Redskins

Utah State routs Toledo 41-15 in Idaho Potato Bowl

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Utah State routs Toledo 41-15 in Idaho Potato Bowl

BOISE, Idaho (AP) Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams was having a quiet day when things took a turn for the worse in the fourth quarter when he fumbled deep in his own territory.

As it has all season, the Aggies' defense did its job, holding Toledo to a field goal that cut the lead to 13-9 with 7:28 to go. Then Williams atoned for his mistake - in a big way.

On the next possession, Williams broke through the defense and raced 63 yards for a touchdown. On the next two possessions, the senior was unstoppable, ripping off a 56-yard run and scoring TDs on runs of 5 and 25 yards, all within a span of less than 4 minutes to lift No. 18 Utah State to a 41-15 victory over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday.

``When stuff like that happens you have to have a short memory,'' Williams said about the fumble. ``You can't change it. I just knew the next opportunity for me, I needed to make a big play.''

Williams' fourth-quarter spree fueled a 28-point Aggies scoring burst that turned a close game into a blowout. Williams finished with a career-best 235 yards rushing on 18 carries, with 182 of those yards coming on six carries in the fourth quarter, and was voted MVP.

Williams' heroics also capped the most successful season in the history of Utah State football. The Aggies finished 11-2, won the Western Athletic Conference title outright and won a bowl game for the first time since 1993. Utah State also will likely finish ranked for the first time since 1961.

``You play in bowls to win championships, and they did that today,'' said Aggies coach Gary Andersen, who in four years has turned a Western Athletic Conference doormat into the top team of a conference soon to be obsolete. ``They (team) reached every single goal they set last January. That doesn't happen often in life or often in football. I'm very, very proud of them.''

The Aggies, bolstered all year by one of the best defenses in FBS, rolled up 582 yards total yards on offense.

Quarterback Chuckie Keeton was 21-of-31 passing for 229 yards and 92 yards rushing, including a 62-yard dash that put Utah State up 7-3 in the first quarter.

The defense also turned in another impressive performance. Toledo (9-4) was able to move the ball at times and made five trips inside the red zone. But penalties, miscues and an inability to execute on critical plays forced the Rockets to settle for three Jeremiah Detmer field goals. Detmer hit a pair from 37 yards out and another from 29, closing his season by making 17 straight.

Toledo's only touchdown came when Bernard Reedy returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Reedy was the only big producer on a Toledo offense held to 315 total yards. Reedy had 51 yards rushing and caught six passes for 62 yards.

``When they got down in the red zone, they scored touchdowns. When we got down into the red zone we kicked field goals,'' first-year Toledo coach Matt Campbell said. ``In big football games you have to win details.''

Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin, who started in place of the injured Terrence Owens, was 12 of 21 passing for 132 yards. Dantin threw an interception in the third quarter to end a promising scoring drive and was replaced by Owens in the fourth quarter.

Owens moved the Rockets on his first possession, but another red-zone opportunity was squelched when the Aggies snuffed Owens for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play from the 9.

Toledo also was forced to adjust early without two of its best players. Linebacker Dan Molls, the nation's leading tackler, had a concussion on the opening kickoff and didn't return. Minutes later, running back David Fluellen, the nation's eighth-leading rusher, went down with an ankle injury. He finished with 38 yards on seven carries.

Campbell refused to use the injuries to Moll and Fluellen as an excuse and pointed out the game was close until the final 7 1/2 minutes.

``Injuries happen, they occur, you have to have the ability to adapt and you have to have the ability to move on,'' he said. ``We were still in the game in the fourth quarter. I'm really proud of our football team from that standpoint.''

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Need to Know: Who will be left for the Redskins to draft at No. 13?

Need to Know: Who will be left for the Redskins to draft at No. 13?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 26, one day before the second and third rounds of the 2018 NFL draft.  

The players the Redskins will have to choose from at No. 13

As the 2018 NFL draft unfolds tonight, the Redskins are going to look to be able to pick from a group of players when their pick comes on the board. “You’ve got about six or seven guys on that board that you’re hoping is there when you get there,” Doug Williams said on Tuesday. “If you lose one, you put another one up.”

So, who is likely to be in that group? Based on a bevy of mock drafts and big boards plus my own analysis guessing, here are the seven players I think will wind up in that group that will be under discussion when the Redskins pick, in no particular order. 

  • QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville 
  • DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
  • Edge Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio
  • LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
  • LB Leighton Vander Esch, Vanderbilt
  • S Derwin James, Florida State
  • CB Joshua Jackson, Iowa

Right off the top, did I forget RB Derrius Guice? No. While the Redskins like him I don’t think he is in consideration for the 13thpick. 

If Jackson is there, the move is to wait for the phones to ring. There is talk that the Ravens, who pick 16th, would like to add him. Moving back to Baltimore’s spot could potentially add a third-round pick and still have at least four of these seven players still available. The Redskins are intrigued by Jackson but with Alex Smith under contract, they aren’t going to draft a quarterback.  

Payne has been a popular pick to the Redskins in mock drafts (such as the one I posted yesterday). He could be a bit of a reach at 13 and perhaps he is a better candidate to be taken after a trade back. I think that Vita Vea will be gone, probably to the Raiders with the 10thpick. 

If Vea does go to Oakland and there is a top-10 surprise like Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey, a hot name lately, then there is a good chance that both Edmunds and James will be available. Let’s do the count as the Redskins would as the first 12 picks unfold. If four quarterbacks go plus Vea, McGlinchey, guard Quinton Nelson cornerback Denzel Ward, running back Saquon Barkley, and edge rusher Bradley Chubb, that leaves two other picks in front of the Redskins. I think those will be cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and inside linebacker Roquan Smith. That would leave James and Edmunds. Of course, one or both of them could go earlier, leaving Fitzpatrick and/or Smith for inclusion on the Redskins’ list. 

Any one of those four players should give the Redskins pause when it comes to trading down or taking Payne. They need impact players and all of those prospects have potential to be just that. 

Their interest in Davenport may tell us how confident the Redskins are in their ability to retain Preston Smith beyond this year and their confidence in the development of Ryan Anderson. And if they select Joshua Jackson could be a signal that Josh Norman will become a 2019 salary cap casualty. The Redskins reportedly like Vander Esch but he’s a notch below the special talents like Edmunds and Smith. 

If I was presented with this scenario, I’d probably take James. Yes, the Redskins like D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson but they could take James, move him around the defense and figure out some neat name for his position. He would make the defense better immediately. Other needs like the defensive line could be handled later on in the draft.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Today’s schedule: 8:00 NFL Draft, first round, AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 15
—OTAs start (5/22) 26
—Training camp starts (7/26) 91

The Redskins last played a game 116 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 136 days. 

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Wizards have to find a way to stop DeMar DeRozan to climb back in series

Wizards have to find a way to stop DeMar DeRozan to climb back in series

The Toronto Raptors' best player has become a serious problem for the Washington Wizards, as they now face a 3-2 series deficit in their 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series and the bleak reality that one more loss means their season is over.

DeMar DeRozan, who began this first round series with a modest 17 points in Game 1, has since raised his game to a new level to beyond even what we have seen in the past. In Games 2-5, DeRozan has averaged 31.8 points, including his 32-game outburst in Game 5 that tilted the series in Toronto's favor.

DeRozan is averaging 28.8 points through five games against the Raptors. That's up considerably from his 22.5-point career playoff average.

DeRozan scored his 32 points in Game 5 with efficiency. He shot 12-for-24 from the field and even made three of his four shots from three.

He didn't even need the free throw line like he normally does. DeRozan shot six free throws, less than his regular season average.

The Wizards are having trouble with DeRozan particularly in the first half. DeRozan is averaging 14.8 first-half points during the playoffs, second only to LeBron James. 

DeRozan had 20 points by halftime in Game 5.

"DeMar was in his element tonight," forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. said. "He got it going early. It was kind of hard to shut him off."

The Wizards are paying for disrespecting DeRozan's three-point shot. He made just 31.2 percent from long range in the regular season, but is shooting threes at a 45.5 percent clip in the playoffs.

If DeRozan is knocking down shots from outside, his offensive game is as complete as just about anyone in the NBA. He has shown in this series an impressive ability to not only get to the rim, but finish through contact or draw fouls.

DeRozan does a good job of maintaining body and ball control going straight up against Wizards' big men and is often rewarded by the referees. He shot a playoff career-high 18 free throws in Game 4.

The Wizards are actually doing a decent job of taking away his midrange shots, which usually account for much of his points. Though DeRozan is hitting an impressive 66.7 percent from 5-to-9 feet, up from his season clip of 47.6, his numbers are down from further out.

DeRozan is shooting 40 percent from 10-to-14 feet out, down from 41.5 percent in the regular season, and just 28.6 percent from 15-to-19 feet, down from 43.7.

DeRozan is hurting the Wizards from long range and within nine feet of the rim. He is taking what the Wizards are giving him and Washington has to adjust.

"We’ve gotta pretty much get it out of [his] hands. Make sure we take care of everybody else," Oubre said.

The Wizards should look to how the defended him in Game 4 as a good example of how to limit his impact. DeRozan had 35 points, but required 29 shots from the field and 18 free throws to get there. 

Washington forced DeRozan into an inefficient night and forced others to try to beat them. The result was the Wizards' best defensive game overall, as the Raptors scored a series-low 98 points.

DeRozan isn't the only defensive concern for the Wizards as they look ahead to Game 6 on Friday. Backup point guard Delon Wright scored 18 points for the second time this series and Toronto hit 11 threes in the game.

The Wizards held the Raptors to just seven threes in Game 4 and it was no coincidence they won that game. They have to lock down the perimeter and, as this series has shown, that includes DeRozan even though he isn't known for making threes.

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