MANNING'S 7 TDS LEAD BRONCOS PAST RAVENS: Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos waited eight long months, then another 33 minutes, to get the season started.
A record-tying seven touchdown passes — something no one had done in 44 years — made it worth the while.
Connecting with his most prized addition, Wes Welker, former college basketball player Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas for two TDs each, Manning directed Denver to a 49-27 victory over the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night in the NFL opener, a much-anticipated rematch against the team that ended the Broncos' playoff run in January.
Manning is the sixth QB in NFL history to throw seven TD passes in a game and the first since Joe Kapp did it for Minnesota against Baltimore on Sept. 28, 1969.
Manning was 27 of 42 for 462 yards with seven TDs and no interceptions.
BEARS' LONG, MILLS FACE BIG TEST RIGHT FROM START: Bears rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills could be in for a rude welcome to the NFL.
Of course, they are used to facing a top defense in practice and they'll be staring at another one when the Bears open the season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Long insists he's ready for Geno Atkins.
The Bears made big moves after winning 10 games but missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, starting with the firing of Lovie Smith and the hiring of coach Marc Trestman.
They brought him in hoping he could help quarterback Jay Cutler reach his potential. That hinges on the line.
ORIOLES HIT 3 HRS IN WIN OVER SOX: Miguel Gonzalez (9-7) allowed one run over seven innings, and the Baltimore Orioles hit three solo home runs in a 3-1 victory over the skidding White Sox on Thursday night.
Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy and Brian Roberts homered off Jose Quintana (7-6) to provide Baltimore with a much-needed win. The Orioles were coming off a 3-6 road trip that dropped them four games off the pace in the AL wild-card hunt.
Jim Johnson worked a perfect ninth for his 42nd save.
Local auto racing
FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT SATURDAY AT ILLIANA: Season championships and Fan Appreciation Night will take place Saturday at Iliana Motor Speedway.
Gates will open at 4 p.m.; time trials are at 5:30, and the first race will be at 7. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children aged 8 to 12. For details, call (219) 322-5311, or go to www.illianaspeedway.com.
BIG EAST UNVEILS SCHEDULES: All 10 Big East teams will be part of a New Year's Eve marathon, the first conference games played by the new-look league.
With seven teams remaining from the Big East Conference and three newcomers — Butler, Creighton and Xavier — the league will plays its first conference games on Dec. 31, when five games will be played starting at 11 a.m. with St. John's at Xavier. The last game will be Marquette at Creighton starting at 9 p.m.
The middle three games are Seton Hall at Providence, DePaul at Georgetown and Villanova at Butler.
2012 CHAMP MURRAY LOSES IN U.S. OPEN QUARTERFINALS: After one set, Andy Murray slammed his racket into the court, then mangled it once he reached his chair on the sideline. After the second, he gestured over to his coach, Ivan Lendl, and let out a frustrated scream.
Stanislas Wawrinka had the U.S. Open defending champion in knots all day, and when the surprisingly short, less-than-competitive match was finished Thursday, Murray was a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 upset loser in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.
Ninth-seeded Wawrinka made his first Grand Slam semifinal, earning a spot in the final four for Switzerland that for so long felt like Roger Federer's birthright.
Wawrinka will play No. 1 Novak Djokovic, a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 winner over No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny.
Trying to become only the second men's doubles team to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year, Bob and Mike Bryan saw their bid end with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the semifinals.
Around the horn
Geno Auriemma will return to coach the U.S. women's basketball team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. ... Nine-time major champion Monica Seles will be inducted into the U.S. Open Court of Champions before the women's final on Sunday.