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Heinicke, Breitenstein lead AP FCS All-Americans

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Heinicke, Breitenstein lead AP FCS All-Americans

NEW YORK (AP) Taylor Heinicke passed his way through the record books on his way to becoming an All-American.

Heinicke, the record-setting quarterback from Old Dominion, and fellow Payton Award finalists Eric Breitenstein from Wofford and Miguel Maysonet from Stony Brook were selected to The Associated Press FCS All-America team released Wednesday.

Heinicke had the most prolific passing season in the history of what used to be called Division I-AA. The sophomore from Atlanta passed for 5,076 yards, breaking the record set by the late Steve McNair when he was at Alcorn State in 1994. Heinicke finished with 5,546 yards of total offense, second only to McNair's 5,799.

``What Taylor did this year from an individual standpoint is nothing short of incredible,'' ODU coach Bobby Wilder said Wednesday.

``We build our system around our quarterback and what we feel like are his strengths. To run an offense that suits their needs. As (Heinicke) has gotten comfortable in our system, we've become more of a throwing team because of his comfort level.''

The Walter Payton Award goes to the top player in FCS and will be handed out Monday night in Philadelphia.

Heinicke became the starter for ODU's fledgling football program, which just completed its fourth season and will transition to FBS next year, four games into the 2011 season. The Monarchs relied more on the run last year.

``This (past) offseason I really put an emphasis on knowing the whole playbook,'' Heinicke said. ``This year we really bought into the Air Raid-type of offense.''

The Monarchs' fast-paced spread puts a premium on fast decisions and quick, accurate passes. Heinicke also set FCS records for completions (398) and total plays (705). And he ran for 470 yards and 11 touchdowns.

``He understands our philosophy is to find a way to move the chains,'' Wilder said. ``If you need to run the ball, you run it to get a critical first down and those first downs lead to touchdowns. Protect the ball and find a way to move the chains.''

Heinicke did just that in September against New Hampshire when he passed for a Division I record 730 yards in a 64-61 victory. He threw 79 passes in that game without an interception.

Old Dominion finished 11-2, losing last week to Georgia Southern, 49-35, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Breitenstein made his second straight appearance as a first-team All-American. The 230-pound senior fullback ran for 2,035 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

Maysonet ran for 1,964 and 21 touchdowns for the Seawolves.

Murray State quarterback Casey Brockman was picked to the second-team. Colgate quarterback Gavin McCarney made the third team.

Eastern Illinois' Erik Lora and Elon's Aaron Mellette, ranked 1-2 in the nation in catches and yards receiving, were the receivers and Harvard's Kyle Juszczyk was the tight end.

A couple of guys who will be playing in this weekend's FCS semifinals highlight the offensive line.

Billy Turner and North Dakota State host Georgia Southern on Friday night and Will Post and Eastern Washington host Sam Houston State on Saturday.

The other linemen were Earl Watford from James Madison, Mike Sellers from The Citadel and Roger Gaines from Tennessee State.

The defense is led by Georgia Southern's 300-pound defensive tackle Brent Russell and Georgetown linebacker Robert McCabe, who leads the nation with 14.45 tackles per game.

Brandon Thurmond of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the nation's leader with 17 1/2 sacks, joined Russell on the line along with Colton Underwood of Illinois State.

Montana State placed two players on the defense. End Caleb Schreibeis leads FCS with eight forced fumbles and linebacker Cody Owens was the Big Sky defensive player of the year.

New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans, who was a second-team All-American last year, made the first team this year.

Defensive back Marcus Williams of North Dakota State joined Breitenstein as a two-time All-American and became the only defensive player to repeat this season.

North Dakota State and Montana State were the only teams to place two players on the first team.

The other defensive backs were Darnell Taylor of Sam Houston State, Jaquiski Tartt of Samford and Cooper Taylor of Richmond.

Walter Powell of Murray State was the all-purpose player. He had 1,213 yards receiving and more than 900 yards returning kicks and punts.

Patrick Murray of Fordham was the kicker and Sam Martin of Appalachian State was the punter.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

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USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.

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What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

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USA Today Sports

What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.

It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.

Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."

Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.

It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.

This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.

The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.

But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.

This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.

In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.

What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.

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