Redskins

Missouri Western's Hill shines in All-Star Classic

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Missouri Western's Hill shines in All-Star Classic

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) Michael Hill received a surprise invitation to the first Raycom College Football All-Star Classic, but looked like he belonged.

Hill rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries to lead the Stripes to a 31-3 victory over the Stars six days after getting the phone call that a spot had come available.

``You never know what to expect coming from Division II,'' said Hill said. ``You hear about the SEC and all that speed.

``I thought I could come compete and play with speed, too. I didn't know what to expect. I guess I fit in.''

He did indeed, flashing speed, moves and big-play ability in a game that featured 22 players from the Southeastern Conference.

Hill was chosen offensive MVP by NFL scouts and had runs of 44 and 49 yards for two of the game's biggest plays, both setting up his touchdowns.

The defensive MVP was Charles James of FCS Charleston Southern, who had two tackles and a pass breakup that resulted in a third-quarter interception.

James said he was ``surprised and shocked'' to be named MVP and didn't mind not getting the pick himself.

``As long as my teammates can get it and make a play on the ball, I'm happy,'' James said. ``That's what I'm here for.''

The game was played at Cramton Bowl, long home to the now-defunct Blue-Gray game traditionally played on Christmas Day.

Purdue's Robert Marve also had a strong performance in the showcase game for pro football prospects. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Stripes.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Hill bounced outside for the 44-yarder to make his first big impression.

``It was supposed to be a short-yardage play,'' Hill said. ``I went up inside and the whole line was low so I could see, and I spun right. I should have scored.''

He did the next play, anyway, on a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Hill added a 6-yard score midway through the fourth quarter after not logging a carry in the third.

Hill rushed for 2,168 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He finished second in the voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy given to Division II's top player and fared well against defenders from bigger schools, too.

Marve connected on a pair of long passes to set up scores for the Stripes.

He fired a 54-yarder to Notre Dame's Robby Toma in the third quarter but his third-down pass into the end zone was broken up by Air Force's Alex Means to force a field goal.

Later in the quarter Marve found Roy Roundtree of Michigan with a 39-yard, over-the-shoulder pass down the right sideline. Marve then threw for a 13-yard touchdown to Tyron Laughinghouse of Division II Saint Augustine.

Marve, who ranked third in the Big Ten in passing efficiency last season, also had a ball poked out from behind for a fumble on another promising drive, and the pick came off a deflection.

``I thought I had a very strong game with a couple of funny plays,'' said Marve, who started 11 games for the Miami Hurricanes in 2008 before transferring.

He said he wasn't surprised by the performances of Hill and Laughinghouse.

``Those guys were playing well throughout the week so it was no surprise to me,'' Marve said. ``

Virginia's Perry Jones added 42 yards rushing on 12 carries.

Pittsburgh's Tino Sunseri was the Stars' most productive quarterback. He was 8-of-18 passing for 105 yards but was intercepted twice.

Derrick Washington of Division II Tuskegee - about a half-hour from the stadium - gained 57 yards on 10 rushes for the Stars. Jacksonville State's Washaun Ealey, a Georgia transfer, had seven carries for 42 yards. Jaron Brown of Clemson was the game's leading receiver with six catches for 63 yards for the Stars.

Defensively, Prentiss Waggner (Tennessee) and Brandon Hepburn (Florida A&M) had interceptions on back-to-back plays in the third quarter, both off deflections.

Mississippi State's Cameron Lawrence had a game-high seven tackles for the Stripes.

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.