Nationals

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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3 things to watch as the Nationals try to even the series with Colorado

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3 things to watch as the Nationals try to even the series with Colorado

Here are three things to watch for as the Nationals try to even the series in Colorado: 

1. Brian Dozier's slow start to 2019 seems to be in the rearview mirror. The second baseman hit his third long-ball in four games Monday night inside Coors Field. 

2. How long will Anthony Rendon be held out of the lineup? The third baseman is nursing his left elbow after being hit by a Jose Urena pitch Saturday in Miami. 

3. One of the MLB's best closers remains unsigned 20+ games into the season. Craig Kimbrel could very well help solve an NL East division-wide problem

Coming Up:

Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Friday, 4/26: Padres @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park

Download the MyTeams app for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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A frustrating Game 6 loss, but Caps can't dwell on the negative

A frustrating Game 6 loss, but Caps can't dwell on the negative

RALEIGH — By the end of the night the frustration was evident. Three times the Capitals have played at PNC Arena during this Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series and three times they have left the ice stick-smashingly angry. 

Capitals coach Todd Reirden screamed at the officials. Alex Ovechkin earned a game misconduct after a mock wave following a late penalty call. By then the Carolina Hurricanes had already assured there would be one final game in this closer-than-expected series with a 5-2 win. Now both teams face elimination with Game 7 looming Wednesday at Capital One Arena. 

Washington’s anger was understandable. Alex Ovechkin apparently poked home the game-tying goal with 9:26 remaining. But while the Capitals celebrated, referee Kyle Rehman blew his whistle. In his view, Ovechkin had shoved Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek’s pads to force the puck into the net. 

The NHL Situation Room in Toronto upheld that call on the ice after the Capitals tied it. Just 1:24 later, ex-Capitals forward Justin Williams stuck a dagger in the heart of his old team with a deflected goal to give the Hurricanes a 4-2 lead.

"I don't think anyone expected it to be easy,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “They played well all series. We were up 2-0 and we were probably fortunate to be up 2-0 and we've been good on home ice and now we have a Game 7 and it is probably good that we have home ice."

There were other issues on Monday. Dmitry Orlov was whistled for embellishment in the second period that denied Washington a power play. Carolina tied the game 2-2 at 1:56 of the second period when referees – in the Capitals’ view – missed an obvious slash by Sebastian Aho on defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler behind the net. His attempted clear was flubbed and Aho found Teuvo Teravainen alone in front for an easy goal.

None of it matters now. The Capitals didn’t play well enough to win anyway, especially in a ragged second period that ominously looked like the 5-0 Hurricanes win in Game 3. Reirden himself admitted that Carolina earned the breaks it got. Goalie Braden Holtby was especially critical of his team for not building on a dominant 6-0 win at home in Game 5 on Saturday. 

“I don’t know. I thought we played pretty well to come out and we just faded,” Holtby said. “I’m not sure why. At this point it doesn’t matter. It’s over with and it’s down to one game.”

The challenge will be leaving all of that negativity in the PNC Arena locker room. One player walked away and said to no one in particular “No goal….what a call.” The sarcasm dripped. But it can’t follow the Capitals back home to Washington. This group of players has plenty of experience putting bad playoff losses behind them. 

If anything carries over into Game 7, however, they could be in trouble. Those days are thought to be long over after last spring’s Cup. And maybe they are. But the Capitals will have to forget about what happened in Raleigh. They have one last chance. It can't be clouded by what happened here.  

"It's over. Again, right now nothing you can do,” Ovechkin said. “After fight, you can't do anything. It was a good battle. Good for them, they win Game 6, and you know, Game 7 is going to be much interesting. We know how to play that. Pressure on both teams, but it's a good chance for us to beat them at home." 

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