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Miles: LSU needs TDs, not field goals vs Texas A&M

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Miles: LSU needs TDs, not field goals vs Texas A&M

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Les Miles knows that LSU might not get away with settling for field goals against a Texas A&M team coming off a 59-point performance.

After grinding out a high-stakes, 23-21 victory at home against previously unbeaten South Carolina last Saturday night, the sixth-ranked Tigers began preparations on Monday for a trip to College Station, Texas.

The 11 a.m. kickoff could be the start of a long day if LSU's defense isn't sharp against freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and the Aggies prolific offense.

``I hope we can contain'' Manziel, Miles said. ``The good thing is that our defense will be one of the fastest he will have seen. Hopefully we will use a style of pressure that's most effective. At times it's going to be coverage and keeping him in the pocket, and other times, hopefully we can get to him.''

The 20th-ranked Aggies have won five consecutive games since losing at home to No. 3 Florida in their season opener. In four of the five victories, Texas A&M scored at least 48 points. Last weekend, the Aggies won a 59-57 shootout against Louisiana Tech.

Manziel accounted for an SEC-record 576 yards against the Bulldogs. He ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns and completed 24 of 40 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns. In six games, Manziel has nearly 2,400 yards of total offense.

One area in which Miles said he must see improvement is red-zone offense. LSU had four drives that reached at least the South Carolina 15 yard-line but did not produce touchdowns. Drew Alleman attempted four field goals, making three and missing one.

``We have to take care of our responsibilities'' in the red zone, Miles said. ``We can't turn the ball over. We have to execute well. Our guys are more understanding that we're getting down there so often and not coming away with 7s. We are normally getting 3s. That has to change.''

Against the Gamecocks, the field goals were enough to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in four years and keep LSU in the hunt for a national title.

In that game, however, the Tigers rode the energy of a pumped-up home crowd in Death Valley, where they've now won a school record 22 straight.

``The memory of Tiger Stadium is always renewed when you bring in a quality opponent,'' Miles said. ``The crowd started on the first play and our team played to that. I can't tell you how much we enjoy playing there.''

Other than whipping Washington, LSU had few thoroughly impressive performances during the first half of its schedule. A loss against South Carolina would have put the Tigers in dire straits in the Southeastern Conference Western Division standings.

Instead, LSU overcame the absence of three starters on the offensive line for its best rushing performance of the season. True freshman Jeremy Hill had 124 yards, 50 of which came on a victory-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter. The right side of the line consisted of redshirt freshman Trai Turner and true freshman Vadal Alexander.

Hill ``has a very quality football IQ and just a natural sense for what should be and what shouldn't be,'' Miles said. ``He has great ball skills, and of course his size and speed combination lets you know that he was going to have that opportunity to play. The thing that you wonder about a freshman is how he will respond when the lights turn on in a game like last Saturday night. ... Jeremy responded very strong.''

By edging the Gamecocks, LSU remained one game behind Alabama and Mississippi State in the SEC West standings.

After playing Texas A&M, LSU will have a week off, giving the Tigers two weeks to prepare for a highly anticipated match-up with No.1 Alabama. The Tigers also will host Mississippi State on Nov. 10.

Of course, the stakes won't be quite as high for LSU if it can't slow down the Aggies, who are in their first season of SEC play after coming over from the Big 12.

``We'll look very forward to playing Texas A&M at Kyle Field,'' said Miles, who had success in the Big 12 as Oklahoma State's coach before taking the LSU job. ``The early morning game, I think we'll also look forward to that, get in and get it going.''

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Panthers game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-PANTHERS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and he had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199