No. 18 Stanford, Arizona both look to bounce back


No. 18 Stanford, Arizona both look to bounce back

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Any doubts Stanford coach David Shaw had about how his team would respond to last week's stunning 17-13 loss at Washington ended 48 hours later.

While coaches held a meeting to discuss recruiting, the short run players do two nights after every game took on a different tone. Word spread back to Shaw that players were particularly ``fired up, jacked up, excited about it and got after it.''

``We've got a resilient group,'' Shaw said. ``These players are more resilient than the coaches, more resilient than the media, than fans. We dwell, they don't.''

The real test of that resolve will come Saturday when No. 18 Stanford (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) holds its homecoming game against Arizona, a program remodeled under new coach Rich Rodriguez that is facing an equally critical tilt in its season.

The Wildcats (3-2, 0-2) also started with three straight wins, including a 59-38 victory over Oklahoma State, until back-to-back losses against Oregon and Oregon State. Stanford will be the third straight ranked opponent Arizona has played, and how it all shakes out for both will go a long way in determining which direction each season breaks.

``The margin of error is real slim,'' Arizona offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele said. ``No room for mistakes.''

Only the annual Oregon-Stanford matchup might feature more contrasting styles within the conference than the Cardinal and Wildcats will showcase at Stanford Stadium.

Arizona's hurry-up offense led by quarterback Matt Scott averages 88 plays per game, behind only Marshall for most in the nation. The pace has been good at keeping opponents off-balance; the Wildcats are 10th nationally with 538 yards per game.

Stanford, on the other hand, plays a power game featuring packages with seven or eight linemen or multiple tight ends - sometimes even both on the same play. The Cardinal lean on running back Stepfan Taylor to control the clock and the third-best run defense in the nation, which has allowed only 65.2 yards per game.

``Some of the formations and the size of the guys that they have are really unique. For us, being a really small team and way too small defensively is a cause for concern,'' Rodriguez said. ``We have to play bigger than we are if we want a chance to win.''

How both teams respond from losses is perhaps the biggest question.

The Rodriguez Era got off to a rousing start in the desert, topping Toledo 24-17 in overtime, outscoring Oklahoma State and breezing past South Carolina State 56-0 to jump to No. 22 in the Associated Press college football poll. The Wildcats are still winless in the Pac-12 and have begun to wear down, with injuries sidelining defensive end Dominique Austin (foot) and listing safety Jared Tevis (ankle) and center Kyle Quinn (ankle) questionable for the Stanford game.

The Cardinal seemed to overcome the departure of quarterback Andrew Luck, the top pick in the NFL draft, through the first three weeks - which included a 21-14 upset over then-No. 2 Southern California. The next time out new quarterback Josh Nunes had the worst start of his career, completing 18 of 37 passes for 170 yards and an interception against Washington, often underthrowing receivers or misfiring completely.

The poor passing allowed the Huskies to stack the line of scrimmage and hold Stanford's running game to only 68 yards and never let the offense score a touchdown. While coaches call his struggles mostly mechanical errors, Nunes offered a simpler solution to the problem.

``I just need to throw it better,'' he said.

Of the many signatures of Stanford's return to prominence in recent seasons, the ability to bounce back from losses has been one of its most consistent qualities.

Stanford has won after its last six losses. The last time the Cardinal dropped consecutive games came in 2009, when it lost to Oregon State on Oct. 10 and then Arizona on Oct. 17.

``We're not a perfect program,'' Stanford senior defensive tackle Terrence Stephens said. ``We've lost before. It just depends on what our mentality is going into this week. This is going to be a great week for us to come back, especially on the defensive side, knowing we're playing a high-powered, high-speed, very technically sound offense. We're going to have to do exactly what we need to do: play our best football to win.''


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No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

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No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Senior guard Jairus Lyles scored 28 points, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off the most shocking upset in NCAA Tournament history, defeating Virginia 75-54 on Friday night to become the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed.

Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after going 31-2 this season, including 20-1 in ACC competition.

But the Cavaliers couldn't get anything generated on offense and the nation's top-ranked defense couldn't contain American East Conference champions.

The 74 points were the most Virginia had allowed this year.

Lyles was the catalyst.

He diced up Virginia's defense in the second half, getting the hole easily on six different occasions and making easy layups. He also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as UMBC built a 16-point lead.

Lyles finished with 23 of his points in the second half and Joe Sherburne finished with 14 points.

The game was tied at halftime, but the Retrievers came out confident and motivated in the second half and built a double-digit lead that Virginia could never erase.

Sherburne scored on an and-one drive and then knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a behind-the-back pass from KJ Maura. After Virginia made a foul shot, the shifty 5-foot-8, 140-pound Maura drove the lane for uncontested layup.

A Tony Bennett timeout couldn't stop the bleeding, as Lyles hit two more 3's and Sherburne hit one to extend UMBC's lead to 14 with 14:57 left in the game. Lyles was fouled on a 3-point shot and suddenly the Retrievers led by 16.

A corner 3-pointer and a layups off a fastbreak by Arkel Lamer gave UMBC its biggest lead at 67-48. From there, the party was on as chants of "UMBC" rang through the arena.

It was yet another early exit for the Cavaliers in a season that seemed to hold so much promise.


UMBC: Despite being undersized and unknown, they shocked the world and made history with an epic game.

Virginia: This isn't the first time Virginia has struggled as the No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers trailed by five at halftime in 2014 to Coastal Carolina but went on to win 70-59.


UMBC: Will face No. 9 seed Kansas State on Sunday in the second round.

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Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

The Capitals may have won the game Friday against the New York Islanders, but now they will wait to see if they also suffered a significant loss.

Kuznetsov left the game in the third period after taking a slash from Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey which sent him sliding head-first into the boards. The team labeled the issue as “upper body” when it was announced he would not return to the game.

Head coach Barry Trotz was tight-lipped afterward on Kuznetsov’s status.

“They're going to re-evaluate him tomorrow and we'll have some clarity hopefully tomorrow,” he said.


You can see the play here:

When Kuznetsov is first slashed he immediately reacts. His feet then catch the stick of goalie Jaroslav Halak which sends him tripping and sliding hard into the boards. He sat on the ice for several minutes afterward and was looked at by the trainer before getting to his feet and slowly making his way to the locker room.

When asked after the game what he felt about the slash, Trotz said only, “Hockey play.”

One of the Capitals’ biggest strengths as a team is their depth down the middle. Any injury to a center, considering it is arguably the most important skating position on the ice, would be significant. An injury to the team’s top-line center would be even more costly.

Kuznetsov leads the team with 28 assists and ranks second in both goals (21) and points (69).