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Graham scores 3 times as Pitt tops Temple 47-17

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Graham scores 3 times as Pitt tops Temple 47-17

PITTSBURGH (AP) Ray Graham rushed for two touchdowns and caught another as Pittsburgh rolled over Temple 47-17 on Saturday.

The senior running back finished with 180 yards of total offense - 109 rushing and 71 receiving - as the Panthers finally broke through after starting their last season in the Big East with three straight losses.

Rushel Shell added 79 yards rushing and a score for Pitt (4-4, 1-3), which drummed the Owls with ease. Quarterback Tino Sunseri passed for 321 yards and three scores while the defense kept Temple (3-4, 2-2) under wraps until the game was well in hand.

Montel Harris ran for 72 yards and a touchdown for the Owls, but Temple simply couldn't keep pace during a first half in which the Panthers built a 24-point lead.

First-year Pitt coach Paul Chryst urged his players to attack the Owls with a sense of urgency following a lethargic victory against Buffalo last week and the Panthers responded with perhaps their most dominant performance of the season.

Not surprisingly, Graham led the charge.

A year removed from a torn ACL in his right knee that cut short his junior season, Graham rolled through the Big East's seventh-ranked defense as Pitt won its first conference game in almost 11 months.

Temple did its best to give the Panthers a lift. The Owls stuffed Pitt on the game's opening possession, but Temple gave it right back when the ensuing punt glanced off Anthony Robey and Pitt's Eric Williams fell on it at the Temple 39.

Seven plays later, the Panthers were in front when Shell bulled over from a yard out, and Pitt was just getting started. Sunseri capped a 90-yard drive the next time the Panthers had the ball with an 18-yard strike to J.P. Holtz. Graham accounted for 50 yards on the drive, including a 33-yard screen pass that put the Owls on their heels.

Temple responded by pulling within 14-7 on Chris Coyer's 9-yard touchdown pass to Cody Booth, but it was merely a speed bump for Pitt, which showcased just how far it has come under Chryst.

The Panthers started the season with losses to FCS member Youngstown State and Cincinnati. Pitt barely looked competitive against the Bearcats and uncertain of itself.

Six weeks later, Pitt is humming. That crispness was never more evident than in the second quarter, when the Panthers scored 17 points to grab control.

Graham walked in from 1 yard out to put Pitt up 24-7 with 2:32 to go in the half and the Panthers forced Temple to punt, getting the ball back at the Pitt 38 with 1:09 to go before the break.

The two-minute offense had been a major issue for the Panthers earlier in the season. Not on Saturday. Sunseri guided Pitt 62 yards in six plays. He hit Devin Street for a key 35-yard gain, then found Graham in the flat for a 4-yard touchdown pass that put the Panthers in charge 31-7.

The score capped a nightmarish 60 minutes of football for the Owls, who had been a pleasant surprise in their return to the Big East after getting kicked out nearly a decade ago.

Temple actually led unbeaten Rutgers 10-0 at the half last week before getting blown out 35-10. Coach Steve Addazio blamed it on the roller coaster that comes with having a young team.

The ride took a significant dip against the Panthers. Though the Owls steadied themselves in the second half, they never got closer than 17 while Pitt resurrected its hopes of making a bowl game for the fifth straight season.

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Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 23, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview—defense 

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the defense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. I looked at the topics on offense yesterday

Lining up the line

Will Phil Taylor, who seems to be a long shot to make the team after they drafted two nose tackles, get some run with the first and second teams? Also, this is a young group and Jim Tomsula will have a lot of opportunities to teach. Watching him interacting with his line and going over the details of line play is fun to watch.

Spaight vs. Vigil

The two starting inside linebacker starters are safe and the team is intrigued enough by the potential of both Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton to make them likely bets to make the 53-man roster. That leaves Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight competing for the last ILB roster spot. 

Spaight is a known quantity who has been a mainstay on special teams since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2015. They kept him over Vigil in the cut to 53 a year ago. But last year when injuries hit, Vigil started over Spaight. In a way, this is Round 3 between the two. 

Ryan Anderson

We know what outside linebacker starters Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith can do. Pernell McPhee will be good for four or five sacks and perhaps a forced fumble or two. Anderson, who was team’s second-round pick last year, is a big question mark. He played 193 snaps in 14 games, but he barely dented the stat sheet with no sacks and just 11 tackles. Anderson is a hard worker and they need his 

The pieces of the cornerback puzzle

This is discussed in some detail hereby JP Finlay and I’ll look at it later this week. To pick out one detail, I want to see what the rotation in the slot is. Right now the guess is that Orlando Scandrick is the starter but who will be behind him? That’s important because Scandrick has missed 25 games in the last three seasons due to injuries. 

Apke’s progress

Fourth-round safety Troy Apke displayed impressive makeup speed during offseason practices and that let him make some plays on the ball. But he needed that speed too often as he had issues in coverage. You need to be more than just fast to play in the NFL. If Apke is going to be an alternative if injury problems strike Montae Nicholson again he needs to start making some progress while he is in Richmond. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 3
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 17
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 40

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 48 days. 

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