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McNeese State tops Lamar 35-0 in Southland finale

McNeese State tops Lamar 35-0 in Southland finale

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) Kelvin Bennett rushed for 112 yards on four carries, including a 93-yard touchdown, as McNeese State shut out Lamar 35-0 Saturday night in the season finale for both teams.

The Cowboys (7-4, 4-3 Southland Conference), who had already clinched their eighth straight winning season - the eighth-longest streak of its kind among all Football Championship Subdivision teams - posted their highest win total since 2009 and their eighth consecutive non-losing record in the league.

Cody Stroud, who threw for 346 yards in last week's 31-24 loss to Texas-San Antonio, was 10-of-18 passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns - a 46-yarder to Dontae Spencer and a 2-yarder to Kendale Thomas in the ``Battle of the Border.''

DePauldrick Garrett rushed for 100 of his 112 yards in the first half for the Cardinals (4-8, 1-6).

Caleb Berry, who replaced injured starter Ryan Mossakowski last week, was 13-of-20 passing for 68 yards.

1.23.19: Rick Horrow sits down with Stadium CEO Jason Coyle

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USA TODAY Sports

1.23.19: Rick Horrow sits down with Stadium CEO Jason Coyle

By Rick Horrow

Podcast editor: Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

  • In its eighth consecutive installment, The POWER 100 , Horrow Sports Ventures’ proprietary annual ranking of the most powerful athletes in sports, uses a complex statistical model to accurately compare performance and influence through on-field (50%) and off-field (50%) attributes. Athletes are then ranked based on POWER to find the TOP 100. Among interesting results: Serena Williams is not ranked for the first time ever. Her performance slowed after taking some time to start a family, and some controversial moments may have hurt her brand. Expect a strong bounce back once she’s back on schedule. Tom Brady (14), in the cusp of playing in yet another Super Bowl, has hit his highest ranking in recent memory, a nearly 54 place increase since last year. And the stellar play of NBA’er Giannis Antetokounmpo continued on the court and has paid dividends off the court as well, as he placed 8th. Top endorsement earners were Roger Federer (12) taking home $58 million in off court sponsorships and LeBron James (10) with $56 million. The highest place rookie from any sport is quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who finished 20th in the rankings and came within minutes of reaching the Super Bowl on Sunday.
  • More brands are “tangling with political and social issues in their advertising campaigns.” However, most Americans “would rather they don’t try the same thing during the Super Bowl,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Viewers are “likely to get what they want.” The WSJ poll shows two-thirds of consumers “call the Super Bowl an inappropriate place for advertisers to make political statements.” Baby boomers in the poll “disapproved of political Super Bowl advertisements more, at 77%, than younger cohorts such as millennials (55%) and Generation Z (43%).” Only 35% of Generation Z respondents “called political Super Bowl ads ‘very’ or 'somewhat’ appropriate.” The Super Bowl has “featured political ads before, most notably” in Super Bowl LI, which “took place soon after President Trump’s inauguration.” A year later, Super Bowl LII was “less overtly political, but still included” a Coca-Cola ad promoting unity, a T-Mobile USA Inc. diversity theme, and a Dodge Ram Trucks spot using audio of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in an ad that promoted public service. Marketers have not "shown any inclination to charge into hard-core politics or social controversies” during Super Bowl LIII. However, with the country as divided as it is, themes imploring diversity, unity, and inclusion will no doubt make their way into the February 3 broadcast.
  • Golf also got some encouraging news this week from the market research firm NPD Group, which reported that the golf market “has not only recuperated but experienced a significant uptick in sales” in the past 12 months, resulting in an 8% year-over-year increase up to $2.6 billion. “The macro environment for golf has been in a turbulent state, fueled by Golfsmith’s bankruptcy, major brands cutting back on their golf business, and courses closing. But today, we’re starting to see normalization in the market as those deep holes are now being filled,” said Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor of the NPD Group. The industry saw increases across every product category. Clubs, which make up 50% of the category, grew by 7%, while equipment accessories such as balls (6% increase), gloves (7% increase), accessories (21% increase), and training aids (13%) also made positive strides in 2018. Callaway, Titleist, and Wilson were the fastest-growing brands among the top-10, joining TaylorMade and PING as the other two members of the top-5. With Baby Boomers retiring every day, great opportunity exists to introduce thousands of new retirees to golf. Combine that with a good economy, Tiger’s resurgence, and thrilling up and comers in the game and you have the makings of a stable industry.

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D.J. Swearinger slams Jay Gruden, says Redskins 'will never win big'

D.J. Swearinger slams Jay Gruden, says Redskins 'will never win big'

Almost a month after his release, former Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger voiced some highly critical comments of Washington head coach Jay Gruden on his Instagram page. 

"That coach y’all have will never win big cause it ain it him to coach discipline," Swearinger wrote in a comment on his page. 

The backstory here needs telling.

While Swearinger was playing at a high level for Washington in 2018, he was clashing with the coaching staff.

Swearinger was released before the Redskins final game of the 2018 season after the safety made damning comments about defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Swearinger alleged that he watched more film than the defensive coaches and questioned the team's scheme in a critical moment of the Week 16 loss against the Titans. 

This was not the first time Swearinger had gone public with complaints about coaching. It happened multiple times in 2018 and also in 2017. 

After an ugly December loss against the Giants that caused Swearinger to criticize the team, Gruden publicly admonished his safety. Privately, the coach made clear that the behavior would not again be tolerated. Then, the Titans game happened, Swearinger blasted Mansuky. The safety was released a few days later.

Below are Swearinger's full comments from his Instagram page that came in a reply to a Redskins fan saying he missed him on the team:

Y’all will never win big bro. I’ve seen championship swagger from a coach BA he a OG. That coach y’all have will never win big cause it ain it him to coach discipline..it ain in him to chew somebody out in practice cause they lacking..when u say I’m a cancer for wanting to practice harder or wanting to get coached harder just to win then winning prolly not for you or you don’t understand that hard work pays off. Mediocre work get you beat! Remember This winners are born but champions are made. A strong leader of men make others around him better. Spread Peace Love And Elevation In everything you do lil brudda! Be Easy!!

Nobody would question Swearinger's effort in practice or workouts. He's a hard worker.

For the season, he logged four interceptions and three forced fumbles to go with a sack and 53 tackles in 15 games. Pro Football Focus ranked Swearinger the 13th best safety in the NFL and he had been named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

Obviously, Swearinger was not released because of his play. The coaching staff just felt they could no longer tolerate his public criticism, and some on the staff had felt that way for a long time. 

It should be noted too that for a talented player, Swearinger has bounced around a lot.

The Texans released him two years after drafting him in 2013, despite having two more years on his rookie contract. Tampa signed him, and released him after seven games. Things worked out in Swearinger's next stop with the Cardinals, where he played for part of 2015 and the full 2016 season before signing with the Redskins as a free agent in 2017.

The Redskins cut Swearinger despite having another year on his contract for a modest $4.5 million price tag. Arizona claimed him on waivers. 

One bizarre note in all this: The actual photo Swearinger posted to go along with this comment had nothing to do with the Redskins. It was a picture of Swearinger with Larry Fitzgerald, with the safety congratulating the receiver for his recent announcement that he would return for the 2019 season. 

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