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LSU-Arkansas Preview Capsule

LSU-Arkansas Preview Capsule

No. 8 LSU (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) at Arkansas (4-7, 2-5), 2:30 p.m., Friday (CBS)

Line: LSU by 12

Series Record: LSU leads 35-20-2

WHAT'S AT STAKE

That depends on the outcome of the Auburn-Alabama game this weekend. LSU can still win the Southeastern Conference West Division with a win over Arkansas, but only if Auburn shocks No. 2 Alabama - and the rest of the country. The Tigers are the highest-ranked two-loss team and could potentially play their way back into the BCS title game, depending on how other conference title games shake out, but a loss to the struggling Razorbacks would put an end to BCS bowl hopes of any kind.

Arkansas' hopes for this game are limited to that of playing the spoiler role. The Razorbacks' bowl hopes vanished with a loss at Mississippi State last week, the final nail in the coffin of a disappointing season in the wake of the Bobby Petrino scandal in April that led to his firing. Interim coach John L. Smith fought back tears earlier this week when discussing the likelihood that this will be his final game at Arkansas. The Razorbacks, ranked in the top 10 to begin the season, must find a way to tap into that emotion if they are to win against LSU for the fourth time in six games.

KEY MATCHUP

Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson vs. LSU's defense. For all of the negatives this season for the Razorbacks, Wilson hasn't been one of them. The senior, last season's first-team All-SEC quarterback, leads the league with an average of 302.8 yards passing and would love nothing more than to win his final college game at home.

The Tigers, meanwhile, are third in the SEC in pass defense - allowing 179.4 yards per game. LSU, whose 29 sacks this season as a team are led by Sam Montgomery's seven, expects to put plenty of pressure on Wilson, who has been hit consistently this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LSU: QB Zach Mettenberger. Opposing quarterbacks have had their way this season with an Arkansas secondary that ranks last in the SEC and 115th in the country, allowing 292.1 yards passing per game. Mettenberger averages 206.5 yards passing, but he's performed well of late - averaging 284.3 yards his last three games. Expect more of the same against the Razorbacks.

Arkansas: WR Cobi Hamilton. The senior, who leads the SEC in catches (80) and yards receiving (1,237), needs just four catches to break the school record for career receptions. He currently has 165 for his career and is also 178 yards short of matching Jarius Wright's mark in career yardage for the Razorbacks.

FACTS AND FIGURES

A win for LSU would give the Tigers double-digit wins for the sixth time in eight years under coach Les Miles ... The school is tied with Boise State for the longest streak with at least eight wins in a season, doing so 13 times in a row ... Miles is 4-3 against Arkansas, pulling above .500 with a 41-17 win last season ... The Razorbacks will miss a bowl game this season for the first time since 2008, Petrino's first season as coach ... Arkansas shocked LSU in its final game that season to finish 5-7.

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4 players who impressed in the Capitals home preseason opener against Boston

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AP Images

4 players who impressed in the Capitals home preseason opener against Boston

Capital One Arena saw its first action of the season on Tuesday, albeit in a preseason game, as the Capitals fell 5-2 to the Boston Bruins. T.J. Oshie looked like he wanted to hit everything that moved every time he was on the ice. Matt Niskanen also scored a power play tally, but both he and Oshie’s spots on the team are already secure. There were plenty of other players with a lot on the line looking to make an impression in the home preseason opener.

Here are four players who impressed:

RILEY BARBER
The Caps scored less than five minutes into the game thanks to a nifty deflection by Barber on a quick shot by Alex Alexeyev. Barber was Washington’s top offensive threat on the night and was all over the net with nine (!!!) shots on goal and another four attempts. His goal was a dirty one, but Barber also showed some soft hands and good stick work as well.

At 24, Barber is at a critical point in his career as he is battling to make the NHL and not become a career AHLer. Right now he still looks like a long shot to make the roster and will likely need a few more efforts like Tuesday’s game to really give himself a shot to stick around in Washington.

NIC DOWD
Dowd is in a battle for the fourth line center job to replace Jay Beagle. Tuesday was a good dress rehearsal for him in terms of winning the job. Dowd was the team’s best player in the face-off dot, took 17 draws and won 12 of them, by far Washington’s top face-off man on the night (not counting Jayson Megna who won the one draw he took). Dowd also drew two penalties on the night.

Dowd’s biggest competition for fourth line center looks to be Travis Boyd who also played Tuesday. With both players in action, Dowd had the greater impact on the game. The offensive upside looks much higher for Boyd, but Dowd looks like he provides more of those little things that Beagle provided such as face-off wins and penalty killing.

CONNOR HOBBS
Hobbs took exception to a hit delivered to him by Tanner Pond and the two dropped the gloves. Liam O’Brien dropped the gloves as well and took on Mark McNeil, but Hobbs gets the shout-out here because it was a pretty darn good bout with Hobbs delivering several pretty nice rights to the pond.

BRADEN HOLTBY
Just in case you were wondering, yes, Holtby is going to make the team. While you could put him in the same category as Oshie, Holtby makes the list for having the top play of the night.

In the first period, former Cap Daniel Winnik looked like he had an empty net to shoot on, but Holtby stretched out the toe to make the fantastic save and somehow deny Winnik.

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After busy day of transactions, Redskins WR and RB depth charts look quite different

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USA Today Sports

After busy day of transactions, Redskins WR and RB depth charts look quite different

In the NFL regular season, Tuesday marks the quietest day of the week. It's supposed to anyway. For the Redskins heading into Week 3 that was not the case.

The team announced seven roster moves, bolstering the receiving group and making changes to the practice squad. The biggest additions, however, came at wide receiver. 

Through two games, Washington is not getting a lot of production out of the receiver group. That's not all on the players running routes. There are a number of factors, starting with new quarterback Alex Smith getting used to his new weapons, offensive line performance, play calling and the success of the run game. Even given all that context, still, the Redskins wideouts have underperformed as a group. 

Josh Doctson has five catches for 48 yards and Jamison Crowder has five catches for 40 yards. Paul Richardson leads the team with eight catches for 85 yards. 

In Week 1, rookie WRs Trey Quinn and Cam Sims injured their ankles, and both players got put on injured reserve. The team brought in Brian Quick and Jehu Chesson to replace them, and both players primarily functioned as special teamers. 

This week, with another subpar performance from the outside WRs, the Redskins took a different path. Chesson got moved to the practice squad, and the 'Skins added a pair of former first round pick WRs in Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman. Neither player has a history of playing special teams, and Floyd has logged a 1,000-yard receiving season.

To make roster space, the team cut Chesson and moved him to the practice squad, and put third-year RB Rob Kelley on the injured reserve. Kelley injured his toe in the loss to the Colts and would miss at least a month. 

What does all that mean? Here are the updated RB and WR depth charts:

RB
1) Adrian Peterson
2) Chris Thompson
3) Samaje Perine

Notes: The Redskins now only have three running backs on the roster, though Kapri Bibbs is stashed on the practice squad and Byron Marshall opened the season on the IR. More than likely, all three RBs will be active on Sunday against the Packers.

WR
1) Josh Doctson
2) Paul Richardson
3) Jamison Crowder
4) Maurice Harris
5) Brian Quick
6) Michael Floyd
7) Breshad Perriman

Notes: While the Redskins top three options (Doctson, Richardson, Crowder) remain in the same spots, the rest of the WR position group seems like a big question mark. Harris’ health and availability remain unclear, and that leads to other concerns. Quick knows the offensive system but had just six catches in 11 games in 2017. Floyd has the best resume of any wideout on the roster, but will he be able to perform right away? It seems likely two of these seven WRs will be inactive on game day, but which two?

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