Redskins

Huskers to play Michigan for share of Legends lead

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Huskers to play Michigan for share of Legends lead

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) After rallying late to win at Northwestern, Nebraska will play for a share of the Big Ten Legends Division lead when Michigan visits Lincoln this Saturday night.

The Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1) defeated the Wildcats 29-28 Saturday thanks to Taylor Martinez's big fourth quarter and despite three turnovers and eight penalties.

So it's one down and five to go for the Huskers to meet coach Bo Pelini's challenge - issued after a 25-point loss at Ohio State two weeks ago - to win their final six regular-season games.

``I firmly believe we can win `em all,'' he said after Saturday's game in Evanston, Ill. ``We can play with anybody we play with. We can't do the things we did today. We pulled this one out. A lot of the issues we had were self-induced. You're not always going to be able to come back and make that kind of comeback.''

Michigan (5-2, 3-0) will head to Nebraska on a three-game win streak after a 12-10 victory over Michigan State.

The game figures to be an entertaining matchup between two of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks in Martinez and Denard Robinson.

Last year the Wolverines capitalized on three Nebraska turnovers to win 45-17 in Ann Arbor.

Turnovers have been a problem for the Huskers the past two seasons, and they probably would have cost Nebraska the game against Northwestern if the defense hadn't held strong.

Northwestern converted only one of Nebraska's fumbles into points and went three-and-out on 10 possessions. The Wildcats had 301 total yards, but 106 of them came on two scoring plays.

Still, the Huskers were forced to erase a 12-point deficit and match their biggest fourth-quarter comeback in school history.

The Huskers, who rallied from 17 points down in the third quarter to beat Wisconsin, were down 28-16 with 8 minutes left. Martinez completed 9 of 10 passes while leading touchdown drives of 80 and 76 yards for the lead. He finished 27 of 39 for 342 yards.

``It's one of my top (games), I'd say,'' Martinez said.

Martinez pulled the Huskers within 28-23 when he threw a perfectly placed ball into the corner of the end zone, where Taariq Allen won the jump ball for his second career catch and first for a TD.

``Great throw, great catch,'' Pelini said. ``To get his feet in... It was contested. Heck of a play by the young man.''

Nebraska's defense forced yet another three-and-out to set up the winning drive.

``Everyone knew we were going to score a touchdown,'' Martinez said. ``You could feel it throughout the offense. We knew if we got the chance we'd score again.''

Martinez hit Quincy Enunwa with a couple big passes before throwing 7 yards to Ben Cotton off play-action for the go-ahead TD with 2:08 left.

Northwestern had a chance to regain the lead with just over a minute left, but Jeff Budzien's 53-yarder was off the mark.

Pelini, who had been seen screaming at players on the sideline and into his headset throughout the game, raised his arms and broke into a big smile as officials signaled Budzien's attempt sailed wide right.

``I thought it was a good team win,'' he said. ``I was frustrated with getting ourselves in that situation in the first place. We've got to use this momentum and we've got to keep working. It's the second half of the year, and we're starting a new season. We got one here on the road and we have to keep going.''

Martinez pushed his career passing total to 5,335 yards, making him the fourth player in school history to go over 5,000 yards passing.

The junior also is the 18th player in Bowl Subdivision history with 5,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards, and he's just the seventh to reach the milestone before his senior season.

``Taylor overall played a pretty outstanding football game,'' Pelini said. ``He was poised the whole time. He kept his poise better than his head coach did.''

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.