Beavers, seeking 10th win, face Longhorns in Alamo

Beavers, seeking 10th win, face Longhorns in Alamo

Oregon State generated the biggest one-year turnaround in school history and could secure its third 10-win season by beating Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday.

The Longhorns? They are trying to reverse a three-year slide from the days when 10 wins were just a footnote on the way to BCS bowls.

Beating the 15th-ranked Beavers on Saturday night would be another baby step back to the elite for Mack Brown and company, with still a long way to go. Texas followed a loss to Alabama in the 2009 BCS championship game with a shocking 5-7 record - the only losing season in 15 under Brown - and an 8-5 mark last year that included a Holiday Bowl win over Cal.

Lose to Oregon State, and the Longhorns (8-4) will have a second straight eight-win season and a long offseason to think about a three-game losing streak, too.

``I think that at Texas we want to be 13-0,'' Brown said. ``The standards are higher than eight, and that's what the kids need to understand and our coaches do understand. And we are ready to take that next step and get it back to where it should be.''

Mike Riley has had to do a little rebuilding of his own after leading the Beavers (9-3) to 10 wins in 2006 and three more winning seasons after that. Oregon State matched Texas at 5-7 in 2010, then slipped to 3-9 a year ago.

The Beavers are six games better in 2012, beating one Rose Bowl team - Wisconsin - in their opener and almost beating the other - Stanford - on the road. Oregon State brings a little momentum into the Alamo Bowl because Hurricane Isaac turned the original opener against Nicholls State into the finale. So after losing to Fiesta Bowl-bound rival Oregon, the Beavers trounced Nicholls State 77-3.

Quarterbacks Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion split the snaps against Nicholls after injuries led to both being starters during the season. Riley picked Vaz, a former receiver who has 11 touchdowns and just one interception, to start against the Longhorns.

``It's been a hard decision,'' offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said. ``It's probably been more difficult on the two kids. They have been kind of flip-flopping back and forth. But I think our team understands that there's two guys that can go out and win a game.''

The Longhorns saved their flip-flopping at quarterback for late in the season. David Ash was named the starter for the Alamo Bowl after starting the first 11 games before he was pulled in a loss to TCU on Thanksgiving. Case McCoy started the finale against Kansas State. Texas officials originally said Ash sustained a rib injury against the Horned Frogs, but Brown acknowledged this week that Ash was actually injured the previous game against Iowa State and made the start against TCU anyway.

The TCU game was the second time McCoy replaced an ineffective Ash. McCoy came off the bench to lead a comeback win against Kansas in October, but Ash kept his job then.

``I think he's done a great job this year,'' co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said of Ash. ``Has there been a game or two he wants back? Absolutely. That's usually the case for most players. But I think he's improved from last season.''

Applewhite, a former Texas quarterback, is taking over as play-caller and quarterbacks coach with Bryan Harsin leaving to become head coach at Arkansas State. Applewhite was the running backs coach and says any significant changes for the quarterbacks can wait.

``The last thing I want to do is scratch the hard drive and try to change a lot of things that he's really been ingrained in over the last two years,'' said Applewhite, who was Nick Saban's offensive coordinator his first year at Alabama in 2007. ``We'll talk more about that kind of stuff in the spring and where we want to go with the position, how we want to grow.''

The Longhorns will be without two players who were suspended and sent home on Friday after a report surfaced that police were investigating a sexual assault allegation against them. The players have not been identified.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch


Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.


Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:


Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.



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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:


2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:


4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection: