PURDUE'S HOPE AMONG NEWLY FIRED COACHES: Gene Chizik, Frank Spaziani and Danny Hope got news that many expected was coming. All were fired after disappointing seasons.
North Carolina State getting rid of Tom O'Brien took more than a few people off guard. So did Colorado letting Jon Embree go after only two seasons.
Sunday was a tumultuous one around college football, with five coaches losing their jobs to bring the total openings in FBS to 12 — including four in the Southeastern Conference.
More than 6-6 was expected from Purdue this season, but Hope and the Boilermakers needed a late rush just to get bowl eligible.
Hope won't get to coach Purdue's latest bowl game. He went 22-27 in four seasons.
Chizik was fired by Auburn after one of the most stunning and dramatic falls in college football history. The Tigers won the second national championship in program history behind Cam Newton in 2010. This season, Auburn finished 3-9 and did not win an SEC game. The Tigers lost the Iron Bowl 49-0 to rival Alabama.
Auburn endured the worst slide within two years of winning a national championship of any team since The Associated Press poll started in 1936 and hadn't lost this many games since going 0-10 in 1950. The decision came 17 months after Auburn gave Chizik a contract worth some $3.5 million annually through 2015 with a hefty buyout of $7.5 million.
"When expectations are not met, I understand changes must be made," Chizik said in a statement.
He was 33-19 in four seasons and 15-17 in SEC games.
McILROY WINS DUBAIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BY 2 STROKES: Rory McIlroy made five straight birdies down the stretch to overtake Justin Rose and win the Dubai World Championship on Sunday, ending a historic year in which the 23-year-old Northern Irishman won the PGA Championship and the European and PGA tour money titles.
The top-ranked McIlroy recovered from early putting woes to finish at 6-under 66 for a total 23-under 265 at the season-ending tournament. Rose, who was tied for seventh after three rounds, surged down the stretch into contention after shooting a course-record 62 that included an eagle and eight birdies.
Second-ranked Luke Donald (71) was tied for third with Charl Schwartzel (68) of South Africa. Louis Oosthuizen (69) was another shot back in fifth.
49ERS USE DEFENSE TO BEAT SAINTS: Ahmad Brooks, Donte Whitner and the rest of the San Francisco defense made enough plays for the 49ers to win no matter who they started at quarterback.
Brooks and Whitner returned interceptions for touchdowns, the 49ers sacked Drew Brees five times, and San Francisco ended the New Orleans Saints' three-game winning streak, 31-21 on Sunday.
Colin Kaepernick was solid in his second career start while Alex Smith, deemed healthy enough to suit up after recovering from a concussion, watched from the sideline. Kaepernick passed for 231 yards, including a short touchdown to Frank Gore. He also ran for a 7-yard score. He threw his first career interception, but it was inconsequential.
MANNING'S 2 TDS LEADS BRONCOS PAST CHIEVS, 17-9: Peyton Manning threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, and led the Broncos down the field in the final minutes when the Chiefs were frantically trying to get a stop, setting up a field goal that sealed a 17-9 victory and their sixth consecutive win.
It allowed Manning to break a tie with his boss and Broncos vice president John Elway with his 149th win as a starting quarterback, trailing only Brett Favre (186) for most in NFL history.
Around the horn
Despite 12 points from Aaron Davis, the Purdue University Calumet men's basketball lost to Olivet College 69-60 on Saturday. Warren Gordon and Martel Jackson each added 11 points for the Peregrines (4-4).