NCAA

Jones-Drew making progress on field, in classroom

Jones-Drew making progress on field, in classroom

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is making progress toward getting back on the field and getting his college degree.

Jones-Drew started running for the first time in nearly two months Wednesday, but remains a long shot to play Sunday when the Jaguars (2-12) host New England (10-4).

Jones-Drew has missed the last eight games because of a sprained left foot. Coach Mike Mularkey called his star running back ``questionable,'' an upgrade from his ``highly questionable'' status of recent weeks.

``I just don't want to go out there and put anybody else in jeopardy if I can't be full speed,'' Jones-Drew said. ``If I can't go out there and fully protect our quarterback, help our offensive line and block, I'm not going to go out there and put somebody else's life in jeopardy.''

With two games remaining, the Jaguars have little left to play for in what will go down as the worst season in franchise history.

And Jones-Drew has nothing to prove. He led the NFL in rushing last season, has another year remaining on a lucrative contract and remains the centerpiece of the franchise.

But standing on the sideline has been difficult for the ultra-competitive back who has been telling teammates for weeks that ``losers tend to quit when things get tough.''

``For me, it's just more to show my teammates and the league that people get hurt and you just have to be able to bounce back,'' he said. ``Watching these guys for a long time and coaching, you got to be able to preach what you coach. I've been doing a lot of talking. I haven't been able to go out there and do it yet, so hopefully I can get out there and be able to show some of the guys what I've been talking about.''

Jones-Drew is going back to school for similar reasons.

When he left UCLA after his junior season in 2006, Jones-Drew promised his mother and his grandparents that he would return to school and get his degree.

Football, family, cross-country travel and plenty of other excuses make college an afterthought.

But with the Jaguars long removed from playoff contention and his youngest child now 19 months old, Jones-Drew is going back to college. He's taking three business classes beginning Jan. 7.

``Some of these schools, they'll take a check for that degree,'' he said. ``I am not going to say who, not going to say what schools, but at UCLA, you got to go back. You can't take online classes. You have to go back and actually go in the classroom. That made it tough.''

And get this: Jones-Drew wants to live in a dorm.

``I don't think I'll be a college kid again,'' he said. ``College kids don't make what I make, and I don't party like that, don't do those things. I just go to school and catch up on a lot of sleep. I have to get here at 6:30 every morning and I've got three kids at home, man. I don't get a lot of sleep with those guys.''

Maybe the best news for coach Mike Mularkey and the Jaguars is that Jones-Drew is just going to college for a quarter and doesn't plan on missing anything mandatory in the offseason.

``I probably won't train'' in Jacksonville, Jones-Drew said. ``I'm going to train the way I've trained for the last seven years.''

Jones-Drew skipped the entire offseason program in 2012, sitting out training camp and the preseason during a 38-day holdout while looking for a new contract. The Jaguars didn't budge, refusing to renegotiate since he had two years remaining on a five-year deal worth $31.5 million. He made $4.45 million this season and due to get $4.95 million next year.

He said Wednesday he doesn't plan on another holdout.

``We'll see how it goes,'' he said. ``Things could change, though.''

His status for the Patriots could change, too, depending on how his foot responds to Wednesday's workout.

``I will be very surprised if he can go out there and run like we want him to run today,'' Mularkey said. ``I will be very surprised. ... I'm happy he's going to be out there running, making an effort to push that thing and see how it's going to feel.''

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Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

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Cavaliers clamp down on Pitt

PITTSBURGH -- No. 1 Virginia allowed just seven points in the first half and secured the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 66-37 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Freshman guard De'Andre Hunter came off the bench to lead the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-1 ACC) with 14 points in a game that didn't take big offensive efforts from Virginia's regulars. Of the five starters, only guard Ty Jerome exceeded his season average with 13 points.

The game was never competitive, as Virginia started on an 8-0 run and Pitt didn't make a field goal until Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer at the midway point of the first half.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett rested most of his regulars in the second half. Reserve Nigel Johnson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Parker Stewart led Pitt (8-22, 0-17) with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Pitt had next to no presence inside. The Panthers were outscored 28-8 in the paint and out-rebounded 36-24. Seven of Pitt's 11 made field goals were from beyond the arc.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.

RELATED: SEE THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-SABRES HERE

Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.