K-State gets blueprint for beating West Virginia


K-State gets blueprint for beating West Virginia

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Tommy Tuberville and Texas Tech sure took a lot of the head-scratching out of how to slow down No. 17 West Virginia. Just in time for fourth-ranked Kansas State, too.

The Wildcats head to Morgantown on Saturday with a pretty good blueprint for success.

The difficulty is in trying to follow it.

``There might be philosophical thoughts in regards to how you defend Geno Smith and how you function on special teams that you say, `Maybe within our own schemes, we can do something,''' said Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who should be facing an ornery group of Mountaineers.

This was supposed to be a matchup of top-5 teams with national championship implications, let alone Big 12 title implications, until the Red Raiders threw a giant sombrero in those plans.

Seth Doege was 32 of 42 for 499 yards and six touchdowns against the Mountaineers last Saturday. Texas Tech had 18 plays of 15 yards or more in the 49-14 romp, while the Red Raiders defense managed to hold West Virginia to 2 for 7 on fourth-down conversions.

Smith had just 275 yards passing and a touchdown, not even close to the ridiculous numbers that he had going in: 81.4 percent completions for nearly 400 yards per game.

Even the less-respected West Virginia ground game, led by Andrew Buie, had trouble finding room in Lubbock. The Mountaineers managed only 3.7 yards per carry, almost a full yard less than they had the previous week, when they outscored Texas 48-45 on the road.

``It was embarrassing. Guys were disappointed. It's no fun for anybody,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. ``And so we got in here, I didn't sugarcoat anything. It wasn't a positive session. It wasn't, `It's going to be OK. Don't worry about it.' That's not what we did. Our job is to coach them and tell them what reality is.''

The reality is the Mountaineers (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) struggled on offense for the first time all season against a defense that was able to get off the field on fourth down.

They couldn't spring the big play with wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedmon Bailey like they had in piling up 70 points in a victory over Baylor in their first foray into the Big 12.

They couldn't get off the field on defense, either.

That may be the biggest key to the success of Texas Tech, Snyder said.

``Part of it is their quarterback is extremely talented as well,'' Snyder said of Doege, who carved up the Mountaineers on a windswept day in West Texas. ``It was kind of a matchup that tended to favor Texas Tech in regards to the passing game.''

Kansas State doesn't have someone who can sling it all over the field like Doege, which Snyder is quick to concede, so there may not be much to glean from last weekend in that respect.

But the Mountaineers haven't faced anyone like the Wildcats' Collin Klein, either.

The run-first battering ram has rushed for 510 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, and that comes on the heels of a breakout year in which he piled up 1,141 yards and 27 TDs on the ground.

Klein's also shown some newfound ability to get the ball downfield through the air, too, throwing for 1,074 yards and seven touchdowns against just two interceptions this season. Klein's completion percentage of 66.9 is nearly 10 percent better than last season.

``You watch him on tape and you go, `We have to stop the run,''' Holgorsen said. ``We'll work hard on trying to stop the run, and you want to make them pass. You look at him back there throwing the ball, it doesn't look very good, but it goes exactly where you want it to go.''

West Virginia is allowing more than 37 points per game and has the nation's eighth-worst defense in big part because it has the third-worst pass defense in major college football, allowing nearly 400 yards per game.

``There are a lot of great offenses out there that they've played,'' Klein said, when asked why the Mountaineers' pass defense has been so porous. ``Who knows exactly what the reasons are, but we just have to focus on putting together our plan and executing it on Saturday.''

You can bet that means taking a close look at what Texas Tech did so well.

``They're in a little different spot than they expected to be going into this ballgame,'' Klein admitted, ``but we know we're going to get their best shot regardless.''

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Here's why one writer voted for Max Scherzer over Jacob deGrom for NL Cy Young

USA Today

Here's why one writer voted for Max Scherzer over Jacob deGrom for NL Cy Young

Jacob deGrom could've been a unanimous Cy Young award winner Wednesday. Instead, he won with 29 of 30 first-place votes.

The only voter who chose not to give deGrom a first-place vote was John Maffei of the San Deigo Union-Tribune

"What is stunning to me is the blowback from the fans, especially in New York," wrote Maffei. "Dozens of emails — some venomous — ranging from 'hey dumbass,' 'incompetent,' 'idiot,' 'moron' and 'clown.' Several called for my head, my job."

Shocking. Keyboard warriors furiously typing out their frustration and overreacting to something they didn't like.  

Maffei joined Steve Somers of WFAN in New York as well, which ended up being the shortest interview in the history of interviews.

Maffei points out that he chose to vote for Scherzer over deGrom for many reasons. One being, despite a 1.70 ERA over 217 innings, he had 10 wins and nine losses.

After he talked with other baseball experts, looked at Scherzer's 2.53 ERA and his historic 300-strikeout season — making him one of only 17 pitchers to do that since 1900 — Maffei says his vote was swayed in the direction of the Nats' ace.

One thing's for sure, Maffei may not have made any friends in New York, but he's made plenty of new ones in Washington. 

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Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

USA Today

Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

Just one episode into his new podcast 'Go Off,' Wizards guard Austin Rivers is already learning plenty about the media world. With plans to become a television analyst when his playing days are done, Rivers is gaining a new appreciation for what it takes to speak at-length without stumbling over his words.

He's also starting to realize one of the biggest pain points for a media member: waiting on guests. Rivers has tried to line up interviews with his teammates and it's been much easier said than done.

Rivers is set to have Dwight Howard on as his first guest, but the original plan was point guard John Wall. Wall, though, has been giving him the runaround.

"That's the hardest thing is getting guests to show up," Rivers said. 

"It's impossible to get John on my podcast. At this point, I just don't expect it anymore. He says he'll do it next week and then the week comes. John has like 15 things to do a day. I don't know what these guys do. I play in the league, too. I know how un-busy my life is outside of this. And I've got a kid. John has a brand to run. He's a different level. Sorry, you can see the frustration on my face with not getting John on my podcast, man."

Rivers hopes to have many of his teammates on. He mentioned Kelly Oubre Jr. and how an interview with Oubre "might be a little out there." He also gave a hint about what his conversation with Howard will be like.

"I'm definitely gonna have some interesting topics to bring up with Dwight. I told him 'listen, you might want to check with your publicist before coming on my podcast.' We only talk about real conversations on here," Rivers said.

Rivers says he plans to start with fellow NBA players and then work in special episodes with guests outside of the league and even outside of basketball. He hopes to record an episode with financial advisors to talk about money and investments. He wants to take a deep dive into the AAU circuit and how it can be fixed.

Eventually, Rivers wants to aim very high with his guests. He gave a list of his dream interviews and there are some big names.

"Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade. Dwyane Wade is my favorite player. I'm gonna get Dwyane Wade on my podcast, for sure. I'm gonna go ahead and put that out there," Rivers said.

"Off-the-court, I would love to get Denzel Washington on there. That would be my dream... I want to do a podcast with me and my dad and Jaden Smith and Will Smith. I think that would be really dope, talking about parent-to-son success and how he related to his son to have a work ethic and how my dad did it to me."

Rivers went even higher. He wants to interview a president.

"I guess if I could go the highest, I would go Jay-Z or [Barack] Obama. But let's be realistic, here," Rivers said.

"[Interviewing Obama] would be incredible, bro. I would be so nervous. I'm not there yet, I'll be honest. I need like six or seven or eight more podcasts before I can get Obama on there because I'm gonna be stuttering. I can't do it with Obama yet. I don't know if I could handle Denzel right now."