Nationals

Methodical Navy faces quick-strike Indiana

Methodical Navy faces quick-strike Indiana

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Indiana hopes to speed up the game. Navy wants to slow it down.

Two dramatically contrasting offensive styles will be on display Saturday when the Hoosiers face the Midshipmen for the first time since 1986.

Second-year Indiana coach Kevin Wilson has devised a potent attack predicated on running a high number of plays with little delay. The Hoosiers (2-4) showed how effective the no-huddle system can be in last week's 52-49 loss to Ohio State.

``Our goal is to get on the ball very quickly and dictate to the defense,'' Indiana offensive coordinator Seth Littrell said. ``We want to keep the defense back on its heels and make it adjust to what we're doing,''

Navy (3-3), on the other hand, employs a triple-option offense that is designed to methodically move the ball and take time off the clock. In a 31-13 rout of Central Michigan last Friday, the Midshipmen dominated the time of possession, 35:47 to 24:13.

``The blueprint for our success was this past game: Run the ball, eat the clock,'' coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ``That's how we've got to win.''

Indiana leads the Big Ten and is ranked 15th nationally in passing offense (313 yards per game). The Hoosiers stand second in the conference (22nd nationally) in total offense (473 yards) and third (32nd) in scoring offense (35.5 points).

``There are so many things they do well and they do it all very quickly. They operate at a high tempo so you really have to be ready to play,'' Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green said. ``They are very good at what they do. They're going up and down the field against everybody. They've scored a ton of points and put up a lot of yards in every game.''

Indiana has displayed quick-strike capability - 24 of its scoring drives this season have lasted three minutes or less. The Hoosiers have produced 14 touchdown drives under 90 seconds, nine of which covered at least 70 yards in six or fewer plays. Wilson's innovative approach has the team running a play every 20.6 seconds.

``It's a really, really good offense. They're very talented at all positions and have a complete package,'' Green said. ``They really keep you off balance with all the different phases of the offense. If you over-play the pass, they gash you in the running game.''

Tre Roberson opened the season as the starting quarterback for Indiana but suffered a broken leg in the second game against Massachusetts. Junior college transfer Cameron Coffman took over and has been solid in four games as the starter, completing 108 of 172 passes for 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns.

Shane Wynn is the top target with 31 receptions for 294 yards and five touchdowns.

Niumatalolo announced this week that freshman Keenan Reynolds is Navy's starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, saying ``it's his job to lose.'' Reynolds replaced injured starter Trey Miller against Air Force two weeks ago and led the Midshipmen to a come-from-behind overtime victory. The Tennessee native started at Central Michigan and become the first Navy quarterback to throw three touchdown passes in a game since Chris McCoy in 1997.

Slotback Gee Gee Greene has been the most consistent weapon for Navy, now 14th in the national rankings with 233 yards rushing per game. Greene, who has 292 yards rushing and 152 yards receiving, is averaging almost 10 yards every time he touches the ball.

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Max Scherzer grits his way through broken nose in stellar outing, win vs. Phillies

Max Scherzer grits his way through broken nose in stellar outing, win vs. Phillies

WASHINGTON -- With a broken nose, pronounced black eye and seven shutout innings, Max Scherzer provided a striking capper to the Washington Nationals' day-night doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Scherzer himself? He shrugged off his work in the Nationals' 2-0 victory Wednesday night as business as usual.

"Trust me, this thing looks a lot worse than it actually is," Scherzer said. "I felt zero pain. There's been plenty of other injuries where I felt a lot of pain and I've had to pitch through. I'll hang my hat on those starts, but tonight I felt zero pain. This is part of what you have to do. You take the ball every fifth time.

"That's my responsibility to the team, to make sure I always post, and I knew I could post tonight."

Brian Dozier and Victor Robles hit solo homers to support Scherzer (6-5) as Washington won for the 16th time in 23 games. Philadelphia has dropped seven of its last nine and 12 of 18.

In the first game, Patrick Corbin struck out eight while allowing one run over seven innings as the Nationals earned a 6-2 victory in the delayed series opener after the teams were rained out Monday and Tuesday.

Scherzer bunted a ball off his face during batting practice Tuesday, but it didn't stop him from making his scheduled start. His injury may have provided an extra layer of intimidation in the form of a black eye more worthy of a boxing ring than a baseball diamond.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner sported a pronounced bruise arcing beneath his right eye, adding another hue to a glare that already featured one blue eye and one brown eye.

"Going out there and throwing, the only thing I had to deal with was the swelling underneath the eye," Scherzer said. "It was kind of jiggling around, and so in warmups I just had to get used to knowing what it was feeling like to throw the ball and just have that swelling."

While he wasn't at his most efficient on a humid night, piling up 117 pitches, Scherzer was rarely threatened. He struck out 10, yielded only four hits and permitted just two runners to reach scoring position. And he finished strong, striking out three in a row after Cesar Hernandez led off the seventh with a double.

"It really is one of the most impressive things I've seen in a while," Dozier said. "He's probably the best pitcher in our generation, and you don't get that status unless you take the ball every fifth day, no matter if you're doing good, doing bad, you got a broken nose. You always want the ball."

Bryce Harper, Scherzer's former Nationals teammate, was 0 for 4 with four walks in the doubleheader and was loudly booed before each plate appearance -- especially in the better-attended nightcap. This series is his second trip back to Washington, where he played from 2012-18, since signing a 13-year, $330 million contract with Philadelphia in March.

Dozier belted a two-out solo shot in the second off Jake Arrieta (6-6), who allowed two hits and struck out three over six innings and had the misfortune of matching up with Scherzer on the wrong day.

"Max is just one of the best to ever toe the rubber, honestly," Arietta said. "We have ran into him a couple of times. That's just what he does. He is tough to square up, and he is throwing three or four pitches for strikes with electric stuff. Just a tough one."

Robles homered off reliever Pat Neshek in the eighth. Neshek departed two batters later with a left hamstring strain, and manager Gabe Kapler said he was likely to land on the injured list less than a week after returning from an absence of more than three weeks caused by a shoulder strain.

Wander Suero pitched a perfect eighth for Washington, and Sean Doolittle worked the ninth for his 15th save in 18 tries.

Philadelphia was 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position between the two games.

Corbin (6-5), whose start was pushed back twice this week, allowed a solo homer to Scott Kingery in the first inning of the opener. But he let just one other runner to reach third while ending a personal three-game skid.

"It's not ideal, but you have to deal with it to make sure you are ready," said Corbin, who is one strikeout shy of 1,000 for his career. "I was glad we got that one in today."

Dozier and Gerardo Parra had RBI doubles against Phillies starter Zach Eflin (6-7). They later hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning off Cole Irvin to seal the victory.

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Ovechkin voted an NHL first-team All Star for the eighth time

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Ovechkin voted an NHL first-team All Star for the eighth time

Las Vegas always treats the Capitals well.

One year after winning the Stanley Cup at T-Mobile Arena, Alex Ovechkin was once again named a first-team All-Star at the annual NHL Awards ceremony and John Carlson took second-team honors. The event was held at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.  

The Pro Hockey Writers Association voted Ovechkin onto the first team for the eighth time – seven of those at left wing and one at right wing in 2012-13. He had 63 first-place votes and 459 total points to beat out Boston’s Brad Marchand (402) and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (324) at left wing. It is his first appearance on the first team, however, since the 2014-15 season. Ovechkin has four times been named to the second team.  

Carlson’s second-team selection was the best showing of his career. He received the third-most points (428). Only San Jose’s Brent Burns and Calgary’s Mark Giordano, the Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman, received more to garner first-team honors. Carlson finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting. He was fifth in 2018. 

Ovechkin was seventh in the Hart Trophy voting for league MVP. He has won that award three times. He was presented with his eighth Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer. Ovechkin had 51 goals in 81 games. No other player has led the league in goals eight times. His eight 50-goal seasons trail only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy, who accomplished that feat nine times during their Hall-of-Fame careers.  

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