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Cotton coaches Sumlin, Stoops know each other well

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Cotton coaches Sumlin, Stoops know each other well

IRVING, Texas (AP) Before Kevin Sumlin became a successful head coach at Houston and Texas A&M, he learned plenty during five seasons and two national championship game appearances on Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma.

Even before that, they were assistant coaches competing for recruits in the same area.

``Both of us had tough jobs trying to get guys to leave Miami and Fort Lauderdale to go to Manhattan, Kan., and Minneapolis, Minn., or West Lafayette (Ind.),'' Sumlin said. ``Over the course of time, we have kept in touch and then he hired me. ... It was five great years from a learning standpoint.''

The two coaches will be on the opposite sidelines Friday night in the Cotton Bowl, a matchup of former Big 12 rivals. Both are 10-2 with five-game winning streaks.

Stoops and the Sooners this season earned a share of their eighth Big 12 title, and would have almost certainly been in a Bowl Championship Series game if not for BCS-busting Northern Illinois. With Heisman Trophy-winning freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, Sumlin and the Aggies won 10 games in the coach's first season, and their first year in the SEC.

``You can see it, what he's doing now, he's an incredibly bright coach. I knew that,'' Stoops said Wednesday as they shared a podium with the Cotton Bowl trophy between them. ``Competitive, great worker, and I think what Kevin, the best thing he brings to A&M is the way he relates to his players, and players love playing for him. He has a way, and he's really brought attitude to his team.''

Sumlin was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2002 when the Aggies upset the top-ranked and undefeated Sooners in College Station, derailing Oklahoma's shot at a second national title in three years. Sumlin was hired after that season by Stoops, a Kansas State and Florida assistant in the 1990s while Sumlin was at Minnesota and Purdue.

After three years as special teams coordinator/tight ends coach and two years as co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, Sumlin got his first head job. He won 35 games in four seasons at Houston, which was 12-0 and on track for a BCS appearance in 2011 before losing in the Conference USA title game.

Texas A&M hired him the next week.

``He really just brought that winning attitude,'' linebacker Sean Porter said. ``Coach Sumlin doesn't care about anything other than winning football games.''

Senior defensive tackle Spencer Nealy joked about finally taking a redshirt to be around Sumlin for another year.

``Confidence, coach Sumlin is Mr. Cool, dude. He's comes in with a type of swag, as some of the guys on the team would put it, that makes us feel better. He takes all the pressure off of us,'' Nealy said. ``Right when he walks in, he brings a presence.''

The Aggies are going for their first 11-win season since 1998, the year before Stoops got to Oklahoma. The Sooners are trying to win 11 games for the 10th time under Stoops.

Sumlin was on his staff for four of those 11-win seasons and that time certainly influenced how he tries to do things now.

``How you do things day to day, the competitive nature that is in the building, the expectation level,'' Sumlin said. ``The expectation level of everybody, starting with him, everybody in the building, coaches and players, is a big, big, big factor at Oklahoma. And it starts with the head coach. ... Winning games is a big part of that, but the other part of the culture and the relationships that go on there are an even bigger part of really the atmosphere that he created or that he creates now.''

Stoops is 149-36 his 14 seasons with the Sooners, nine wins shy of overtaking three-time national champion Barry Switzer for the most wins in school history. Stoops this season surpassed Bud Wilkinson, who won three national titles from 1947-63.

Mark Snyder, who spent one season with Sumlin on the Minnesota staff 15 years ago, is the Texas A&M defensive coordinator. His players have had to practice all season against Manziel and the Aggies' offense, which averages an SEC-high 553 total yards per game.

``They got prepared to play a 12-game season, and that's what we've done,'' Snyder said. ``I think people were shocked we could go into the SEC and stop the run because of the offense that we face every day.''

Snyder, the former Marshall head coach, saw something in Sumlin when they first worked together.

``You could tell at a young age he was going to be a rock star. He just had it, he gets it,'' Snyder said. ``You knew he was going to be a good football coach. He can relate to kids, especially today's kids. ... The kids have got to be able to trust you, and I think we exceled this year because of that.''

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3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

Nicklas Backstrom scored with less than seven seconds remaining to give the Capitals the 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a preseason preview of the regular-season opener. Radko Gudas and Richard Panik also scored.

Here are three players who impressed for the Caps.

1. Richard Panik

Panik got plenty of practice on the penalty kill with 4:16 of shorthanded ice time shorthanded. In that time he gave a glimpse of why he was so coveted by the Caps as a free agent.

In the first period, Panik pounced on a loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle in the defensive zone. Seeing he had room to work with, he did not just clear it down the ice and instead elected to skate up with it. He fought off the backcheck from Tyler Bozak through the neutral zone, drew an additional two Blues players to him, then drew a holding call from Bozak because he would not give up the puck.

Panik's 4:16 of penalty kill time was more than top penalty killer Carl Hagelin's 2:26, though the fact that Hagelin took two minors on the night probably had something to do with it.

Late in the game, Panik was also added to the power play as a sixth attacker with the goalie pulled. He would score the game-tying goal with just 1:09 left in regulation.

2. The goalies

Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both played about a half of the game. It is really hard to evaluate a goalie on just 30 minutes of work, so I will give a shoutout to both as both played very well.

Vanecek got the start. He looked a little awkward at first, but settled in as the game went along for a solid performance. He stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced with the only goal he allowed a weird deflection off of Brett Leason’s skate.

Samsonov took over about halfway through the second period and within minutes found himself defending the net on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The penalty killers helped out their young netminder allowing only one shot on goal, but it was a good one. Colton Parayko one-timed a slap shot, but Samsonov was there to stop with no rebound. Soon after the penalty was over, Vladimir Tarasenko was all alone in front of the net, but was denied by Samsonov’s who stretched the blocker to deny the high shot.

Sanford scores on the PP. Samsonov wasn't tight against the post. Showed him too much daylight and Sanford made him pay.

Samsonov finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.

3. Connor McMichael

Boy, somebody got a confidence boost from Monday’s game. 

McMichael was given a second preseason game as a reward for his solid performance on Monday and he definitely showed off the confidence that comes along with being a first-round draft pick.

In the first period, McMichael found himself all alone with the puck on a mini-breakaway on Jordan Binnington. Just a reminder, this is the Binnington who was the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup champions.

So what did McMichael do? He skated to the front and tried the stick between the legs shot. It may not have worked, but you have to respect the confidence this kid had just to try, though no doubt the coaches probably had a few words for him in the locker room about it.

There was one area in which McMichael struggled, however, and that was on the faceoff where he lost all five draws he took on the night.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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