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Crist throws for TD, runs for score in NFLPA game

Crist throws for TD, runs for score in NFLPA game

CARSON, Calif. (AP) Though Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist's college football career didn't exactly go as planned, he made the most of his opportunity to showcase his talents in front of professional scouts and coaches.

Crist threw for a touchdown and ran for another to lead the National team to a 34-0 victory over the American on Saturday at the second annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Crist completed 7-of-10 passes for 61 yards and was named MVP. He opened the scoring with a 1-yard run in the second quarter and followed it with a 7-yard touchdown pass on the next possession to help stake the National to a 17-0 halftime lead.

``I think the biggest thing for a game like this is you show that you can go out and compete with whoever, they have the best here,'' said Crist, who went to high school about 30 miles from the Home Depot Center in Sherman Oaks and had friends and family in attendance. ``Just go out and compete and showcase your ability. Show all the organizations in attendance what you can bring to them and make their team better.''

One of the top quarterback prospects coming out of high school in 2008, Crist was expected to be the next great Notre Dame quarterback.

But he suffered season ending knee injuries in both his sophomore and junior seasons and lost his starting job midway through his senior year. He was granted an extra year of eligibility and transferred to Kansas, but once again was benched as a starter midway through the year and finished with the lowest quarterback rating in Division I.

``I think the adversity that I faced throughout my college career gives me a pretty unique perspective,'' he said. ``I honestly feel that there's nothing thrown at me that I can't handle. I just thank God for the opportunity to be here and go out and compete.''

South Carolina kicker Adam Yates kicked field goals of 40 and 41 yards, Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel threw for a score, Rice tight end Luke Wilson had three receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown, and Texas Tech running back Eric Stephens Jr. ran for a touchdown as well to round out the National scoring.

The American squad fumbled the ball seven times, turned it over five times, and didn't cross midfield until late in the third quarter.

The National poured it in the second half, aided in large part by the American squad turning the ball over on its first two possessions.

``They turn the ball over like that, there is no way they can win,'' said National coach Dick Vermeil, the longtime NFL coach who also guided the National team to a victory in last year's game. ``It makes us look even better than we are.''

Virginia Tech's Bruce Taylor ended the American's first possession of the second half when he picked off a pass from Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorenson and returned it deep into American territory, setting up a 40-yard field goal by Yates.

South Carolina State's Jakari Allen then fumbled away the ensuing kick return, and six plays later Tuel rolled to his right and found Norfolk State wide receiver Xavier Boyce for a 9-yard touchdown strike.

Stephens Jr., who finished with 38 yards rushing on 13 carriers, capped the scoring with a 1-yard plunge up the middle in the fourth.

Tuel started and completed all eight of his passes for 64 yards.

In addition to forcing the five turnovers, the National defense recorded three sacks and 13 tackles for a loss and held the American to just 193 total yards.

``Not having a scouting report or anything on offense, it was important that we communicated on defense,'' Taylor said. ``It was just bringing the energy..Guys were flying to the ball and really communicating about the different formations they were coming out in.''

Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, completed 8 of 11 passes for 91 yards and also carried the ball five times for 23 yards to lead the American squad

``The coaches did a good job and the players responded well,'' Vermeil said. ``They really did a good job and it was so much fun, so refreshing.''

Despite the big loss, American coach Herm Edwards spoke positively about the experience of coaching the showcase for draft-eligible prospects.

``The game plays out however it plays out,'' he said. ``The key is it's about these young men. They are looking for the opportunity to get to the next level.This is the future of the National Football League these guys, and they got an opportunity to play in an All-Star Game and its good for them.''

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Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 108-98 in Game 5 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Ice cold: When the Wizards needed it most, their offense failed them. With John Wall running the show, they can traditionally score with the best of them. But from the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter, they went scoreless for a stretch of three minutes and 49 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Raptors converted turnovers into points to close the game on a 14-5 run. The Wizards shot brick after brick from long range and missed 11 of their last 15 shots. It was a shocking collapse in a game that had been going well for the Wizards.

By beating the Wizards in Game 5, the Raptors took a 3-2 series lead which historically means they have nearly an 83 percent chance of winning the series. Those aren't good odds for the Wizards, who can look at one area of the court to blame.

The Wizards made only five threes on 26 attempts. The Raptors, conversely, went 11-for-25 (44%) from the perimeter. The Wizards' five threes were their fewest in a game since Jan. 12.

DeRozan was a killer: As has been the case this entire series, DeMar DeRozan led the charge for Toronto. The perennial All-Star came out on fire with 20 points in the first half alone.

This time, it wasn't just free throws. He was 4-for-4 at the half, but 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. Usually, threes aren't his game.

DeRozan kept it up in the second half to score 32 points on 12-of-24 from the field. That's a pretty efficient night.

Otto looked a bit hurt: Otto Porter, who was held to nine points and four rebounds, didn't appear to be moving very well. He was running around with a limp, which suggests his right lower leg strain is still bothering him.

Head coach Scott Brooks said last week that Porter is 100 percent, but that doesn't seem like the case, unless there was some sort of setback in the time since. Porter, however, is such a smart player and such a good shooter that he can still make the most of his time on the court.

Solid start: The Wizards aren't used to playing well in the first quarter this series. They entered Game 5 with an average deficit of -7.2 points in the first quarter. In this game, however, they led by one point after one.

That was thanks to a buzzer-beater by John Wall (26 points, nine assists, nine rebounds). Ian Mahinmi got the offensive rebound and it set up Wall for a last-second shot. He got to one of his spots and sent it in:

It was just the second time in five games this series that the Wizards have been leading after one. The other time was Game 3, when the Wizards beat the Raptors handily to earn their first win.

Backup PGs: The Raptors again played without point guard Fred VanVleet, their best bench player and a guy who is arguably one of the best backup point guards in basketball. The loss has been evident for the most part, despite his replacement Delon Wright doing a solid job, including with 18 points in Game 5.

On Wednesday, Washington's backup point guard also shined. Despite not playing a single game during the regular season, Ty Lawson continues to make smart plays and create scoring opportunities for others.

He had four assists in this game and made one of the best plays of the night. Check out this move he put on to set up Ian Mahinmi:

And this dude was playing in China like two weeks ago? If he keeps this up, there will be an easy case to make that the Wizards should re-sign him for next season.

Clearly, they want Tomas Satoransky to play more off the ball and the coaching staff hasn't gained full trust in him. Lawson and Satoransky could make a solid reserve backcourt if they have some time to develop some chemistry.

Up next: The Wizards and Raptors are back at it on Friday night in Washington for Game 6. The tipoff time has not been announced, but the game will be aired on NBC Sports Washington.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

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The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.

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