Capitals

Badgers will run, Buckeyes will try to stop them

Badgers will run, Buckeyes will try to stop them

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Forget all the white noise surrounding the Ohio State-Wisconsin showdown on Saturday.

If the Badgers can run the ball at will - and the Buckeyes are unable to stop them - it's game, set, match.

``Their strength is their run game and their power game and that's what they do best,'' Ohio State defensive end John Simon said. ``It's our job to stop that. If we can stop the run, that'll be big for us.''

Wisconsin's rushing attack is built on a talented offensive line, an unshakeable self-assurance in their ability to move the chains, some odd personnel alignments and human projectiles named Montee Ball, James White and Curt Phillips.

Ohio State, thanks to 1,000-yard quarterback Braxton Miller and blossoming sophomore Carlos Hyde, averages more yards on the ground per game - 256 to 219.

But the Badgers passed just seven times in their last game, a 62-14 beatdown of Indiana in which they rushed for 564 yards.

In that game, Ball ran for 198 yards on 27 carries, White had 161 on 14, Melvin Gordon went for 96 on just eight attempts and Phillips, a third-string quarterback forced to take over as starter because of injuries, rushed for 68 yards on only seven carries.

Ball, in particular, has been a beast as the season has progressed. He was at his very best against the intimidated Hoosiers.

``He even had to club a ref on one occasion on Saturday to get where he needed to be,'' Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. ``He was just running angry. He was out of his mind. It was unbelievable. He and James (White) just complement each other so well.''

Bottom line: Running the ball is what Wisconsin loves to do.

But the Buckeyes, 16th in the nation against the run while allowing 108 yards a game, take a lot of pride in putting the brakes on powerful attacks.

``We're built to stop the power and the run,'' defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins said. ``That's what we do and that's what we've been known for around here. I feel like that's going to come pretty easy for us.''

Ball needs just two touchdowns - against Ohio State, at Penn State in the regular-season finale, in the Big Ten championship and a bowl game - to become the leading touchdown scorer in FBS history. Miami University's Travis Prentice holds the record with 78.

That's certainly gotten the Buckeyes' attention as well.

``If he gets it in the LAST game of the season, I won't be mad at him,'' Ohio State safety Orhian Johnson cracked.

Ohio State has worked very hard this week on filling gaps and making the tackle when they do encounter a ball-carrier.

Adding to the workload is Wisconsin's penchant for using quirky alignments. In their ``barge'' set, the Badgers put as many as six offensive linemen and two tight ends on the field, use a direct snap to a back, and dare the defense to figure it all out in a matter of seconds.

``It looks crazy, it looks illegal,'' Buckeyes safety Bradley Roby said. ``I didn't know you could do that. We've simulated that in practice. Just seeing it is kind of funny.''

Coach Urban Meyer said his defense has spent all week gearing up to stop the Badgers' steady advance on the ground.

``You've got to get lined up first and No. 2 you've got to tackle them,'' he said.

It's the unpredictable that causes the most concern for Ohio State's staff.

``It's crazy the formations you see,'' Meyer said. ``There's, I want to say, six (linemen) on one side and two on the other one time. That's fine if you get lined up. If you don't get lined up, you get embarrassed.''

Ball expects the Buckeyes' best. And he expects Meyer to preach to his players to not let Ball get the TD record before a roaring home crowd with Ohio State's perfect season hanging in the balance.

``I know for a fact that Urban (Meyer) is a very competitive guy. I know for a fact that's what he's telling them,'' Ball said. ``If I was him, I wouldn't want anybody to break a record on me.''

Ohio State linebacker Zach Boren was asked if it was scary looking at video of how Wisconsin trampled Indiana, gaining at least 10 yards on 20 plays and at least 20 on seven.

``I wouldn't really say scary, but they're a great offense,'' he said. ``They're known for just keeping on going and going and breaking one or a couple. They've got the offensive line to do it, they've got the running backs to do it. We have to play a perfect game on Saturday and we're going to try and do that.''

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 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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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.