No. 20 Texas Tech looks to rebound against Texas


No. 20 Texas Tech looks to rebound against Texas

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Texas coach Mack Brown has seen quarterbacks such as Seth Doege at Texas Tech.

On Saturday, Doege and the No. 20 Red Raiders' receiving corps will challenge a Texas pass defense that's giving up 229 yards a game, while Texas Tech is averaging 358 yards through the air.

Brown thinks Doege, who's thrown for 30 touchdowns and 2,540 yards this season, is one of the nation's best quarterbacks and is similar in accuracy and competitiveness to former Red Raiders signal-callers Graham Harrell and Kliff Kingsbury.

Doege deserves to be in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy, Brown said.

``His name should be right in the middle of that list, in my estimation,'' Brown said. ``He's the No. 7 passer in the country, No. 1 in TD passes. I don't know how you keep that guy out of the Heisman race as you look at it.''

Doege got press as a dark-horse contender for the Heisman before the Red Raiders fell 55-24 at No. 3 Kansas State last week. Going into that game, Doege had thrown 13 touchdowns in wins over West Virginia and TCU.

Against the Horned Frogs he found Alex Torres in the middle of the end zone for a career-best seventh touchdown in the Red Raiders' 56-53 win in triple overtime in Fort Worth.

Texas has won back-to-back games, most recently a slim 21-17 victory at Kansas. Starter David Ash was pulled from the game and backup Case McCoy's one-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Grant with 12 seconds left gave the Longhorns the win.

Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said the defense will be prepared to play against Ash, who was named the starter for Saturday's game earlier his week.

``But we'll prepare for both'' quarterbacks, he said. ``But most of the time, and we'll do it in this game, is prepare for the offense, because you can't run two different offenses.''

Brown said he wouldn't hesitate to turn to McCoy again if circumstances warrant taking Ash out. He called it a ``tremendous situation'' to have two good choices.

``That is no different than any other position except it gets more publicity,'' he said. ``You play the guy that does the best. Throughout the year David has done a great job. Saturday he struggled, and Case did the best.''

Texas has won the last three games against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders last beat the Longhorns in 2008 when Harrell hit Michael Crabtree for a touchdown in the final seconds of the game.

Crabtree was expected to be at Saturday's game. He plays for the San Francisco 49ers, who have an open date Sunday.

Doege wants to see it as just another game, one in which the offense plays well in both halves.

Against the Wildcats, the Red Raiders scored just two touchdowns in the second half. Had Texas Tech won the two teams would be tied for first in the Big 12 and the Red Raiders would still have a shot at a BCS bowl.

``I think there is a little fire burning inside of us after what happened on Saturday because that was such a great opportunity for us,'' Doege said. ``Just because we get hit in the mouth or just because a big-time play turns negative and maybe shifts the momentum, we have to learn to fight back and understand we can still make plays to get us back in the football game.''

The in-state rivalry between the two schools makes the week fun. Longhorns offensive guard Mason Walters was a teammate of Doege's at Frenship High near Lubbock. Doege, though, had knee injuries that kept him from playing his junior and senior years.

The two have remained friends and get together whenever Walters returns to visit his parents.

``We're still buddies,'' Doege said. But ``during this week we're not that close of friends.''

On the Longhorns side, Johnathan Gray has family ties to Texas Tech. His father James Gray was a running back for the Red Raiders in the late 1980s. He still holds the record for career rushing touchdowns (52) and is second in career rushing with 4,066 yards.

The younger Gray, who's gotten a touchdown and 427 yards on 81 carries, will start his first game Saturday,

``I'm going to Texas, they went to Tech,'' Johnathan Gray said. ``It's kind of a rivalry in the house. They talk smack. I just be quiet and wait till the results after the game.''

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency


In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."


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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.


But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.