Nationals

Florida completes huge turnaround with romp at FSU

Florida completes huge turnaround with romp at FSU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) A year after calling his team soft following an embarrassing home loss to Florida State, Florida coach Will Muschamp watched many of those same players rip the Seminoles 37-26 on Saturday.

They clinched one of the best regular seasons in school history with a win more convincing than the final 11-point victory margin.

``Our guys just continued to press forward,'' Muschamp said. ``We don't do excuses. We did enough of that last year.''

And there was no talk of being soft.

``We're a physical football team,'' Muschamp said. ``That's what we pride ourselves on.''

The Gators impressed Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner, who was one of the few Seminoles to give Florida trouble.

``The way they were double-teaming - I've never seen it before,'' said Werner, who had 3 1/2 sacks in the game. ``Give credit to them.''

Florida (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) moved up a notch to No. 5 in The Associated Press poll with its win in Tallahassee and now awaits its bowl invitation a bit wistfully. The Gators know that only a 17-9 loss to Georgia a month ago prevents them from playing Alabama in this Saturday's SEC title game, where the winner will likely be Notre Dame's opponent in the BCS national championship game Jan. 7.

Muschamp and the Gators could be headed to New Orleans for a Sugar Bowl date.

Meanwhile, No. 13 Florida State (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) must get ready to play Georgia Tech in the ACC title game Saturday with the winner advancing to a New Year's game at the Orange Bowl against the Big East champion.

``We have to put this (Florida loss) behind us,'' said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who lost to a Florida school for the first time as a head coach.

Fisher is 3-0 against Miami, 1-0 against South Florida and now 2-1 in the Florida rivalry.

``They controlled the line of scrimmage. ... They made more plays than us,'' Fisher said. ``We have to move on and get better.''

And whereas it had been Florida State with much of the preseason attention after wins over Florida and Notre Dame to finish the 2011 season, Florida stealthily climbed the polls with road wins at Texas A&M, Tennessee and Vanderbilt along with home victories over LSU and South Carolina.

While the Gators were pulling out close victories against a difficult schedule, Florida State was putting up big numbers on both sides of the ball against the likes of Savannah State, Murray State and a group of mediocre ACC opponents. The Seminoles went into Saturday's game with just one victory over a ranked team, Clemson, and only two over schools with winning records.

And Florida made them pay.

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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.

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup Final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues -- when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West -- to get to the final.

Vegas will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Game 1, but Vegas snatched home ice with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before picking up 4-2 and 3-2 wins at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, and knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place -- not to mention the thousands of fans outside the arena attending a street party on a sun-drenched spring afternoon -- were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey's turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.

After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury's glove.

One of Winnipeg's downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets' goal in each of the first four games -- a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 -- but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career -- and first since 2015 with St. Louis -- Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.

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