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Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell leaving for NFL

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Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell leaving for NFL

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell is headed to the NFL draft after a tireless junior season in which he carried the ball 382 times.

Bell said Thursday he will skip his senior year following a terrific performance as the focal point of the Spartans' offense. He ran for 1,793 yards this season and also caught 32 passes.

``This was the hardest decision of my life,'' Bell said. ``It's difficult to leave my teammates and coaches as well as Spartan Nation, but I couldn't pass on pursuing my dream and the opportunity to change my mom's life.''

Michigan State also confirmed that tight end Dion Sims will forgo his senior season to enter the draft.

The 6-foot-2, 237-pound Bell ran for more than 200 yards three times this season, including a 266-yard effort in the regular-season finale at Minnesota that helped Michigan State become bowl eligible.

``It was his physical durability that was most impressive,'' coach Mark Dantonio said. ``As a 20-year-old, Le'Veon faced an extremely difficult decision. While I do believe there was both personal and program value in Le'Veon returning for his senior season, I acknowledge the difficult choice he had to make.''

The Spartans (7-6) edged TCU 17-16 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Bell ran for 145 yards and a touchdown in that game.

``I couldn't have written a better script for my final game in a Spartan uniform,'' Bell said. ``I ran the ball well against a great TCU defense, but the most important thing was getting the `W.' It was exciting to celebrate with my teammates one last time and leave on that note.''

Larry Caper, the only other Spartan to rush for over 100 yards for the season, was also a senior. Nick Hill, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, had 48 yards on 21 carries.

``Although I'm leaving, Michigan State still has some capable running backs returning, in Nick Hill and Jeremy Langford,'' Bell said. ``Those guys will be running behind a talented and experienced offensive line. Nick and Jeremy are both tough, talented athletes and their time is now.''

Sims caught 36 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns this season despite missing three games.

``He's a big target with great hands. With his combination of size and power, Dion is difficult to bring down, so he gains a lot of yards after the catch. He's also a much improved run blocker,'' Dantonio said. ``Although we'll miss Dion in our offense next season, he felt the timing was right and we wish him all the best in his future.''

Gonzaga beats DeMatha on Hail Mary in bonkers WCAC championship game

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Gonzaga beats DeMatha on Hail Mary in bonkers WCAC championship game

The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) has a long history of football excellence, and the 2018 championship game was no exception. 

No. 2 Gonzaga College High School defeated No. 1 DeMatha Catholic High School, 46-43, in the title game at Catholic University of America on Sunday night thanks to three lead changes in the final 60 seconds and a game-winning Hail Mary. 

After allowing  DeMatha to race out to a 20-point lead, the Purple Eagles scored in the second quarter on a one-yard rushing touchdown. Dean Engram, son of Baltimore Ravens’ WR coach Bobby Engram, caught a 35-yard pass to score again for Gonzaga, closing the deficit to just six at 20-14. DeMatha rushed in another touchdown and intercepted Gonzaga’s next pass before entering the half at 26-14.

Both powerhouses scored a touchdown in the third, leaving the teams to fight until the very end of the fourth quarter in order determine the 2018 championship. That's when things got extra weird.

With 39 seconds left, Gonzaga's Sam Sweeney caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to give the Eagles a 40-36 lead. 

But on the ensuing kickoff DeMatha senior Dominic Logan-Nealy returned the kick to the end zone, giving DeMatha a 43-40 lead with just 15 seconds left.

Gonzaga would get another crack at the title, and they did not let it go to waste. Williams hurled a desperation pass to the end zone with no time remaining. Eagles' receiver John Marshall got his hands on the pass and snagged the game-winning touchdown catch to give Gonzaga the stunning 46-43 win. 

The winners immediately rushed to celebrate with their student section, but the protective fencing separating the two was ultimately torn down.

The WCAC champions end the year 9-3. Head Coach Randy Trivers emotionally addressed his troops after their battle, reminding them that Gonzaga won their first title on Catholic University of America’s field:

DeMatha ended its season 8-3.

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NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge

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USA Today Sports

NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge

When the sun came up Sunday morning, the Redskins held a two-game lead in the NFC East and looked to have a clear route to a division title. 

By the time the sun went down, a lot changed. 

Washington lost at home in a crazy game to Houston, but big picture, the more important outcome was the broken leg for Alex Smith. The Redskins now turn to backup Colt McCoy, and while the Burgundy and Gold remain in first place, their lead shrunk.

  1. Washington Redskins (6-4, 2-0) - Talk about a roller coaster game. The Redskins got down early to the Texans, trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, but fought all the way back. In the process, the team lost Smith for the season, but McCoy played well when he entered the game. A veteran in Jay Gruden's system, McCoy should be able to step in and run the offense without any hesitation. Will that be enough? What isn't being talked about in Washington: a suddenly slumping run defense. A huge game looms Thursday against Ezekiel Elliott and a surging Cowboys squad. Up next: Nov. 22 @ Dallas, 4 p.m.
  2. Dallas Cowboys (5-5, 2-1) - It seemed like the Cowboys season was over a few weeks ago after a humbling home loss on Monday Night Football to the Titans. Two weeks later, the script has flipped. Dallas won their second straight game on Sunday, holding off a late Atlanta rally and winning the game on a last-second field goal. Elliott went for 201 total yards from scrimmage and the Cowboys young defense continued to make impressive plays. Jerry Jones' team struggles on the road, but at home, the Cowboys are 3-1 this season. Up next: Nov. 22 vs Washington, 4 p.m.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6, 1-1) - Fans waiting for the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles to get it together might want to stop waiting. Philly got boat raced in New Orleans on Sunday, losing 48-7 and dropping to two games below .500. Carson Wentz threw three INTs in New Orleans and really, while the QB was bad in the Superdome, it's hard to pin the Eagles' woes on any one thing. The offense hasn't been very good, and the defense hasn't either. Sitting just two games back of the 'Skins and one behind Dallas, don't count the Eagles out yet. But don't really count them in either. Up next: Nov. 25th vs New York Giants, 1 p.m.
  4. New York Giants (3-7, 0-3) - Don't look now but the Giants might be the hottest team in the division. Or at least not the coldest team in the division. The Giants won their second game in a row on Sunday, a nail-biting 38-35 victory over Tampa. New York got out to a big lead before the Bucs crept back in it, but powered by four combined TDs between Saquon Barkley and Eli Manning, the Giants did enough. Simple arithmetic suggests the Giants are closer to a Top 5 draft pick than a playoff run, but hey, they haven't been eliminated yet. Crazy things happen in this league. Up next: Nov. 25th @ Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

 

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