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Huskers to play Michigan for share of Legends lead

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Huskers to play Michigan for share of Legends lead

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) After rallying late to win at Northwestern, Nebraska will play for a share of the Big Ten Legends Division lead when Michigan visits Lincoln this Saturday night.

The Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1) defeated the Wildcats 29-28 Saturday thanks to Taylor Martinez's big fourth quarter and despite three turnovers and eight penalties.

So it's one down and five to go for the Huskers to meet coach Bo Pelini's challenge - issued after a 25-point loss at Ohio State two weeks ago - to win their final six regular-season games.

``I firmly believe we can win `em all,'' he said after Saturday's game in Evanston, Ill. ``We can play with anybody we play with. We can't do the things we did today. We pulled this one out. A lot of the issues we had were self-induced. You're not always going to be able to come back and make that kind of comeback.''

Michigan (5-2, 3-0) will head to Nebraska on a three-game win streak after a 12-10 victory over Michigan State.

The game figures to be an entertaining matchup between two of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks in Martinez and Denard Robinson.

Last year the Wolverines capitalized on three Nebraska turnovers to win 45-17 in Ann Arbor.

Turnovers have been a problem for the Huskers the past two seasons, and they probably would have cost Nebraska the game against Northwestern if the defense hadn't held strong.

Northwestern converted only one of Nebraska's fumbles into points and went three-and-out on 10 possessions. The Wildcats had 301 total yards, but 106 of them came on two scoring plays.

Still, the Huskers were forced to erase a 12-point deficit and match their biggest fourth-quarter comeback in school history.

The Huskers, who rallied from 17 points down in the third quarter to beat Wisconsin, were down 28-16 with 8 minutes left. Martinez completed 9 of 10 passes while leading touchdown drives of 80 and 76 yards for the lead. He finished 27 of 39 for 342 yards.

``It's one of my top (games), I'd say,'' Martinez said.

Martinez pulled the Huskers within 28-23 when he threw a perfectly placed ball into the corner of the end zone, where Taariq Allen won the jump ball for his second career catch and first for a TD.

``Great throw, great catch,'' Pelini said. ``To get his feet in... It was contested. Heck of a play by the young man.''

Nebraska's defense forced yet another three-and-out to set up the winning drive.

``Everyone knew we were going to score a touchdown,'' Martinez said. ``You could feel it throughout the offense. We knew if we got the chance we'd score again.''

Martinez hit Quincy Enunwa with a couple big passes before throwing 7 yards to Ben Cotton off play-action for the go-ahead TD with 2:08 left.

Northwestern had a chance to regain the lead with just over a minute left, but Jeff Budzien's 53-yarder was off the mark.

Pelini, who had been seen screaming at players on the sideline and into his headset throughout the game, raised his arms and broke into a big smile as officials signaled Budzien's attempt sailed wide right.

``I thought it was a good team win,'' he said. ``I was frustrated with getting ourselves in that situation in the first place. We've got to use this momentum and we've got to keep working. It's the second half of the year, and we're starting a new season. We got one here on the road and we have to keep going.''

Martinez pushed his career passing total to 5,335 yards, making him the fourth player in school history to go over 5,000 yards passing.

The junior also is the 18th player in Bowl Subdivision history with 5,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards, and he's just the seventh to reach the milestone before his senior season.

``Taylor overall played a pretty outstanding football game,'' Pelini said. ``He was poised the whole time. He kept his poise better than his head coach did.''

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

In each of the first three games of the series, the Columbus Blue Jackets always had an answer for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps built a two-goal lead in each game and Columbus was able to battle back and tie it each time.

In Game 4 on Thursday, however. the Blue Jackets had no answer in a 4-1 loss to Washington and that includes head coach John Tortorella.

"We weren't good," Tortorella said to the media after the game. "There's no sense asking me things about the game. I'm telling you, we laid an egg. I'm not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked."

Tortorella is known for having some fiery interactions with the media. By his standard, Thursday's postgame presser was fairly tame.

The Capitals may have won Game 3, but Columbus certainly looked like the better team for most of the night. That was not the case in Game 4 as Washington dominated from start to finish. That led to the contentious postgame presser.

"We laid an egg," Tortorella said. "That's all I have to say, guys. I'm sorry, I'm not going to break it down for you. Nothing went well for us. It's on us, we have to figure it out and we will."

Reporters continued to press the head coach until he finally walked out.

Before you laugh too hard at this, it is important to consider that this may be a calculated move by Tortorella.

Sure, there have been times in which he has lost his temper in the past, but these outbursts may be more premeditated than we think.

Consider this. After their worst game of the series, a game in which the Blue Jackets only scored once and saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate in two games at home, we're talking about the head coach. We're not talking about the loss or the performance of the players. Instead, we are talking about Tortorella walking out on reporters.

Even if Tortorella was not willing to give any answers on Thursday, he will need to find some soon. The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday with all the momentum on the Caps' side.

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