New Mexico Bowl to feature 2 of nation's top RBs


New Mexico Bowl to feature 2 of nation's top RBs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Expect a lot of offense when Arizona meets Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday.

The game features two of the nation's best scoring offenses against two of the nation's worst scoring defenses.

Oh, and it also has two of the nation's best running backs.

Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey would become only the 16th player in NCAA history to have a 2,000-yard season if he can get 243 yards against Nevada on Saturday. Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson isn't too far behind, trailing Carey by only 54 yards.

Nevada coach Chris Ault and Arizona's Rich Rodriguez tried to downplay their star running backs Friday, and instead said any explosive offensive production during the first bowl game of the season would be the result of team effort.

``Stefphon is a very humble and modest young man,'' said Ault. ``He's the first to tell you it's the offensive line ... it's them who are making him look good.''

The matchup between the Wildcats (7-5) and the Wolf Pack (7-5) also marks the return of Rodriguez to the postseason. Rodriguez took over at Arizona this season after a disappointing stint at Michigan that ended with his firing in 2010.

He found a program in the desert that had plenty of offensive weapons, but not a lot of depth.

The combination led to some wild games for the Wildcats, who are among the most prolific offensive teams in the country but also give up yards and points in bunches.

Considered a trailblazer for the current no-huddle trend in college football, Rodriguez created a 2-minute-drill-all-the-time offense while at Glenville State back in the 1990s and later took a version of that system to Clemson and West Virginia. But Rodriguez faced resistance in trying to implement his system while at Michigan.

Asked if he felt vindicated by drawing attention to Arizona and getting his program to a bowl game, Rodriguez said he didn't know if he'd use that word.

``I feel I'm glad I'm back,'' said Rodriguez. ``I was hungry for a challenge and I was hungry to be at a place that wanted to build a program the way we did this.''

Both Nevada and Arizona got off to strong starts but ended the regular-season in disappointing fashion. Nevada started 6-1 to become eligible for a bowl. But an overtime loss to San Diego State sent the Wolf Pack into a 1-4 tailspin to close the season.

Meanwhile, Arizona looked poised for a winning conference record in its first year with Rodriguez in charge, but the Wildcats lost 41-34 at home to rival Arizona State in their season finale.


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Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon


Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon

The Redskins will be taking visits from two former NFC East foes in the next few days.

Former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will visit Redskins Park on Monday. Scandrick, 31, has been with Dallas since them made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. He has eight career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Cowboys released Scandrick on Friday in a salary cap move. The Redskins would be attracted to Scandrick’s versatility. He can play either side at corner and, of particular interest to the Redskins, in the slot. That is a position of concern for Washington since they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the deal for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Redskins have been trying to get former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to sign for the past several days, but they can’t come together on money. Scandrick could be a fallback if they need one.

The other visitor will be former Giants defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins, per John Keim of ESPN. Hankins, 25, was a second-round draft pick and played his first four years in New York. Last year he moved on to the Colts as a free agent. They are changing their defense and decided to release Hankins after paying him $10 million last year.

Hankins could bolster a defensive line that still needs young talent. It’s not known if he would be considered a nose tackle in the Redskins’ scheme. The Giants ran a 4-3 defense and in the Colts’ 3-4 he was used as an end.

The Redskins had former Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit earlier this week, but he decided to sign with the Packers.


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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Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

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Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been declared day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury, the Caps announced Saturday afternoon.

He will not play Sunday against the Flyers, marking the first time in four seasons that the durable 25-year-old center will have missed a game.

Kuznetsov, the Caps’ assists leader and first line pivot over the past week, was injured in the second period of Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. On the play, he slashed on the arm by New York defenseman Thomas Hickey before he tumbled awkwardly into the end boards.


Kuznetsov did not return to the contest.

The Caps did not practice on Saturday as they made their way to Philadelphia, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to five games.  

The team, per usual, did not elaborate about the extent or nature of Kuznetsov’s injury. But it does seem to be a good sign that he was not listed as week-to-week—the designation the Caps typically reserve for more severe injuries. And with a two point lead on Pittsburgh in the Metro Division standings—and a game in hand—they can actually afford to be cautious with one of their most important players.


The injury does, however, come at a time when Kuznetsov appeared to be hitting his stride. Including the two assists he had racked up prior to leaving Friday’s game, Kuzy has amassed five goals and 11 assists in 10 games.    

Without Kuznetsov on Sunday, Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle will be the team’s most experienced centers. Travis Boyd and/or Chandler Stephenson figure to be deployed as the fourth pivot.

Coach Barry Trotz is expected to meet with reporters prior to Sunday’s game. It’s possible he’ll shed some more light on Kuznetsov’s outlook at that time.

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