Capitals

No. 3 Florida looks to avenge another 2011 loss

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No. 3 Florida looks to avenge another 2011 loss

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida defensive end Dominique Easley has been holding some late-night study sessions this week.

At home. All alone. And with the TV on.

The subject? Georgia. Specifically, the Bulldogs' 24-20 victory over the Gators last season in Jacksonville. Georgia converted three fourth downs, including two for touchdowns, and held the ball for the final 5 minutes, 32 seconds of the close game.

Easley has watched every painful second repeatedly this week - for preparation and motivation.

``It's like you're going to watch a video clip of you getting punched in your face over and over again,'' Easley said. ``You're going to get mad every time you watch it.''

That could be good for No. 3 Florida. The Gators have been at their best when trying to avenge last year's losses. First, LSU. Then, South Carolina.

No. 12 Georgia could be next.

And Florida has way more at stake in this one.

The Gators can clinch the SEC's Eastern Division with a win and earn a spot in the league title game in December.

``This is everything this week,'' Florida guard James Wilson said.

The Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1), meanwhile, would take command in the East with a victory. Georgia likely would need to win remaining conference games against Mississippi and Auburn to wrap up the division and a trip to Atlanta.

``Obviously, we have a couple of more SEC games after this. ... But to be able to put ourselves in a situation with a chance to play in Atlanta, I think any of us would've jumped on this equation in a heartbeat,'' Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. ``We're excited for this opportunity.''

Georgia enjoyed a victory in the series last year, but has lost 18 of the last 22 meetings in a heated rivalry played at a neutral site with the St. Johns River as a scenic backdrop.

Hurricane Sandy could take center stage Saturday.

As the storm makes its way up the East Coast, forecasters are calling for a 40 percent chance of rain in Jacksonville, 25 mph wind and gusts reaching nearly 40 mph.

That would seemingly favor Florida, which has had the more effective rushing attack this season and has a decided advantage in the kicking game.

But trying to predict the outcome this series usually backfires.

Georgia has spoiled things for Florida countless times, and the Gators have ruined the party for the Bulldogs equally as often.

``You feel it,'' Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. ``You hate them and they hate you. You want to beat them and they want to beat you. You just can't let them beat you.''

Florida blew a 17-3 lead last year. The Gators fumbled twice deep in their own territory, and Georgia turned them into touchdowns - with two fourth-down TD passes that may have saved coach Mark Richt's job.

Those plays still haunt the Gators.

``We had a lot of regrets last year,'' cornerback Jaylen Watkins said. ``We remember the feelings in the locker room we had last year. We don't want to be at that point this year.''

The loss to Georgia capped a 0-for-October losing streak that nearly led to the program's first losing season since 1979. Those setbacks carried players though the offseason and have made it easy for them to get up for rematches.

Florida already avenged losses to LSU and South Carolina with stout defense, a bullish run game and nearly flawless special teams.

``The main difference in the attitude now is we've been in those locker rooms and had those tears and had the pain,'' Gators linebacker Jelani Jenkins said. ``We felt all of that, and I guess all that builds up and it's a product of where we're at today. We're smarter. We have experience. I guess all that plays a role.''

It certainly helped that coach Will Muschamp called his team soft last November, a characterization no one wants to relive. The Gators have won eight consecutive games since then.

Georgia would love to get similar results following safety Shawn Williams' rant this week. Williams accused defensive teammates of playing soft and added that inside linebackers Alec Ogletree and Amarlo Herrera should never come out of the game. His harsh words irritated several teammates.

But in this series, motivation matters.

Just ask Easley.

``We got our butts kicked and it still hurts,'' Easley said. ``We were one of the first teams to almost have a losing season in Florida's history, so that takes a toll on us. ... I just try to let the other team feel my pain, my hurt.''

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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