THURSDAY SPORTS: Tigers face NC State; Braves ‘Magic Number’ now 2; Norton dies
*It’s gameday for the Clemson Tigers. The 3rd-ranked Tigers are in Raleigh to take on North Carolina State on ESPN Thursday night at 7:30. Clemson is favored by 13.5 points. The Tigers won this matchup in Death Valley last season, 62-48. The last time on the road, the Wolfpack collected a 37-13 win, on a Thursday night in 2011.
*The Braves magic number is now 2. Justin Upton and Dan Uggla each homered in a three-run sixth inning, and Atlanta rallied past the Washington Nationals for a 5-2 win Wednesday night, lowering their magic number for clinching the NL East title to two games. The Braves rest Thursday before heading to Chicago on Friday.
*Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who was the second man to beat Muhammad Ali after Joe Frazier, breaking Ali’s jaw in their 1973 fight, died on Wednesday after suffering a series of strokes in recent years. He was 70. Norton and Ali fought a total of three bouts, the second of which Ali won six months later in a split decision. In their third and final meeting, at Yankee Stadium in 1976, Ali narrowly won after 15 rounds. Norton would come back the next year to win a heavyweight title eliminator and was declared champion when Leon Spinks decided to fight Ali in a rematch instead of facing Norton. But in June 1978, he lost a 15-round fight to Larry Holmes in what’s considered one of boxing’s epic heavyweight bouts, and was never champion again. Norton finished with a record of 42-7-1 and 33 knockouts.
*The NFL is expected to raise ticket prices for the next Super Bowl to be played at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium in February. The Wall Street Journal reports that a committee of NFL owners is likely to approve the plan that would more than double the prices the league charges for the best seats. It would reportedly raise the price of club-level seats to about 26-hundred dollars. A similar seat at last year’s game in New Orleans cost 12-hundred-and fifty dollars. Not every ticket will crack quadruple digits. The league will drop the price of the cheapest seats to 500-dollars from last year’s 600-dollar price tag.