Nationals

Campanaro's 3 TDs lift Wake Forest over BC 28-14

201211031623589837216-p2.jpeg

Campanaro's 3 TDs lift Wake Forest over BC 28-14

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Michael Campanaro caught three first-half touchdown passes from Tanner Price and Wake Forest took a step closer to becoming bowl eligible with a 28-14 win over Boston College on Saturday.

Campanaro tied an Atlantic Coast Conference record with 16 receptions for 123 yards and became only the eighth player in school history to catch three TD passes in a game.

Price was outstanding, completing 39 of 57 passes for 293 yards as the Demon Deacons (5-4, 3-4) bounced back from a 29-point thrashing last week to No. 9 Clemson.

Wake Forest came in with the lowest-scoring offense in the ACC, but looked sharp early with Price hooking up on touchdown strikes of 5, 27 and 16 yards to Campanaro to build a 21-7 halftime lead.

Chase Rettig threw for 357 yards for Boston College (2-7, 1-5), but turned the ball over four times, three of those on interceptions.

The Deacons need to win one of their final three games to become bowl eligible. They're on the road at N.C. State and No. 4 Notre Dame before closing at home against Vanderbilt.

The Eagles will not be headed to a bowl for the second straight season after playing in 12 straight. The loss also means Boston College will finish in last place in the ACC's Atlantic Division.

The previous nine meetings between these teams were decided by 10 points or less, but it appeared early on Wake Forest might run away with this one after jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

But Rettig capped a 12-play, 95-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter with a 16-yard scoring strike to Alex Amidon to cut the Deacons' lead in half. Amidon finished with 10 catches for 130 yards.

However, Wake Forest turned the tide late in the second quarter when defensive end Zach Thompson stripped Rettig of the ball in the backfield and recovered at the Eagles 15. Five plays later Price hooked up with a wide-open Campanaro on a wheel route for their third touchdown with 54 seconds left in the half.

Boston College would make it close.

After a 52-yard completion from Rettig to Johnathan Coleman, the Eagles went to their bag of tricks. Rettig threw a lateral to receiver Bobby Swigert, who promptly threw to a wide open Chris Pantale in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-14.

That was as close as they'd get.

Wake Forest pushed the lead back to 14 when Josh Harris busted off right tackle for a 23-yard scoring run on a fourth-and-1 play to make it a two-possession game.

Harris finished with 82 yards on 16 carries.

Terence Davis added seven catches for 62 yards for the Deacons prior to leaving late in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Wake Forest's defense had its share of big plays. Along with the four turnovers, they also had three stops on fourth-and-1 plays, including one near the goal line in the second half.

It's been a tough year for the Deacons.

They've played all year with a makeshift offensive line, saw their defensive statistics balloon when their nose guard missed two early games due to injury and had eight players serve suspensions of varying length for off-field incidents.

But this win went a long way toward healing their pain.

The road doesn't get any easier for Boston College, which hosts Notre Dame next Saturday.

Quick Links

Nationals on periphery in Las Vegas

bryceharpermarlinstarp.jpg
USA Today Sports

Nationals on periphery in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Marlins Man walked into a modest eatery Sunday here in Las Vegas to look over the options. His bright orange jersey stood out among the cowboy hats and zombie-like Sunday exodus inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

While another Las Vegas weekend closed, sending an army of roller bags across the casino floor toward the exit and airport, baseball started to creep into the home of the 2018 Winter Meetings. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wandered across the marble floor. Media members from cities across the country became situated. Television stations raised their studios and radio talkers began to ramble. Everyone is wondering if the show in Vegas will be filled with drama or just another stall along the way to the offseason’s biggest news.

We know Rizzo turned in his homework early. Patrick Corbin’s money and introduction arrived late last week. Corbin, presumably, is the Nationals’ largest offseason expenditure. Surprising comments from Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner to 106.7 The Fan on Friday made that seem to be the case. He described Bryce Harper as all but gone, speaking wistfully, if not definitively.

Which means Rizzo is here for smaller shopping and the rest of baseball waits on Harper and Manny Machado.

A look through the Nationals shows few remaining gaps. Rizzo publicly contends he feels all right about starting the season with a Wilmer Difo/Howie Kendrick platoon at second base. The outfield is clear without Harper. Joe Ross and Erick Fedde will fight for the final rotation spot. Two new catchers have arrived. The bullpen was upgraded. Rizzo didn’t wait and watch what other teams were doing.

“We like the club we have at present,” Rizzo told NBC Sports Washington last week. “But, we’re never satisfied. There’s tweaks and combinations we can go after. We’ll be looking for values out there. What works for us, how do we construct the periphery of the roster. You can never have enough pitching and we’re always on the look for good starting and relief pitching. That could be something we attack either via the free agent market or trade market.”

One thing the market remains full of is left-handed relievers. The Nationals currently have three. One of which is Sammy Solis.

Washington decided to tender him a contract and the sides reached a one-year deal. There was consideration not to tender him a contract, which would have ended Solis’ time with Nationals. Instead, he’s back despite two back-to-back poor seasons following a strong 2016. Last season was a wreck. Solis finished with a 6.41 ERA. The other two lefties, Sean Doolittle and Matt Grace, were excellent. So, are the Nationals in the market for one more left-handed reliever to be sure?

“We’ve got right now on the roster three really competent left-handed pitchers,” Rizzo said, “in Doolittle, Grace who had a magnificent season last year and Sammy Solis, who we feel is a bounceback candidate. We feel good about the left-handed spot. We feel good about our bullpen as a whole.”

The Nationals were mid-pack last season in relievers’ ERA in both the National League and Major League Baseball. Their bullpen does appear close to done: Doolittle, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, Koda Glover, Grace, Solis, Justin Miller and Wander Suero are eight quick spots down there.

One upside here for Rizzo is he can wait. He doesn’t need to jump at the flush reliever market, which includes several decent left-handed options, because of the team’s prompt signings. A discount may arrive later. A factor to remember in regard to Solis is the Nationals would only be on the hook for 1/6th of his salary if they cut him in spring training. That’s a small penalty if someone in West Palm Beach appears more capable.

Washington also needs a left-handed bat off the bench that can play first base. Matt Adams, Justin Bour and Lucas Duda are names that could fill that slot. None will rattle the meetings.

This is life on the periphery, as Rizzo puts it. Will they talk to a lot of agents here? Yes. Will they consider an upgrade at second base? Of course. Are they part of the gigantic Harper and Machado storylines unlikely to conclude in Las Vegas but en route to dominate the conversation? Not really. At least not if Lerner’s public declaration is filled with flat facts. They offered Harper, he can do better elsewhere, and now life is quieter, even in Las Vegas.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS

 

Quick Links

When asked about the defensive decline, DJ Swearinger gives response 'they want' him to give

When asked about the defensive decline, DJ Swearinger gives response 'they want' him to give

A frequent question Redskins players have had to face this past month is, in some form or another, "What's wrong with the defense, and what's changed?"

Washington's defense was, for the most part, effective and at times dominant during the team's 6-3 start.

But in this losing streak that extended to four games after the disgraceful performance against the Giants, the unit has been a trainwreck on top of a dumpster fire. 

DJ Swearinger was the latest 'Skin to be asked the increasingly common question in the FedEx Field locker room postgame. His response was noteworthy.

"We just didn't execute, we just didn't get the job done," he said. "That's the answer they want me to give."

Swearinger attracts some of the largest media crowds when he speaks because he's passionate and never holds back with his quotes.

However, some recent comments from No. 36 about the Redskins' practice habits caught Jay Gruden's attention to the point where the coach explained in one of his weekly pressers he'd prefer the safety keep those thoughts in-house.

So, is Gruden or another coach or front office person the "they" that Swearinger referred to following the Giants blowout? You'd have to assume so.

Regardless, it's obvious that he wanted to say more, but instead, he kept his full, unfiltered opinion to himself — this time. If things continue to trend downward and his frustration continues to trend upward, though, don't expect him to keep giving the answers "they want."

MORE REDSKINS NEWS