NCAA

Bowl streaks on line for Northwestern, Miss. State

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Bowl streaks on line for Northwestern, Miss. State

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Just getting to a bowl game no longer matters to Northwestern.

The 21st-ranked Wildcats want to win one and end a decades-long losing streak.

Northwestern (9-3) hasn't won a bowl since it beat California in the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have dropped nine in a row since, matching the longest streak in NCAA history.

They get a chance to stop that skid when they face Mississippi State (8-4) in the Gator Bowl on Tuesday.

``It's the next step in where we want to go as a program,'' Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ``The consistent success we've had in the program of being in the postseason for five successive seasons is something we're proud of. Winning a bowl game is the next step.''

Northwestern has come close the last four years, losing 30-23 in overtime against Missouri in the 2008 Alamo Bowl, falling 38-35 to Auburn in overtime in the 2010 Outback Bowl, dropping a 45-38 decision to Texas Tech in the 2011 Ticket City Bowl and then losing 33-22 to Texas A&M in last season's Meineke Care Car Bowl.

But as Fitzgerald and his players were quick to point out, close means little.

``I feel like everyone on this team is motivated to be that first team to get that bowl win for the first time in a long, long time,'' quarterback Kain Colter said. ``The seniors have done a good job in building the foundation that we have. We're on the rise right now and a lot of that is credited to them. If we could send them off the right way and add another part to their legacy and continue on to our legacy, that would be great.''

Mississippi State dropped four of its final five games to end the regular season, but it has won five consecutive bowl games - the longest current streak in the country.

``We've had a lot of big wins this year and some tough losses this year,'' Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. ``Our guys want to go out there and finish it off the right way and send our seniors out winning a bowl championship.''

The Bulldogs haven't lost a bowl game since the 1999 Peach Bowl. They rebounded the next year to beat Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl and since have postseason wins against Central Florida (2007 Liberty Bowl), Michigan (2011 Gator Bowl) and Wake Forest (2011 Music City Bowl).

Mississippi State's last trip to Jacksonville ended with a 52-14 romp over the Wolverines. The Bulldogs scored 42 unanswered points while dominating the final three quarters.

The lopsided affair added to a recent run of Southeastern Conference success against Big Ten opponents on New Year's Day.

The SEC is 8-2 against the Big Ten over the last four years, with wins coming in the Gator, Outback and Capital One bowls.

``Playing in the Southeastern Conference, a lot of people see it as one of the elite conferences,'' MSU linebacker Cam Lawrence said. ``But I get excited to play a new school. It's always fun to have a new experience and a new opponent and a new challenge. ... It's a bowl game and anything could happen.''

Maybe Northwestern can even win one.

Fitzgerald's team probably should have won more games this season. The Wildcats blew double-digit leads in the second half against Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan.

But all those heartbreakers can be erased, or at least diminished, with a bowl victory.

``We want to erase that losing streak,'' backup quarterback Trevor Siemian said. ``This is a new team with different players. We probably stopped thinking about the bowl game last year a day after that game. We'd really like to get the win for the seniors, end the losing streak and get a 10-win season.

``Definitely a lot of goals to be playing for. It's right there in front of us. It's an awesome opportunity and we want to make the most of it.''

College Football 2019 Week 4 What to Watch: State bragging rights

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College Football 2019 Week 4 What to Watch: State bragging rights

In terms of local action, Week 4 is a little bit of a down week. Maryland and Penn State are both on bye weeks before their big matchup on Sept. 27. Navy and Virginia Tech also have the week off as well. But fear not! There is still plenty of college football to watch without your beloved Terps, Lions, Midshipmen or Hokies. Virginia hosts in-state rival Old Dominion and there is some big-time college football down south.

Here is a breakdown of all the local action.

No. 21 Virginia vs. Old Dominion

When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
How to watch: ESPN2

The Cavaliers host Old Dominion in the first-ever meeting between these two programs. After narrowly escaping with a win over Florida State, Virginia remains perfect with a 3-0 record and already two conference wins. Because of that, the Cavaliers now sit ranked 21st in the nation, the highest the team has been ranked since 2007. Now the task before them is to not stumble or get caught looking ahead to next week's matchup at Notre Dame because the Monarchs love surprising the bigger in-state programs. Just ask Virginia Tech.

Game of the week: No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 7 Notre Dame

When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
How to watch: CBS

In 2018, Notre Dame was a playoff team. Georgia was not. Ask anyone in Athens, however, and they will tell you the Bulldogs were the better team and deserved to be in over the Irish. Whether they are right is debatable. Notre Dame entered the playoff undefeated but was embarrassed by Clemson in a 30-3 romp in the Cotton Bowl. That loss certainly looks less embarrassing than it did initially after the Tigers blew apart Alabama in the National Championship, but that does little to comfort Georgia fans.

Luckily, this year offers Georgia the chance for revenge as the Irish travel to Athens in one of the biggest games of the college football season

Georgia comes into this game with something to prove. Not only do they want to show who the better program is after last year's perceived snub, but they also want to reassert themselves as one of the top teams in the nation. With Alabama dealing with injuries and Clemson's schedule leaving much to be desired, there is room for the Bulldogs to insert themselves into the conversation for the top team in the nation.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, has a chance to topple our preconceived notions about the dominance of the SEC's top teams and to reassert themselves into the playoff race. Georgia is easily Notre Dame's toughest game. There is no reason the Irish can't go undefeated if they win on Saturday and a win over the Bulldogs in Georgia would be a pretty nice feather in the cap for any playoff resume.

On NBC Sports Washington

Wake Forest vs. Elon

When: 12 p.m.
Where: BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, N.C.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

North Carolina vs. Appalachian State

When: 3:30 p.m.
Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

Other local teams

Morgan State at Army, 12 p.m. Saturday on CBSSN
Robert Morris at VMI, 1:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
Howard at Delaware State, 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
Norfolk State at Montana State, 3 p.m. Saturday
James Madison at Chattanooga, 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
William & Mary at East Carolina, 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
Hampton at Liberty, 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
Villanova at Towson, 6 p.m. Saturday

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Elena Delle Donne named 2019 WNBA MVP for the second time following historic season

Elena Delle Donne named 2019 WNBA MVP for the second time following historic season

Elena Delle Donne has done it again.

For the second time in her career, the Washington Mystics' star has been named the WNBA MVP, Monumental Sports announced Thursday.

Delle Donne is the first WNBA player to earn the prestigious award with two teams, her 2015 honor while with the Chicago Sky.

“I would like to thank my teammates and coaches and our wonderful fans--I have the greatest teammates in the world, our coaches have put us in a position to succeed by forming this awesome unit and the energy of our fans has given us the best home-court atmosphere in the league,” Delle Donne said in the statement.

“Everyone has had a part in this, especially my wife and family, and it took a lot of hard work and focus from all of us together to get to this point.  I am extremely proud of this honor, but we still have work ahead of us and we’re all focused playing our hardest to bring a championship to Washington.”

During her 2019 season with the Mystics, Delle Donne averaged 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists, securing her spot on the All-Star team for the sixth time. Her most unbelievable feat, however, was becoming the first WNBA player to join the prestigious 50/40/90 club.

Delle Donne earned 51.5 percent from the field, 43.03 percent from beyond the arc and an incredible 97.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Steve Nash, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Mark Nowitzki and Malcolm Brogdon are the only players in the history of the NBA to accomplish that feat.

The Mystics look for another win Thursday night en route to a Championship against the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals at 8:30 p.m.

You can watch the game on ESPN 2.

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