Maryland coach

Ralph Friedgen

is heading into unemployment as a winner.

The Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year and engineer of the second-biggest regular-season turnaround in the country ended his 10-year run at his alma mater Wednesday in Washington with a 51-20 victory over East Carolina in the Military Bowl.

The Terrapins forced four turnovers, and Plymouth Whitemarsh High graduate Da'Rel Scott was named the game's MVP after he ran for 200 yards on 13 carries.

New Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson announced last week that Friedgen was being fired, effective after the bowl game, with the school buying out the final year of the 63-year-old coach's contract for $2 million.

Scott said he and his teammates were determined to "make sure Coach Friedgen went out with a bang."

Southern Methodist coach June Jones said he had no plans to leave for Maryland.

Mikel Leshoure ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns as Illinois earned its first bowl victory since 1999, beating Baylor, 38-14, in the Texas Bowl in Houston.

The Illini spoiled the Bears' first bowl appearance in 16 seasons. Both teams finished at 7-6.

The NCAA defended its recent rulings in violations cases involving Ohio State and Auburn, saying it does not play favorites or make decisions based on financial considerations.

In a statement on its website, the NCAA said "the notion that the NCAA is selective with its eligibility decisions and rules enforcement is another myth."

BASEBALL: Rafael Palmeiro is sticking to his story that a tainted vitamin shot caused his failed drug test five years ago, and said he hopes Hall of Fame voters will overlook the mistake and honor him for his 3,020 hits and 569 home runs.

A week before the inductees to baseball's Hall of Fame are announced, Palmeiro told in a phone interview posted Wednesday that he never used performance-enhancing drugs in his 20-year career.

The snow-damaged Metrodome roof won't be fixed until at least March, affecting hundreds of college baseball games and forcing the Minnesota Twins to find a new venue for their annual winter festival, a facility official said.

WINTER SPORTS: Marlies Schild of Austria won a women's World Cup night slalom in Semmering, Austria, for her third victory of the season and 26th overall, while Maria Riesch finished second to extend her lead over Lindsey Vonn in the overall standings.

Overall World Cup leader Thomas Morgenstern continued his dominance this winter by capturing the first event of the 59th Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Michael Walchhofer of Austria added another victory to his farewell season, becoming the first skier to win the grueling World Cup downhill on the Stelvio course three times. Bode Miller, still seeking his first win of the season, was eighth on the Bormio, Italy course, where he has had two downhill victories.

TENNIS: Former world No. 1 Justine Henin said she would nurse an elbow injury through next month's Australian Open, and she may be six months away from full strength. Henin will make her return from injury at the Hopman Cup mixed-teams event that starts Saturday in Perth, Australia.

CYCLING: Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong won't compete in a New Zealand triathlon next month because of a sore left knee.

- Associated Press