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ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have one of the NFL's biggest surprises in the first half of the season. They'll try to retain their hold on first place in the NFC South when they play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. The Falcons are 4-4. The Chargers, coming off their bye week, are 4-3. Chargers coach Brandon Staley says the Falcons are winning with offense. The Falcons rank fifth in the league in rushing and have enjoyed a recent surge in explosive passing plays.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia football has made a transformation over the last seven years. The school was no longer satisfied with being an occasional national championship contender and futilely chasing Alabama in the Southeastern Conference. School officials decided to go all-in in a way Georgia had never done before. It wasn’t just about hiring a new coach. Though Georgia alumnus Kirby Smart, a former Nick Saban assistant at Alabama, was the perfect person for the job.

Justin Verlander overcame an early jolt to grit out the World Series win that long eluded him, rookie Jeremy Peña hit a go-ahead home run and the Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 to …

Houston Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña put on quite an all-around performance Thursday night in Game 5 of the World Series. He became the first rookie shortstop to homer in the World Series, …

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Ray Guy, the first punter to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died, He was 72. Southern Mississippi, where Guy starred before a long NFL career says he died following a lengthy illness. Guy played 14 seasons with the Raiders and was a three-time All-Pro selection. In 2014, he became the first player to make be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame exclusively for his punting. A native of Thomson, Georgia, Guy is also a member of the College Football Football Hall of Fame.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — There will be Southeastern Conference and national championship hopes on the line when No. 1 Georgia faces No. 2 Tennessee. The Vols were No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff ranking the season this week while Georgia, the defending national champion, was No. 3. The showdown between undefeated teams could rest on the matchup of Tennessee's offense, which leads the nation in scoring and total yards, against Georgia's defense, which ranks second in points allowed per game.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cristian Javier and Houston’s bullpen combined on just the second no-hitter in World Series history, silencing a booming lineup and boisterous ballpark as the Astros blanked the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 Wednesday night to even the matchup at two games each. The only previous no-hitter in the World Series was a perfect game by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — Before he became the Heisman frontrunner leading the most feared offense in college football for one of the nation’s top teams, Hendon Hooker thought it would be nice to write a children’s book. That sentence can give you whiplash, much like the Tennessee quarterback’s bombs have given opposing defensive backs this season for the undefeated Volunteers.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Alec Bohm hit the 1,000th home run in World Series history, and the Philadelphia Phillies quickly went to work on launching the next thousand. Bryce Harper, Bohm and Brandon Marsh teed off early against Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. in Game 3 of the 118th World Series. Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins hit back-to-back drives to finish McCullers in the fifth inning and make it 7-0. The five home runs tied a World Series record done three previous times.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons, in need of depth at cornerback, have acquired Rashad Fenton from the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2023 conditional seventh-round pick. Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell missed Sunday’s 37-34 overtime win over Carolina with a hamstring injury. Casey Hayward, who opened the season with Terrell as the starting cornerbacks, is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Fenton, a sixth-round pick from South Carolina in 2019, has started 16 games over his four seasons.

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