Capitals

Tulsa edges UCF 33-27 on Singleton's overtime TD

Tulsa edges UCF 33-27 on Singleton's overtime TD

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Alex Singleton got up and celebrated after muscling his way in for what he thought was the touchdown that clinched the Conference USA championship for Tulsa.

Told he was going to have to try again, there was never any question what was going to happen.

Singleton ran for 100 yards and plunged over the top for a 1-yard score in overtime to lift Tulsa to a 33-27 victory over UCF on Saturday for its first Conference USA title and Liberty Bowl bid since 2005.

``My first championship ever,'' Singleton said. ``I'm still ecstatic about it. I really can't even explain it right now. It just feels so good.''

Singleton came up with the second 100-yard game of his career, breaking the school career record for touchdowns in the process.

After Cory Dorris blocked Shawn Moffitt's 38-yard field goal on Central Florida's possession to start overtime, Tulsa (10-3) kept the ball on the ground on five straight plays. Singleton was initially given a touchdown on second-and-goal, but officials ruled on replay that he was down inside the 1.

That was no problem for the burly back whose specialty is short yardage.

``We just said, `We're going to get it again and put it in for sure this time so there weren't no doubts about it,'' said Singleton, his bulging biceps popping out of his grey muscle shirt. ``So, that's what we did. They told me that they're going to submarine, take flight.''

No replay was needed for Singleton's final score, the 41st overall of his career and the 40th on the ground. In the second quarter, Singleton broke Tarrion Adams' school mark for the most touchdowns in school history with a 7-yard run.

``It's pretty obvious whenever we get seven offensive linemen in and Big Al back there that we're going to come at you and he's going to hit you in your mouth,'' quarterback Cody Green said.

``Just give the ball to Alex, and he's going to run some people over,'' said Trey Watts, who was named MVP after making the play of the game on a 54-yard punt return TD to tie it at 27 with 5:06 remaining.

Blake Bortles threw for 194 yards and a pair of 8-yard touchdown passes to Breshad Perriman and Quincy McDuffie for UCF (9-4). He also ran for 60 yards and another score.

The Knights will play in the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl.

``It's very disappointing, to come that far, have it down in overtime, miss the field goal and have them score a touchdown,'' running back Latavius Murray said. ``We didn't come here to lose and we just have to do what we have to do and make sure we win the bowl game.''

Watts tied it on an unusual play, picking up a punt that had been batted forward by UCF's Kemal Ishmael and then racing 54 yards up the Tulsa sideline for a touchdown.

Knights coach George O'Leary said players told him they thought they heard a whistle to stop the play, but that was no excuse. He said the only safe play in that situation is to pick up the ball and hand it to an official.

``The kid went up and smacked the ball, which is not real smart. If you're going to do that, grab the ball,'' O'Leary said.

Counterpart Bill Blankenship, meanwhile, heaped praise on Watts - the son of ex-Oklahoma quarterback and congressman J.C. Watts - for understanding there was nothing to lose by picking up the bouncing ball after Ishmael had leaped to swing at it.

``Once they touch the ball, there's really no harm, no foul for us. Even if he ran and fumbled, it would go back to the original touching if we wanted it to,'' Blankenship said. `` ... Trey's just a smart, smart, smart kid and a playmaker.''

After Watts' score, A.J. Bouye blocked Daniel Schwarz's extra-point attempt to preserve the tie.

Tulsa limited Murray to short gains and then forced an incomplete pass by Bortles in overtime, leading to Moffitt's field goal try.

The Golden Hurricane doused Blankenship with a cooler after what looked like the game-winning touchdown, but got to celebrate again after Singleton's ``second'' score. Offensive lineman Jared Grigg zoomed around the field to hold up a Conference USA champions sign to the crowd, and the team mobbed near midfield to accept a bid to the Liberty Bowl.

``We're excited to be going to Memphis,'' Blankenship said. ``That's big time.''

It was the third time the teams have met in the Conference USA championship game since 2005, and the last chance for it to happen before UCF departs for the Big East next season.

Tulsa won it in `05, with the Knights taking the crown in `07. The Golden Hurricane took the rubber match by winning the second meeting between the teams at H.A. Chapman Stadium in three weeks.

Watts also had 134 yards rushing. Cody Green threw for 153 yards, with just 41 after halftime as the Golden Hurricane relied on their ground game to produce 290 yards - surpassing 200 for the ninth time this season.

Murray became the first player in UCF history to rush for touchdowns in eight straight games in a single season, scoring on a 2-yard TD run to cut Tulsa's lead to 21-20. The extra point was blocked by Trent Martin, but Bortles' 28-yard scramble put the Knights up 27-21 late in the third quarter.

UCF then had back-to-back three-and-outs before Watts tied it with his return.

``We didn't make plays when we needed to, both on offense and defense,'' Murray said. ``It came down to one more stop or us putting the ball in the end zone one more time.''

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' TOP PROSPECTS

Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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