Here is the latest South Carolina sports news from The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes and somersaulted into the end zone for another score to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 24-17 victory over the Houston Texans yesterday. Newton was 18 of 37 for 195 yards and ran for 77 yards on nine carries.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina center Alan Knott is expected to miss several weeks after spraining his ankle during a loss to Georgia. Coach Steve Spurrier said yesterday that because of the high left ankle sprain freshman Zack Bailey will start when South Carolina plays Central Florida on Saturday.

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Antron Brown won the first Top Fuel final between black racers in NHRA history yesterday, beating J.R. Todd in the playoff-opening Carolina Nationals. Brown raced to his fifth victory of the season and took over the points lead in his bid for a second season championship.

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Denny Hamlin gave Joe Gibbs Racing a victory in the opening round of NASCAR’s playoffs by rallying from a disastrous start at Chicagoland Speedway. Hamlin spun on the second lap yesterday and immediately fell a lap off the pace. He and his JGR team didn’t panic, then used a gutsy call not to pit during the final caution to give Hamlin a shot at the victory.