Mauricio Pochettino does not want to be distracted by title talk

first_imgTottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has told his players not to waste their energy thinking about the title this season. Spurs are six points behind surprise leaders Leicester and have a kind schedule over Christmas, which starts at home to Newcastle on Sunday before matches against Southampton, Norwich and Watford. It means Pochettino’s side could begin the new year within touching distance of top spot and Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has claimed Tottenham would be title contenders were it not for their Europa League commitments. “I respect his opinion and I believe that we have a very strong squad and very good players,” Pochettino said. “After 14 games unbeaten we need to keep on the same level to win every game. “But it is too early to start to speak about winning the title. Achievements come at the end of the season. For me, it is too early. We need to keep working hard and show the same winning mentality. “This is the most important thing because if we start to speak about challenging for objectives at the end of the season then maybe we will be spending energy on things that are not important today. “We need to keep our feet on the ground, this is the most important thing.” Pochettino has maintained his faith in young players this season, with Dele Alli, Eric Dier and most recently Joshua Onomah, an 18-year-old academy graduate, all breaking into the first team. The squad’s energy and enthusiasm benefits Pochettino’s dynamic style of play but the Argentinian insists his experienced players have been just as important. “I hear a lot ‘because Pochettino has at Tottenham a very young squad it is easy for them to play the way they play because they spend a lot of energy’,” Pochettino said. Press Association “If the squad is young and doing well then all is good but if not people say you need more experienced players. “But the most important thing is that we believe in the way that we play, in our methods. The key is to work very hard in the training sessions. “Always in football the balance is the most important thing.” Dier sustained a knock in the win over Monaco on Thursday and was substituted before half-time but the midfielder will be fit in time to face the Magpies. Mousa Dembele and Clinton Njie have been ruled out , while Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard are both unavailable with ankle injuries. Newcastle are 18th in the table but will arrive at White Hart Lane rejuvenated after last weekend’s shock 2-0 win over Liverpool. “We expect a very tough game against Newcastle, they had a great victory last week against Liverpool,” Pochettino added. “It is a very dangerous game for us. We need to be very focused and ready to have the same motivation, energy and quality that we showed against Monaco.” last_img read more

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Update on the latest sports

first_img— The missing father of Bengals cornerback Mackensie Alexander turned up early Thursday at a ranger station at a Florida state park. The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office said in a Twitter post Thursday morning that 65-year-old Jean Alexandre walked up to the ranger station at the Kissimmee (kih-SIH’-mee) Prairie Preserve State Park. He was reported to be in good health and will be reunited with this family. His son, cornerback Mackensie Alexander, was jailed Wednesday on a misdemeanor battery charge after deputies say he beat up a man who had last seen his father.— 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called off practice after losing two more key players this week to injuries. Shanahan opted to hold a walkthrough instead of a full practice a day after a physical session with a roster with a number of players hurt.COLLEGE BASKETBALL-OLSON OBITWildcats coach Lute Olson diesTUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Longtime Arizona basketball coach and Hall of Famer Lute Olson has died, according to his family. Associated Press UNDATED (AP) — Georgia wide receiver Dominick Blaylock will miss the 2020 season following his second serious knee injury in two years. Blaylock, a part-time starter in 2019, was one of the team’s top returning receivers and return specialists.Georgia says Blaylock, a sophomore, hurt his left knee on Wednesday in a non-ontact drill. Blaylock will need surgery and is expected to make a full recovery for the 2021 season. In other college football news:— A group of Nebraska football players filed a lawsuit Thursday asking a jury to force the Big Ten Conference to reinstate a fall football season. The lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court in Lincoln contends, among other things, the players lost opportunities for development in football, will lose exposure for possible professional football opportunities and won’t be able to market themselves in order to eventually capitalize on name, image and likeness revenue opportunities. The Big Ten had no immediate comment.NFL-JAGUARS-CONLEY’S CHARGE TENNIS-US OPEN-DRAWOsaka-Gauff rematch could happen in US Open’s 3rd roundNEW YORK (AP) — Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka and 16-year-old Coco Gauff could face each other at the U.S. Open again. The tournament draw set up a possible third-round rematch. Other potential women’s quarterfinals: No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova vs. No. 8 Petra Martic; No. 2 Sofia Kenin vs. No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka; and No. 3 Serena Williams vs. No. 7 Madison Keys.Only two of the top eight women in the WTA rankings entered the hard-court tournament. Among those missing are No. 1-ranked Ash Barty and 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu. Defending men’s champion, Rafael Nadal, and 20-time Grand Slam title winner Roger Federer are also among those absent in New York this year. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic did decide to play.The U.S. Open begins Monday. Jaguars’ Conley calls on NFL QBs to lead charge for changeJACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Chris Conley called on “figures who are the face of the league” to do more to help fight social injustice.The sixth-year pro made it clear Thursday he was talking about the NFL’s top quarterbacks, the ones who have the most influence in games, in locker rooms and in communities. Think Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson, for starters.Conley said those in the NFL “who are irreplaceable” need to step up, but he doesn’t see it happening. He says there are leaders in the league who are speaking up and willing to make a sacrifice.In other NFL news: August 27, 2020 Olson spent 24 seasons with the Wildcats, revitalizing a fan base in the desert while transforming a program that had been to the NCAA Tournament just three times in 79 years before he was hired in 1983.Arizona began a string of 25 straight NCAA Tournament appearances in Olson’s second season. The streak would have been the third-longest in NCAA history, but the 1999 and 2008 appearances were later vacated by the NCAA for impermissible benefits to players and recruiting violations. The Wildcats won the 1997 national championship under Olson with a team led by Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Miles Simon. Olson’s Arizona teams reached the Final Four four times and lost the 2001 national title game to Duke.The cause of death wasn’t immediately released by his family.PGA-BMW CHAMPIONSHIP — Joc Pederson was the hitting star in the Dodgers’ 2-0, Game 2 victory, hitting a solo homer and scoring an insurance run on Will Smith’s double. Seven pitchers combined on a two-hitter as Los Angeles completed the sweep. The Dodgers won the nightcap despite collecting just three hits.— Cole Tucker singled home in the go-ahead run in extra innings and the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 4-3 in Game 1. The seven-inning game went to extras tied at one before the Bucs scored three times in the eighth, including an RBI single by Bryan Reynolds and an error by third baseman Brad Miller. Chad Kuhl delivered six innings of one-run ball for Pittsburgh.— The Pirates came away with a sweep as Erik Gonzalez and Adam Frazier provided RBI singles in a 2-0 decision over the Redbirds. Cody Ponce earned his first big league victory by pitching into the sixth inning of his first start, limiting St. Louis to five hits.— There was a thrilling end to San Diego’s 10-7, Game 1 win over the Mariners. Wil Myers hit a game-ending three-run homer with two outs in the Padres’ seven-run seventh. Manny Machado homered twice and had four RBIs, and Fernando Tatis (tah-TEES’) Jr. hit his big league-leading 13th homer an estimated at 448 feet onto the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building. — Rookie José Marmolejos hit his first grand slam and Shed Long Jr. also connected in a six-run first that carried the Mariners to an 8-3 victory and a split of their twinbill with San Diego. Manny Machado also went deep for his third home run of the doubleheader. — Several NFL teams canceled practices. The Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans and Washington Football Team all decided to not take the field Thursday. — The tennis tours paused play Thursday at the Western & Southern Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.— Football practices were canceled at Boston College, Kentucky and South Florida in joint decisions made by coaches and players. COLLEGE FOOTBALL-NEWSNo. 4 Georgia loses WR Blaylock to season-ending knee injury Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-SCHEDULEBoycotts highlight MLB scheduleUNDATED (AP) — It was a typical start to a major league game Thursday at Citi Field as players from the New York Mets and Miami Marlins stood in their dugouts for the national anthem. — The Reds knocked off the Brewers, 6-1 in Game 1 as Jesse Winker homered twice and prized prospect Jose Garcia singled in his first big league at-bat. Cincinnati starter Sonny Gray allowed four singles over five scoreless innings, striking out four and walking two. Omar Narvaez (nahr-VY’-ehz) accounted for Milwaukee’s run with a sixth-inning homer.— Eugenio (AY’-oo-HEH’-nee-oh) Suarez slammed a two-run homer and Wade Miley combined with two relievers on a one-hitter as Cincinnati blanked Milwaukee, 6-0 to complete a sweep. Winker and Kyle Farmer produced two hits and an RBI in the nightcap. Luis Urias singled off Miley in the third inning for the Brewers’ lone hit.MLB-BLUE JAYS-MARINERS TRADEMariners trade Walker to Blue Jays for player or cashSAN DIEGO (AP) — The Mariners have traded right-hander Taijuan (TY’-wahn) Walker to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player or cash. Players took their positions, then reserves and coaches filed out of both dugouts and stood silently for 42 seconds to honor Jackie Robinson, the first Black player in modern major league history. Both teams then returned to their clubhouses, leaving only a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at home plate.It was yet another MLB game to be boycotted following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last weekend.Oakland’s game at Texas was among six other major league contests that were postponed Thursday as teams boycott over racial injustice. Also postponed were Philadelphia at Washington, Tampa Bay at Baltimore, Minnesota at Detroit, Colorado at Arizona and Boston at the Blue Jays in Buffalo, New York. Without much apparent guidance from MLB, teams were left to make decisions for themselves.The only games being played Thursday are doubleheaders, three of which were makeup games following Wednesday boycotts:— Clayton Kershaw struck out four and didn’t walk a batter over six scoreless innings Thursday, leading the Dodgers past the Giants, 7-0 in the opener. AJ Pollock belted a two-run homer and Dodgers star Mookie Betts reached 1,000 hits in his 824th game with his sixth-inning single. Austin Barnes doubled in two runs to highlight the Dodgers’ four-run fourth, when they also got RBI singles from Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. Matsuyama leads amid tough conditionsOLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — Hideki Matsuyama (maht-soo-YAH’-mah) birdied two of his last three holes for a 3-under 67 and a one-shot lead over Tyler Duncan through one round of the BMW Championship. Matsuyama carded one of only three rounds under par on a course that was long, tough, firm, fast and nothing like the last two weeks on the PGA Tour. Dustin Johnson opened with a 71 after winning The Northern Trust last week to move to No. 1 in the world. Tiger Woods finished with three straight bogeys for a 73. Woods needs to finish around fourth to have any hope of returning to East Lake next week in Atlanta to chase the $15 million bonus for the FedEx Cup winner. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league hoped to resume Friday or Saturday. President Donald Trump criticized the NBA’s action, telling reporters that the NBA has become like “a political organization.”The WNBA also called off its three games for a second night.In related developments:— The NHL postponed its Stanley Cup playoff games scheduled for Thursday and Friday in response to the Blake shooting. The decision was reached by the league and the NHL Players’ Association, and was made after members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance asked the NHL to postpone the playing of games. San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane says the HDA strongly feels this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports. Update on the latest sports Walker was 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA in five starts this season, with 25 strikeouts and eight walks. He is 33-33 with a 3.95 ERA in parts of eight big league seasons. RACIAL INJUSTICE-SPORTS2nd day of NBA playoff games halted over racial injusticeUNDATED (AP) — An unprecedented walkout over racial injustice has postponed a second day of the NBA playoffs. The NBA decided to postpone three more games Thursday to join the three that weren’t played Wednesday, when players from six NBA teams decided not to play postseason games in a boycott that quickly reverberated across other professional leagues. The Milwaukee Bucks initiated the action in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. last_img read more

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GFF to upgrade Henrietta ground as main football venue in Region 2

first_imgPRESIDENT of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, visited Region Two last Friday and inspected several grounds on the Essequibo Coast.In the process, he paid a courtesy call on Regional Executive Officer, Region Two, Mr. Denis Jaikaran (Snr) and initiated discussions between the GFF and the Pomeroon/Supenaam Region to upgrade the Henrietta ground as the main venue. The intention is to equip it with lights, bleachers and training facilities. Currently, the ground is in a deplorable condition and left to be occupied by stray animals. The GFF president expressed the Federation’s policy of at least enhancing one ground initially to a football venue. The initiative was supported by the Administration and the REO took the opportunity to thank the Federation and also to inform Mr. Ford of the progress made in upgrading several grounds across the Region to multi-purpose facilities. Mr. Forde was accompanied on his visit by the President of the Essequibo Coast/Pomeroon Football Association, Ms. Maxine Steward. She was also high in praise of the fact-finding mission led by the GFF President and the decision to have a primary football facility, which she said will greatly improve the skill and development of the region’s players.(Errol Stephney)last_img read more

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NFF Bans Salisu Yusuf from Football-related Activities for One Year

first_imgThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Committee on Ethics and Fair Play has banned Super Eagles’ Chief Coach Salisu Yusuf from all football-related activities for one year with immediate effect.The four-man committee’s decision was announced in a statement by Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Director of Communications in Abuja Wednesday.Members of the committee were Malam Nuhu Ribadu (Chairman), Mainasara Illo, Rev. Justin Okoroji and Mr Joshua Onoja (Secretary). Olajire also said that the coach had been directed to pay $5,000 as a fine to NFF within three months.According to him, this decision was sequel to a complaint forwarded by the NFF as well as the coach’s defence against a documentary in which he was seen accepting $1,000 from an undercover reporter disguising as a player’s agent.Olajire said that the Ribadu-led committee made the following submissions:“Established from the admission of Coach Yusuf and also found as a fact from the documentary and video evidence before it, that he accepted the cash gift of $1,000 offered by Tigers Player’s Agency, an undercover reporter, purportedly interested in acting on behalf of players Osas Okoro and Rabiu Ali, for their inclusion in the list of players for 2018 CHAN competition in Morocco.“The committee found as a fact that it was not an error of judgment on the part of Coach Yusuf but a conscious and deliberate decision to have accepted the cash gift of $1,000 from the decoy player agent/undercover reporter, purportedly interested in acting on behalf of players Osas Okoro and Rabiu Ali, even though the evidence before the committee did not establish that his conduct influenced the choice of the two players.“That the two players could have made the team to 2018 CHAN competition in Morocco on the basis of their talent and performance.“That Coach Yusuf did not accept the offer of 15 per cent of the anticipated transfer fees of the said players, as there was no follow-up action on the promise.“That the act of the coach, which was widely published on the British Broadcasting Corporation, has a damaging effect on the reputation and integrity of Nigerian football, as he ought to have conducted himself more professionally in line with the Code of Conduct signed alongside his contract with the Nigeria Football Federation, as his conduct in public and in secret should be exemplary, since coaches are role models.“That the FIFA Code of Ethics, NFF Code of Ethics and FIFA Disciplinary Code did not contemplate negligence or error of judgment as a defence to violation of any of the provisions as contained therein, as punitive measures must be adopted to serve as deterrent to other intending offenders, even though, that he is a first time offender.”Olajire also said that the committee’s decision was as follows: “In accordance with Art. 22, FIFA Disciplinary Code, he is hereby banned for the period of one year, from partaking or involvement or participation in any football-related activity, effective from the date of this decision.“He is also fined in the sum of $5,000 to be paid within three (3) months beginning from the date of this decision.”He noted that the ethics committee also ruled that an appeal against the decision can be made to the NFF Appeals Committee.The NFF’s spokesman quoted the committee as saying that it passed its verdict on the defendant based on Article 20, 21 (1) and 21 (3) of the NFF Code of Ethics.He explained that it also made reference to Article 10 and 11 of the FIFA Code of Ethics in arriving at its verdict.(NAN)Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Boatman, Mungwa, Dixon no longer on Syracuse roster, depth chart

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm Contact Chris: cjiseman@syr.edu | @chris_iseman Three players have left the Syracuse football team, according to an article published by The Post-Standard on Friday.Nose tackle Cory Boatman, safety Shu Mungwa and kicker Riley Dixon will not be with the Orange when training camp opens up Saturday.Boatman confirmed that he graduated from SU and is no longer with the Orange.The three players were not included on the roster in Syracuse’s media guide. Mungwa and Dixon are still listed in the Syracuse University directory.Boatman was slated to be a starter on Syracuse’s post-spring depth chart. The 6-foot-1, 281-pound tackle saw time in every game last season and started in one. Boatman, a fifth-year senior, finished his SU career having made 15 tackles, nine of them solo.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textReached by phone on Friday, Boatman said his departure from the team was a “long story,” but it was not related to any sort of dissatisfaction with head coach Doug Marrone.“It’s a lot of miscommunication with a lot of different things,” Boatman said. “It had nothing to do with Coach Marrone or anything, he did everything he could to keep me in school.”Boatman said he graduated SU in May.Mungwa, who impressed head coach Doug Marrone during the spring, did not play in any games last season. He was listed third on the post-spring depth chart behind Shamarko Thomas and Ritchy Desir.The sophomore from Oradell, N.J., made 35 tackles during his senior season at Bergen Catholic High School, and had an offer from Stanford out of high school.Dixon, who attended Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, walked on to the SU football team last season, but never saw time in any games. Commentslast_img read more

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Hughes: Game against Spartans could validate Badgers’ season

first_imgThere once was a time during the nonconference season when the very idea of the Wisconsin football team playing its Big Ten slate was enough to make one recoil in fear.After letting one too many wheel routes get past them against Northern Iowa, taking more than 58 minutes to score any points against Oregon State, winning off a missed field goal against Utah State and waiting until mid-fourth quarter to pull away from UTEP, not many people wanted to picture how the Badgers would fare in conference play.But somehow, the conference season has been much more sweet than sour.Three consecutive games with more than 30 points scored. Three consecutive games with no more than 14 points allowed. The only loss to speak of came in one of college football’s most hellish environments – Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.Back in September, nobody expected October to go so well.So after the Badgers forced everyone who pays attention to college football to forget what they thought they knew about them, they have since reassured onlookers they remember how to win games decisively.And while it’s good Wisconsin demonstrated a distance between itself and the likes of Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota, none of those teams has even won a conference game yet. Considering that, those wins look less impressive.Now, with Michigan State (4-4, 1-3) stopping by for some fun, Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1) has the chance to prove it can overpower a team with plenty of talent and motivation.With a clear path to Indianapolis already paved, a win or loss versus Michigan State will tell us whether Wisconsin is, as has been said for the majority of the season, a team that will need to get lucky in the Big Ten Championship Game, or a team that has a legitimate chance at beating whoever the Legends Division throws at it.Another way to say it: The Badgers can win back a chunk of street cred Saturday.(And for the record, the USA Today Coaches Poll, which now ranks UW at No. 25, isn’t the best source of street cred. This is the same poll that waited six games for it to drop UW from the rankings in the first place, which was absurd. Meanwhile, the Associated Press Poll appropriately needed three weeks and still hasn’t let the Badgers back in.)Sure, MSU has been down in the dumps lately, losing four of its last six games. But two of those games came against ranked schools, and the other two were decided by a combined score of five points and two overtime periods. You might even argue MSU’s just gotten unlucky a few more times than UW has so far this year.Unlike the conference bottom-dwellers Wisconsin tossed aside, Michigan State has wins against a conference opponent (Indiana) and a top-25-ranked team (Boise State) to its name.The Spartans flaunt a thoroughbred running back (Le’Veon Bell) and the Big Ten’s best defense. It’s the toughest test the Badgers’ newly up-and-running offense will experience this season.The Spartans are tops in the league in scoring defense (15.2), total defense (277.1), rushing defense (100.2), passing defense (142.3) and first downs allowed per game (15).Sitting at 4-4, they’ll also walk into Camp Randall Stadium believing what’s coming is a do-or-die moment.And you know damn well what else they’ll be thinking about.In 2010, MSU beat UW in the regular season, got caught up in a three-way tie for first-place and watched the Badgers head to Pasadena. Then, in 2011, Brad Nortman’s Razzie Award-worthy acting performance that scored the pivotal roughing the punter call in the closing minutes of the conference title game victimized the Spartans.“Michigan State isn’t technically a rivalry for us, but the way it’s been the last couple years, really feels, certainly, is like a rivalry,” UW center Travis Frederick said, about an hour after walloping UW’s technical rival, Minnesota, for the 16th time in the last 18 years. “There’s going to be a lot of emotion out there and a [big] sense of urgency.”Neither of these two teams has won in the other’s stadium since 2002, with the home squad going 7-0 over that time. Wisconsin has won 21 consecutive home games, with 12 straight against Big Ten teams.Those Spartans will be as bright as jack-o-lanterns if they win at Camp Randall.Should they do so, it will be back to the talk of “Well, the Badgers will still get to Indianapolis. And all they have to do then is just win one game. They could get lucky.”Or, the Badgers win and the college football world starts treating them like contenders again.Elliot is a senior majoring in journalism and philosophy. What do you think a win against Michigan State would mean? Voice your opinions by tweeting @elliothughes12 or emailing ehughes@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

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USC hosts Villanova in weekend series

first_imgThe Trojans have quickly bounced back after their opening day loss to Utah Valley, winning three games in a row heading into their weekend series against the undefeated Villanova Wildcats.Sophomore pitcher Austin Manning tosses a pitch in the season-opener against Utah Valley. Alex Zhang | Daily Trojan“A couple big swings were the difference,” head coach Dan Hubbs said after the opening day loss, according to USC Athletics. “We got runners on in each of the first three innings. In the third we had a runner on and Lars smokes a ball to right that is caught and then Matthew Acosta just missed a home run. That could have changed the complexion of the game. We just didn’t get anything consistently going after that.”However, momentum soon changed after Acosta hit a go-ahead 3-run home run in the seventh inning during the Trojans second game against Utah Valley. The Trojans have managed to score a collective 13 runs in their past two games against Utah Valley and Long Beach State to continue their hot start to the season.However, the Trojans’ biggest strength this season hasn’t been their hitting or their pitching, but their ability to grind out wins. While the Trojans have a lower batting average and fewer total hits than their opponents, they have still managed to score more runs than their competition. This could be due to the amount of walks the Trojans take. In their last game against Long Beach State, the Trojans were walked on six separate occasions while the Dirtbags were walked only twice. This allowed the Trojans to have more runners in scoring positions which ultimately changed the outcome of the game. Impressively, the Trojans managed to score 5 runs on only three hits because their players were able to get on base. In their next game, the Trojans will face off against a red-hot Villanova Wildcats team, who, according to their website, will be making their first ever trip to the state of California for a baseball game.The Wildcats looked impressive in their opening series, scoring 29 runs while only allowing 6.The Wildcats were able to sweep Norfolk State this season even after losing their best player from last season, Todd Czinege, to the MLB Draft.“Anytime your best hitter leaves it would be a little comical to say your lineup got better, but believe it or not I do believe our lineup got better,” Villanova head coach Kevin Mulvey told The Villanovan prior to their series against Norfolk State.As a team, the Wildcats are batting exceptionally well this season, batting over .300 so far while their opponents are only batting .165. Furthermore, the Wildcats’ pitching rotation has been lights out with an ERA of 2.00 while their opposing ERA is 6.67. Similarly to the Trojans, the Wildcats have been able to get on base without even getting hits as they have been walked a total of 20 times this season.Following their series with the Wildcats, the Trojans will quickly face off against the NC Dinos on Monday and Loyola Marymount on Tuesday. Both games will take place at home at Dedeaux Field.last_img read more

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T-Time: Darnold’s mentality sets him apart

first_imgSam Darnold’s first ever NFL snap couldn’t have gone any worse. The former USC gunslinger faked a handoff, dropped back, evaded pressure and threw an ill-advised pass across his body for running back Bilal Powell. Detroit Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs jumped the route and snatched the ball, taking the interception 37 yards to the end zone. 7-0 Lions. 0-1 Darnold. On social media, the uproar was fast and furious. “I’ll say it again,” Fox Sports personality Skip Bayless tweeted. “Sam Darnold was a try-too-hard turnover machine at USC and, 1st play of his NFL career, pick six. Too bad. Predictable.” What Bayless didn’t predict was how Darnold would respond. Instead of sulking over the costly mistake, the third overall pick went to work. Following the pick-six, Darnold completed 16 of his next 20 passes and tossed a pair of touchdowns. The Jets’ defense forced five turnovers of their own. New York would win 48-17 — the franchise’s most points scored since 2012, and its most ever on the road. In his historic debut, Darnold displayed an uncanny level of mental toughness. He also showed why it’s a bad idea to write off young quarterbacks too early. According to NFL Research, the last two quarterbacks to throw pick-sixes on their first career pass attempts were Brett Favre and Jameis Winston. One is a Hall of Famer. The other is currently inactive due to suspension. Darnold’s career could go in a myriad directions, but in the shining bright lights of Monday Night Football, he controlled his own destiny. Scouts use metrics like velocity, height, hand-size and arm talent to evaluate quarterbacks. The Bills’ Josh Allen was thrust into the top 10 because of raw throwing power. Seattle’s Russell Wilson fell to the third round because he was too short. Darnold falls somewhere in between this madness. Although he possesses the burly body of an NFL quarterback, many deride his footwork, and analysts are skeptical of the unconventional release that bogs down his prototypical arm strength.He’s not the perfect archetype of an NFL quarterback, but Darnold’s mental fortitude separates him from the pack. It’s the same characteristic that enabled him to mount a 14-point fourth quarter comeback in the 2017 Rose Bowl and lead a game-tying drive against Texas with under a minute left. He has the it factor. “I could sit here and tell you we planned it that way so he could get the jitters out,” said Jets head coach Todd Bowles about Darnold’s first career pass. “But we didn’t.”On the field, Darnold’s play is either exhilarating or exasperating. For every mind-boggling interception, he’ll deliver a dazzling dime — like the 41-yard touchdown bomb he threw to Robby Anderson in the first quarter. But whatever happens on the field, he remains mentally unshakable. That bodes well for a long NFL career — more so than any 40-time or passing drill. “It is what it is,” said Darnold, in typical laid-back fashion, of his opening mistake. “[You] put it behind you and play the game, so that’s really what I did. And I thought the whole team responded really well.”  Here are two things I enjoyed in the NFL’s opening week:Fitz Magic Journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick started for the Buccaneers on Sunday, in the wake of Winston’s three-game suspension. No one expected the 35-year-old to lead Tampa Bay to a win over New Orleans. The Buccaneers entered the Big Easy as 10-point underdogs. But Fitz Magic arrives when you least expect it. He torched the supposedly stout Saints’ defense for a career-high 417 passing yards and four total touchdowns. Tampa Bay won 48-40 in stunning fashion. The game served as a friendly reminder to never count out Fitz. He’s experienced a mercurial career, playing for seven teams in 14 years, but he’s always capable of producing a monster game when called upon — as evidenced by his 14 career 300-yard games. “I’m never surprised at anything I do,” Fitzpatrick said after the game. You beautiful bearded legend. 0-0-1The Cleveland Browns did the unthinkable on Sunday: They didn’t lose! While a 21-21 tie with Pittsburgh probably wasn’t what they had in mind, I’m excited about this team going forward. Cleveland is loaded with young talent on defense. Second-year defensive end Myles Garrett terrorized the Steelers with two forced fumbles and two sacks, and rookie cornerback Denzel Ward picked off a pair of Ben Roethlisberger passes. Shaky quarterback play from the usually reliable, if unspectacular, Tyrod Taylor hampered Cleveland’s chances in the end. But with No. 1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield waiting in the wings, it’s a matter of time before the Browns develop a consistent passing game. A win is a win. But for a team with a 1-31 record over the last two seasons, a tie is also a win. Trevor Denton is a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “T-Time,” runs every other Wednesday.last_img read more

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No. 15 Syracuse’s offense comes alive in 15-14 upset of No. 3 Duke

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ DURHAM, N.C. — Nate Solomon ran into the middle of the field off a faceoff win and faced two Duke defenders. He didn’t force a shot. Instead, he pulled the ball away from pressure and waited for his teammates. Less than a minute later, the ball had spun down to the X where Stephen Rehfuss held it.The sophomore attack whizzed the ball between several Duke sticks to Brendan Curry. With time and space, Curry cocked back his stick and cranked SU’s first goal of the second half.“Duke doesn’t really let you hold the ball too much,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “They want to make you make a decision, you know take a bad shot or get a turnover so our guys played pretty poised at the offensive end today.”Syracuse scored twice more before Duke answered with its first goal of the third quarter, resulting in one of two second-half runs in which the Orange scored three goals in less than three minutes. After falling stagnant against both Johns Hopkins and Rutgers in consecutive weeks, No. 15 Syracuse’s (4-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) defense came alive in a 15-14 win over No. 3 Duke (8-2, 0-1) on Saturday at Koskinen Stadium.Against Johns Hopkins, there were too many turnovers. Against Rutgers, SU played timid to avoid the same fate. Instead it coughed the ball up a season-high 22 times. Against Duke, the nation’s second-best scoring defense, the Orange ran wild.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We’ve been trying to find ourselves as far as who we are as a team,” Desko said. “I thought we played really well. We just competed for sixty minutes today.”Earlier this week, the Orange assessed its offensive troubles when former SU-star and current Atlanta Blaze head coach Liam Banks visited the team. He and his former team came to a conclusion, sophomore Jamie Trimboli said: play loose.On Saturday, the Orange did just that. It committed a minuscule eight turnovers, fired 34 shots, with goals coming from nine contributors. The Orange’s second-highest scoring mark of the season started less than a minute into the game.Peter Dearth gained possession of the ball at midfield off a restart. He immediately darted down the middle of the field. No Duke defender stepped toward him. So Dearth, with no hesitation, barreled straight toward the cage and beat the goalkeeper five-hole for his first goal of the season.“We kind of just started clicking on offense,” Trimboli said.Syracuse found nylon in a multitude of ways. Sometimes it was outside shots, like Curry’s rifle from distance, other times it was down the alley off-hand like Trimboli’s first goal of the game from the left side. One instance, production even came from behind the back.As Solomon’s shot was denied by the Duke goalkeeper and a penalty flag flew for a hit on Solomon, Rehfuss tracked the ball. He scooped the lonesome ball in front of the net and whipped his stick around his neck. From there it trickled into the net like a changeup.Rehfuss, who scored two goals and assisted thrice, fell silent in the second half. And so did the Orange offense, which didn’t score for 19 minutes of gameplay during parts of the third and fourth quarter. Then, like it hasn’t all season, the Orange broke out of its slump and combated with a run of its own.After Solomon broke the scoring drought, Brendan Bomberry ripped off two goals of his own. The first came on the crease, where Bomberry paced as Solomon spun between two defenders. Bomberry, with his cleats planted just outside the crease paint, tomahawked in his second of the game.On SU’s next possession, Bomberry posted up at the top corner of the offense. Curry, passing through several Duke sticks, fed Bomberry. The right-hander took one step in before ripping a high-to-low shot into the top left of the cage. Three shots, three goals, in less than two minutes.“I was just trying to do whatever I could to get this W,” Bomberry said. “If it meant scoring goals then I’ll score goals. If it meant you’d stick me in net and we’d win, I’d do that for sure too.”A little more than a minute later, after Duke ended SU’s run with a goal of its own, Jamie Trimboli finished things off for SU with a goal off a loose groundball. Finally, after weeks plagued by stale offense, Syracuse looked fresh. Comments Published on March 24, 2018 at 5:56 pm Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44last_img read more

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