Redskins

Louisville upsets Florida 33-23 in Sugar Bowl

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Louisville upsets Florida 33-23 in Sugar Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Terell Floyd and the Louisville Cardinals gave the embattled Big East Conference at least one more triumphant night in a major bowl - and at the expense of a top team from the mighty SEC.

Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play, dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater directed a handful of scoring drives and No. 22 Louisville stunned the fourth-ranked Gators 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night.

``I can't speak for the whole Big East, but I can speak for Louisville and I think this means a lot for us,'' Floyd said. ``We showed the world we can play with the best.''

The Big East is in a transitional phase and losing some of its top football programs in the process. Boise State has recently backed out of its Big East commitment and Louisville has plans to join the ACC.

Even this year, the Big East wasn't getting much respect. Louisville, the league champion, was a two-touchdown underdog in the Sugar Bowl.

But by the end, the chant, ``Charlie, Charlie!'' echoed from sections of the Superdome occupied by red-clad Cardinals fans. It was their way of serenading third-year Louisville coach Charlie Strong, the former defensive coordinator for the Gators, who has elevated Cardinals football to new heights and recently turned down a chance to leave for the top job at Tennessee.

``I look at this performance tonight, and I sometimes wonder, `Why didn't we do this the whole season,''' Strong said. ``We said this at the beginning: We just take care of our job and do what we're supposed to do, don't worry about who we're playing.''

Shaking off an early hit that flattened him and knocked off his helmet, Bridgewater was 20 of 32 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Among his throws was a pinpoint, 15-yard timing toss that DeVante Parker grabbed as he touched one foot down in the corner of the end zone.

``I looked at what did and didn't work for quarterbacks during the regular season,'' said Bridgewater, picked as the game's top player. ``They faced guys forcing throws ... and coach tells me, `No capes on your back or `S' on your chest, take what the defense give you.' That's what I took. Film study was vital.''

His other scoring strike went to Damian Copeland from 19 yards one play after a surprise onside kick by the Gators backfired. Jeremy Wright had a short touchdown run that gave Louisville (11-2) a 14-0 lead the Gators couldn't overcome.

Florida (11-2) never trailed by more than 10 points this season. The defeat dropped SEC teams to 3-3 this bowl season, with Alabama, Texas A&M and Mississippi still to play.

``We got outcoached and outplayed,'' Florida coach Will Muschamp said. ``That's what I told the football team. That's the bottom line.''

Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel, who had thrown only three interceptions all season, turned the ball over three times on two interceptions - both tipped passes - and a fumble. He finished 16 of 29 for 175 yards.

Down 33-10 midway through the fourth period, Florida tried to rally. Andre Debose scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Driskel threw a TD pass to tight end Kent Taylor with 2:13 left. But when Louisville defenders piled on Driskel to thwart the 2-point try, the game was essentially over.

Florida didn't score until Caleb Sturgis's 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

The Gators finally got in the end zone with a trick play in the closing seconds of the half. They changed personnel as if to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 1, but lined up in a bizarre combination of swinging-gate and shotgun formations and handed off to Matt Jones.

The Gators tried to keep the momentum with a surprise onside kick to open the third quarter, but not only did Louisville recover, Florida's Chris Johnson was called for a personal foul and ejected for jabbing at Louisville's Zed Evans. That gave Louisville the ball on the Florida 19, from where Bridgewater needed one play to find Copeland for his score.

``We game-planned it and felt good about it,'' Muschamp said of the onside kick attempt. ``We wanted to steal a possession at the start of the second half.''

On the following kickoff, Evans cut down kick returner Loucheiz Purifoy with a vicious low, high-speed hit that shook Purifoy up. Soon after, Driskel was sacked hard from behind and stripped by safety Calvin Pryor, ending another Florida drive with a turnover.

``We had the right attitude, had the right mindset that we would go out and beat this team,'' Pryor said.

After Louisville native Muhammad Ali was on the field for the coin toss, the Cardinals quickly stung the Gators. Floyd, one of nearly three dozen Louisville players from Florida, made the play.

Driskel was looking for seldom-targeted Debose, who'd had only two catches all season.

``I threw it behind him, (he) tried to make a play on it, tipped it right to the guy,'' Driskel said. ``Unfortunate to start the game like that.''

When Louisville's offense got the ball later in the quarter, the Florida defense, ranked among the best in the nation this season, sought to intimidate the Cardinals with one heavy hit after another.

One blow by Jon Bostic knocked Bridgewater's helmet off moments after he'd floated an incomplete pass down the right sideline. Bostic was called for a personal foul, however, which seemed to get the Cardinals opening drive rolling. Later, Wright lost his helmet during a 3-yard gain and took another heavy hit before he went down.

Louisville kept coming.

B.J. Butler turned a short catch into a 23-yard gain down to the Florida 1. Then Wright punched it in to give the Cardinals an early two-TD lead over a team that finished third in the BCS standings, one spot too low to play for a national title in Miami.

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Report shows Bruce Allen won't trade Trent Williams now, but could that change?

Report shows Bruce Allen won't trade Trent Williams now, but could that change?

No practices. No games. No voluntary workouts. No mandatory workouts. No training camp. Trent Williams hasn't attended a single Redskins team event in 2019. Not one. And still he remains on the team.

NFL Network reported on Saturday morning that while the Redskins have gotten plenty of calls about the seven-time Pro Bowler Williams, Washington team president Bruce Allen has no intention to trade the left tackle.

Browns GM John Dorsey publicly admitted this week that he's been calling the Redskins about possibly trading for Williams but that it "takes two to tango." The implication being Allen isn't taking serious part in trade talks, and that coincides with the NFL Network report. 

If Allen is intent on waiting until January to trade Williams, the Redskins boss retains that power. Allen makes trades, unilaterally, and whether or not it should be the case, it remains that case. DeAngelo Hall explained on his podcast last month that he didn't expect Williams to be traded until the offseason either. Hall explained that Allen wanted to trade Williams on his own terms, and that won't happen in season. 

There could be strategic advantages to holding on to Williams this year too. If Williams doesn't play, and the Redskins trade him in January, that will leave two years on his contract. If Washington traded him now, he would have only the remainder of this season plus the 2020 season to entice bidders. There also are salary cap rollovers available if Williams doesn't play this year and the team moves on in the offseason.

It also seems kind of crazy not to trade Williams now. 

If a team needs a tackle, Williams' value won't be as high in January as it is right now. Period. The trade deadline comes on October 29th, and Williams could likely command a large asking price. Dorsey is openly talking about wanting Williams. He wouldn't do that if he didn't mean that. 

Allen has made it clear that moving on from Williams now isn't in the cards, but one source inside the Redskins Park headquarters still said he wouldn't be surprised if something happens before the deadline. But what makes that happen?

The offers might need to change. 

Think about things in the context of Allen's approach: If the Redskins are close, then players help more than draft picks. If Washington is going to give up one of their best players, or arguably their best player, then Allen might want a star player back in a trade. 

Does that offer exist? Is Allen even interested? Those answers aren't clear. 

What is clear, however, is that the Redskins made a shift towards accountability. At least that's what's been said.

The team fired Jay Gruden two weeks and moved to interim head coach Bill Callahan. Much of Callahan's message has been about increasing physicality on the field and responsibility off it. For that message to work, how can the team continue to let the Williams situation linger?

Throughout Williams' holdout, Redskins leadership has dismissed the idea of trading Williams. During training camp the word was Williams would not be traded, at all. In fact, Allen said he expected Williams to rejoin the team before the regular season started. Seven games later, no sign of Williams. 

After firing Jay Gruden two weeks ago, Allen held a press conference. Asked about trading Williams, Allen replied, "No, not at this time."

Well, last week for the first time Callahan got asked about trading Williams. It's not Callahan's call to make the trade, but the answer sounded different.

"I think you’re always looking to improve your roster by any means," the interim coach said. "Whether you’re acquiring by trade or acquiring it through free agency or obviously guys off the waiver wire, we’re always looking."

Callahan says the Redskins are always looking to improve. That means the question is what justifies improvement to Allen. 

Maybe it's not picks. Maybe it's players. The deadline comes in about nine days. Questions will be answered. 

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Week 8: Virginia, Virginia Tech pick up key Coastal wins

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USA TODAY Sports

Week 8: Virginia, Virginia Tech pick up key Coastal wins

Virginia sits atop the Coastal Division standings after a win over Duke while Virginia Tech remains in the race after a six-overtime thriller over UNC. Maryland dropped another Big Ten game, Navy dominated South Florida and Penn State held on to edge Michigan in the Whiteout.

Here's a recap of the week's local action.

Navy 35, South Florida 3

The good

Navy’s defense completely dominated the Bulls forcing seven punts and one interception. This is the first time since 2013 the Midshipmen have not allowed a touchdown in a game. Navy now has a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2017 and sit one win away from becoming bowl eligible. That’s quite the turnaround for a team than won just three games last year.

The bad

The one thing that did not seem to go well for Navy on Saturday was the pass offense. That was something Ken Niumatalolo wanted to add to the offense this year. Quarterback Malcolm Perry attempted only three passes, one was incomplete and the other two were completed...to South Florida.

With three total turnovers on the day, Navy’s turnover margin for the season dropped to minus-3.

The ugly

Things always get ugly when one team knows what the other wants to do and still can’t stop it. South Florida loaded the box to stop the option and couldn’t. The Bulls even put 11 players in the box and still Navy continued to march up and down the field for a season-high 434 rushing yards.

Virginia Tech 43, North Carolina 41 (6OT)

The good

A Virginia Tech offense that was completely left for dead earlier in the season has really come alive. Quarterback Hendon Hooker who took over as the starter before the game against Miami was credited with the turnaround, but he suffered an injury late in the first half Saturday. Ryan Willis took over initially and completed all three of his pass attempts including one touchdown. Justin Fuente, however, wisely elected to replace Willis with third-string quarterback Quincy Patterson for the second half.

The offense seemingly comes alive with a dual-threat quarterback under center which Willis is not. WIth him in, this offense has a ceiling that likely could not have kept up with North Carolina.

The move paid off as Patterson threw for 54 yards, rushed for another 122 and scored two total touchdowns plus the game-clinching two-point conversion in overtime.

The win incredibly puts Virginia Tech right back in the thick of the ACC Coastal Division race and puts them two wins away from bowl eligibility with five games remaining.

The bad

Once again, the Hokies defense was torched giving up 491 yards, 41 points and forcing no turnovers. It’s a good thing the offense has started to figure things out because the defense has not been able to offer much help of late.

The ugly

You don’t get to six overtimes without some ugliness. Both teams managed 10 points in the first two overtimes, then Hokies kicker Brian Johnson missed a 41-yard field goal in triple overtime giving North Carolina the chance to win. Noah Ruggles, however, missed a 35-yard field goal forcing a fourth overtime.

Virginia Tech stuffed North Carolina for minus-two yards and blocked North Carolina’s field goal. With a chance to redeem himself, Johnson lined up for the 42-yard field goal and the win...and missed again.

Mercifully, the new college overtime rules take kicking out of the equation by the fifth overtime and give each team one play for a two-point conversation. Virginia Tech was stopped in fifth overtime, North Carolina failed in their next two attempts and Patterson finally ended the game in the sixth OT, running the ball in from three yards for the win.

Indiana 34, Maryland 28

The good

With no Anthony McFarland Jr. who was out with a high-ankle sprain, the Terps needed a big game from Javon Leake and he delivered with a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns.

The bad

You never want to see a player get injured, but from a purely competitive standpoint, Maryland should have had an advantage when Indiana’s starting quarterback, Michael Penix Jr., was forced out of the game early in the second quarter with an injury. Yet, it still didn’t matter as Maryland’s defense was picked apart by backup Peyton Ramsey.

To be fair, Ramsey was the Hoosiers’ starter last season and lost his job to Penix. He decided to stick with Indiana and was ready when called upon Saturday, completing 20 out of 27 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown.

This marks the second straight week the Terps were beaten by a team playing its backup quarterback. For the game, Maryland gave up 520 total yards including 334 through the air.

The ugly

Despite their troubles on defense, the Terps still had an opportunity to win this game. With less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the score 31-28, Maryland got the ball back deep in their own territory. In just one play, however, Leake had the ball stripped and it was recovered by Indiana. The Hoosiers tacked on a field goal, but Maryland got the ball back again with a chance to win, this time down by six. The offense managed to drive the ball to Indiana’s 42, but Tyrrell Pigrome overthrew his receiver for an interception to seal the game. That’s two turnovers late in the fourth quarter when Maryland still could have won the game.

Virginia 48, Duke 14

The good

A Duke offense that had scored 30 points or more in each of its last five games was held to just 14 by Virginia’s defense on Saturday. Only one of those touchdowns was against starters as the second came in the fourth quarter when the backups for both teams came into the game. The Blue Devils had just 166 total yards in those first three quarters.

The win puts the Cavaliers in first place in the Coastal Division at 3-1. Pitt, who Virginia beat to open the season, sits in second at 2-1.

The bad

Virginia’s offense remains a one-man show with Bryce Perkins responsible for 152 of Virginia’s 153 yards (111 passing, 42 rushing) in the first half of the game. That cost UVA in its previous two losses and will cost them again this season if Virginia can't find its quarterback some help.

The ugly

The Cavaliers forced a whopping five turnovers from the Blue Devils on the day and turned those turnovers into 20 points. That’s how a seemingly evenly matched game turned into a 34-point blowout.

Penn State 28, Michigan 21

The good

Quarterback Sean Clifford accounted for all four of Penn State’s touchdowns with three passing touchdowns and one one-yard run. K.J. Hamler was his favorite target and he torched Michigan’s secondary with 108 yards on six catches and two touchdowns.

The bad 

The NittanyLion’s strength this season has been its defense while Michigan’s offense has struggled to find an identity. They seemed to find it Saturday as they tore through Penn State’s defense for 417 total yards.

The ugly

What is home-field advantage worth? A heck of a lot. The Whiteout flustered Michigan early on as the Wolverines had to call timeout before their very first snap on offense. The next drive ended when a false start on a third-and-long prevented any chance of Michigan getting the first down.

This loss drops Jim Harbaugh’s record against top-10 teams while at Michigan to 1-10.