Nationals

Bowl Capsules

Bowl Capsules

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Aaron Murray threw five touchdown passes to set a Georgia bowl record, including two in the fourth quarter, and the sixth-ranked Bulldogs beat No. 23 Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday.

Murray shook off a pair of first-half interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and passed for 427 yards - also a Bulldogs bowl record - against the nation's top-ranked passing defense. He was named the game's most valuable player.

Georgia (12-2) reached 12 wins for the third time in school history.

Nebraska (10-4) lost its third consecutive bowl game, and finished the season with two straight woeful defensive performances. The Cornhuskers lost the Big Ten championship game 70-31.

The Cornhuskers led 24-23 at the half, but committed two of their three turnovers in the final 30 minutes. Taylor Martinez had two interceptions and two touchdown passes for Nebraska and Rex Burkhead rushed for 140 yards in his final college game.

Nebraska's offense finished with 443 total yards, but the Bulldogs defense was stingy when it needed to be. They sacked Martinez five times, with All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones notching two. Damian Swann had both Georgia interceptions.

OUTBACK BOWL

NO. 11 SOUTH CAROLINA 33, NO. 19 MICHIGAN 28

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Connor Shaw led South Carolina to the brink of victory and Dylan Thompson carried the Gamecocks over the hump in the Outback Bowl.

Thompson came off the bench to throw a 32-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left Tuesday, enabling South Carolina to tie a school record for victories with a 33-28 win over No. 19 Michigan.

Thompson replaced Shaw during the winning drive, covering the final 43 yards after Shaw began the march from his own 30. Devin Gardner's third TD pass of the game had given Michigan a 28-27 lead.

Shaw threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns after missing South Carolina's regular season finale with a left foot sprain. Thompson led the Gamecocks (11-2) to a victory over their archrival, and threw for 117 yards and two TDs.

Gardner threw for 214 yards in his fifth start for Michigan (8-5) since Denard Robinson injured his right elbow late in the season. Robinson took some snaps at quarterback and attempted his first passes since Oct. 27, but lined up mostly at running back and rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries.

Ace Sanders caught TD passes of 4 yards from Thompson and 31 yards from Shaw, who completed 18 of 26 passes before limping off on the final drive. The speedy receiver had nine catches for 92 yards and also scored on a 63-yard punt return - one of four plays over 50 yards that Michigan yielded.

GATOR BOWL

NO. 21 NORTHWESTERN 34, MISSISSIPPI ST. 20

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Behind huge interceptions early and late, Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl and snapped college football's longest postseason losing streak.

The Wildcats (10-3) earned their first bowl win since 1949, ending a nine-game losing skid that was tied for the longest in NCAA history. They also celebrated double-digit victories for the first time since the 1995 Rose Bowl season.

Quentin Williams returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game and Nick Vanhoose set up a late touchdown with a 39-yard interception return. Those plays were the difference in a back-and-forth game that featured more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).

Northwestern's two-quarterback system kept the Bulldogs (8-5) off balance most of the day.

Scrambler Kain Colter ran for 71 yards, making up for his two interceptions. Backup Trevor Siemian threw for 120 yards and an interception, and also ran for a score.

Even with the turnovers, they were more efficient than Mississippi State's Tyler Russell.

Russell completed 12 of 28 passes for 106 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He had thrown only six picks in the first 11 games this season. LaDarius Perkins ran 19 times for 84 yards for the Bulldogs, and freshman Josh Robinson added 91 yards on seven carries.

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

OKLAHOMA STATE 58, PURDUE 14

DALLAS (AP) - Clint Chelf threw three of Oklahoma State's five touchdown passes and the Cowboys shook off a disappointing Big 12 finish by dominating Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

The Cowboys, a year removed from a Fiesta Bowl win that capped the best season in school history, forced five turnovers and had another short TD drive after a 64-yard punt return from Josh Stewart.

It was the biggest bowl win for Oklahoma State since coach Mike Gundy was the quarterback in a 62-14 rout of Wyoming in the 1988 Holiday Bowl. The Cowboys (8-5) missed out on upper-tier bowls after narrow losses in their last two Big 12 games.

With former Purdue quarterbacks Drew Brees and Kyle Orton watching, Robert Marve didn't get to 100 yards passing until Oklahoma State led 45-0 as Purdue (6-7) fell to 0-4 on New Year's Day.

Leading 28-0 at halftime, Oklahoma State erased any lingering doubt three plays into the second half when Justin Gilbert stripped Purdue receiver O.J. Ross on a short completion. The loose ball shot straight to Daytawion Lowe, who ran 37 yards down the sideline in front of the Purdue bench for a 35-0 lead.

Oklahoma State's 58 points were the most in a bowl game at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium, topping the 55 scored by Keyshawn Johnson and Southern California against Texas Tech in 1995.

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Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

The Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal has rocked MLB and left a dark shadow over the league during offseason. Up until this point, despite a fired general manager and on-field manager, the players at the root of the scandal have remained silent on the subject and avoided questions from the media.

That will all change in Spring Training as the Astros players plan to make "a strong statement as a team," according to Astros' owner Jim Crane. 

"When we get down to Spring Training, we'll all get them together and they'll come out with a strong statement as a team and apologize for what happened and we'll move forward," Crane said in a media scrum.

Over the weekend the team held their annual winter FanFest where several players had to face the music as many players met with the media for the first time. Jose Altuve, who is one of the players who allegedly benefited from the sign-stealing, dodged the question as best he could. The Astros shortstop's comments coincide with Crane's, saying “I think the time to comment about that will come. It’s a little early for me to say something about it.” 

Outside of their FanFest event, there is little that has come out of the clubhouse. Their owner acknowledged the lack of communication from the players and said the players were advised to stay out of the conversation. 

"The players have been beaten up a little bit and they've been all spread out. They've just kinda getting [sic] advice to take it easy."

Already Spring Training in West Palm Beach is going to be awkward between the two teams that made the World Series last season. The Nationals, who won the World Series whether or not the Astros used their system to gain an advantage, have their facilities next door to Houston's.

And if the Astros sign former Nationals' manager Dusty Baker to the same position in wake of A.J. Hinch's firing, there will be even more tense situations at Spring Training this year. 

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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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