No. 11 Utah faces must-win situation versus Oregon

Defense continues to be Utah’s strength under coach Kyle Whittingham.

The No. 11 Utes, who host downtrodden Oregon on Saturday, are second in the nation in interceptions and No. 1 in takeaways after last week’s 49-26 victory at Arizona State.

Utah (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) controls its destiny in the Pac-12 South race but has to beat the Ducks and then win at division-leading Colorado on Nov. 26 to advance to the conference championship game.

“All of our focus, all of our attention, is on the Ducks this week,” Whittingham said.

“There is not a chance we will be looking past those guys. Not a chance at all. They’re very talented on offense. I mean, they’re Oregon. They have had some struggles on defense this year, but offensively, they’re scoring points, they’re moving the ball. They’ve got firepower.”

Hurricanes activate Faulk

The Carolina Hurricanes have activated defenseman Justin Faulk from injured reserve, the team announced Tuesday.

Faulk, 24, missed the Hurricanes’ last three games after suffering an upper-body injury against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 6. The Hurricanes went 1-2-0 in his absence.

He has played in 11 games this season and leads Hurricanes defensemen in goals (three) and ranks second among team blueliners in points (six).

Faulk is a two-time NHL All-Star who had a career-high 16 goals last season.

Faulk was available for Tuesday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

Abreu eligible for arbitration

Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu opted out of his multiyear contract, making him eligible for salary arbitration for the next three years, the team announced.

However, Abreu remains under the White Sox’s control through the 2019 season.

Abreu, 29, had three years and $34 million left on a six-year contract he signed in October 2013. But the contract allowed him to opt out and enter the arbitration process as soon as he became eligible. With three years of big league service, Abreu is now eligible to go through salary arbitration.

NASCAR driver Scott retiring

Richard Petty Motorsports had surprising news earlier this week when it announced rookie Brian Scott would retire after the season to spend more time with his family. Scott, a regular on the NASCAR Truck and Xfinity series since 2008, is 32nd in the Cup points standings, but finished a career-high second at Talladega two weeks ago.

“It was a difficult decision, but one that I made myself for my family,” Scott said in a statement. “Racing and specifically NASCAR has been and will always be in my heart, but right now, I want to turn all my attention to my family and to be able to spend more time with them.”

Wings send Bertuzzi to AHL

The Detroit Red Wings assigned left wing Tyler Bertuzzi to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.

Bertuzzi, who is the nephew of former NHL player Todd Bertuzzi, made his league debut in Detroit’s 4-3 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 8.

The 21-year-old was held off the scoresheet in all three of his games with the Red Wings, recording two shots on goal and five hits while averaging 9:57 of ice time.

Sabres recall three

The Buffalo Sabres recalled forwards Nicholas Baptiste and Evan Rodrigues and defenseman Justin Falk from the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

Baptiste, 21, has two goals in 10 games with the Sabres this season. Rodrigues, 23, is making his first stint of the season with the Sabres after registering a goal and an assist in his first two NHL games with the team last season. Falk, 28, has appeared in two games with Buffalo in his eighth season.

Stars send Dowling to Texas

The Dallas Stars assigned center Justin Dowling to Texas of the American Hockey League.

Dowling set up a goal against the Winnipeg Jets in his NHL debut on Oct. 25. The 26-year-old Alberta native recorded two assists and two penalty minutes in five games for Dallas.

In other NHL moves, the Arizona Coyotes assigned center Christian Dvorak and goaltender Justin Peters to Tucson of the American Hockey League.

Dvorak has collected one goal and four assists in 12 games this season. Peters has recorded an 0-1-0 mark with a 3.16 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage in three games this season with Arizona.

Nuggets waive Stokes

The Denver Nuggets have waived forward/center Jarnell Stokes, the team announced.

Stokes, who signed with Denver on Sept. 15, appeared in two games and averaged 1.5 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 3.5 minutes.

The third-year big man has appeared in a total of 28 career games (two starts) for Memphis, Miami and Denver,.

In other NBA moves, the Philadelphia 76ers assigned guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League.

Luwawu-Cabarrot, 21, has averaged 1.1 points in seven games with the 76ers this season. He was the team’s first-round selection (24th overall) in this year’s draft.