Redskins

14th-ranked Sooners try to bounce back at Iowa St

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14th-ranked Sooners try to bounce back at Iowa St

AMES, Iowa (AP) This hasn't been a pleasant week at Oklahoma.

For the second time this season, the 14th-ranked Sooners (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) are coming off a tough home loss to a national title contender. Fourth-ranked Notre Dame stomped the Sooners 30-13 last weekend in Norman, and Kansas State's unbeaten march toward Miami has made even the Big 12 title a long shot.

Sounds about as good a time as any to get Iowa State.

Oklahoma's domination of the Cyclones (5-3, 2-3) has been nothing short of staggering. The Sooners, who face Iowa State on the road on Saturday, are 69-5-2 against the Cyclones and have lost to them just once in 42 years.

Coach Bob Stoops has prolonged Iowa State's misery against its Big 6, Big 8 and now Big 12 tormentors. He's 7-0 against the Cyclones, who've never managed to score more than 10 points against Oklahoma under Stoops.

``This is a team that has two losses - oh by the way, both of those teams are undefeated,'' Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. ``We'll have to play really well to stay in the stadium.''

But if ever there was a time when the long-suffering Cyclones could get the Sooners, it's now.

Iowa State might be one of the nation's best 5-3 teams. The Cyclones' losses came against No. 3 Kansas State by six points and No. 20 Texas Tech by 11, and their 31-10 defeat at Oklahoma State is their only stinker so far.

Iowa State held Baylor, one of the nation's top offenses, to a season-low 21 points and rolled over the Bears last week to move within a game of its third bowl bid in four years.

The Cyclones lost one of their best players for the season in injured linebacker Jake Knott, who's out with a torn shoulder. But Stoops knows they're a much better team that many of the ones Oklahoma has trounced over the years.

``Just because a certain team isn't looked at as being a top-five team, everybody has talent,'' Stoops said. ``The outside world doesn't look at it because they don't have to play them. When you get a chance to study people and watch them and really look at them, Iowa State's got a ton of really good football players. We know that because we've got to play them.''

But don't think for a second that the Cyclones are the favorites.

A narrow home loss to national title contender Kansas State is the lone blemish on yet another fantastic start to Big 12 play for Oklahoma. The Sooners have bounced back with three straight league wins by an average score of 52-16, and quarterback Landry Jones has thrown just one pick in Big 12 games.

Though Iowa State's defense has been the team's strong suit this season, it's also given up 267 yards a game through the air.

The Sooners also have the edge when they're on defense.

Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz rebounded from a month on the bench with a career-high five touchdown passes against Baylor. But the Bears have one of the nation's worst defenses, and Oklahoma is one of the best at shutting down opposing passing games and forcing turnovers - two areas the Cyclones have struggled with this season.

``We had a good game as an offense (last) Saturday. Now we get to go against the best defense in the league,'' Rhoads said.

Plus, the Sooners know a BCS bid isn't out of the picture if they run the table. Their quest for yet another season of double-digit wins begins Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium, where they're a perfect 14-0 since it opened nearly 40 years ago.

``I don't think we're going to shut it down and be like, `Let's call it quits for the rest of the year.' There is some adversity that comes with losing games and different goals being out of the picture,'' Jones said. ``But we're a prideful program and we have a lot of pride in what we do.''

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So what does Josh Norman want from Redskins fans? 'Pandemonium'

So what does Josh Norman want from Redskins fans? 'Pandemonium'

Josh Norman made headlines last week when he called out a subset of Redskins fans for booing the home team and others for not showing up to FedEx Field.

Some fans took exception to Norman's comments, but on Wednesday, the star cornerback made clear exactly what he wanted from fans. 

"You want to see an atmosphere full with raving Redskins Nation fans and pandemonium," Norman said during an interview with Larry Michael on Redskins Nation. 

"That's what you want to see."

Norman's request seems more than fair, especially considering the 6-3 Redskins will take on the 6-3 Texans. Both teams are in first place in their division, and while Washington is coming off a solid road win in Tampa, Houston travels to FedEx Field winners of six-straight. 

"It’s big, because the other team is coming in at 6-3," Norman said. 

6-3 is the best Redskins record this late in the season since 2008, and Norman recognizes his team is trying to turn mediocre tide of recent years and that fans might need a reminder.

"To change that from the culture where it was to now coming around, come on man, we need your support."

For decades, the Redskins fan base was considered among the NFL's best. Venerable RFK Stadium had arguably the best home-field advantage in the league. Norman remembered that.

"This is a signature storied franchise," Norman said. "I grew up with it knowing the Washington Redskins and knowing how big it was. Down in Carolina that was our team. The Washington Redskins was the team of the South. Everybody was about that."

Times change.

The 'Skins left RFK more than 20 years ago and now Carolina roots for the Panthers. 

Still, for Norman and many players, the challenge is out there for the fans to fill up FedEx Field and make it a hostile atmosphere for the Texans.

"From the inside of the stands to the outside of it, all Redskins Nation going in there live, pumping us up. We feeding off of them, we giving them something to cheer for and they giving us back something to be excited for," Norman said. "Those big 3rd downs. As long as we need them, we hear those decibels. We need it up to 105. Literally just blow it off the roof, those decibels, just shoot them up. That’s what we need."

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Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III prepared to start if hip injury sidelines Joe Flacco

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Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III prepared to start if hip injury sidelines Joe Flacco

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has had his fair share of life changing moments. 

Winning the Heisman Trophy in 2016, being drafted by the Ravens in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and come Sunday, possibly his first NFL start.

With Joe Flacco nursing a hip injury suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 9, the 21-year-old could be leading the Ravens for a full 60 minutes against division rival Cincinnati Bengals in what could be a defining moment of their season.

"I'm just going into it like any other week," Jackson said Wednesday. "Just preparing for whatever."

While Jackson has appeared in all nine games going 7-for-12 for 87 passing yards and one touchdown, he is the only first-round quarterback out of the 2018 draft that has yet to start this season. 

When asked how he would feel if his name is called Sunday, Jackson said he would have "butterflies" at first but added once the ball is snapped, "it's on."

Through the Ravens' first half of the season, how and when Jackson is utilized at either quarterback or receiver, has lacked consistency. Add in the lack of highlight reel passes from him and many are concerned he's not ready for an NFL start. 

The fast style of NFL play compared to that of college football was something Jackson admittedly struggled with throughout the preseason. But with nine regular season games under his belt, Jackson feels that is the area where he's taken the biggest strides. 

"Calling the plays," Jackson said. "Before I'd have to ask coach a hundred times, 'say it again, say it again,' but now he says it one time to me. Don't get me wrong, sometimes if [the call] is long or whatever I have to ask [coach to] say it again, but other than that I'm getting better with that."

Head coach John Harbaugh offered no insight on who would be their starting quarterback on Sunday and it can be expected he'll keep hush up until the last moment. Flacco was not on the practice field during media availability Wednesday, either. 

But let's not forget the other veteran quarterback on their roster; Robert Griffin III

For the first time since 2009, the Ravens decided to keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster for this very reason.

After sitting out of football for a year, RGIII was given a second chance in Baltimore, but has been a gameday inactive since the start of the season. If the week progresses and neither Flacco or Jackson seem ready, it could be the comeback of the once Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

"That's my job. That's why they brought me here," Griffin III said Wednesday on if he feels prepared to possibly start. "They brought me here to be a pro. They brought me here to help this team if need be. I try to help the defense every week on scout team and then do those [reps], and if my number's called I'll be able to go out there and lead this team."

Both RGIII and Jackson said that it would be "awesome" if they were named the starting QB on Sunday, but that no matter who it ends up being they're all here for one another.

"I'm going to continue to help [Lamar] just like I have all season because we're about the Ravens here," Griffin III said. "It's not about individuals. We've got a pretty daunting task ahead with this Bengals team and then just with the rest of our schedule, so we've got to make sure we make the most of every opportunity."

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