Taking flight: McKenzie Milton accounts for 5 TDs as Knights dismantle Temple

Nov 18, 2017 7

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — McKenzie Milton threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score as No. 14 Central Florida comfortably took care of business against Temple, winning 45-19 Saturday to stay unbeaten heading into a showdown with rival USF.

The Knights (10-0, 7-0 American Athletic conference, CFP No. 15) turned three Temple turnovers inside the Owls’ 25 into 17 first-half points, taking a 31-10 lead when Gabriel Davis stretched across the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown reception with 2:36 left in the second quarter.

The AAC East Division will be decided on Black Friday in Orlando, Florida, when No. 23 South Florida (9-1, 6-1) visits UCF. Temple (5-6, 3-4) could have been easy to overlook for the Knights. The game had no bearing on whether they play for a conference title and a loss probably wouldn’t have damaged their chances to play in a New Year’s Six bowl.

With speculation swirling about where second-year coach Scott Frost might be coaching next and a huge game looming, the Knights insisted earlier in the week they would not be distracted. Mission accomplished.

Shaquem Griffin, the 2016 AAC defensive player of the year whose left hand was amputated when he was 4, was all over the field for the UCF defense. He forced a fumble in the first half that set up a score and made his second career interception in the second half, running step-for-step down field with a receiver and cradling the ball into his chest.

Frank Nutile, who helped revive Temple’s offense when he took over at quarterback four games ago, was picked off four times.

THE TAKEAWAY

UCF: The Knights have so many ways to attack. Six different players scored touchdowns, including freshman Otis Anderson, who is listed on the depth chart as a wide receiver but is also one of the team’s leading rushers. He had 62 yards on five carries against Temple and caught a touchdown pass.

Temple: The Owls tried to slow the pace against the Knights, but turnovers killed that plan. Temple is not built to get into a back-and-forth game with the highest scoring team in the country.

UP NEXT:

UCF: The War on I-4 has never been bigger.

Temple: The Owls try again to reach bowl eligibility, this time at Tulsa.

FSU tops 30 points for 1st time this season in dominating rout of Delaware State

Nov 18, 2017 8

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State tied a school record for first-half points as it rolled to a 77-6 victory over Delaware State on Saturday.

The 71-point win also marks the second-highest margin of victory by Florida State. The record is 74 in a shutout against Whiting Field in 1949.

The Seminoles (4-6) led 56-6 at halftime, which equaled the points they scored in the first 30 minutes on Nov. 14, 1992, against Tulane. The Seminoles would go on to win that game 70-7.

Florida State scored 63 unanswered points after a Nyfease West 1-yard touchdown run brought Delaware State (2-9) within 14-6 with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter.

The Seminoles also scored touchdowns on offense, special teams and defense in the first quarter. It is the first time it has done that in the same game since 2013 against Wake Forest.

The Seminoles opened the scoring on a Jacques Patrick 14-yard touchdown run and extended their lead to 14-0 when Tarvarus McFadden took a blocked field goal 63 yards.

The Hornets got the ball back with a chance to tie the game at 14, but Derwin James picked off Keenan Black and ran 41 yards for his first career touchdown.

James Blackman completed 11 of 15 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns for FSU. Patrick also ran for a pair of scores.

J.J. Cosentino and Jake Rizzo played QB for the Seminoles during the second half and also directed scoring drives.

The Hornets gained 125 yards on their first two drives but were held to 67 the remainder of the game. Keenan Black played quarterback in the first half and was 7 of 18 for 98 yards.

The teams agreed to play 10-minute quarters during the second half. NCAA rules state that at “any time during the game, the playing time of any remaining period or periods and the intermission between halves may be shortened by mutual agreement of the opposing head coaches and the referee.”

The NCAA rules only allow for shortening the length of time in each quarter and don’t permit the use of a running clock, though there is evidence of games having used running clocks in the past. It is the seventh time since 2012 a game has been shortened in the second half.

It is the second time involving Florida State with the first time being 2012 against Savannah State. After a 56-minute weather delay in the second quarter with Florida State ahead 48-0, officials agreed to use a running clock. The game was called for good in the third quarter due to lightning with the Seminoles leading 55-0.

THE TAKEAWAY

Delaware State: Coach Kevin Carter and his team can claim at least one moral victory. The touchdown marked the first time in nine games that an FCS team had scored a first-quarter TD on the Seminoles.

Florida State: This marks the first time this season that Florida State has scored 30 or more points in a game. Its previous season high was 28 in a three-point loss to Louisville on Oct. 21.

UP NEXT

Delaware State: Season complete.

Florida State: Travel to Florida on Saturday. It is the first time since 1959 that both teams go into the game with losing records.

No. 1 Alabama blasts Mercer 56-0, moves on to Iron Bowl

Nov 18, 2017 6

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Hurts passed for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a little more than a quarter and No. 1 Alabama beat FCS team Mercer 56-0 on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (11-0, No. 1 CFP) raced to a 35-0 halftime lead in what amounted to a tuneup for the team’s biggest game. Now, Alabama heads to No. 6 Auburn with the winner of the Iron Bowl facing No. 7 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game in Atlanta.

The Bears (5-6) also lost to Auburn 24-10 early in the season, when the Tigers committed five turnovers.

Hurts led Alabama to touchdowns on each of his four possessions, completing all seven of his attempts and running for 30 yards. He hit a wide-open Calvin Ridley for a 66-yard touchdown, giving Ridley 103 yards on three catches before the half.

Freshman backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa came in with just under 12 minutes left in the second quarter and exited early in the fourth.

Tagovailoa also threw for three touchdowns, completing 7 of 11 passes for 85 yards.

Alabama outgained Mercer 530-161 in total yards. The Tide has outscored opponents 253-43 collectively in the first half.

THE TAKEAWAY

Mercer: Got off to a good start offensively, making it into Alabama territory on its first two possessions and five times in the game. Kaelan Riley was 6 of 19 passing for 44 yards with three interceptions.

Alabama: Dominated, as expected, and got a bunch of players on the field. Defense had interceptions from Deionte Thompson, Dylan Moses and Hootie Jones. Had six tailbacks carry at least four times, and none topped seven carries.

MOSES’ PERFORMANCE

The freshman Moses turned in a huge performance for Alabama’s injury-depleted linebackers. Making his first start, Moses picked off a pass deep in Tide territory late in the first half. He had 11 tackles, four behind the line, with 10 solo stops.

UP NEXT

Mercer finished its season.

Alabama visits Auburn in the Iron Bowl with its bid for a fourth consecutive SEC title — and perhaps another playoff trip — on the line.

Dolphins reportedly releasing LB Rey Maualuga in wake of his arrest

Nov 18, 2017 6

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press the Miami Dolphins are waiving linebacker Rey Maualuga after an arrest in Miami.

The transaction will be complete later Saturday, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not released any information about the move.

It was unclear if Maualuga had retained an attorney or what the circumstances were surrounding the arrest. Court records in Miami-Dade County show an open battery case against Maualuga, though no other information was listed about that matter Saturday.

Maualuga had 23 tackles for the Dolphins this season in six games, four of them being starts. Miami plays host to Tampa Bay on Sunday.

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West Virginia QB Will Grier hurts throwing hand vs. Texas

Nov 18, 2017 7

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia quarterback Will Grier has hurt his throwing hand while trying to score on a run against Texas.

Grier dove for the pylon in the first quarter Saturday and landed awkwardly on his right hand. One of his fingers appeared to be bent backward as he held up his hand while running to the sideline. He was bent over in pain as trainers worked on him.

A review determined Grier had fumbled before he reached the pylon and went out of the end zone. Texas took over on the touchback.

Backup Chris Chugunov replaced Grier on No. 24 West Virginia’s next series.

Grier entered the game second in the nation with 34 touchdown passes.

High-scoring Wildcats likely must content with return of Ducks QB Herbert

Nov 18, 2017 6

EUGENE, Ore. — Quarterback Justin Herbert appears poised to return from a broken collarbone but so far there’s no definitive word from Oregon.

The Ducks (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) host the Arizona Wildcats and their star QB Khalil Tate on Saturday with Herbert’s status in the air. Will he start? Will he be available? The Ducks aren’t saying on the record.

Herbert, who fractured his collarbone against California on Sept. 30, has been practicing and some say he appears ready to come back. There was a report he will start Saturday, and coach Willie Taggart teased earlier this week that “there is a good chance” Herbert can play.

Of course it might be gamesmanship. The fact is that the Ducks are one win away from bowl eligibility in Taggart’s first year as head coach and Herbert gives them the best chance to win.

Since he was injured, Oregon has lost four of its last five games. Freshman Braxton Burmeister, who replaced Herbert , was thrown into a difficult situation, no fault of his own.

Oregon is coming off a bye after a 38-3 loss at Washington. Following Saturday’s game at Autzen Stadium, the Ducks will host Oregon State in the annual Civil War on Thanksgiving weekend.

“They may get Justin (Herbert) back, which would be a big boost to them. They were scoring a whole bunch of points and he’s got more experience, but I think Braxton’s played really well for them. For us it’s no surprise, we know he’s an outstanding player, that’s why we recruited him,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. The Wildcats (7-3, 5-2) are already bowl eligible.

Other things to watch:

ON THE OTHER SIDE: There’s no question about Arizona’s starter. Tate’s fantastic season is earning him Heisman buzz. He leads the nation with five 70-plus yard runs, four of them for touchdowns, the longest run for a quarterback (82 yards) and his 327 yards rushing against Colorado set a single-game NCAA record for a QB.

He’s also run for a touchdown in each of the last six games and a team-high 11 rushing TDs this season. He also has four of the five longest touchdown runs for Arizona this season.

Taggart was asked what the Ducks have to do to stop Tate .

“Pray,” he said. “No one has stopped him yet this year. He’s a heck of a talent. Big time football player and is really good with the ball in his hand.”

HIGH-SCORING WILDCATS: Arizona has been a prolific scoring team since Rodriguez took over in the desert, but the Wildcats have picked it up even more this season. Arizona has scored at least 35 points in six straight games for the first time in school history and is third nationally in scoring with 44.4 points per game. Ten different players have a rushing touchdown this season, a new school record.

TAYLOR RUNS: Keep an eye on Arizona RB J.J. Taylor. The sophomore got off to a slow start this season in his return from a broken ankle suffered last season, but is rounding back into form. Taylor has 333 yards on 36 carries the past three games after putting up 366 yards on 78 carries the first seven games.

DYE UPDATE: Linebacker Troy Dye, who leads the Ducks in tackles, injured his Achilles on Nov. 4 against Washington but will return against the Wildcats.

“He’s ready to go,” Taggart said. “Troy is just of kid that loves to play football, he loves competing. He loves being around his teammates and it’s just fun to watch, fun to have him around. He don’t take practice off, he don’t take games off. When it’s time to compete he’s ready to go every single time.”

SPRINKLERS?: It appears that a rainy weather system moving into the Pacific Northwest will hold out until Sunday. No word on whether the Wildcats hauled out the sprinklers this week.

“A few years ago getting ready for a Utah game, we turned on the sprinklers in the stadium. We turned them on halfway through practice just for the offensive side and most of the guys including myself say it’s the wettest we’ve ever been in our entire lives. We were drenched,” Rodriguez said.

Sun Devils look to become bowl eligible against Oregon State

Nov 18, 2017 12

Arizona State coach Todd Graham said he isn’t necessarily feeling end-of-season pressure to get bowl eligible, but he’d like for his seniors to go out with a postseason.

The Sun Devils are 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the Pac-12 with two games to go. The first chance to reach six wins is Saturday at Oregon State (1-9, 0-7).

“The pressure would have been to beat USC, UCLA and win the conference championship,” Graham said about qualifying for the postseason. “It’s something that we don’t even talk about. We talk about winning championships. But, we did talk about it after this game that we have to get things corrected, get better and have a good week of practice. For these seniors, we need to get bowl eligible.”

The Sun Devils were disappointed last weekend when UCLA pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 44-37 at the Rose Bowl. The game against the Beavers is Arizona State’s final road trip of the season. After that they’ll host rival Arizona over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Arizona State hasn’t played the Beavers since 2014. The Sun Devils should be wary because they have a five-game losing streak at Reser Stadium.

But this year the Beavers are obviously struggling with only one win — against a lower-division opponent — and the midseason departure of head coach Gary Andersen. Oregon State has shown a spark under interim coach Cory Hall but the team has yet to get a conference win.

“This is their senior day. Not a senior in the country won’t get up and play their best game on a senior day,” Graham said. “It’s all about us playing disciplined football, getting after it, and being hungry to get our next win.”

Oregon State is coming off a 49-28 loss Saturday to Arizona.

Other things to watch when Oregon State hosts Arizona State:

HISTORY: The last time the two teams met was in 2014. Then-No. 7 Arizona State came to Reser and got upset by the Beavers 35-27. Graham said that isn’t a motivator for the current players who were on the roster back then.

“Our guys don’t think about all that stuff. Instead, our guys are focused on getting the next win and getting bowl eligible. Our guys have put a lot into this and they’ve been a great group to coach and work with,” Graham said. “I think right now they’re focused on the seniors and winning this next game and becoming bowl eligible. That’s it.”

RED ZONE DEVILS: Arizona State has been lights out in the red zone this season. The Sun Devils are second nationally, converting 36 of 37 (97.2 percent) of their trips inside their opponents’ 20-yard line into points. The only time Arizona State didn’t score from the red zone was when it took a knee in the closing seconds of a victory over Washington. The Sun Devils have 26 touchdowns in the red zone.

MONDAY MEETING: Going into the final two games of the season, Hall talked about inspiring his players to start this week. After Arizona State, the Beavers cap the season in the Civil War rivalry game at Oregon.

“No one is going to remember you for this record at the end of the day. It will be forever engraved. But they will remember you for turning it around, fighting back, beating Arizona State and then beating the Ducks,” Hall said he told the team.

SURE-TACKLING CALHOUN: Arizona State’s D.J. Calhoun is first nationally among all inside linebackers in tackling efficiency, with one missed tackle in 87 attempts. He’s also third in the Pac-12 with 8.6 tackles per game and 24th nationally with 5.5 solo tackles per game.

HEY, I KNOW THAT DUDE: Oregon State extended an offer to a promising young receiver out of Venice, California, and his name is certainly familiar to Beavers fans: Chad Johnson Jr. His dad, also known as Chad Ochocinco, starred at Oregon State in 2000 when the team went 11-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl. Ochocinco then spent 11 seasons in the NFL.

Antetokounmpo, newcomer Bledsoe lead Bucks into Dallas

Nov 18, 2017 9

DALLAS — There is plenty of talk in Dallas these days rehashing the decision Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made in the 2013 draft to bypass Giannis Antetokounmpo as a means to protect salary cap space to go after then-free agent Dwight Howard.

Dallas traded down and eventually drafted guard Shane Larkin. On Saturday night, Cuban will get a front-row view of the “Greek Freak,” a player his franchise — and, frankly, a slew of others — could have had. Antetokounmpo was the 15th overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Now Cuban’s last-place Mavs (2-14) will see a blossoming superstar, a 6-foot-11 athletic marvel that the popular hoops statistical website Basketball-Reference.com lists as a power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard.

Heck, the Mavs wouldn’t mind starting him at center, a position they thought they had solved with Nerlens Noel, but who recently has found himself residing in coach Rick Carlisle’s doghouse.

Antetokounmpo brings the Bucks (8-6) into American Airlines Center on a four-game roll. But suddenly the talk on this team isn’t about the league’s leading scorer at 30.6 points a game while shooting a cool 57.8 percent from the floor.

No, talk has centered on newcomer Eric Bledsoe, a player the Bucks obtained earlier this month in a trade with the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks are 4-0 since the formerly disgruntled Sun joined the club, providing an explosive presence on both ends of the floor.

“It’s a bonus having a guy like Eric that you know is going to make the right plays,” Antetokounmpo told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel after Bledsoe hit a crunch-time shot in Wednesday’s game to beat the Detroit Pistons. “I think he’s doing a great job making the right play down the stretch. You know he’s going to keep doing it. We’re going to keep trusting him because he’s really good at it.”

The acquisition of Bledsoe gives Bucks coach Jason Kidd, who won a title with Dallas in 2011, an athletic, veteran player to lead the offense, while relieving pressure from second-year guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Still, Kidd cautioned that Bledsoe has barely had any practice with the team to learn defensive schemes and where each Bucks player likes to operate on the offensive end.

“As much as it has looked as if he’s been here for a couple years, it’s going to take time,” Kidd said.

The Mavs are quickly running short on time to turn around what has so far been a nightmarish season. Friday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves was their fourth consecutive defeat and eighth loss in nine home games.

While rookie point guard Dennis Smith has shown flashes of the type of player he might become, the Mavs, with an aging Dirk Nowitzki, have struggled to keep up offensively.

Friday’s loss was the third consecutive game in which they failed to crack 100 points. And now they must quickly turn around and face a confident Bucks team that has enjoyed two nights off since it last played.

“Just got to shake it off, shake it off. That’s the beauty of the NBA — you get a chance to bounce back the very next day,” Smith Jr. said. “We’ve got the Bucks coming in. They’re a really good team, but we’ve got to have each other’s backs and come out and compete.”

Cowboys' Jerry Jones apologizes for racial remark in video

Nov 18, 2017 8

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has apologized after a gossip website posted a 4-year-old video of him making a racially insensitive comment.

The Blast website reported the video was shot in 2013 at a Dallas hotel by a white man who asked Jones if he would tape a message for his fiancee. Jones appeared to be joking when he said, “Hey, Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he’s with a black girl tonight, don’t you?”

After the video’s release Friday, Jones apologized in a statement issued by the team, saying, “That comment was inappropriate. It’s not who I am, and I’m sorry.”

The website reported the video was shared by someone who thought it was relevant in light of players sitting or kneeling in protest during the national anthem in the NFL. Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protests last year to bring awareness to issues of racial inequality.

Jones has been outspoken in his view that players should stand during the anthem, at one point saying he would bench any player who disrespected the flag.

Preview: Wild at Capitals

Nov 18, 2017 9

WASHINGTON — The Minnesota Wild visit the Washington Capitals Saturday night looking for their fourth straight win.

The Capitals are just looking for answers.

The reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners limped home from a two-game road trip that saw them lose by scores of 6-3 in Nashville and 6-2 in Colorado. Washington (10-9-1) fell behind 2-0 in both games, one with goaltender Braden Holtby starting and once with his capable backup, Philipp Grubauer, between the pipes.

Washington fell to 5-9 when allowing the first goal of the game, and Thursday’s loss was followed by a team meeting.

“There’s not enough urgency. It can spiral,” Tom Wilson told the team website. “You come out, they get a couple of goals. Guys are kind of maybe trying to cheat a little bit on the offensive end and then another puck goes in your net.

More Wild coverage

“It’s not about x’s and o’s right now. There’s no continuous momentum from line to line.”

With the losses they incurred in the offseason, the Capitals knew they wouldn’t be as high-powered on offense this season, and would have to play a tighter games. That said, they’re missing forward Andre Burakovsky (thumb surgery) and Nicklas Backstrom (13 games without a goal) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (one goal in his last nine) are slumping.

Against the Avalanche, Kuznetsov and Brett Connolly scored and Grubauer had 22 saves.

“Obviously it’s a good thing it’s game 20 and not game 50. But, again, we’re a quarter of the way through and we’re not where we want to be,” Brett Connolly told the team’s website. “We seem to figure it out quickly here. We’ve got the guys in the locker room to do it so it’s up to the guys in here to turn it on.”

The Wild also fell behind in their last game, against the Predators, but with a different outcome. The Wild rallied from two goals down with four goals in the final seven minutes in a 6-4 win.

Goalie Devan Dubnyk didn’t get his fourth straight shutout, in fact he allowed a goal 49 seconds into the game — but the relentless Wild offense late in the game made it so he didn’t see a shot on goal over the final 15 minutes.

“I was just standing there and watching the guys go to work,” Dubnyk told the Minneapolis Tribune. “I’ve seen it many times, and it’s always impressive.”

The Wild trailed 4-2 with seven minutes to play before Ryan Suter and Eric Staal scored to tie the game, and Jason Zucker scored the go-ahead goal.

“It shows great character to be able to come back and all of a sudden do that, it makes people believe, or the team I think believe that they’re capable of doing it,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Dallas has defeated Montreal, Philadelphia (twice) and Nashville to improve to 10-6-2.

Dubnyk, who saw his shutout streak ended at 195 minutes, 54 seconds, has struggled against Washington, posting a 2-4-1 mark with a 3.61 goals against average and a .879 save percentage.

Meawhile, Holtby has thrived against Minnesota (7-2, 2.43, .917).

Staal has 29 goals and 44 assists in 74 games against Washington. Alex Ovechkin, without a goal in his last four games overall, is 14 and six in 12 games against Minnesota.

Zucker has eight goals in his last five games overall.

Washington has won four in a row at Capital One Arena.

“We’re gonna get back home, lick our wounds and see if we can take on the Wild and bring a much better effort,” Trotz said after Thursday’s loss.