Kansas has QB decision to make vs Oklahoma


Kansas has QB decision to make vs Oklahoma

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kansas coach Charlie Weis has a decision to make at quarterback.

He can go with Dayne Crist, the fifth-year senior and team captain who left Notre Dame to play for his old coach after Weis landed at Kansas in the offseason. Or he can go with redshirt freshman Michael Cummings, who showed some promise in yet another loss for the Jayhawks (1-5) over the weekend.

Facing a possible shutout on Saturday against Oklahoma State, Weis benched Crist after three unproductive quarters during which he had only 136 yards on 10-of-22 passing.

Cummings came in and led two scoring drives in the final four possessions to put Kansas in a position to win. He was 5 of 10 for 75 yards and a touchdown - not only putting the Jayhawks in position to win but Weis in the position of having to defuse any quarterback controversy.

``I think you have to honestly evaluate where you are right now and what gives you the best chance to win, and whatever that answer is, that is what we will do,'' he said.

Crist brings more experience. Cummings is more mobile and opens up the playbook.

Weis hasn't picked a starter, publicly anyway, as his team prepares for a trip to No. 10 Oklahoma on Saturday.

``Let's hope whoever goes in first plays so great that it makes it impossible for me to want to put the second guy in,'' said Weis, who has also made recent changes at the kicker and punter positions.

Weis designed practice this week to give both quarterbacks equal snaps so they are both prepared for the game.

Crist has started all six games, with three touchdowns and seven interceptions on 88-of-178 passing (49 percent). Over two games, Cummings has completed half of his 14 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

``I think that Michael deserves to play based on his recent performance,'' Weis said.

When Cummings came in, the Jayhawks were down 20-0 with four failed fourth-down conversions. On his second possession, Cummings led a four-play drive capped with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jimmay Mundine. On the next possession, Cummings handed off to running back James Sims twice, and Sims scored.

Weis was impressed with the spark Cummings gave to the team. For the first time in three weeks, Kansas was in a position to win and Weis saw it.

``It was great to get a touchdown and fire the team back up and get the fans back into it,'' Cummings said.

In his first game with significant playing time, Cummings said he looked to Crist on the sideline for support.

``If Dayne had his druthers, he would be playing every single play, but that is not going to change who Dayne is,'' Weis said. ``When Dayne isn't in there he is going to be the first guy to try and help.''

For now, the team is looking for the quarterback who can lead them to a victory.

``Whoever goes in there, you've got to play as hard as you can for your quarterback and make plays for your team,'' said wide receiver Kale Pick, who was moved from quarterback last season.

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Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 19, seven days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

We know what to expect out of many members of the Redskins. Ryan Kerrigan will register between 10 and 13 sacks. Zach Brown will be among the league leaders in tackles. Jamison Crowder will compile about 800 yards receiving. But we really don’t know what to expect out of a lot of the players expected to play key roles. Here are five of them.

S Montae Nicholson—Although most of the uncertainty surrounding Nicholson is about his health, we really don’t know what he can do over a full season. Sure, he looked good in the six games he played last year but opposing offenses did not have much of a chance to probe his weaknesses. If he stays healthy, his ability to adjust to what the offenses are doing against him will be the next phase of his development. 

CB Fabian Moreau—As a rookie, he was impressive as a punt team gunner, but he got very limited playing time on defense (59 snaps, only seven after Week 5). The Redskins will be counting on him stepping into a bigger role after the departures of Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. He has the tools but we won’t know how well he can handle the job until he gets extended playing time. 

WR Maurice Harris—Last year he went from spectacular to invisible in a hurry. He made a sensational catch for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings the first time he was targeted. In five games after that, he had just three receptions for 26 yards. Should he have had more playing time (76 snaps)? Or did he just not earn more targets? The real Maurice Harris should come to the forefront in 2018.

NT Phil Taylor—You know the story here. He was looking great in training camp until a quad injury sidelined him for the season. Taylor is healthy enough for the Redskins to give him another chance but this is a player who has not taken the field since November of 2014. We simply don’t know what to expect out of him even if he does make into Week 1 in good health. 

RB Samaje Perine—His play improved as the year went on but he wasn’t good enough to keep both Jay Gruden and Doug Williams from saying that running back is a draft need. Ideally, he shares carries with the probable draft pick with a few going to Chris Thompson and they combine to rush for 1,800 yards. 

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

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Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 33
—Training camp starts (7/26) 98
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 143

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.