Nationals

K-State looks to future after Fiesta Bowl loss

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K-State looks to future after Fiesta Bowl loss

All season, Kansas State was content to live in the moment.

Longtime coach Bill Snyder has adhered to the ``one week at a time'' mantra for two decades, so it was fairly easy to do. Practice and film study early in the week, the finishing touches on the game plan later in the week, and then put it all together on Saturday.

The result was 10 straight wins to start the season and a slow climb to the top of the BCS standings. After a heart-wrenching loss to Baylor dashed their national title dreams, the Wildcats responded with a rout of Texas to win only their second Big 12 championship.

They also earned a bid to the Fiesta Bowl, where No. 7 Kansas State made too many of the mistakes it had avoided all season in losing to fifth-ranked Oregon on Thursday night.

Now, the Wildcats are forced to look toward the future - one filled with uncertainty.

Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, their blood-and-guts quarterback, has finished his dazzling career. So have some of his biggest threats on offense. All-Big 12 linebacker Arthur Brown and nine other regulars on defense are also moving on.

``They're young guys that have given so much to Kansas State University, to the family of Kansas State and to our football program,'' Snyder said shortly after the Wildcats' 35-17 loss to the Ducks. ``I appreciate all they've done.''

No doubt, he also appreciates how big the task will be in replacing them.

The most daunting one is at quarterback.

Klein evolved from an also-ran wide receiver into a dominant signal-caller during his time at Kansas State, leading the Wildcats to the Cotton Bowl last season and even greater heights this season. Along the way, he threw for more than 4,700 yards, ran for nearly 2,500 and accounted for 87 touchdowns through the air and on the ground.

He was the Big 12's offensive player of the year this season, a second-team All-American and the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

``I mean, I'm just so blessed that God's given me the opportunity to be here at K-State,'' he said, ``be part of this family, play with all of our guys, play for coach.''

There will likely be competition to replace Klein.

Backup Daniel Sams only attempted eight passes all season in mop-up duty. He'll be pushed by Jake Waters, the nation's top junior-college quarterback this past season.

Whoever wins the job will still have running back John Hubert and talented wide receiver Tyler Lockett, along with the entire offensive line. But he won't have Chris Harper, the former Oregon quarterback who became their top pass-catcher, or tight end Travis Tannahill, who developed into a solid downfield option.

There are even more holes on the defensive side.

Brown began his career at Miami before transferring to Kansas State, where he became a team captain and was this voted the Big 12's top defensive player by the conference.

He led a defense stocked with experienced players that managed to shut down some of the Big 12's most high-powered offenses - Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech among them.

Brown will be moving on along with fellow linebackers Jarrell Childs and Justin Tuggle, and the entire defensive line: tackles John Sua and Vai Lutui and ends Adam Davis and Meshak Williams. Cornerbacks Allen Chapman and Nigel Malone and safety Jared Milo are also seniors.

Yes, questions certainly abound as the Wildcats try to plug in replacements.

Snyder's future is yet another question.

The architect of what's widely been considered the greatest turnaround in the history of college football came back from a brief retirement in 2009 and did it again, taking a program that had lost its way back to the top of the Big 12.

Athletic director John Currie has said that the 73-year-old Snyder can remain Kansas State's coach ``as long as he wants,'' but only Snyder knows how long that will be. He routinely turns back any questions about his future, preferring to focus entirely on the present.

Still, it's clear Kansas State is positioning itself for his retirement.

The athletic department has begun a massive construction project on the west side of the stadium that bears Snyder's name. While the immediate goal is to create better facilities for players and a better experience for fans, the long-term upshot is that it should help Kansas State woo Snyder's replacement, whenever that's necessary.

For now, it appears Snyder is turning his attention toward next season.

Given everybody they'll lose to graduation, the Wildcats probably will expected to finish somewhere in the bottom half of the Big 12, and that should suit them just fine.

That's right where they were picked to finish this season.

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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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