Cyclones seek to get bowl eligible against Kansas

Cyclones seek to get bowl eligible against Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Paul Rhoads ticked off in his head, one by one, the number of questions it took this week before someone finally asked him about his Cyclones winning their sixth game.

``That's not bad. I thought it would take two,'' the Iowa State coach said with a smile.

The Cyclones (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) haven't been to a postseason game in back-to-back years since the 2005-06 seasons, when they went under former coach Dan McCarney. The program has only been to 11 in its meager history, including the Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers last December.

Iowa State can become eligible by beating Kansas on Saturday or West Virginia in its finale.

``I don't think our football team has any more pressure than Kansas,'' Rhoads said. ``We're preparing for another game against a quality opponent, it's going to take great preparation and carry over into great execution on Saturday.''

There was a time when this one would have been a slam dunk.

The Jayhawks (1-9, 0-7) haven't won a Big 12 game since beating former Big 12 member Colorado during the 2010 season, a span of 19 consecutive games, and a precipitous fall from the 12-1 mark that Kansas put up five years ago under Mark Mangino.

But under first-year coach Charlie Weis, the Jayhawks are showing signs of life.

They nearly upset Oklahoma State behind a late rally that spelled the end to Dayne Crist's time as the starting quarterback, and after getting trounced by Oklahoma, they held a fourth-quarter lead against Texas before finally succumbing in the closing minutes.

Last week at Texas Tech, the Jayhawks scored the last 10 points of regulation - including a field goal by Nick Prolago with 41 seconds left - to force overtime. The teams swapped touchdowns in the first extra sessions before the Red Raiders survived for a 41-34 victory.

``Kansas is not a pushover team, despite what their record says,'' Iowa State running back Shontrelle Johnson said. ``If you look at their last couple games, you look at them on film, they're not a bad team. They're just a hair short of where they're getting four, five, six wins already.''

It will be Senior Day at Memorial Stadium for a group of Kansas players who have been through a lot during their time on campus.

Those who are fourth-year seniors were recruited to Kansas by Mangino, who was fired after the 2009 season, and then won only five games during the two-year tenure of Turner Gill. They'll play their final home game on Saturday having not defeated a Football Bowl Subdivision team since they beat Northern Illinois in the second game of last season.

``A lot of these guys are on their third coach. I can't even imagine that,'' Weis said. ``The trials and tribulations they've been through, they've gutted it out and bought in.

``Their experience is not over yet,'' Weis continued. ``I would like them to walk out of here with a good taste in their mouth. If all of a sudden, on Saturday night, all of those 900-game losing streaks and all that other stuff go by the boards, and you're partying on the field after the game, that's what they're going to remember. They're going to remember the camaraderie.''

If the Jayhawks win, it'll probably be on the legs of Tony Pierson and James Sims.

Pierson ran for 202 yards, and Sims piled up 127 last Saturday against Texas Tech. It was Sims' sixth consecutive game going over 100 yards after the junior running back was suspended for the first three games of the season for violating team rules.

``They're a dangerous football team,'' Rhoads said. ``These guys are fighting.''

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Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster. Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards. The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


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For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise.