a boycott by its teams, which have dominated soccer’s marquee event since Brazil won in 2002. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 720 words, photos.


SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — American players rushing back to Europe and the U.S. following World Cup qualifiers could travel with some degree of ease. They had been given a wakeup call by coach Gregg Berhalter at halftime against Honduras, and they responded. They won for just the second time in 41 qualifiers in which they trailed at halftime (six draws). By Ronald Blum: SENT: 750 words, photos.


Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make the first appearance in his second spell at Manchester United in the English Premier League against Newcastle on Saturday. The Portugal star has been the talk of the town since his stunning transfer from Juventus was completed last week. Ronaldo is a guarantee of goals for sure but will he also guarantee United gets back on the trophy trail after four seasons without silverware? By Steve Douglas. SENT: 850 words, photos. With separate previews on Spanish, Italian, German and French soccer (all sent).


VIRGINIA WATER, England — Justin Rose needs to win the BMW PGA Championship to qualify automatically for a fifth straight appearance at the Ryder Cup. The Englishman is off to a strong start. Rose shot a bogey-free, 5-under 67 and was three shots off the first-round lead shared by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout. SENT: 610 words, photos.


Ken Burns is set to bring Muhammad Ali to life in a new way when he tells the story of the former heavyweight champion in a PBS documentary debuting next week. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 1,140 words, photo.


Thursday Time Schedule


Dallas at Tampa Bay, 8:20 p.m.


LA Dodgers at St. Louis, 1:15 p.m.

Chicago White Sox at Oakland, 3:37 p.m.

Minnesota at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

N.Y. Mets at Miami, 6:40 p.m.

Colorado at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

Kansas City at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Toronto at N.Y. Yankees, 7:05 p.m.

Washington at Atlanta, 7:20 p.m.


Connecticut at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

The Associated Press

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