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No. 3 Seminoles face 1st ACC road test at Wolfpack

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No. 3 Seminoles face 1st ACC road test at Wolfpack

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Third-ranked Florida State is going on the road for the first time in the Atlantic Coast Conference with the chance to tighten an already firm grip on its division.

It could also be North Carolina State's last chance to stay in the Atlantic Division race.

The Seminoles (5-0, 2-0) have already beaten Clemson at home, and a win against N.C. State on Saturday night would give the preseason ACC favorite victories against the two teams projected to be their biggest challengers for the division crown.

They'll arrive here to find a rowdy crowd in a stadium where the ranked Seminoles lost to the Wolfpack (3-2, 0-1) in their last visit here two years ago.

``We'll have our hands full,'' Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. ``We'll have to bring our A-game. We'll have to be really focused and play a great game. I like the way our kids are working. I like the development we're making. We're beginning to make little strides each week.''

The Seminoles practiced with speakers turned up and having quarterback EJ Manuel whisper in the huddle to force the offensive players to focus and prepare for crowd noise.

``It gets loud,'' Manuel said. ``They have great fans just like we do. Their fans are right up on you as far as being on the visitor's sideline. The fans are right on your back. I enjoy those kind of things. They can say what they want about us but we're still going to play football games.''

Florida State has been dominant in just about every game and ranks among the nation's statistical leaders in most major offensive and defensive categories. The Seminoles rank sixth nationally in scoring offense (51 points), ninth in total offense (544 yards), seventh in scoring defense (11 points) and third in total defense (201 yards).

The Seminoles have won every game by at least 12 points, including last week's 30-17 win against South Florida in their first road game.

``It's a different breed of cat than we've been playing,'' Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said.

N.C. State entered the year with hopes of contending for the ACC title thanks to the return of quarterback Mike Glennon and All-American cornerback David Amerson. But Glennon and the offense keep making mistakes, while Amerson has been shaky in the secondary.

Those problems were evident in the Wolfpack's two biggest games so far.

In the opener against Tennessee in Atlanta, Glennon threw four interceptions while Amerson was beaten on a pair of long touchdowns in a 35-21 loss in a performance that drained some of the buzz that had built through the preseason around Raleigh.

Then, after three straight wins, the Wolfpack turned in a mistake-filled performance in last weekend's 44-37 loss at Miami.

N.C. State committed six turnovers and committed 14 penalties - its highest total under O'Brien - for 100 yards. In addition, Amerson was beaten on four of Stephen Morris' five touchdown passes, including a 76-yarder when he thought the play was dead on an offside call and the receiver sprinted right by him for the catch.

``I go back to the fact that we have nobody to blame but ourselves in losing those two games,'' O'Brien said. ``We feel that we lost them. I don't think anybody in this building feels we've been beaten by anybody other than ourselves and that's what's frustrating to this point. ... That's the challenge and the great part of coaching and being around kids and making sure they get focused. And sometimes here we lose our focus, but I think we'll be focused on Saturday night against this football team coming in.''

The team's effort to regroup included a players-only meeting earlier in the week. Safety Earl Wolff said the message was simple.

``Basically we said, `If you're not all-in,''' Wolff said, ``'you can get out right now.'''

While the turnovers, penalties and shaky play from Amerson are a concern, N.C. State will also have to worry about a reshuffled offensive line against the ACC's top pass rush with 15 sacks.

Saturday night's game marks the first time a top-five opponent has visited Carter-Finley Stadium since 1998. That year, the Wolfpack upset the No. 2 Seminoles 24-7.

N.C. State's players can look to more recent history for motivation. Last season, the Wolfpack upset No. 7 Clemson 37-13 in the program's first win against a top-10 team under O'Brien.

``I feel like everybody's up to the competition,'' Wolff said. ``We're playing at home with a great crowd. I wouldn't ask to be anywhere else.''

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Associated Press writer Brent Kallestad in Tallahassee, Fla., contributed to this report.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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USA Today Sports Images

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres 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-SABRES 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-SABRES 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.