No. 19 LaTech takes explosive offense to Texas St

No. 19 LaTech takes explosive offense to Texas St

SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) Records have been falling all season for No. 19 Louisiana Tech, and more could fall this week.

The Bulldogs travel to San Marcos to face Western Athletic Conference newcomer Texas State on Saturday night. Already off to the best start in school history, Louisiana Tech (8-1, 3-0) will face a Bobcats team that has lost two straight since opening the WAC schedule with a victory over Idaho.

Picking up that second victory against the reigning conference champion will be difficult.

``We wanted FBS football and we got it,'' Texas State coach Dennis Franchione said. ``Louisiana Tech comes to town and they are the real deal. (They are a) fantastic offensive team. They score a lot of points. I hope our fans turn out and want to see this kind of football. Hopefully we'll play as well as we can and make it into a good, festive evening in our own stadium.''

Louisiana Tech is averaging 52.4 points and 570 yards per game. The Bulldogs' only loss was a 59-57 shootout against No. 15 Texas A&M on Oct. 13.

Freshman running back Kenneth Dixon is already the school's single-season leader in rushing touchdowns (20) and needs only one more to tie the NCAA freshman record set by Marshall Faulk (San Diego State) in 1991 and matched by Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams in 2009.

``It's been amazing,'' Louisiana Tech receiver Quinton Patton said. ``The sky's the limit for him. When I first saw him out on the field when he came out for practice, he was always trying to shake and bake and everything, and I told him, `You're too big to be doing that shaking stuff . just run through people, run over them.' And you've seen where it's gotten him.''

Dixon is tied for first in the nation in scoring (13.33 points per game) with Oregon's Kenjon Barner. He is averaging 100.9 yards rushing per game.

Texas State's defense has allowed 32 touchdowns this season and opponents are averaging 202.8 yards rushing.

The Bobcats (3-5, 1-2) can't focus only on Dixon, however. Bulldogs quarterback Colby Cameron is averaging 327.3 yards per game and thrown 24 touchdown passes.

He passed for 348 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-27 win over UTSA last week - the seventh 300-yard game of his career, tying him with NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw for fourth on the school's all-time list.

``I had no clue about records,'' Cameron said. ``It's pretty unbelievable to be mentioned in the same category as Terry Bradshaw. It's pretty cool.''

Cameron has not thrown an interception in 358 attempts, but Franchione predicts that streak will stop Saturday.

``I'll bet you we get one (an interception),'' Franchione said. ``Craig Mager or somebody (will get one). We seem to find a way to hang in there on those kinds of odds. We've made some interceptions that have been from some darn good football plays, especially by Craig and Darryl (Morris).''

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Road ahead suggests a wild finish in Eastern Conference playoff race

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Road ahead suggests a wild finish in Eastern Conference playoff race

The Eastern Conference standings are so closely bunched as of today that the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Philadelphia 76ers. With roughly a dozen games remaining for each NBA team, much can and likely will change over the next several weeks.

That is common for this time of the year, but a closer look suggests we could be in for some chaos in the final stretch. There are lopsided remaining schedules and impending personnel changes which could all contribute to one of the wildest regular season finishes in recent memory.

The Wizards are smack dab in the middle of the East playoff race and have their own circumstances to navigate. Let's take a team-by-team look at the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, knowing the top two seeds are all but locked up by the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics...


3. Cleveland Cavaliers (41-29, 12 games left)

Monday was a crazy day for the Cavaliers. First, they announced their head coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence to deal with an undiagnosed health issue. He will be replaced by associate head coach Larry Drew in the interim as he hopes to heal up before the playoffs.

Then, news broke they were getting Kevin Love back from a broken wrist after missing 21 games. Love returned to put up 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks in a big win over the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Cavaliers will be without their coach for an undefined period of time, but now have their second-best player back on the court. That makes their final part of the season extra fascinating.

The Cavs are the team to watch of this group. Even though this season has been filled with turmoil, they still have LeBron James. He and Love have helped form the core of the last three Eastern Conference champion teams. If they pick things up, it's not crazy to consider them among the favorites to get out of the East again.


4. Indiana Pacers (41-30, 11 games left)

The Pacers are mostly healthy as they only feature a slew of minor injuries to big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. But Indiana's remaining schedule is unusually tough and it could make the difference in where they end up.

With only 11 games remaining, the Pacers still have to play the first-place Toronto Raptors once and the Golden State Warriors twice. Six of their last eight games will be on the road. They also see the Heat, Pelicans, Nuggets and Clippers.

The Clippers are currently ninth in the West and battling to make the playoffs. The Pacers will play them twice.

Keep in mind the Wizards own the season series over Indiana and will have a playoff seeding tiebreaker if they end up with the same record. Also worth noting is the Pacers have been much better at home (24-13) than on the road (17-17) this season.


5. Washington Wizards (40-30, 12 games left)

Though the Wizards' schedule is finally letting up soon from the 13 straight playoff teams stretch they have had to endure dating back to February, they too have a tough road ahead. The Wizards still have to play the Spurs (twice), Rockets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nuggets. Four of their last six games are on the road and they have three back-to-back sets in their final seven games.

That's brutal. They may not have to see the defending champions twice like Indiana does, but the Wizards don't exactly have it easy.

The Wizards will, however, get John Wall back at some point. The five-time All-Star is slowly but surely working his way back and could participate in a full practice by the end of the week. Ideally they will get some games under his belt before the playoffs, but any time an All-NBA player is coming back to your team it's a good thing.

The problem is that there is little room for error in the standings and head coach Scott Brooks will have to reinsert Wall into the lineup during a tough schedule and while Wall is on a minutes restriction. It will be a tricky task to balance his lineups. 


6. Philadelphia 76ers (39-30, 13 games left)

The Sixers may have the most ideal road ahead of these four teams, at least in terms of their schedule. They still have the Timberwolves, Nuggets, Cavs and Bucks. But none of those teams are the juggernauts that Golden State, Houston and Toronto are. And of their final 13 games, the Sixers will play nine against teams outside of the playoff picture.

Philly also does not have to reincorporate a major piece into their rotation, like the Cavs do with Love and the Wizards with Wall. Their biggest injury is to Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick. If he does return this season, it will likely be in a minimal role, at least to start.

What could work against the Sixers is their inexperience and recent struggles against good teams. The Sixers are relying on very young players who have never been here before to carry the way. And since Valentine's Day, Philly has just one win against a team above the .500 mark, when they beat the Cavs on March 1. During those 14 games since Feb. 14, they have beaten up on the bad teams but lost to the Wizards, Bucks, Pacers and Heat (twice), basically all the teams surrounding them in the standings. 

Philly also lost their season series against the Cavs and Pacers, tied with the Wizards and are down 2-1 against the Bucks with one game to go. They may go to the finish line without a playoff tiebreaker against all the teams they would want one against.

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.